Dozens of Massive Wildfires in Central Siberia Belch 1,200 Mile Smoke Plume Over Hot Tundra

1,200 mile smoke plume

(Dozens of monstrous fires belch a 1,200 mile plume of dark smoke over Central Siberia. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

Let’s just cut to the chase, it’s been hot in Siberia.

This winter, temperatures throughout large swaths of this typically frigid land of tundra and boreal forest ranged between 5 and 7 degrees Celsius above average. For brief periods spikes in the very extreme range of 20 degrees Celsius warmer than normal were not uncommon.

The unusual heat continued into spring igniting a mass of anomalous wildfires in April, a time when most of Siberia remains frozen. By May, more than a million acres had burned, all well before the typical peak of fire season in July and early August. But that was mere prelude to peak fire season, which we are starting to enter now.

Siberian Heatwave Spurs Massive Fires

The record heat this winter was simply the continuation of a long warming trend fueled by human greenhouse gas emissions. Each decade now has seen Siberia warm at a pace double the global average — more than 0.5 degrees Celsius every ten years. And this extra heat is fueling a terrifying intensification of wildfires, a trend that is expected to show at least a doubling of the annual acres burned in this far northern region by the end of this century.

This year’s early start to fire season may be setting the stage for a record or near record burning this year. And today we have a massive flare up of fires in Central Siberia under a broad heat dome over the region.

Temperatures beneath the dome earlier today were in the upper 80s and lower 90s, departures between 5 and 15 degrees Celsius above average for this time of year. This heat spike hit already warmed and dried lands. Lands filled with the added fuel of thawing tundra and the organic carbon and methane pockets beneath. Lands whose shallow surface layer is a tinder bed for flash fires.

Siberian Heat Dome

(Heat dome over Central Siberia in the upper right hand corner of this GFS based-temperature and weather graphic. Image source: University of Maine. Data source: NOAA/GFS.)

The result was the massive wildfire eruption seen in the satellite shot at the top of the page. A very intense set of enormous fires with fronts ranging from 3 to 34 miles burning through boreal forest and tundra land. This set of blazes is even more intense than those seen at this time during the record 2012 Siberian fire season, although it is worth noting that those fires hit extraordinary strength and size by early July and continued in a series of episodes through mid August. The result was massive smoke plumes eventually encircling the Arctic.

Typically, the fires fill the air with particulate and the moisture loading under the heat dome grows ever more intense. Often, and sooner rather than later, a frontal storm accompanied with intense rains sweeps in, catching up the smoke in its cloud mass even as the towering storms douse the raging fires. A song of flood and flame that has become all too common throughout the very rapidly changing Arctic.

In years of very extreme burning, the smoke-laden clouds darken, losing their white, reflective tops. This further amplifies warming over fire-prone areas, setting the stage for more fires. On the ground, the fires plunge ever deeper into the thawing tundra, seeking more and more fuel. In some cases, the fires are reported to have burned the ground to a depth of 3 feet or more, turning both Earth and Tundra into blackened soot while pumping heightening volumes of CO2 into the atmosphere. The dark smoke aloft lifts away, eventually finding a resting place on sea ice or glaciers. There the heating feedback continues over ominously Dark Snow.

The whole terrible process continues until the globe at last tilts away from the summer sun, shutting the whole dreadful feedback down. But each year, we fuel it more through our burning of fossil fuels. Each year, the global greenhouse gas heat forcing ratchets higher and more and more tundra land thaws as the burn line creeps north, providing ever more fuel for the Arctic flames.

Links:

Support the Dark Snow Project

A Song of Flood And Fire

Support and defend our scientists at:

NASA/LANCE MODIS

The University of Maine

NOAA/GFS

 

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85 Comments

  1. has anyone begun to try to estimate the CO2e impact of these fires? Also I’m not sure how I’ve never seen it before, but that Dark Snow graph of Greenland ice albedo is absolutely terrifying:

    Is this trend expected to continue, and if so how is that compatible with avoiding an absolutely massive melt from Greenland this century?

    Reply
    • It’s a complete mess. Greenland melt is hitting very high velocity. At a certain point not too far off the weather gets really, really nasty. Probably some point near the 2 foot SLR line.

      Reply
      • Hey Robert, thanks for all the news you post or repost on this site. I follow you for more than 3 years now. Can you please explain and talk about the arctic sea ice in your next post. It’s melting so fast last days because of the high pressure and sun I think. greets

        Reply
        • Working on that and an El Nino post for today!

