2012 Record Challenged as 40% of Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melts on June 17th

Yesterday, 40% of the surface of Greenland melted.

It was still mid-June, yet a month before melt values typically peak. But a persistent high pressure system over Greenland, a rapidly melting Baffin Bay and warm winds riding up the west coast were enough to spur a surface melting event that shoved melt coverage firmly above the two standard deviation threshold and into record range.

greenland_melt_area_plot_tmb

(Greenland Melt Extent as of June 17, 2014. Image source: NSIDC.)

Temperatures along the west coast of Greenland and on through the southern ice-covered tip ranged between 30 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, while 30-43 degree readings surrounded much of the periphery. Warm winds and rain to mixed precipitation accompanied a moisture-laden storm emerging from Baffin Bay and passing over the western ice sheet to add further and extreme early season melt pressure.

The warm storm and rains compounded already rapid melt pond formation along Greenland’s southwestern coasts. Large blue ponds varying between .5 to 3 kilometers in width had already formed over southern and western sections of the ice sheet by June 16, before they were covered in clouds and squally wet weather on June 17th. By today, the clouds cleared as the passing storm moved on to reveal melt ponds further swelled by a combination of warmth and wet weather:

West Greenland Melt Ponds June 18

(Large expanse of melt ponds near the outlet to the Jacobshavn Glacier on June 18, 2014. The smallest blue dots represent glacial melt ponds of about 300 meters in width. The largest exceed 3 kilometers at the widest point. Image source: LANCE-MODIS.)

Melt ponds add heat amplification to the glacier surface by reducing albedo even as they provide melt drainage to the glacial base. Floods of water from melt ponds add to glacier speed and buoyancy by reducing friction at a moving glacier’s base and by flooding geographic low points beneath the glacier. Melt ponds also reduce overall ice sheet integrity by permeating the ice with holes and fractures.

The Jacobshavn Glacier in the satellite shot above is Greenland’s fastest. It is now involved in a very rapid rush toward the ocean at a rate of 46 meters per day. A rush that has been facilitated in recent years by a major proliferation of melt ponds during summer time.

During extreme events, melt ponds can combine and over-top or break ice dams in dangerous glacial outburst floods. It is worth noting that Greenland melt pond proliferation has not yet reached a threshold for high risk of such events. But the now decade-long proliferation of melt ponds over the ice sheet surface during summer time remains a troubling occurrence.

40% melt coverage in mid June is an extraordinarily high number. Last year, melt coverage peaked at 47% in late July with June values approaching the high 20s in late June. July of 2012 saw a 97% melt coverage — an event last seen about 120 years ago and one that is, unfortunately, likely to be repeated soon under current human heat forcing. It is worth noting, however, that the record year of 2012 saw Greenland melt coverages periodically exceeding 40% from mid-to-late June.

Greenland melt June 17 2014

(Greenland melt coverage on June 17 of 2014. Image source: NSIDC.)

Early melt and proliferation of melt ponds along with persistent high pressure systems over Greenland tend to have a compounding effect that amplifies over-all melt coverage. Low mists and clouds tend to form during such conditions, trapping heat near the ice surface even as albedo over the ice sheet falls due to wide-scale melt pond formation.

Though yesterday’s melt coverage is an early challenge to melt levels seen during 2012, current conditions would have to both persist and intensify for the broad extent of melt seen during late June and through July of 2012 to show a rough repeat. That said, a 40% melt coverage on this date is a record-challenging level that bears watching.

Links:

NSIDC

LANCE-MODIS

Greenland Undergoing Record 120 Year Melt

The Glacial Megaflood: Growing Glacial Outburst Flood Risk

Hat tip to Andy from San Diego

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88 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on jpratt27 and commented:
    Future generations are going to wonder why we ignored the science.

    Reply
    • Jacob

       /  June 19, 2014

      I just hope people still know what science is, or have the knowledge it’s gained for humanity, in the future we are creating.

      Reply
  2. james cole

     /  June 19, 2014

    On the subject of action to address rising CO2 levels which are at the heart of the global warming crisis. Germany has begun to expand it’s brown coal production at it’s large brown coal mines. Germany is mega rich in this soft brown coal. The rising gas crisis between Ukraine and Russia is prompting Germany to turn more to it’s brown coal deposits to power electrical generation. From the news report I saw a few days ago, the major brown coal mine works is expanding production long term to meet the demand for Germany domestic coal.
    I can hardly think of a more predictable but depressing story. Governments and industry are locked into a quarterly profits and quarterly tax revenue time scales. Leaders lead for the day, week and month. Just keep the present system ticking over, avoid any problems that may hurt this quarters bottom line, stock price or bonus accumulations.
    Nobody is willing to confront the problem. When American is having a fracking boom, Canada is mining tar and now Germany is increasingly turning back the clock to increase brown coal use. That is pretty bleak. And from what I understand, Brown Coal is a CO2 nightmare. So it goes, despite all the evidence staring us in the face. So far it is Government and public in blissful denial.
    Weather wise. The upper Great Lakes and Eastern Dakotas are seeing huge rain event after huge rain event. So man that records fall every day and people like me simply lose track of who broke their records last night. I think there was an 8 inch rainfall event in 24 hours somewhere in NW Minnesota overnight!

