“The Dry Land Burned Like Grass” — Siberia’s Road to a Permaburn Hell

(Residents of the Trans Baikal region of Russia flee through a raging permafrost fire on April 13 of 2015. Video Source: The Road to Hell Recorded by: Vladislav Igorevich.)

The script reads like a scene from some post-apocalyptic disaster film.

Frigid Siberia begins an epic thaw — a thaw set off by an unstoppable dumping of heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere by human fossil fuel industry. Finally, after years of warming, the thawing land itself becomes fuel for fires. A thick layer of peat-like organic material that serves as kindling to the heat-dried trees and grasses atop it.

Immense blazes ignite in April — fully 100 days before the usual fire season in late July. The fires explode to enormous size, doubling in area in less than a day, covering scores to hundreds of square miles. Residents flee or face off against walls of raging flame in bucket and hose brigades. Military units descend on the regions affected to fight blazes and prevent looting. The fires are freakish, starting from nowhere at a moment’s notice. Eyewitnesses at the scene of one fire describe the surreal situation saying: “… the dry land burned like grass.”

inside_chita_fores

(A wall of fire confronts residents of Chita, Russia this week as local townsfolk prepared to defend their homes and livelihoods from the inferno. Image source: The Siberian Times.)

But for two regions of Russia, that’s exactly what happened this week.

In Khakassia, a region of southern Siberia bordering Kazakhstan and Mongolia, massive blazes ripped through a broad permafrost thaw zone, impacting 39 villages, killing 29 people and leaving thousands homeless. By Thursday, many of these massive fires were finally extinguished — leaving miles wide scars over a smoldering and blackened land.

Hundreds of miles away in Trans Baikal, the story was also one of hellish inferno. There, wildfires erupted from the thawing permafrost zone — engulfing forests, burning dry land, destroying hundreds of homes in more than 9 villages, and killing four people. One wildfire alone surged to nearly 400 square miles in size and threatened numerous settlements near the city of Chita. There, locals are still fighting the blaze in a desperate effort to preserve life and property.

Chita Fires April 17 2015

(Satellite image of fires and large burn scars in Chita, Russia on April 17 of 2015. For reference, bottom edge of frame is 120 miles. Note that some of the burn scars in this satellite shot stretch for 20 miles at their widest point. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

In total, nearly 50 villages and towns have now been affected, 33 lives have been lost, four more have gone missing, nearly 7,000 people are now homeless, and more than 6,000 domestic animals have been lost to the fires. These are the first, early casualties in a fire season stoked by climate change that will flare off and on for at least the next five months. A fire season that will likely see immense plumes of smoke covering broad sections of the Northern Hemisphere, involve Canadian and Alaskan permafrost zones, and see wildfires burning all the way through Siberia to the shores of the Arctic Ocean.

And so we are just at the start of a long road through another hellish Arctic fire season, one enabled and made far, far worse by a current and very rapid rate of human-forced warming.

Links:

Fire Rages on as Death Toll Reaches 33

LANCE MODIS

The Road to Hell

Vladislav Igorevich

Unprecedented Early Start to Perma-Burn Fire Season

Siberia Ravaged by Forest Fires

Hat tip to Alexander Ac

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193 Comments

  1. – File under SCORCHED EARTH.
    The term was primarily a warfare description of total devastation visited upon an enemy.
    It has been adopted and put into force as both business model and economic policy by the fossil fuel industry and the governments that coddle and nurture them.
    Are we, and the natural world, their enemy, and deserving extermination?

    Possibly, only the US Congress (UK, AUS, GRB, RUS, SAU , etc.) know for certain.
    Ps Don’t tell the children.

    – Sign of the times:
    SCORCHED EARTH BUCKS CASHED HERE

    Thanks for the up to date post, Robert.
    Peace

    OUT

    Reply
  2. Kevin Jones

     /  April 17, 2015

    The Earth died screaming
    As we laid dreaming –Tom Waits

    Reply
  3. Kevin Jones

     /  April 17, 2015

    As I lay dreaming…. he wrote.

    Reply
  4. Ralph.

     /  April 17, 2015

    Do these fires actually go out over winter, or are they left smouldering on slow burn underground insulated by the layers above?

    PS. While your eyes were on the northern lattitudes, equatorial pacific temperatures spiked 0.2C in 2 days, and there is a hint of another WWB forming between paired lows, a little to the east of the usual location. Have you noticed that whenever you comment on the Arctic, something interesting happens in the Pacific, and vice versa?

    Reply
    • I do my best to keep up. Events often proceed faster than I can cover them🙂

      I did notice the equatorial heat jump. Looks like the weak El Niño is now making a run on moderate. Also saw the hint of WWB in some of the forecasts. Strength a bit murky as yet.

      There is some evidence that basement burning in various regions continues throughout winter which would explain persistent extreme fire seasons ongoing since 2012. But the reports I’ve seen of this are sporadic, local, and non-comprehensive. We probably need a global Arctic fire survey to include basement burning in peat-like layers of thawed permafrost.

      Reply
  5. james cole

     /  April 17, 2015

    Here is evidence of why this is happening.
    ” MOSCOW, March 2. /TASS/. The outgoing winter, which ended a couple of days ago according to the calendar, has proved the warmest in the history of weather monitoring in Russia conducted since 1891, the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring said on Monday.

    Over the past winter the average air temperatures in almost all Russian regions were two degrees above the norm as a minimum; on some territories it was even warmer. The past winter proved particularly mild in the Central, Northwest, Siberian and the Far Eastern Federal Districts, where seasonal air temperatures were 4-7 degrees above the norm.

    The 2014-2015 winter beat a record earlier set by the 1962 winter by 0.5 degrees. The past winter was one of the four warmest winters in Moscow’s history, ranking fourth after almost equally warm winters registered in 1961, 1989 and 2008.”

    This morning, on RT, the reports from Siberia were dire! 30 killed, several missing, already 450 houses burnt. The videos from Siberia were horrific! Fire Storms, in one of earths coldest places. Climate Warming is real, and it is causing these fire storms.

