Record Warm World’s ‘Weird’ 2015 El Nino Sees Westerly Gales, Growing Kelvin Wave

“The 2015 El Nino is finally here, but it’s weak, weird and late,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center last week.

And the current El Nino is certainly an odd bird. According to reports from NOAA and the National Weather Service, the center of highest sea surface temperatures for the El Nino this year is offset westward — coming closer to the date line than it typically does. This is a weird heat disposition for El Nino which is, at least, a mid ocean event and often pushes warming well across the Pacific to South American shores.

image

(Pacific sea surface temperature anomaly [SSTA]. Note the hot water pools off both Australia and North America. These zones are joined by a vast blanket of warmer than average waters arranged diagonally across the Pacific from SW to NE. This disposition includes the warm anomaly along the Equator which is hot enough to reach weak El Nino status. But the disposition of sea surface temperatures throughout the Pacific, with highest equatorial anomalies near the date line and warmer spikes near Australia and the North American West Coast is unusual. SSTA graphic provided by Earth Nullschool. Data Source: Global Forecast System Model and NCEP.)

It’s also late in coming, as typical El Ninos have tended to arrive in full form during late fall or early winter. A Christmas-time warming of waters off the West Coast of South America was a traditional call-sign for El Nino and one that resulted in its name — which is Spanish for “The Christ Child.” Late winter and early spring are more typical times for the formation of deeper warmer water that may trigger an El Nino later in the year but often do not herald a fully-developed event (see What is El Nino? for more related information).

Lastly, the El Nino is currently rather weak — barely meeting a requirement for El Nino from NOAA and still not reaching the threshold that Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology applies.

But despite all this relative oddity, the 2015 El Nino is here. And it appears to be growing.

Intense West Wind Back-burst Coincident with Powerful Cyclone Formation

For earlier this week strong westerly winds began to roar against the typical flow of the trades along the Equator. The west wind back-bursts (WWB) push warmer West Pacific waters eastward and downward, enhancing the sea surface temperature anomaly spikes that fuel El Nino.

image

(Very strong West Wind Back-Burst hosting 85 kph 10 minute west wind at 7.45 South Latitude on early March 11. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

As of early Wednesday, March 11, these west winds had formed a gale force wall stretching just past the date line from about 5 North Latitude to 10 South Latitude. A gale driven by parallel cyclones — a weaker system to the north (Bavi) and the newly gathering Pam, which may challenge south Pacific records as the strongest storm ever to form in that region. In the above graphic we see a related ten minute sustained WWB of a rather extraordinary 85 kilometers per hour (about 50 mph) along the 7.45 degree South Latitude line.

Strengthening Kelvin Wave in a Record Warm World

Just before the formation of these strong westerlies, sub-surface temperatures also began to spike. A warm Kelvin wave that had already started its run beneath the sea surface, as of March 4, was beginning to show signs of strengthening well in advance of the added shove coming from the vigorous WWB shown above.

Strengthening Kelvin Wave

(A new Monster Kelvin wave? Sub surface temperature anomalies are again entering the far above normal range for the Equatorial Pacific. Image source: Climate Prediction Center.)

Peak temperatures in the wave as of a week ago had hit more than +6 C above average. A heat signature that is starting to look, more and more, like the very powerful Kelvin Wave of early 2014 that belched so much warmth into the atmosphere and likely contributed to both the current strongly positive PDO as well as 2014’s new record high temperatures.

An event that top ocean and atmospheric scientists Kevin Trenberth and Axel Timmerman attribute to signalling a possible start to much more rapid atmospheric temperature increases.

The Kind of Mid-Ocean Event That Some Scientists Say we Should See More of

If this is the case, then what we may be seeing is a slow start to an El Nino that could be much stronger and longer than expected. Last year’s intense Kelvin Wave may have simply been preparation for a slowly building event in conjunction with what was, during December, a record broader warming of the Pacific called positive Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Some model runs, especially those at Australia’s BoM, appear to have picked up this track.

In addition, NOAA sea surface temperature models now are predicting continued Central Pacific Warming (CPW) in association with the current El Nino over the coming months. If this El Nino continues to progress along CPW warming lines, then it is likely to be more indicative of what Japanese scientists call an El Nino Modoki event:

El Nino Modoki

(Sea surface temperature signature of an El Nino Modoki, which is closer to what we are seeing now, even if the higher temperature levels are currently shifted more toward the Date Line. Image source: Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science.)

During recent years, some scientific reports have indicated that Central Pacific Warming or El Nino Modoki will be more prevalent as a result of human-caused climate change. Study authors Tong Lee and Michael J McPhaden, in the 2010 paper entitled Increasing Intensity of El Nino in the Central Equatorial Pacific note that increases in Pacific Ocean temperatures are primarily expressed through more intense warming of the central regions:

Satellite observations suggest that the intensity of El Niño events in the central equatorial Pacific (CP) has almost doubled in the past three decades, with the strongest warming occurring in 2009–10. This is related to the increasing intensity as well as occurrence frequency of the so-called CP El Niño events since the 1990s. While sea surface temperature (SST) in the CP region during El Niño years has been increasing, those during neutral and La Niña years have not. Therefore, the well-documented warming trend of the warm pool in the CP region is primarily a result of more intense El Niño events rather than a general rise of background SST.

If so, it seems possible that global warming may well be influencing the rather strange El Nino evolution we are witnessing now.

In any case, Central Pacific Warming El Ninos have a somewhat different impact than Eastern Pacific Warming El Ninos. For one, they tend to ramp up, rather than cool down North Atlantic Hurricanes. They also tend to result in more, not less, drought for the US West Coast. For India, mid-ocean warming of the kind we are seeing now can result in an enhanced disruption of the Asian monsoon — kicking off drought and related food security risks.

Tong Lee and Michael J McPhaden continue by adding:

…. the amplitude of this new type of El Niño has increased in recent decades (Lee and McPhaden 2010). For convenience, hereinafter we refer this new type of El Niño as to CP warming (CPW). Compared with the canonical EPW, the CPW exhibits distinctly different impacts on worldwide climate. For example, the CPW shifts the anomalous convection westward and usually forms two anomalous Walker circulations in the tropical Pacific (Ashok et al. 2007; Weng et al. 2007; Weng et al. 2009). The westward displaced convection was suggested to be more effective in causing Indian drought (Kumar et al. 2006). The CPW increases hurricane frequency both in the Atlantic Ocean (Kim et al. 2009) and western North Pacific (Chen and Tam 2010), and also shifts tropical cyclone tracks in the western North Pacific (Hong et al. 2011).

But the authors’ research doesn’t directly point toward the odd seasonal change we are witnessing now, nor the off-setting of the initial hot pool about 1,500 kilometers further west than even during a typical El Nino Modoki event. For this reason, our ‘weird’ El Nino and equally weird and warm Central Pacific bear close watching.

Links:

El Nino Finally Here, But it’s Weak, Weird, and Late
NOAA
National Weather Service
What is El Nino?
NOAA’s ONI Index
BoM ENSO Wrap-up
Earth Nullschool
Global Forecast System Model
NCEP
Pam at Category 5 Strength
Warming Pacific Drives Global Temperatures
Bad Climate Outcomes
2015 El Nino to Bring Back-to-Back Hottest Years on Record?
Increasing Intensity of Central Pacific El Nino — Links to Climate Change
Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science
El Nino Declared as Climate Scientists Watch on With Amazement

Hat tip to Phil

Hat tip to Wili

Hat tip to Timothy Chase

Leave a comment

160 Comments

  1. eleggua

     /  March 12, 2015

    Quartet of high quality articles this week, Robert.

    Olwyn, Nathan, Bavi and Pam: it’s a family aflare:

    Reply
    • Looks like storm soup for the SW Pacific! What a mess!

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 12, 2015

        What happens if two cylcones/hurricanes converge? Has that ever occured in our time?
        Would they combine forces or cancel out one another?

        Sensing something like that brewing in this “amazing” El Nino. Big, big weather event, likes of which have never been encountered by humans. Hope not, but have that bad feeling.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        Cyclone threatens Vanuatu, two Australian cyclones ease March 13, 2015
        http://newsdaily.com/2015/03/cyclone-threatens-vanuatu-two-australian-cyclones-ease/
        A maximum category five tropical cyclone was heading towards the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Friday, packing destructive winds of up to 185 kph (115 mph) and heavy rain, Vanuatu Meteorological Services (VMS) warned….

        Cyclone Pam was upgraded to a category five storm, the most severe rating, but it was not expected to directly hit land, but brush passed Vanuatu on Friday night, possibly causing flash flooding….

        Another tropical cyclone, Olwyn…was expected to weaken during the day…

        A third cyclone, Nathan, off the northeast coast of Australia’s Queensland state, was expected to drift north and east away from the coast on Friday, and its strong winds were unlikely to affect the state…

        Reply
      • E– two hurricanes converging usually results in them being ripped apart by outflow winds. However, hurricanes can sometimes converge with strong frontal or cold core storms to form a hybrid. As we saw with Sandy, these storms can be ridiculously powerful.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        Thanks, Robert. “Frankenstein monster storms” aka “Frankenstorms”.

        Reply
    • wili

       /  March 13, 2015

      Reply
    • Post updated to include relevant Central Pacific Warming Science…

      Reply
  2. Is it just me, or does it seem like El Niño has repeatedly underperformed, especially relative to 98’s, while other areas of the Pacific have been seeing really anomalous heat (I’m thinking of the large areas of warmth of the west coast of N America)?

    Reply
    • As a measure of surface temperature anomaly, absolutely. But that may be due to the PDO transition that appears to be underway. Also, it probably has something to do with the fact that the middle and upper latitudes, overall, warm faster under increasing ghg forcing. That Pacific West Coastal region has been under an unprecedented meridional pattern for two years now.

      Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  March 13, 2015

      I wonder if 98 was the last normal El Nino, and now as atmospheric/oceanic behavior is undergoing such change we are viewing a new form of how El Nino behaves.

      Reply
      • james cole

         /  March 13, 2015

        That is what I think will happen Andy. What we became used to as normal cycles of El Nino may be changed for good by global warming changing the playing field.
        By the way, how is San Diego holding up drought wise?

        Reply
      • Andy in San Diego

         /  March 13, 2015

        I think it will be a tough year James. Zero water allocation again in CA for farmers, not much in the Sierras and I’ve been watching the dams on the Colorado, not looking too god.

        Reply
      • There is some confirmation to that thinking in the science. See Timothy’s posts below.

        Reply
  3. eleggua

     /  March 12, 2015

    Robert Scribbler appearing live ‘on air’ next week, Thursday, March 19th, 2015,
    on KPFA Berkeley Free Public Radio, 2PM, Pacific Standard Time, 94.1FM in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Listen ‘live’ online here from anywhere on our Planet: http://www.kpfa.org/

    Or via the archives, after the show’s end. (Will post the link to the archived show next week, post-program.)

    Hope you don’t mind my announcing the program, Robert. It’s just been announced ‘on air’ now on KPFA. Program today, on now, regarding global water issues.

    Reply
    • I don’t know about Robert, but I’m sure glad you announced it! Thanks for that Eleggua!

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        You’re welcome. I’ll post a reminder/s next week, close to the time of the show.
        It will be available on archive, too, so if one misses it live, it’s easy enough to either stream or download and listen at your leisure.

        Reply
    • Good news, eleggua. Thanks
      Q: Are you connected with kPFA, or are just being a good citizen-commuinty-radio supporter? Not that it matters. I do news stuff here in PDX on KBOO 90.7.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        You’re welcome, dt.

        A: No direct affiliation with KPFA. Just doing my best to be a good friend and concerned neighbor to all.

        Anyone that you know at KBOO that would host Robert? The more the merrier.

        Reply
      • Have to give Eleggua huge thanks for this. I’m actually a bit flabbergasted at the level of help and the way everything came together.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        Aw, twas nothing. You’re welcome. Thank you!!!

        Perfect timing. Spring Equinox and a Total Solar Eclipse the next day, the 20th.
        The path of totality travels between Greenland and Scandanavia.
        “The only populated places where the totality can be seen, reachable by public travel, are the Faroe Islands and Svalbard.”

        Reply
  4. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/03/12/first-it-was-crazy-winters-now-global-warming-may-also-be-driving-crazy-summers/?postshare=1211426187588202

    A must read related to Jetstream and Dr. Francis. New study supporting her research. I swear the pace of studies, news and relevent measurements related to AGW is accelerating along with AGW. Can’t keep up with this, no time.

    Reply
    • It helps when we all share in the effort. Thanks for this link. Very well done bit of work.

      Reply
    • Quote from the article

      “So what’s the upshot for the ongoing debate over whether the Arctic is, indeed, messing with weather in the mid-latitudes all over the globe? “I think the balance of evidence is kind of moving towards confirming that there is this influence of the Arctic,” said Rahmstorf”

      Reply
      • doug

         /  March 13, 2015

        And influence is not cause.

        I believe the Arctic is a link in the chain. I still link Jennifer Francis theory will end up being wrong, but she has gotten so much media attention, that people that read the popular press, think her theory must be the only right one on this question.

        But I know I invite attack on this blog suggesting that the Knighted and Sainted Jennifer Francis could be wrong.

        Reply
        • A winter full of Rossby waves set off by polar amplification and not a peep. But now that AO switches…

          Doug, methinks you thrive on discord…

      • bassman

         /  March 13, 2015

        Doug, Any new hypothesis/emerging theory should be challenged (in good faith). I wouldn’t be surprised if other factors have played or will play a role in changes to the jet stream. I find the work of Dr. Francis and others interesting because the consequences of “stuck” weather patterns in addition to all of the other influences of AGW are very worrisome.

        As has been said by others, changes in the arctic are coming fast and many of the consequences (albedo changes, CO2 sink to source changes, methane release, and changes in jet stream patterns) are all going to be influential on food security in the northern hemisphere. Any new study like this deserves attention regardless of how new the idea is. Maybe I am just unaware but someone could respond to this comment with a peer reviewed study that casts significant evidence against the idea that reduction of arctic sea ice/warming arctic isn’t altering the jet stream in the ways that these researchers have been suggesting (Francis and others like this recent paper).

        Reply
      • The timing of certain weather ‘trends’ tell me JF is correct.
        The retreat of historical Arctic ice and temperature as well as the retreat northward of the usual NW surface winds, plus the high altitude “here today, gone tomorrow, jet stream”, and the formidable high pressure ridge over the eastern Pacific, adds up in JF’s column..

        Reply
      • You know, dt, when we started seeing really dramatic arctic ice loss (around 2007 and on) I noticed that it often coincided with big snow/cold winters here in New England. I noticed how the amplitude of waves in the jet stream seemed to be increasing, while also moving eastward at a slower pace, leaving us with storm after storm flowing into the Northeast on the same path. But I’m just a carpenter, and all my “evidence” is anecdotal from being outside and paying attention to the weather in the same place for about 30 years. But once I read Jennifer Francis’ work it all seemed to make perfect sense. Yes, she was at the forefront of research into this particular effect of AGW and the research is still fairly new, but like you said dt, evidence just keeps piling up in Francis’ column, with little to dispute her claims at this point other than speculation and conjecture. I think as time goes on we will see her work repeatedly vindicated.

        Reply
      • danabanana

         /  March 13, 2015

        The BBC had a short report on how pollution from Asia affects the weather in the US and beyond. Their guest stated that it is pollution from India and China that alters the Jet Stream. Personally I think that there are a combination of factors that are altering the JT behaviour but I agree with JF that the main factor would be the loss of ASI.