    Reply
    • Yes. That storm track has you guys locked in its sights.

      My opinion on the optical situation is that less restrained capitalism is inherently monopolistic and tends toward systems that facilitate centralized control. I believe the decentralized democratization of energy that tends to come with renewables and especially solar cuts directly against this grain.

      Further, the monopolistic systems themselves are lazy and react to protect capital at every turn. In this respect they stall innovation as much as possible since the only benefit they look to, as you well observe, is in short term profit.

      The best thing that could happen for modern civilization is that the monopoly market and related political structures fail while overall political integrity effectively transforms or remains in tact but becomes more democratized and progress/ problem solving oriented. The focus on profits is rather robotic and imbecilic at the moment. Not to mention the fact that it’s blind to existential threats.

      Reply
    • utoutback

       /  June 19, 2014

      This is about what we can expect. We have built a global civilization on cheap carbon fuels to provide food, transportation, plastic, etc. This ship isn’t turning around in time to prevent major suffering.
      The coming term is “existential despair”.

      Reply
      • Bernard

         /  June 21, 2014

        I used to wonder what the inhabitants of Easter Island were thinking when they chopped their last trees. Now I know. It was despair. They came to the realization that they were in a position that relied on long-term planning in the previous generation.

        Reply
  3. N79 has been on a tear this year too (upper right hand outlet). If this doesn’t let up, the peak may be quite something in a couple of weeks.

    Reply
    • The Zachariae? Yeah that one’s been grumbling quite loudly lately.

      Reply
    • 80 degree temps within 40 miles of the Arctic Ocean near the Lena river in Russia. Temps in the mid 70s now over most of Northwest Canada near the CAA.

      Reply
      • Yeah, been watching that hot spot in Russia, it’s still growing in size. Another thing I’ve been watching is the water temp in the arctic. Even through the extent is not depleting I suspect the ice is getting chewed up underneath quite badly. Most of the water is above 28F.

        Reply
      • james cole

         /  June 19, 2014

        In that case, the great Lena rive should be spewing extra warm surface water into the arctic sea. I dread to think what is happening to Russian permafrost across their Siberian tracts. The area is so huge, to set off a big melt would just release a terrible amount of CO2 and Methane. Siberian Tundra and the Arctic Sea coast Methane deposits are both massive positive feed backs looking ready to be triggered.

        Reply
        • I’m thinking we’re seeing the buildup in that feedback now. Year after year we have these very warm temperatures during summer in Siberia now. The coastal region near the Laptev is at +20 C anomaly today. All of Yakutia is in the range of +10 to +20 C. It’s nuts.

      • Phil

         /  June 20, 2014

        I heard that methane tracker.org is no longer operational and has not been for a month or two. Pity, that gave a good indications of size and scope of methane emissions in the arctic regions and Siberian tundra.

        With that tool seemingly gone, it will be much harder to keep track of what is happening in regards to methane.

        I hope they get it back up and operational.

        Reply
        • I’m sorry to see him go. A very helpful tool for tracking methane levels. The ESRL numbers are single site based and have tended to lag by a month or so. Is there a fund raising effort for the site?

      • Phil

         /  June 20, 2014

        To back that up, have not heard much from either the NASA CARVE mission or from the Russian scientists for a while.

        Reply
      • Phil

         /  June 20, 2014

        I am not sure if there is a fund raising effort. Sam Carana has also flagged this possibility on his blog but I do not know what eventuated.

        You would think a University somewhere would run with that type of idea for tracking methane.

        Reply
        • If you find out about one, let me know and I’ll post/link to it here. The University of Maryland used to post publicly available atmospheric methane readings based on the AIRS sensor. Not anymore that I can find..

    • And… The Beaufort is undergoing rapid recession and major melt pond proliferation as of the past two days.

      Highs directly over the thick ice just north of Greenland and predicted to remain throughout the week.

      This is traditional rapid melt weather.

      Reply
      • Phil

         /  June 19, 2014

        It will be interesting to see what happens with the arctic sea ice. The relative lack of downward movement in extent and area terms has been fostering alot of debate on the arctic sea ice forum.

        The 5 day ahead weather model predictions also seem to have been promising favourable melt conditions that do not seem to eventuate (at least to the extent indicated originally by the models).

