Unprecedented Early Start to ‘Perma-Burn’ Fire Season — Deadly Wildfires Rage Through Siberia on April 12

Permafrost. Ground frozen for millennia. An enormous deposit of organic carbon forming a thick, peat-like under-layer.

Forced to warm at an unprecedented rate through the massive burning of heat-trapping gasses by human beings, this layer is now rapidly thawing, providing an amazing source of heat and fuel for wildfire ignition.

Joe Romm over at Climate Progress has long called this region ‘Permamelt.’ But, with a doubling of the number of wildfires for the high Arctic and an extension of the permafrost fire season into early April this year, we may well consider this to be a zone of now, near permanent, burning — Permaburn.

*   *   *   *  *

inside_burning_village_gv

(Massive outbreak of permafrost wildfires in Russia this week have left up to 34 villages in smoldering ruins. Image from Khakassia, Russia via The Siberian Times.)

For Khakassia, Russia the story this week has been one of unprecedented fire disaster.

Khakassia is located along a southern region of Siberia bordering northern Mongolia and Kazakhstan. It is an area that typically experiences cold temperatures — even in summer time. An area of frozen ground representing the southern boundary for Siberian permafrost. There, as with much of Siberia, temperatures have been forced to rapidly warm by human greenhouse gas emissions. And this added heat forcing has contributed to ever-more-powerful and extensive wildfires as the permafrost thawed — providing an ever-increasing volume of fuels for wildfires.

Last year, Siberian wildfires also came far too early — impacting a broad region near Lake Baikal, Russia during late April. But this year, the fires have come near the start of April. An extension of the burning season in Siberia inexorably toward the winter-spring boundary.

Khakassia Fires April 12 2015

(Extensive wildfires burn though Siberian Khakassia on April 12 of 2015. In the image, we can see down through a break in the cloud deck to view smoke plumes from scores of wildfires raging throughout the region. For reference, bottom edge of frame is 120 miles and the largest burn scars range from 3-5 miles across. As Siberian permafrost burn season progresses, we can expect fires that belch smoke plumes across the Northern Hemisphere emitting from burn scars as large as 30 miles or more across. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

This weekend, temperatures in Khakassia soared to 25 degrees Celsius — 15-20 degrees Celsius above average for daytime temperatures in this region even during recent warmer years (1979-2000). A near 80 degree Fahrenheit reading that would be warm in summertime — but one that cropped up in early April as a result of powerful and hot south to north air flows transporting heat across Asia and into the Arctic. These flows wound through Central Asia, warming Khakassia to record temperatures in their inexorable surge toward the pole.

The heat over Khakassia rapidly thawed surface vegetation, extending warmth deep into the thawing permafrost layer. The result was an outbreak of massive wildfires. Beginning this weekend the blazes have, so far, raged through 34 villages and been blamed for 1300 destroyed homes, the loss of nearly 4000 herd animals, 900 human injuries and 20 deaths. Such a fierce and destructive fire outbreak during summer would have been unprecedented. For this kind of event to occur in April, at the edge of Siberian winter, is nothing short of outlandishly strange.

Russian authorities have blamed the fires on a combination of hot weather and human burning. It is a tradition for Russian farmers to burn to clear fields during this time of year. And it is this practice that media is focusing on. However, traditional burning during spring did not historically result in the kinds of massive blazes that ripped through Khakassia earlier this week. Russian farmers, in this case, are unwittingly flinging matches into a tinderbed of rapidly thawing compost. A pile of warming and chemically volatile peat-like perma-burn that is providing more and more fuel for intense fires.

Links:

Siberian Wildfires — 17 Killed and Hundreds Injured as Blazes Sweep Through Siberia

Fire Death Toll Rises to 15 in Khakassia as Republic Mourns

Siberia Ravaged by Forest Fires

Permamelt — Climate Progress

When April is the New July — Siberia’s Epic Wildfires Come Far too Early

LANCE MODIS

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123 Comments

  1. wili

     /  April 14, 2015

    If the winds blow mostly in the right (that is, wrong) direction, the ash would fall on sea ice and further hasten its demise through albedo shift.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  April 14, 2015

      Also relevant to both this and the last rs post:

      Large declines (exceeding climate model projections) in NH snow cover extent from 1971 to 2014, have contributed to strong polar amplification (which will likely accelerate still further as Asian aerosols are reduced in the coming decades):

      Marco A Hernández-Henríquez et al (2015), “Polar amplification and elevation-dependence in trends of Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent, 1971–2014”, Environ. Res. Lett. 10 044010
      doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/4/044010
      http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/10/4/044010/article
      (Thanks, as often, to ASLR for the link and comment.)

      Reply
  2. And poor Dave thinks that there’s no concern with methane release.
    Sheesh.

    http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2015/04/much-ado-about-methane.html

    Reply
    • Jeremy,

      Dave just wrote there is no scientific evidence to call Near Term Human Extinction, as some call for it. He is not denying (seriousness of) climate change. We cannot say for sure catastrophic methane WILL HAPPEN. Yes, we can speculate about it, but no definite proof yet. And that is a difference!

      Alex

      Reply
      • The probability of a large &/or larger abrupt methane release from both permafrost & Arctic Sea methane hydrates in the next 2 years or less approaches 90 %.