    Reply
  6. Kevin Jones

     /  April 17, 2015

    The Moscow Times Thursday, April 16: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said that 137 forest fires were burning across 152,000 hectares of land throughout the country, Interfax reported.

    Reply
  7. Kevin Jones

     /  April 18, 2015

    375,000 acres or 557 square miles

    Reply
  8. Loni

     /  April 18, 2015

    Things aren’t lookin’ good fer the home team.

    Reply
  9. It’s hard to hit the ‘like’ button, as this makes me very sad. I wonder what it will take to wake/shake the deniers awake?

    Thank you for all of the time you take and sharing the data with us. When I read the title to your post, I thought of this song:

    Our rainy season here on the Equator was a few months late, and we’re all relieved to have received weekly rains – still nothing like ‘normal’ years, but we’re not complaining. Two nights ago the rain fell like in Sept/Oct – hurricane season in Central America.

    Reply
  10. SYD bRIDGES

     /  April 18, 2015

    Thank you for all of your informative posts, Robert. Things just go from bad to worse. But there is a worldview that these facts challenge, and that cannot be allowed to happen. As a Brit, who has lived in the US for nearly 20 years, I am aghast but no longer surprised by the wilful ignorance and the mendacity. We have people like Monckton, Peiser, and Lawson in GB who are just as wilfully blind-not to mrntion the Tory press. But they do not have the same sway as the Kochs or the Republicans over here.

    I once worked in the fire protection industry, and one of the major reasons for deaths was, and is, that people do not understand exponential processes. Rates of chemical reactions tend to go up exponentially with temperature. That small domestic fire turns into an inferno in seconds due to the confinement of the heat. People are used to fires in grates, where the fire is closely contained, or bonfires, where most of the heat is radiated harmlessly away. But in a house fire there is a lethal flashover often within a minute or less.

    Later I worked at Bell Labs for Lucent Technologies, where the Koolaid was that we had to maintain 20 percent per annum growth or else we were doomed. At one point the market cap was about $200 billion, and we were supposed to double that every 3.75 years! Needless to say, mine was one of many jobs lost when it crashed and burned.

    Now, I’m in my 60s and I was told about the likely carbon dioxide greenhouse disaster by my science teacher in 1961. It seemed credible to me then and even more so when I took a degree in chemistry. But most people thought that I was panicking over nothing and I often faced hostility if I mentioned the subject. Now I think we were on the low part of the exponential and it seemed linear. Despite warnings by Hansen, Schneider, Mann, and others, most paid no heed, while the carbon criminals and their whores in the media and politics vilified the messengers. I wondered whether I would live to be proved right, hoping I would not. But now I think we may be approaching “climate flashover.” It will herald a very different world, with mass extinctions and maybe the end of the human experiment.

    This burning of the permafrost looks like a massive leap in the planet’s response to CO2 forcing, and one that will not be stoppable. There will not only be more GHGs next year, but there will be even more than those we are deliberately producing.

    Thanks again for your tireless work.

    Reply
    • james cole

       /  April 18, 2015

      “Later I worked at Bell Labs for Lucent Technologies, where the Koolaid was that we had to maintain 20 percent per annum growth or else we were doomed. At one point the market cap was about $200 billion, and we were supposed to double that every 3.75 years! Needless to say, mine was one of many jobs lost when it crashed and burned”

      Amazing! I worked, for a time, under the exact same Koolaid figures. I even did the math and presented it to my immediate superior, proving by equations that this idea we were held to was impossible in the real world. They took no notice, and I began to plan a exit and new job.
      America’s biggest problem is that the rulers refuse to accept the math. In economics, they have thrown real math out the window, and now live off of a fake math. Which is ideology over math, ideology over science, profit over human survival. It really is an awful state of affairs for those with children, wishing to hand over a future to them.

      Reply
  11. Reblogged this on jpratt27.

    Reply
  12. bearingwitness

     /  April 18, 2015

    My goodness, Robert – I had no idea it would be so very, very bad. My jaw dropped when I saw the above picture of the Chita “wall of fire”. Just when I thought I’d imagined all the worst-case scenarios for the earth & her inhabitants, here’s a new nightmare come true.
    That video, “Road to Hell” is horrifying… the flying embers, the smoke, the flames, the traffic congestion… and then a vehicle drives past while ON FIRE. Unbelievably scary.
    Part of the bushfire education that’s been developed here in Aust. has strongly encouraged people to “leave early” – fleeing by car at the last minute is often a fatal decision. Cars offer only about 2-4% protection from the radiant heat. That’s what killed so many of the 173 who died in the 2009 Victorian Black Saturday fires. Yet I’m assuming that the Siberian folk did not have any anticipation of such catastrophic conditions – – whoever could have imagined that the very ground would be burning, and then it would ignite everything around them to the nth degree? I wonder what the long-term planning & actions in these areas (or for all of Siberia?) will now be. In the meantime, let us hold these people and non-human beings in our hearts, and mourn with those who have lost so much…

    Reply
    • Vic

       /  April 18, 2015

      “fleeing by car at the last minute is often a fatal decision.”

      Absolutely. Panic and logic do not coexist as Igorevich’s haunting footage so vividly shows.

      I imagine those cars as countries and their drivers as presidents and prime ministers. They left it to the last minute. They weren’t prepared. The climate shit has hit the fan. Hell of a time to find out that the drivers of flaming SUV’s don’t follow the road rules.

      Reply
      • james cole

         /  April 19, 2015

        Victoria Australia had a horrific road of death a number of years ago. People waited and tried to save goods or animals, they were caught and died, those that got into cars to escape met the worst end possible, When authorities say evacuate, they mean your life is at stake!

        Reply
    • Tom

       /  April 18, 2015

      @bearingwitness: check out http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/

      daily accounts of the effects of methane/hydrogen sulfide atmospheric concentrations increasing steadily (this has been going on for years now)

      Reply
  13. Andy in San Diego

     /  April 18, 2015

    100 days early (3 months) is bloody terrifying. Alaska has had deploy-able fire jumpers on the ready since the start of this month (April). They are anticipating a tough summer as well. High temps and low snow cover for this past winter.

