Wildfires Amidst Winter Snow on Russia’s Baltic Shores

firesandsnow
(The Aqua satellite captured this image on Feb. 17, 2015 of multiple hot spots scattered throughout the Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia landscape. Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. )

On Wednesday, NASA posted the above satellite shot indicating an outbreak of numerous wildfires along a Baltic Sea coastal lowland that is among a furthest western holdings of current day Russia.

The shot displayed a relatively significant outbreak of more than 20 hot spots in a temperate deciduous forest zone bordering the oxygen-starved Baltic Sea. NASA sensors pick up anomalous warm spots and link them to fires when smoke plumes are also present. For reference, the fire outbreak zone depicted above occurred in a region roughly 120 by 60 miles in size.

Temperatures in the region have ranged 3-5 C above normal — putting it around the freezing mark for most of the past week. The warmer than average weather hasn’t however, precluded snowfall, which has lent a thin covering to the area despite a relative dryness as storms have tended to track either north or south this year.

It is this dryness and a persistent wind off the Baltic which may have helped to ignite the recent outbreak of wildfires. NASA’s Rapid Response Team posted the shot, but they provide no details as to the cause of these wildfires. Winter fires are typically rare, but last year saw dry winds setting off blazes in Scandinavia, so this year may be showing an anomalous repeat.

This story will be monitored for further clarification as winter wildfires are an anomalous event that can often be linked to human-caused climate change.

Links:

LANCE-MODIS

Fires and Snow in Central Europe

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143 Comments

  1. Greg

     /  February 19, 2015

    Robert, this appears to be the region of Kaliningrad Oblast, sandwiched between Lithuaania and Poland, formerly part of German East Prussia. The capital of Kaliningrad seems a little warm right now:

    Today
    41° 31°
    44° 33° Tomorrow
    46° 35° Saturday
    42° 30° Sunday
    43° 36° Monday

    For some practical regional analysis (with climate change context) from the perspective of the Swedes who must cooperate with Russians regarding the growing fire threat in the region:
    https://www.msb.se/Upload/konferenser/Skogsbrand/2010/Pskov%20Rapport%20engelska.pdf

    Reply
  2. I don’t suppose all the dying trees have anything to do with wildfires in the snow? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31txiNIYHuQ&feature=youtu.be

    Reply
    • witsendnj, here’s a bit from “Wildfires in Ukraine” that caught my eye since I had already seen this sort of non-decomposition of leaves and leaf litter in Santa Barbara, CA USA. This, I attribute to toxic in air pollution that basically ’embalmed’ the vegetation which prevented, or retarded, any natural decomposing. Then we have, in the Ukraine, insect life destroyed by radiation.
      Such is the struggle for life in a toxic atmosphere and landscape.

      The bit: “The study also found that radioactivity in leaf litter on the forest floor is building up fuel for more fires because the leaves are not decomposing normally, possibly because the radioactivity has killed insects and microorganisms that break them down.”

      Reply
      • I have noticed for several years that the garden is full of leaves and stems and vines that used to disappear over the winter – in New Jersey. I think that there is a general decline of microbes and insects and worms and who knows what, that used to break down plant material. Maybe because the soil is acidified?

        Reply
      • witsendnj, my studies and observations over the years tell my that the leaves themselves have been denatured by toxic material in the air pollution which has shut down most natural decomposing. If the fallen leaf itself stays so rigid and can’t, or doesn’t break down, then not even the hardiest microbe or insect can devour it. I can’t see that microbes and insects have dwindled in numbers as fast as the pollutants have denatured the leaf material.
        Either way our trees are stressed beyond anything nature can cause.

        Reply
      • My general response to this is — ouch. Not a trend I like to see.

        As DT so saliently implies, trees suck up a lot of the crap we put out. They are excellent filters. But their capacity as a toxicity sink is not unlimited.

        The NOx problem is related to this, but moreso as a compounding factor.

        Reply
  3. Wildfires in Ukraine could revive Chernobyl’s radiation

    CHERNOBYL, Ukraine, Feb. 9 (UPI) — When the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded in 1986, some 85 petabecquerels of radioactive cesium was released into the atmosphere and surrounding environs. Researchers believe somewhere between 2 and 8 PBq is still lingering in the soil and forest debris that surrounds the disaster site.

    Scientists have long feared that forest fires could send leftover radiation back into the atmosphere as radioactive leaves and other dead and dry plant material burn up — traces of cesium wafting skyward in the plumes of smoke. Now, a new study confirms these fears, suggesting forest fires can and will enable radiation to accumulate in clouds and travel across Eastern Europe.

    Read more: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2015/02/09/Wildfires-in-Ukraine-could-revive-Chernobyls-radiation/9311423493119/#ixzz3SDI6Ryzi

    Reply
  4. Leif Knutsen

     /  February 19, 2015

    Could the winds have caused dry branches to rub against others enough to build up enough heat to ignite the forests?

    Reply
  5. james cole

     /  February 19, 2015

    Living in similar climate myself, I notice the hallmark of extreme cold weather, high pressure, is very low humidity. A snow less winter leaves the forests and grasses as dry as dust. It seems hard to vision forest burning in winter, it is rare enough, but given the extreme low humidity and dry fuel, a nice wind can cook up a heck of a fire.

    Reply
  6. Greg

     /  February 19, 2015

    Robert, as you know, two cat 4 hurricanes hitting Australia at once. Australian forecasters appear to have been taken by surprise regarding the speed and intensity of strengthening. I think there is a story buried in these events. Models are missing the speed and intensity of weather extremes and, I suspect, the messengers don’t want to have to explain that they aren’t quite keeping up with it all as any credibility they have is on the line. Everyone loves to give the weatherman a hard time about forecasting to the point that it is a cliche but I believe meteorologists, in aggregate, are taking cover behind this. Even those, like Stu Ostro or Jeff Masters, who are trying to make sense of climate change on synoptic weather events lose credibility if they say they are in the dark as we are turning to them for answers. Who is going to look bad and lose credibility by saying we don’t know wtf is going to happen next?

