Icy grips: Anchorage Alaska shatters seasonal snowfall record

April 8, 2012ALASKAWhile winter is a distant memory for most Americans, it continues unabated in Anchorage, Alaska — where a new bout of precipitation this weekend helped the city break its record for seasonal snowfall, at more than 133 inches (3.38 meters). Some 3.4 inches of snow — and counting — had fallen as of 4 p.m. (8 p.m. ET) Saturday in Anchorage, according to the National Weather Service. That brought the seasonal total for the city to 133.6 inches — breaking the record of 132.6 inches, set in 1954-1955. And with snow continuing to fall into early Sunday morning, the figure promises to get even larger. “Okay…now the records broken, could you please make the snow go away?’ wrote one commenter of the Facebook page of the weather service’s Alaska division. Another said, “Oh, it’s not chilly. I’m wearing a tee-shirt and shorts while cooking outside and enjoying this beautiful springtime weather @ 35 degrees.” While snow is nothing new to Alaskans, this year’s record haul in Anchorage is notable given that the average seasonal snowfall is 74.5 inches. And it’s also striking considering that, elsewhere in the United States, this past winter was known more for its warmth than its white stuff. Across the United States, the 2011-2012 winter season was the fourth warmest ever recorded, according to the National Climatic Data Center. -CNN
Glaciers found in Japan: Scientists have found three glaciers in Toyama Prefecture, the first recognized in Japan and the southernmost in East Asia. Researchers from the Tateyama Caldera Sabo Museum discovered the three slow-moving chunks of ice in the Hida Mountain Range, otherwise known as the Northern Alps. Their research paper submitted to the Japanese Society of Snow and Ice was accepted Tuesday, the museum said. A glacier is defined as a large mass of ice that over many years “flows” owing to its great weight, according to the Japanese Society of Snow and Ice. They are often found on high mountains, such as the Himalayas, and have even been found on Mount Kilimanjaro, which is almost on the equator. Until now, the southernmost glaciers in East Asia were on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. “We have known something similar to glaciers existed, so we checked to see if the masses of ice are moving,” said Hajime Iida, a researcher for the museum. Between 2009 and 2011, Iida’s team used “ice radar” to find two glaciers on Mount Tsurugi and one on Mount Tateyama. Ice radar sends electronic waves into the ice to measure how thick it is. Using GPS, the team confirmed that the masses of ice are moving between 10 and 30 cm a month. The masses are 27 to 30 meters deep and 400 to 1,200 meters long. The Japanese Society of Snow and Ice will publish the research paper in its journal Seppyou (Snow and Ice) in May, the museum said in a news release. –Japan Times 
contribution Yamkin
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