Wednesday, December 29, 2010


There just isn't that much 'cold' in Antarctica.

Vostok is only (- 18) Fahrenheit.

There is very little air turbulence in the vortex of Antarctica.  The heat is coming off the Equator and just sitting there and exchanging heat with the ice.

The surface wind below reflects the lack of movement in the upper troposphere.  Except for the Peninsula it is fairly quite.

Australia show an extremely hot summer.

C-17 serves as a bridge, navigates unpredictable weather in Antarctica (click title to entry - thank you)
Posted 12/28/2010   Updated 12/28/2010

by Master Sgt. Lee Hoover
Air Force Public Affairs

12/28/2010 - CHRISTCHURCH, New Zeland (AFNS)  -- An Air Force Reserve C-17 Globemaster III from the 728th Airlift Squadron out of McChord Air Force Base, Wash., is supporting Operation Deep Freeze by serving as a bridge for cargo and personnel moving between Christchurch, New Zealand, and McMurdo Air Station, Antarctica.

The C-17 and its aircrew perform three to four round trips per week between the two locations. During each flight, the crew must navigate through difficult weather before landing on an ice runway at McMurdo.

"This is probably the most dangerous peace time mission that we do" said Maj. Casey Guerrero, a C-17 pilot who has flown to Antarctica eleven times, "It's just that the weather changes so rapidly in Antarctica."

The ice cold and unpredictable weather is the biggest concern during the flights to Antarctica. The crew takes a number of precautions to ensure the aircraft is serviceable in the austere conditions. They turn on the hydraulic pumps early to make sure the fluid is at a proper temperature, and they cycle the flight controls while the aircraft is on the ground to ensure they stay above forty-five degrees.

Another major concern is the lack of places to land on the route to McMurdo.

"There is nothing between Christchurch and Antarctica" Major Guerrero said, "so we have to watch our cold weather procedures, and if we have any kind of emergency we have to fuel-plan correctly so we can make it back to Christchurch."

The crew has a predetermined point of safe return during each flight. At this point they check the weather and determine whether to press forward or turn back and return to Christchurch. Although the weather in Antarctica might be good for landing when the C-17 takes off from Christchurch, the rapidly changing weather has forced the crew to turn back a number of times.

"It all depends on the weather," Major Guerrero said. "It's luck, nothing we can control." The flights are a part of Operation Deep Freeze, an annual operation that supports the

U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation's research at sites throughout the Antarctic continent. The Joint Task Force - Support Forces Antarctica operation is led by 13th Air Force and includes strategic inter-theater airlift, tactical deep-field support, aeromedical-evacuation support, search and rescue response, sealift, seaport access, bulk fuel supply, port cargo handling and transportation requirements.

This was New Zealand on the 28th. Very high winds and dangerous conditions.

Heavy rain has flooded rivers coming off Mt Taranaki today. Photo / NZPA

1:52 PM Tuesday Dec 28, 2010

Motorists are being warned (click title to entry - thank you) to drive to the conditions as heavy rain and strong winds lash New Zealand today, bringing down trees and powerlines.
A strong-wind warning was earlier today issued for Marlborough - excluding the Sounds - Wellington, Wairarapa, the central and lower North Island, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay. reported stunning hurricane force winds gusting over 172kmh on Mt Kaukau in Wellington.
Gusts reaching 120kmh were also recorded at Wellington Airport.
State Highway two at Rimutaka Hill has been closed due to the high winds, although the gusts are now easing.

