It’s So Cold Even Sharks Are Freezing to Death

It’s cold, really cold. During the past two weeks, Canada and the northern United States have Plunged into an endless deep freeze that has been catastrophic for humans but also for defenseless animals. Several sharks have died from thermal shocks caused by freezing temperatures.

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North America is being swept by an extreme cold wave. Since December 25, Canada and the northern United States have been facing record snowfall and temperatures ranging from -4 °F to -58 °F.

These exceptional and protracted conditions are linked to a surge of Arctic air, affecting the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, with astonishing consequences, such as partial freezing of the Niagara Falls.

Unfortunately, they are also making victims in the animal world. Several associations for the defense of marine species have posted on social networks pictures of animals who have perished in the cold. In Massachusetts, shark carcasses and turtles have been found stranded on Cape Cod beaches.

According to the NGO Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, the animals suffered heat shock resulting in cardiac arrest after being paralyzed by the cold. According to scientists, the sharks that swam off Cape Cod – where temperatures dropped to – 14 degrees – were paralyzed by the cold before they ran aground on the shore where they probably suffocated.

“The cold air quickly freezes their gills,” said Greg Skomal, marine science specialist, reported by The New York Times. “They are extremely sensitive and their congestion causes in a short time the death of the shark.”

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy is currently working with the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Division and the NOAA (National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration) Fisheries Department to investigate the deaths of the sharks but the process remains complicated due to the polar cold.

Meanwhile, a winter storm of a rare intensity is being formed off the southeastern coast of the United States. The massive storm, referred to as a Bomb Cyclone, is expected to bring even more snow and winds to the Northeast.” In meteorology, the term “bomb” qualifies the extremely rapid formation of a very intense depression. It is technically necessary for pressure drops by more than 0.348 psi in less than 24 hours for a storm to qualify as a “bomb”.

However, pressure could even drop to 13.77 psi Thursday night, when the storm reaches New England, in the far northeast of the country. This type of low pressure is typical of a tropical cyclone category 3, but it is almost unheard of for a winter storm in this region. Hence the term “Bomb Cyclone”.

Carl Frantz

Polyglot, humanitarian, Carl was born in Germany but raised in the USA. He writes mostly on tech, science and culture.