    Fires of the sizes mentioned get to the point where they create their own weather and can simply be left to run out of fuel.

    Another amazing aspect is how our media simply doesn’t give a shit.

    Reply
    • Andy,

      how our media simply doesn’t give a shit.

      And why is that? Because people don’t care (well, people love themselves, not environment). Some of us do, of course, like you and me, but many others… no way! Maybe I am too harsh, but that is my daily experience…

      Alex

      Reply
  14. – It’s only April.

    As Siberian forests and permafrost burn, smoke from the massive fires has reached the skies of the Pacific Northwest in Portland, Oregon, April. 17, 2015.

    Reply
    • April, again.
      As Siberian forests and permafrost burn, smoke from the massive fires has reached the skies of the Pacific Northwest in Portland, Oregon, April. 17, 2015.

      Reply
    • JPL

       /  April 18, 2015

      DT, Seattle had the same amber sunset last night. I had guessed the Russian fires were the likely source.

      The thing I’ve been wonder is what is the initial source of combustion? Lightning strikes? Hot compost pile gone rogue?

      John

      Reply
      • “… source of combustion?” Who knows, Putin blames his political opponents, with so much dryness and outgassing from warming permafrost, wind, and fuel load — almost any friction spark activity can ignite it.
        Keep in mind the increasingly dry PNW and W USA is packed with homo sap ignition sources. A scary thought.
        Two of Santa Barbara, CA largest wildfires were started by homo saps with power tools.
        Peace

        Reply
      • Fired

         /  April 19, 2015

        Those peat fires don’t go out until either heavy rains or they run out of fuel. If there was file last summer, and a dry winter, all it needs is some wind to re-ignite the smouldering peat.

        Reply
  15. Putin’s Envoy Blames Opposition For Siberian Wildfires

    CHITA, Russia — Russian authorities have accused the Kremlin’s opponents of plenty of misdeeds, but arson has not noticeably been among them — until now.

    President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to Siberia suggested on April 17 that the political opposition set wildfires raging in the region in an act of “sabotage.”

    Nikolai Rogozhkin, Putin’s representative in the Siberian Federal District, spoke to government officials in Chita, a provincial capital.

    “Let’s sketch out the following situation: some group of people — or the opposition, as they are now called — got together. They underwent instruction and carried out acts of sabotage by setting fires in various spots.”

    Rogozhkin said he had flown in a helicopter and seen fire sites in “places where a normal person cannot go, even one who is well-prepared.”
    http://www.rferl.org/content/putins-envoy-blames-opposition-for-siberian-wildfires/26963346.html

    Reply
    • Ouse M.D.

       /  April 19, 2015

      Putin, I think is very much aware of the exact situation.
      As are all other World Leaders.
      They’ve all known this was coming since 2002…
      Everything is in here:

      http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=R5

      Reply
    • Yes, we’ve seen the same tactic with the Australian bushfires, I think – blame arsonists, create scapegoats, act outraged. And never mention global warming, when talking about the fires.

      Footage shot from a drone of some of the devastation.

      Reply
    • Testing, testing.
      This is from NASA, Worldview which incorporates imagery from modis:

      It’s from April 21st, along the Russian /Mongolian border, near Chita.

      http://1.usa.gov/1yZnDOf

      Reply
    • By the way, the above Worldview images which include thermal anomalies (fires) as red dots don’t really support the sabotage idea. Using the time slider along the bottom of the webpage, fires have been burning in the area since about March 10th.

      If anything, the fires appear to correlate with daytime high temperatures, coming in waves as the fire conditions max out.

      Of course, nobody with any sense takes Putin’s sabotage or arson claims seriously.

      Reply
    • Looks like there are at least 3 major fire complexes today – In Siberia near Chita; astride the Russian / Chinese border with Heilongjiang province of China; and near Spassk-Dalny, a town in Primorsky Krai, Russia.

      http://1.usa.gov/1GuDS8l

      I guess the terrorist arsonists are slipping across the border to wreak havoc in China, too!!! This is sarcasm, by the way. Look to Putin for a hunt for scapegoats and threats of prosecution for the arsonists.

      Anything else might actually call his policies regarding exploitation of Russian natural gas and oil into question, IMO. So he has to pretend arsonists are to blame, instead of climate change, I think. The tragedy is that some people will believe him.

      The verdict is in – human beings are just too stupid and gullible to run planets. We’ve put the liars in charge. Gaia needs to start over, with truly intelligent people evolved from raccoons or elephants or dolphins – anything but monkeys.

      Reply
    • Leland Palmer

       /  April 26, 2015

      Uh… wait a moment. The story that these fires are started by farmers burning off their fields could be right.

      The satellite data from NASA worldview only goes back to May of 2012. But each year, the same pattern in these areas is repeated. What appears to happen is a wave of isolated fires, starting in low latitudes in March, with that wave of fires moving progressively further north throughout the summer, with that wave of isolated fires reaching the most northern latitudes in August. These appear to be grass fires, and they burn off large areas.

      http://1.usa.gov/1Gx0ZPz

      Click on the time arrows at the bottom left to go forward or backward in time.

      This could be a case of traditional practices of burning off the fields by farmers, on both sides of the Russian/Chinese border, having an amplified effect due to global warming.

      Reply
  16. http://siberiantimes.com/ecology/casestudy/news/n0064-calls-to-lower-height-of-lake-baikal-to-solve-water-crisis-in-siberia-rejected/

    The government in Irkutsk Oblast last month called for an increased discharge from the vast lake because they feared not being able to provide water for Angarsk by spring 2015.

    Thought to be 25 million years old, Lake Baikal stretches for 400 miles through south-eastern Siberia, north of the Mongolian border. It contains 20 per cent of the world’s unfrozen freshwater reserves and in places is said to be about 1,700 metres deep.

