NOAA Shows El Nino Yet to Have Full Impact on Global Temperatures — More Severe Warming During 2015 Likely in Store

2014 was the hottest year in the global climate record. It was a year when El Nino failed to get off the ground. And it was a year when CO2 levels were at or near 400 parts per million for most of the period.

Each of these points should be a matter of concern, especially as we confront a yet hotter year during 2015 in the face of a ramping El Nino and continually rising greenhouse gas concentrations from fossil fuel burning. Conditions that will likely continue to push record global heat toward ever more disturbing thresholds.

First Five Months of 2015 Hottest on Record; El Nino is Still Ramping Up

The most recent NOAA global analysis report and related updates highlight this potential and growing risk. First, NOAA data shows that the initial five months of 2015 were the hottest on record by a substantial margin. Hitting 0.85 C above the 20th Century average, this global heatwave beat out the previous hottest such period during 2010 by a substantial +0.09 C margin.

NOAA land and ocean temp anomalies

(NOAA shows extreme high temperature departures for the first five months of 2015. Image source: NOAA’s Global Analysis.)

These temperatures, basically 1.05 degrees Celsius above 1880s values in the NOAA measure, represent an extreme departure beyond norms over the past few thousands years and almost certainly exceed maximum Holocene values — putting the current age of human fossil fuel based warming in a context similar to the Eemian of 150,000 years ago. A context that is all the more dangerous and troubling due to a massive greenhouse gas overburden not seen in at least 3 million years and a very rapid ramping of overall global temperatures. A pace of warming and greenhouse gas accumulation possibly never seen in all the Earth’s deep history.

Of particular interest to the 2015 climate situation, however, is the fact that though 2010 was also an El Nino year and though 2015 has already hit significant positive temperature departures during its first five months, 2010 had already seen most of the El Nino heat build it was likely to experience by May. The Equatorial Pacific, during May of 2010 was starting a multi-month cool-down into La Nina. By contrast, 2015 is still ramping up to an El Nino event that, in some measures, is already stronger than the El Nino experienced during 2010. As a result, we are likely to see greater high temperature departures due to a ramping heat bleed coming off the Pacific as the months of 2015 continue to progress.

To this point NOAA notes:

The first five months of 2015 were the warmest such period on record across the world’s land and ocean surfaces, at 0.85°C (1.53°F) above the 20th century average, surpassing the previous record set in 2010 by 0.09°C (0.16°F). Consequently, 2010 was the last year with El Niño conditions; however El Niño was ending at this point in 2010, while it appears to be maturing at the same point in 2015.

NOAA’s ONI Adjustment Hints that Impact of Human Greenhouse Gas Emissions Was Greater, El Nino Less

Another issue is that NOAA also recently adjusted its Ocean Nino Index (ONI) downward for late 2014 and early 2015. ONI measures the intensity of El Nino by taking account of sea surface temperatures in the Central Pacific. What this means is that the slow start to the current El Nino was even slower and weaker than initially indicated. As a result, according to NOAA, El Nino’s variability-based influence of the record global temperatures experienced during 2014 and early 2015 was consequently less and the human greenhouse gas forcing’s impact was consequently more.

To this point it is important to emphasize that 2014 was not technically an El Nino year, yet new record high temperatures were experienced during that time. This is notable in that it implies the human heat forcing through greenhouse gas emissions is playing an ever greater role — crowding out the old signals and fluxes inherent to base natural global temperature variability.

Outside extreme weather events that are an upshot of this mangled variability have abounded during the first five months of 2015. During May, the State of Alaska experienced a massive temperature departure of 7 degrees Fahrenheit above average. Heat that has helped to set off a spate of extreme wildfires that now risk hazardous air quality for numerous Alaskan cities.

Bill Hurricane over Land

(Bill taking on the features of an organized cyclone over a water-logged Central US in yesterday’s MODIS shot. As of Thursday, some sections of Oklahoma has received a staggering 3 feet of rainfall in just six weeks. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

The added heat appears to have also complicated normal El Nino variability by more greatly enhancing rainfall over affected regions than is typical. The Central US, in particular, has felt the brunt of this impact. During May, massive rainfall events brought flooding to Texas and Oklahoma. Sections of Oklahoma, as of yesterday, had experienced an unprecedented 3 feet of rain in just six weeks. A typical summer El Nino would somewhat enhance rainfall in this region. But not to the degree that we are seeing now. So the global warming-based amplification of the hydrological cycle is also likely in play. In this case, we see global warming and El Nino acting in concert to increase the likelihood of very extreme weather.

