Friday, December 31, 2010

New Mountain Capital Acquires RedPrairie

I wonder if there is similarity to what happened in the housing market not so long ago, when one private equity firm buys a business from another private equity firm?

Individuals bought houses to flip and when the market crashed they where stuck with an asset that was not worth what they paid.

Aivars Lode


New Mountain Capital Acquires RedPrairie

RedPrairie Holding, Inc., a logistics consultancy company based in Milwaukee, has agreed to be acquired by New Mountain Capital, L.L.C., a New York-based private equity firm, for an undisclosed amount. The company, owned by Francisco Partners, filed for a $172.5 million IPO in November 2009. The company had approximately $194 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2009, and net income of $12.45 million. Francisco Partners acquired RedPrairie in 2005, and currently holds an 89.7% equity position.
Press release:
RedPrairie Holding, Inc., a productivity solutions provider, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by a fund affiliated with New Mountain Capital, L.L.C., a leading private equity firm. This acquisition will enable RedPrairie to accelerate its already rapid growth rate while enhancing its commitment to customer success.

"RedPrairie has a strong vision, proven set of solutions and talented management team. I believe RedPrairie and New Mountain Capital will be a great combination. I wish them continued success."
"Our objective is to be the leading provider of productivity solutions for manufacturers, distributors and retailers," says Mike Mayoras, RedPrairie CEO. "Our relationship with New Mountain Capital will allow us to reach our strategic goals quickly, efficiently and with certainty. We believe there are significant opportunities to provide more value to our customer base by expanding our product portfolio and entering new markets."
Alok Singh, Managing Director of New Mountain Capital, states, "We are delighted at the prospect of being able to add RedPrairie to our family of companies. They have consistently, over their long history, been committed to the success of their customers. We aim to work closely with RedPrairie's management team and help them accelerate their growth and strategic development, making them an even more valued partner to their customer base."
Says David R. Golob, Chairman of the RedPrairie Board of Directors and Partner at Francisco Partners, "RedPrairie has a strong vision, proven set of solutions and talented management team. I believe RedPrairie and New Mountain Capital will be a great combination. I wish them continued success."
About New Mountain Capital
New Mountain Capital is a New York-based private equity firm investing for long-term capital appreciation through direct investment in growth equity transactions, leveraged acquisitions, and management buyouts. The Firm currently manages private and public equity funds with approximately $8.5 billion in aggregate capital commitments. New Mountain seeks out the highest-quality growth leaders in carefully selected industry sectors and then works intensively with management to build the value of these companies. For more information on New Mountain Capital, please visit
RedPrairie delivers productivity solutions to help companies around the world in three categories - workforce, inventory and transportation. RedPrairie provides these solutions to manufacturers, distributors and retailers looking to support business strategies that increase revenue, reduce costs and create competitive advantage.
With over 20 global offices and solutions that are installed at more than 34,000 customer sites in over 40 countries, companies trust RedPrairie workforce, inventory and transportation solutions to deliver an increase in productivity - with the flexibility to adapt as business needs change.
At RedPrairie, we understand today's operational demands and we're committed to delivering solutions that work. We're committed to delivering solutions for the real world.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Abiding Faith Of Warm-ongers

Thanks Mac for the article. An interesting perspective on global warming. Particularly the last paragraph about solar flares. In a documentary about space exploration they discussed how Skylab fell back to earth in the 70's as the outer atmosphere was warmed by solar flares. This caused the atmosphere to rise upto Skylab and then gravity took over and pulled it back to earth.