    Reply
  17. Doubtless all those in the know are already aware of this –

    “This February, Cryosat saw average sea-ice floe thicknesses of just over 1.7m, giving a volume across the Arctic of nearly 24,000 cubic km. Back in the winter of 2013, following strong melting during the previous summer, floe thicknesses averaged 1.5m and the volume fell below 21,000 cu km.
    Doing all of the data processing to produce thickness and volume numbers has been a time-consuming business for the Cryosat team, but the group is now able to turn out the information much faster than when the mission first launched in 2010. And to mark the spacecraft’s fifth birthday in orbit, the team is switching on a new, near-real-time service to aid science and maritime activities.
    This is a web portal where users can get information on sea-ice thickness no more than two days after Cryosat makes the observations.”

    http://neven1.typepad.com
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-32348291

    Reply
  18. This year will be a wild ride for Greenland albebo:

    Darkening ice speeds up Greenland melt, new research suggests

    The albedo effect has a cooling effect on the planet. Ice on land and sea at both poles reflects away energy that would be absorbed had it landed on land and ocean instead.

    But in recent years, scientists have found that the Greenland ice sheet is becoming darker. Darker ice absorbs more of the sun’s energy instead of reflecting it away, causing the ice to warm up and melt further.

    In an EGU press conference, Prof Marco Tedesco, professor of Earth and Atmospheric Science at the City College of New York presented the graph below, showing that Greenland albedo has decreased significantly since the mid-nineties.

    http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2015/04/darkening-ice-speeds-up-greenland-melt-new-research-suggests/

    Alex

    Reply
    • james cole

       /  April 19, 2015

      I mentioned a TV series I have been watching “Ice Cold Gold”. About a small team of American mineral prospectors in Greenland. The last episode showed then crossing a small glacier seeking to reach a mineralization zone. What stuck me most during the filming of their crossing, was the patches of nearly BLACK Snow and Ice! They would sit down to adjust equipment, and they were sitting on a literal black background. The black areas run in streaks and patches. My rough eyeball guess was 30% of the ice was grey, 30% black and 40% fairly white. You need to see these glaciers close up, not from distant shots, in order to appreciate the real blackness of these patches. And you can also see how they descend into depressions caused by the rapid day’s melt. It is a shocking state of affairs. Dark surfaced ice is on death watch! Some areas of ice and snow look like coal piles.

      Reply
      • As a side note, the subject of this TV series inadvertently illuminates another ‘darkness’, a part of the problem that explains why this disaster is unfolding and nobody is doing anything about it. Simply, there are just a few (and more than enough) people on the planet who see opportunities that will emerge with climate change. New mineral prospects, new development potentials, new power alignments, etc. Myopic greed, just like the banksters showed us a few years back (and still do!). And it is just like why Democracy tends to fail, in that what ultimately matters is an inequality of voice when some care more than others, and assert their position more effectively. Long before they became people, corporations tended to be far more focused and effective at communicating than are traditional organic people.

        Thus, just like money can be shrewdly directed to manipulate a predominant indifference at election time, so too money and efforts can be focused to ensure most of us are distracted by the banal (sports, etc.) and not heartfully opposing where the moneyed interests want us all to go.

        Sometimes it seems, they just want us to go to hell, and pay them plenty of tolls along the way.

        Reply
  19. Kevin Jones

     /  April 18, 2015

    Eyeballing this albedo graph, Alex, and giving 1981-1996 an average of .775 and from 1996 to 2012, down to .7150 I get a further darkening (1.00=white 0.00=black) of 4.96% I once mixed just a few drops of black paint into white for the inside of a small open sail boat to cut down on the glare and was astonished by how well it worked…..

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  April 19, 2015

      And from the “you can’t make this stuff up” file, we have snow melting tactics at Fenway Parkhttp://m.wcvb.com/sports/fenway-park-groundskeeper-reveals-secret-to-melting-snow/31682836

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  April 19, 2015

        Its a little old now, the snow is lon gone, but I was wondering if you had heard of it back when there was much news of it being a “great idea”.

        Reply
  20. Kevin Jones

     /  April 18, 2015

    down to .7175, I meant.

    Reply
  21. Kevin Jones

     /  April 18, 2015

    using an average of .755..down to .7175…. I’m taking steroids for a nasty skin infection and they mess simple tasks big time…..sorry all.

    Reply
    • Spot on, Kevin. 17 ppm jump at Chile is a signature both for El Niño and for a rather strong failure of the ocean carbon store in that region.

      Reply
    • Christina in Honolulu

       /  April 20, 2015

      Is there an explanation for those WTF discreet readings?

      Reply
  22. Kevin Jones

     /  April 18, 2015

    click on: submit lower left

    Reply
  23. Andy in San Diego

     /  April 18, 2015

    Volcanic versus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide: An Addendum

    An interesting investigation where the source of carbon is determined. Whether volcanic or carbon byproducts from human fuel consumption. The X axis covers year1000 to 2012.

    The yellow line indicates the fractional portion identified as volcanic in origin (carbon isotope composition). The black line indicates carbon concentration.

    It is quite clear that at the year 1800 mark on the X Axis the carbon concentration begins increasing as the concentration of volcanic contribution to the total is decreasing. The other source for the carbon is human byproduct.

    One can also see the trend line as it accelerates between 1800 to 2012 where volcanic contribution is simply a bit of noise.

    Image linked from Wired Magazine, the article is short but is a great summary in laymans terms.

    Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  April 18, 2015

      You can look at the graph an eyeball our current Keeling curve reading and see how it continues the trend observed. This also ties in very well with Syd Bridges comment above.

      Reply
      • – From my Idle Thought Dept.
        Q: If, or as, more carbon CO2 is released into an atmosphere which is becoming more and more saturated with moisture H2O — will there occur an atmosphere more resembling carbonic acid H2CO3?

