Temperatures have once again plunged across southeast Australia with reports of snow falling in sub-tropical Queensland. Looking ahead, the BOM expects the cold to intensify as the week progresses, with all-time cold-records tumbling on Thursday.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has said a large high moving across southeast Australia, combining with a low in the southern Tasman, was leading to strong winds and intense cold across vast swathes of the country.
Snow has already fallen in the remote Queensland town of Eukey, south of Stanthorpe on July 21 — a rare event.
Weather chaser Ken Kato, who traveled to Eukey from Brisbane, described the wind as “brutal”.
“The windchill was probably next level even for this area’s standards,” he said.
“I was outside for a few minutes at a time, and my hands basically lost all sensation after a few minutes.”
Kato added that yesterday was one of the coldest days he has ever experienced.
“When I come here … I normally expect it to feel pretty damn cold … but this morning, the winds were gale force.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Felin Hannify said wind gusts of up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph) an hour would add to the cold.
“For Toowoomba, a high of nine degrees (C) today is going to feel like sub-five given the strength of the wind,” he said.
“We’re likely to see widespread frost through the southern, eastern and central parts of Queensland.”
And Queensland won’t be alone in suffering the big freeze.
Large pockets of Australia will be just as cold — a polar front is currently sweeping across the entire south-east of the country.
Hazardous winds and freezing conditions forecast to engulf the state of New South Wales by Thursday.
The BOM’s Dean Narramore said Victoria will see equally inclement weather, with hail and snow in the forecast.
“The front is currently racing across Victoria and Tasmania with a band of rain and cold winds,” he said.
“Much colder temperatures will follow the front with small hail, thunderstorms and snow to low levels.”
Here was the scene in Tasmania yesterday, where heavy snow was already settling:
The mercury is expected to tumble below 0C (32F) on Thursday across large parts of NSW, Victoria and even Queensland.
Hannify said many areas are currently forecast to suffer their “coldest-ever July temperatures” on Thursday:
Switching attention to the west, Perth busted its all-time July rainfall record on Tuesday.
A total of 184.2mm (7.25 inches) of rain had fallen as of July 20, after 18 straight days of downpours — this eclipsed the previous record of 182.6mm (7.19 inches) in 2001 (partly attributable to increasing cosmic rays, which have been found to nucleate clouds).
Yet more cold and wet weather on the way for the Western Australian capital.
Stay tuned for updates.
GALACTIC Cosmic Rays are a mixture of high-energy photons and sub-atomic particles accelerated toward Earth by supernova explosions and other violent events in the cosmos. SOLAR Cosmic Rays are effectively the same, only their source is the Sun.
Researchers at the Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory have been monitoring Cosmic Rays (CRs) since 1964.
When these rays hit Earth’s atmosphere they produce a spray of secondary particles that rain down onto the surface.
Among these particles are neutrons.
Detectors on the ground –such as those in Oulu– count these neutrons as a proxy for cosmic rays.
Below is a look at the correlation between CRs and the Sun.
During solar minimums –the low point of the 11 year solar cycle– the Sun’s magnetic field weakens and the outward pressure of the solar wind decreases — this allows more CRs to penetrate the inner solar system, including our planet’s atmosphere.
Looking at the graphic below, the top panel demonstrates the natural waxing and waning of cosmic rays in correlation with the 11-year solar cycle. During Solar Maximum, cosmic rays are weak. During Solar Minimum, they are strong.
Cosmic rays are bad–and they’re going to get worse — that’s the conclusion of a 2020 study entitled “Galactic Cosmic Radiation in Interplanetary Space Through a Modern Secular Minimum.”
The type of radiation produced by CRs is the same used in medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.
This radiation has increased by more than 20% in the stratosphere, according to spaceweather.com data.
Cosmic Rays can alter the electro-chemistry of Earth’s upper atmosphere, sparking lightning.
They also penetrate commercial jets, delivering whole-body dosages equal to one or more dental X-rays even on regular flights across the USA; and pose an even greater hazard to astronauts, as you would expect.
“During the next solar cycle, we could see cosmic ray dose rates increase by as much as 75%,” said lead author Fatemeh Rahmanifard of the University of New Hampshire’s Space Science Center.
“This will limit the amount of time astronauts can work safely in interplanetary space.”
No amount of spacecraft shielding can stop the most energetic cosmic rays.
This leaves astronauts exposed whenever they leave the Earth-Moon system.
Back in the 1990s, astronauts could travel through space for as much as 1000 days before they hit NASA safety limits on radiation exposure; but not anymore — according to the new research, cosmic rays will limit trips to as little as 290 days for 45-year old male astronauts, and 204 days for females (men and women have different limits because of unequal dangers to reproductive organs).
However, far more crucial than limiting jollies into space –and fantasies of colonizing Mars– cosmic rays hitting Earth’s atmosphere have been found to seed clouds (Svensmark et al).
Cloud cover plays the most important role in our planet’s short-term climate change — as well as increasing localized precipitation, “clouds are the Earth’s sunshade,” points out Dr. Roy Spencer, “and if cloud cover changes for any reason, you have global warming — or global cooling.”
And while an overturning of ocean currents, a reduction in TSI, an increase in ice/snow albedo, or a VEI 6+ volcanic eruption are all capable of reducing Earth’s terrestrial temperature, all that is required is an uptick in CRs (check) leading to an increase in cloud cover (check).
The upshot of the historically weak solar minimum of cycle 24 –the Sun’s deepest of the past 100+ years (NASA)– combined with the further waning that is forecast for cycles 25 and 26 (and beyond) will be a inescapable cooling of the planet.
And we’re already seeing the start of this: according to the satellites, the global average temperature dropped BELOW the 30-year baseline in June, 2021 (the latest datapoint):
The COLD TIMES are returning, the mid-latitudes are REFREEZING, in line with the great conjunction, historically low solar activity, cloud-nucleating Cosmic Rays, and a meridional jet stream flow (among other forcings).
Both NOAA and NASA appear to agree, if you read between the lines, with NOAA saying we’re entering a ‘full-blown’ Grand Solar Minimum in the late-2020s, and NASA seeing this upcoming solar cycle (25) as “the weakest of the past 200 years”, with the agency correlating previous solar shutdowns to prolonged periods of global cooling here.
Furthermore, we can’t ignore the slew of new scientific papers stating the immense impact The Beaufort Gyre could have on the Gulf Stream, and therefore the climate overall.
Prepare accordingly— learn the facts, relocate if need be, and grow your own.
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Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift