Climate Change’s ‘Blob’ Heats Up In Northeast Pacific

They call it The Blob. No, it’s not some campy 1950s horror flick featuring a gelatinous monstrosity from space aimed at devouring all life in its path. This Blob is a pool of much hotter than normal water that has become increasingly entrenched in the North-East Pacific. A surface zone of record ocean warmth that has persisted and intensified in the same region for the better part of two years.

Though it’s not the sci-fi movie Blob, this particular climate change monstrosity could well be described as stranger than fiction. It’s an ocean feature of the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge which has warded storms off the North American West Coast over the past couple of years. A likely upshot of an ongoing Arctic heating — setting off weather conditions that sparked both this year’s massive Northwest Territory Wildfires and the worst drought the California region has seen in at least 1,000 years. And like the sci-fi movie space monster of yore, the Northeast Pacific heat Blob has a nasty penchant for devouring ocean life of all kinds.

image

(Under an ongoing El Nino, the Equatorial Pacific is getting pretty hot with temperature spikes ranging from +2.5 C above normal temperatures at mid-ocean to +4 C above average off the West Coast of South America. But these rather warm temperature anomalies are nothing compared to The Blob [at center frame above] which now features temperatures in the range of +5 C above average. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

The news about The Blob today comes in two forms — bad and worse. The bad news is that it’s still there. Still influencing our weather, still threatening sea life and fisheries. And the worse news is that it appears to be heating up. Today’s readings put much of The Blob in the 3.5 to 5.5 C above average temperature range, which is 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius warmer than we’ve seen in this zone since its first heat intensification during the spring of 2014.

Wonky Weather

Back in April, a study published in Geophysical Research Letters and reported in LiveScience found that temperatures over a broad region of Northeast Pacific surface waters had averaged between 1-4 C (2 to 7 F) above normal temperatures.  It covered an area roughly 1,000 miles in diameter and extended about 300 feet below surface waters.

Nick Bond, one of the study’s co-authors (and coiner of the term ‘Blob’), had this statement for the American Geophysical Union:

“In the fall of 2013 and early 2014 we started to notice a big, almost circular mass of water that just didn’t cool off as much as it usually did, so by spring of 2014 it was warmer than we had ever seen it for that time of year.”

WarmBlob_April2014_NOAA-2

(Warm Blob T anomalies for April of 2014 as provided by NOAA and AGU. Note that today’s anomalies are well in excess of April 2014 readings.)

The Blob’s large size combined with its failure to cool in spring to set off some rather strange weather impacts, according to the report’s findings. Winds blowing over high heat content ocean waters ran inland over the US and Canadian West Coasts. This invasion pushed warm air over lands and mountains. Snowpacks melted, lands warmed and dried out. Massive wildfires erupted thoughout both the US and Canada.

The hot air mass over the warm water blob has acted as a brutish atmospheric feature since this time. Like a towering wall of air it has consistently deflected oncoming storms that typically charge across the Pacific During Winter and Spring — reinforcing a weird extreme weather regime.

Threat to Sea Life

The AGU report also cited recent severe impacts to sea life as found in a March 17 study by NOAA. Highlights of the NOAA study showed substantial ocean life impacts including weaker copopod production in the warming waters, likely less vital salmon fisheries, bird deaths, marine mammal deaths and starving sea lions due to scarcity of food sources. In addition, the warm temperatures have been linked to a starfish wasting sickness that has killed off millions of sea stars up and down the North American West Coast.

What the NOAA report did not include was growing evidence that warming waters off the US West Coast have (when combined with eutriphication due to atmospheric nitrogen seeding through fossil fuel burning and farm nutrient runoff), since the early 2000s, resulted in increasingly dangerous low ocean oxygen levels (see Starving Sea Lion Pups and Liquified Starfish). It’s a one-two warming and oxygen loss that is pretty amazingly dangerous to ocean life.

The NOAA study further noted that the high sea surface temperatures spurring these impacts were at or near unprecedented levels, a confirmation of the AGU report findings:

We are in some ways entering a situation we haven’t seen before,” said Cisco Werner, Director of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, Calif. “That makes it all the more important to look at how these conditions affect the entire ecosystem because different components and different species may be affected differently.”

PDO and Climate Change Not Helping

The current unprecedented warm temperatures in The Blob are, in part, an upshot of a warmer sea surface state now in effect called positive Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). During these times, Pacific Ocean waters tend to be warmer — especially in the region where the Blob has recently emerged. During December of 2014, PDO hit new all-time record high values — an extreme likely pushed over the top by added atmospheric and ocean heating through human greenhouse gas emissions.