        Reply
      • Andy in San Diego

         /  April 18, 2015

        dt,

        I’m not sure if anyone has considered that but it makes perfect sense, it is a chemical reaction (I always respect the laws of physics). If nobody has looked into this it is a shame as it could draw a line into the future regarding a reaction. There MUST be a reaction and a resultant (or resultants) akin to how we see a delta in the oceans now (acidification).

        I really hope you are not alone in this consideration.

        Cheers,

        Andy

        Reply
      • Fired

         /  April 19, 2015

        dtlange, rainwater is already slightly acidic, my rainwater tank has a pH about 6 iirc,
        and C-O2 is the main contributor. also see here – http://www.chemistry.wustl.edu/~edudev/LabTutorials/Water/FreshWater/acidrain.html

        Reply
  24. I always link the start of our burning of coal for energy to Robert Stevensons invention of the first efficient steam engine ‘The Rocket’ in 1825. http://www.climateoutcome.kiwi.nz/clean-energy-alternatives.html

    Reply
  25. Andy in San Diego

     /  April 19, 2015

    Lake Mead has dropped 8.5′ in 6 weeks.

    They are not tracking outflows properly so it is tough to discern the mix between depletion and out flow. However, the current level is ~1081.5 ft. It looks like the last 2 days has displayed a deceleration of the decline (so it may well be a planned outflow).

    Average of last 10 years for this date = 1115.73′. Difference = ~34 feet.

    Lake Mead at 39.17%

    Lake Powell at 44.74%

    Snow pack above Lake Powell 8″ water equivalent (normally 12 – 16″).

    Reply
    • rayduray

       /  April 21, 2015

      Andy,

      You can find outflows for Lake Mead here:

      http://lakemead.water-data.com/

      I’ve watched this page for several years and I concur with your assessment that the recent higher outflows (around 20,000 cfs) have been planned. The critical level for shortages in Lake Mead is 1075 feet. So we are currently about six feet above that level. BLM will work to maintain the lake level above 1075 feet for as long as possible. When it falls below that level, the CAP, Central Arizona Project, will be the first agency impacted with a cut-off of supply.

      Reply
  26. Andy in San Diego

     /  April 19, 2015

    Lake Baikal at critical low level.

    http://rt.com/news/227251-lake-baikal-low-water/

    Reply
  27. Andy in San Diego

     /  April 19, 2015

    Anyone else see the VICE peice on Palm oil?

    2700 ton of CO2 per hectare in a peat heavy area. Amazon deforestation generates 400 tons / hectare.

    Bloody amazing how indifferent people are for the sake of profit (a fictitious representation of value created by humans).

    Reply
    • Syd Bridges

       /  April 19, 2015

      I didn’t see that article, Andy, though I’ve seen estimates that it will take hundreds of years for some biofuels to even reach carbon neutrality after taking into consideration the carbon released in clearing the forests for the plantations. Climateprogress had an article on another biofuel fiasco a few days ago: a power station in England burning wood chips. These come from destroying the forests of the south east USA. Yet more of David Cameron’s greenwash, though, to be fair to him, he may be too stupid to realize that that is what it is. The story is here:

      http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/16/3644889/woody-biomass-is-thicket-of-trouble/

      Reply
      • Andy in San Diego

         /  April 19, 2015

        Hey Syd,

        Being Canadian here I am watching the ignomality (new word I created just now) occur in Canada (while living in the US, thus I get many body blows on logic). Canada has taken the denial conduit hardcore, as it is a primary resource nation.

        My Sister in law is a classic foot soldier & acts as a perfect proxy for the new Canadian norm.

        She has zero clue about anything climatic, does not even bother to look as that impedes in sitcom time. When there is time available, nothing to look at in terms of climatic trends, and when presented with them, she merely gets pissed off.

        She is in denial sphere big time, she will argue till her face turns blue that there is no such thing as a human impact on the biosphere. She will get drunk (they SURE love wine! I don’t care for it, thus my opinion is lesser) and argue it.

        Her and my brother have no facts to back up their denial, but damnit! If they get drunk enough & loud enough, you’ll give up, thus they’re right (their version of peer review?).

        My simple opinion is you give us arguing with idiots, but to them it’s a win.

        Reply
  28. I haven’t read all the comments above, so I hope I am not repeating anything, but wonder if these methane holes appearing in numbers, are connected to the fires. This video is concerning i the extreme:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSsPHytEnJM&feature=youtu.be and then
    no, 2:

    Pls note: these videos are quite lengthy, I didn’t actually time them.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  April 19, 2015

      Welcome to the forum, bensab3! Wasdell has a wonderful calm-but-serious delivery, and for a non-scientist seems to get most of it right–certainly the level of urgency is spot on.

      There’s still some mystery (to me at least) about the craters, but probably they are part of the same overall dynamic of a rapidly heating melting Arctic.

      Till now, my hope had been that the permafrost would stay dry enough that the thawing carbon would mostly come out as CO2 rather than methane. But dried former-permafrost can burn, leading to very rapid release of carbon and much deeper heating/thawing–another bad feedback. Keep in mind that in places the permafrost is about a mile deep. Most of the few models that I’ve looked at that try to estimate how the thawing will unfold only consider the top couple meters of the stuff, assuming that it will take a very long time for the melt to go deeper. But if the ground itself is catching fire, I don’t see that this assumption is particularly valid.

      Models by their very nature are simplifications of reality. Most of the ways the models simplify the dynamics in the Arctic seem to have resulted in predictions that are far too conservative, as we’ve seen with sea ice, for example. The same seems to be holding for permafrost loss, and many of us are concerned that the same will also be true of comforting predictions of the relative stability of seabed permafrost and clathrates.

      Reply
    • Andy in YKD

       /  April 19, 2015

      Other than some arm waving I’ve yet to see Wasdell’s Earth Systems Sensitivity disproved. I’d be interested in reading something that does, if it has been. Link: http://www.apollo-gaia.org/Climate%20Sensitivity.pdf

      What I do see is the other’s (Hansen, etc. . .) models are coming closer to his. Over the years my rule of thumb has become to take the worst case scenario out there as the most valid.

