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Ice, snow overwhelms northern mountaintop

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 9:31 am

The Mau Son mountaintop in the northeastern province of Lang Son saw snow for the second time this year on Friday, as a cold front moved in dropping the temperature to minus degrees Celsius.

The Mau Son mountaintop is covered with ice and snow on January 7 (Photo: SGGP)

The Mau Son mountaintop, which is 1,500 meters above sea level in the Loc Binh District, experienced strong chilly winds with frost.

Vu Xuan Lam, a hotel staff member from the Mau Son tourist site, said that since early Friday morning, the trees in the forest were coated with layers of ice and snow.

A Dao ethic minority woman named Trieu Thi Toan, in Co Lac Village, from the Mau Son Commune, said that it was so cold that all water sources in her home ‘froze over’ and she had to boil ice, in order to get drinking water.

In addition, the Loc Binh District electricity department cut power from the Mau Son Commune, because the icy condition could cause damage to the eclectic power cables.

On Friday, many people went to Mau Son Mountain to see the snow. This is the second time the mountain has experience such a snowfall, the first time was on December 16.

Luu Minh Hai, deputy director of the Lao Cai Province Hydro Meteorological Center, said the temperature on O Quy Ho mountain pass, near Sa Pa town, remained low at only 4.5 degrees Celsius. Lao Cai might experience ice and snow for the next two to three days, he said.

Le Thanh Hai, deputy director of the National Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Center, said that the entire northern and central provinces have been engulfed in extremely cold weather, due to a cold front.

The temperature has plunged down to 1 degree Celsius, in Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai northern mountainous province. In other places in the region, the temperature was only 4-7 degrees Celsius.

The coming cold front that is forecast to blanket the northern region on Sunday will result in much colder weather, with more ice and snow on the way.

Source: SGGP

Mau Son Mountain covered with ice and snow

In Uncategorized on December 19, 2010 at 7:57 am

Mau Son Mountain covered with ice and snow

QĐND – Saturday, December 18, 2010, 22:19 (GMT+7)

Ice and snow covered the tourism resort of Mau Son mountain in the northern mountainous province of Lang Son in the early morning of December 16 as outdoor temperature in this area plunged to minus 0.8 degree Celsius.

The Lang Son Provincial Hydrometeorology Forecast Centre said that the outdoor temperature dropped to 6.2 degrees in Lang Son City and the rainfall was measured at 19.0mm in Mau Son area.

The icy weather has attracted the attention of local residents and visitors.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Northern mountains get rare ice and snow

In Uncategorized on December 18, 2010 at 9:27 am

Affected by a strong cold front, temperatures in northern mountainous provinces on December 17 have continued to fall. This has cause ice and snow to appear in the areas, said the National Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Centre.

Tourists take pictures of ice-covered grass on top of Mau Son Mountain, northern Lang Son Province. (Photo:VNA)

The cold spell has been accompanied by thick fog, which has caused traffic delays.

According to Ha Van Tien, director of Lang Son Province’s Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Centre, daytime temperatures are only 7-10 degrees Celsius and ice has appeared on the top of Mau Son Mountain, in Lang Son Province’s Loc Binh District.

The temperature on the 1,541 meter mountain in Mau Son Commune fell to -0.8 degrees Celsius on December 16.

Luu Minh Hai deputy director of Lao Cai Province’s Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Centre, said ice and snow have been reported to be on trees on the Fansipan Mountain. Temperatures on the mountain have fallen to zero degrees Celsius. In addition, temperatures in Sapa in Lao Cai Province fell to a chilly 2.7 degrees.

Temperature in Cao Bang Province is less than 10 degree Celsius, but other areas only 5-8 degrees Celsius.

The provinces authorities have asked that schools are to be close, if the temperature drops below 10 degrees Celsius.

According to the National Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Centre, the cold front from the north has spread into southern Vietnam and it is forecast that the weather will turn much colder from December 18.

Meanwhile, the cold front has caused medium to heavy rains and it is extremely cold in the northern region, said the weather centre.