During positive PDO periods, El Nino events both tend to be more prevalent and show higher intensity. And during spring and summer El Ninos, we tend to see increased warming of the Pacific region now dominated by The Blob.

image

(A powerful blocking pattern associated with The Blob remains in place today. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

All these PDO based fluxes are natural variability related. But the real kicker, the icing on the cake of this extreme event is almost certainly climate change. Specifically for the hot Blob zone, general greenhouse gas warming of the adjacent Arctic called Polar Amplification has tended to generate a weakness in the Jet Stream directly over the region. This weakness has tended to aid in Ridiculously Resilient Ridge development and the month on month, year on year heatwaves that have pushed ocean temperatures in this zone into ever more extreme hot values (see Dr. Francis’s “Weird Weather Plot Thickens As Arctic Swiftly Warms“). And though overall global warming now in the range of +0.95 C above 1880s values has also likely contributed in a broader sense, the direct impact to the Arctic has likely aided in the development of a high anomaly heat spike for this particular ocean zone.

So, in total, we have a number of factors pushing record ocean warmth in this region, setting the stage for sea creature death and wrecked North American weather alike. But the primary contributor to these unsettling events is almost certainly climate change. For its influences have made possible the new levels of extreme conditions which we are now experiencing.

Links:

Causes and Impacts of the 2014 Warm Anomaly in the Northeast Pacific

Warm Blob in Pacific Linked to Weird US Weather

NOAA: West Coast Waters Shifting to Lower Productivity Regime

Earth Nullschool

Weird Weather Plot Thickens As Arctic Swiftly Warms

Starving Sea Lion Pups and Liquified Starfish

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100 Comments

  1. labmonkery2

     /  June 11, 2015

    Another great article, which confirms my earlier review of the nullschool feed regarding that Ridge of Ridiculous Resiliency and its associated heat source/sink – aka The Blob (seems to be a symbiotic relationship?). I can only assume that this heat pump is what’s impacting the fires in the PNW with the constant drying of the tundra. And will eventually release, or play a large role in the release, of this carbon store. Do we have any idea from the models if/when this condition will remedy itself? Or is this the new ‘normal?’
    Thanks again for your insight. I share your knowledge with all I know – some of them are “Hooked on Fox” and cannot be swayed…but I try.

    Reply
    • The larger trend has been a push for warming of this region.

      A strong storm track intensification by Fall/Winter (2015-2016) and then switch to La Nina would help somewhat, tamping down some of those high T deltas. But this particular El Nino seems to be set on a drawn-out affair that has tended to shift toward mid ocean heating in the Equatorial zone by Fall. If that happens, we might have to wait until at least Spring 2016 to see some shifts back to milder conditions. The current atmospherics favor this trend. Another strong WWB would push toward more storm track intensification. But right now it is basically at full stop.

      Reply
  2. That is ugly.

    Reply
  3. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 11, 2015

    I’ve been watching the news regarding Oarfish washing up. The west coast of the US has seen a bunch. Their diet is crustaceans. Perhaps their food source is becoming more scarce, and as Oarfish are higher on the food chain the chain reaction may be climbing up to the more complex life forms (such as the seals dying in droves that we’ve seen).

    http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2015/06/08/Another-oarfish-washes-ashore-in-California/3451433788154/

    Reply
  4. The Blob has been cooking us up here in the non-air conditioned U.S. Pacific Northwest for several days now, but we did get some temperature relief yesterday. Still, there’s no rain anywhere in sight for this region which normally doesn’t dry out until mid-summer. Earlier this spring, Washington governor Jay Inslee declared an emergency over the dangerously low snow pack upon which much of the state’s agriculture depends.

    Reply
  5. Daniel Ferra

     /  June 11, 2015

    The Koch Bros and the Fossil Fuel Industry, have spent Millions on Legislators and Regulators, to continue to Poison our Air, Water, and Soil.

    The Global Warming, Sea Level Rising, Fossil Fuel Energy Policies, that Globally emitted 40 – 50 Billion Toxic Tons of Carbon, of that the United States emitted 6.8 Billion Toxic Tons.

    Right Now we have 404 parts per million of carbon in our atmosphere.

    The Jet Stream of Old, is Gone.

    There is No Carbon Budget, each Toxic Ton we emit, is Warming the Planet.

    The past Five years have Global record temps steadily increasing.

    Northwest Pacific Ocean, 3 – 6 degrees Warmer than Normal,

    “At just 0.80C of Global Warming, the World is Already experiencing Climate Change.

    West Antarctica and Greenland Calving.

    Arctic 75% gone and melting, with severe consequence for the Future Stability of the Permafrost, and Frozen Methane Stores, as Ice Sheets retreat the Earrths Reflective Power Decreases.

    In reality 2C is the boundary between Dangerous and Very Dangerous Climate Change and a 1C is warmer than any Human Civilization has Experienced” David Spratt

    In the 1850s parts per million of carbon was 260 – 280.

    Whales, Dolphins, Sea Lions, Starfish, Die Off along the Western Coast of the Pacific Ocean over the past year . Ocean Acidity levels climbing, Mercury 3x more than the start of the Century.

    “Ice sheets contain enormous quantities of frozen water. If the Greenland Ice Sheet melted, scientists estimate that sea level would rise about 6 meters (20 feet). If the Antarctic Ice Sheet melted, sea level would rise by about 60 meters (200 feet).” National Snow and Ice Data Center.

    When will Sea Level Rise to 220 – 300 Feet ? 2020 ? 2025 ? ?

    California emitted 459 Toxic Tons of Carbon Dioxide in 2014.

    Gov Browns call to reduce this to 1990 levels so we can continue to emit over 400 million Toxic Tons a year, will not help us stop or slow down Global Warming and Sea Levels Rising.

    “Updates to the 2020 Limit.
    Calculation of the original 1990 limit approved in 2007 was revised using the scientifically updated IPCC 2007 fourth assessment report (AR4) global warming potentials, to 431 MMTCO2e. Thus the 2020 GHG emissions limit established in response to AB 32 is now slightly higher than the 427 MMTCO2e in the initial Scoping Plan.” Ca. Gov. Data

    We Need 100% Renewable Energies .

    No Twin Tunnels, Save the Delta, this Fragile Eco-System is a measurement of our commitment to bring in Sustainable Energy Policies.

    Cap and Trade Phased Out.

    75% Airport reduction in Carbon emissions.

    Ban Fracking

    Close Diablo Nuclear Power Plant , and move all Nuclear Waste above 2,000 feet.

    Close all 108, for profit, Water Bottling Plants in California

    Implement a California Residential and Commercial Feed in Tariff.

    California Residential Feed in Tariff would allow homeowners to sell their Renewable Energy to the utility, protecting our communities from Poison Water, Grid Failures, Natural Disasters, Toxic Natural Gas and Oil Fracking.

    Our California Residential Feed-In Tariff should start out at 16 cents per kilowatt hour, 5 cents per kilowatt hour to the Utility for use of the Grid, 11 cents per kilowatt hour going to the Home Owner.

    A California Commercial FiT in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, an Sacramento Ca. are operating NOW, paying the Business Person 17 cents cents per kilowatt hour.

    Sign and Share this petition for a California Residential Feed in Tariff.
    http://signon.org/sign/let-california-home-owners

    Reply
  6. Colorado Bob

     /  June 11, 2015

    El Niño Continues to Ramp Up

    Computer models are in firm agreement that El Niño conditions will strengthen further during the latter part of 2015. All eight of the international models tracked by BOM show Niño3.4 readings of 1.5°C or higher by October (see Figure 2), and several exceed 2.0°C, suggesting that the strongest event since 1997–98 may well be in the cards. Some models predicted that a significant El Niño would emerge in mid-2014, but that didn’t happen, largely because the atmosphere failed to respond to oceanic shifts that often kick off El Niño. This time, the atmosphere and ocean are much more in sync, so we can put more trust in the current model outlooks—especially now that we’re past the “spring predictability barrier” that makes early-year forecasts of El Niño so tough. In today’s update, NOAA is calling for a greater than 90% chance that El Niño will continue through the northern fall of 2015, and around an 85% chance it will last through the winter of 2015-16.

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3015

    Reply
    • Fantastic post on El Nino! And Trenberth weighs in on the impact of El Nino + Climate Change on the Texas floods. All excellent confirmation to some of the work done here.

      Looking at that Multivariate Index now. Chalk up one indicator confirming the strongest El Nino event since 1998.

      Reply
  7. Could “the blob” be a result of the underwater volcanic activity going on;
    http://www.nature.com/news/massive-underwater-volcano-erupts-1.17463
    combined with El Nino? If there is a significant rupture in the sea floor, enough to heat the ocean on a scale like that; I hope it solidifies soon.

    Reply
    • In a word — No.

      In a few words — we’d be more worried about other catastrophic consequences from volcanic activity powerful enough to warm 1,000 x 1,000 miles of ocean even 1 C, much less 3-5.

      And a few more — this is a feature of the ocean surface. Volcanic activity would warm bottom waters and only very local to the event. You’re talking maybe hundreds of yards around the eruption zone and in a column near the event telegraphing to the surface.

      It takes a ridiculous, stupendous amount of energy to warm so much water in this way. You’d need a shallow ocean and a massive catastrophic flood basalt and then, maybe.

      So no, no, and absolutely, definitely, no.

      Reply
      • I’ll take that as a “no” then shall I?🙂
        Sorry, I have just gone back to one of your earlier posts, and the temperature profile fits exactly. I was expecting 0.5C – 2C as defined as a typical El Nino but this is huge.
        https://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/el-nino-update-monster-kelvin-wave-continues-to-emerge-and-intensify/

        Reply
      • sunkensheep

         /  June 12, 2015

        Interestingly, somebody asked this elsewhere, and I found a study estimating the heat output from volcanic vents. It is relatively insignificant, and the ocean will tend to spread that kind of localised heating out.
        I don’t have the link right now, but the poster claimed that since they couldn’t open it (tested working on multiple machines and ISPs), my statement was invalid. They were truly taking denialism to the extreme.

        Reply
  8. Thanks Robert.

    “The hot air mass over the warm water blob has acted as a brutish atmospheric feature…
    … a towering wall of air.”
    Very good!

    The Blob + the Ridge = The Blidge – Ruler of EPac.
    I really think that the rapid and extreme changes (water,air, land) in the E. Pacific, PNW, AK, and NWT. comprise a most spectacular and extreme climate ‘change’ event.
    This developed much quicker than anything else I can think of.

    And the nitrogen saturation that has been growing and looming larger by the day. Many thanks.

    “… when combined with eutriphication due to atmospheric nitrogen seeding through fossil fuel burning…”

    Reply
  9. james cole

     /  June 11, 2015

    Canadian Wildfires in the North West regions made themselves felt across Northern Minnesota on Tuesday. The Monday evening sky began to fill with high level smoke, blotting out the sun. Morning brought smoke in the atmosphere able to blot out the landscape. Visibility was cut to nil for most of the day.
    Just another sign of a changing world. In the 80’s writers claimed in the 2000’s we would begin to experience the rise of wildfires across the northern hemisphere, and skies would fill with smoke. I give them credit, they were right, I’ve lived to confirm what early global warming science was saying.
    Now it looks like our great life support system, the seas, are taking the brunt of warming. When those systems strain and collapse, we will have the worst case the early scientists predicted.

    Reply
  10. Greg

     /  June 12, 2015

    Robert, I really don’t get these ocean heating events. Why in this location? Did currents bring the heat in from elsewhere and they’re stuck there? I can get atmospheric blocks based on jet stream dynamics but ocean blocks? Is it a giant eddie of sorts or do we just not know? Thanks.

    Reply
    • jyyh

       /  June 12, 2015

      Yep, that’s the main temporary dead end for surface currents, a proper El Nino should open the gate back to south. Think of it as a heat dump for 75% of Oceans outside polar areas, an intercooler of sorts… I think there’s at least one similar sort of area in the world ocean (in Indian Ocean) but that works in reverse wrt this one.

      Reply
    • Greg —

      It’s a combination ocean and atmosphere interaction which generates the hot pool. Factors involved include:

      1. Ocean heat transport due to PDO El Niño related changes. This includes surface winds, upwelling, and near surface current changes.
      2. The heightening and uneven ghg heat contribution to the atmosphere which directly impacts the ocean surface and near ocean surface temperature. Major factors include the impact of polar amplification on ridge formation and subsequent heatwave development over this region of the Pacific. The consistent, much warmer than normal atmospheric pattern heats up the ocean surface.
      3. Less heat exchange/mixing. Over the years, the Pacific Ocean has become more stratified. This stratification increases the intensity of hot pools that do develop as there is less mixing with cooler waters near hot zones, allowing them to amplify.
      4. The general and overall expansion of equatorial to polar heat transport during phase 1 climate change.

      These are probably the big impacts. There are likely a few more peripheral ones. One thing to consider is the fact that ghg is an extraordinarily powerful vehicle for ocean and atmospheric heat accumulation. Nuclear weapons and volcanoes don’t hold a candle to it. It’s an invisible heat giant and its ability to generate geophysical change through the mechanism of temperature variance and increase is unmatched in the natural world sans the sun blowing up or snuffing out (slow solar changes and minor variability don’t hold a candle to it).

      We can plainly see that now in the Northeast Pacific. This kind of heating would take hundreds of thousands of volcanoes, millions of nuclear weapons. But the human ghg heat forcing has achieved it with a terrible ease.

      Reply
  11. Loni

     /  June 12, 2015

    ……..understood.

    Reply
  12. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 12, 2015

    At first I thought it would be an interesting exercise. Go back through news by date regarding the eastern pacific breakdown. How the early articles reference such things as acidification and phytoplankton deaths. Those stories began interleaving with shellfish deaths, starfish deaths then bird deaths. Gradually the seal deaths and oarfish deaths joined in chronologically. Killer whales began to appear as they started hunting new food sources and starving. As you read the article titles, you can see the spread of death geographically as new areas report the surges within their locale.

    I thought it would be interesting, in the end it was sobering. Here is a list of articles, chronologically ordered.

    May 1, 2006 – Impacts on phytoplankton biomass and productivity in the …
    ———————————-
    Oct 24, 2008 – Are the orcas starving?
    ———————————-
    Apr 6, 2009 -Ocean Dead Zones of the Pacific Northwest
    ———————————-
    Oct 9, 2009 – Pacific Ocean ‘dead zone’ in Northwest may be irreversible …
    ———————————-
    Feb 11, 2011 – Hypoxia in the Pacific Northwest | PISCO
    ———————————-
    Nov 21, 2011 – Northwest Oyster Die-offs Show Ocean Acidification Has …
    ———————————-
    Nov 2, 2012 -Plankton Death To Come with Acid Oceans and Sunlight …
    ———————————-
    Mar 30, 2013 – Mass Die Offs Of Sea Lions, Birds, Star Fish …
    ———————————-
    Sep 3, 2013 – Mysterious Mass Sunflower Starfish (Pycnopodia) Die-off in …
    ———————————-
    Oct 4, 2013 -The Oceans are Dying: Oxygen is Depleting, Acidity Rising …
    ———————————-
    Oct 14, 2013 – Mass Starfish Die-Off May Be Headed For Washington …
    ———————————-
    Oct 21, 2013 – Oceanside oarfish death puzzles scientists, but everyone …
    ———————————-
    Oct 21, 2013 – Oarfish: second giant ‘sea serpent’ found on Californian beach
    ———————————-
    Oct 29, 2013 – Something Is Killing Life All Over The Pacific Ocean
    ———————————-
    Feb 5, 2014 – Millions of Starfish Are Literally Ripping Themselves Apart …
    ———————————-
    Mar 9, 2014 – Starfish dying off the Pacific coast – BC Rainforest
    ———————————-
    May 13, 2014 – Sea Lions Are Starving to Death—and We Don’t Know Why …
    ———————————-
    Apr 19, 2014 – Record Level Of Dying, Sick, Injured California Seals …
    ———————————-
    Aug 6, 2014 – TV: “Mysterious die off of young salmon” in Pacific Northwest …
    ———————————-
    Nov 17, 2014 – Why Are Millions of Starfish ‘Melting’?
    ———————————-
    Dec 3, 2014 – Why Are Killer Whales Suddenly Hunting Humpbacks?
    ———————————-
    Dec 15, 2014 – Pregnant killer whale J-32 was starving, necropsy reveals …
    ———————————-
    Jan 24, 2015 – Mass Death of Seabirds in Western U.S. Is ‘Unprecedented’
    ———————————-
    Feb 11, 2015 – extinction event pacific coast.the pacific is dying
    ———————————-
    Feb 18, 2015 – Why Hundreds of Starving Sea Lion Pups Are Washing Up …
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    Mar 1, 2015 – The Death Of The Eastern Pacific
    ———————————-
    Mar 16, 2015 – 10,000 baby sea lions dead on one California island …
    ———————————-
    Mar 20, 2015 – Wild Orcas in the Pacific Northwest are Starving to Extinction …
    ———————————-
    Apr 10, 2015 – Officials: “Such a bizarre thing” off California coast — “We’re …
    ———————————-
    Jun 3, 2015 – Rare Oarfish Washes Ashore on Catalina Island | KTLA
    ———————————-
    June 03 2015 – Yet another oarfish mysteriously washes up in California …
    ———————————-

    Reply
  13. Griffin

     /  June 12, 2015

    Not that anyone here needs to be convinced if the dangers of fracking but pics have been released of the area affected by the “leak” in Texas.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jesse-coleman/fracking-blowout-in-texas_b_7561868.html

    Reply
  14. Another great article, Robert! Thank you! Here’s something I found encouraging in the fight against denial of AGW reality-

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/06/11/3668115/climate-change-deniers-money-losers/

    Normally I don’t agree with many views of conservative/business interests, but when they recognize that action must be taken to fight AGW then I take notice. Their conclusion is that deniers will soon exist only in fossil fuel funded think tanks and lunatic conspiracy groups. Let’s hope that’s sooner rather than later. I’m still disturbed by the way 2C is thrown around as an acceptable outcome that will still produce profits and growth under our current economic paradigm.

    Reply
    • 2 C is bad. We’re currently headed for worse. Let’s get off that track first, then try to avoid 2 C if at all possible. Going to be dicey.

      Reply
  15. We’re getting some really ugly waves here, and yesterday received rain all day and heavy rain in the night. That’s typical for February and March, but it’s really crazy to have the sloppy weather at this time of the year. “El Nino’ is what the locals are saying.. Ha, I’m preaching to the choir, but just confirming from my spot on the equator here in Ecuador. Z

    Reply
    • Multivariate models already show this event as strongest since 1997-1998 (ones that take total ocean heat into account). Nino 3.4 still rising… Looking more and more like a rough ride ahead.

      Reply
      • Yes, the people of this area still talk about the ’97-98 Fenonomen ‘ of El Nino, and also remember the severe earthquake that hit Bahia de Caraquez during that time.
        I don’t comment on your posts often, but I always appreciate what you share. If there’s an abnormal variant in weather, I lob that news in your direction so it’s recorded/confirmed. The ugly waves were a surprise…

        Reply
        • Just to clarify — ugly tropical waves? Or ocean waves?