        • And of course the latest Washington Times denier editorial claimed that sea ice was increasing! “There’s so much ice the polar bears are celebrating.” (23 June 2014)

        • We are tied for new record lows in the JAXA monitor.

    • As for CO2e, there have been a number of studies finding a very large net carbon emission coming from the Arctic. Long term, it’s quite a serious issue what happens to the over 1,500 gigatons locked in the tundra. Fire, decomposition and action by microbes is bound to release a portion of this. But how soon and how fast is still a matter of serious investigation.

      Reply
  2. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2014

    It seems the carbon cycle just got a little bit older :

    Oldest animal-built reef found in Namibia
    “We have found that animals were building reefs even before the evolution of complex animal life,” said Rachel Wood.

    It’s often said that technology mimics nature, but nearly as often, nature mimics nature. Such was the case 550 million years ago, scientists say, when coral-like creatures called Cloudina banded together to build their own version of a reef — the long deposits of sand and eroded rock that form beneath the ocean surface.

    The ancient creatures affixed themselves to natural surfaces, and also to each other, by excreting a natural cement made of calcium carbonate. Like cement, the wet substance hardened to create an outer shell and protective barrier — a buffer against the dangerous underwater world.

    Link

    Reply
    • Absolutely amazing, Bob. The oceans have such a vast and wondrous history. I’d like to see us keep it that way.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 27, 2014

        Pretty amazing that life was making calcium carbonate 550 million years ago. I mean the system was trying to organize it’s self.

        Reply
  3. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2014

    In some cases, the fires are reported to have burned the ground to a depth of 3 feet or more, turning both Earth and Tundra into blackened soot while pumping heightening volumes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

    I can recall Canadian fire fighters telling of roots of trees slowly burning , 4 and 5 feet into the ground for months after the blaze was first started. This is the most incomplete, and dirtiest combustion I can think of, and it is no friend of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    Reply
    • It’s the perfect enemy of the ice. As if locked in the Arctic soil lies the key to a far more rapid glacial decline than we envisioned. It really is a harsh mechanism. I don’t like it. Not one bit.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 27, 2014

        Me too, it’s a feedback for sure , and right under our noses , one of those “Monsters Behind the Door”.

        Reply
  4. Apneaman

     /  June 27, 2014

    Did climate deniers just admit they don’t know what they’re talking about?

    http://thebulletin.org/did-climate-deniers-just-admit-they-don%E2%80%99t-know-what-they%E2%80%99re-talking-about7261

    Reply
    • Might as well paint a yellow stripe down their backs. If the republicans don’t have the courage to stand up to ignorance, even when it comes from their own constituency, then why be a leader at all? Why serve in government if you can’t say ‘hey ignoring scientists is completely nuts.’

      What’s the point of serving if you don’t have the guts to lead? To make a stand, to set an example?

      I honestly don’t know what’s worse about republicans, the fact that their policies stink to high heaven or the fact that when they realize some of their base is dead wrong, they can’t stand up to them. The republicans are in the belly of a beast of their own making. And yet they lack the guts or creativity to engineer a way out.

      I suppose they think they’re being clever. But it continues to display a total and complete lack of integrity.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 27, 2014

        I’ve watching the “Freedom Summer” stuff the last 2 weeks . We’ve always had this thread of stupid ever since King Charles sent some of his inbread buddies to farm rice , and indigo in South Carolina. My mother was a genealogist for 40 years. The British exported a lot of stupid people , along with the founders of the country.

        Reply
        • I’ll have to take a look at that. Sounds like quite an interesting bit of history.

          Just finished Capital in the 21st Century, so I’ll have a bit of spare time for it. Off camping with my family this weekend, though. Will try to touch base when I can.

      • Mark from New England

         /  June 28, 2014

        Have fun camping, Robert. Thanks to your hard work this week, we have a slew of recent articles to digest.

        Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 27, 2014

      Hell of a post , nice find.

      Reply
      • Have to agree. Brilliant bit of writing too.

        Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  June 27, 2014

        But some of the denialist comments – yikes – they post even at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists!

        Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  June 27, 2014

        Like this one (sorry for the heart attack, Colorado Bob😉

        “The UN has wanted a mechanism to fund its desires for a long time. They invented Global Warming / Climate Change / Climate Disruption as a way to attempt to get money voluntarily from the frightened masses. The IPCC headed up by a railroad engineer isn’t credible. The Climate Scientists form a club that doesn’t tolerate dissenting voices. They are practicing religion, not science.