        If only a small fraction of existing stores, less than a miniscule .5 %, releases; it would kill us in short order.

        Plumes of methane 90 miles in diameter reported in 2013 is not observational/empirical proof of large methane release?

        Reply
      • Gerald,

        The probability of a large &/or larger abrupt methane release from both permafrost & Arctic Sea methane hydrates in the next 2 years or less approaches 90 %.

        Really? Who else (here) is claiming that? Any serious reference for that? If so, I also quess you are able to put your money where your mouth is?

        Alex

        Reply
      • Gerald needs to provide support if he’s going to make claims like this.

        I think it’s pretty clear that my view is that Arctic methane is an issue worth closely monitoring and researching and that the risk of release may not be as insignificant as some have claimed. I find the overburden disturbing, the blow holes disturbing, and circumstantial evidence of large outbursts near submarine hydrate systems disturbing. To the point that I think it’s a bit irresponsible to downplay risks of methane release given the, still early and incomplete, state of the science on the issue. This sometimes puts me at odds with Archer, though I certainly do respect his work.

        Going to have to list Gerald as spam again if he keeps this up…

        Reply
      • Tom

         /  April 14, 2015

        Alex: as if that’s all we have to worry about when it comes to abrupt climate change. Mr. know-it-all, yer buddy Dave, has no idea what’s comin’ down the pike. He just smeared Guy for connecting the dots with peer-reviewed papers (as opposed to Dave’s OPINION) and showing how it leads to HABITAT loss, which will be our extinction. It’s not about stupid humans, of which Dave speaks volumes of wisdom, it’s about the rest of the planet not being able to adapt. All that crap about a death-cult and Guy having an agenda is complete bull**** and i won’t be visiting his site again, much as i liked it. He’s mistaken, and you agree with him. You’ll both be surprised then when the shit hits the fan.

        Good luck Alex (and i sincerely hope we’re wrong about NTE, but from all i see and read, it just keeps getting worse by the month now, so it’s unlikely).

        Reply
      • The sticking point is the issue of NTHE (next few decades), which some are claiming is inevitable and unavoidable. This is often linked to the issue of catastrophic methane release, which Dr. Archer vehemently states is a very low probability (to him, approaching the point of absurdity). To untangle these threads, I could probably agree with Archer on the point that the potential for NTHE over the next few decades is probably rather low, but rising later in the century if fossil fuel emissions continue. Where I could disagree with Archer is in downplaying the methane issue a priori a very thorough investigation.

        I think that where many disagree with Guy is that he seems to be selling inaction. The basic message coming out is ‘it’s hopeless, don’t do anything, because you can’t, NTHE is imminent and inevitable.’ And it is that particular assertion which doesn’t have near enough proofs to be certain. It falls down in that there is no clear proof, right now, that a very large methane release in the 50+ gigaton range will inevitably happen say, within the next two years, as Gerald did above. We can certainly identify risks, and I agree that the risks seem to be rising, but the proofs are not there to make such a major claim. This does not preclude us from making warnings about risks — which is responsible. Nor does it preclude what appears to be a rising likelihood that at least a ‘moderate’ response from the methane store is in the offing (a response that would probably seem rapid to the Archer perspective, but slow to the NTHE perspective).

        But we cannot claim major, immediate methane release will, inevitably, happen. Nor can we claim with full certainty that humankind could not survive a large scale release of this kind, if the worst case were to emerge. Other life has survived these events in the past and humans, even during civilization collapses and other very difficult times, have tended to be rather hardy. Finally, the particular message of hopelessness is not really helpful given the fact that we are certainly facing a crisis of various scales and that what we need now is mobilization with a combined sense of moral urgency to confront and solve problems.

        Where I tend to differ with anyone — is when they make these definitive claims. And given the fact that we really don’t know enough about what’s going on RE big tipping points, these are huge shots in the dark.

        On the issue of habitat loss — yes that is a huge concern for humankind at this point. But that is another issue — certainly related, but not conflated. Species do have trouble with habitat loss and humans, like everyone else, are confronting shrinking horizons, especially if we don’t get a handle on carbon emissions very soon.

        Reply
    • ” …. list Gerald as spam again if he keeps this up…”
      Right, his constant hyper scatter gun screeds in this valuable forum fatigues me.
      I will read Robert’s posts but hesitate to read rich comments if GS is sighted.
      Life is short — and getting shorter.
      Peace

      Reply
      • At this point, I’m selectively taking the rants down. They’re distracting and often loosely, if at all, related to facts or to original statements.

        Reply
    • Ummm ?
      I’m a dummy so need help now and then.
      Ok so in the past when ‘we’ have had methane ‘problems’ ie they have proven that there were high methane levels in the environment by studying shell fragments etc on the sea bed (right?)
      These methane eruptions would have happened when the CO2 was way way lower than 400 ppm, because the CO2 levels and there warming potential happened over 10,000 years or so, like the earth say hit 300 ppm and stayed there for a thousand years etc etc, so would there was a relativity stable growth to 400 ppm, the ice that would have melted, or the methane that would have been released @ say 300 ppm would have all gone by 400 ppm
      BUT we have jumped to 400 ppm in 150 od years, and the ice melt/methane release has to catch up.
      So in the past when we have had these large methane releases what was the CO2 reading?
      So what will actually happen when the methane levels say go to say 5ppm ? Will humans suffocate or what?
      What level will be the killing amount?

