Unpredictable Winters

Unpredictable Winters

The discussion of climate change continues to be disputed internationally. The 2013-14 winter season has been quite whacky across North America and Europe. Some regions have been warm and dry while other areas have been inundated by a parade of storms. From an outsider’s view, there is no disputing that predictable and consistent winters may very well be a thing of the past.

“Mother Nature in the last several years has dished up an incredible smorgasbord of extreme weather,” stated US climatologist Jennifer Francies. Her view is shared by others who also study weather including BBC science correspondent Pallab Ghosh who reported in February at the American Association for the Advancement of Science that “we may have to get used to winters where spells of weather go on for weeks or months.”

The reason according to Francies, caused by the complex interaction of land, ice and sea, is pretty simple. For much of this winter the jet stream, a meandering ribbon of air that sweeps storms across the globe, has been stuck. The consequences have been impressive especially in the small country of Austria where they are experiencing dramatic highs and lows.

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Unvorhersehbare Winter

Die Diskussion über den Klimawandel ist international weiterhin umstritten. Die Wintersaison 2013/14 war in Nordamerika und Europa ziemlich verrückt. Einige Regionen waren warm und trocken, während andere Gebiete von Unwettern überflutet wurden. Aus Sicht eines Außenstehenden ist es unbestritten, dass gleichbleibende und vorhersagbare Winter der Vergangenheit angehören.

“Mutter Natur hat in den letzten Jahren ein unglaubliches Sammelsurium von extremem Wetter aufgetischt,” erklärte US Klimaforscherin Jennifer Francies. Ihre Ansicht wird von anderen geteilt, die auch das Wetter studieren, einschließlich dem BBC Wissenschaftskorrespondenten Pallab Ghosh, der im Februar auf der Amerikanischen Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften berichtete, dass „wir uns an Winter gewöhnen müssen, in denen Wetterperioden für Wochen oder Monate anhalten.”

Der Grund, Francies nach zu urteilen, der durch das komplexe Zusammenspiel von Land, Eis und Meer verursacht wird, ist ziemlich einfach. Für die meiste Zeit in diesem Winter saß der Jetstream, ein dahinwindendes Luftband, dass Stürme über den Globus fegt, fest. Die Folgen waren besonders im kleinen Land Österreich beeindruckend, wo dramatische Hochs und Tiefs aufgetreten sind.

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Sochi: An Inside Look at Snow Safety

Along the shores of the Black Sea, Sochi is Russia’s ritziest beach city and host to the 2014 Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics. While snow in Sochi is rare, deep snow is found 2-hours east at Rosa Khutor, Russia’s newest ski resort and home of the downhill and super giant slalom courses. On the eve of the games, nearly 1.9 meters of snow sits at mid-mountain and more than 2 meters blankets the upper mountain. Big storms, huge dumps of snow and massive avalanches are serious concerns as this young resort does not harbor the historical data and tools traditionally utilized to provide calculated snow safety efforts.

Rosa Khutor Ski Resort Photo Courtesy: Fanny Bourjaillat, Engineerisk

Rosa Khutor Ski Resort
Photo Courtesy: Fanny Bourjaillat, Engineerisk

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RECCO reflector-equipped ORTOVOX avalanche transceivers

Starting fall 2013 ORTOVOX is including RECCO reflectors into all new transceivers. The combination of systems is new to rescuers and we want to provide you with some detailed information.

Why put reflectors into transceivers?

A reflector-equipped transceiver provides a backup rescue system that benefits all ORTOVOX users including recreationalists, professionals and rescuers. A reflector-equipped transceiver:

  • Gives a better chance of a fast and successful rescue.
  • Provides rescuers with a backup system they have never had before.

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LVS-Geräte von ORTOVOX mit RECCO Reflektor ausgerüstet

Ab diesem Herbst wird ein RECCO Reflektor in alle neuen LVS-Geräte von ORTOVOX eingebaut. Die Kombination der beiden Systeme ist etwas ganz Neues für Retter und wir möchten Ihnen weitere Informationen zur Verfügung stellen.

Warum werden Reflektoren in LVS-Geräte eingebaut?

Ein mit Reflektor ausgerüstetes LVS-Gerät bedeutet eine zusätzliche Rettungsmöglichkeit als Back-up für  alle ORTOVOX Benutzer: Hobbysportler, Profis und Retter. Ein LVS-Gerät mit Reflektor:

  • Verbessert die Chancen, schnell und erfolgreich gerettet zu werden.
  • Gibt den Rettern ein Back-up System

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Beinn a’Bhuird – Buried 22 hrs (Scotland, 1964)

Forty-seven years ago today a remarkable story of avalanche survival occurred in Scotland’s Cairngorm mountains. Though the story did not end well for two hikers, one man survived a 22-hour burial. Yes, 22 hours under the snow. Continue reading

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Wet Snow and Rescuers — Part 2

Part 2. Dealing with wet snow

Roller balls trigger small wet-loose snow avalanches Coal Bank Pass, Colorado (Photo, Atkins)

Compared to recreational adventurers, rescuers loose flexibility on when and where they must go. While avalanches are always formidable foes for rescuers, wet avalanches – as I wrote a couple of weeks ago – are like an angry swarm of African honey bees. Both angry bees and wet avalanches just keep attacking. I suspect that many folks including rescuers and avalanche professionals misjudge wet avalanches. Rescuers armed with misconstrued confidence could be walking into a dangerous trap. Continue reading

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