Aivars Lode


The Abiding Faith Of Warm-ongers

Freezing weather: Just another example of global warming?
Freezing weather: Just another example of global warming? View Enlarged Image
Climate: Nothing makes fools of more people than trying to predict the weather. Whether in Los Angeles or London, recent predictions have gone crazily awry. Global warming? How about mini ice age?
The sight of confused and angry travelers stuck in airports across Europe because of an arctic freeze that has settled across the continent isn't funny. Sadly, they've been told for more than a decade now that such a thing was an impossibility — that global warming was inevitable, and couldn't be reversed.
This is a big problem for those who see human-caused global warming as an irreversible result of the Industrial Revolution's reliance on carbon-based fuels. Based on global warming theory — and according to official weather forecasts made earlier in the year — this winter should be warm and dry. It's anything but. Ice and snow cover vast parts of both Europe and North America, in one of the coldest Decembers in history.
A cautionary tale? You bet. Prognosticators who wrote the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, global warming report in 2007 predicted an inevitable, century-long rise in global temperatures of two degrees or more. Only higher temperatures were foreseen. Moderate or even lower temperatures, as we're experiencing now, weren't even listed as a possibility.
Since at least 1998, however, no significant warming trend has been noticeable. Unfortunately, none of the 24 models used by the IPCC views that as possible. They are at odds with reality.
Karl Popper, the late, great philosopher of science, noted that for something to be called scientific, it must be, as he put it, "falsifiable." That is, for something to be scientifically true, you must be able to test it to see if it's false. That's what scientific experimentation and observation do. That's the essence of the scientific method.
Unfortunately, the prophets of climate doom violate this idea. No matter what happens, it always confirms their basic premise that the world is getting hotter. The weather turns cold and wet? It's global warming, they say. Weather turns hot? Global warming. No change? Global warming. More hurricanes? Global warming. No hurricanes? You guessed it.
Nothing can disprove their thesis. Not even the extraordinarily frigid weather now creating havoc across most of the Northern Hemisphere. The Los Angeles Times, in a piece on the region's strangely wet and cold weather, paraphrases Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert as saying, "In general, as the globe warms, weather conditions tend to be more extreme and volatile."

Got that? No matter what the weather, it's all due to warming. This isn't science; it's a kind of faith. Scientists go along and even stifle dissent because, frankly, hundreds of millions of dollars in research grants are at stake. But for the believers, global warming is the god that failed.
Why do we continue to listen to warmists when they're so wrong? Maybe it's because their real agenda has nothing to do with climate change at all. Earlier this month, attendees of a global warming summit in Cancun, Mexico, concluded, with virtually no economic or real scientific support, that by 2020 rich nations need to transfer $100 billion a year to poor nations to help them "mitigate" the adverse impacts of warming.
This is what global warming is really about — wealth redistribution by people whose beliefs are basically socialist. It has little or nothing to do with climate. If it did, we might pay more attention to Piers Corbyn, a little-known British meteorologist and astrophysicist who has a knack for correctly predicting weather changes. Indeed, as London's Mayor Boris Johnson recently noted, "He seems to get it right about 85% of the time."
How does he do it? Unlike the U.N. and government forecasters, Corbyn pays close attention to solar cycles that, as it turns out, correlate very closely to changes in climate. Not only are we not headed for global warming, Corbyn says, we may be entering a "mini ice age" similar to the one that took place from 1450 A.D. to 1850 A.D.
We don't know if Corbyn's right or not. But given his record, he deserves as much attention as the warm-mongers whose goal is not to arrive at the truth but to reorganize society in a radical way.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Price of Silver Soaring

So how long before it crash's?