        The people claiming to be Climate Scientists are in the business of estimating, extrapolating, inferring, suggesting, etc, and then at the end claiming they have proof. Their methods are faulty, and subject to interpretation. They simply don’t KNOW enough about the topic to be able to state anything as a categorical fact. Trouble is, they have the temerity to do just that. They are the modern day Phrenologists.

        The climate is an immensely chaotic system that has so far defied mans attempts to understand it and model it. Some day that will change, but that day is quite a bit off. We should get rid of fossil fuels for numerous reasons, but to use deception and faulty reasoning to scare the world people into thinking the world will come to an end if they don’t cough up more of their hard earned money to fight a gas that is required to sustain life on the planet is Machiavellian and insane.”

        Too many people out there who think this way.

        Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 27, 2014

        Off camping with my family this weekend,

        Go some place important . , go to the fire house at Harpers Ferry . Take them to the to were the world changed. .

        Reply
  5. Ken Barrows

     /  June 27, 2014

    A little off topic: At Climatereanalyzer.org, daily temps in the Antarctic have been 3-4 degrees C below normal (1979-2000 average). Is this unusual and, if so, what is a possible explanation?

    Reply
    • bassman

       /  June 28, 2014

      I have been wondering the same thing.

      Reply
    • wili

       /  June 28, 2014

      That’s well within the range of natural variability, so really nothing much to explain. But iirc the difference between the cold continent and the increasingly warm ocean has lead to an acceleration of the southern polar vortex, holding in more cold air near the pole and stretching the sea ice out a bit, too. But I’m sure others here are much better informed on this stuff than I am.

      Reply
  6. Colorado Bob

     /  June 27, 2014

    Off camping with my family this weekend,

    Go some place important . , go to the fire house at Harpers Ferry . Take them to the to were the world changed. Tell them about Robert E. Lee catching John Brown .

    Then take them to Sharpsburg, or Antietam . Tell the them about the about the bloodiest day in American History.

    All of it is beautiful by the way , one never suffers making this trip.

    It;s not like the trip from Lubbock to Plainview.

    Reply
  7. Apneaman

     /  June 28, 2014

    I always thought August 6th & 9th,1945 were the bloodiest days in American history.

    Reply
  8. Loni

     /  June 28, 2014

    Apneaman, you’re probably both right, depending on how one frames the question, as all the soldiers that died at Antietam were American. Approximately 6,000 dead and 17,000 wounded. The one bright spot about this whole climate change thing is that war will become obsolete, or will be the final blow for us all. It’s our call on that one, besides, we’re going to need all the money we can get, including raiding the Defense Dept. budget to curb extinction I’m thinkin’. But gettin’ back to these fires, why haven’t these events become public enemy Number 1 as their net effect goes well beyond the borders of Mother Russia. Why can’t we go over there and help them put those fires out? (When I say “we”, I’m on the North Coast of California.)

    Reply
    • Apneaman

       /  June 28, 2014

      I think it does not matter what country it is. TPTB are only concerned with remaining in power. To tell the public how dire the situation really is would be worse than political suicide. If you were in power and had been hiding the truth would you ever admit it? They are in all the way. There will be NO help from corporate owned politicians. If and when the public ever hits the streets, I fear it will be bloody. There is no time left to piss around with broken corrupt political systems.

      Reply
  9. I have done a very rough translation (as per Yandex) into Russian of your article, so it can reach anotehr audience, hopefully – http://robinwestenra.blogspot.co.nz/2014/06/blog-post.html

    Reply
  10. Gerald Spezio

     /  June 28, 2014

    The Operation Meetinghouse firebombing of Tokyo engineered by General Curtis LeMay with incendiary napalm bombs on the night of 9/10 March 1945 was the single deadliest air raid of World War II; greater than Dresden, Hiroshima, or Nagasaki as single events.

    100,000 people, mostly civilians, were carbonized, vaporized, burned, & maimed.

    Reply
    • Apneaman

       /  June 28, 2014

      Yes GS.
      If I remember correctly, in the last 100 years 10 civilians have been killed for every solider that died in war. Rarely, if ever, had a ratio like that until mechanization. The wonders of technology!

      Reply
  11. Ralph

     /  June 28, 2014

    Westerlies right now north of New Guinea and the Solomons, according to earth.nullschool.net. Fourth pacific Kelvin wave this year starting? Looks like the will-El-Nino-fizzle-or-sizzle question is getting resolved?

    Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  June 28, 2014

      In favor of El Nino sizzle, I take it…

      Reply
      • Ralph

         /  June 28, 2014

        For comparison, here are the wind conditions back in January about the kick-off of the monster Kelvin wave in first half of this year: http://earth.nullschool.net/#2014/01/26/0000Z/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-211.03,-0.27,443

        Current (south-)westerlies are weaker, and slightly north of the equator instead of dead on it.

        Reply
      • Obviously January was a much larger, more well-organized phenomena. Just looking at one criteria, top speed appeared to be about 46 km. Current is more like 21 km. Although it has picked up a bit since the clock struck 0:00 UTC.

        I have a large comment in the queue. Too many links.

        Here is one of them that may be of interest at this point:

        WMO: El Nino Delayed By Record May Temperatures, ReportingClimateScience.com, 2014-06-26

        Reply
      • ENSO Update:

        Preliminary values out of Australia show the 30-day Southern Oscillation Index turned negative for the first time this month on 2014-06-30. The daily SOI was -12.37, the 30-day SOI -0.84. Positive values favor La Ninas, negative values El Ninos.

        The index peaked in on 2014-06-13 of this month at a value of 31.28 and is currently at 1.21. The past nine daily Southern Oscillation Index values have been negative. Their values are -4.57, -11.53, -6.26, -13.78, -20.60, -24.25, -20.03, -5.62 and -12.37 (2014-06-30). As such the 30-day Southern Oscillation Index turned negative just prior to July.

        Reply
      • APOLOGIES

        It appears I forgot the closing </b> that should have come after the value for the 30-day SOI and bolded more than half my text. This was not intentional.

        Reply
      • A chart of the 30-Day Moving Southern Oscillation Index may be found at the Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology ≫ Climate ≫ Seasonal Outlooks ≫ ENSO Wrap Up on tab SOI. The tab includes a link directly below the chart to “30-Day SOI Values” showing that prior to 2014-06-30 the last time the 30-Day Moving SOI was negative was 2014-04-17 at a value of -0.3.

        Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  July 1, 2014

        Tim wrote:

        “Positive values favor La Ninas, negative values El Ninos.

        The index peaked in on 2014-06-13 of this month at a value of 31.28 and is currently at 1.21. The past nine daily Southern Oscillation Index values have been negative. Their values are -4.57, -11.53, -6.26, -13.78, -20.60, -24.25, -20.03, -5.62 and -12.37 (2014-06-30). As such the 30-day Southern Oscillation Index turned negative just prior to July.”

        Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears that we’re now in ENSO neutral or mild El Nino territory? Thanks Tim (and for all the links, etc.)

        Reply
      • NOAA defines El Niños in terms of SST anomalies in the Niño 3.4 region (5°N-5°S, 120°-170°W). To qualify as a weak El Niño you would have to have five consecutive three month running mean anomalies of 0.5°C relative to a base period that is updated every five years. The monthly anomalies have been neutral for April, May and June at -0.48, -0.13 and 0.15 respectively. As such simply in terms of the temperature anomalies for this region there would seem to be little reason for excitement. But as Robert has pointed out, the subsurface temperature anomalies have been a different matter.

        Reply
        • The Kelvin wave was very strong and has now hit the ocean surface. We probably see NINO 3.4 at 0.5 C in June.

          The issue is that the initial Kelvin wave preps conditions for an El Nino event. If the atmosphere does not show feedbacks, then the El Nino fizzles even as we get a spike in Pacific SSTs along the Equator, possibly edging into weak El Nino range.

          Currently, we are seeing strong WWB’s in the Pacific just north of New Guinea and the Solomons. If strong enough, these bursts will generate another warm sub-surface Kelvin Wave to continune the El Nino trend.

          If we have a true El Nino, we’ll probably see hottest ever atmospheric temperature readings as ocean to atmosphere heat transfer ramps up.

      • robertscribbler wrote:

        The issue is that the initial Kelvin wave preps conditions for an El Nino event. If the atmosphere does not show feedbacks, then the El Nino fizzles even as we get a spike in Pacific SSTs along the Equator, possibly edging into weak El Nino range.

        If I understand correctly, you need the atmosphere to cooperate for the positive feedback loop.