    Reply
    • Phil S

       /  February 19, 2015

      Good point Greg.
      Cyclone Marcia has been upgraded to severe cat 5 and slowed right down. On Wednesday there was doubt it would even form.
      We’ve just received over 100mm (4inchs) from the deep trough preceding it, so soils are already waterlogged, roads flooded, power out at over 500 properties and Marcia won’t even make landfall for another four hours..
      I feel for those in the poorer regions of the world who don’t get the warnings and support that we allconsuming Australians expect and demand

      Reply
    • Thanks for this, Greg. I’m sorry I didn’t pick up this story earlier as I was on travel this weekend. I’ll see if it’s not too late to write an analysis as it relates to climate change. Warmest regards to you!

      Reply
    • Looks like there are two more on the way….

      Reply
  7. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/weird-winter-weather-plot-thickens-as-arctic-swiftly-warms/

    J Francis article. Once again, all eyes on the arctic as it seems to be bringing the realities of AGW to the Eastern US much faster than most expected. The next 2007/2012 melt event could really solidify this new weather reality. I’m wondering if another change in ENSO will at least weaken or shift the current Jet stream pattern into something different (not that that changes anything longterm).

    Reply
    • If we shift more toward La Nina, the pattern would tend to weaken even further. El Nino would tend to intensify the Jet as the tropics warm. We saw it struggling to do so in 2014-2015 but not quite making it.

      Reply
  8. Leif Knutsen

     /  February 19, 2015

    Reprinted with permission from a friend of mine:

    “For crying out loud, there is no controversy. There is no debate. Cynical politicians like Rand Paul and Chris Christie may pander all they want to frightened moms and the tinfoil-hat crowd-just as 49 US Senators can deny man’s role in climate change. But there is no rational basis for their beliefs. They are simply wrong – and when the media frame such idiocy as one side of a debate, they are not only legitimizing ignorance and demagoguery, they are threatening the lives of children.

    Here’s the thing about reality: it doesn’t care what your opinion is. It doesn’t care what your ideology is. It doesn’t care what you believe in your heart. It doesn’t care what a website says. And it doesn’t even care what a majority of Americans think is true. Reality just is. It can’t be “balanced” by lies, superstition, or even true conviction. And any attempt to do so courts catastrophe by aiding and abetting very dangerous fools.. rpauli

    Reply
    • james cole

       /  February 20, 2015

      I have made that ,very good, “Reality” argument to climate change deniers often. Telling them that no matter what they believe, they will suffer the consequences of Global Warming and Extreme Weather. Even in the midst of record breaking extreme weather, I can make no progress with these people. They are immune to reason, logic, facts, proofs, the math, the physics. Immune to it all! I can not even get them to accept the basic physics of CO2 in the atmosphere. Nothing will move them, nothing. Honestly, in my life, I have never seen such intractable ignorance. It is willful, political and I fear most, religious. They follow the dominionist belief system handed down in religious scriptures. And arguing against God is a losing proposition. Though myself, I do not know if the Bible does indeed make the case for unfettered exploitation of the earth.

      Reply
  9. Griffin

     /  February 19, 2015

    Robert, I find those fires being limited to the enclave pretty remarkable. Large scale land clearing? Seems a little too odd to think that there was no human intervention in the fires popping up all over like that, but only within the borders of Russia. Given the recent tensions and mobilizations going on in that region, it bears watching. (pun intended)

    Reply
  10. A Royal Canadian Mounted Police Report Said Anti-Oil Activists Were National Security Threats

    As the Stephen Harper government works to pass the C-51 bill, which would extend anti-terrorism legislation to include anyone who interferes with the “critical infrastructure,” “territorial integrity,” or “economic and financial stability of Canada,” a leaked report from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Critical Infrastructure Intelligence Team demonstrates how aboriginals and environmentalists are already being targeted by law enforcement for these reasons.

    The leaked intelligence report from early 2014 discusses a “growing international opposition” to mining operations on Canada’s tar sands and focuses on “violent aboriginal extremists,” anti-fracking, and anti-pipeline activists, identifying them as threats to national security. In particular, the report is concerned with aboriginal struggles against unwanted fossil fuel developments on lands that were never ceded to the Crown.

    http://www.vice.com/read/anti-oil-activists-named-as-national-security-threats-respond-to-leaked-rcmp-report-968

    Reply
    • Tom

       /  February 20, 2015

      dt: Psychiatry has recently designated “eating healthy” as a mental disorder, so the the field is kinda DEMENTED now (especially after we saw how they were complicit in the torture of prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere, like Gitmo). The government is populated by sick bastards who have free rein to do all the damage they want in the name of “democracy.” Our watchdog agencies are lead by industry insiders from the very corporations the agencies were created to “regulate.” It goes on and on and won’t end well.

      Reply
    • The Tar Sands are the real threat to national security. Harper is trying to shove the oil down everyone’s throats.

      Reply
  11. jyyh

     /  February 20, 2015

    dismissing the image since who knew wildfires obey borders.

    Reply
  12. Mark from New England

     /  February 20, 2015

    What’s wrong with this picture?!:

    Reply
  13. Mark from New England

     /  February 20, 2015

    Somehow Thursday’s map pasted when I wanted today’s – not that they’re that different:

    Reply
  14. Kevin Jones

     /  February 20, 2015

    2F in Barrow, Alaska. 9F in Baltimore Inner Harbor. It’s just the Urban Heat Island Effect, Mark. 🙂

    Reply
  15. Kevin Jones

     /  February 20, 2015

    NWS just posted for New Hampshire 3-6 inches of water equivalent snow on the ground (& roofs), 15-30 lbs./sq. ft. = 700-1400 pounds for every 4’x8′ sheet of plywood sized area above suburbanites, urbanites & big box store visitors and schoolskids & etc… heads. More on the way next two weeks says NWS’ climatic outlook. Time for me to warm up the shovel….again.