Aivars Lode


Price of Silver Soaring

Investor-Fueled 74% Gains Dwarf Gold; Race to Open Mines

BIG CREEK, Idaho—An unexpected surge in investor demand is sending silver prices soaring—and speculators and mining companies are digging in.
In the past four months, the metal has upended forecasts, rising 51% to a series of 30-year highs, before inflation. Silver closed Thursday at $29.31 a troy ounce, up from $16.822 at the beginning of 2010.
Among the four major precious metals—the others being gold, platinum and palladium—silver is up 74% this year, on track to be the second-best performing commodity after palladium, which is up 86%. Gold, by contrast, is up 26% and copper just under 28%.
Associated Press
Silver's surprising rise has spurred increased mining activity in places including Silver Valley, Idaho, pictured.
Prices are rising despite oversupply and a lackluster recovery in industrial demand. Many analysts expected those factors would keep a lid on prices in 2010. What they didn't expect was an overwhelming flow of money into the market from investors eager to ride a commodities rally.
"This is a story almost entirely about investment," says Stephen Briggs, senior metals strategist at BNP Paribas.
The global silver appetite partly reflects world economic improvements. Investors from the U.S. to China turned to "hard" assets such as copper and other commodities in part as a hedge against inflation worries. Silver benefits from a dual role as industrial commodity and precious metal.
Here in the mountain-ringed Silver Valley, historically one of the world's largest silver production regions, workers are busy punching through rocks to open passages in the Crescent Silver Mine, which closed more than a dozen years ago when prices of silver dipped to $5 to $6 an ounce.
Even if prices retreat to $15 an ounce—a level seen as recently as early this year—some prospectors say they can break even, which means development will continue. "I think we are starting a new era in mining here," says Greg Stewart, president of United Mining Group, which has an 80% interest in the Crescent Silver Mine.
Exchange-traded funds backed with silver have enabled investors to invest in a market that traditionally was harder to participate in. The largest silver ETF, the $10.2 billion iShares Silver Trust, has seen a $1.1 billion net inflow for the first 11 months of this year. In recent months, concerns about inflation, the European debt crisis and the U.S. Federal Reserve's recent moves to boost the economy have driven investors to hard assets, also benefitting silver prices.
The craze has reached the coin market. In November, silver American Eagle coins sold by the U.S. Mint amounted to 4.26 million ounces, a monthly record in the agency's history.
Silver's reliance on investors to prop up the price could cause it to tumble suddenly. "When investor support for the metal fades, the downside is going to be pretty substantial," says Credit Suisse analyst Tom Kendall. He forecasts an average price of $30.10 per troy ounce next year as "a lot of factors that have led people to buy silver would still be there in 2011." But he cautions, "The number is only going to be achievable as long as fresh money keeps moving in."
Silver's all-time high was set in January 1980 at $48.70 an ounce, or $129.32 when adjusted for inflation.
This year investors are expected to pile a record $4.5 billion into the silver market, accounting for 24% of the world's total demand, says GFMS Ltd., a metals consulting firm in London. That's the highest level, in dollar terms, in decades. Silver's relatively small market size—$19 billion compared with $170 billion for gold—has also played a role in amplifying the impact of investors, according to GFMS.
The strength in silver prices has prompted a flurry of development around the globe and pushed anticipated production in 2010 to 733.2 million ounces, up 3.3% from 2009 levels, and up 14% since 2006.
Silver has some inherent appeal due to its industrial use in electronics, silverware and coins. And reserves are limited. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are fewer years of U.S. silver production left in the ground than any other precious metal including gold.
The recent price increase has been fueled by other factors in addition to investor interest. For instance, China recently abolished an exports tax rebate on metals. That has resulted in a 59% decline in silver exports.
China is a major silver producer and was a big exporter until 14 months ago. Strong demand there, coupled with the elimination of the tax break to protect domestic natural resources, have led Chinese producers to slash exports.
Concerns are lingering over excess supply. The market is set to see a surplus of 64.4 million ounces in 2010, says Barclays Capital, which could curb prices. This year's surplus will be 16% smaller than 2009's but much higher than previous years.
Overall, silver production has been rising steadily in the past five years, with most of the growth coming from mines in Mexico, Latin America and Australia. Gold Corp., a Vancouver-based mining company, expects to more than triple output at its mine in Mexico, Penasquito, which is expected to produce 10 million ounces of silver in 2011, up from about 3 million ounces in 2009, according to GFMS.
Another new mine, Coeur d'Alene Mines Corporation's Palmarejo silver and gold mine in Mexico, is also ramping up to produce 9 million ounces annually. And BHP Billiton, which owns one of the largest silver mines in the world, Cannington, is looking to increase production and extend the life of the mine, located in Australia.
So-called junior miners like United Mining Group, which has an interest in the Crescent Silver Mine, are much smaller than mining giants like BHP and Rio Tinto. They often lack the capital or expertise to run a mine, which requires costly equipment and infrastructure. Instead, their geologists often scout projects and then sell an interest in them to larger companies.
United Mining Group is issuing shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange to raise up to $8 million to develop the Crescent Silver Mine, which is more than 90 years old. Located in Idaho's Silver Valley—an area peppered with colorfully named mines like Lucky Friday, Sunshine and Bunker Hill—it is expected to begin production in early 2012, with output just over 1 million ounces.
"The whole industry is like feast or famine," says Mr. Stewart of United Mining.
Write to Carolyn Cui at and Robert Guy Matthews at

Cerberus and Chrysler

I worked on a deal with Cerberus and posted about their 
acquisition of Chysler and wondered what 
incongruity they had discovered. Well it was not their 
best deal however they did not lose.