        Normally trade winds blow from the East, piling up water in the West, pulling up cold water in the East. When the trade winds weaken sufficiently or there are Westerly Wind Bursts you will have subsurface Kelvin waves where the warm water pool slumps back to the East. When the warm water pool breaks the surface in the East you have the beginning of an El Nino. The temperature differential between East and West will further weaken trade winds, and you may have additional Kelvin waves.

        However, the Pacific as a whole has been warmer, so even though the temperature anomalies have been high both below and sporadically at the surface the temperature differential hasn’t been there for the atmospheric positive feedback. And this is what both the World Meteorological Organization and Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology have been focusing on as the reason why an El Nino has been slow to develop.

        Anyway, I have a couple of comments in the queue of the comment thread for this essay. Feel free to delete the long one on El Nino as the material included is outdated and will otherwise be more relevant to the El Nino post.

        Reply
        • Will go back through and get them all. No need for any deletions.

          We have had some atmospheric feedback with a general weakening of the trades and the occasional west wind burst. Not enough to shove the El Nino into high gear yet, though. The models indicate the feedbacks arrive during summer and push another eastward flush of warm water which locks the current warming pattern firmly into El Nino.

          We see some of these feedbacks today with very strong west winds north of New Guinea. Working on the post now. Will catch the comments back up first.

    • From the article you link to:

      Increasing temperatures may also be playing a role in the recent uptick in violence. A study published last year in the journal Science showed a strong connection between high temperatures and political instability, like civil wars, riots, and ethnic violence, though the cause is not well known.

      The study itself is:

      Hsiang, Solomon M., Marshall Burke, and Edward Miguel. “Quantifying the influence of climate on human conflict.” Science 341.6151 (2013): 1235367.

      Available at: Marshall Burke / Papers – Published and forthcoming

      Reply
  12. Tom

     /  June 28, 2014

    re-posted over on NBL

    Reply
  13. From the essay:

    The unusual heat continued into spring igniting a mass of anomalous wildfires in April, a time when most of Siberia remains frozen. By May, more than a million acres had burned, all well before the typical peak of fire season in July and early August. But that was mere prelude to peak fire season, which we are starting to enter now.

    The warmth this spring has been unusual globally. Interestingly, this may be having a paradoxical effect on El Nino.

    The Japanese Meteorological Agency reported that this Spring (March through May) and May have been the warmest since their record keeping began in 1891. NOAA and NASA are also both reporting global record temperatures. NOAA’s Nationcal Climate Data Center reports that May was the warmest globally for land and ocean, with the ocean taking the lion’s share of the credit as globally May was only fourth warmest for land. NASA reports that given the base period 1951-1980 the global land+ocean surface temperature for Spring has been 0.73°C and for May 0.76°C, making them the warmest Spring and May since record keeping began in 1880.

    In contrast, over the last few days the Eastern Equatorial Pacific has cooled somewhat dramatically. The difference seems especially pronounce between 2014-06-23 00:00 UTC and 2014-06-27 00:00 UTC. The World Meteorological Organization suggests this may be due to the especially warm temperatures of May 2014.

    Please see:

    The WMO suggests that this warmth may be slowing the development of the El Nino and that it is this consequential delay that may weaken its impact: “One explanation for the lack of atmospheric response so far may be that the sea surface temperatures are above average across virtually the entire tropical Pacific, not just in the eastern and central portions. This may be maintaining west-to-east temperature differences more typical of neutral conditions,” the announcement states.

    However, it is worth noting that this WMO suggestion apparently runs counter to the conclusions of peer reviewed research published in Nature last year that warned higher temperatures associated with climate change would actually result in twice the number of more powerful El Ninos in the future (see our report here).

    WMO: El Nino Delayed By Record May Temperatures, ReportingClimateScience.com, 2014-06-26

    A positive Indian Ocean Dipole Mode Index (DMI) promotes El Ninos, negative La Ninas. The most recent monthlies appear to be March and April. Both are small, but March is negative, April positive.

    The DMI values are:

    Jan: 0.03404999 Feb: -0.1043282 Mar: -0.09913445 Apr: 0.08900833

    The Pacific Decadal Index has been positive for the first five months of 2014 with each month higher than the previous month. PDO values were 0.30, 0.38, 0.97, 1.13, and 1.80. When the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is positive strong El Ninos are more likely.