Related articles:

Cold front lashes central region
Central region to experience downpour, colder weather
Southern region to turn cold

Source: SGGP

Mau Son Mountain covered with ice and snow

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Mau Son Mountain covered with ice and snow

QĐND – Friday, December 17, 2010, 20:53 (GMT+7)

Ice and snow covered the tourism resort of Mau Son mountain in the northern mountainous province of Lang Son in the early morning of Dec. 16 as outdoor temperature in this area plunged to minus 0.8 degree Celsius.

The Lang Son Provincial Hydrometeorology Forecast Centre said that the outdoor temperature dropped to 6.2 degrees in Lang Son City and the rainfall was measured at 19.0mm at Mau Son.

This type of weather has attracted the attention of local residents and visitors.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Huge ice island could pose threat to oil, shipping

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2010 at 11:21 am

An island of ice more than four times the size of Manhattan is drifting across the Arctic Ocean after breaking off from a glacier in Greenland.

Potentially in the path of this unstoppable giant are oil platforms and shipping lanes — and any collision could do untold damage. In a worst case scenario, large chunks could reach the heavily trafficked waters where another Greenland iceberg sank the Titanic in 1912.

It’s been a summer of near biblical climatic havoc across the planet, with wildfires, heat and smog in Russia and killer floods in Asia. But the moment the Petermann glacier cracked last week — creating the biggest Arctic ice island in half a century — may symbolize a warming world like no other.

This combination of two satellite images provided by NASA and taken on July 28, 2010, at left, and Aug. 5, 2010, at right, shows the Petermann Glacier in Northern Greenland

“It’s so big that you can’t prevent it from drifting. You can’t stop it,” said Jon-Ove Methlie Hagen, a glaciologist at the University of Oslo.

Few images can capture the world’s climate fears like a 100-square- mile (260-sqare-kilometer) chunk of ice breaking off Greenland’s vast ice sheet, a reservoir of freshwater that if it collapsed would raise global sea levels by a devastating 20 feet (6 meters).

The world’s newest ice island already is being used as a powerful emblem in the global warming debate, with U.S. Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts suggesting it could serve as a home for climate change skeptics.

Researchers are in a scramble to plot the trajectory of the floating ice shelf, which is moving toward the Nares Strait separating Greenland’s northwestern coast and Canada’s Ellsemere Island.

If it makes it into the strait before the winter freeze — due to start next month — it would likely be carried south by ocean currents, hugging Canada’s east coast until it enters waters busy with oil activities and shipping off Newfoundland.

“That’s where it starts to become dangerous,” said Mark Drinkwater, of the European Space Agency.

The Canadian Ice Service estimates the journey will take one to two years. It’s likely to break up as it bumps into other icebergs and jagged islands. The fragments would be further ground down by winds and waves and would start to melt as they move into warmer waters.

“But the fragments may still be quite large,” warned Trudy Wohlleben, a Canadian ice forecaster, who first spotted the massive chunk of ice on satellite images last Thursday.

The chunks of ice could be large enough to threaten Canada’s offshore platforms in the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, said Wohlleben.

And, while it’s possible to redirect smaller icebergs, by towing them or spraying them with water cannons, “I don’t think they could do that with an iceberg this large,” she said. “They would have to physically move the rig.”

Moving an offshore platform is time-consuming and expensive — and very complicated in cases where they are fixed to the ocean floor.

While Greenland’s glaciers break off thousands of icebergs into Arctic waters every year, scientists say this ice island is the biggest in the northern hemisphere since 1962.

It contains enough freshwater to keep the Hudson River flowing for more than two years, said Andreas Muenchow of the University of Delaware.

The drifting ice sheet is likely to remain at the heart of the global warming discussion during its journey.

While experts say it’s difficult to directly tie the giant ice island to climate change because there are so many factors that affect glaciers in the area, the unusual event coincides with worrisome signs of warming in the Arctic.

Since 1970, temperatures have risen more than 4.5 degrees (2.5 degrees C) in much of the Arctic — much faster than the global average. In June the Arctic sea ice cover was at the lowest level for that month since records began in 1979, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The retreat of Greenland’s glaciers, which has accelerated in recent years, is one of the least understood pieces of the climate puzzle.