      Reply
      • Large scale methane feedback of the kind McPherson indicate (in the range of 50+ gigatons or more) are unlikely to have happened at any time except during the worst hothouse extinctions. These would be times when atmospheric CO2 was very high, probably much higher than today.

        The primary reason why large scale methane release is a higher concern today is due to the rapid RATE of warming. In such a case a volume of methane that may have released over centuries or millenia could be compressed into decades resulting in a more powerful amplifier than methane releases, say, at the end of the last ice age.

        We would not see enough methane release to cause suffocation in the range of atmospheric values of 5 ppm. As an asphyxiant gas, methane increases would have to be enough to displace 30,000 ppm of oxygen. I suppose this could occur in local instances if there is an extreme release, but there is probably not enough methane even in all the hydrates (were they all to hit the atmosphere at once) to generate a global asphyxiant. If all the carbon stores burned, perhaps we have a pretty horrible oxygen situation. But moreso in the sense of a degraded atmospheric oxygen content rather than direct asphyxiation.

        I honestly don’t understand where these suppositions come from. Perhaps it is confusion with the problem of filling up the oceans with hydrogen sulfide gas in a longer range hothouse/Canfield Ocean scenario. In such a case, some of this hydrogen sulfide gas could burp out to the atmosphere in catastrophic instances (directly poisoning land life and degrading the ozone layer), as likely happened during other hothouse extinction events. But we shouldn’t conflate methane release directly with oceanic hydrogen sulfide build-up or its related effects.

        The danger of methane release is primarily as an agent of global warming acceleration (amplifying feedback) and as a mechanism for drastic geophysical changes — potentially comparable to catastrophic volcanic eruptions in the worst cases.

        Reply
    • Thanks Robert

      “Large scale methane feedback of the kind McPherson indicate (in the range of 50+ gigatons or more) are unlikely to have happened at any time except during the worst hothouse extinctions. These would be times when atmospheric CO2 was very high, probably much higher than today.”

      What I’m trying to get my head around is that yes it would take higher CO2 levels for a ‘catastrophic ‘burp’ of CH4 ( I guess, your are telling this story?) in the past (as earth went from 260 ppm to 400 ppm) BUT we have done this so fast that all the CH4 that would have been released over 10,000 years or so, has to come out over the next 10 – 50 years (or whatever)

      So in the past 400 ppm might not have been the CH4 tipping point, because it was released slowly @ 300 ppm, 350 ppm, 380 ppm etc We are seeing things acting in a way they never would have if the CO2 level had gone up slowly, ie Green Land wouldn’t have followed the melt pattern we are seeing today, as there wouldn’t have been so much ice sitting there @ 400 ppm, because most of it would have melted @ 350 ppm? etc?

      And as I’m saying that goes for all the methane, that would have been released @ 350 etc ? We have a savings bank worth of CH4, that we should have spent many many CO2 lifetimes ago

      Reply
      • 10,000 years is 800 CH4 lifetimes ?
        To maintain .7ppm CH4 the earth must be spewing more CH4 than CO2 ? as CH4 only hangs around for 12 years, so needs constant top ups while CO2 is alive for 1,000 years, so doesn’t need a constant supply to maintain 260 ppm? ???
        @ 300ppm there could have been a lot more CH4, which would be converting to CO2 every 12 – 20 years …….. soooo maybe it is the CH4 that has driven climate change all along?

        Reply
        • Approximate 200 ppb increase of methane at the end of the last ice age. So we are talking about shifting from an annual global methane release of around 300 megatons per year to 400 megatons per year.

          Considering scaling, we get 50x 10,000 or 500 gigatons as a rough estimate for the 10,000 year period.

          Much of the feedback comes from systems that do not rapidly release methane (wetlands proliferation etc) on the scale of a hydrate release. That said, we do have evidence of approximate 1-2 gigaton releases during periods of rapid warming and large glacial melt volumes (multi century timeframes).

          The paleoclimate of that period is still too murky (in my view) to make a conclusive statement on risk of large-scale sudden release potentials.

      • Well, according to a survey of Arctic researchers, we end up with a carbon feedback from the Arctic equal to about 1 GT of annual CO2 and Methane emission (much larger CO2 fraction) even if we rapidly halt human emissions. So I wouldn’t say we have ‘zero methane feedback’ now. We have some feedback, but not on the order of a 50 gigaton methane release. And it’s pretty obvious that we have a degree of feedback from thermokarst lakes, tundra thaw, some blow holes, some methane bubbling up from the sea bed etc. So to say we have no feedback is a false statement.

        The problem with these statements is it’s either the 50 gigaton monster or it’s nothing. What we observe now is an amplifying feedback that is part of a number of possible ranges of outcomes. That’s probably a better way to look at it.

        In any case, you’re probably not compressing a 10,000 year methane release into 10 years. 50 years is absolute worst case. It’s probably more like compressing 1,000 years into a hundred or 2,000 years into a hundred, or 10,000 years into a hundred with the outside potential that you hit some kind of tipping point that you wouldn’t otherwise due to the more rapid rate of warming having a potential compounding effect. In any case, I think its fair to say that any warming results in carbon system feedback, which includes a portional methane release from stores (as would also be the case with CO2, which due to its residence time has a greater long-term impact, especially when rates of warming are more gradual).