    The 30-day Southern Oscillation Index is currently positive which favors La Ninas. It peaked in on 2014-06-13 of this month at a value of 31.28
    and is currently at 1.21. The past seven daily Southern Oscillation Index values have been negative. The past seven daily values have been -4.57, -11.53, -6.26, -13.78, -20.60, -24.25 and -20.03 (2014-06-28). As such it appears likely that the 30-day Southern Oscillation Index will turn negative prior to July.

    If anyone has a source for DMI that is more current (includes May) please let me know.

    Reply
  14. Apneaman

     /  June 28, 2014

    Report: World’s Oceans on Brink of Collapse
    Global Ocean Commission says rescue needed within five years

    https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/06/24-2?utm_content=buffer7c9cb&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    Reply
    • The oceans are the front line of climate change impact. The sooner we realize this and take a closer look at what we’re doing there, the better. In a hothouse, the death always starts in the oceans. It doesn’t always stay there, though.

      Reply
  15. james cole

     /  June 28, 2014

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/global-cooling-is-here/10783
    I continue to find these types of slick denial creations turn up on various blogs devoted to both left and right wing viewpoints. In this way, the deniers get their message out to left leaning people and the right wingers as well. I can’t prove, but believe ,these professional looking posts are coming from well funded people working for the Koch Brothers. After all, the many millions the Kochs spend on climate change propaganda must produce many such fake analysis as the above. Looking to a layman like a very well documented proof of a lack of global warming. I would appreciate a scientific glance at this fake work of denial science.

    Reply
    • Apneaman

       /  June 28, 2014

      That site is a piece of shit, like the Koch’s.

      Author of that trash.
      http://www.desmogblog.com/don-easterbrook

      Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  June 29, 2014

      James,

      Good points. That would explain my ‘left leaning’ friends who believe opinions such as these at Global Research. HAARP is also a go to for them.

      How’s the weather now out there in the upper Midwest? Are you getting a break from the gloom and (thunder)boom?

      Reply
      • james cole

         /  June 30, 2014

        Yesterday was very tropical. Humid warm and with constant thunderstorms developing over Lake Superior. It reminded me of the kind of days I had in the Navy at sea in the West Pacific. Those small but fast rising thunder clouds. Rain is never ending here!

        Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  July 1, 2014

        James,

        Sounds very weird for Minnesota. Has the state declared the garden slug the state bird yet? I remember one June here a few years ago when it rained nearly every day, and we had slugs the size of baseball bats (those small souvenir ones) in our garden. Though your recent case is much worse and longer lasting. Good luck.

        Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  June 29, 2014

      And the author is also a frequent speaker at the Heart(less) Institute. That explains it all!

      Reply
    • Gerald Spezio

       /  June 30, 2014

      JamesCole; Scholar Naiomi Oreskes is on the case.

      Reply
    • Desmogblog provides a good list of climate change misinformers. Well worth a look any time you come up with stuff that looks like utter nonsense.

      Reply
  16. Paraguay floods force 200,000 to evacuate their homes

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/28077210

    Reply
  17. pintada

     /  June 29, 2014

    First, Robert, I hope you had a great camping trip!

    I’m not sure that you take requests, but I would like to second the request made by “synaxis” on June 27:

    “On the methane/near term extinction issue, it would be interesting to know your perspective on the substantial post earlier this month by Malcolm Light, Harold Hensel, and Sam Carana at Arctic-News: “Arctic Atmospheric Methane Global Warming Veil”

    http://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/2014/06/arctic-atmospheric-methane-global-warming-veil.html

    I’m not finding it now, but Dr. Light had another post in 2013 that I would have liked to have time to review in detail. Anyhoo, i found part of what bothers me about the good doctor in this article:

    http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2014/02/mantle-methane.html

    TO WIT:

    “The buildup of the global atmospheric methane concentration (Figure 11) indicates that the oceans should start to boil off at 115°C to 120°C when the atmospheric methane concentration anomaly exceeds 20,000 ppb (20 ppmv) by 2080. The atmospheric temperatures will approach those on the surface of Venus (460°C to 467°C) when the atmospheric methane concentration anomaly reaches 80,000 ppb (80 ppmv) by 2100 (Figure 11).”

    Dr. Light’s writing is so poor that it is nearly unintelligible (or perhaps he is so smart that it is impossible for him to dumb down his insights sufficiently that I can understand?). Many of the figures and charts are so small that they are totally unintelligible. But what I can glean – and ignoring the obviously impossible – … duh … well. I’m confused. (You should see the 2013 article where he didn’t have Carana and Hensel helping. Wow.)