        • ha.. perdon.. ugly ocean waves, yet the intense rain we received yesterday and last night was quite abnormal. we’ve received more rain in may and june than we did in the ‘rainy season.’ this is usually the dry season, though people say that in El Nino years this is normal.

          As for the ocean waves: the full-moon spring tide came with no problems, and then the ocean waves festered and became very ugly over the weekend.

          https://playamart.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/every-grain-of-sand/

          the acceleration of beach loss started 18 months ago, though it’s happening in other areas of the coast (and world.)

          the municipalities think the best option is rock. friends and i looked at a bamboo project up the coast that seems to have potential… driving 15-meter sections of bamboo straight down until they hit solid bottom,.. so there’s a fence of bamboo with one meter sticking above the sand and 15 or so reaching all the way down to the bottom.. Then another line and another to terrace —the bamboo fence traps the sand yet filters the water…

          we’ll be working on an experiment very soon and hope to have it in place before the next ‘aguaje’… we’re still gathering facts and rounding up materials and estimates of costs.

          they are receiving little help from the local municipality, which has its hands full with other problems…

        • Are the waves visibly ugly — a different coloration — or are they just large?

          Strong El Nino is increasing sea surface heights in your region by a pretty extreme degree. Add in global sea level rise due to climate change and you end up with trouble.

        • Just large… I will be returning to that beach tomorrow and will critique the waves and will also ask the people who live there. I live nearby on the last bend of a mangrove river and can usually hear the waves slamming the shore when it’s bad over there.

          your feedback is greatly appreciated — this will scare my neighbors, but it’s beter to know what to expect. we feel like a group of kindergarten students that have been turned loose with responsibility of protecting a fort without any supervision, as far as making informed decisions. thanks so much.

      • Thanks for the feedback/conditions report from the South, Playamart! One aspect of this comments section I love is the fact that Robert has so many readers from around the globe that can provide realtime observations on the ground, often in areas discussed in his posts. To read about a particular event, then have the information confirmed by locals on the ground makes for a very convincing and surreal position. I wish you all the best in your future challenges/work. Your are one small part of a very large and necessary solution.

        Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  June 12, 2015

    Plants may run out of time to grow under ongoing climate change

    A key potential ‘benefit’ of global warming–namely, that plants at northern latitudes will thrive in a warmer world–is challenged by a new study released by University of Hawai’i scientists today.

    The prevailing assumption ignores the fact that plants in the North will remain limited by solar radiation, curbing positive effects of warming and additional CO2 availability. In addition, that same warming could surpass plant temperature tolerances in tropical areas around the world, and further be accompanied by drought.

    “Those that think climate change will benefit plants need to see the light, literally and figuratively,” says Camilo Mora, professor at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa’s College of Social Sciences and lead author of the new study. “A narrow focus on the factors that influence plant growth has led to major underestimations of the potential impacts of climate change on plants, not only at higher latitudes but more severely in the tropics, exposing the world to dire consequences,” he adds.

    Link

    Reply
  17. climatehawk1

     /  June 12, 2015

    Tweet scheduled, thanks.

    Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  June 12, 2015

    Tree rings confirm unprecedented warming in Central Asia

    A new study of tree rings from Mongolia dating back more than 1,000 years confirms that recent warming in central Asia has no parallel in any known record. In recent decades, temperatures have been ascending more rapidly here than in much of the world, but scientists have lacked much evidence to put the trend into a long-term context. The study does not explicitly raise the issue of human-induced warming, but is sure to be seen as one more piece of evidence that it is at work. The study appears in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.

    Read more at: Link

    Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  June 12, 2015

    Changing climate prompts boreal forest shift

    June 11, 2015
    Source:
    University of Alaska Fairbanks
    Summary:
    With warming summer temperatures across Alaska, white spruce tree growth in Interior Alaska has declined to record low levels, while the same species in Western Alaska is growing better than ever measured before. According to researchers, ‘The movement of an entire biome is often hypothesized in models of probable future climate, but the Alaska boreal forest is actually shifting today, and the process is well underway.’

    Link

    Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  June 12, 2015

    The Fate of Trees: How Climate Change May Alter Forests Worldwide
    By the end of the century, the woodlands of the Southwest will likely be reduced to weeds and shrubs. And scientists worry that the rest of the planet may see similar effects

    Link

    Reply
  21. Colorado Bob

     /  June 12, 2015

    Here’s the plan to save New Orleans and the Gulf Coast

    The Louisiana Gulf Coast and the city of New Orleans are in trouble. Land there is sinking below sea level rapidly, faster than anywhere else in the world, at rates that scientists predict the rest of the world will see only at the end of this century.

    This erosion has been going on since the Mississippi was re-routed in 1932 to protect communities from the river’s seasonal flooding — but those same floods used to carry sediment that restored land washed out to sea by erosion and storms.

    About 2,000 square miles of Louisiana have disappeared from the coast already. Climate change and the more frequent powerful storms that are expected as result, along with rising sea levels, are expected to exacerbate these problems.