Aivars Lode

The Term Sheet by Dan Primack
Tuesday -- December 21, 2010

Random Ramblings
If you do a Google search for Cerberus and Chrysler, your top 
result will be a Forbes story whose header is: “A firm notorious
for its secrecy gets a very public black eye.”
My guess is that might soon change a bit...
Cerberus this morning announced that it has agreed to sell
Chrysler Financial to TD Bank for $6.3 billion. From a return 
perspective, this means that Cerberus actually is nearing 
break-even on its original investment. Here’s how it works out:
Cerberus led a $7.4 billion acquisition of Chrysler from Daimler 
in 2007, which included both Chrysler’s auto-making and auto-finance
units. The private equity firm’s actual investment was $1.3 billion, with
the remainder coming from co-investors and lenders. For context, 
it was the firm’s largest-ever check.
Chrysler’s auto-making unit went bust last year, with Cerberus 
contributing its equity to the government-backed bankruptcy. 
But Cerberus held on to Chrysler Finance, which has since 
benefited from such macro as increases in car resale values 
(CRVs). Now it’s selling the unit to TD Bank for $6.3 billion in cash.
That would still put the overall buyout underwater by $1.1 billion, 
except that Cerberus actually isn’t selling all of Chrysler Financial. 
Instead, it’s holding onto select assets – including a unit set up to 
do foreclosures and one related to insurance (seems TD wanted
to get the deal done fast, rather than wait to figure out additional 
dispositions). My understanding is that Cerberus values those 
excluded assets at approximately $940 million.
As such, the total cash-on-cash loss appears to be less than 
1% of the deal's original value. Still a lousy deal, to be sure, 
but not anything close to the disaster that most folks had
assumed it to be…

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Trader Holds $3 Billion of Copper in London

[COPPERjp_SUB] Bloomberg News
Copper soared to a new record of $4.2705 per pound on Tuesday in New York, and is up 28.3% this year. Here, the Cerro Verde copper mine in the Atacama desert near Arequipa, Peru.
As commodity prices soar to new records, the ability of a few traders to hold huge swaths of the world's stockpiles is coming under scrutiny.
The latest example is in the copper market, where a single trader has reported it owns 80% to 90% of the copper sitting in London Metal Exchange warehouses, equal to about half of the world's exchange-registered copper stockpile and worth about $3 billion.
The report coincided with copper prices soaring to new records on Tuesday. Commodities prices rallied along with stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 55.03 points, or 0.48%, to 11533.16, its highest level since August 2008. Crude oil jumped to its highest level in more than two years and topped $90 a barrel in late electronic trading in New York. Corn and soybeans rose amid worries about hot weather in Argentina.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. recently had a large position in copper, though it is unclear whether the U.S. bank increased its holdings, or whether a new player has taken dominant position.
"Regardless of who owns it, the only thing of note here is that we are being told that one person has a substantial position," said David Threlkeld, president of Resolved Inc., a metals consultancy.
Single traders also own large holdings of other metals. One trader holds as much as 90% of the exchange's aluminum stocks. In the nickel, zinc and aluminum alloy markets, single traders own between 50% to 80% of those metals and one firm has 40% to 50% of the LME's tin stockpiles.
While commodities exchanges scrutinize all holdings to ensure a single player isn't trying to corner the market, and many of the positions are owned by big firms on behalf of clients, the large holdings do result in a concentration of ownership that could skew prices.
At the same time, thousands of new investors are flooding into the commodities markets, either directly or through exchange-traded funds, seeking to take advantage of an expected rise in prices of raw materials as the global economy continues to recover.
While commodities regulators in the U.S. are considering restricting the amount of futures contracts any one trader can hold, they have no jurisdiction over physical holdings.
The LME has strict rules to prevent market squeezes but does not limit how much metal a single trader may hold. Instead, the exchange demands the dominant holder make metal available for short-term periods at very limited profit margins. The LME says it closely watches individual holdings.
Copper demand is likely to outstrip supply this year by an estimated 455,000 metric tons, says Barclays Capital. Copper inventories at the LME have been declining since February.
Consumption is growing rapidly in China, Brazil and the U.S. And the creation of ETFs to hold physical metal is helping drive demand. On Tuesday, ETF Securities, a London-based provider, said that its newly-announced copper-backed ETF has added about 850.5 tons of copper, up 43%, to reach 1,445.5 tons.
Last month, the LME reported that a single holder owned more than 50% of the exchange's copper. People familiar with the matter at the time said J.P. Morgan was the holder. On Tuesday, the LME reported that a single holder now has as much as 90% of the stockpiles, without naming the firm. The LME reports data two days in arrears, so the position increased on Friday.
In the aluminum market, about 70% of the LME metal is locked up, MF Global base metals analyst Edward Meir said during LME Week in London in October.
LME aluminum stocks currently total around 4.3 million metric tons.
As one example, Swiss commodity trading firm Glencore International AG bought about 1.6 million tons of the metal from United Co. Rusal Ltd. earlier this year, market participants said at the time. Glencore then turned around and presold the metal. So even though the aluminum is sitting in LME warehouses, visible to all traders, it is effectively locked up.
These sorts of deals have skewed physical trading in these metals, as other consumers have paid increasing premiums to get hold of stocks, even though the metal looked like it was available in warehouses.
Holding ready-for-delivery metals on an exchange isn't a cheap undertaking for traders, who are responsible for paying insurance, storage and financing costs. And "the end game is to find somebody to buy something you have already bought for a higher price," Mr. Threkeld said.
The recent boom in metal prices has enabled traders to purchase the physical metal, sell a futures contract at a much higher price and still make a profit after paying for storage and insurance.
—Andrea Hotter contributed to this article.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past! Not!