Though NOAA reports its data in a responsible, matter of fact, manner, it is important to consider the unprecedented nature of that information. What we are seeing is record warm years that occur increasingly outside the influence of El Nino, the ability of moderate El Nino heat flux to generate significant record global high temperature departures, and a tendency of strong El Nino periods to push global heating toward terrific ranges. These are all indications of an Earth System that is ranging ever more out of a context that the human beings and the creatures of this world are adapted to live in. Indications that we are rapidly moving toward a dangerous and extinction event producing Hothouse Climate. In this very rapid initial warming the likelihood of dangerous weather — heatwaves, fires, heavy rainfall events, intense storms — is thus increased. In addition, the push toward dangerous geophysical changes such as more rapid glacial melt and associated sea level rise becomes that much more intense and imminent.

Media Fails to Responsibly Report Warnings from Scientists, Religious Leaders

The NOAA report is a signal of a condition of increasing climate crisis that should be reported widely and with all due urgency. By contrast, the tendency of global media (especially the individually-owned megamedia monopolies such as NewsCorp) to downplay, to sweep such reports under the rug, to attack such reports outright, or to only portray them in the most narrow of contexts is therefore vastly and unforgivably irresponsible (shout out to noted exceptions like The Guardian or underground and peripheral sources like RealClimate, WeatherUnderground, The Independent, The Arctic Sea Ice Blog, Dot.Earth and ThinkProgress).

The global scientific community and major religious leaders like the Pope (see the Pope’s loud and clear urging for global climate action here) are well aware of the situation and the calls for action from these responsible, moral leaders are growing louder and more urgent. The failure of media to appropriately relay that call and to generate action on the part of the public can only be seen, at this point, as an aspect of a dangerous allegiance to destructive and amoral businesses (fossil fuel industry), to individual interests who have a financial stake in a larger failure to respond to this crisis, and to political ideologies that are so filled with hubris as to be blind to an obvious and ramping existential crisis. Media, in this case, has thus become complicit in a failure to appropriately act, enhancing the intensity of the crisis, reducing the effectiveness of the response, and worsening the harm and increasing loss of life and livelihood to follow. A continuation of this failure would constitute nothing less than complicity in climate change denial and related harms. History, should history remain in tact following a failure to fully respond, will judge such a failure in the harshest possible terms.

Links:

NOAA’s Global Temperature Analysis (Support Public, Non-Special Interest Based Science)

NOAA ONI Index

LANCE MODIS

The Pope’s Call for Climate Action

Hat Tip to Tom Cobbler

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128 Comments

  1. Yvan Dutil

     /  June 19, 2015

    It is pretty sure that this year will not be a statistical record like last year. Arctic ice cover may not go lower than 2012, but is likely to be close to a record. Hopefully, those negotiator at Paris will read the signs, with or without the help of the Pope.

    Reply
    • Last year was pretty significant given the underlying conditions. This year is looking to be quite a bit worse overall. The sea ice situation is still in flux and we have a few models indicating a pretty significant loss potential over the next seven days.

      Reply
      • Yvan Dutil

         /  June 19, 2015

        Last year, the probability of record was 38 %. Good enough for me but not for denier. At this point of the year, I think we are already a 95 %.

        As for the ice. I have seen the models too. I my mind we will loose 50 % of the multiyear ice (essentially Beaufort and Chuckchi seas will be toasted). Maybe this will be not enough to get a record, but this will bring us closer to the 2016+-3 years for practically ice free arctic of Maslovski. The same models indicate than the NW passage will be likely to be open within a month!

        And, following our previous conversation, the Greenland mass surface balance is “average”.

        Reply
        • The AMO shift will tend to push in that direction. But, overall, we are between melt pulses for Greenland. And given the current buildup in warming, the next pulse will likely be sooner rather than later. In essence, the negative feedback isn’t yet strong enough to tamp down melt for very long. And, in addition, the behavior of melting ice sheets is a tendency to pulse and pause rather than follow a neat melt progression. So yeah, this year or next may be average. But I wouldn’t expect that to last very long.