    Fortunately, there is a master plan in place to save the Gulf Coast. But it’s a 50-year, $50 billion plan, and so far, the money is not there.

    Here’s the official plan to save the coast:

    Read more: Link

    Reply
    • Robert In New Orleans

       /  June 12, 2015

      Come on Mr. Bob, you know as well as anyone else who studies the science that New Orleans is toast. It is just a matter of how soon and how bad things will get before hand that is open to discussion. The state of Louisiana doesn’t have the money to fund this project and the federal government isn’t going pay for this modern day Maginot Line in the mud.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 12, 2015

        RINO –
        Sometimes I post things , that I don’t agree with . Notice that article doesn’t mention the land sinking from oil and gas extraction.

        ” modern day Maginot Line in the mud.”
        Excellent line.

        Reply
    • Barry’s “Rising Tide” definitely explains how we made a mess of the Ms. River system. Thanks for this link; I live in Ecuador but grew up on the river in Mississippi. Z

      Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 12, 2015

      Ocean investigators set their sights on Pacific Ocean ‘blob’

      A huge swath of unusually warm water that has drawn tropical fish and turtles to the normally cool West Coast over the past year has grown to the biggest and longest-lasting ocean temperature anomaly on record, researchers now say, profoundly affecting climate and marine life from Baja California to Alaska.

      Researchers remain uncertain what caused the mass of warm seawater they simply call “the blob,” or what it’ll mean long term for the West Coast climate. But they agree it’s imperative to better understand its impact, as it may be linked to everything from California’s drought to record numbers of marine mammals washing up on Northern California shores.

      Link

      Reply
      • Starting to look like the kind of Black Swan event that many of us have been dreading.

        Reply
      • Well done article that. Good to see further coverage. Although the readings in the GFS summary are at +5 to +5.5 C in the hottest spots. Not +5 F.

        Reply
      • OT:

        Is it wrong if I find joy in kicking fossil fuel cheerleaders off my site or when they send me threat notes telling me never to post again. To me that’s just confirmation that we’re doing the right thing. Always have enjoyed bloodying the noses of bullies.

        In any case, I have just begun to write😉

        Glad you’ve been here with me through it all.

        Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 12, 2015

        “I’m your Huckleberry”

        Reply
      • Hey Robert.
        Really: “…fossil fuel cheerleaders off my site or when they send me threat notes telling me never to post again.”?
        Did you get threatening messages from FF liars?
        Your truths speak louder than threats or lies.
        Don’t back down. You have honest compassionate people here to cover your back too.
        DT

        (At least you get threats. All I ever got with my biting documentary air pollution photo posts were shouts of, “Chemtrails!”.)
        🙂

        Reply
        • Oh, they start with chemtrails, then they move on to doom, then they sprinkle in a little nonsense about fossil fuels being the center of civilization, then they try to confuse you with stuff like miniscule contributions of human breath, minor, minor trace gasses or volcanoes, then failing all that and more they start making threats (and probably try a little hacking on the side. Note to the idiot that keeps screwing with my DNS handshakes to NOAA and BOM — it’s not working, you’re the worst hacker ever.).

          So yeah, you should be proud🙂 Attempts at spreading misinformation from fossil fuel cheerleaders on your site is the blogger version of a red badge of courage.

          Cheers!

      • regarding FF cheerleaders– there are two types that tend to interbreed, those that deny the finite resource constraints of oil and those that deny the impact of CO2. What they don’t seem to understand is the impact of the combination. Read my The Oil Conundrum available online via the intertubes to get a deconstruction of the arguments.

        Reply
        • It’s more complex than that WHT.

          You’ve got those who claim there’s not enough FF for climate change to hit certain markers. Of course oil is resource constrained, especially in an economic sense when it comes to extraction. But if FF special interests rule governing bodies they’ll say to hell with economics and keep drilling and burning the stuff til the world be damned. They’ll basically subsidize the bad economic policy of unsustainable extraction to support the failing and destructive industry. Probably the worst form of state support for industry ever invented.

          And there is most certainly enough stuff in the ground, no matter how difficult and uneconomical to extract to really, really wreck things if bozos like Abbott and oil industry aligned politicians around the world keep pushing things as they do. Setting up these backwards and quite frankly dastardly policies that enforce fossil fuel burning and keep people captive to its consumption.

      • Robert, you SHOULD feel overjoyed when you excercise your responsibility for removing FF shills who have sold out our future for a quick buck. You’re definitely doing the right thing, and have many here (including myself, of course) who will be behind you and support you for as long as you have the strength and courage to continue this fight! You are a treasured resource and provider of essential information. We thank you for all you do, and continue to do, to spread awareness and info that is free from the tentacles of the fossil fuel monster.