Mac, thanks for this article see the date March 2000! Classic,  Aivars Lode


Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past

By Charles Onians
Monday, 20 March 2000

Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.
Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain's culture, as warmer winters - which scientists are attributing to global climate change - produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.
The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London's last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.
Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.
However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".
"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.
The effects of snow-free winter in Britain are already becoming apparent. This year, for the first time ever, Hamleys, Britain's biggest toyshop, had no sledges on display in its Regent Street store. "It was a bit of a first," a spokesperson said.
Fen skating, once a popular sport on the fields of East Anglia, now takes place on indoor artificial rinks. Malcolm Robinson, of the Fenland Indoor Speed Skating Club in Peterborough, says they have not skated outside since 1997. "As a boy, I can remember being on ice most winters. Now it's few and far between," he said.
Michael Jeacock, a Cambridgeshire local historian, added that a generation was growing up "without experiencing one of the greatest joys and privileges of living in this part of the world - open-air skating".
Warmer winters have significant environmental and economic implications, and a wide range of research indicates that pests and plant diseases, usually killed back by sharp frosts, are likely to flourish. But very little research has been done on the cultural implications of climate change - into the possibility, for example, that our notion of Christmas might have to shift.
Professor Jarich Oosten, an anthropologist at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, says that even if we no longer see snow, it will remain culturally important.
"We don't really have wolves in Europe any more, but they are still an important part of our culture and everyone knows what they look like," he said.
David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes - or eventually "feel" virtual cold.
Heavy snow will return occasionally, says Dr Viner, but when it does we will be unprepared. "We're really going to get caught out. Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time," he said.
The chances are certainly now stacked against the sortof heavy snowfall in cities that inspired Impressionist painters, such as Sisley, and the 19th century poet laureate Robert Bridges, who wrote in "London Snow" of it, "stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying".
Not any more, it seems.

So now they are not sure if we have caused warming or cooling!

So if they are not sure what we humans have caused, then how can they know the solution? 

Thanks Mac, Aivars Lode

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 12/20/2010

Freak pattern brings Europe record cold & snow

By Andrew Freedman

Same pattern supporting cold in eastern U.S.