        Will be interesting to see if the current very favourable conditions for melt surface eventuate over the next week.

        Robert, do you have any data on how hot the arctic sea can get in summer – is it restricted to perhaps a few degrees C or can it actually get hotter than that? We seem to have quite hot conditions approaching the arctic ocean form both Canada and Siberia, but I do not know enough to tell whether this can extend out over the ocean itself.

        Reply
        • The ocean tends to remain just at or above freezing. Sea surface even during summer is typically 26 to 33 (F). There are two inertial barriers involved. The first is due to the ice which requires major energy influx to melt. The second is due to the fact that water retains a high inertial barrier to warming.

          Temps in the range of 35 to 45 F over the Arctic Ocean would be highly anomalous. However, the extreme land mass heat in the high Arctic does provide a severe warming pressure. Contact between the much warmer land air mass and the much colder sea/ice air mass will tend to generate mists and fogs that transfer some of this heat imbalance to the ocean/ice surface.

          Heat delivery also comes in the form of warm river waters flowing from the hot continents and into the cold ocean surface waters.

          If the ice inertial barrier falls, the darker ocean is more vulnerable to higher summer anomalies. This is a major amplifying feedback due to sea ice loss that tends to compound as losses accumulate.

          Otherwise, summer anomalies tend to be lower than those during winter as ghg heat trapping is most efficient at night and the Arctic summer is essentially a months long day.

      • Phil

         /  June 19, 2014

        Robert, Thanks, most informative.

        Reply
      • Phil

         /  June 20, 2014

        Looks like area is finally starting some century size drops. Looking at climate reanalyzer, good melt conditions for the next couple of days over on the Atlantic side – Hudson Bay, Baffin and Beaufort Sea areas and Kara (on the other side).

        Will be interesting to see if these forecast conditions eventuate and if the longer term forecasts also hold – could be some good melt action if they do.

        Reply
  4. Just had another big line of strong thunderstorms and small hail go through metro-Denver this afternoon heading northeast too. We have been somewhat cooler than normal this spring but we did have above-average snowfall above 7,000 feet elevation this past winter here plus our big 1000-year flood last September, which has greatly reduced what had been abnormally hot and dry conditions here last summer too.

    The early-season Greenland melt is bad news as we haven’t yet gotten to the heart Western US and Canadian wildfire season either despite the West Coast drought, though we have already seen an increase in early season wildfire across the region too. Just wait until July and August when the incidence of wildfire surges and more black carbon gets deposited on northeastern Canada and Greenland too.

    Someday soon, though I don’t know when, the cost of renewable energy will fall below that of the rising cost of fracking for more natural gas, and when that happens we will be faced with another giant debt bubble too, as today debt loads on fracking companies are surging and they have to keep drilling in order to just pay debt service, against the ever-rising cost of drilling, trucking, and obtaining water too.

    Thanks to many US politicians and their debt-driven policies we also are facing our own debt service crisis if another huge recession hits or we get drawn into another war too, and once someone is finally willing to stand in the way of more drilling or rising costs raise the price of natural gas too high there is going to be h*ll to pay after lots of these drilling companies go under too.

    My guess is that the Democrats would like to delay another debt bubble at least until after the 2016 or even the 2020 election which is why the appearance is that they care about continuing oil & gas profits more than they care about its impacts on affected residents or on ongoing climate change either.

    Reply
    • It’s ephemeral capital anyway. Hence the bubble. If the Dems were smart they’d predict the collapse and work for buffering through alt energy projects. Stock market-wise, the fracking companies are already taking a bit of flak.

      Ironically, another over-build of solar production capacity could well win the market for them, even though it won’t make the industry darlings to the predatory investment crowd.

      As for the storms… Ridge west, trough east remains roughly in tact. So the storm track runs down through about the center of the country. Due to the added moisture content and overall atmospheric thickening when the storms do spring up they’re quite a bit more intense than we’re used to. Storm heights increase and the precipitation intensity can be extraordinary. Many storms also stall, raining out over a single area for hours and hours on end. We’ve had multiple water rescues in this area due to exceedingly intense storms.

      Reply
      • climatehawk1

         /  June 20, 2014

        If the Dems were smart, they would also make the argument that it’s essential to reduce the value of fossil fuel holdings as rapidly as can be done in an orderly fashion, in order to prevent a massive financial collapse dwarfing the recent collapse of overly inflated housing values.