        So what we are looking at, right now, is the store that would release at around 0.8 to 1 C initial warming and an overall initial forcing that’s enough to warm the Earth System by 2-3 C long term or 3-4 C long term if you include all the CO2e gasses. So what kind of feedback do you get from that initial forcing? Is it enough to push Earth System Sensitivity outside the normal range? Is it enough to result in a lock in of the typical ESS warming through feedbacks? And what does this situation look like if we hit 450 ppm CO2 and 550 ppm CO2e or worse? Does the carbon response result in a runaway? How bad is the runaway? Can we deal with the runaway by shifting to carbon negative societies? Those are the questions we should be looking at and, in fact, it’s ground that many scientists are working over now. A critical aspect of the controversy above.

        Reply
  3. Kevin Jones

     /  April 14, 2015

    The Summer of 2015: Big Heat Big Drought Big Burn From California to The Taiga.

    Reply
  4. Reblogged this on GarryRogers Nature Conservation and commented:
    The ecological consequence of frequent fires is permanent vegetation change to reduced diversity and productivity.

    Reply
  5. Kevin Jones

     /  April 14, 2015

    A rather large carbon store, this “Snow Forest’ as it’s been called: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiga#/media/File:Distribution_Taiga.png

    Reply
  6. That’s a lot of high temps, and a lot of burning in Siberia.
    Back in the USA, there is a major fire threat across much of the SW and Prairie region.
    West to east, drought, fire and dry wind, wet and wild. (It would make for a nice graphic.)
    Here’s USA NWS Fire Zone Warning map.

    Reply
    • NWS Hazard Map:

      Reply
    • dt, CA looks grossly distorted on the low side.

      Reply
    • james cole

       /  April 16, 2015

      I’m in North East Minnesota and the emergency county hotline called with a recorded message putting our country on a red flag warning. High temperatures, an early snow pack melt, little if any rain and high winds combined to make the woods explosive. The earlier and earlier snow pack melt in a notable Global Warming sign in the Upper Midwest and into Ontario. Heavy snow in the woods could last till May, but now a days it goes in March! Climate shift here is extreme! And as I tell people, these early springs are no longer weather, they now are climate. Weather here reflects the new climate we have been in for a decade at least.

      Reply
      • That’s a great way to phrase and frame it james cole: “… no longer weather, they now are climate. Weather here reflects the new climate we have been in for a decade at least.”
        I will definitely keep it in mind and pass it around.

        Reply
  7. Kevin Jones

     /  April 14, 2015

    Oops. Hazard map for 2/2/15. Does this work? http://www.weather.gov/

    Reply
  8. Ouse M.D.

     /  April 14, 2015

    Pretty brutal antarctic storm track

    http://postimg.org/image/7xzmr5h4v/

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  April 14, 2015

      Mariners call those latitudes The Roaring Forties and the Furious Fifties…indeed.

      Reply
  9. Kevin Jones

     /  April 14, 2015

    For those eager and/or anxious about March Global Surface Temperatures, just saw a note that NOAA’s NCDC will report Fri. April 17th. (GISS reported Feb on March 13th)

    Reply
    • TomCobbler

       /  April 14, 2015

      Thanks for that Kevin, JMA was warmest on record for March at .31 anomaly vs. 2nd place 2010 at .28. Not sure what April will do as it started off quite cold. This is going to be a crazy year for temp records one way or another.

      It was interesting in the Washington Post that Chris Mooney mentioned that the transition to positive PDO taking a while to fully influence increased surface warming rates. I was under the assumption that a shift to positive PDO is felt immediately, but maybe changes in ocean currents take a while (duh). I should look at past PDO transitions and corresponding shifts in surface temps to see how long of a lag exists. I feel like there is a lot we still don’t know about ocean currents and their influence on sea surface temperatures.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/04/14/the-pacific-ocean-has-been-blunting-global-warming-but-that-could-be-about-to-change/

      Reply
      • JMA at +0.81 C for March 20th Century average.

        Early April wasn’t cool at all, just cooler. Probably in the range of +0.7 to +0.75 C. We may see March for NASA GISS at +0.85 to +0.9 C or higher.

        This is all very, very warm and well on track for a record warm year.

        Reply
      • Yeah, I guess the word “cold” is relative to record high temps.

        A three month stretch at .79 average anomaly to start the year is worrisome. What happens if this nino is anywhere close to 98 in magnitude. We could be (probably already) are looking at a huge shift in temps in just 1-2 years.

        Reply
  10. Brazil dengue tweets hotting up. A couple of footballers have gone down with it, so that’s making the news.

    “Retweeted 182 times
    Estadao ‏@Estadao 7h7 hours ago
    DENGUE: Brasil já registra 220 casos por hora; mais da metade é em SP http://oesta.do/1aNPR2P
    Translated from Portuguese by Bing
    DENGUE: Brazil already registers 220 cases per hour; half of it is in SP http://oesta.do/1aNPR2P
    Embedded image permalink
    RETWEETS
    185
    FAVORITES
    94
    bethspiky2@hotmail.Aline CardosoWanderlei OliveiraCimar dos SantosWillian RodriguesCorreio da CidadeThaliaDenise AlvesGnomeu ♥
    5:10 AM – 14 Apr 2015 · Details”

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  April 14, 2015

      If You Like Brain-Eating Parasites and Dengue Fever, You’ll Love Climate Change

      It’s a myth there are no big winners from climate change besides fossil fuel companies.