        Reply
      • I think it really is pretty basic physics. The Jet Stream is driven by temperature differentials between high and middle latitudes. Reduce or remove those differentials and the Jet Stream is altered accordingly.

        Reply
  5. climatehawk1

     /  March 12, 2015

    Thanks, tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  6. rustj2015

     /  March 12, 2015

    Probably a repeat (because I can’t follow all comments):
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-11/the-year-humans-started-to-ruin-the-world

    and the conclusion, “It’s just not clear that this is happening yet.” — but wait a bit longer…

    But for there to be consequences beyond geology of the geologists’ decisions, the rest of the world has to take notice of the scale of the change at hand. It’s just not clear that this is happening yet.

    Reply
  7. What we are seeing at the moment is more in line with what the Japanese termed an “El Nino Modoki”, where warming takes place primarily in the Central Pacific rather than in the more traditional Eastern Pacific.

    Please see:

    While Japanese researchers have identified similar central Pacific warming events – dubbing them El Nino Modoki, or “same but different” in Japanese – the current pattern is about 1500 kilometres further to the west than previous ones, Dr Cai said.

    El Nino declared as climate scientists watch on with ‘amazement’
    Peter Hannam (SMH), March 6, 2015
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/el-nino-declared-as-climate-scientists-watch-on-with-amazement-20150306-13wsqe.html

    Reply
    • Thanks for this, Tim. I’ll have to look to include it.

      Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  March 12, 2015

      So have an ‘El Nino Modoki’. So it appears there are different types of El Nino’s. I was stunned by this graphic and how it corresponds to the last few years:

      California continues to dry out.

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 13, 2015

      The gist of what’s being said ^there is, this current incarnation of El Nino does not follow the pattern of previous El Niño Modoki (plural?) nor of previous El Nino events.
      The “amazement” is due to its totally anomalous nature, when compared with El Niño Modoki and El Nino.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        This person, Matthew Holliday, is saying it is an El Nino Modoki.
        El Nino Is Now Official: So What?
        Matthew Holliday | March 7, 2015
        http://firsthandweather.com/638/el-nino-is-now-official-so-what/
        …The current El Nino is a weak El Nino Modoki. That is when above average sea surface temperatures in the equatorial central Pacific are sandwiched between cooler waters to the west and east. I’ve talked about all of that on this site before…

        El Nino? El Nino Modoki? Hybrid? Neither?

        Reply
      • It’s odd, even for a mid ocean El Niño. But that may be due to the fact that it’s just getting started.

        Even for the mid ocean version, you’d generally expect more warm waters further east. The warm waters near the date line so far make the event a bit lopsided. The other oddity is time of formation. You generally don’t get El Ninos of any kind at the start of the year. The ocean-atmosphere relationship generally precludes it due to seasonal forcing changes at early year. Some El Ninos have run through this period, but the formation time is odd.

        It’s not a hybrid, far from it. It hovers even at the edge of a mid ocean El Niño.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        Thanks for those clarifications. Portentous. Seems to presage some prodigious event.

        Reply
    • Update is in, Timothy. Thanks again for the sources and relevant discussion!

      Reply
  8. A tech paper on Modokis that may be of interest:

    Ashok, Karumuri, et al. “El Niño Modoki and its possible teleconnection.” Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans (1978–2012) 112.C11 (2007).
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2006JC003798/full

    Reply
  9. Many of the effects on climate are of the opposite sign of the more traditional El Niño. For example, an El Niño Modoki will tend to dry out California:

    JAMESTECH: Modoki ENSO
    A New Phenomenon is Found in the Tropical Pacific
    http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d1/iod/enmodoki_home_s.html.en

    They also tend to increase hurricane activity along the US Atlantic due to moving activity westward.

    Reply
    • Excellent addition, Timothy. And welcome back!

      Reply
      • Thank you…

        Here is another paper that may be of interest:

        Lee, Tong, and Michael J. McPhaden. “Increasing intensity of El Niño in the central‐equatorial Pacific.” Geophysical Research Letters 37.14 (2010).
        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2010GL044007/full

        The authors note that there is a trend at the 90% confidence towards warmer Central Pacific El Niño events (El Niño Modokis) but no trend towards warmer Central Pacific neutral or La Niña events. Thus the warming trend in the Central Pacific is expressed primarily through the El Niño Modoki events. They note that one of the remaining questions is whether this trend is due to decadal or multi-decadal variability or anthropogenic global warming.

        That is from 2010. It will be interesting to see how things have progressed since.

        Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  March 12, 2015

      A more active Atlantic hurricane season could be interesting.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        El Niño confirmed, may reduce hurricane threat March 5, 2015 http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-el-nio-20150305-story.html
        An El Niño typically leads to more tropical storms in the Pacific and fewer in the Atlantic, which would mean a less active hurricane season for South Florida….
        “Even if the 2015 season does see below-average tropical cyclone activity, it only takes one storm hitting you to make it a bad year.”

        He said the last hurricane to strike Florida was Wilma in October of 2005.
        “That’s also the last major hurricane to strike the U.S.,” he said. “This remarkable streak will come to an end, and we need to be ready.”
        The NOAA Climate Prediction Center will issue its hurricane outlook in late May, he said….

        Reply
      • Mark from New England, eleggua, regarding El Niño Modokis and the likelihood of a more active Atlantic hurricane season, you might want to see:

        …. the amplitude of this new type of El Niño has increased in recent decades (Lee and McPhaden 2010). For convenience, hereinafter we refer this new type of El Niño as to CP warming (CPW).

        Compared with the canonical EPW, the CPW exhibits distinctly different impacts on worldwide climate. For example, the CPW shifts the anomalous convection westward and usually forms two anomalous Walker circulations in the tropical Pacific (Ashok et al. 2007; Weng et al. 2007; Weng et al. 2009). The westward displaced convection was suggested to be more effective in causing Indian drought (Kumar et al. 2006). The CPW increases hurricane frequency both in the Atlantic Ocean (Kim et al. 2009) and western North Pacific (Chen and Tam 2010), and also shifts tropical cyclone tracks in the western North Pacific (Hong et al. 2011).

        Xiang, Baoqiang, Bin Wang, and Tim Li. A new paradigm for the predominance of standing Central Pacific Warming after the late 1990s. Climate dynamics 41.2 (2013): 327-340.

        Of course this particular Modoki is odd even for a Modoki, both in being centered further West than previous Modokis and in time of year.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        Thanks so much, Timothy. After reading and trying to digest that paper, it’s clear here that you have a good grasp of what’s up.

        The real heroes of our time are scientists, not professional athletes, popular music ‘stars’ and other entertainers, and credible scientists deserve at least as much attention from the culture at-large.

        Reply
    • So they find that the GHG/warming forcing is tending to favor more events at mid ocean. I think that’s pretty significant, especially when you consider the connection with drought in the US SW and what looks like a rather substantial teleconnection to the Arctic.

      Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  March 13, 2015

        Thanks Timothy and Robert for the additional information on Modoki El Ninos. Fascinating. Summer 2015 here we come…

        Reply
  10. Here’s some of that ocean heat in action. The storm intensified from a Cat 2 to a Cat 4 in 24 hours, and is currently a Cat 5. http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2933

    Reply
  11. Loni

     /  March 12, 2015

    Robert, I think it was last summer when you were discussing the emerging ‘hole’ in the troposphere, which, if memory serves was in the mid Pacific around the equatorial region. Is that ‘hole’ still there and/or is it still growing? I wouldn’t think it would have anything to do with an El Nino event, but at this point, nuthin’ surprises me.

    Good report, and I look forward to hearing your March 19th interview.

    Reply
    • More of a bulge in the troposphere and a related degrading of the hydroxyl layer. The bulge was linked to warming of surface waters in this region of the Pacific. The bulge/heightening is certainly still there as it relates to the accumulation of heat.

      Reply
  12. doug

     /  March 13, 2015

    Hi Robert, No actually I thrive on telling the truth-damn the torpedoes. I’ve never liked group think.

    I enjoy reading your blog though Robert.

    Reply
    • Dave Person

       /  March 13, 2015

      Hi Doug,
      Truth? Explain please. What are your reasons for doubting Francis’s hypotheses? Saying you oppose group think without evidence of invalid group think is of no value whatsoever.
      dave

      dave

      Reply
    • 97 percent of climate scientists group think?

      I think we can continue to agree to disagree on Francis. My original support of her theories, in the wilderness and contradictory to those of some rather well established mainstreamers, was certainly not based on group think… In any case, the evidence, at least from my point of view, appears to be mounting in her favor.

      Be that as it may, I’d be interested to see the links to studies supporting an honest and well supported counter argument, if you care to make a case.

      Reply
      • doug

         /  March 13, 2015

        “In any case, the evidence, at least from my point of view, appears to be mounting in her favor”. -Robert Scribbler

        Robert, this is different than saying she’s right, as you have said many times on this blog. I think Science above all else, makes that distinction, don’t you?

        What I was referring to as group think, wasn’t referring to you, but rather your readers. And of course I wasn’t referring to the 97% consensus.

        I base my doubts on her theory, because so many climate scientists disagree, and I’m talking well respected ones.

        Reply
        • I’ve observed evidence that supports her theory. And I am generally of the opinion that she is correct. All the more so now. So I suppose I can understand why you would think as much.

          What I have asserted, and I guess you missed in nuance, was that her theory was already useful as a predictive measure and could well save lives if paid proper mind.

      • mikkel

         /  March 13, 2015

        Not to be a pedantic asshole, but Science inherently never says anything is right.

        Climate change is driving a deep wedge in the field between the intuitive thinkers who value creating mental models and projections of what is likely to occur through dynamic change, vs the sensory frequentists who believe that enough observations must be made in order to say with low uncertainty that there have been state changes.

        Intuitives are supported by understanding that is inherently built on general systems theory, as well as supported by paleoclimate data and meterological physics.

        The frequentists are supported by instrumental data and extrapolate from that.

        Francis’ theory is pretty damn strong from an intuitive standpoint and the last few years definitely added quite a few points from the experiential one too.

        In general though, even if it isn’t correct I strongly believe it reached the level of likelihood that we must operate within to make decisions in the rapidly engaging world. Otherwise, we risk becoming completely unable to address the consequences of what is unfolding.

        Reply
      • mikkel

         /  March 13, 2015

        Oops…

        “Rapidly changing world”

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        “What I was referring to as group think, wasn’t referring to you, but rather your readers. ”

        Thanks, doug. Though that was intended to insult, it’s moreso an honor.
        And like or it not, you’re part of this group thinking in here. Looking forward to more of your contributions.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        Whoops! Forget the comma:

        …this group, thinking in here.

        Reply
  13. Andy in San Diego

     /  March 13, 2015

    Anyone else notice the last couple of years the rapid escalation of cyclones from TS, Cat 1 then up to Cat 3+ in extremely short periods of time? Last summer the ones off of Mexico in the Pacific blew up really fast as did the ones in the west Pacific.

    Reply
  14. Andy in San Diego

     /  March 13, 2015

    I propose instead of calling the new epoch “anthropocene” perhaps we could call it the “for-fucks-sakes-we-should-have-listened-cene”.

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 13, 2015


      …race organizers had to truck in snow to the ceremonial Iditarod start line in Anchorage….
      To train, many teams of dogs and their owners had to travel, often “outside”—away from Alaska. (Monica) Zappa ended up going to the mountains of Wyoming…

      A recent study said that Alaska’s rivers and melting glaciers are now outputting more water than the Mississippi River….

      Permafrost still covers 85 percent of the state, but “almost everywhere, the depth of the active layer is increasing over the last few decades,” said Thoman. Since the active layer—the zone of soil above the permafrost that thaws out each summer—now penetrates deeper down, that means landforms are shifting, lakes are draining, and new forests are springing up

      Reply
      • Then there are all those oil pipelines sagging as the permafrost softens.
        Is there a web site that tracks these? Or do we just wait for the headlines to tell us?

        Reply
      • Andy in San Diego

         /  March 13, 2015

        yup dt,

        Pipelines (which are not monitored for this), roads and bridges. In towns water, sewer, septic fields, power lines, buildings settling…

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        Drunken Trees: Dramatic Signs of Climate Change
        As the permafrost melts in the north, forests no longer grow straight.
        April 17, 2014
        http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/04/140417-drunken-trees-melting-permafrost-global-warming-science/
        Sarah James, an Alaska Native elder, says global warming is radically changing her homeland. Even the forests no longer grow straight. Melting ground has caused trees to tilt or fall….

        It’s not just trees. Slumping land caused by melting permafrost also cracks pavement, breaks pipelines, and opens holes, causing expensive damage to houses and roads. “We have whole families who have had to move because their houses are not safe anymore,” says James….

        Torre Jorgenson, a scientist in Fairbanks, Alaska, who studies permafrost, says melting of ice crystals below the ground can cause slumps as large as 10 meters (33 feet). That can “swallow a whole house,” says Jorgensen, who heads Alaska Ecoscience, which does research for government agencies….

        In addition to collapsed trees, slumping land often leads to the formation of new thermokarst lakes, if enough meltwater collects in a depression. In that case, drunken trees are often found ringing the water….

        “Climate change, global warming, is real here in the Arctic,” Sarah James, the elder, concludes. “It seems like when I go other places they’re not worried about it, but one way or another it’s going to get there.”

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        Sarah James is a native Gwich’in from Arctic Village, Alaska, USA, and a board member of the International Indian Treaty Council. She was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2002, together with Jonathon Solomon and Norma Kassi.
        They received the prize for their struggles for protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) from plans of oil exploration and drilling. Oil and gas exploration would disturb the life cycle of the Porcupine caribou, which has been a foundation for the Gwich’in culture for 20,000 years.

        http://grist.org/article/james1/
        The Gwich’in Steering Committee works on behalf of the Gwich’in Nation to protect Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit, the Sacred Place Where Life Begins — the caribou calving and nursery grounds of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

        In 1988, when we learned of the threat of oil development in the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge, the Gwich’in elders called upon the chiefs to hold a gathering, Gwich’in Niintsyaa, to discuss this threat. We agreed unanimously to speak with one voice in opposition to oil and gas development in the birthplace and nursery grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd. Our communities established the Gwich’in Steering Committee with the mandate that the organization represent the interests of the Gwich’in Nation in the Arctic Refuge debate…..

        Q: What long and winding road led you to your current position?

        This is my way of life. We are born with this way of life and we will die with it. It never occurred to me that something had to wake me up to do this. Nothing magic happened to me. Our life depends on it. It’s about survival; it’s something that we have to protect in order to survive. It’s our responsibility. It’s the environment we live in. We believe everything is related.

        Reply
  15. wili

     /  March 13, 2015

    This is just a spectacular and timely post, with some really great commentary. Makes it almost worth it that what we have a front row seat here to watch is the unraveling of the world as we know it. Best to all.

    Reply
    • wili.🙂

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 13, 2015

      There is a better world available for this planet.
      Clean air, clean water, a green earth and peace.
      Let’s continue to help make it so.

      Reply
      • Germ

         /  March 13, 2015

        Oh dear. More happy talk.
        Happy happy talk!

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        Thanks, Gerald. Captain’s version was a lot of fun, song and video, but no better than Juanita Hall’s in South Pacific.

        Love the Captain and The Damned. Sensible stuff.
        We’ve been crying now for much too long
        And now we’re gonna dance to a different song
        I’m gonna scream and shout til my dying breath
        I’m gonna smash it up til there’s nothing left
        Smash It Up, Smash It Up, Smash It Up.

        “If you don’t have a dream, How you gonna have a dream come true?”

        What’s your dream of the future, Gerald? What would you like to see, to experience?