    I rode the bus to work for a decade while I worked at a state Department of Environmental Quality and many days there was a homeless man standing at the corner when I got off downtown. He had a large piece of cardboard (maybe 30 x 36 inches) that he would hold up. The cardboard was covered in print about 1/8″ high. Obviously, very few people (or more likely no one) passing by had any clue what he wanted to say since the print was so small and getting close enough to put some money in his bucket through the stench he generated caused my eyes to water enough that i couldn’t read it even then. I have wondered occasionally, if perhaps that sign contained a brief explanation of the meaning of life. It may have.

    Likewise, Dr. Light may be communicating the most important information ever. Or, maybe the only thing one can learn from Dr. Light is that it is really important to occasionally go camping and get some perspective. Who can tell?

    What I can say for certain is that:
    1. there is a shitton of methane sequestered in the arctic
    2. Only a small part of that methane would be needed to raise the average temperature on the planet by 8 – 12 degrees C.
    3. Methane clathrates FLOAT and yet they are (magically?) stuck to the bottom of the ocean. I cannot imagine a more unstable situation.
    4. The arctic sea ice is melting. The ocean is warming. Waves on the ocean are getting bigger since there is less ice to smooth them out, and that turbulence is transferred downward.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Reply
    • pintada

       /  June 29, 2014

      Dr. Lights Venus references remind me of the cartoon where Lur of the planet Omicron-Percei 8 threatens, “I will raise the temperature of your planet 1,000,000 degrees every day for five days unless my demands are met!”

      Seems like a little overkill.

      Reply
      • It’s worth noting that the IPCC has been very accurate when it comes to predicting ranges of likely temperature increase. They’re likely a bit on the low end by the end of this century under BAU, but it’s probably highly unlikely that we get to Venus by 2080. As noted below, Hansen sees a wet stratosphere under the very worst human emissions and amplifying feedbacks over the course of a million years or more. Hansen, in my view is a top rate scientist and probably has a good handle on such things.

        That said, we could get to conditions nearing the Permian, PETM and Jurassic by the end of this Century. And that is stupendously bad even without the near-term Venus Syndrome.

        Reply
  18. I’m here in Portland, OR alongside the Columbia River, and I wonder how the Columbia Ice Field is doing these days. I must research.
    Also, the high air temperature forecast for PDX has today Sunday at 73, Mon up to 84, Tue. spiking at 95 then back to 82 for Wed… a 12 degree surge each day — in the Pacific Northwest.

    Reply
  19. SUNDAY 062914 PDX USA
    Possible near term USA weather scenario: a moisture laden atmosphere releases heavy rains into Mississippi River (or others) drainage increasing flow rates and water levee topping levels as early hurricane storm surge comes ashore. Possible/probable? (The Gulf Coast is saturated with toxic petrochemical industries. Plus many are along side rivers.)
    Or in Canada: a storm system skirting the Eastern Pacific blocking high and a moisture laden atmosphere releases heavy rains into Tar Sands area and flushing the toxic mess.
    I wonder if our carbon and fossil fuel burning frenzy isn’t just ‘gaming’ the atmospheric system(s).
    Adios, for now.

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/heavy-rain-triggers-flash-floo/29561360

    Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  June 30, 2014

    More than 200 millimetres of rain fell over a 48-hour period in parts of a region that already experienced a spring so wet many farmers did not have a chance to seed crops. The normal average rainfall for the entire month of June in the area is about 92 millimetres. A rainfall warning continued Sunday night and into Monday, with 20 to 40 millimetres expected.

    Flooding leads to state of emergency in southern Prairies

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 30, 2014

      Radar estimated over 7 inches of rain had fallen in parts of Woodruff, Monroe, St. Francis, and Prairie Counties in eastern Arkansas, roughly halfway between Memphis and Little Rock. A whopping 10.36 inches of rain was measured in Little Dixie, Arkansas.

      Memphis International Airport picked up 2.28 inches of rain in just one hour ending at 5:54 a.m. CDT Sunday. In total, Memphis picked up 5.87 inches of rain Sunday, all before 1 p.m.

      Link

      Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  June 30, 2014

        That rain was supposed to fall in west Texas! What happened?

        Reply
  21. wili

     /  June 30, 2014

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/co2-milestone-400-ppm-climate-17692

    New Milestone Set: 400+ ppm CO2 for 3 months

    We are moving quite rapidly and at an accelerating rate in exactly the worst direction.

    Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  June 30, 2014

    High Carbon dioxide Levels Linked to Warmer Tropical Oceans During Pliocene

    A new study shows that tropics are affected by greenhouse gas-driven global warming. The research was based on reconstruction of climate during Pliocene epoch.
    Past temperature records suggest that tropical regions experience stable temperatures and that carbon dioxide-driven warming affects Polar and mid-to-high latitudes.
    The new study by researchers at the University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute and their colleagues said that tropical areas have seen a rise in temperature during ancient times.

    http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/7821/20140630/high-carbon-dioxide-levels-linked-warmer-tropical-oceans-during-pliocene.htm

    Reply
  23. An Excellent Source on El Niño Southern Oscillation Conditions

    Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology ≫ Climate ≫ Seasonal Outlooks ≫ ENSO Wrap Up
    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/

    This contains multiple tabs: Overview / Sea surface / Sea sub-surface / SOI / Trade winds / Cloudiness / Outlooks / Indian Ocean / Effects. Indian Ocean focuses on the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) also known as the Indian Ocean Dipole Mode Index (DMI). Sea surface and sub-surface temperatures focus on the recent evolution of temperatures across the Tropical Pacific. Thus, for example, you can learn that as of 2014-06-15 there was a temperature anomaly of 5°C 5-day sub-surface temperatures extending from 90-120°W and 2°C to nearly 150°W at a depth of roughly 50 meters.

    Returning to the surface, in an above comment I included a quote from the World Meteorological Organization where they state:

    One explanation for the lack of atmospheric response so far may be that the sea surface temperatures are above average across virtually the entire tropical Pacific, not just in the eastern and central portions. This may be maintaining west-to-east temperature differences more typical of neutral conditions,

    The Bureau seems of a like mind, stating:

    Warm SST anomalies are in place across the entire tropical Pacific Ocean… While the warm tongue of water extending along the equator in the eastern and central Pacific is typical of an emerging El Niño, the warm anomalies in the western Pacific mean the west to east gradient of temperature anomalies is not yet typical of an El Niño, and hence may be limiting the response in the tropical atmosphere.

    Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  June 30, 2014

      How ironic! So surrounding ocean waters are too hot for El Nino development – who would have thunk it? Not I. Interesting development. I’d love to hear some more thoughts on this. Will this situation likely persist or will El Nino eventually win out but just later in the year?

      Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  July 1, 2014

        A suggestion for Robert if I may! I’m wondering if you could write a short, paragraph length “El Nino update” for us at the end of upcoming post concerning prevailing wind directions, the ENSO index, etc., that could keep us informed on the changing status of this fickle incipient El Nino? I’m still figuring out how to interpret the raw data at the sites linked herein and a short interpretation for us non-scientists would be helpful. Thanks Robert.

        Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  June 30, 2014

    How humans derailed the nitrogen cycle and are trying to put it back on track

    (Phys.org) —In 1900, about 1.6 billion people lived on Earth. Just a few generations later, over four times as many of us share the planet.

    There are plenty of reasons for the population boom—childhood vaccinations, better sanitation, antibiotics—but perhaps the most important driver is a discovery that allowed us to snatch nitrogen from the atmosphere and turn it into food. That, notes Hugh Gorman, professor of environmental history and policy, involved humanity’s hijacking of one of Nature’s most fundamental chemical processes: the nitrogen cycle.
    Gorman explores the repercussions of this new power and the efforts to mitigate its unintended consequences in his book “The Story of N: A Social History of the Nitrogen Cycle and the Challenge of Sustainability.” An article based on the book won second place in the journal Gaia’s 2013 Best Paper competition.
    Read more at:
    Link

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 30, 2014

      Then in the early 20th century, scientists developed the Haber-Bosch process, which makes ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen. This abundant, cheap fertilizer ignited the surge in agricultural productivity known as the Green Revolution. “Now humans fix as much nitrogen as all the bacteria in the world, which is just astounding to me,” says Gorman. “In just 100 years, we have become a very important part of this biogeochemical cycle.”

      Reply
  25. I have translated your article on Greenland into Russian – so it is in good readable Russian.
    Температурa в Гренландии быстро приближается к самой высокой за 400 000 лет
    http://robinwestenra.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/blog-post.html

    Reply
  1. Dozens of Massive Wildfires in Central Siberia Belch 1,200 Mile Smoke Plume Over Hot Tundra | Artic Vortex

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