    Reply
  16. Kevin Jones

     /  February 20, 2015

    Poor math. 500-1000 lbs /4’x8′ area. But still up to a ton for every 8’x8′ area.

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  February 20, 2015

      I’m a carpenter and frame a lot of houses, and that is a serious amount of weight. Especially when you think of the fact that many homes have 3/8-1/2 inch plywood for sheathing, and depending on the area, the rafters can be as little as 2x6s for raised ranches with a shallow roof pitch. The winter of 2011-12 (I think) was bad in CT, and the amount of ice that built up in gutters and the edge of the roofs was creating an ice damn effect, forcing water up underneath the shingle above the row of ice and water. We saw a lot if homes with water damage, and they were constructed properly. We’re are starting to experience lots of “unprecedented” weather events at a pretty regular interval. I shoveled snow from a great many homes that year, and in places the snow on the roof was literally up to my chest. After we cleared the roof the snow pile was so high we literally just walked off of the roof. Western CT hadn’t been quite as bad this season, but further east and up into Mass it’s just as bad. Ironically, global warming is giving us some of the worst winters and biggest snowfalls we have ever seen.

      Reply
  17. Kevin Jones

     /  February 20, 2015

    ….or one could picture New England’s unshoveled roofs (most, I bet) as if packed with parked compact cars….. just scared myself…gotta go get the ladder!

    Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  February 20, 2015

      Kevin, Tell me about it! We had two ice dam(n!) incidents already – going to need some roofing and interior ceiling work once this winter is over. In the meantime, keeping the snow off the roof is keeping it in check.

      Reply
      • climatehawk1

         /  February 20, 2015

        Having fun in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. I have a timeshare on an apartment there, and the plow guys just plowed all of the snow into the apartment’s parking space. It’s about six feet high, and I’ve spent about 6 hours so far shoveling it out (also a bit of time raking roof, since nobody else has done that either). Terrific exercise, but amazing irresponsibility. Doesn’t seem like a good omen.

        Reply
      • Mark, I saw the same thing a few years ago here in CT. I’m a carpenter, and we had lots of ice dams and damage to homes, even when the homes had been built and roofed properly. This winter has been very similar. I hope the rest of this winter isn’t too tough for you!

        Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  February 21, 2015

        Thanks ClimateHawk and Ryan,

        Hey – it could be a lot worse (shouldn’t tempt fate!). The coming climate changes are going to be costing a lot of people everywhere, some with their lives, so a little roof damage is getting off easy. So long as we don’t get any more BIG storms this winter…

        Reply
      • Hey Mark, how common is roof damage in your area? I’ve seen some reports on this, but I haven’t been able to get a handle on how widespread it is.

        Best to you and hope the storms let up a bit! We had a foot here in Gaithersburg on Saturday. It was supposed to be rain ahead of a warm front, but the snow line was a bit further south than predicted.

        Reply
  18. Wharf Rat

     /  February 20, 2015

    Shock News – Massive Calving of Jakobshavn Isbræ
    February 20, 2015

    http://greatwhitecon.info/2015/02/shock-news-massive-calving-of-jakobshavn-isbrae/

    Reply
    • climatehawk1

       /  February 20, 2015

      Ha, saw that and just scheduled tweet. Big stuff. Too bad the blog page doesn’t really show it in a way that an average person can easily grasp, although the video of the 2008 event is great.

      Reply
    • And the hits just keep coming.

      Reply
      • climatehawk1

         /  February 24, 2015

        Something to note about the Great White Con blog–it’s excellent stuff, but the headlines can be satirical, as the author is mimicking denier media headlines. The Jakobshavn item is indeed fairly shocking, but not everything with that tagline at that site may be, so some reader evaluation will be required. See this post: http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2015/02/shock-news.html

        Reply
  19. Greg

     /  February 20, 2015

    Has this month’s article from Rolling Stones already been linked to here? If not, it is a good insight to the breadth of U.S. (and others) national security concerns vis-a-vis climate change. Some memorable quotes:

    “In the end, it doesn’t matter how many climate-adaptation road maps the Pentagon puts out. We are now committed to a future of disorder and conflict — one in which today’s emergencies will always interrupt tomorrow’s plans.”

    “The political and social upheaval we’re likely to see from our rapidly warming planet,…is probably the most likely thing that . . . will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.”

    “”The melting ice is opening a new ocean,” says Adm. Gary Roughead, who was U.S. chief of naval operations from 2007 to 2011. “It’s a once-in-a-millennium event.”

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-pentagon-climate-change-how-climate-deniers-put-national-security-at-risk-20150212?page=8

    Reply
    • james cole

       /  February 20, 2015

      The US Navy, due to the environment it works in, is on the front lines of climate change. The oceans are taking in most of the heat, and this is appearing in changes that the Navy records daily in Naval Operations across the globe. It stands to reason a High Ranking Naval Officer would be honest and candid as to global climate change. They see it and record it and can’t deny it, as it changes our operations, especially submarine and ASW operations. Seas that once had know profiles of temperature and salinity, are changing fast, these changes get recorded and stored. Then there is the weather at sea! That too is recorded daily, and changes noted. Winds, temperatures, storms, prevailing conditions etc. etc.

      Reply
    • Griffin

       /  February 21, 2015

      Seriously, if climate change is recognized as an existential threat, (as it should be) then at what point does the zealous denial of said threat by a sitting member of congress become an act of treason?

      Reply
      • Salient point, Griffin.
        It is a treasonous and murderous act for Congress to keep us on this path.
        So what’s next, a coup, a revolution? Maybe a ‘leak’, official or otherwise, of the drastic nature of the course we are presently on would spur some momentum.
        The health and safety of the populace is being squandered by those sworn to protect it.