        Reply
  5. Apneaman

     /  June 19, 2014

    Dahr Jamail’s latest summary.
    Atmospheric CO2 Crosses “Ominous Threshold”

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/24370-atmospheric-co2-crosses-ominous-threshold

    Reply
  6. utoutback

     /  June 19, 2014

    My latest way to explain what may soon happen in global temperatures is the cocktail glass model.
    I go to a summer party and I’m handed a cold drink with ice. The drink remains cool and refreshing while there is still ice in the glass, perhaps for quite some time. But, then the last ice cube is entirely melted and suddenly the drink is luke warm.
    I’m watching Arctic ice with trepidation as the last ice cubes melt. It’s easy to say, “Oh, things aren’t that bad” with episodes of curious weather. Suddenly the episodes are of the stable weather we used to know and the unusual is the norm.

    Reply
    • We’re in the age of near misses now. When that comes to an end and the hits start falling, people will wonder why we didn’t act more strongly to prevent it.

      Reply
    • colinc

       /  June 19, 2014

      VERY nice, utoutback!! Give yourself an A+ in perception (all due respect intended). You’ve noticed a small aspect of an experiment I did nearly 30 years ago while studying the thermodynamics module in my physics class and Newton’s Law of Cooling (& Heating) in my Diff.Eq. class. Long story short, if you were to take periodic measurements of the ice (mass/weight) and the liquid (temperature) in which that ice floats you will find that the ice melts exponentially while the temperature of the liquid barely changes. Then, after the last bit of ice melts, the liquid’s temperature then rises exponentially! That same process is well underway in the Arctic with a slight variation (the abysmal chill of a very long night). Nonetheless, when the last berg/floe in that northern sea melts out in some future, but none too distant, July or June, the increase in SST there will probably astonish more than a few people. BTW, I got top-marks for that experiment, but that was way before I or my professors knew anything about global warming.

      Reply
      • It is a good analogy.

        You get a +5 C bump almost immediately. Take down the whole Arctic Ocean and it probably amplifies a bit. That said, the water still has more inertia than land. So will tend to remain cooler than parts of Siberia now hitting the upper 70s to upper 80s and even low 90s at times.

        … ah the poor permafrost.

        One more point to note is that current warming over the Arctic Ocean is occurring with greater intensity during that long Arctic night. Greenhouse gasses more efficiently trap heat that is trying to radiate out into space at this time. The warmer winters create a lower base-line from which melt starts during summer as added heat during winter results in both warmer ice and warmer water.

        Lastly, the ice sits on a warming ocean that gains heat from contact with the world ocean. Ultimately a very difficult problem for both land and sea ice to manage.

        Reply
      • Bernard

         /  June 21, 2014

        Question.

        When talking about greenhouse gasses (CO2 & methane particularly) we always consider their effect in their role as a blanket that traps IR. But what about the energy that is released during oxidation? For CO2 I can understand that it’s spread over all areas with industrial activity and of minor significance.

        But methane releases from the permafrost oxidizes in the local area. How many joules of energy per square meter are we actually talking about? Could this be the reason for the high temperatures there?

        Reply
  7. Colorado Bob

     /  June 19, 2014

    The 3.00” in Sioux Falls on June 16th was preceded by 2.74” on June 15th and 1.97” on June 14th, the latter two being daily records. On June 14-15 the city picked up 4.56” in the 24-hour period of 5 a.m., June 14 to 5 a.m., June 15, just shy of the all-time (any month) 24-hour precipitation record of 4.59” set on August 1, 1975. However, the 7.71” from June 14-16 brings the June monthly precipitation total in Sioux Falls to 13.04”. This has crushed the previous all-time monthly record for the city of 9.42” set back in May 1898. Precipitation records for Sioux Falls began in June 1890, although the official POR starts in 1893 (a few days of records are missing from May and June 1891 and also from October 1893).

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/comment.html?entrynum=282

    Reply
  8. Colorado Bob

     /  June 19, 2014

    Bosnia’s May floods caused $2.7 billion in damages

    Link

    No one event can be blamed on climate change. Even when they come now every week.

    Reply
    • Oh, I think we can certainly blame them on climate change. Your weather is your climate.

      Reply
      • pintada

         /  June 19, 2014

        If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like …

        I get why climatologists can’t use that simple logic in their writings and lectures, but that simple lack of frank common sense may be one of the main things causing the problem that we have always had with policy.

        Reply
        • It tends to come across as quibbling. Weather is a component of climate. Climate is an aggregate of weather. The communication is, for lack of a better term, overly conservative. So much so that it conceals rather than reveals what’s actually happening.

      • climatehawk1

         /  June 20, 2014

        I think the athlete/steroids comparison is useful here. Let’s say on x specific date, Mark McGwire hit a home run. Is it possible to provide he wouldn’t have without steroids? No. Then how do we know he used steroids? Well, they increased the likelihood, and after a while, the evidence got to be overwhelming, through home run after home run after home run.

        Reply
      • climatehawk1

         /  June 20, 2014

        Sorry, that should be “prove” rather than “provide,” obviously.