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        Remember, it’s easier to smile than it is to frown;
        smiling is good for your health and well-being on every level.

        Reply
  16. Andy in San Diego

     /  March 13, 2015

    Humanity is having trouble coming to grips with the “new normal”. When you look at editorials and the news they talk about an abnormal blip with rain fall (say Brazil, California, India etc…) as though things will return to “normal”. They won’t, that normal is over. The sudden deluges last year in the northern hemisphere were treated as “an unusual event, but don’t turn the channel. It will all be back to normal”. It’s not.

    They are having so much trouble understanding and absorbing that what was the way it was, simply is not anymore. The historical rainfall amounts for southern Brazil may as well be thrown in the shredder, they don’t apply anymore. We treat these historical values as though they will return and they are on a side trip through droughtsville. They don’t stop and consider that they moved to droughtsville.

    PNW & Sierra snowfalls being reported as a percentage of normal. Sorry, that historical normal is not what “normal” is anymore, that is just a clump of tree rings from the past. The small sad tree rings that trees are accruing are what is now normal. Normal is low snow, run off during winter, dry summers. That is normal.

    At some point we have to redefine normal, and admit we fucked up the planet. We as a civilization have to stop reminiscing about the good old days in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s pretending that they’ll be back.

    The psychology of our species as it whistles past the graveyard is fascinating.

    Reply
  17. Ouse M.D.

     /  March 13, 2015

    Welcome to Abrupt Climate Change
    Our chances to slow it down become significantly lower by the hour- actually by minute now.
    As we slip into a climate 3- 25 million years ago in just decades, in every minute there’s literally years passing by.
    And the choice we have taken is simply to ignore this all.
    And maintain the (self)- destructive industrial civilization as long as possible.
    Catch- 22 on wheels.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  March 13, 2015

      Good point. We are rushing backward in time at lightning speed. But we just have to leave behind the species that have evolved since then, without picking up the old ones.

      It’s a kind of global death through rapid backward time travel.

      Reply
    • rustj2015

       /  March 13, 2015

      An important report from Greg Laden, in parallel to this discussion:
      http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2015/03/12/new-study-on-how-global-warming-changes-the-weather/

      Reply
      • rustj2015

         /  March 13, 2015

        And this comment below Laden’s commentary:

        Donal

        Baltimore
        March 13, 2015

        I gave office presentations on vapor retarders & air barriers, foundation waterproofing and roof drainage over the last few months. We have some deniers in the office, but I flat out told them: whether you believe in climate change or not, we have seen a derecho, record-setting rainstorms and snowstorms in this city over just the last few years. The weather has become unpredictable, so you’d better design for the worst case event and then some.

        Reply
  18. eleggua

     /  March 13, 2015

    China’s energy giant willing to cooperate in Arctic resources extraction 2015-01-20
    http://www.ecns.cn/business/2015/01-20/151453.shtml
    China’s energy giant PetroChina is willing to engage in cooperation in extracting oil and gas as well as other natural resources in the Arctic region, said a high-ranking official of the company on Monday.
    Sun Xiansheng, president of the CNPC Economics and Technology Research Institute, made a presentation on Monday afternoon at the 2015 Arctic Frontiers conference, which runs from last Sunday to Friday.

    PetroChina, which has oil and gas investment in 35 countries, has already involved itself in the Arctic through holding a 20 percent share in the Yamal LNG project, a joint venture with Russia….

    t was the first time in many years that a Chinese company of this size was represented at the Arctic Frontiers conference, a meeting place for policymakers, researchers and businessmen from the Arctic Council member countries and observer nations to discuss the Arctic-related issues.

    The theme of this year’s conference, the ninth one, was climate and energy….

    With a goal for zero accidents zero pollution and zero casualties, the Chinese oil company always puts an emphasis on safety, environment and health and tries its best helping the local communities where it is present, Sun said.

    No mention of how he proposes to pull off the “zero pollution” trick, extracting oil from the earth.

    Reply
    • Eleggua,

      No mention of how he proposes to pull off the “zero pollution” trick, extracting oil from the earth.

      There is no mention, because they don’t care. In fat, they don’t give a rats ass. There is no reason to give up profit voluntarily (had that ever happen?), in order to make livable planet in the future. No real money to be made that way. In fact, many environmentalists fall into the trap, that we can still have an economic growth (more money, why not!), and less environmental pollution. Not possible/desirable/sustainable. Good essay on this is provided by retired peak oiler David Cohen, where he provides a good rebuttal of Mark Lynas’s piece in the Guardian:

      Human Nature — An Instructive Example

      Anthropogenic climate change is real, so there’s no disputing that. However, solving climate change does indeed mean rolling back capitalism, stopping economic growth, etc. The fact that there is a snowball’s chance in hell that this will happen does not make it any less true. Therefore, from a human nature point of view, Lynas is asserting a tautology disguised as a reasonable plea for political moderation.

      Also see my comment to that blog🙂

      Best,

      Alex

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        Thank you, Alex. You highlighted the most important sentence in the piece, for sure.
        “stopping economic growth” = stopping the rat race.

        The comments section there – and in a great many other venues – is encouraging. Sure, there are a lot of dodos and deniers pumping out pablum, however I’m noting a significant exponential uptick of sane voices calling out for immediate change. We’re not very close yet to critical mass but heading that way faster and faster with every word we write and say and share.
        Phase shift moment is coming, and if we take care of ourselves, we’ll help make it happen and be here to help create and enjoy a much better world for this planet while cleaning up the mess of the old world.
        Let’s not doubt that, please. Keep up the good work and words.
        Thanks again.

        From David Cohen’s piece, linked above by Alex:

        …to make any of this happen we will need to recapture the climate debate from the political extremes. We must then work to come up with inclusive proposals that can form the basis of a social consensus that must last decades if it is to have any meaningful effect on the climate change crisis that faces us.

        Reply
    • It’s madness. Dr. Strangelove madness. There’s no way to extract oil that one intends to sell for burning without generating pollution. Pollution, especially of the ghg variety, is the very nature of fossil fuel extraction and burning. Pollution may well tend to come from extraction. But it’s also the burning part of the equation that you can’t really ignore. Yet it is no surprise that a fossil fuel company would try to pretend that burning doesn’t exist…

      These FF extraction expansion efforts need to be shut down, and fast.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        “These FF extraction expansion efforts need to be shut down, and fast.”

        Yes.

        “However, the idiots are here” Idiots and downright liars:
        Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who is the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and has long challenged the science on humans’ contribution to climate change, slammed the EPA for imposing regulations on states. In support of his argument, he pointed to a map of the U.S. with 32 states shaded green. These 32 states oppose the Clean Power Plan, he said, and yet the EPA is forging ahead.

        Less than half the 32 states that Inhofe referred to are actively opposing the EPA’s plan. Only 12 states—including Wisconsin and Wyoming—have sued the EPA, challenging its legal authority to impose carbon regulation. A handful of other states have set up legislative roadblocks to submitting a plan. In a number of states, however, leaders have voiced their disapproval of the plan, but are yet to announce their intent to defy or challenge federal regulations.

        Reply
  19. Emergency response for marine diseases

    “As our global reliance on oceans for food, ecosystem services, and cultural activities rises, anthropogenic stresses to the oceans are increasing, creating new opportunities for disease. This past year (2014) was also the warmest on record, and continually rising temperatures under climate change are predicted to increase seagrass wasting disease, seastar wasting, abalone withering syndrome, coral bleaching, infectious coral diseases, and risk for human infection by zoonotic vibrio species (5–8). If passed, the Marine Disease Emergency Act will greatly enhance capacity for rapid responses to marine disease outbreaks, maximizing opportunities for research and management of these diseases and their downstream impacts.”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6227/1210.1.full

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 13, 2015

      ^^^Requires log-in, subscription.