        Reply
      • Griffin

         /  February 21, 2015

        Thank you DT. I believe that the revolution that we need the most is the revolution in thinking. If I may preach to the choir for a moment, we need a collective “wake up”. Awareness will precede the required change in behavior. When the multitudes are calling for solutions, the politicians will change like the wind in Spring. It is no accident that Bernie Sanders is successful in Vermont, but Inhofe is his counterpart in Oklahoma. If Oklahoma wanted a Sanders, they could have one. If Florida wanted a Sheldon Whitehouse to campaign on the fight against sea level rise, they would not have Rubio. But oh, is that awareness a difficult thing to make progress on! In the real world, outside of the echo chambers of the blogosphere, folks remain wildly ignorant of just how quickly the window for action is closing. We must continue though, we don’t have an alternative to trying to educate those around us. It remains our best hope. In my interactions with my large extended family on social media, I have embraced the role of an alarmist. I keep hounding them, and showing them the ways that climate change is impacting their lives now, as well as suggesting the solution that they just get over their fear of discussing the topic in social circles. Hopefully I can get them to get past the notion of a stigma that has been fermented by the sinister acts of confusion put forth by the oil company owned media. The way I see it, I don’t really care if they see me as an alarmist today…they are going to figure it out one way or another eventually. I won’t be proven wrong unfortunately.

        Reply
      • It’s important to note that many Navy Admirals consider the current Congressional inaction on climate change to be base insanity. We have naval bases that are under threat by sea level rise now. We have whole countries that have destabilized due to extreme weather related to climate change (see Syria drought and ISIS). We have island nations that are already experiencing existential crisis. The Navy lives in the real world, because it must…

        Reply
  20. US National Weather Service Caribou ME

    …Stay away from ice jams!…

    This video demonstrates how quickly a flood can occur when an ice jam finally releases.

    Reply
  21. Kevin Jones

     /  February 20, 2015

    You cover a lot of ground, dtlange, all others….. omen indeed, climatehawk1, I believe. Just about my all time favorite Beatles song is Here, There and Everywhere. Appears this living planet’s worst nightmare could sing an entirely different tune, but with the same name…..

    Reply
  22. Kevin Jones

     /  February 21, 2015

    ….as the Arctic warms at twice the rate of the mid-latitudes, the temperature differential lessens….. 0F Barrow Alaska, -17F Keene NH. I should say so! 6:30 a.m. EST

    Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  February 21, 2015

    UK weather: Gales, floods, snow, rain and rare super tides forecast as Moon’s orbit causes havoc
    Britain faces a five-way battering from gales, floods, snow, rain – and rare super tides.

    There are fears the new Moon being almost its closest to Earth in an 18.5 year orbit will trigger 50ft waves which could turn high spring tides into huge surges.

    Seaside resorts, battered by the sea today, are braced for worse to come.

    The biggest tides in almost two decades are predicted.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/uk-weather-gales-floods-snow-5201699

    Reply
  24. – In Florida USA spring comes an-naturally early and the flora reacts accordingly. Then a fractious polar jet stream brings the Arctic to the southern US. This is not surprising.
    Weather maps keep showing the historically energetic Gulf of Alaska — which should be a cauldron of low pressure storm activity but now that high pressure ridge sits supreme over the eastern Pacific. Not a good sign.
    But back to Florida and its justifiably confused citrus trees and blossoms.

    “I would say almost every grove from one end of the citrus belt to the other has trees in some stage of open bloom,” McKenna said. “It’s highly unusual and I can’t remember a cold snap hitting when the trees were already flowering like this.”

    … Freezing temperatures are expected to all but completely blanket the Sunshine State over the next 24 hours, and temperatures may fall below 20 degrees in the center of the state, where many of its farms and groves are located, according to Nicole Carlisle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service based in Tampa.

    Many crops are threatened, but orange growers are concerned that one day of bad weather will cut into two years of harvests.

    Here’s why: Growers in the state have already harvested about half of this year’s total crop, said Marty McKenna, an orange grower and chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission. But the rest are still on the tree. Oranges can withstand temperatures of about 30 degrees for up to four hours. … But the flowers cannot withstand freezing temperatures at all. And next year’s fruit will grow out of this year’s flowers.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/nations-orange-crop-faces-triple-whammy-drought-cold-ports-n309071

    Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  February 21, 2015

    Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash For a Doubtful Climate Scientist

    For years, politicians wanting to block legislation on climate change have bolstered their arguments by pointing to the work of a handful of scientists who claim that greenhouse gases pose little risk to humanity.

    One of the names they invoke most often is Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming. He has often appeared on conservative news programs, testified before Congress and in state capitals, and starred at conferences of people who deny the risks of global warming.

    But newly released documents show the extent to which Dr. Soon’s work has been tied to funding he received from corporate interests.

    He has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work.

    Link

    Reply
    • Great work by Greenpeace:

      “The documents were obtained by Greenpeace, the environmental group, under the Freedom of Information Act. Greenpeace and an allied group, the Climate Investigations Center, shared them with several news organizations last week.”

      Reply
      • Published on Jul 23, 2012 (12 min.)

        ECOSYSTEM IN CRISIS is the award-winning short documentary of Greenpeace’s 2007 scientific expedition to research the underwater canyons of the Bering Sea in Alaska. Using deep water submersibles to dive into the canyons, Greenpeace recorded never-before-seen, high-definition footage of the vibrant ecosystem that lives just underneath the waves. Along their journey, Greenpeace interviewed indigenous populations that have subsisted off the resources of the Bering Sea for thousands of years, as they fight against industrial fishing operations that threaten their cultural heritage

        Reply
      • There is a deafening silence about Soon’s fraud in almost all the major media outlets.
        The New York Times seems to be the only one covering it.
        Maybe our readers could help it get the coverage it deserves>

        Reply
    • Saw this.

      I think we could rationally call this willfully defrauding the public.

      Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  February 21, 2015

    Why Hundreds of Starving Sea Lion Pups Are Washing Up in California

    Feb. 18, 2015
    Starving Baby Sea Lions Washing Up On California Beaches Justin Sullivan—Getty Images A sick California sea lion pup sits in an enclosure at the Marine Mammal Center on Feb. 12, 2015 in Sausalito, California.
    It’s getting so bad that many rescue networks are at capacity

    There are now so many young sea lions being stranded on the West Coast that federal officials say they can’t keep up. As a result, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued some brutal advice Wednesday: If you see a beached sea lion pup, call the authorities, but be prepared for them not to come—at least for a while.
    http://time.com/3714036/sea-lions-stranded/

    Reply
  27. Colorado Bob

     /  February 21, 2015

    This goes back to the sea star collapse. The ocean on the west coast is entering a new state, God help us all .

    Reply
    • You got it, Bob:

      “So what’s going on? Experts at NOAA say that the culprit is rising ocean temperatures. (On a call with reporters Wednesday, a NOAA climate expert said that they do not believe the stranding increase is tied to climate change.) The warm temperatures are somehow affecting the squid, sardines and other animals that are the core diet of sea lions, perhaps driving the prey deeper into the water or farther offshore. So when mothers swim off to forage from the Channel Islands, where pups are weaned every year, they are having to stay away longer before they can come back to nurse. With less frequent nursing, pups are losing weight at unprecedented rates, and experts suspect that these weak, under-grown animals are being driven to look for food on their own before they are ready.”

      So many species depend on a healthy ocean. The human species is one of them.

      Reply
      • climatehawk1

         /  February 24, 2015

        I have tweeted at (to) the reporter who wrote the seal pup story, asking her how it is that warmer sea temperatures could not be tied to climate change. I notice that that statement is a paraphrase from an unidentified NOAA source, unlike the attributed quotes elsewhere in the article. She has not responded. I did not tweet about her version, but found another one that just talks about warmer seas and tweeted that.

        Reply
      • Of course the warming seas are related to climate change. The ghost NOAA source should know better. Even if the warmth has a variability component, it runs on top of overall warming caused by humans. So peak warming would be consequently greater. In addition, there is a clear cause to suspect that this Pacific Warming is tele-connected to polar amplification and changes in the NH Jet Stream.

        Reply
      • climatehawk1

         /  February 24, 2015

        Reporter’s reply: “Because these are not higher than average temperatures across the world. In some places they’re lower. This is more isolated.” My response: “Thanks v much for response. No part of system can be ‘isolated.’ Urge q more closely on issue in future if opp arises. MHO.” Process of education, I fear, will be long.

        Reply
        • Perhaps you should kindly inform the reporter that sea surface temperatures have been recording above 20th Century average temperatures for the past 30 years and are on average more than 0.5 C above 1880 readings. Today came in at +0.46 C above the 1979 to 2000 average. After a year of monitoring GFS, I have no single day in which glibal sea surface temperatures were below average.

          In other words, the nat geo reporter is highly misinformed.

  28. Colorado Bob

     /  February 22, 2015

    Believe me , nothing in past ever stripped all the life from the oceans as fast as we are doing it, and dumped cigarette butts and Bic lighters into the oceans . Nothing , the dinosaurs did not smoke. .

    Reply
  29. Kevin Jones

     /  February 22, 2015

    …..and yet we smoke the dinosaurs. How exceptional!

    Reply
  30. Kevin Jones

     /  February 22, 2015

    And the NWS running 6-10 & 8-14 day climatic outlook ups the probability of below normal cold and above normal precip for NE USA. This might set back the Lyme Disease bearing ticks. Probably not the Kochs. I predict New Hampshire’s maple sugar season an utter bust. (too cold , too late.) Wonder where we’ll be come April Fools….

    Reply
  31. Kevin Jones

     /  February 22, 2015

    Griffin. Just got around to reading your above offering. I concur. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  February 22, 2015

      Thank you Kevin. I hope you are able to enjoy some of this “warmth” that we are seeing in our region today! Cold again tonight though.

      Reply
  32. Peter

     /  February 22, 2015

    Robert,
    Didn’t realize you to live here in VA. I just moved to Lynchburg in December. Don’t know where you are , but feel free to email me, I’d love the opportunity to have an intelligent conversation about all this!
    Peter

    Reply
  33. wili

     /  February 22, 2015


    Kevin Anderson at Exeter U. on how to have a 50% chance of staying below 2 C: 40% emissions reductions by 2018 from the global wealthy, 70% by 2024, over 90% by 2030. (These numbers are at about minute 28.)

    If you make much more than about $30,000 a year, you are the global wealthy.

    What is your plan?

    Reply
  34. About those fires in Kaliningrad Oblast, perhaps the Russians are just clearing the forests to build some kind of military superstructure? With recent events an Putins warmachine marching on I wouldn’t be surprised he is arming up for something in the heart of Europe.

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  February 22, 2015

      Unfortunately John, I would agree with you here that there is more to those fires than climate. I pray for peace.

      Reply
  35. Nice article about underground carbon sequestration in brine and what happens in the event: http://www.reportingclimatescience.com/news-stories/article/carbon-sequestration-may-not-work-says-study.html

    Reply
  36. 022215 17:30 GMT
    Click on a ClimateReanalyzer air temp anomaly maps above for updated info.
    The Arctic is close to +3 C and Alaska etc. looking quite warm.

    Reply
  37. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
    Timeline
    IT IS 3 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT

    2015: “Unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity, and world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe. These failures of political leadership endanger every person on Earth.” Despite some modestly positive developments in the climate change arena, current efforts are entirely insufficient to prevent a catastrophic warming of Earth. Meanwhile, the United States and Russia have embarked on massive programs to modernize their nuclear triads—thereby undermining existing nuclear weapons treaties. “The clock ticks now at just three minutes to midnight because international leaders are failing to perform their most important duty—ensuring and preserving the health and vitality of human civilization.”

    http://thebulletin.org/timeline

    Reply
  38. Greg

     /  February 22, 2015

    Hell or High Water in Brazilian Drought Region:
    One of the key rivers Earlier this month:

    Reply
  39. Greg

     /  February 22, 2015

    A couple of days ago:

    Reply
  40. Kochs Paid Massive Money to Intellectual Whores Willing to Lie About Climate Change

    A Harvard scientist has been accepting cash from the energy industry, namely the Koch brothers, in order to push junk science that claims to refute man-made climate change, reported The New York Times. This is the most recent case of Koch-purchased science, but it’s hardly the first.

