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So put down the Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on Fox Kool-Aid and turn off the television, because The ‘Monster’ El Nino on the way isn’t even here yet…
In the dead of a Prairie winter, when cars won’t start and exposed skin freezes in 30 seconds, people pray for a searing hot summer. But across Western Canada this season, many may be recalling the old adage, “be careful what you wish for” as forest fires, drought and pestilence invite biblical comparisons.
More worrisome, though, than the sight of Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia wilting under 30 degree [Celsius; 86°F] temperatures in June and July — and rationing scarce water supplies in some areas — is that this might just be the start of an even bigger problem.
Many meteorologists are chalking up today’s weird and wacky weather in the West to the fact that this is an El Nino year, referring to the cyclical Pacific Ocean phenomenon that disrupts global weather patterns.
The problem with that, according to Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips: “It’s not even arrived in Canada yet.”
“We don’t see the effects of El Nino until late fall, winter and early spring,” he says.
What that likely means is at least three more consecutive seasons of warmer, drier weather when farmers are already, quite literally, tapped out in the moisture department.
As for what that could mean for drought conditions next summer and beyond, Phillips says it’s “not looking good.”
So the drought will likely continue through next year at least. Again, not good. “Game over” for ranchers:
Canada’s Prairies have just experienced their driest winter and spring in 68 years of record keeping. “So they were behind the eight-ball before the summer season ever came,” says Phillips.
That, coupled with a record low snow pack in North America, and few of the traditional June rains needed to grow crops, has had a cumulative effect that’s hit some producers harder than others.
Says Phillips: “For ranchers it’s pretty much game over.”
The tinder dry land has kept pastures for grazing cattle from turning green and producing feed, forcing cattle ranchers to sell down their herds or ship the animals around looking for alternative feed sources.
“Our cereal fields, our oats, our wheat, our barley essentially baked in the field,” says Garett Broadbent, agricultural services director for Alberta’s Leduc County, just south of Edmonton.
The municipality voted unanimously this week to declare a local state of agricultural disaster as soil moisture and crop conditions continue to decline to the worst levels in half a century.
And here’s a NOAA scientist saying that there is a trend, and it will continue “as long as greenhouse gas levels continue to rise year after year”:
NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden says, in addition to the dwindling snow pack, “glaciers are melting, sea ice is melting, sea levels reached record highs last year, the ocean heat was record high last year, sea surface temperatures were record highs last year, so you put it all together and there’s a definite trend.”
It’s a trend Blunden expects to continue into 2015 and beyond as long as, she says, greenhouse gas levels continue to rise year after year.
“We have 15 years to avert a full-blown water crisis; by 2030, demand for water will outstrip supply by 40 percent”
You are a clear and present danger to my grandchildren’s future. Fear me.
According to new data released by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Tuesday, globally averaged temperatures over ocean and land surfaces between January and June of 2015 were the hottest on record since 1880.
A statement by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) revealed on Jul. 21 that “the average temperature for the six-month period was 0.85°C (1.53°F) above the 20th century average of 15.5°C (59.9°F), surpassing the previous record set in 2010 by 0.09°C (0.16°F).”
Average global sea surface temperatures for the January-June 2015 period outstripped the previous record in 2010 by 0.04°C (0.07°F).
Land surface temperatures also hit record levels, surpassing the previous 2007 high by 0.13°C (0.23°F), according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The average land surface temperature from January to June was +1.40°C (2.52°F).
“Most of the world’s land areas were much warmer than average,” the organisation stated. “These regions include nearly all of Eurasia, South America, Africa, and western North America, with pockets of record warmth across these areas. All of Australia was warmer than average.”
March, May and June of 2015 all broke their monthly temperature records this year; January and February each witnessed the “second warmest” temperatures recorded and April experienced the fourth warmest monthly temperature ever.
NOAA’s Global Analysis for June 2015 further stated…
“These six warm months combined with the previous six months (four of which were also record warm) to make the period July 2014–June 2015 the warmest 12-month period in the 136-year period of record, surpassing the previous record set just last month (June 2014–May 2015).”
In an even more disturbing trend, the world’s leading meteorological body stated that the average Arctic sea ice extent for June 2015 was 350,000 square miles (7.7 percent) below the 1981-2010 average and 60,000 square miles larger than the smallest June sea ice extent on record that occurred in 2010.
“This was the third smallest June extent since records began in 1979 according to analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center using data from NOAA and NASA,” the WMO release explained.
Meanwhile, the Antarctic sea ice extent in June was 380,000 square miles (7.2. percent) larger than the average for the 1981-2010 period, making it the largest ever Antarctic sea ice extent for the month of June.
Just prior to the release of this new data, on Jul. 1, the WMO together with the World Health Organisaiton (WHO) put out a set of guidelines designed to deal with the health risks associated with hotter global temperatures.