A team of climate scientists who visited the Petermann glacier last year, expecting it to crack then, is now planning another trip within weeks.

“We did leave behind a couple of time-lapse cameras and 11 GPS (devices). Now we are scrambling to get up there and recover the data,” said Jason Box, an expert on Greenland glaciers from the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University.

Box and two British researchers traveled to the glacier last year with Greenpeace activists who offered space aboard their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, to scientists studying climate change.

They were hoping to capture the event with cameras rolling, which would have been a powerful image just months before the Copenhagen climate talks that failed to produce a binding treaty to reduce heat-trapping gas emissions.

“It would have been nice if it had broken off last year,” said Melanie Duchin, who led that Greenpeace expedition. “I mean ice melting, it doesn’t get any simpler than that.”

Still, she finds it ironic that the Petermann breakup coincides with another catastrophe linked to fossil fuels. The Arctic Sunrise is now in the Gulf of Mexico, surveying the massive oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

Source: SGGP

Ice blocks bid to cap Gulf of Mexico oil leak

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2010 at 4:48 am

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – A first try at capping a ruptured pipe gushing oil deep in the Gulf of Mexico failed when ice crystals clogged a dome seen as the best hope of staving off a massive environmental disaster.

Officials said they have not yet given up hope of capping the leaks some 5,000 feet below the surface which are hemorrhaging an estimated 210,000 barrels a day.

Oil burns during a controlled fire in the Gulf of Mexico. AFP photo

But they cautioned it will likely be several days before a solution is found.

“I wouldn’t say it’s failed yet,” said Doug Suttles, chief operating officer for British energy giant BP, which is responsible for the cleanup.

“What we attempted to do last night didn’t work because these hydrates plugged up the top of the dome.”

Clearing out the slushy crystals is easy — the 100-ton (90-tonne) chamber just has to be raised to warmer levels, Suttles told reporters. Keeping the crystals out so that a pipe can be lowered into the dome to suck the oil to a waiting barge is another matter.

Engineers are looking at ways to heat the frigid water in the dome, among other options, and have moved the concrete and steel box to rest on the seabed some 650 feet (200 meters) away while they evaluate their options.

BP has already begun drilling relief wells to stem the flow, but it will take about three months for them to be operational.

It is also considering other temporary measures like trying to plug the leaks by injecting ground-up material in a “junk shot,” but Suttles said BP cannot proceed until it is sure that it “won’t make the situation worse.”

The BP official said his company had anticipated encountering hydrates, but had not expected them to be as significant a problem.

The dome had been expected to be operational on Monday and to collect about 85 percent of the leaking crude by funneling it up to a barge on the surface.

An estimated 3.5 million gallons of oil has formed a slick that threatens the fragile coastal wetlands of Louisiana and the beaches of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

Favorable winds have kept the bulk of the oil from reaching shore since the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon sank some 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Venice, Louisiana on April 22, two days after an explosion that killed 11 workers

But with a thin sheen of oil now lapping Louisiana’s coastal islands, local leaders begged for more boom to protect vulnerable coastal wetlands and wildlife preserves, as well as multi billion-dollar fishing and tourism industries.

“It’ll be so much harder to clean up this oil if it gets into the marshes,” said Governor Bobby Jindal.

The US Coast Guard, which is overseeing the recovery efforts, cautioned that resources must be used “strategically.”

“There’s not enough to completely boom off every piece of coastline for all four (gulf) states,” Coast Guard Petty Officer David Mosley told AFP.

“That’s hundreds and hundreds of miles.”

Fears are growing that the disaster is already impacting sea life in a region home to vital spawning grounds for fish, shrimp and crabs and a major migratory stop for rare birds.

“It’s going to destroy the industry — it will never recover if the oil gets into the marshlands,” said Cliff LeBoef, whose Louisiana oyster beds are only now recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Beachfront towns across the coast are already suffering from cancellations as fears of an oil slick washes away tourists, as are charter boat captains who make a living catering to sports fishermen.

Rough seas last week hampered efforts to skim the oil from the sea with boats and controlled burns, but calmer waters have brought the battle back to the Gulf.