    In the past, the Koch brothers “have donated at least $67 million to organizations that blast out disinformation relating to climate change,” reported Addicting Info.

    Below, in its entirety, is the documentary The Koch Brothers Exposed. The film sheds light on the Koch-money network and how it influences scientific studies on climate change.

    http://www.ringoffireradio.com/2015/02/kochs-paid-massive-money-to-intellectual-whores-willing-to-lie-about-climate-change/

    Reply
  41. james cole

     /  February 22, 2015

    “Wei-Hock Soon, a leading climate change denier whose work has fortified right-wing political arguments for years, was paid more than $1.2 million by energy companies, The New York Times reports. New documents uncovered by Greenpeace via the Freedom of Information Act show that over the last decade, Soon received sizable funding from oil and gas corporations, which he failed to disclose in scientific papers he published.

    This is not the first time Soon has been found receiving compensation for his research. In 2011, Reuters reported that Soon received $131,000 from ExxonMobil to study the sun’s role in climate change. According to the Times, Soon has little background in climatology, but insists in his findings that transformations in the sun’s energy — not human activity — is the reason for the planet’s warming.”

    This will come as no surprise, though it is nice to have it revealed to the public. Follow the Money, this bit of advice rarely turns out to provide a bad result when seeking for reasons behind the Science of Climate Change denial” This one man has fed countless ammunition. in the form of bogus science, to the right wing media and it’s so called news services. Let’s keep following the money, and I feel sure more of these clowns will be exposed for the profit seekers they are. The work to enrich themselves and sell man’s future to hell. What would be the word best used to describe these liars?

    Reply
  42. Leif Knutsen

     /  February 23, 2015

    Mean while this is going on. It is important to see that other forces are in play in the big picture. Paul Gilding has a new post.

    Reply
  43. Leif Knutsen

     /  February 23, 2015

    Paul Gilding at Cockatoo Chronicles. My attempt of a live link failed.

    Reply
    • climatehawk1

       /  February 23, 2015

      Thanks. Here’s the link: http://paulgilding.com/2015/02/23/the-year-the-dam-of-denial-breaks-ready-for-the-flood/ and I’ve added his blog to my blogroll.

      Reply
      • Also, Kari Marie Norgaard (Referred to by Gilding) – Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions and Everyday Life

        Reply
    • wili

       /  February 23, 2015

      Gilding has lots of good points, but his argument boils down largely to trusting the ‘invisible hand of the marketplace.’ I thought that even Alan Greenspan has now realized that the marketplace does not, in fact, regulate itself in any such mystical way.

      Reply
      • Leif Knutsen

         /  February 23, 2015

        .. “Invisible hand if the marketplace.” Get real. Are you telling me that the hold money has had on the market place to date has been invisible? That is not the point IMO. What it means is that the market place is beginning to realize the suicide dead end of funding planetary ecocide even it it pays 10% ROI. It is a shell game that is doomed to failure and the time is now to bale and let others take the fall. It gets nasty, but hay, it is just business.

        Reply
      • wili

         /  February 23, 2015

        “Get real. Are you telling me that…” Hey, you’re the one that posted and promoted the article, not me. The marketplace is much more the problem than the solution. We’re not going to consume our way out of this one. The only way that marketplace forces will help stem gw in a timely enough fashion is if the events he describes conspire to bring about a global mother-of-all economic depressions that reduces global GDP by over 10% per year every year for the next 15 years or so. But somehow I don’t think that’s what he means.

        Reply
      • I think it’s true that there’s a split occurring between new money and old money. And that the new money realizes the fossil fuel industry is now equivalent to a suicide pact. I hope this will start to change our politics in a meaningful way and that we will get some good climate policy. But I think it’s more than fair to say that the market alone can’t fix this. In fact, it was market dominance by fossil fuels that caused the delayed response in the first place. And we will pay very dearly for that delay.

        Reply
  44. Tom

     /  February 23, 2015

    The time for that change (in the market place), Leif, would have been at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution – it’s FAR too late now. The fascination with fiat currencies rather than concentration and stewardship of the environment has led to us having already tipped the (nearly 4) dozens of self-reinforcing feedback loops that will keep climate change getting worse and worse and completely destroying any habitat for life on Earth, probably by 2035, no matter what we do from here on out. We’re just bearing witness now.

    Reply
    • Leif Knutsen

       /  February 23, 2015

      “We don’t have a right to ask whether we’re going to succeed or not – the only question we have a right to ask is: What’s the right thing to do? What does this Earth require of us if we want to continue to live on it?” Wendell Berry

      I do not suggest that I have the answers, I will however continue to look for solutions.