The joint guidance on Heat–Health Warning Systems, released earlier this month, aims to address “health risks posed by heatwaves, which are becoming more frequent and more intense as a result of climate change,” the agencies said.
“Heatwaves are a dangerous natural hazard, and one that requires increased attention,” said Maxx Dilley, Director of WMO’s Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch, and Maria Neira, Director of WHO’s Department of Public Health, Environmenl and Social Determinants of Health.
“They lack the spectacular and sudden violence of other hazards, such as tropical cyclones or flash floods but the consequences can be severe.”
Over the past 50 years, according to WHO data, hot days, hot nights and heatwaves have become more frequent.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted, “The length, frequency and intensity of heatwaves will likely increase over most land areas during this century.”
Heatwaves also place an increased strain on infrastructure such as power, water and transport.
The agency cited the recent heatwaves in both India and Pakistan that killed thousands of people this summer.
In Pakistan alone, 1,200 perished in the month of June, mostly poor people and manual labourers who were forced to remain in the streets despite government warnings to stay indoors to avoid the blistering 45-degree heat.
According to the WHO, the European heatwaves in the northern hemisphere summer of 2003 were responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people, as were the Russian heatwaves, forest fires and associated air pollution in 2010.
You are a clear and present danger to my grand-children’s future.
Something needs to be done about that.
So put down the ambien, prozac, viagra and criotch-shots on Fox Kool-Aid and turn off the television, because sealevels may rise 10 times faster than previous thought:
The study—written by James Hansen, NASA’s former lead climate scientist, and 16 co-authors, many of whom are considered among the top in their fields—concludes that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica will melt 10 times faster than previous consensus estimates, resulting in sea level rise of at least 10 feet in as little as 50 years. The study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, brings new importance to a feedback loop in the ocean near Antarctica that results in cooler freshwater from melting glaciers forcing warmer, saltier water underneath the ice sheets, speeding up the melting rate. Hansen, who is known for being alarmist and also right, acknowledges that his study implies change far beyond previous consensus estimates. In a conference call with reporters, he said he hoped the new findings would be “substantially more persuasive than anything previously published.” I certainly find them to be.
To come to their findings, the authors used a mixture of paleoclimate records, computer models, and observations of current rates of sea level rise, but “the real world is moving somewhat faster than the model,” Hansen says.
Hansen’s study does not attempt to predict the precise timing of the feedback loop, only that it is “likely” to occur this century. The implications are mindboggling: In the study’s likely scenario, New York City—and every other coastal city on the planet—may only have a few more decades of habitability left. That dire prediction, in Hansen’s view, requires “emergency cooperation among nations.”
We conclude that continued high emissions will make multi-meter sea level rise practically unavoidable and likely to occur this century. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization.
You are a clear and present danger to my grand-children’s survival.
Something needs to be done about that.
With no time left to start again.
Don McLean, American Pie.
So put down the Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on Fox Kool-Aid and turn off the television, because you have just lived through the hottest January through April on record, and it is increasingly likely that 2015 will be the hottest year on record, possibly by a wide margin.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has just predicted a 90 percent chance that the El Niño it declared in March will last through the summer and “a greater than 80 percent chance it will last through 2015.” El Niños generally lead to global temperature records, as the short-term El Niño warming adds to the underlying long-term global warming trend.
And in fact, with April, we have once again broken the record for the hottest 12 months on record: May 2014 – April 2015. The previous record was April 2014 – March 2015, set last month. The record before that was March 2014 – February 2015. And the equally short-lived record before that was February 2014 – January 2015.
As we keep breaking records in 2015, our headlines are going to sound like a … broken record. May has already started out hot, and it is quite likely next month we will report “The Hottest 5-Month Start Of Any Year On Record,” and that June 2014 – May 2015 will become hottest 12 months on record.
You are a clear and present danger to my grandchildren’s future.
It appears that corn was caught yellow-handed by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers in a plot with other crops like soy to replace “millions of acres of grasslands.” But scientists named corn the ring-leader: “Corn was the most common crop planted directly on new land.”
I know you’re wondering, “since when is it illegal to replace carbon-storing grassland with the Walter White of Biofuels?” Answer: Since the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), “which requires blending of gasoline with biofuels that are supposed to be grown only on pre-existing cropland, in order to minimize land-use change and its associated greenhouse gas emissions,” as the UWM news release explains.Now if only anybody were actually enforcing the law, the anti-hero of biofuels would be perp-walked to prison for destroying the very environment it was supposed to help protect.
We last saw the evil genius called corn ethanol in a 2013 piece headlined, “Biofuels Policy Helping Destroy U.S. Grasslands At Fastest Rate Since 1930s, Boosting Threat of Dust-Bowlification.”
This new UMW study is the “first comprehensive analysis of land-use change across the U.S. between 2008 and 2012.” University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers “tracked crop-specific expansion pathways across the conterminous US and identified the types, amount, and locations of all land converted to and from cropland” during that time.