One of the fiercest beginnings to winter on record has slammed Europe with relentless assaults of bitter cold and heavy snowfalls. The unusually wintry weather gripping Europe as well as the cold plaguing the eastern United States are linked by a historically strong weather system locked over Greenland.
Pedestrians walk during a snow-fall in central London, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010. Plunging temperatures and heavy snow saw large swathes of Britain grind to a standstill, as London's Gatwick Airport closed its runway and British Airways cancelled flights at Heathrow. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) (Alastair Grant - AP).
In Europe, the strange weather pattern has caused mayhem for holiday travel. Over the weekend, airport and ground transportation disruptions were widespread, from London's Heathrow Airport - one of the world's busiest hubs - to Frankfurt International Airport and the German Autobahn. According to the The Guardian newspaper, Frankfurt airport workers resorted to dressing up as angels in an attempt to calm the situation when crowds of stranded passengers, frustrated by lengthy delays and flight cancellations, became unruly. Heathrow, meanwhile, was closed to arriving aircraft on Sunday, after being closed altogether on Saturday, according to several news reports. More heavy snow is forecast for London yet again today according to the UK Met Office.
BAA spokesman Andrew Teacher told CNN: "These are absolutely ... freak weather conditions ... We've not seen a storm like this in 20 years."
So what has been causing this freak winter weather onslaught in Europe, and the colder-than-average conditions in much of the eastern U.S., including Washington?
There is a very strong "blocking pattern" in place over Greenland, which is helping to steer a parade of storms into the British Isles and mainland Europe, while pumping abnormally mild air into portions of the Canadian Arctic. In short - the atmosphere is jammed up like the Beltway at rush hour. Storm systems have nowhere to go, and are doing weird loop-de-loops up into the Canadian Maritimes, and even off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.
Temperatures relative to average in Wabush Lake, Canada (Newfoundland), on the warm side of the blocking high pressure system, have been much warmer than average as mild air invades the eastern Arctic. Source: NOAA.
Meteorologists with Environment Canada described the atmospheric circulation as "one of the most bizarre patterns in recent memory".
The high pressure cell parked over Greenland is not your ordinary High. It's unusually strong, and has boosted pressures, often referred to by meteorologists as "geopotential heights", in parts of the Arctic to record levels. For example, pressure typically found at about 18,000 feet above sea level have increased so significantly in recent days that it may have set several records, including the record for the largest departure from average for anywhere on the planet in any month of the year since such historical records began in 1948 (this analysis was performed by the Weather Channel's Stu Ostro).
heights anomaly map 12_1 to 12_18.gif
Pressure or "height" departures from average over the Northern Hemisphere. Positive height departures (yellows, oranges and reds) from average are associated with warmer than normal temperatures and negative height (blues) departures are associated with colder than average temperatures. Source: NOAA.
These pressure or "height" changes can be clearly seen in the image to the right with the red shades near the southern tip of Greenland indicating the extraordinarily high pressure, as well as this animation, both from the Climate Prediction Center.
The circulation around that High is helping to pump mild air into eastern Canada, while locking unusually cold air in place in the eastern U.S., in addition to driving record cold and snow into the heart of Western Europe. According to the Associated Press, the snow and bitter cold may set a new monthly record for Britain:

"Britain's national weather forecaster, the Met Office, said the nation has experienced the heaviest snow falls in December in decades and is on course for record low temperatures. "You have to look back to December 1981 to find similar snow depths," forecaster Helen Chivers said. "If the second half of the month is as cold as the first, this will be the coldest December on record since 1910."
According to The Telegraph, Britain's current average temperature for the month of December is running five degrees Celsius below the long-term average for the month.
The cold and snow has not only disrupted holiday travelers. A Lady Gaga concert had to be rescheduled when trucks carrying the pop singer's sets could not make it to Paris' Bercy Stadium, the AP reported.
Might there be larger forces at work?
The current weather pattern is in part related to the North Atlantic Oscillation or NAO, which is a natural climate cycle that influences winter weather in parts of the Northern Hemisphere. When the NAO is in a negative phase like it is now, the likelihood of major snowstorms in the mid-Atlantic increases, as does the likelihood of winter storms in parts of Europe. The NAO was in an extreme negative phase during most of last winter, and has been negative recently as well.

The daily NAO index from September through December 19, 2010. Credit: Climate Prediction Center.
The current weather pattern may also be indirectly related to long-term climate change. Meteorologist Stu Ostro of The Weather Channel has documented a trend of increased occurrences of atmospheric pressure anomalies, such as the one observed above Greenland, and he believes these may be tied to atmospheric warming from greenhouse gas emissions.
Also, recent research indicates that Arctic sea ice decline may influence winter weather patterns.
According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), November sea ice extent was the second lowest on record since 1979. "Typically by the end of November, nearly half of Hudson Bay has iced over. But on November 30, only 17% of the bay was covered by sea ice. Compared to the 1979 to 2000 average, the ice extent was 12.4% below average for the Arctic as a whole," an NSIDC report stated.
This year's "Arctic Report Card", issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), found that warming water and air temperatures associated with the decline of summer sea ice has been raising the height of atmospheric pressure surfaces over the North Pole.