        Reply
        • The steroid analogy is not exactly apt in this respect. True, the weather hits more home runs. If home runs were once every 100 years, now they’re more likely to be once every 10, especially when the home runs are heatwaves and droughts. For those events, the steroid analogy is sufficient. But, occasionally, we see events that we would have never seen even in a hundred years before, perhaps even in a thousand years. Events like the Pakistan or Serbian floods. Events like the epic Australian drought. Events like the European heatwave. Events like never before seen wildfire proliferation and intensity and major wildfires in winter. In these cases the comparison would be like being able to take a steroid that allows you to hit baseballs high enough and hard enough to knock airplanes out of the sky.

          The issue here is that weather like this would never have happened before climate change and that the entire range of weather has been shoved radically out of context by climate change. We have weather on superman steroids. Except that it’s bad weather. So call it DR. Doom steroids instead.

          Oh, and one more thing. We haven’t seen nothing yet. The Dr. D steroids are just getting warmed up.

  9. Yes, the weather is our climate.
    I accept and understand the ramifications of realities like: amplifying feedback loops and human forced climate change, etc. So I grasp for ways to show the obvious to those who deny or avoid the dangers we face in the very near term.
    My mind keeps coming back to the graphic testimony of the late physicist Richard Feynman during the investigation into the explosion, shortly after liftoff, of the space shuttle Challenger.
    He demonstrated with an ordinary glass of ice water the effects of freezing cold on the ‘rubber’ o-ring seals aboard the booster rocket. The normally pliant sample seals lacked resiliency to pressure when cold, just as the rings on the Challenger assembly did in the frosty Florida morning at liftoff.
    I think of this because there must be some way to, demonstrate, in an equally simple and fundamental way, the brutal finality of Earth’s atmosphere and ecosystems rendered dysfunctional by the further burning of fossil fuels.
    To me, it is very basic physics that the atmosphere is a closed system. A bubble, if you like, of finite volume that we are filling with toxicity. So much so, that all systems are being corrupted.
    So I ask, as an example, what would someone like Feynman do in our present circumstance? Much is at stake.
    Yeah, we’ve gotta keep throwing stuff at the wall until something sticks that all can see…
    This blog gives its readers quality and timely information. Thank you.

    Reply
    • With climate change, I think we’ve tended to start from a false assumption. The notion is that no single extreme weather event can be attributed to climate change. But climate is simply this — an average of weather over time. So if climate has changed, then weather has changed. The altered weather is attributable to climate change because it is the conditions that added together make up the climate.
      When climate changes, the storms change, the temperatures change, the conditions change.

      Take, for example, the difference in performance between a middle school athlete and the same athlete by the time they reach college after training hard and gaining experience for five or six years. The style of the athlete may seem similar, but their overall performance and capability is radically changed. Now take the same athlete at age 65. How much of their worsened performance can you attribute to aging? If the athlete can no longer perform at the college level because they are 65, then the weather doesn’t perform as it did 40 years ago because of climate change. And 40 years from now the weather will be radically different still.

      Climate is weather added together over a long period. If climate changes, weather changes. It doesn’t get more simple than that.

      Reply
      • colinc

         /  June 19, 2014

        Very nice analogy, Robert. However, I think the athlete-centric metaphor may be more apropos in another context, despite it seeming a bit cliche. Take any athlete from any “sport” who is at or near their optimum, natural performance ability. (Achieved via maturity, conditioning/training, diet/nutrition, experience, etc.) Then put said athlete on a regimen of steroids and human growth hormone (analogous to CO2/CH4, but not necessarily in that order) and reevaluate their performance. The difference is almost always obvious and significant.

        Reply
        • It’s a good analogy.

          With climate vs weather, I always imagine a series of dots representing weather events on a piece of paper. If we a draw a trend line through the dots, we end up with climate. The climate base line condition is always there, but the only way we have to extrapolate it is by observing weather. Once we observe enough weather, we end up with the climate trend.

          Now, imagine two sets of dots. One represents the climate/weather of 40 years ago. One represents the climate/weather of today. Now let’s just image these dots only are a measure of temperature.

          Now take a low temperature reading from today. Say a -2 C departure from the norm. Can we attribute this reading to climate change?

          To answer that question, we have to ask ourselves what similar conditions during the climate of 40 years ago would have resulted in. As a base line, we know that temps are about .5 C warmer. So we can extrapolate that the -2 C anomaly would have probably been about a -2.5 C 40 years ago.

          However, we also know that climate change has made conditions more extreme and so the lowest temperature extremes can sometimes match the lowest temperature extremes seen 40 years ago.

          So the answer is that the -2 C anomaly comes in the context of a changed climate. So we can attribute the reading to climate change as it is the context.