      Turning nature into math may make it understandable, or give the incorrect impression that it is understandable, but it leaves out what is important. Systems with emergent properties are like that.

      Reply
  29. Outgoing winter proves warmest in Russia in history of weather monitoring

    The 2014-2015 winter beat a record earlier set by the 1962 winter by 0.5 degrees

    The past winter proved particularly mild in the Central, Northwest, Siberian and the Far Eastern Federal Districts, where seasonal air temperatures were 4-7 degrees above the norm.

    http://tass.ru/en/non-political/780560

    Reply
  30. Kevin Jones

     /  April 19, 2015

    Northern Hemisphere Air Conditioner ‘smoking’ http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr2/arctic_AMSR2_nic.png

    Reply
  31. Colorado Bob

     /  April 19, 2015

    Real Time with Bill Maher: Zombie Lies – Environmental Edition (HBO)

    Reply
  32. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/17/3648284/australian-climate-consensus-center-contrarian/
    The Australian government has pledged $4 million to help Danish climate contrarian Bjørn Lomborg establish a “climate consensus center” at the University of Western Australia.

    Reply
    • ? Consensus? About reality? That’s absurd! Reality happens whether you agree with it or not.
      No, wait a minute… it seems our consensus tabulating machine has a glitch and now…🙂

      Reply
    • Vic

       /  April 20, 2015

      Reply
  33. My post jumped Vic’s – I should be latest. Hmm…

    Reply
  34. Andy in YKD

     /  April 19, 2015

    A friend I know well just came back from a tour of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. They were proud to showcase that they are going “All Alaska” by converting the campus electrical generation to an Alaska-sourced coal plant. One project is raising reindeer in cages to determine the diet for maximum weight gain. Natural Sciences department were all about maximizing production of resources. BP was mentioned quite a bit. Dr. Katie Walter Anthony is no longer doing Arctic methane research, but off on “another project” according to the department head. Can’t make this stuff up. . . The global fossil fuel fueled capitalistic system is going to keep going until it can’t.

    Reply
  35. Colorado Bob

     /  April 19, 2015

    Fires threatened Chita in the southeast Russian province of Zabaykalsky Krai on Tuesday, April 14, with flames approaching the edge of the city, engulfing it in smoke.

    Reply
    • With all the fora and terra not-quite-so-firma burning, and sending ash and gasses into the very crowded atmosphere with it’s hindered jet stream this will be the norm for most urban areas. The dry NA Pacific Rim will in turn burn and give new meaning to the term “Ring of Fire” (volcanic in origin).
      I always have a handy supply of dust masks rated to deter most pm.
      Back in wildfire prone Santa Barbara, I would use MacTac sticky paper or spray adhesives to capture ash fall out to compare with the traffic dust and soot fallout.
      Each type had many various shaped and sized particles of various colors and densities.

      Reply
  36. Colorado Bob

     /  April 19, 2015

    Antarctic ice is now melting faster than ever, raising sea levels. But the degree of risk to our coastline and economy is still a big unknown.

    On Tuesday, April 21, I will deliver a lecture at the Royal Society in London describing remarkable progress in what we do know about Antarctica and its contribution to sea-level change. Thanks to international efforts coordinated by NASA and the European Space Agency we now know, for the first time in history and with great confidence, that the grounded ice of Antarctica is flowing into the ocean faster than snowfall replenishes it, hence raising sea levels. That imbalance is now 130 billion tonnes of ice each year.

    And we know that this change is happening faster and faster – in both West Antarctica and Greenland. The big grounded ice sheets are now contributing to sea-level rises at double the rate they were in the 1990s. These changes have been observed in different ways, using different data, by different groups in different countries and the result is not disputed.

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/shrinking-antarctic-has-us-skating-on-thin-ice-20150419-1mmvh4.html

    Reply
  37. -You got it from DT first Apr 17/18… Take a look at below map and graphics in link to follow.

    komonews-com-weather Published: Apr 19, 2015 at 8:34 AM PDT Seattle, WA
    Smoke from Siberian wildfires turns Northwestern sunsets a fiery red

    Reply
  38. rustj2015

     /  April 19, 2015

    Unfortunately, “they” includes the “regulators”:

    In a little-noticed move just one day after the Johns Hopkins report was released, a Pennsylvania court allowed the state’s environmental regulators to keep the public from reviewing data from radioactivity testing at oil and gas drilling sites.

    http://www.desmogblog.com/2015/04/19/pennsylvania-keeps-radioactivity-study-data-under-wraps-johns-hopkins-researchers-report-correlation-between-fracking

    and somewhere I believe I’ve seen that Texas legislature has removed localities’ ability to stave off fracking.

    Reply
    • rustj2015

       /  April 19, 2015

      hmmm…this was in reply to dt below about our $hitstorms and their makers…

      Reply
  39. – Photo included first to emphasize the amounts of aerosol ‘human infrastructure’, etc combusted, or partially burned that is now in the already burdened atmosphere.

    Russian Ecologists Warn Summer Could See Repeat of Devastating 2010 Wildfires – or Worse

    With fires already raging across parts of Siberia, Russia can expect “catastrophic” wildfires as bad as or worse than those that devastated parts of the country in summer 2010, some environmental experts say.

    A mild winter with little snowfall, the early onset of spring with Moscow recording its warmest Easter in over a decade, the aftermath of last year’s drought in European Russia and shortfalls in wildfire prevention in the country paint a bleak picture.

    “All of Russia’s regions are at a higher than average risk of wildfire outbreaks this year,” Greenpeace forestry expert Alexei Yaroshenko said, with “guaranteed” fires in Siberia and the Far East.

    Reply
  40. – Oakland, CA fire 1991 all those American car packed winding narrow roads.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  April 19, 2015

      dtlange _
      Same story in Italy and Greece in 2010. , on even smaller switch back roads.

