China Approaches -50C (-58F); Record Cold In The Dominican Republic; Summer Snow Down Under, Another 12 *Monthly* Low Temp Records Felled; + The Sun Is Crackling With M-Flares

China Approaches -50C (-58F)

China’s lingering –and already record-breaking– freeze has intensified again this week, with Northern provinces in the grips of yet another fierce Arctic Outbreak.

Temperatures had plunged to -43.4C (-46.1F) on the Greater Hinggan Mountain yesterday evening, with thermometers expected to continue dropping overnight, to perhaps a record-busting -50C (-58F) by morning.

The polar air is now traversing south, into the tropics.

Xinfeng, for example, in Guangdong Province (23.9N), logged -3C (26.6F), the locale’s lowest temperature in 23 years — with more to come.

Record Cold In The Dominican Republic

As reported yesterday (linked below), record cold has swept The Caribbean this week.

The highlands of Hispaniola Island have now also joined in the fun.

The station of Valle Nuevo in the Dominican Republic recently sank to 1.9C (35.4F). This is the country’s lowest temperature ever recorded in the month of December, and the lowest in any month for almost 50 years.

Summer Snow Down Under…

“We had a good drift of snow this morning, but it’s very surreal,” said Jindabyne local Olivier Kapetanakos. “[It’s] not normal”.

Areas like Perisher Valley, Thredbo Village, Charlotte Pass and Selwyn have all seen summer snow this week, with more –along with sub-zero lows (C)– forecast to continue for the foreseeable, as a ‘blocking’ weather pattern prevents warm air from returning to Australia’s southern shore–a pattern that becomes more prevalent during times of low solar activity, such as the historically low output we’ve been receiving since solar cycle 24 (so around 2008).

snow on the mountains
Charlotte Pass, NSW.
snow on a road
Snow has even fallen in Delegate on the border between NSW and Victoria [Angus Hobson].

And while the summer snow is impressive –and at times unprecedented– it is the cold that’s the real story here.

This is also the view of‘s Reggae Elliss, who said: “It’s not run of the mill stuff because of the length of time we’re seeing with this period of cold weather.”

The intensity of the freeze is equally anomalous…

…Another 12 *Monthly* Low Temp Records Felled

More cold records from were set this morning, Thursday, December 15 — at least another dozen.

Of the 12 locales that set new monthly low temperatures, the standouts are probably Cobar with its 8C (46.4F), Trangie with 6.2C (43.2), and Glen Innes with its truly frigid -1.7C (28.9F)–which is also a new ‘summer’ record low.

Australia has broken going-on 100 monthly cold-records so far this December, including Victoria’s -5.4C (22.3F)–the state’s lowest summer temperature ever; and Perisher’s (-7C/19.4F)–the entire Aussie continent’s coldest summer temperature ever.

The Sun Is Crackling With M-Flares

NOAA forecasters say there is a 75% chance of M-flares and a 15% chance of X-flares today, Dec 15. And with 11 numbered sunspot groups crossing the face of the sun, odds are good that any eruption will be geoeffective (impact Earth). 

Yesterday, fast-growing sunspot AR3165 unleashed a remarkable series of M-class solar flares.

All day long, no more than a few hours went by without a significant explosion:

Fortunately, while the sunspot strobed Earth with more than 10 pulses of extreme ultraviolet and X-radiation –which caused shortwave radio blackouts across all longitudes, impacting aviators and mariners using frequencies below 15 MHz– preliminary coronagraph data from SOHO suggests that all of these M-flares will miss Earth.

Maybe next time?

Dr Tony Phillips, of, points to another large sunspot, ‘AR3163’, which also has unstable ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field. Such a field poses a threat for M-and-maybe-X-class flares–and it is directly facing Earth:

Sunspots AR3163 and AR3165 have unstable ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic fields that harbor energy for Earth-directed flares. [SDO/HMI]

Stay tuned for updates.