A 3 pound chunk of ice crashed through the roof of a house owned by a 63 year old woman in Sydney, Australia last Wednesday. No one was hurt when the block smashed to pieces on the bathroom floor. The woman was home when she heard the crashing noise, and police found a hole in the ceiling.
Police Inspector Paul Hume consulted the weather bureau, which said it couldn't have been hail. He says the only explanation is that the ice block fell from an airplane, but the house is not underneath a flight path.
An Airservices Australia spokesman said it was "virtually impossible" for the ice to have fallen from a plane. "For the ice to freeze on the airplane, it would have to be flying at a very high level," he said.
Police plan to test the ice to attempt to determine its origin.
In October of 1999, a similar event took place in Spain when eight-pound hail plummeted from the skies, damaging buildings and killing one man. Scientists were mystified by the ice. Careful study of the preserved chunks proved that they were indeed gigantic hailstones. They were caused when cloud tops reached extreme heights, due to very cold air above the stratosphere.
The mesosphere, above the stratosphere, has been cooling at ten times predicted rates, due to the fact that greenhouse gasses are trapping heat in the stratosphere below it. The stratosphere has been in an extreme warming trend in recent months.
The increasingly radical temperature difference between the stratosphere and the mesosphere has intensified the potential for bizarre weather phenomena like monster hailstones and super-intensive local storms.
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