          Now let’s say we have a +15 C anomaly. This one is much easier, because we know that such anomalies did not often occur 40 years ago. And today, we see such anomalies rather frequently — resulting in new record high temperatures over and over again. Can we attribute this reading to climate change. Certainly. Just as a storm produces bigger than normal waves, a warming climate produces more high temperatures.

          OK. Now let’s look at storms. Today’s storms, especially the rain and thunderstorms are different from those we saw 40 years ago. They tend to be more intense, tend to dump more rain over shorter periods, and tend to have higher cloud tops. The available heat and moisture energy for storm formation and intensification is much greater. So say we have a series of record rainfall events. Can we attribute this to climate change? Absolutely. For without the changed conditions these storms would not have been record events. Would we have still had record events without climate change? Yes. But would they have been as frequent? No way. And would the same record rain storm of 40 years ago be a meaner more potent storm today? Absolutely.

          Now let’s look at droughts. Droughts rely on numerous factors such as rate of evaporation, heat, and persistence for intensification. And we can say without a doubt that droughts are a far more intense species than they were 40 years ago. The conditions that would result in mild drought decades ago result in severe droughts now. Furthermore, changes in atmospheric dynamics result in more persistent weather patterns. Weaker jet streams, stronger high pressure systems, air masses that are heavier and less likely to move. The added heat also intensifies rate of evaporation and so droughts can crop up much more rapidly than before. Would the current California drought have occurred 40 years ago or been anywhere near as intense? No way. The blocking high would not have been as persistent, the rate of evaporation not as intense, the absence of rainfall not as complete, and the Sierra Nevada would not have lost so much of its cooling and relieving snow pack. 40 years ago, the current drought would have been far milder. So can we attribute this record drought to climate change. Absolutely.

          In the past, these rainstorms, heatwaves, and droughts might never have been noticed. They would have been passing summer showers, a hot summer day, a mild dry spell. Add current climate change and we get water rescues on the news due to massive flooding infrastructure can’t handle, a record shattering heat wave, and an agriculture wrecking and water rationing necessitating California drought.

          Climate changed. As they say… on steroids.

  10. Gerald Spezio

     /  June 19, 2014

    dtlange; What would Feynman do?

    from; “Cargo Cult Science”, adapted from a commencement address given at Caltech (1974)

    There is one feature I notice that is generally missing in “cargo cult science.”

    It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty — a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid — not only what you think is right about it; other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked — to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

    Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can — if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong — to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it.

    There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

    In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.

    Reply
  11. Gerald Spezio

     /  June 19, 2014

    William Rogers, Esquire, was the double talking establishment lawyer sent to cover up the foolhardy administrative fly order that lead to the deaths of Challenger’s entire crew.

    Lawyerman Rogers had been tricky Dickie Nixon’s Secretary of State.

    Rogers did his lawyerly best to double talk, deceive, & mystify the entire investigative commission.

    Yabut, Feynman wouldn’t buy any of lawyer Roger’s circuitous lawyering flapdoodle.

    Feynman refused to embrace Roger’s political script & its justifying mystifications.

    He proceeded to blow the entire HOMICIDAL farce out of the water.

    As dtlange suggests, there is an edifying chapter in “WHAT DO YOU CARE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK” laying out Feynman’s ceaseless ability to always do honest science in the face of other human beings trained to do the exact opposite.

    http://www.feynman.com/

    Reply
  12. Colorado Bob

     /  June 19, 2014

    Drought in Syria: a Major Cause of the Civil War?

    By: Dr. Jeff Masters ,

    Syria’s devastating civil war that began in March 2011 has killed over 200,000 people, displaced at least 4.5 million, and created 3 million refugees. While the causes of the war are complex, a key contributing factor was the nation’s devastating 2006 – 2011 drought, one of the worst in the nation’s history, according to new research accepted for publication in the journal Weather, Climate, and Society by water resources expert Dr. Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute. The drought brought the Fertile Crescent’s lowest 4-year rainfall amounts since 1940, and Syria’s most severe set of crop failures in recorded history. The worst drought-affected regions were eastern Syria, northern Iraq, and Iran, the major grain-growing areas of the northern Fertile Crescent. In a press release that accompanied the release of the new paper, Dr. Gleick said that as a result of the drought, “the decrease in water availability, water mismanagement, agricultural failures, and related economic deterioration contributed to population dislocations and the migration of rural communities to nearby cities. These factors further contributed to urban unemployment, economic dislocations, food insecurity for more than a million people, and subsequent social unrest.”

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2703

    Reply
  13. Colorado Bob

     /  June 19, 2014

    California steaming: State’s hot year worsens drought

    So far, California is enduring its hottest year on record, contributing to the state’s worst level of drought in the past 40 years, according to a report from the National Climatic Data Center released Thursday morning.