      According to one study, global warming is doubling bark beetle mating, triggering up to 60 times as many beetles attacking trees every year. The decline in creatures with shells thanks to ocean acidification “could trigger an explosion in jellyfish populations.” And climate change has helped dengue fever, which spread to 28 U.S. states back in 2009.

      Of course, invasive plants will become “even more dominant in the landscape.” And who doesn’t love ratsnakes?

      http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/14/3646478/climate-change-winners/

      Reply
    • I read that SP has a problem with mosquitoes because people are hoarding water wherever they can. Its a train wreck.
      And yet, apparently they wouldn’t have a problem with this drought in SP if they hadn’t polluted their rivers.

      Reply
  11. Loni

     /  April 14, 2015

    Another good post Robert. Did you happen to see the article out of the London Times I believe, April 6, 2015, where the Director of Fukushima was quoted as saying that “the worst case has happened to Fukushima”. With the nuke rods ‘missing’ from Units 1,2,&3. He goes on to say that “We don’t have the technology to find the missing material, much less get it back.” He continues, that the technology needed at Fukushima may be “200 years away.” Meanwhile Fukushima continues to spew into the Pacific 400 tons of radioactive water PER DAY.
    Woods Hole has recently found traces of cesium from Fukushima 100 miles west of Eureka, Ca.

    We’ve got a lot on our plate Robert. Thank you for your good work.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  April 14, 2015

      Fukushima: Robot ‘dies’ 3 hours after entering Japan’s radioactive reactor

      Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) has had to give up trying to recover a shape-shifting snake robot that was sent into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on 10 April to access damage from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami disaster.

      The Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami hit the Pacific coast of Japan in March 2011 and caused a major nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Three of the six nuclear reactors suffered meltdowns, releasing almost 30% more radiation than the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

      http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/fukushima-robot-dies-3-hours-after-entering-japans-radioactive-reactor-1496126

      Reply
    • We need a global reporting and response agency for this issue. I don’t understand why nations aren’t working together in this manner to address the problem. The spotty news reports do more harm than good as is. This appears to be something we have just let go and go — both on the public reporting side and on the emergency response side.

      Reply
      • Right, and I don’t think they want to admit, or even realize, just how out of control this man made crisis really is.
        We split the atom. Now it is splitting us and then spitting us out. Blech!🙂

        Reply
      • Ouse M.D.

         /  April 15, 2015

        Are coastline nuclear power plants going to be decommissioned? Because if yes, that should have been started at least 1-2 decades ago considering the 20- 60 years required for such a sisifusian task.
        I don´t see that taking place.
        Emergency shutdowns- like in Fukushima – are very hazardous and risky to say the least.
        If Japan threw in the towel in Fukushima what will less developed countries do when sea level rise ramps up…

        Reply
      • Loni

         /  April 15, 2015

        Robert, I’ll email you the article, it’s in my email, but beyond my tech skills to move it around other than ‘forwarding’ the article.

        As to your point as too why the world isn’t working together on that horrible situation, one article that was posted, by the same author I believe, stated that U.S. nuke companies, i.e. G.E. are or were demanding Japan give them indemnity in the disaster. These crazy bastards argue over stuff like that while the Pacific gets ‘mainlined’ with nuke juice.

        Reply
      • Absolutely, Ouse. We need to be spinning the coastal reactors down. I guess we need to do a survey of nuke plants immediately vulnerable to sea level rise…

        Reply
  12. entropicman

     /  April 14, 2015

    And here’s the reason, in the behaviour of the mosquito which spreads Dengue fever.

    “Aedes aegypti is particularly involved, as it prefers to lay its eggs in artificial water containers, to live in close proximity to humans, and to feed on people rather than other vertebrates.[6]”

    I would imagine that the water rationing has produced a big increase in temporary water storage containers in drought affected areas such as Sao Paulo.

    Reply
  13. MISSOULA, Mont. –

    It’s one of the building blocks of life. A resource that’s bountiful in western Montana — in our lakes and waterways, and underground. Our water, according to Professor Steven Running, is what could become the state’s biggest draw.

    “We could end up, I suppose, with a dramatic acceleration of population here,” Running said. “Like we’ve never seen before.”

    Running has studied climate change for much of his career. He even won a Nobel Prize for his work in 2007.

    “In the last 50 years, the winters have grown shorter and the summers, two weeks longer,” Running explained. “In the next 50 years, we expect two more weeks of shorter winter, which is when we store up the water, and two weeks of longer summer, where we use it.”

    http://player.theplatform.com/p/2E2eJC/nbcNewsOffsite?guid=nc_montanawater_150411

    Reply
  14. Kevin Jones

     /  April 14, 2015

    GISS just in with March: .84C Makes Jan-Mar avg. .79C.. Less then I feared but 1/10C so far above 2014 record. Only the seventh month on record to exceed .80…

    Reply
  15. Kevin Jones

     /  April 14, 2015

    Well. At least I was right that you can paint March in the hottest color….http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/Temperature/T_moreFigs/Tvs.year+month.pdf

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  April 14, 2015

      Making it the third warmest March on record after 2002 and 2010.

