NASA Captures Europe Reeling In Severe Winter; Spectacular Space Image Reveals Bleak Situation

Entire Europe is reeling under an intense cold spell. This is the worst that Europe has seen since February 1991. NASA’s Terra satellite reveals this with a photograph. Most of the area is blue, indicating a temperature much below the normal. The data stretches from January 25th to February 1st. The “normal temperatures” are estimated from data ranging from January 25th to February 1st over the years 2001 to 2011. And this is just the land temperature. Oceans and lakes appear in gray. This was NASA’s photo of the day today.

The image that NASA's Terra satellite took of the entire landmass of Europe. The scale (below) shows how further below the normal the temperatures across Europe are. (Courtesy: NASA)

This year’s tremendous cold throughout the Northern Hemisphere is a not a sign of global warming, but of erratic climate conditions, which might be indirectly linked to global warming.
Jeff Masters explains it as being due to the Jet streams, or rather their anomalous flow patterns. Jet streams are wide streams of air in the atmosphere and, like ocean currents in the sea, they separate different pockets or regions of air from one another. One of them blows from the west to the east along the middle latitudes, separating cold air from the north from the warmer air packets to the south. This year the Jet stream pattern has been very convoluted and the usual stream is now flowing further south. This means that the cold air front has descended southwards, covering much of Europe and leading to this spell of intense cold.

News from the Himalayas

In related news, a different perspective tab on global weather provides both relief and astonishment. While climatologists have already given their prediction of fast melting of glaciers in the Himalayan regions, it seems that the glaciers have not melted much in the last year or so.
Prof. Jonathan Bamber, glaciologist at Bristol Glaciology Center, University of Bristol, says that this is extremely unusual that the ice mass loss is “not significantly different from zero”. However, the results of the climate scientists fall bang on for the mass loss experienced by Antarctica, Arctic, Greenland and the Alaskan permafrost. The data anomaly for Himalayan regions might indicate some region-specific variation that is difficult to incorporate into models.

Climate denial

This should be music to the ears of climate deniers and provide some much needed ammo in their depleted armory. They have always viewed the conclusions as being falsely alarmist and have called them a fraud. However, outright denial is something to be guarded against. Simon Cook warns:

All too often in the past, media reports have presented a ‘black and white’ view of glacier response to climate change. The reasons for this complex global picture are not clear: some places warm more than others, some places experience more precipitation and, hence, snowfall to maintain glaciers is in positive or neutral balance. What is clear is that more research is required to evaluate the response of glaciers to climate change.

In the absence of an alternative to Earth, we ought to do our bit to prevent the ruin of this planet. And we can start off by taking scientists a bit more seriously.

Solar Activity Linked To Extreme Weather Conditions in Europe

The Solar cycle might be related to the heating and cooling of our planet, says a new study. The extreme weather in European winters can be tracked to the dip in solar activity in the recent past, like November-December, 2010, claim British researchers.

Unusually cold winters: The mechanism (Courtesy: Nature)

In their paper  published yesterday (9th October, 2011) in Nature Geoscience, the joint research team at Hadley Centre, Oxford University and the Imperial College argue that the correlation between the two is too strong to be just a coincidence.

The authors hasten to add that the effect is not a global warming or cooling of the Earth. Cool Northern Europe temperatures are compensated by hotter ones down south, thus there is no net temperature change of the Earth, averaged out over a year.

The Mechanism

The team focuses on the UV absorption of the atmosphere by the ozone layer. (Photo above) The ozone in the stratosphere heats up and this effect percolates to the lower atmosphere. This changes the wind pattern across North America and Europe, weakening it and allowing frigid winds from Greenland to flow to the UK and the rest of Europe. This creates cold winters in Europe.

Not quite open-and-shut case

It is not a clear open and shut case, since other factors like the El Nino or the melting sea ice play major roles in creating extremely cold winters in Europe. The data must be significant enough.

The work is not complete and only further data will confirm the measurements taken.

Weather Window App for Google Chrome Browser

Google ChromeWhen Google announced the opening of the Chrome Web Store, I had doubts about it. I was already pleased with the wide range of Chrome browser extensions and didn’t see much difference between an app and an extension. (What are Chrome Web Apps?) However, the Web Store has been gathering momentum and now there are tons of cool apps available.