    Through the first five months of the year, “temperatures in California have been about 5 degrees above average,” said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist with the center in a conference call with reporters.

    The warmth in California has contributed to the drought that’s now encompassing the entire state, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2014/06/19/california-drought-el-nino/10868531/

    Reply
  14. Colorado Bob

     /  June 19, 2014

    That brings the airport’s total to 10.33 inches for the month, making this the second-wettest June so far on record — behind the 11.67 inches that fell in June 1874.

    It’s rare for the Twin Cities to see this much rain in a calendar day. In records dating to 1871, it’s happened only 11 other times.

    The rain has fallen during what has already been a soggy start to the year. From Jan. 1 to Wednesday, 21.1 inches of precipitation was measured at the airport — the highest on record over that period.

    http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_25993882/rain-blitz-causes-twin-cities-flash-flooding-daily

    Reply
  15. Alan Curtis Montgomery

     /  June 19, 2014

    Soon Arizona will have beach front property at this rate😉. It would be funny if it wasn’t such a threat to our planet, nature, and communities. Lets hope people will wakeup soon.

    Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  June 19, 2014

    Starfish are dying by the millions up and down the West Coast, leading scientists to warn of the possibility of localized extinction of some species. As the disease spreads, researchers may be zeroing in on a link between warming waters and the rising starfish body count.
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/scientists-zero-whats-causing-starfish-die-offs/

    Reply
  17. Gerald Spezio

     /  June 19, 2014

    colinc; Information like this deserves to be repeated.

    Miss this at your peril.

    ” … if you were to take periodic measurements of the ice (mass/weight) and the liquid (temperature) in which that ice floats you will find that the ice melts exponentially while the temperature of the liquid barely changes. Then, after the last bit of ice melts, the liquid’s temperature then rises exponentially!

    That same process is well underway in the Arctic with a slight variation (the abysmal chill of a very long night). Nonetheless, when the last berg/floe in that northern sea melts out in some future, but none too distant, July or June, the increase in SST there will probably astonish more than a few people.”

    Simple, astonishing, & powerfully predictive.

    Reply
    • You end up with an initial +5 C boost that runs many meters down through the water column. Beyond that, the water itself has a strong inertia. So it takes time to warm it. Land responds far, far faster.

      If you want get a decent idea what happens in recently ice free regions, take a look at the Barents Sea where we regularly have strong positive sst anomalies the range of +2 to +4 C on aggregate. Until this decade, about half the Barents was regularly ice covered. Now it has remained mostly ice free.

      A fully ice free Arctic Ocean lasting 1 month would have profound and far reaching impacts. At some point, probably within the next decade, we’ll likely see this. That said, there’s Greenland still to contend with and that big hunk of ice is going to be flushing larger volumes of ice and cold, fresh water into the Arctic and North Atlantic.

      Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 19, 2014

      GS –
      Cracker jack comment.
      The same thing is also going on with the other part of the phase change that water goes through , that is water being changed into a gas.
      It’s water on the Earth that conducts the heat , people don’t realize this. Very large amounts of heat can be stored in water , as we both know.

      This is why I pay so close attention to these mind blowing rainfall rates we everyday now . To me, that is a bright clear signal that the climate is in a new state . There’s an area southwest of Sioux Falls that has seen 18 inches this month, and 7 inches fell in 2 hours near Minneapolis today.

      And that cut off low , is still barely moving

      Reply
  18. Griffin

     /  June 19, 2014

    What a fascinating blog! Thank you Robert, again, and all of your readers that take the time to share these comments. I am simply riveted to this daily now. Robert, I remember your surprise when someone pointed out that Hurricane Amanda had intensified to just shy of Cat 5. This was despite the fact that the “normally reliable” models had all predicted a peak strength of Cat 1. Well, the second hurricane managed to perform a very close repeat performance. Cristina was also predicted to attain Cat 1 strength but managed to peak at over 150 MPH. Simply incredible for two storms this early in the year. It really seems as though every day there is more news than we can handle on the weather front. Colorado Bob, I thought of you when I read this today. The crop losses are a very tough financial blow. http://www.startribune.com/local/263626331.html

    Reply
    • It’s absolutely incredible and unprecedented. Two near Cat 5’s and all so early in the season!

      FAO at 207 now. So we sit on the knife edge of food security at the moment.

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  June 19, 2014

        Yes it is unprecedented for sure. Accumulated Cyclone Energy stands at 450% (450%!!) of normal for the EPac region YTD according to Weatherbell. http://models.weatherbell.com/tropical.php

        Reply
      • colinc

         /  June 20, 2014

        Griffin, thanks for that link to Weatherbell! While the stat you cite, as well as both of the top 2 tables, is somewhat ominous(?), I find I am much more intrigued by the “Global Hurricane Frequency” and “Global Tropical Cyclone Accumulated Cyclone Energy” graphs a little further down the page. The trend lines in the former and the “oscillations” in the latter are “most interesting!” That data is begging for some serious cogitation. Thanks again.