      Reply
  16. – 0813 American Fossil Fuel Values and Womanhood in Flagstaff, AZ.
    This was poster on a utility pole I saw. This is our current culture which is against us.

    Reply
  17. rustj2015

     /  April 14, 2015

    I ask whether this report is relevant:

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/08/3643953/greenland-permafrost-thaw-microbes/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=cptop3

    may the release by microbes be accelerated or is the implied threat of methane release reduced as permafrost is burned (does this alter the microbe population or does the burning alter the organic matter?).

    Reply
    • Burning permafrost releases both CO2 and CH4. The higher volumes are from CO2, but it is a direct amplifying feedback from warming. The burning may also provide some enhanced pathways for methane release, but this hasn’t been fully explored as yet. In general, breaking of the top permafrost layers by thaw and burning may destabilize more methane rich layers below.

      Wet permafrost also produces more methane through microbial action than dry permafrost. So, yeah, the study is relevant, but part of a larger picture.

      Reply
      • Yes, I would think so. THX.
        “Wet permafrost also produces more methane through microbial action than dry permafrost.”

        Reply
  18. Griffin

     /  April 14, 2015

    Great finish to this post Robert. I have read many articles about these fires this week, none o which linked climate as a contributor. Thanks for taking the time to go deeper and really report on the situation. This is a big deal and I think wili made a great observation re the impact of soot dispersal on the ice.

    Reply
  19. Kevin Jones

     /  April 14, 2015

    Except for eastern Canada, notice how warm the entire boreal forest has been year to date. Alaska, western Canada, Scandinavia, Sibera….

    Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  April 14, 2015

    In televised comments, the region’s chief, Viktor Zimin said, the fires have left 5,000 people homeless and it will take about $94 million to rebuild housing in the area.

    The fires in all 38 villages in the area have been put out with the help of aircraft and 6,000 firefighters, Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov said, adding that rescue workers will remain in the area to clear the debris.

    http://launch.newsinc.com/?type=VideoPlayer/Single&widgetId=1&trackingGroup=69016&siteSection=weatherchannel&videoId=28882137

    Reply
  21. Colorado Bob

     /  April 14, 2015

    Last night the PBS Newshour ran a story about a fellow who has found a replacement for cement. …………….

    This cement alternative absorbs CO2 like a sponge

    Link

    At the end of the story, them ran a factoid that relates to the subject. :

    Between 2011 and 2013 China poured more concrete than the US used in the entire 20th century.

    I was God smacked.

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  April 14, 2015

      I have seen that statistic before, but that one is really and truly something that is very difficult to comprehend.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  April 15, 2015

        Limestone has to be heated to 2,300 F degrees to make cement. During the report, the cement people were very proud they burnt used tires to make that number.

        Which brings me to all those ground up tires we are making everyday .
        I’m looking at you dtlange .
        Not when we burn the tires to make cement , but when we grid them on pavement. That fine powder of black carbon that is tires wearing out.

        I have never seen one paper on this whole problem. Ever.

        Reply
    • Well done, Mr Stone. But, as usual, there’s a big industry standing in the way. David and Goliath indeed.

      Reply
  22. Andy in San Diego

     /  April 14, 2015

    This is the forecast for drought up to June (subject to changes as nature does it’s thing). That gnarly brown seems to be consuming Oregon & Utah such that they may join California and Nevada. Arizona, 1/2 of Colorado, 1/2 of Washington and New Mexico and Minnesota look like they’ll be joining the party too.

    That overall looks like 1/4 of the lower 48 in the gnarly brown.

    http://data.inetsgi.com/nwsThumb.ashx?map=43&imageKey=c26834af-37f3-45e5-97c2-93f56ca69a63

    Reply
  23. One cubic meter of methane hydrate contains about 160 cubic meters of methane gas.

    Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  April 15, 2015

    “Only mad men and economists believe a ever expanding world lives on a finite planet. “

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  April 15, 2015

      Between 2011 and 2013 China poured more concrete than the US used in the entire 20th century

      Reply
  25. Andy in San Diego

     /  April 15, 2015

    Canada’s Ontario province joins California carbon market

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article18442244.html

    Reply
  26. Soon we will cross 405 ppm as Mauna Loa (404.84 yesterday)!

    https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/

    Alex

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  April 15, 2015

      Certainly bears watching, Alexander A. The super El Nino of 1998 still holds the record for largest annual growth rate at 2.93ppm CO2. Of the two sources that contributed, terrestrial and oceanic, I’ve no idea the bigger one.

      Reply
      • Kevin Jones

         /  April 15, 2015

        Sorry for my obsession with Global Surface Temps but: 1997 was the then hottest year on record. Super El Nino-ed 1998 beat it by 0.16C (0.45–0.61 respectively). 2014 being the most recent hottest year (0.68) if 2015 El Nino behaves similarly we would see new annual record of .84. (above GISS 1951-1980 base)

        Reply
  27. Tom

     /  April 15, 2015

    So what Alex? To you and Dave Cohen, there’s nothing to worry about. Sea level rise, increasing methane releases, food shortages caused by chaotic climate change, disease, even radiation (and all the rest) – no problems for you because somebody (Guy McPherson) pointed it out already and it’s been poo-poohed by you two as not enough to cause concern. Just how do you think it’s going to end – butterflies and daisies or that it won’t effect you?