      Reply
      • eleggua, if you click on:

        http://www.sciencemagazinedigital.org/sciencemagazine/13_march_2015?pg=42#pg42

        … there will be a floating box over the page. Click the X in the upper right corner, then you can zoom in on the letter itself and print it if you like. No subscription required.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 14, 2015

        Great! Thanks so much, Timothy. Is there a trick to that work-around that you can point me to for future instances?

        Reply
      • eleggua, a trick? Not specifically. I copied the title and performed a search in Google. That is what came up. But oftentimes I will simply enter the title or fragments of it, possibly in quotes, followed by pdf in a Google or Google Scholar search. With Google, go to the last results page and click “repeat the search with the omitted results included.” With Scholar click the versions link below a given result.

        If you are really dogged about it, you can get the names of individual authors and enter pdf behind one or two to see if they have collections of papers. For example, Dai has a collection that will include his most recent and links to most of them on webpages even when you don’t see a link to some of the articles in your search engine results. Topic-specific search engines might help, or possibly narrowing the search to NASA or NOAA if you know one of the authors belongs to one of these organizations. A paper may be paywalled by the journal, yet still be open access somewhere else, although oftentimes not in the final version. Don’t be surprised if something paywalled comes up within a couple of weeks of publication, or there is an author’s copy available at the time of publication.

        Math and physics papers will oftentimes appear at ARXIV first. They will remain there even after a copy has been paywalled at a journal. Anything in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences will become available after the first six months. Papers in climatology are often pretty easy to find. Evolutionary biology more so. Medicine and psychology, more difficult. It depends upon the journal and subject matter.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 15, 2015

        Thanks so much for the detailed explanations, Timothy. Great tips.
        I’d tried searching using text from todaysguestis’ comment with no success; didn’t try using the title.

        Reply
    • Thanks for this, TDG.

      Reply
  20. eleggua

     /  March 13, 2015

    Rapid coastal population growth may leave many exposed to sea-level rise March 11, 2015
    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0118571
    Abstract
    Coastal zones are exposed to a range of coastal hazards including sea-level rise with its related effects. At the same time, they are more densely populated than the hinterland and exhibit higher rates of population growth and urbanisation. As this trend is expected to continue into the future, we investigate how coastal populations will be affected by such impacts at global and regional scales by the years 2030 and 2060….

    Our scenarios show that the number of people living in the low-elevation coastal zone, as well as the number of people exposed to flooding from 1-in-100 year storm surge events, is highest in Asia. China, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Viet Nam are estimated to have the highest total coastal population exposure in the baseline year and this ranking is expected to remain largely unchanged in the future.

    However, Africa is expected to experience the highest rates of population growth and urbanisation in the coastal zone, particularly in Egypt and sub-Saharan countries in Western and Eastern Africa. The results highlight countries and regions with a high degree of exposure to coastal flooding and help identifying regions where policies and adaptive planning for building resilient coastal communities are not only desirable but essential.

    Furthermore, we identify needs for further research and scope for improvement in this kind of scenario-based exposure analysis.

    Reply
    • 3-6 feet of sea level rise and you’re looking at the mass migration of hundreds of millions of people. We’ve locked in at least 15 feet of SLR and will probably see 3-9 feet this century.

      Reply
      • Ouse M.D.

         /  March 13, 2015

        And those “shoreline” nuclear power plants should be under decommissioning phase ALREADY…

        Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  March 13, 2015

        Ouse. M.D., Yes, I want to see Seabrook in coastal New Hampshire shut down real quick! I hope they’re planning for this level of sea level rise.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        “3-6 feet of sea level rise and you’re looking at the mass migration of hundreds of millions of people. ”

        Climate Change and Migration in Bangladesh: Golden Bengal to Land of Disasters
        Bangladesh e-Journal of Sociology. Volume 10, Number 2. July 2013
        …By the year 2050, one out of every ten people will be environmental migrant. Bangladesh alone will produce 26 million environmental migrants in future (Myers, 2001). This huge number of environmental migrants will need food, shelter, jobs, education, transportation facilities, and so on….

        700,000,000+ environmental migrants. Number to consider…

        Reply
  21. eleggua

     /  March 13, 2015

    News Coverage of Fukushima Disaster Found Lacking March 10, 2015
    http://www.american.edu/media/news/20150310-Fukushima.cfm
    Four years after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the disaster no longer dominates U.S. news headlines, though the disabled plant continues to pour three tons of radioactive water into the ocean each day. Homes, schools and businesses in the Japanese prefecture are uninhabitable, and will likely be so forever. Yet the U.S. media has dropped the story while public risks remain.

    A new analysis by American University sociology professor Celine Marie Pascale finds that U.S. news media coverage of the disaster largely minimized health risks to the general population. Pascale analyzed more than 2,000 news articles from four major U.S. outlets following the disaster’s occurrence March 11, 2011 through the second anniversary on March 11, 2013. Only 6 percent of the coverage—129 articles—focused on health risks to the public in Japan or elsewhere. Human risks were framed, instead, in terms of workers in the disabled nuclear plant….

    Pascale says her findings show the need for the public to be critical consumers of news; expert knowledge can be used to create misinformation and uncertainty—especially in the information vacuums that arise during disasters.

    “The mainstream media—in print and online—did little to report on health risks to the general population or to challenge the narratives of public officials and their experts,” Pascale said….

    While it is clear that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown was a consequence of an earthquake and tsunami, like all disasters, it was also the result of political, economic and social choices that created or exacerbated broad-scale risks. In the 21st century, there’s an increasing “globalization of risk,” Pascale argues. Major disasters have potentially large-scale and long-term consequences for people, environments, and economies.

    “People’s understanding of disasters will continue to be constructed by media. How media members frame the presence of risk and the nature of disaster matters,” she said.

    Reply
    • There is a way to frame this investigation of risk that is appropriate and needed. The major news outlets should have had people on the ground everywhere asking questions and finding experts that were both qualified and willing to challenge mainstream thinking. The underground press has done this well with climate change and fracking, for example. I would think a separate movement looking at nuclear incidents would have been helpful, but lack of information stifled reporting. The vacuum not only generated a lack of public awareness, but it also generated all sorts of reports that had little basis in facts. This generated irrational fear among a subset that was just as damaging as the mainstream’s downplaying of risks. The lesson to learn here is that public agencies should be in place that provide accurate reported information related to nuclear disasters, with scientists and specialists whose responsibility it is to independently assess the situation and inform the public.

      Reply
      • Hear, hear!

        Reply
      • wili

         /  March 13, 2015

        “lack of information stifled reporting” Partly because the nuclear industry is one of the most secretive in history??

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 13, 2015

        “There is a way to frame this investigation of risk that is appropriate and needed.”

        Yes. Have ideas here and exploring implementation.

        Reply
    • Ouse M.D.

       /  March 13, 2015

      3 cores melting down almost simultaneously- is unprecented in the nuclear age.
      And as Michio kaku pointed out:
      “We are already 50 years into nuclear age and there is still the waste management is still unresolved.”- I guess he meant it globally…
      3 cores missing, melted down, reaction out of control- the precisely arranged geometry, the brake mechanisms- all gone.
      I guess Fukushima was the first conscious point in history, since the end of Cold War- that ordinary people realized too, that how destructive is industrial civilization on a global level.
      Uranium- 238, so let’s see- half- life of 225.000 years- so the Pacific Ocean will continue to be poisoned- well, forever, on human timescale.
      Why have Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, all decided to decommision all nuclear power plants?
      So, they have to find substitutes- coal, ordinary/ shale gas and oil mostly.
      Catch- 22, again.
      250 years of fossil fuels is a damn long time- being so proud of our technology…
      Nuclear and fossil energy are two things we shouldn’t have done on a global level.
      And still over 88% of energy are generated by these two.
      Catch- 22, once again.

      Reply
  22. eleggua

     /  March 13, 2015

    Ponds are Disappearing in the Arctic 12-Mar-2015
    http://www.newswise.com/articles/ponds-are-disappearing-in-the-arctic
    Ponds in the Arctic tundra are shrinking and slowly disappearing, according to a new study by University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) researchers.

