Weather News In Brief - 14 Jan 2011

Accuweather forecaster Joe Bastardi writes: “The surge of warmth that is occurring is part and parcel of why I was not bullish on the rest of the winter being cold in the UKMET and IRELAND. Now, it is not that it won't get colder again, but in the end, January and February are going to be looked at as a mere pittance compared to December. And yes, we may have another period where it gets a bit rough, but it's winter... that is supposed to happen. Moral is that if you are looking for the coldest winter in a thousand years, you will have to wait.” MORE
  • NUI Maynooth Climatologist John Sweeney explains to RTE some of the reasons for the severe flooding in different parts of the world, including north-eastern Australia. Listen or download
Small risk of thunderstorms and possible funnels/tornadoes in the UK and Ireland today. See below storm forecast from
Last night in Tromsø, Norway, the solar wind combined with moonlight and snow to produce the following scene (image by Thilo Bubek, via
Arctic Ice Extent 2007 and 2011. Pic Ric Werme
  • The differing shapes of snowflakes. Pic sent in to by Natasha O’Brien outside here house in North Tipperary on Friday the 7th January 2011.
  • Mount Etna in Sicily produced a spectacular fireworks display in Wednesday night. Today, Friday, only a small amount of steam is being emitted from the active volcano. See live webcam here

  • Humpback whale spotted 10 miles off the coast of Tramore, County Waterford. This is the 13th individual humpback whale recorded in Irish waters. Markings on the animals' dorsal and caudal fins can be photographed and used to identify individuals. Video by Richard Creagh

  • Two earthquakes were recorded in Mt. Grímsfjall by the Grímsvötn lakes on the Vatnajökull icecap, the largest glacier in Europe, this morning, measuring 4.2 and 3.5 on the Richter scale.  These are probably the strongest earthquakes to hit in this area since 1934. Experts at the Icelandic Meteorological Office are currently reviewing data to see whether this is the case, reports. MORE
NASA astronomers have stumbled upon a galactic city of stars named COSMOS-AzTEC3, which is circa 12.6bn light years away from Earth – the most distant known in the early universe, according to Silicon Republic. According to NASA, this ancient collection of galaxies most likely grew into a modern galaxy cluster similar to the massive ones seen today.  COSMOS-AzTEC3 was discovered and characterised by multi-wavelength telescopes, including NASA's Spitzer, Chandra and Hubble space telescopes, and the ground-based W.M. Keck Observatory and Japan's Subaru Telescope.