    Reply
    • Hi Tom,

      not sure why you imply I DON’T (have to) worry about climate change. I have written hundreds of articles on tis topic (in my language), several in english, and all this in my free time, mostly for free. Similarly, Dave IS worried about climate change, we just don’t agree in the specific topic of catastrophic methane release and consequent human die off.

      I also worry about peak oil, financial crisis, and other pressing global issues almost no one cares about. So I am the last person who is NOT worried about something.

      I hope I explained my possition.

      Best,

      Alex

      Reply
  28. Tom

     /  April 15, 2015

    Here’s one for you Robert:

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/04/bloomberg-news-renewables-overtake-fossil-fuels.html

    Bloomberg News: Renewables Overtake Fossil Fuels

    [begins]

    Eric Zuesse

    On April 14th, Tom Randall of Bloomberg News bannered “Fossil Fuels Just Lost the Race Against Renewables,” and reported that:

    “The race for renewable energy has passed a turning point. The world is now adding more capacity for renewable power each year than coal, natural gas, and oil combined. And there’s no going back. The shift occurred in 2013, when the world added 143 gigawatts of renewable electricity capacity, compared with 141 gigawatts in new plants that burn fossil fuels, according to an analysis presented Tuesday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance annual summit in New York. The shift will continue to accelerate, and by 2030 more than four times as much renewable capacity will be added.”

    The article’s graphs of electrical generation show that, from now till at least 2030, solar will soar around five-fold, and wind will double, while coal and also oil will shrink about threefold. These are the major reasons why fossil fuels will shrink and be increasingly replaced by renewables. By 2030, the renewably-produced electrical power is projected to be 4.36 times as much as the fossil-fuel-produced electrical power. In 2015, that ratio is only 1.49. In 2010, it was only .89 (more electrical power was fossil-fuel than renewable). So, the renewable/fossil ratio is soaring, and is expected to continue soaring in the coming decades.

    These figures are for electrical generation, not for automobile and other gasoline-powered vehicular usages of energy; but, from now on forward, any switch away from gasoline and toward electrically powered vehicles will be increasingly toward renewable energy sources.

    [read the rest if interested

    Reply
    • Phil

       /  April 15, 2015

      Except in Australia – investment in large-scale renewables has come to a complete stand still because of the policies of Abbott. Coals share in electricity generation and emissions have increased since the repeal of the carbon tax.

      An inter-generational report barely mentions climate change and the new energy white paper does not mention climate change as well. Australia is being governed by a bunch of criminal morons. Says something about the electorate here – certainly not concerned for the well-being and prosperity of their grand children. Nothing will really be done here until the consequences of climate change are in their face and we are not facing a SP crisis here.

      The hope now is that a solution will be imposed on us by the Northern Hemisphere – cannot sell coal if no one will buy it or fund new mines.

      Reply
    • Thanks Tom. This is good news. I just hope we could move along with the transition a bit faster…

      Reply
  29. climatehawk1

     /  April 15, 2015

    Thanks, tweet queued up on this.

    Reply
  30. Greg

     /  April 15, 2015

    The drought in Latin America continues and appears beyond Brazil. Fire season will peak in September.
    Significant Precipitation anomalies over the entire Amazon Basin:

    Reply
  31. Greg

     /  April 15, 2015

    Guyana is an extension of the Brazilian drought and is also now facing unusual fires:
    http://www.guyanatimesgy.com/2015/04/11/regions-1-9-hit-by-drought/

    A resident of Lethem, Daniel Gajie, said that they currently have limited access to water. He disclosed that since September last year, the region has not experienced any extensive rainfall….He added that the creeks began drying up about two weeks ago….Furthermore, the immense drought in the area has contributed to disastrous forest fires which have been sweeping through the Aranaputa Village, North Rupununi for days….”it has now gone far beyond our control…If you happen to pass through Lethem, the entire area is in smoke, whole day, whole night. When you look out your windows at night, you can just see the fire flickering in the mountains,”

    Reply
    • Surreal and terrifying. We have huge carbon stores in the Arctic and in the tropical rainforests. I think it’s pretty clear these are starting to feedback.

      Reply
  32. Greg

     /  April 15, 2015

    Here’s a gif of fires in the region in early 2014 for reference. Hopefully it will load. If not you can see and get a ton of data at infoamazonia.org/projects/fire/.

    Reply
  33. Ouse M.D.

     /  April 15, 2015

    See if you can spot the “polar” vortex at 70 mb

    Reply
    • Probably fair to say that it’s going through Springtime disintegration. We do have a very interesting and disturbing surface circulation around Greenland currently — one that has lasted now for many days.