Head weather analyst Philip Duncan said the winds could make driving dangerous for some drivers in exposed areas dangerous.
"Vans, caravans, motorbikes and trucks will be worst affected by these winds across Wellington and Wairarapa. We advise extreme caution and recommend waiting until later in the day to drive in the two regions."
Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and the Wairarapa could expect gusts of up to 130km/h and other areas gusts of up to 120km/h.,,,

Australian floods force mass evacuations in Queensland

Qld's 'heartbreaking' floods worst ever (Sidney Morning Herald)

A flooded area in Chinchilla, Queensland, Australia, yesterday. Wild weather continues to cause havoc across the region. Photograph: Jono Searle/APThe Irish Times Thursday, December 30, 2010THE WORST flooding (click here) seen in decades has led to about 1,000 people in Queensland, Australia, being evacuated from their homes, including the entire population of the town of Theodore.
Queensland’s state government has declared Theodore and two other towns disaster zones, as wild weather continues to cause havoc and massive economic damage across the region.
Australian defence forces Black Hawk helicopters were used to evacuate Theodore’s 300 residents. Every building in the town, apart from the police station, was flooded.
State premier Anna Bligh cut short her Christmas holiday to launch a national appeal to help flood victims after visiting affected areas yesterday. Her government and the federal government have each donated A$1 million (€760,000) to the fund....


Flooding could last 'weeks, not days' (click here)

Marissa Calligeros
December 29, 2010
...Emergency Management Queensland acting chief officer Bruce Grady said Theodore residents staying in an evacuation centre at a nearby mining camp in Moura may not be able to return home for more than a week.
‘‘The evacuation of an entire town is unprecedented in Queensland,’’ he said.
‘‘These floodwaters are likely to remain high for a long period of time.
‘‘In some cases that might be measured in weeks, rather than days.
‘‘Patience is the key here. Those waters will go down when nature [chooses], not when we want them to.
‘‘If residents have moved out of their property, it may be some time before they can move back in.’’
Holiday travellers were warned they could remain stranded for several more days as the majority of major highways across the state remain cut, while some, including the bridge into Warwick, south-west of Brisbane, have been ripped up by water....

They should be so lucky in Antarctica. Maybe that third term wasn't such a good idea after all.

December 28, 2010
New York City
Photographer states:  "Day 3 and counting" and the words below.

The snow came Sunday, it’s now Tuesday, and still no plows. One *did* come by sometime late Sunday, but acto a neighbor, it was a private plow, like a regular pickup-truck with a plowblade in front, *not* the usual city-run plows/salters. I wasn’t there, but I’ll take her word for it.

I built something of a “snow fort” around my car (left foreground), so that in case — B’harni willing — a plow *would* come ever by before the spring thaw, I wouldn't end up with a 6ft-high wall of compacted snow pushed up against it. Bad enough my “fort” is about the height of the car’s roofline as it is…

Where I’m standing, and the street in general, is about 8in-high packed snow with some loose snow thrown on top of it, as I found out digging around my car.

So while Mayor Nero fiddles (that's *YOU*, Bloomberg) clearing Times Square for the riff-raff that comes around New Year’s Eve, all the outer-boroughs can apparently all just go to Hell.

Well, at least there the snow will eventually melt off.

Hey, Bloomers! We’ll remember that, come next election. Then-mayor Lindsey got ousted for *his* non-performance during the blizzard way back when; you’re next.

Mayor Bloomberg on the ropes: Seven ways the blizzard still lingers  (click title to entry - thank you)

7. Two political losers: Chris Christie and Michael Bloomberg

The storm damage wans't on the scale of a major hurricane, but the blizzard is serving as a kind of Katrina moment for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. One was absent and the other perceived by city residents as ineffectual.
Governor Christie, considered a rising star in the Republican Party, left for a family vacation at Disney World in Florida ahead of the storm....

And this was back in November.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's approval rating drops to 3-year low after term limits, tax hike (click here)

Friday, November 21st 2008, 7:44 PM
Mayor Bloomberg's approval rating has dropped to its lowest point in three years - a 9% nose dive that shows New Yorkers are angry with his change in term limits and plan to raise taxes on homeowners.
A Marist poll out Friday showed 59% of voters think he is doing an excellent or good job, down from 68% a month ago.
It's the first time his popularity has fallen below 60% since August 2005....