      Reply
  45. Dave Person

     /  February 23, 2015

    Hi Folks,
    I don’t know anything about research published by Soon. However, if published in legitimate scientific journals it was either anonymously peer-reviewed or reviewed by an editorial board of scientific peers. Of course, that process is not perfect and bad work occasionally slips through. Did Soon “cook his books” and produce fraudulant results, or is his crime simply taking money from the Kochs and not revealing it. I say this not to defend Soon but to emphasize that there are many good scientists working on research funded by advocacy groups (e.g., World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation International, Audubon, etc.) and the news articles coming out about Soon’s funding only discuss his funding source and lack of transparency. None that I’ve seen actually critique his science or lack of it. My fear is that by not describing the flaws in his work and linking that to his funding, the reporting will simply raise cries of guilt by association from the deniers and add fuel to their claim of a scientific conspiracy to muzzle contrarian scientists. A clever PR campaign will make him into a hero. Ironically, this whole business may also reinforce the notion among many of the scientifically illiterate public that scientists, like lawyers, provide the answers for which customers are willing to pay.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  February 23, 2015

      “None that I’ve seen actually critique his science or lack of it.”
      Then you haven’t been looking very hard or have only been looking at msm sources. Try real science blogs like SkS or RC. Look at Tom Curtis’s last response at https://www.skepticalscience.com/2015-SkS-Weekly-News-Roundup_8B.html#commenthead
      He had had a similar position to yours, but upon digging into the actual studies, determined that the guy really was knowingly just serving his funders rather than even trying to serve the science.

      And yes there is peer review, but as you point out, it’s not perfect, and the scientific community depends on a certain minimum of trust that researchers are not manipulating data in deep ways not easily accessible to reviewers. In general, though, my understanding is that it is how far he stretches the significance of his findings on variations in the sun’s output.

      Reply
      • Dave Person

         /  February 23, 2015

        Hi Wili,
        No I have not looked at other sources like SkS for discussion of Soon’s work. Like I said, I paid no attention to Soon whatsoever. However, the point in my comment was not that there wasn’t any of that information available but that the msm reporting of Soon’s funding and ethical challenges do not say anything in the same articles about the quality and problems of his science. They don’t really provide evidence or scientific opinion that demonstrates his results and publications may be fraudulantly influenced by that funding. Perhaps to you that is a no brainer because you are familiar with other information about his work, but the general public is not, and prior to following up with the link Gail provided, neither did I. Without that information in the same articles, the public may not grasp how really egregious his behavior is. Take care.

        dave

        Reply
  46. “…the news articles coming out about Soon’s funding only discuss his funding source and lack of transparency.” That’s because it is a breach of ethics.

    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/23022015/guide-willie-soons-climate-research-funded-fossil-fuel-companies

    Reply
    • Dave Person

       /  February 23, 2015

      Hi Gail,
      Thank you for the link. As I said, I paid no attention to Soon’s climate work so am mostly ignorant of on what and how he does his “science”. There is one exception however, I am familar with the polar bear stuff because at the time that report was published, I was a research scientist for Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game. I was not aware of Soon’s coauthorship, but was aware of the paper. It was garbage and thoroughly rebutted by Stirling and others. I also know how much involved the State of Alaska was in trying to manipulate scientists and reinterpret science to prevent an ESA listing of the bears. They continue that interference to this day with wolves and several other species. Indeed, I left my position with them because I could no longer tolerate political meddling with my wolf and deer work and would not let them use my good reputation as a cover for their inept and nonscientific policies. As I expressed previously, I hope mainstream news reporting of Soon’s disgrace will transcend the ethics violation and also publicly examine the quality of his “science”.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  February 23, 2015

        Thanks for your insights into that study.

        Reply
      • Dave Person,

        “…Indeed, I left my position with them because I could no longer tolerate political meddling with my wolf and deer work and would not let them use my good reputation as a cover for their inept and nonscientific policies.”

        Thank you for acting upon the strength of your ethics and convictions. It’s good to hear of such things. Hope you are doing well.🙂

        Reply
      • “I hope mainstream news reporting of Soon’s disgrace will transcend the ethics violation and also publicly examine the quality of his “science”.” I think it’s probably safe to say they won’t. Respect for walking away from corruption! That can’t have been easy.

        Reply
  47. Leif Knutsen

     /  February 23, 2015

    There are different manifestations of capitalism. The fundamental flaw with Western Capitalism is that it has never been restrained by the requirements of Planetary life support systems. No monetary value has ever been placed on the services of functioning ecosystems. That is about to change. Going forward society will surely need a functioning capitalistic system to deal adequately with the carnage the past has bequeathed humanity. I do not believe I would object to a “capitalistic” paradigm that rewarded folks for the “good” they accomplished for life support systems first and foremost, not the amount of trash they are capable of sweeping under the rug.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  February 23, 2015

      A paradigm that “rewarded folks for the “good” they accomplished for life support systems first and foremost, not the amount of trash they are capable of sweeping under the rug” is not likely to look much like anything that has been called ‘capitalism’ in the past, so we should probably at least come up with a new name.

      The goals of capitalism are essentially, as the name implies, to accrue the goods that society produces to those who control the capital–the rich. The goals (however well or ill carries out in practice) of socialism are to accrue those goods to society as a whole. Perhaps what you are talking about could perhaps then be called ‘Gaia-ism’ or eco-ism, or, biotism, or life-ism?? None of those roll off the tongue particularly well, though, so I’m open to suggestions.

      Reply
      • Leif Knutsen

         /  February 23, 2015

        Me too. “Keep the company of those that seek the truth but run from those that know it.” Vaclav Havel

        “The goals of capitalism are essentially, as the name implies, to accrue the goods that society produces to those who control the capital–the rich.” That is because the rich developed “Capitalism” in the first place and have fought any attempt to change it for the good of humanity. The rank and file have seldom been able to intervene or even have a seat at the table. However the greed of western capitalism has now shown its underbelly as perpetrating planetary ecocide. Other capitalists are beginning to see that contradiction. I was big money against “tree huggers.” No longer, it has become big money against big money. We have entered “survival times.”

        “War becomes perpetual when used as a rational for peace,” Norman Solomon. “Peace becomes perpetual when used as a rational for survival.” Yours truly.

        Reply
  48. Eye Opener
    Acid Test
    Now we can watch our oceans acidifying—from space.

    Satellites are joining the fight against our acidifying seas, allowing us to measure their falling pH levels in real time from above. Scientists used to depend on buoys, ships, and lab tests to monitor how the carbon dioxide we spew into the air is affecting seawater, but they can’t be everywhere at once, and there are holes in the data. Now satellites that send us information on other ocean conditions like salinity levels (pictured above) can help close the gaps.