One Chrome extension that I loved and used often was the Aniweather extension. It gives a very nice looking display of the current weather and a forecast.

aniweather

I used it up until I found something even better. The Weather Window app from WeatherBug, far exceeded my expectations.

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Once installed, the Weather Window app can be accessed by opening a new blank tab in Chrome and choosing the icon in the Apps section.

weather-bug-app-icon

The main screen shows an open window with a simulated view of the current weather conditions. The first thing you’ll have to do is to choose your location. The new location tab is found at the top of the page. You can enter a location by zip code or city name.

weatherbug-location-tab

Multiple locations can be added and will appear across the top of the page for easy access later. The tabs can be dragged and re-arranged as you wish.

On the right side of the weather window, you’ll see 4 icons. These represent Detailed Observations, Forecast, Weather Mapsand Cameras.

weather-bug-function-icons

The Observations icon displays current conditions.

weatherbug-observations

The Forecast icon displays a great deal of information. There are three tabs showing a summary, more forecasts and hourly forecasts.

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The maps function displays some really cool looking weather maps. You can zoom in and out with your mouse scroll button. The map can also be animated to show the direction of the weather coming at you.

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The camera function shows you current web cam images from weather stations close to you. In the settings, you can choose for one of these to be shown in the main weather window by default.

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That’s all I have to show you right now.

arrow-down-double-3Install the Weather Window app from WeatherBug (Chrome browser only)

Also, check out the top 15 apps at the Web Store.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

This little web app gets a thumbs up. There isn’t much about the weather that it leaves out. Since it’s free, there’s no reason not to give it a try.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)


Google Maps Updated To V4.5.1; Adds Weather Support To Live Wallpaper

Google MapsGoogle has just rolled out a new version of their highly popular mobile navigation application Google Maps. The new update adds Weather support to the Live Maps wallpaper. Apart from this, there are no other noticeable changes in this version. Of course the Maps Live Wallpaper is going to be a BIG battery drain so users are recommend to use it sensibly. As usual with any update, we also expect Google to have fixed some bugs and improve the performance of the application.

The last Google Maps update brought with it some pleasant UI changes, Voice search and Walking Navigation. Android phone owners can download the update from the Android market. Other OS based handset can download the latest version by visiting m.google.com from their mobile’s web browser.

Image Source – Android Community

Desktop Weather from The Weather Channel

twc-icon [Windows] Here in the States, if you want to check weather on the TV, you’ll probably be watching The Weather Channel(TWC). On the web, TWC, or weather.com, has more competition, but it’s still one of the biggest weather services. So, you’d expect them to have a few apps for PCs and mobile devices. They do have a few, and I recently tried the Weather Desktop app for PCs. Below you’ll find some screenshots and commentary on it.

twc-installerFirst, I hit the big red Downloadbutton and I ended up with a 300kb installer stub. As you may know, a stub is a download manager that starts a larger download and installs it on your computer. After installing, I ended up with about 3.5mb in the program folder.

Here’s the first screen I saw during the install.

twc-downloading

Next, I had to say Acceptto a license agreement. I read it briefly and I did find one section I didn’t like quote:

TWCi may require the update or automatic distribution of the Software on your computer when a new version of the Software application becomes available. This update or new download may occur automatically or through other means.

I don’t even like it when Windows updates without my knowledge. Did I really want desktop weather this badly? Yes, for now, I’ll give it a try.

After accepting the license, I hit three attempts to install software that I may not want. Pay close attention here if you don’t want these apps. The first is the Dealioshopping bar. Be sure to uncheck Set Yahoo as my default search, and also hit the Declinebutton at the bottom  if you don’t want Dealio.

weather-desktop-dealio

Next you’ll see an offer to install Advance Registry Optimizer. It’s shareware and you have to spend $30 to get it to work fully. If you don’t want it (and you really don’t), then hit the Declinebutton.

weather-desktop-aro

After the last Decline, the Weather Desktop will finally install and you’ll see the application window.

weather-desktop-gui

Yes, it’s ad supported. Do you see the advertisement in the bottom right? At least it wasn’t flashing at me and jumping up and down.

