Saturday 21 January 2017

Kevin Myers: Sudden thaw was the great and final miracle of 2010

Kevin Myers

Published 04/01/2011 | 05:00

A truly amazing event occurred on the night of December 27. Ireland went to bed covered in at least a foot of snow and ice, and awoke the next morning with the snow all gone.

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Temperatures that had been -15C soared to +10C that afternoon: a 25-degree temperature change in 24 hours: roughly a degree for every hour, the equivalent of leaping two full seasons in a single day.

What happened in that miraculous period was probably one of the greatest energy transferences in Ireland of recent decades. Thousands of billions of tonnes of packed snow and ice were turned to water in just hours. Maybe someone with a very clever computer can work out the calorific exchange that took place; all I know is that when our pipes burst last winter, and I had to melt snow for domestic purposes, it took about 20 minutes on a gas ring to turn a mere saucepan of the stuff just into cold water.

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