          As for the sea ice. If we end up with the HYCOM + CICE model result, then this year looks like it’s on a trend for a new record low at least. ARCc looks more like a set up for next year or the following, with no new record lows for 2015. Watch out for potential post El Niño Arctic impact in the range of 1-2 years as the gyres spin up (2005+2 — 2007, 2010 +2 — 2012, 2015+2 — 2017?).

  2. Thank you for this brilliant article – what a wake up call. Wow Robert, just like current climate impacts, you are pulling no punches. I’m so glad the compounding atmospheric heat bump from the PDO and El Niño is giving us this poignant call to action now, and not years from now when inaction would have us in tremendously more dire circumstances.

    Reply
  3. labmonkery2

     /  June 19, 2015

    Thanks again, Robert, for another great article. I know we are in for an “E-Ticket” ride from now on. And I spotted this http://phys.org/news/2015-06-sixth-mass-extinction-declares.html and can see the causation/correlation with our current global circumstances as we continue to ‘foul our cage’ – to use a metaphor.
    Along with the recent NASA report on the global aquifer depletion, I see even more pain in the near term as water becomes more scarce, and people move/fight to find new sources. I have started to do some research on atmospheric water generators (dehumidifiers), but find little info on passively powered devices. Recalling my high school science classes, it’s all about temperature delta and surface area, and the relative humidity.
    Something like this might work if I had more working room. http://phys.org/news/2015-06-moroccan-villagers-harvest-fog.html

    Reply
  4. Greg

     /  June 19, 2015

    Well said. We have been warmed. Err warned.
    I suggest you might give a shout out to the Guardian and their clear and articulated commitment to coverage of climate change as opposed to other media.

    Reply
    • True. There are some noted exceptions. Don’t really consider the Gaurdian all that mainstream, though.

      Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  June 21, 2015

      The Guardian is certainly mainstream in the UK, but I guess it is a small voice in the media landscape in the US.

      The interesting thing about the Guardian, is that it has just come to the end of a 20 year period under the rather brilliant editorship of,Alan Rusbridger.

      Over the last few months or so it has been pushing his final big campaign, on CC.

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/06/climate-change-guardian-threat-to-earth-alan-rusbridger

      ‘The climate threat features very prominently on the home page of the Guardian on Friday even though nothing exceptional happened on this day. It will be there again next week and the week after. You will, I hope, be reading a lot about our climate over the coming weeks.

      One reason for this is personal. This summer I am stepping down after 20 years of editing the Guardian. Over Christmas I tried to anticipate whether I would have any regrets once I no longer had the leadership of this extraordinary agent of reporting, argument, investigation, questioning and advocacy.

      Very few regrets, I thought, except this one: that we had not done justice to this huge, overshadowing, overwhelming issue of how climate change will probably, within the lifetime of our children, cause untold havoc and stress to our species.

      So, in the time left to me as editor, I thought I would try to harness the Guardian’s best resources to describe what is happening and what – if we do nothing – is almost certain to occur, a future that one distinguished scientist has termed as “incompatible with any reasonable characterisation of an organised, equitable and civilised global community”.

      So they have made a real push recently, and they were on the case before that. but Rusbridger accepts they could have done more. In the UK, The Independent arguably pushed the bad news harder.

      In the article linked, he explains some of the reasons why he thinks CC has been undersold, in news terms.

      The (formerly Manchester) Guardian is not perfect, but it is, alongside the BBC, one of the few things that makes me proud, in the fairly polluted world of the London media.

      Reply
      • The Guardian has been pretty strong on the climate issue all along, one of my go-to sources along with the Sydney Morning Herald (with NYT being AWOL until fairly recently).

        Reply
  5. Thank you so much for the prolific writing, Robert! You are a valuable resource for those of us who appreciate the seriousness of the problem we face, and thus feel an obligation to stay informed and up to date. Extreme and unprecedented events happen with such frequency these days that I find it difficult to keep up. I (and many others I’m sure) appreciate all your efforts and the obvious hard work you put into writing. Thank you, Robert🙂

    Reply
    • Cheers, Ryan! Will keep doing my best for you guys! Got a bit riled this week due to a little nonsense. In addition, the Pope’s encyclical was a great inspiration. 713 blog posts and counting now…🙂

      Keep up the great work and thanks for all your fantastic contributions here.