        Reply
  22. Robert In New Orleans

     /  June 12, 2015

    BP Energy Outlook 2035: Carbon emissions to rise 1% per year or 25% to 2035.

    http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2015/06/bp-energy-outlook-2035-carbon-emission.html

    Reply
    • How different is that estimate from The RCP 8.5 BAU scenario ? My worst fear is that alternative energy grows along side carbon based fuels instead of replacing them.

      Reply
    • Of course BP would estimate rising carbon emissions, their ill-gotten revenues depend on it. Let’s prove them wrong.

      Reply
  23. – File under “a stuck weather pattern…”
    -I don’t recall if this has been mentioned re USA rainfall:

    May rainfall most ever in United States US officials: Rain fell in dramatic totals in 20 states, for country as a whole
    – Author: By Steve Almasy CNN

    …In 121 years of record keeping, never had an average of 4.36 inches of precipitation fallen on the contiguous United States. The number was 1.45 inches above the long-term average for the months, the National Centers for Environmental Information said. It beat the old mark by .07 inches.
    Three states — Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas — set record totals for rainfall in May. In Oklahoma and Texas, where flooding killed dozens, precipitation was almost two times the average and the most in any month ever. “The main culprit was a stuck weather pattern…
    http://www.wfmz.com/news/may-rainfall-most-ever-in-united-states/33516140

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 12, 2015

      Alaska just had its hottest May in 91 years

      We already knew Alaska was having some crazy weather lately. That included a record 91 degrees in Eagle in May, the “hottest temperature ever recorded so early in the calendar year in our 49th state,” per our own Capital Weather Gang.

      And now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that the state as a whole experienced its warmest May in the weather books. As the agency puts it:

      The Alaska statewide average temperature for May was the warmest on record in 91 years of record keeping at 44.9°F, 7.1°F above average. The warmth in Alaska was widespread with several cities were record warm, including Barrow and Juneau.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/06/09/alaska-just-had-its-hottest-may-in-91-years/

      Reply
  24. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 12, 2015

    Dolphins move north as waters warm, Polar bears now hunting dolphins.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/12/polar-bears-eat-dolphins-as-arctic-warms

    Reply
  25. – Crisis on the West Coast June 2015: Salmon survival:

    SONOMA, Calif. (AP) — California is taking desperate steps to save the last endangered salmon in Wine Country creeks that are going dry because of over-pumping and the drought, officials said Thursday.

    Water has run so low in the four tributaries of the Russian River in Sonoma County that state workers have been dispatched with nets and buckets to rescue the last surviving coho salmon.

    Threatened steelhead trout are also being pulled from drying stretches of the waterways.

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CALIFORNIA_DROUGHT_SALMON?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

    Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  June 12, 2015

    A Close-Up Look at Last Week’s Perplexing Colorado Twisters

    Link

    Everyone look at the picture of this storm down the thread a bit . That is one strange thunderstorm. Read thread on the buoy readings off California.

    Reply
  27. Colorado Bob

     /  June 12, 2015

    Every time I read of some really crazy denier claim . Like Inhofe this week , “We are winning”.

    Nature , as always is speaking truth to power.

    Alaska just had its hottest May in 91 years

    And

    Siberia registers its warmest recorded spring sparking new fears for rapid climate change

    Some one needs to take these people to the next methane hydrate bow out , and throw their sorry butts, into the ” hoax hole “.

    Reply
  28. DonnaLou

     /  June 12, 2015

    I followed a blogger years back that wrote mainly about war issues, specifically Iraq. His website was devoted to dispersing news articles from around the world that related to the war. He received cease-and-desist notes, along with website crashes, and eventually he reported that “they” showed up at his home in the form of mysterious, trench coated men (yes, trench coats). Please be careful! You are the first source I turn to for the real story. Thank you for the work that you (and all your fellow commenters) do.

    Reply
    • Don’t worry, Donna. I’m much smarter than any industry thug out there. They don’t even know where I live😉. And besides, we’ve got the Pope on our side.

      Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  June 13, 2015

    RS –
    Hell of a site , much bigger than we dreamed of.

    Reply
    • We are rockin socks, Mr Bob. And you guys here in comments are a gateway to a world of news that many would otherwise never see or hear of. Amazing effort on all counts.

      Reply
  30. Colorado Bob

     /  June 13, 2015

    As an ‘acute’ wildfire season looms, White House sends $ 110 million to drought-stricken West

    Link

    Reply
    • Hmm, would be nice if this cuts into Western rural hostility toward the federal government and its agents.

      Reply
      • Yes, one could hope. Of course I think what would help the most is simply turning off Faux News. If a network could ever be charged with inciting violence against the government, it would definitely be Fox.

        Reply
  31. Colorado Bob

     /  June 13, 2015

    The Tragically Hip – New Orleans Is Sinking

    Reply
  1. NASA: Monster El Nino + Climate Change Means ‘Not Normal’ Winter is On the Way | robertscribbler

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