Scientists learned that crops “expanded onto 7 million acres of new land,” during those four years and replaced “millions of acres of grasslands.” Half of that was new soy and corn, which was increasingly used to make biofuels between 2008 and 2012 to meet U.S. government mandates, which included a minimum target of over 12 billion gallons of biofuels for in 2010.
What was the climate impact of this expansion? The University of Wisconsin-Madison concluded:
“The conversion to corn and soy alone, the researchers say, could have emitted as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as 34 coal-fired power plants operating for one year — the equivalent of 28 million more cars on the road.”
Corn ethanol should get its own show on HBO or AMC.
The Renewable Fuels Association, which is the “the authoritative voice of the U.S. ethanol industry,” has responded to this peer-reviewed study with a blog post by their Senior Vice President, Geoff Cooper. Cooper points out this is a very difficult calculation to do and that the dataset the authors use for this purpose has been called into question. Ideally, the RFS will put their critique through the peer-review process to publish it in a journal.
It seems not a month goes by that a study doesn’t come out condemning the fuel that now comprises some 10 percent of U.S. gasoline. “New airborne measurements downwind from an ethanol fuel refinery in Decatur, Illinois, show that ethanol emissions are 30 times higher than government estimates,” we learned just this Tuesday, for instance, when NOAA published a study on “ozone-forming compounds” generated by a corn ethanol refinery. “The measurements also show emissions of all volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which include ethanol, were five times higher than government numbers, which estimate emissions based on manufacturing information.”
What will we learn in June, that corn ethanol is “behind uptick in abandoned kittens“? Okay, maybe not that, but still.
In a 2011 post titled, “The Corn Ultimatum asks: How long can Americans keep burning one sixth the world’s corn supply in our cars?” If we don’t voluntarily abandon corn ethanol, it seems inevitable that human-caused climate change and Dust-Bowlification will ultimately arrest its development:
So put down the Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on Fox Kool-Aid and turn off the television, because this is the Enterprise Bridge over Lake Oroville in Butte County, California. Been over it many times back in my logging days. Lake Oroville has an interesting logging history: rather than the yarding (skidding) and trucking of logs out of the woods to the mill they were left to lie until the rising water floated them to a staging area and railhead at the dam.
The picture on the left is July 2011. The picture on the right is the lake today.
Felicia Marcus of the State Water Resources Board told an audience last week:
We don’t know if its going to rain next year.
We don’t know if its going to rain after that.
You are a clear and present danger to my grandchildrens’ survival. Fear me.
I often suggest a variation of Pascal’s Wager: If I am wrong, if the climate is not changing, the world not warming to in-habitability in my grand-childrens’ generation, I don’t lose a bloody damned thing. If you, the denier, are wrong, we all lose, our grand-children lose, the only world we know of we can live on. End of the road, way of the dinosaurs… extinction. Do you want to take that bet?
We do not forgive. We do not forget.
Yes, taking shorter showers and washing cars less often will help a little. Restricting the watering of useless lawns will help a little more. But that’s all a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to the water being used by the agriculture industry.
This isn’t just a problem in California. Climate change-induced drought is a challenge across the western and southern United States and in many other countries around the world. What will we do about food production?
So put down the Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on Fox Kool-Aid and turn off the television, because the coldest place on Earth just got warmer than has ever been recorded.
According to the weather blog Weather Underground, on Tuesday, March 24, the temperature in Antarctica rose to 63.5°F (17.5C) — a record for the polar continent. Part of a longer heat wave, the record high came just a day after the previous record was set at 63.3°F.
These temperature records occurred nearly three months past the warmest time of year in the Antarctic Peninsula, December, when the average high is 37.8°F. The average high for March is 31.3°F, making this week’s records more than 30°F above average. Burt also points out that temperature records for Esperanza have previously occurred in October and April, so these spikes are not unheard of.
They should also not be unexpected: the poles are warming faster than any part of the planet and rapid ice melt is being observed at increased rates in Antarctica. According to a new study, ice shelves in West Antarctica have lost as much as 18 percent of their volume over the last two decades, with rapid acceleration occurring over the last decade. The study found that from 1994 to 2003, the overall loss of ice shelf volume across the continent was negligible, but over the last decade West Antarctic losses increased by 70 percent.
According to the British Antarctic Survey, since records for the Antarctic Peninsula began half a century ago, the average temperature has risen about 5°F, making it “the most rapidly warming region in the Southern Hemisphere – comparable to rapidly warming regions of the Arctic.”
While the polar regions are feeling the most severe temperature changes brought on by the rise in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, areas across the globe are setting record highs at a much faster rate than record lows. Since 2010, 46 nations or territories out of 235 have set or tied record highs. Only four have set record lows. According to the Weather Underground, so far this year, five nations or territories have tied or set all-time records for their highest temperature: Antarctica, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Wallis and Futuna Territory, and Samoa.
You are a clear and present danger to my grand-children’s future. Fear me.