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Muslim Indo-African Studies Center

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The Thaw [2021]

Uh, oh! You're home and forgot to thaw something for dinner. You grab a package of meat or chicken and use hot water to thaw it fast. But is this safe? What if you remembered to take food out of the freezer, but forgot and left the package on the counter all day while you were at work?

The Thaw

Neither of these situations is considered safe, and these methods of thawing may lead to foodborne illness. Raw or cooked meat, poultry or egg products, as any perishable foods, must be kept at a safe temperature during "the big thaw." They are safe indefinitely while frozen. However, as soon as they begin to thaw and become warmer than 40 F, bacteria that may have been present before freezing can begin to multiply.

After thawing in the refrigerator, items such as ground meat, stew meat, poultry, seafood, should remain safe and good quality for an additional day or two before cooking; red meat cuts (such as beef, pork or lamb roasts, chops and steaks) 3 to 5 days. Food thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen without cooking, although there may be some loss of quality.

This method is faster than refrigerator thawing but requires more attention. The food must be in a leak-proof package or plastic bag. If the bag leaks, bacteria from the air or surrounding environment could be introduced into the food. Also, the meat tissue may absorb water, resulting in a watery product.

When thawing food in a microwave, plan to cook it immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during the thawing process (bringing the food to "Danger Zone" temperatures). Holding partially cooked food is not recommended because any bacteria present wouldn't have been destroyed and, indeed, the food may have reached optimal temperatures for bacteria to grow.

When there is not enough time to thaw frozen foods, or you're simply in a hurry, just remember: it is safe to cook foods from the frozen state. The cooking will take approximately 50% longer than the recommended time for fully thawed or fresh meat and poultry.

Although the thaw does not have a fixed time of occurrence, climatologists note the most frequent thaws occur between Jan. 19 and Jan. 28. DeGaetano said the so-called thaw is most noticeable in the eastern United States, but can be traced as far west as Missouri.

Scientifically, the thaw is classified as a phenomenon known as a singularity, which refers to a reoccurring anomalous departure of temperature from its normal seasonal value, on or near a particular date.

DeGaetano notes that although this lack of consistency makes it hard to statistically conclude that the thaw is something other than a random occurrence, there is a distinct tendency for this phenomenon to manifest itself in the northeastern part of the country.

During this adjustment, temperatures over the eastern United States are initially affected by a strengthening of the high pressure system over Bermuda, which initiates the thaw. Then, the weather become influenced once again by a strengthening polar high, returning the Northeast to colder temperatures.

Since these potential impacts were first recognized, the research community has risen to the challenge of documenting permafrost and predicting changes. Accordingly, there is now clear evidence that anthropogenic warming has led to permafrost warming, high confidence that thawing permafrost will release carbon, and new recognition of previously underappreciated processes such as wintertime carbon losses and N2O emissions. In this Issue, and an accompanying online Collection, we take stock of these developments and document the multifaceted understanding of permafrost.

Although carbon release from permafrost tends to dominate headlines, the societal impacts of permafrost thaw, particularly the very real impacts on Northern Communities, cannot be ignored. Irrgang et al. explain how ecosystem services and hunting grounds that support subsistence-based lifestyles, heritage sites and communities are threatened by thaw-related coastal erosion. Rapid changes in lakes and drained basins further challenge animal husbandry, such as reindeer herding, and threaten water supplies. Furthermore, permafrost degradation will impact key infrastructure, with maintenance costs on the order of billions of dollars in the upcoming decades, articulated in Hjort et al.

The bottom line: While Uncrustables specifically recommends against putting its sandwiches in the microwave (or toaster or air fryer), some thaw-and-eat products could probably benefit from a dose of heat.

In recent years, permafrost thaw has become a salient and pervasive threat that touches life in all corners of the Arctic, and impacts the wellbeing of Arctic residents, ecosystems, economies, and planetary health in four key ways: erosion, destabilizing landscapes and buildings, flooding hazards and forced migration, and diseases. Furthermore, contending with permafrost thaw is especially difficult, as it is influenced by global processes of warming and this is hard to change and control in a short period of time. Combating permafrost thaw will take a concerted effort from people and states across the world, as this problem clearly extends beyond the boundaries of the Arctic.

Finally, experts are studying how thawing permafrost may lead to the reemergence of harmful bacteria and diseases that have been frozen in the earth for hundreds of years and could harm Arctic ecosystems. An instance of this has already been seen in 2016, when an anthrax outbreak from a rotting animal carcass found in the permafrost caused over 70 people to be hospitalized in northern Russia, and killed a child and more than 2,300 reindeer.

The effects of permafrost degradation are not only contained within the Arctic, but threaten to spill across boundaries and affect people beyond the region. Permafrost thaw contributes to the release of powerful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and contributes to massive wildfires, which affect air quality levels in places thousands of miles away.

The Thaw Box is perfect for thawing frozen ground, concrete curing, and preventing frost in very small areas. It is more compact and easier to transport than hydronic ground heaters. The Thaw Box excels at thawing a small area of ground at locations that require you to manually carry the unit or need to be frequently moved around. 041b061a72


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