Rare event: Russian lake freezes for first time in ten years

Kurile lakeSiberian Times is reporting that Kurile Lake in the Russian Far East has frozen over after an unusually long period of frigid temps, despite misleading claims by NOAA that 2016 is already the warmest year on record. The lake, also known as Kurilskoye Lake, is located in the Southern Kamchatka Wildlife Refuge in the Russian Far East on the Kamchatka Peninsula. The last time this rare event happened was ten years ago. This unusual freezing event is also causing problems for the local wildlife. Especially the Steller’s sea eagle, a long-beaked bird of the eagle family that relies on the lake to hunt for fish (see slideshow).

The freezing of Kurile Lake has forced the sea eagles to “relocate because the ice holes in which they catch fish have frozen over.” The Stellar and other birds have been “forced to relocate to Avacha Bay, near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.” The lake is about 30 square miles in size and one of the largest freshwater lakes. The thick layer of ice is impenetrable to these giant raptors, which can weigh anywhere from 11 to 20 pounds. It’s one of the largest eagle birds, with a long yellow beak and sharp talons.

Despite temperatures around the lake dipping to below minus 20 degrees Celsius (-70¬∞ F), the Kurile Lake rarely freezes. But “two weeks of calm weather and low temperatures in February … shackled the surface of the lake with a thick layer of ice.” Two reasons it rarely ices over are its warm thermal waters and the “warming effect of the nearby Sea of Okhotsk.”

The lake formed in the calderas from two large volcanic explosions, one that occurred 41,500 years ago and the other around 6,440 B.C. There are some hot mineral springs nearby but access to the lake is limited due to its remote location. A nearby volcano occasionally burps out ash (see slideshow), but there hasn’t been a cataclysmic eruption for over 8,000 years.

Interestingly, NOAA has already declared that January was the hottest month ever for global temperatures, and hinting that February will be the same. The satellite record, which is considered the most accurate method for detecting global temperature changes, shows January wasn’t the hottest month. From D.C. to Siberia, record-cold temperatures are being recorded as NOAA scrambles to explain away the discrepancies between observed temps and climate model predictions.

A new paper published last week revealed that a pause in global warming did occur from 2001 to 2014, with 2015 being a warm year due to a naturally occurring El Niño. NOAA and NASA had previously rewrote the temperature record, much to the chagrin of even mainstream climate scientists, so that the global warming hiatus that lasted for nearly 19 years all but disappeared. This new paper shows that yes, there was a pause, and that the climate models, which government agencies rely on to make onerous climate policies, are the only things running too hot.

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