    More than 2,800 Arctic tundra ponds in the northern region of Alaska’s Barrow Peninsula were analyzed using historical photos and satellite images taken between 1948 and 2010. Over the 62-year period, the researchers found that the number of ponds in the region had decreased by about 17 percent, while pond size had shrunk by an average of one-third.
    “The 17 percent is a very conservative estimate because we didn’t consider ponds that had divided, or split into two ponds,” explained Christian Andresen, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at UTEP who led the study. “Some ponds are elongated and as they shrink over time, they can be divided into two or more smaller ponds.”…

    Reply
  23. eleggua

     /  March 13, 2015

    Summer storm weakening leads to more persistent heat extremes March 12, 2015
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150312142913.htm
    Summary:
    Storm activity in large parts of the US, Europe and Russia significantly calmed down during summers over the past decades, but this is no good news. The weakening of strong winds associated with the jetstream and weather systems prolongs and hence intensifies heat extremes like the one in Russia in 2010 which caused devastating crop failures and wildfires.

    “From whichever angle we look at the heat extremes, the evidence we find points in the same direction,” Coumou says. “The heat extremes do not just increase because we’re warming the planet, but because climate change disturbs airstreams that are important for shaping our weather. The reduced day-to-day variability that we observed makes weather more persistent, resulting in heat extremes on monthly timescales. So the risk of high-impact heat waves is likely to increase.”

    Reply
  24. eleggua

     /  March 13, 2015

    Global warming could happen quicker in Russia’s coldest region
    Renowned scientist says temperatures could ‘rise twice faster’ in Yakutia than the rest of the world.
    24 February 2015
    http://siberiantimes.com/ecology/casestudy/features/f0065-global-warming-could-happen-quicker-in-russias-coldest-region/

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 13, 2015

      Badly damaged by thawing of permafrost:

      Note the ground below the building at the the left side/corner.

      Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  March 13, 2015

        Affordable housing – only downside is it is subject to methane explosions.

        Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 13, 2015

      Note the ground around the rim of this Yamal hole:

      Reply
    • That’s exactly where we don’t need rapid warming…

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  March 15, 2015

        Exactly, these appear to be Gleysols (Russian: gley is dialectical word глей, literally “clay”) in the FAO World Reference Base for Soil Resources. It is an old wetland soil that, unless drained, is saturated with groundwater for long enough periods to develop a characteristic gleyic colour pattern due to the lack of oxygen, until exposed. Lots and lots of surface carbon waiting for hungry microbes to consume and belch into the atmosphere.

        Reply
    • eleggua

       /  March 13, 2015

      Robert, did you see the similarity between the earth at the rim of the hole and the earth to the left side of the warped buliding? Possible evidence of methane release or just a common anomaly? Hyper-similar, even the color gradiation of the earth.

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  March 15, 2015

        Similar erosion pattern of gleysols recently exposed to the elements. These are common arctic soils throughout these latitudes. Does not indicate nature of their initial exposure in my opinion. Look deeper for that.

        Reply
      • Good observations by Greg. Another point to consider is what appears to be an intermittent stream bed that now terminates at the blowout. Had mentioned this to Griff, but it appears that water may have intruded from the surface just prior to the blowout.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 15, 2015

        Thanks, Greg. The photos of gleysols that I looked at are similar in color/s, however couldn/t locate any images of gleysols that replicate the striations apparent in both photos. What caused the striations? Runoff from thawing permafrost? They do appear to be the product of some sort of runoff, and are more numerous in the darker grey band of soil in both images. In the case of the Yamal holes, in some images one can see water running down the striations.

        Gleysol:

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 15, 2015

        Загадочный кратер изнутри. Эксклюзивное видео 16.07.2014 s1
        Inside the mysterious crater, Exclusive video 16.07.2014 s1

        Closeup at 1m09s of water running down the furrows/striations.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 15, 2015

        Exclusive new pictures INSIDE Siberian crater 12 November 2014 http://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/news/n0018-exclusive-new-pictures-inside-mystery-siberian-crater/
        Haunting beauty of massive hole as scientists examine frozen lake formed after giant blowout.
        A mission this week to the newly-formed crater on the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia is expected throw fresh light on how this and other such phenomenon were formed. Experts are working on a theory that gas hydrates caused underground explosions in the same way as eruptions under the Atlantic Ocean may have led to the Bermuda Triangle phenomenon.

        Our new pictures show how, for the first time, scientists used climbing equipment to reach the base of the crater – a lake at least 10.5 metres deep with a frozen surface.

        Leader of the new mission, Vladimir Pushkarev, director of the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration, told The Siberian Times: ‘We managed to go down into the funnel, all was successful. We used climbing equipment, and it is easier to do this in winter, than in summer, with the ground now hard….

        The funnel of the crater is about 16.5 metres deep, not including an earthen rampart on the surface, formed in the blowout, of several metres in height….

        ‘The main element – and this is our working theory to explain the Yamal crater – was a release of gas hydrates. It turned out that there are gas hydrates both in the deep layer which on peninsula is several hundred metres down, and on the layer close to the surface’, said scientist Vladimir Potapov before the latest expedition. ‘There might be another factor, or factors, that could have provoked the air clap. Each of the factors added up and gas exploded, leading to appearance of the crater.’

        He stressed: ‘The crater is located on the intersection of two tectonic faults. Yamal peninsula is seismically quiet, yet the area of the crater we looked into has quite an active tectonic life. That means that the temperature there was higher than usual.’

        The name Yamal means ‘the end of the world’, which ironically is also a description applied to the Bermuda Triangle for those lost on boats and planes. The areas stretches from the British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean to the Florida coast, to Puerto Rico.

        Professor Yeltsov said: ‘There is a version that the Bermuda Triangle is a consequence of gas hydrates reactions. They start to actively decompose with methane ice turning into gas. It happens in an avalanche-like way, like a nuclear reaction, producing huge amounts of gas. That makes ocean to heat up and ships sink in its waters mixed with a huge proportion of gas.

        ‘The same leads to the air to get supersaturated with methane, which makes the atmosphere extremely turbulent and lead to aircraft crashes’.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 15, 2015

        From the comments in ^that^ article; anyone confirm or deny this person’s – from Sao Paulo, ironically – speculations:
        “Molecular weight” of air is 98.97 and of CH4 it is 16. Thus the molecular weight of a 9.6% CH4 + 90.4% air mix is: 0.096×16 + 0.904x 28.97 = 27.725 so if down in the hole the temperature is 273K (both ice and water are there) and at the surface the temperature is T, then also assuming the ideal gas law, for there to be net lift in the mix, 27.725 / 28.97 = 0.9570, the lighter molecular density lift must not by more than offset by the temperature contraction increase of the density, which is by the factor 273 / T.

        I. e. for 9.6% methane concentration to rise up out of the hole, 0.957 < 273 /T is required. Or T < 273/ 0.957 = 285.266K, which in more familiar units is 12.266C or ~54F. I.e. there should be methane laden air flowing up out of the hole, probably mainly in the center with 54F or colder air descending in an annulus around the column of methane enriched air. On the warmest Siberian days there will also be CH4 enriched air flowing up too, but the CH4 concentration will be higher then than the 9.6% then.

        This inflow of CH4 free air would of course reduce the concentration of CH4 in the hole so long as it continues, but a dynamic equilibrium would be reached with the CH4 inflow from the saturated thawing permafrost. The time scale for this dynamic "steady state" to be establish is certainly less than an hour. I.e. the observed 9.6% CH4 concentration was the steady state one when the temperature was about 54F.