    The oceans absorb about a quarter of our carbon dioxide emissions through chemical reactions that turn CO2 into carbonic acid…

    http://www.onearth.org/earthwire/ocean-acidification-test?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=socialmedia

    Reply
  49. Colorado Bob

     /  February 23, 2015

    Taps run dry in Brazil’s biggest city as drought bites
    It may have the world’s biggest water supply and the seventh biggest economy, but that’s not enough to keep water running during the country’s worst dry stretch since the 1930s

    Some new amazing images with this article

    Reply
  50. Mark from New England

     /  February 23, 2015

    Here’s the ‘Rude Pundit’s’ latest article, which is on AGW and especially about how hard Australia is being hit. Warning – ‘adult’ language!

    http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2015/02/cold-here-its-crazy-fuckin-hot-down.html

    Reply
  51. Apneaman

     /  February 23, 2015

    Chevron’s Lobbyist Now Runs the Congressional Science Committee

    http://www.republicreport.org/2014/chevron-science-committee/

    Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  February 23, 2015

      And I recall reading in a recent issue of Mother Jones that Hillary and Bill Clinton also have close ties to Chevron. Isn’t oligarchy grand? If the 2016 US presidential election is between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, I’d be hard-pressed to see much reason for voting for President.

      I’ll write in Robert Fanney. Now that’s the kind of leadership we need – in all seriousness.

      Reply
      • doug

         /  February 23, 2015

        I decided (rightly) in the 1970’s not to vote for either Republicans or Democrats. Now if everyone else had thought that way….

        Reply
  52. james cole

     /  February 23, 2015

    “Four new mysterious giant craters have appeared in the Siberian permafrost in northern Russia, sparking fears that global warming may be causing gas to erupt from underground.

    Scientists spotted the new holes, along with dozens of other smaller ones, in the same area as three other enormous craters that were spotted on the Yamal Peninsula last year.

    The craters are thought to be caused by eruptions of methane gas from the permafrost as rising rising temperatures causes the frozen soil to melt.”

    The new pictures coming in are impressive indeed! They display the obvious signs of a Bubble Erupting upwards. I can’t see anything but Methane Gas bubble erupting out of a melting earth to account for this. Anyone else weigh in.

    Reply
  53. Dave Person

     /  February 23, 2015

    Thanks DT and Gail,
    I am doing fine in Vermont, living small and continuing to lower my personal carbon emissions and ecological footprint.

    dave

    Reply
  54. Colorado Bob

     /  February 24, 2015

    Dr Leibman told the Siberian Times: ‘We have agreed that in the area of Bovanenkovo there was an emission of gas and gas hydrates caused by the heating of the earth’s surface and geological features of the site. These phenomena caused the formation of crater.

    ‘In the last 14 years, the overall temperature in the depths of the Yamal has increased by at least two degrees Celsius.

    ‘In some areas of the region seasonal thawing of permafrost may affect the upper layers of ice and, under certain circumstances, cause thawing and dissociation of gas hydrates.’

    She added: ‘I would argue this is a new process, which was not observed previously. It can be seen as a reaction to changes in the temperature, which releases gas, possibly hidden in the form of relic hydrate, from the upper layers of permafrost.’

    http://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/news/n0076-how-global-warming-could-turn-siberia-into-a-giant-crater-time-bomb/

    Reply
  55. Colorado Bob

     /  February 24, 2015

    Study: Effects of climate change on wheat will be dire

    MANHATTAN — A study of wheat yields by 53 researchers on six continents, including a Kansas State University professor, has found the effects of climate change on Kansas’ top crop will be far more disastrous, and begin much sooner, than previous thought.

    Each time the average global temperature increases by one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), global wheat grain production is reduced by about 6 percent, according to the study published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.

    According to the researchers, the 6 percent decline would equate to 42 megatons, or 42 million tons, of wheat each time the global temperature rises by a single degree Celsius.

    “To put this in perspective, the amount is equal to a quarter of global wheat trade, which reached 147 (megatons) in 2013,” the researchers wrote. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported last September that the Earth had warmed .85 degrees Celsius between 1880 and 2012.

    Among the 53 researchers is Dr. Vara Prasad, a professor of crop ecophysiology at Kansas State.

    Link

    Reply
  56. Peter

     /  February 24, 2015

    Robert,
    Yes, I know where Gaithersburg is, about 4 hours north of me; I’m in Lynchburg (120 miles west of Ricmond).If you ever get down this way, let me know-while this forum you host is very enriching, there’s nothing like face-to-face conversation to get into the depth of analysis these ideas beg for.
    Peter

    Reply
    • Robert, Peter, and for other readers who may not be aware – there are a number of groups on facebook where people concerned about climate change – particularly abrupt climate change and extinction – talk frequently and make efforts to meet up in real life when geographically convenient. You can look up Near Term Human Extinction Support Group which has links to various other groups such as the Methane Clathrate Gun Thttps://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/wildfires-amidst-winter-snow-on-russias-baltic-shores/#respondime Bomb, Earth Matters, etc. The Panic Room is a private group so anyone interested in checking it out should friend me so I can admit you. All these groups are based on the idea that it is important to connect to the very few people on earth who understand how serious the threat of climate change (and other symptoms of overshoot) are to humans and other species.

      Reply
  57. danabanana

     /  February 24, 2015

    Regarding Yamal. After last years reports I had a thorough peek at the area with Google maps and the place is peppered with rounded lakes hinting to the formation these craters as being something rather common in this area. Some of the lakes contained brown water others not. My thought at the time was that if these were all formed by Methane explosions over the years, then those brown/cloudy waters in some of the lakes could be caused by frequent and recent Methane releases even though the holes/lakes have been in place for a long time.

    Reply
    • danabanana

       /  February 24, 2015

      When I say common I don’t deny the fact that the new craters are very likely caused by AGW.

      Reply

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