The main window has lots of stuff you can check out. First and most important to me was the current weather and the weather alerts. As you can see, there was a weather alert when I first ran this. We had some pretty heavy thunderstorms that night.

I liked the built in radar image. You can see the storm had passed over me and nothing else was close to me yet.

The menu on the left had several different things you could do to learn about the weather.

weather-desktop-menu-1

Most of these menu items worked well, but sometimes nothing seemed to happen when I chose them. I noticed that the Weather Desktop is marked as Betaat the top of the page. Below are some of the features that did work.

weather-desktop-alergy weather-desktop-national weather-desktop-video weather-desktop-trivia

When you close the main application, it will minimize to the system tray and a little icon will tell you the current temperature. The icon is normally blue, but it turns orange and flashes when there’s a weather alert.

weather-desktop-systray

There’s plenty more to the app, but that’s all I’ll show you for now.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

It’s free, but it is ad supported. There are tons of great features, but some of them don’t work right now. I like this little program, but it still needs work. The major things I didn’t like were the third party software offers while installing, and the very loose licensing language. The Weather Desktop app has more drawbacks than I like in a free application. However, you may like it better than I do.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2/5 (Below Average)

Display Weather Reports in Your Web Browser with AniWeather

mostly-sunny The other day I went looking for a good weather reporting tool for the Chrome web browser. I remembered using an addon named AniWeather in Firefox and wondered if there was a similar extension for Chrome. I was amazed to find that AniWeather is now available in Google’s Chrome web browser.

Once you have AniWeather set up, you’ll be able to see the current outside temperature in a little icon next to the address bar.

aniweather-icon

Clicking on the icon displays a very nice looking animated weather report.

aniweather

You’ll discover that there are tons of options for the display of the weather and it even allows you to set multiple locations. The actual weather data is pulled from the famous weather.com website, and you can use links in the AniWeather report to see more information at weather.com.

You can find this cool extension in the Chrome Extensions Gallery or at the author’s website, AniWeather.com. The Firefox addon is available at the author’s website and the Firefox Addons gallery.

For those of you using Internet Explorer, the closest thing to this extension is the Weather Channel Toolbar. It’s good but not nearly as nice as the Firefox and Chrome addons.

weather-com-toolbar-ie

For Opera web browser, there are several widgets that display weather. I haven’t looked closely, but so far I haven’t seen any that display reports inside the browser.

Now you can check the weather while you are surfing the net. The problem you’ll have is pulling yourself away to take advantage of the sunny days.

Be sure to take a look at all of the other Chrome Extensions and Firefox Addons we’ve written about.

Localti.me: Find Out What Time it is Anywhere in the World

Localti.me is a web service that enables you to easily find out what local time it is anywhere in the world.   It provides you the almost every information about the place you are searching for including current time, weather conditions, exact map location, time zone, currency used etc.,

It also displays the local featured headlines via Google News, geographical information and statistics. It even provides you with useful information like the type of electric outlets used, driving style (left or right), local images from Flickr and Panoramio.

Localti.me is an effective way to quickly get to know about any place in the world. Its key features include,

  • Local time, day, date and time zone
  • Weather conditions
  • Local featured headlines
  • Geographical information
  • Local photos from Flick and Panoramio
  • Types of electric sockets used
  • Local currency used, currency conversion tool
  • See the location of the place via bing maps

Is It Going To Rain?

Many people usually check the weather before they head out of the house, though many people usually go out dressed for different weathers, the one thing one can’t beat with clothes is rain, and people require to carry a umbrella or raincoat in order to avoid getting wet.

Going To Rain is a interesting service that will tell you whether it is going to rain in your city, without the need to enter your zipcode or city name.

Continue reading Is It Going To Rain?

Get Weather Updates In Twitter With AccuWeather

Twitter has become a very useful tool for many people and has had much less problems for quite sometime now. AccuWeather one of the best sites to get weather updates has rolled out a new service, where users can view weather updates by following a twitter bot.

The updates are sent out twice a day at 7AM and 4PM, so you read your daily forecast from right within twitter.

twitter-weather-tb

Continue reading Get Weather Updates In Twitter With AccuWeather