Lowest temperature ever recorded on Earth… but media warns that “climate change deniers can stick their head in the sand as much as they want.”
As scientists explain in a new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, on Dec 29th, 2018, a NOAA-20 weather satellite recorded an unprecedented -111.2°C (about -168°F) atop thunderstorm clouds just south of the equator in the southwestern Pacific. This set a new cold record for storm-cloud temperatures.
The tops of the thunderstorm clouds reached an altitude of over 20.5 km (12.8 miles) above sea level.
Large storms are often the result of warm surface air pushing high into the atmosphere, rapidly cooling, condensing, and forming thick clouds. In other words, the hot air on the surface and cooler air in the atmosphere switched positions. This process, known as convection, produces wind and rain and all the things we associate with thunderstorms, including cooler air on the surface, which, you probably already know, is common as a storm front moves through an area.
In the case of this particular tropical storm, the warm pushed much higher than usual. This is known as an overshoot, and it results in the cloud tops becoming much, much colder than typical during a thunderstorm.
Overshooting tops indicate that a thunderstorm is particularly severe, and can produce hazardous weather.
“Thankfully, this storm happened over the ocean, and as such, it didn’t pose a threat to anyone on the ground,” writes Mike Wehner. “However, the researchers also present evidence that storms like this one are becoming more and more common.”
“As climate change continues to worsen, we’ve seen more and more powerful tropical storms and hurricanes with greater frequency, and this is a trend that is expected to grow as we repeatedly fail to do anything meaningful to protect our planet from our own bad habits and pollution.,” Wehner continues.
“Climate change deniers can stick their head in the sand as much as they want, but when they find themselves in the path of a ridiculously powerful storm that may not have been anywhere near as devastating without human impacts, their rhetoric won’t count for much.”
Yah sure, you betcha. Lowest temperature ever recorded on Earth… but we should fear global warming climate change.
Thanks to Benjamin Napier for these links