Some 270 vessels manned by the US Coast Guard and local fishermen have laid out more than 829,000 of feet of boom and more than 1.9 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.

Officials are also spraying chemical dispersants over the slick to break it up, which produce a similar effect to dish washing liquid.

“It’s really designed to break down the oil,” said Bob Perciasepe, deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“It does not make the oil disappear but it makes it into smaller and smaller particles that makes easier over the long haul to be biodegradable instead of big… really, oily globs.”

Source: SGGP

Giant oil spill in Alaska likely caused by ice

In World on December 10, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Officials believe that ice plugged up a pipeline and likely caused a rupture that sent 46,000 gallons of crude oil and water gushing onto snow-covered tundra on Alaska’s North Slope late last month.

The spill is one of the worst by volume since the March 2006 spill of 200,000 gallons of crude at Prudhoe Bay, the biggest spill ever on the North Slope, according to Department of Environmental Conservation figures.

BP spokesman Steve Rinehart said Wednesday that an ice buildup is likely to blame in the Nov. 29 spill, leading to an increase in pressure that caused the 18-inch diameter pipe to rupture.

In this Dec. 7, 2009 picture provided by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, crews use steamer equipment to melt contaminated material for collection with a vacuum rig

Oil and water sprayed out of a 2-foot lengthwise rupture along the bottom of the pipe. Up to three-quarters of an acre of tundra was affected. Most of the oil and water congealed in a large pile under the pipe.

“There is a lot of material on the ground,” said Tom DeRuyter, the on-scene spill coordinator for the Alaska Department of Conservation.

The pipeline normally carried 75 percent water and 25 percent oil, as well as gas, to a processing center at the Lisburne oil field. It is not known what the percentages were when the line ruptured, Rinehart said.

Responders were using a variety of methods to clean up the spill. Methods include applying steam to loosen the congealed material and vacuum it up. Equipment also was brought in to scoop up the oil and frozen water and transport it to an area where it will be melted, separated and measured.

“That mechanical cleanup has proven to be pretty effective,” Rinehart said.

The ruptured pipeline, which is about 5 feet above the ground, is not affecting production from the Prudhoe Bay oil field, North America’s largest oil

Rinehart said the definitive reason for the most recent spill won’t be known until an investigation is completed.

BP is currently on probation for the 2006 spill after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor conviction and paying $20 million in fines and restitution. That spill was blamed on corrosion in a pipeline.

Rinehart said several weeks before the rupture the line was shut down because of restricted flowAnother larger pipeline adjacent to the pipe was handling the extra volume.

Rinehart said the paired pipelines were each equipped with individual temperature sensors near where the lines enter the processing center. He said he did not know if the sensors indicated there was a problem. A BP employee discovered the rupture in the line during a routine early morning inspection.

The line was last inspected in 2008 and found to be serviceable, he said.

After the rupture, the pipe was X-rayed and it was determined that there was approximately 1,300 feet between two large “ice plugs,” as the buildups are called. Engineers were considering methods for melting the plugs when it split. Those methods include applying heat, or introducing deicer and warm crude into the line.

Rinehart said ice plugs can form in pipelines and occasionally are a problem, even sometimes ending in a rupture.

“They are a feature of operating in the Arctic,” he said. “You try not to have them happen. When they do, you deal with them.”

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Snow and ice for Sa Pa

In Vietnam Weather on November 22, 2009 at 12:28 pm

A cold snap has produced ice and snow on O Quy Ho Mountain Pass in the northern region of Sa Pa (Photo: SGGP)

Low temperatures together with drizzling rain and fog has combined to produce snow and ice on the top of O Quy Ho Mountain Pass in Sa Pa District, a famous tourist area in the northwest province of Lao Cai.

Luu Minh Hai, deputy director of the Lao Cai Province Hydro Meteorological Forecast Center, said November 21 that temperatures were hovering around 1.5 degrees Celcius.

It is the region’s record-low for the year, Mr. Hai added.

All schools in Sa Pa District have been closed as local residents stay indoors to try to keep warm.

The temperature in Lao Cai City was 12 degrees Celcius on November 21.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share