      Reply
  41. Hey, CB. You’ll like this:

    Reply
  42. wili

     /  April 19, 2015

    O’s weekly address: “CC can no longer be ignored”

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  April 19, 2015

      Any time.he wants to step up and say that we can no longer pursue an “all of the above” energy policy and not do things like open the east coast and the Arctic to drilling, I will then be listening.

      Reply
  43. – Off topic but pollinators are so very important to us and the world. This pollinator roulette by having all those bees on one speeding FF truck with a homo sap in control is beyond stupid — way beyond. And on I-5 the NAFTA FF HWY OF DESTRUCTION.

    Overturned semi spills millions of bees on I-5

    LYNNWOOD, Wash. — A semi-truck carrying millions of bees overturned on northbound Interstate 5 near I-405 Friday morning, shutting down two lanes of traffic.

    The truck driver said it happened after he blew a tire while merging from I-405 to I-5. But a Washington State Patrol spokesman said it appears the driver may have been going too fast.

    The bees were owned by Belleville Honey, a company in Burlington that rents bees to farmers all over the West. According to the owner of Belleville Honey, Eric Thompson, there were 448 hives on the truck, each with 50,000 to 60,000 bees. That’s at least 22 million bees.
    http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/2015/04/17/semi-overturns-bees-i5/25925049/

    Reply
    • – NAFTA & trade sidenote: A local supermarket chain here in Portland, OR, a fruit growing region, has fruits from Chile, blueberries from Mexico, and “hothouse” peppers from Canada.
      Ah, but now we have Siberian forest and permafrost ash in suspension above us in the sky.

      Reply
      • climatehawk1

         /  April 19, 2015

        1) In Vermont, quite a few supermarkets make a point of encouraging local food production by buying from local farmers. It’s my impression (from watching an investment program!) that this is a (small, but) growing national trend. Something to watch for when you are buying groceries.
        2) We also buy a chunk of our food annually directly from a local CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) farm. This is a scheme in which you pay $X in a lump sum in the spring for produce (usually vegetables, but there are also meat CSAs) for pickup or delivery throughout the growing season. We’ve been doing this for many years, very simple process. Paying up front reduces the gamble and makes it easier for a farmer to stay in business, by providing cash in advance for a certain quantity of produce to be provided during the year.

        Reply
      • It’s nuts. Here in Oregon, the supermarkets stock frozen salmon from eastern China -or- the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, this would change if carbon was properly taxed at a high rate, to create an incentive for local production.

        Reply
  44. climatehawk1

     /  April 19, 2015

    Use fossil fuel subsidies for #climate aid, says World Bank envoy http://www.rtcc.org/2015/04/16/use-fossil-fuel-subsidies-for-climate-aid-world-bank-envoy/ #globalwarming #divest

    Reply
  45. Colorado Bob

     /  April 19, 2015

    Arguing with a fool tonight at Jeff Masters, and I found this from The Dark Snow Project –

    It broke my heart.

    Reply
  46. Colorado Bob

     /  April 19, 2015

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

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

    Reply
  47. Colorado Bob

     /  April 20, 2015

    Greenland continuing to darken
    Date:
    April 17, 2015
    Source:
    City College of New York
    Summary:
    Darkening of the Greenland Ice Sheet is projected to continue as a consequence of continued climate warming, according to experts

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150417103743.htm

    Reply
  48. Colorado Bob

     /  April 20, 2015

    Reply
  49. Colorado Bob

     /  April 20, 2015

    The summer of 2012 has proven to be the most severe wildfire season Russia has faced in a decade. Unlike 2010, when severe fires raged in western Russia, most of the fires in 2012 have burned through taiga in remote parts of eastern and central Siberia.

    On September 11, 2012, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of fires burning in Tomsk, a region of south central Siberia where severe wildfires have burned throughout the summer. Thick smoke billowed from numerous wildfires near the Ob River and mixed with haze and clouds that arrived from the southwest. Red outlines indicate hot spots where MODIS detected the unusually warm surface temperatures associated with fires.

    More than 17,000 wildfires had burned more than 30 million hectares (74 million acres) through August 2012, according to researchers at the Sukachev Institute of Forest in the Russian Academy of Sciences. In comparison, 20 million hectares burned last year, which was roughly the average between 2000 and 2008, according to an analysis of MODIS data published in 2010.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=79161

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  April 20, 2015

      Reply
      • – An April 14 shot of fire area with boundaries, burn scars, and topo features.

        Farmers in the steppe of southern Siberia have an old tradition of burning dried grass in the spring to fertilize the soil for the coming year. In April 2015, unusually warm temperatures and strong winds turned the tradition into a nightmare. Several fires escaped the control of their handlers and spread rapidly across the dry landscape. According to media reports, escaped fires had devastated several villages, caused the deaths of about two dozen people, and left thousands of people homeless. Several smoky fires burned in Zabaikalsky Territory on April 14, 2015, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image. The fires are outlined in red. Several dark burn scars are visible through the smoke.

        Reply
  50. Andy in San Diego

     /  April 20, 2015

    A neat site with updating clocks for many things.

    http://www.worldometers.info

    Reply
  51. Fires from Zabajkalie are spreading to Mongolia, see this satellite images (MODIS)

    LINK in ukrainian language.

    Alex

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  April 20, 2015

      Mongolia lies mostly between 41N and 52N. Something about ‘the interiors of continents drying…’ said the early crude models. And still 10 days to May.

      Reply
      • Andy in YKD

         /  April 20, 2015

        I lived in Mongolia for three years. It is a fire waiting to happen. The tops of the mountains in central Mongolia are essentially forest islands surrounded by dried out grasslands which are rapidly desertifying. These forest support Red Deer, wild boar, squirrels, owls, etc. . etc. . The dead trees at the lower altitudes are markers of the encroaching desert. If these forests burn I wonder if they will grow back.