      Reply
  34. Greg

     /  April 15, 2015

    Apologies if already posted. Siberian Bears waking earlier due to the warmer weather:

    Reply
  35. Greg

     /  April 15, 2015

    Link to Siberian Bears early emergence from hibernation from “mild weather”:
    http://siberiantimes.com/ecology/others/news/n0173-mild-weather-is-making-bears-awake-early-from-hibernation/

    Reply
  36. Greg

     /  April 15, 2015

    Some of Dr. Jeff Masters’ comments in his posting today about current U.S. and EuroAsian weather are worthy of passing on:

    “A series of drenching rains across much of the South this week is being fed by some of the richest atmospheric moisture on record for April….The heavy showers and thunderstorms across the South are being goosed by a strong subtropical jet stream that’s very prototypical of El Niño”

    and Siberia and Eurasia…

    “Dust and fire have made their mark over an unusually large swath of Eurasia over the last few days.”
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2958

    Reply
  37. Re: “Bob– see that storm to the south in the Gulf of Alaska? ”
    Here’s a good view of what’s going on there with a look at the surrounding weather etc.
    Source: Western U.S. Rainbow (GOES West)

    Reply
    • – Check off: HDW-HIGH, HDW-LOW & FRONTS for a better view.

      Reply
    • That sentinel high off the US West Coast just doesn’t want to budge. The subtropical moisture flow to the south and the frontal flow cycling north, however, are looking very strong. Pretty amazing set of conditions.

      Reply
  38. – Off topic but worth a look. A primate strikes back in self defense. Sort of like something in “2001”. I wish Stanley Kubrick was alive to see this video.🙂

    Nature won over technology, hands and sticks down, when the folks at Royal Burgers’ Zoo in The Netherlands tried sending out a drone over the chimpanzee enclosure for a closer look at how their 14 evidently privacy-loving apes live. The $2,000 drone was flying overhead, recording for the TV show Burgers’ Zoo Natuurlijk, when 23-year-old female Tushi decided she’d had enough. Standing in a tree and grasping a long branch, she took two skillful whacks that slickly downed the drone. ”
    http://www.commondreams.org/further/2015/04/14/sticking-it-man-tushi-chimp-1-drone-0

    Reply
  39. Trucker Mark

     /  April 15, 2015

    It looks like an absolutely murderous perhaps historic dust bowl type of drought and summer wildfire season across the entire Southwestern and Western Continental US yet this summer and fall, with the only marginally bright spot the East Slope of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and northern New Mexico, which still has 70-80% of its average annual snowfall per-date.

    [Quoted from] US Department of Agriculture National Resource Conservation Svc, National Water and Climate Center, March 2015 Western Snowpack and Water Supply Conditions Report, April 8th, 2015 For additional reports see: http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov

    Arizona: March was exceptionally warm and dry with only the Verde Basin receiving above normal precipitation. As a result, the snowpack has melted out about a month earlier than normal, and streamflow forecasts are further reduced.

    California: Snowpack is at record low levels, which is relied upon as the primary source of the summer water supply. With very little snowmelt runoff, the current reservoir contents will essentially be the amount available for use this summer. The major storage reservoirs for California are at roughly 50% of capacity with very little opportunity to increase.

    Colorado: The snowpack has prematurely transitioned to early spring-like conditions, with lower and some mid-elevation snowpack already seeing significant melt. Mountain precipitation during March was very low — near 65% of normal. This reinforced the dry conditions from January. Streamflow outlooks have fallen since January 1, with a significant decrease since the last outlook on March 1.

    Idaho: Warm, dry conditions dominated the March weather scene, which greatly increased the probability of water shortages or marginally adequate water supplies this summer.

    Montana: This is the third, straight month of declining basin snowpack percentages due to well above average temperatures and below normal snowfall. As a result, spring and summer streamflow forecasts continue to drop.

    Nevada: April 1 snowpack was the lowest ever recorded at nearly every measuring site statewide (including three sites with over 100 years of data). Water year precipitation is also nearing record low amounts. Expect record low streamflow volumes this summer.

    New Mexico: The month of March provided little in the way of drought relief. Inconsistent winter weather patterns have left water and snow conditions well below normal. Above normal temperatures have persisted across the state, deteriorating the remaining snow levels and further reducing any hope for a normal spring snowmelt and runoff.

    Oregon: As of April 1, 76% of Oregon’s long-term snow monitoring sites were at the lowest snowpack levels on record. In a typical year, most sites would be near their peak snowpack at this point in the season. This year, more than half of all snowpack measurements across the state recorded bare ground on April 1. Snowpack across Oregon peaked 40 to 90% below typical peak levels this winter, which will lead to reduced water supplies in the coming summer.

    Utah: Utah water supply conditions are in the bottom 5% with about 35 SNOTEL sites at period of record low values and an additional 15 in second place. 2015 will be associated with other notable drought years such as 1977 and 1934.

    Washington: Extremely low snowpack continues across the state. Combined with an early melt during a warm March, streamflows for the spring and summer are expected to be correspondingly low.

    Wyoming: Snowpack and streamflow forecasts are below normal throughout the state.

    [end quote]

    Reply
  40. Apneaman

     /  April 15, 2015

    Extinction Machine: Fixable?

    “Natural habitats, ecosystems and living species that have evolved over millions of years, only to be quickly and casually annihilated in the wake of human profit driven activity, do not bounce back with the application of quick technical fixes. They disappear and do not resurrect.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-carlisi/extinction-machine-fixabl_b_7066818.html

    Reply
  1. “The Dry Land Burned Like Grass” — Siberia’s Road to a Permaburn Hell | robertscribbler

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