        Reply
      • colinc

         /  June 20, 2014

        Thank you kindly, Robert, I hadn’t looked that deeply into the WB site yet and I sincerely appreciate the “heads up.” I will definitely compare/contrast the WB info with that provided by NOAA. Thanks, too, for the convenient link!🙂

        Reply
        • Single NOAA study. There’s quite a bit of work on the subject at the moment. General consensus is that the number of storms trend is inconclusive even though observations show a sharp spike in storms. The issue is ‘lost storms’ due to incomplete observation earlier on. Also note that Bell cherry picks a start point at the arbitrary 1970 date and doesn’t include the complete record.

          General consensus on storm strength is that it has gradually increased despite the fact that anthropogenic aerosols tend to limit maximum intensity as a negative feedback. Model consensus is that storm strength increases with warming overall throughout the 21rst century. Negative feed backs, however, include atmospheric dust (anthropogenic or desertification related), loss of heat differential from tropics to northern latitudes (potential impact), as well as potential increases in shear.

        • And it’s worth noting this observation based study showing a doubled frequency of Atlantic hurricanes over the last century:

          http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2007/hurricanefrequency.shtml

          UCAR is an excellent group, btw.

        • OK. Just one more and I’m done. This paper from the person who is arguably the world’s top expert on hurricanes shows that both storm frequency and intensity increase with global warming:

          http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/07/05/1301293110.abstract

      • colinc

         /  June 20, 2014

        Thanks again, Robert, for all the additional links/info. Yes, I am quite aware of both how dim J. Bastardi, R. Pielke I/II, and their ilk are and the superior content at UCAR. (I hadn’t heard of R. Maue.) When I left my initial comment re:Weatherbell I had only done a cursory scan of the page Griffin had linked. Moreover, I haven’t found a great deal of interest in tropical storms/hurricanes as I am fairly certain that it will be the global droughts, predominately in the world’s primary crop regions, that virtually guarantee the end of “civilization” (not that there was ever anything “civil” about it and it’s about to become much less so) and death on a scale never before witnessed by humans.

        Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  June 20, 2014

    Indus basin will get hotter by 4 degree C by the end of the century.

    Reply
    • That’s rough. The river might be a shade of its former self by then.

      Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 20, 2014

      Last Month, it was 122F degrees there. The heat like you’ve never dreamed of . But you don’t post, and you have atomic weapons

      Welcome to the Indus Valley .

      Putting the War. Back in Climate Wars

      Reply
      • Hey I covered that along with my monsoon piece!
        😉

        I wonder when India will realize that their situation isn’t too far removed from that of Bangladesh? Same for us all.

        Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  June 20, 2014

    Think about that folks.
    In 2010 these same people saw 16 feet of rain , in one week. Where this paper was centered.

    Everyone, needs to read this link –

    The Extreme Rain Events of 2010

    Last Month, it was 122F degrees there. The heat like you’ve never dreamed of . But you don’t post, and you have atomic weapons

    Welcome to the Indus Valley .

    Putting the War. Back in Climate Wars

    Reply
    • Link?

      The monsoon is still sparse and delayed. Some storms today, though.

      Reply
    • For those who want the link, it’s here:

      http://coloradobob1.newsvine.com/_news/2010/11/21/5504169-the-extreme-rain-events-of-2010

      Bob tracked down the record rain events for that year and posted them. You’ll note that some of the hourly totals are even now less than what we’ve seen recently.

      RE atmospheric water vapor and changes to the water cycle and the state of water in the climate system in general, Bob is probably correct. Current warming has already amped up the hydrological cycle by six percent and greatly loaded a thickened atmosphere with heat trapping and transferring water vapor.

      As for the powerful bits of info I have access to, I’ll do my best to put them out in a timely and informative manner. I probably spend a bit too much time sifting and researching and not enough time posting. Will do what I can to pick up the pace a bit. 558 articles and counting… Will see how soon we can make 1000.

      Best

      R

      Reply
  21. Steve

     /  June 20, 2014

    Not any specific rain totals, but Bulgaria is seeing a lot of rain & flooding with more to come on Friday. http://news.yahoo.com/heavy-rains-floods-hit-bulgaria-10-people-killed-221657980.html

    Reply
  22. Spike

     /  June 20, 2014

    Chinese press reports 15% loss of permafrost and glacial ice on the Tibetan plateau. http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20140620000005&cid=1105

    Reply
  1. Another Week in the Ecological Crisis, June 22, 2014 – A Few Things Ill Considered

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