        Reply
  52. climatehawk1

     /  April 20, 2015

    #Women take on #floods, #hunger in rural #Pakistan http://www.agweek.com/event/article/id/25679/ #climate #globalwarming #Asia #divest

    Reply
  53. Mark from New England

     /  April 20, 2015

    Incredible time-lapse images of decline of reservoir levels in California:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/18/california-drought-gifs_n_5843534.html?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000030

    Reply
  54. rayduray

     /  April 21, 2015

    The BBC highlights an interesting weather anomaly in India/Bangladesh:

    http://www.bbc.com/weather/feeds/32265824

    Reply
  55. entropicman

     /  April 21, 2015

    A water pipeline from Seattle to California would probably be uneconomic unless the Californians are willing to pay bottled water prices. A pipeline from the north of England to London was mooted, but build costs and pumping costs made it too expensive.

    Remember that you are going to pay oil pipeline transport costs for a fluid with 1/100 of the per barrel value.

    Reply
  56. Tom

     /  April 21, 2015

    The fact that we can’t exist without water makes it priceless in my opinion.

    Reply
  57. J McKenzie

     /  April 21, 2015

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32348749

    I have added the above link regarding farmers in Tigray, Eithiopia (site if the Biblical famine 30 years ago) to show that community based socialism has the potential to make a desperate and seemingly unsolveable situation better for all.

    It may well not solve global warming but perhaps it shows how you can use scarce water resources to better affect – perhaps California and Arizona should take note.

    Reply
  58. entropicman

     /  April 21, 2015

    I cannot believe I am celebrating this, but Cantareira in Sao Paulo jus passed 20%.

    Reply
  59. Ouse M.D.

     /  April 21, 2015

    http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2013/12/Autumn_sea-ice_thickness_from_CryoSat_2010_2013

    I guess based on these satelite image trend
    it’s obvious it has been Greenland that’s helped out Arctic Sea Ice from 2012 onwards, providing a moderate negative feedback

    Reply
  60. Kevin Jones

     /  April 21, 2015

    wili: It’s a hell of a sharp tight-rope to walk, these days, between being careful to not overstate or understate the situation. My suspicion is that Archer’s thinking goes like this: CO2 is a humongous known problem. From it’s overabundance come sea level rise, drought, flood, crop failure, etc, AND CH4–troublesomely or (some day with BAU) catastrophically. Best to aim our hoses at the heart of the biggest flame that we know. My point, my friend, is: What if these blow-holes go exponential? What recourse then than some GD geo-engineering… In this light I’m not so hard on Archer. In fact I hold him and a great many other great scientists in high regard for having taught me so much. I reserve my bitterest resentment towards the politicians and their sugar daddies.

    Reply
  61. Colorado Bob

     /  April 21, 2015

    Giant Waves Quickly Destroy Arctic Ocean Ice and Ecosystems.
    The biggest waves seen in northern sea ice show how this vital cover can be crushed much faster than expected.

    The chance encounter of a Norwegian research vessel with the largest waves ever recorded amid floating packs of Arctic ice shows how such rollers could reroute shipping, damage oil platforms and threaten coastal communities with erosion. In a March report in Geophysical Research Letters scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) describe how large waves can penetrate more deeply into ice cover and break it up faster and more completely than anyone had suspected.

    Link

    Reply
  62. Griffin

     /  April 22, 2015

    I have seen some discussion around this model run for Nino 3.4 region. Just wondering if anyone else has as well. Pretty huge if this pans out.

    Reply
  63. Colorado Bob

     /  April 22, 2015

    Happy Earth Day –

    Pumps at Fukushima plant halted, toxic water leaking into ocean – TEPCO

    Earlier this year, TEPCO stated that last May’s water samples from the drainage channel contained radioactive materials. The concentration exceeded the legal limit, which is estimated at just 30 becquerels of radioactive strontium-90 per liter.

    Overall, in the period between May 2011 and August 2013, according to a series of statements from the company, groundwater leaks ended up in as many as 20 trillion becquerels of cesium-137, 10 trillion becquerels of strontium-90 and 40 trillion becquerels of tritium reaching the sea.

    Link

    Reply
  64. Colorado Bob

     /  April 22, 2015

    Four dead as super storm lashes Australian east coast

    The Bureau of Meteorology warned that a second storm cell was gathering at sea north of Sydney, with gale force winds of up to 100 km per hour (62 miles per hour) and heavy winds hitting the coast

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/04/22/australia-weather-idINKBN0ND19A20150422

    Reply
  65. Ouse M.D.

     /  April 22, 2015

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-16/signs-elites-are-feverishly-preparing-something-big

    “Fed operations moving to Chicago”- is a substantial sea level rise imminent?

    Reply
  66. Kevin Jones

     /  April 22, 2015

    For those interested in what we are and from whence we came, just finished the greatest book I’ve read: http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/issue/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/the-last-lost-world.jpg

    Reply
  67. Spike

     /  April 24, 2015

    It’s been a hot and dry April in the UK thus far, and that has left the field open to arsonists even in normally wet areas like Wales

    http://www.channel4.com/news/over-700-deliberate-grass-fires-hit-south-wales

    Reply
  68. Peter Malsin

     /  April 30, 2015

    From Russia Today 4/29/15:
    Forest fires spread to within 30 km of Chernobyl
    http://rt.com/news/254193-chernobyl-fire-radiation-spread/

    Reply
  1. “The Dry Land Burned Like Grass” — Siberia’s Road to a Permaburn Hell | 2rhoeas3
  2. Il fondo del barile #12 | Risorse Economia Ambiente
  3. Permafrost Carbon Feedback To Blow Carbon Budget ‘Faster Than We Would Expect’ | robertscribbler
  4. From Siberia to British Columbia Arctic Wildfires Begin an Ominous Ignition | robertscribbler
  5. 2015’s Cruel Climate Count Continues as NASA Shows July Was Hottest On Record | robertscribbler
  6. “It Feels Like Doomsday” — Massive Lake Baikal Wildfires Threaten Water Supply | robertscribbler
  7. ‘Everything is Burning Around Us’ — You Just Can’t Normalize Gatlinburg’s Fall Firestorm | robertscribbler

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