Latest Weather Blog
Pat Shingleton: "Glaze... and Younger Dryas..."
Glaze is a coating of transparent ice that forms when super-cooled water droplets hit roads during below-freezing weather. Glaze is heavy, sticks to objects that it coats, contains no air bubbles and appears clear and smooth like glass. When freezing rain hits a cold object, glaze can layer several inches thick causing dangerous driving conditions on highways. The Great Southern Glaze Storm of 1951 occurred at the end of January and was one of the most destructive in history. Covering the South in a sheath of ice 100 miles wide from Louisiana to West Virginia, it remains as the costliest winter storm on record with an estimated $100 million in damage. It exceeds all other single storm damage except for hurricanes. It was recently determined that a layer of soil in sections of North America contains fossilized organic matter like fungus, fecal pellets, and charcoal. This same material was thought to be caused by a period of abrupt and intense cold that occurred 12,800 years ago and is related to Younger Dryas. Some scientists believe that Younger Dryas was triggered by an “impact event’ such as a meteor striking the Earth or exploding in space. The result was a massive firestorm that killed early North American inhabitants and most animals in addition to saturating the atmosphere with ash and dust. That amount of residue reduced radiation and cooled the planet. Geophyscial Research Letters reports that it is unlikely a meteor explosion could have generated the intense heat.
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