Warming of the Arctic may favor a pattern pushing colder air over the eastern U.S. and Europe. Source: Climate Central
The report noted that the winter of 2009-2010 featured "one of the three largest Arctic high-pressure events since 1850." These higher pressure surfaces are thought to change large-scale wind patterns and can lead to bouts of severe winter weather in the eastern United States.
"Models suggest that loss of sea ice in fall favors higher geopotential heights over the Arctic. With future loss of sea ice, such conditions as winter 2009-2010 could happen more often. Thus we have a potential climate change paradox. Rather than a general warming everywhere, the loss of sea ice and a warmer Arctic can increase the impact of the Arctic on lower latitudes, bringing colder weather to southern locations," the report stated.
By Andrew Freedman  | December 20, 2010; 10:00 AM ET

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Coldest winter weather this early on in the season since the mid-1800's

Global warming mmm?

Aivars Lode

Snow Hits Air Travel, Roads Across Europe

[1218heathrowjp] AP
Snow ploughs clear the taxi ways after heavy snowfall at Heathrow Airport.
LONDON — Blizzards and freezing temperatures shut down runways, train tracks and highways across Europe on Saturday, disrupting flights and leaving shivering drivers stranded on roadsides.
Airports in Britain, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark reported cancelations or delays to flights.
London's Gatwick airport reopened late afternoon after 150 employees using dozens of snow plows worked to clear the runway, though officials warned flights would be limited and cancelations likely.
Shoppers walk along Oxford Street, in central London.
"We currently have hundreds of staff working to clear the runways, taxiways, stands and forecourts and are providing blankets and water for passengers as we strive to get Heathrow moving," the airport said in a statement.
Conditions on British roads were treacherous, Automobile Association official Darron Burness said. "One of the biggest problems is that large amounts of snow are falling very quickly on to frozen surfaces, making driving hazardous," he said.
Hundreds of motorists were left stranded on a major road in northwestern England following a deluge, prompting police patrols to offer food and water to drivers.

Snow Falls on Europe

Cold weather continued to grip Europe.
European Pressphoto Agency
Two men surfed in an artificial stream in central Munich, Germany.
In Italy, the Autostrada of the Sun — the country's main north-south highway — was jammed with hundreds of vehicles, whose chilly occupants slept in their cars, vans or trucks. Though snow had mainly cleared or melted early Saturday, the highway was still closed in one direction, with traffic backed up for nearly 25 miles (40 kilometers).
The snowfall also forced high-speed trains to bypass Florence's central Santa Maria Novella station, stopping in suburban stations instead.
Paris was sprinkled with a light coat of snow overnight, as many people prepared to set off on their Christmas vacations. More snow was predicted Saturday, leading civil aviation authorities to cancel 15 percent of flights at Charles de Gaulle airport between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Many flights were also canceled in northeastern France, where snow already blanketed the ground, and services were also canceled at the airports in the cities of Nantes and Rennes.
Heavy snowfall disrupts traffic and flights across Europe. Video courtesy of Reuters.
Significant numbers of domestic and European flights were canceled at Germany's Frankfurt airport as it dealt with the disruption. Germany's railway operator Deutsche Bahn said it was pressing into service all the trains it could — though some journeys were subject to delays. "Everything that can roll is rolling," spokesman Holger Auferkamp told the German news agency DAPD.
The icy weather also swept over large parts of Scandinavia, causing problems particularly in Denmark, where dozens of flights were canceled at the airport in Copenhagen. According to Danish news agency Ritzau, train traffic between Denmark and southern Sweden was also disrupted because of track problems, partly due to the snow, forcing passengers to instead take buses between the two countries.
In Sweden, where media reports suggest the country is experiencing the coldest winter weather this early on in the season since the mid-1800's, several road accidents were reported, with more than 20 in the Stockholm area alone.
Retailers said the poor weather would likely dent sales on what it traditionally the busiest shopping weekend before Christmas. London's Brent Cross indoor shopping mall closed its doors early Saturday afternoon.