        Thus by my analysis, I tell you that at the time the 9.6% CH4 was measured, the surface air temperature was ~54F which I think quite reasonable for Siberia at that latitude, in June or July when they measured the 9.6% CH4 concentration. Further more in winter the concentration will be much lower. I.e. the CH4 will be streaming up about as fast as it is being released by the permafrost.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  March 15, 2015

        The comments section at ^that^ article has some good discussion (and a bit of whacko speculation, dismissed by sane commenters). Here’s another:

        The vertical striations around the hole appear to be nothing more than the erosion of back-flowing soil and liquid as it flowed back into the crater. From the size of the remaining rampart, I would say that there must have been hundreds of tons of debris causing the erosion.( Note the jagged peak of the rampart around the perimeter; simply back-flow). Once it had re-frozen it gave the vertical surface an eerie appearance. Not much mystery here, unfortunately.

        Reply
        • It’s an erosion pattern.

          Can’t comment on the other stuff which is highly, highly speculative and more than kinda wacko.

      • eleggua

         /  March 15, 2015

        Thanks. Same erosion pattern, same gleysol soil in both shots. It’s definitely permafrost thawing, buckling the building. Does that erosion pattern and gleysol at the Yamal hole give more credence to the methane theory, with regard permafrost thaw involvement?

        Reply
        • There’s a pretty high certainty, given observations of both temperatures and soil disposition that a degree of thaw was involved. The methane concentrations at the hole base are more than enough to provide adequate suspicion of methane involvement. Approx 10 percent concentration is very high, especially post event. The erosion pattern is mostly indicative of post eruption back flow through partially thawed permafrost.

      • eleggua

         /  March 15, 2015

        Thanks. Yes, the 9.6% figure was convincing.

        Reply
  25. California has about one year of water left. Will you ration now?

    “Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.

    In short, we have no paddle to navigate this crisis.”

    Prof. Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-famiglietti-drought-california-20150313-story.html

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  March 13, 2015

      “Call me old fashioned, but I’d like to live in a state that has a paddle so that it might also still have a creek.” Jay Famiglietti Quote of the Day, todaysguestis.

      Reply
    • climatehawk1

       /  March 13, 2015

      Great article, thanks. Tweet scheduled.

      Reply
    • When JPL scientists start talking like this, people should sit up and listen. This is a none too subtle warning.

      Reply
  26. Hmm: The IEA seems to think that CO2 emissions stalled in 2014… Good news if true…

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/1f56f0d2-c8cc-11e4-8617-00144feab7de.html

    Reply
    • Now we need to start pushing that curve down. 11 GtC per year is still extraordinarily hazardous.

      Reply
    • wili

       /  March 13, 2015

      Of course, if emissions really stalled, but concentrations continue to rise, that would be pretty clear proof that carbon feedbacks have definitely kicked in, would it not?

      Reply
      • wili

         /  March 13, 2015

        Apparently, the claim is only about emissions from the energy sector, not emissions from, for example, ag/land use.

        Still a fairly big deal if true.

        Reply
      • Wili,

        actually no. There is no reason for concentrations not to rise, without enhancing carbon feedbacks. However, if are close to zero net carbon emissions, and concentrations would still be rising, then it is a proof of carbon feedbacks.

        Alex

        Reply
    • sensato

       /  March 13, 2015

      They’re talking there about the rate of emissions from economic activity only, are they not? There was still an additional 32.3bn tonnes emitted by that activity, plus increased contributions from natural feedbacks.

      Reply
  27. eleggua

     /  March 13, 2015

    The processes of destruction of East Siberian coastline:

    Reply
  28. eleggua

     /  March 13, 2015

    Blooms coming too early for Rogue Valley’s bees
    Bees not yet up to full strength to pollinate early blossoms
    Mar. 13, 2015
    …Wild bee populations die back in winter, and many newly hatched bees aren’t old enough yet to fly about gathering nectar and pollen, said Sarah Red-Laird, founder and executive director of the Ashland-based Bee Girl organization, which promotes honeybee conservation and educates beekeepers….

    Meanwhile, many commercial beekeepers have their insects in California pollinating almond trees, which usually bloom early. Southern Oregon orchardists, including pear growers, are scrambling for commercially kept bees to pollinate their trees, which flowered early during recent unseasonably warm temperatures.

    “Pear growers are calling. We’ll get our bees back as quickly as we can to pears,” said John Jacob, a commercial beekeeper and founder of Old Sol Apiaries, based in the town of Rogue River.
    He went down to California on Thursday to retrieve his bees from almond orchards and bring them back for Rogue Valley orchards….

    There is typically a two-week gap between the California almond bloom and the Rogue Valley pear bloom. This year, there is no break between the blooms, he said….

    In the Rogue Valley, wild bees and hobby beekeepers keep non-commercial bee hive numbers high enough to allow for some orchard pollination, he said.
    This year, Red-Laird said, many wild bees are out of sync with the blooms.

    “This spring came so early and bees haven’t had time to catch up with the bloom with the populations they have. The bloom seemed to pop in days and it takes three weeks for bees to go from egg to adult bee.”…

    Rick Hilton, an entomologist and researcher based at the Oregon State University Extension Office in Central Point, said the pear tree bloom came two and a half weeks ahead of normal, which is a significant amount.
    This year marks one of the earliest blooms ever, if not the earliest, he said.
    The days are not only warm, but many nights have been warmer than normal….

    “In the 25 years we’ve been keeping records, this is our lowest amount of chilling by a considerable amount,” he said. “The three lowest years of chilling occurred in the last four years, with this year being the lowest.”…

    Mild winters can also allow insect pests such as the Oriental fruit moth to survive better, emerge earlier and show increased activity. Caterpillars of the moth damage shoots and fruit, he said.
    “We caught our first Oriental fruit moth of the season on Monday,” Hilton said. “That’s the earliest I’ve ever seen.”

    (Thanx, kiltman.)

    Reply
  29. Reblogged this on jpratt27.

    Reply
  30. james cole

     /  March 13, 2015

    Russia’s Lake Baikal is in trouble. Algae blooms in the shallow shoreline waters are out of control, affecting almost half the lake at this point! Now, various reasons are given, the usual suspect is of course improper water treatment in the population centers. But I can tell you that that problem has been ongoing for over half a century. So why now? The sewage problem was worse, I would argue, 50 years ago, but Baikal was not suffering these algae blooms at this level.
    I am willing to stake a lot on the fact that global warming, and the warming of Baikal waters, is feeding these algae blooms. The sewage problem has been a given for many decades, but the massive disaster of algae is recent. I put two and two together and say that warming waters + the sewage is causing this new situation.

    Reply
    • Atmospheric nutrient pollution in the form of nitrogen (NOX – N2) will certainly nourish algal growths. And most N increases are due to FF combustion. This can happen in a wild or urban setting as I am finding out in Portland, OR.
      This sentence about forest fires and soil that I just came across sums it up a bit:

      “While some mineral nutrients like phosphorus occur naturally in the parent rocks of forest soil, all nitrogen inputs to forest ecosystems come from the atmosphere, which is 78% molecular nitrogen (N2) by volume.”

      http://www.northernrockiesfire.org/effects/soilindi.htm#LIST3

      Reply
  31. james cole

     /  March 13, 2015

    California is down to one year’s grace period, if rains do not return, and snow packs return, California faces real problems. I note the usual suspects are blaming politics for the water disaster, not global warming. “Get government out of regulating water, and there will be plenty for all.” That’s right, the same old political hacks, selling the same lie!

    “Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.

    In short, we have no paddle to navigate this crisis.”

    Reply
    • wili

       /  March 13, 2015

      “Get government out of regulating water, and there will be plenty for all.”

      Yeah, that’s a particularly stupid argument, here. But in fact with every new disaster there will always be local political causes for the level of destruction, and most are likely to turn to that first rather than looking at the bigger picture.

      Reply
  1. Record Warm World’s ‘Weird’ 2015 El Nino Sees Westerly Gales, Growing Kelvin Wave | climatecast
  2. Third Warm Kelvin Wave to Raise Extreme El Nino by Fall? | robertscribbler

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