      –R

      Reply
  6. Jeff Master’s blog is concerning the same subject as your article, Robert-the record warm start to this year. Five of top 10 monthly departures from normal have occurred this year! That’s remarkable. Also, eight nations have recorded all time hottest temperature readings in the first five months of 2015. It really seems like we are at the beginning of a rapid jump in global temps.

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3023

    Reply
  7. Colorado Bob

     /  June 20, 2015

    “Unprecedented” rainfall and scorching heat are the results of climate change in India, says environmental Minister Harsh Vardhan.

    Torrential rains in Mumbai brought the bustling business capital to a halt on Friday with schools closures, transit disruptions, and train cancellations leaving commuters stranded amid massive flooding at least waist-high in parts of the city. Through the heavy rains have kicked off the region’s summer monsoon season, Friday’s huge rainfall was intense even for this time of year. Local authorities called the downpour “unprecedented” as the city was hit by 10 percent of its annual average rainfall in just 24 hours, instead of over the course of 10 days as usually expected in monsoon season.

    Link

    Reply
  8. Greg

     /  June 20, 2015

    Believe it or not Bill strengthened some today and its over Missouri hundreds of miles inland:

    http://www.weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/tropical-storm-bill-flooding-heavy-rain-threat

    Reply
    • Swimming in that big brown ocean… Thanks for the update, Greg. Good catch.

      Reply
    • Greg, TWC reports that Bill’s “remnant low” is expected to make it to the Jersey Shore. Where it will then steam into the Atlantic. I wonder if the UK will get hit by Hurricane Bill?

      Reply
  9. – PNW OR Hot river water proving lethal to salmon. ‘about 12 degrees F (6.5 Celsius) higher than it was the year prior’

    Reuters

    Warm river temperatures in Oregon trigger die-off of threatened salmon

    Hundreds of spring Chinook salmon have been found dead in Oregon rivers over the past week, in a sign that abnormally high water temperatures are taking a toll on the threatened species, wildlife officials said on Friday.

    Low snowpack linked to a historic drought has prevented icy-cold runoff from entering rivers as normal this year, according to federal hydrologists.

    Temperatures in the Willamette River, a tributary of the Columbia River, have risen from 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius) over the past week, about 12 degrees F (6.5 Celsius) higher than it was the year prior, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Rick Swart said.

    A majority of the fish found dead so far also were hatchery raised, rather than the wild fish designated as “threatened” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, Swart said. He added that a biologist’s spot-check showed at least 11 wild Chinook had died on the Clackamas in recent days.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/19/us-usa-oregon-salmon-idUSKBN0OZ2L420150619

    Reply
  10. Thernank you for your summary, you have made this ver4y clear. The Popes message should encourage other religious leaders to expresas their concern Thank you, Harold F. Lane

    Reply
  11. Ralph

     /  June 20, 2015

    Straight after you post, equatorial Pacific spikes to 0.93C above normal, up about 0.15C in a couple of days (normal daily movements are about 0.01C).
    A hint of coupled north/south lows north of the Solomon Islands. A possible Harbinger of a three-in-a-row Kelvin wave sending the current moderate-to-strong El Nino through the stratosphere.

    Reply
  12. Awesome post Robert, well explained. I have noticed this updated NOAA data has made the denier crowd quite uncomfortable and upset. Now that El Niño is ramping up further, starting in August we might start seeing really big surface anomalies approaching 1.0 C based on the current NOAA baseline.

    Readers might not even be aware that an official El Niño technically isn’t event called yet based on the updated ONI numbers(for NOAA at least). However, all signs point to a moderate event being almost a done deal for this fall. I follow the El Niño hashtag on Twitter and meteorologists are very bullish on a strong event with the atmosphere response expected to be building further in the next 2-3 weeks.

    Reply
  13. JPL

     /  June 20, 2015

    Pacific Northwest outlook is above average temps for the next 16 months.

    http://www.komonews.com/weather/blogs/scott/Seattle-warm-stretch-to-last-into-September2016-308229991.html

    Check out Alaska, too! Is it safe to assume that development of arctic sea ice would be impeded somewhat in this region if temps are so far above normal?

    John

    Reply
    • Absolutely, JPL. And we can certainly see the impact of current and ongoing record heat for that region in the sea ice weakness throughout the Chukchi, ESS, and Beaufort.

      Reply
    • Right, there will also be a lot of land mass heating and retaining heat — especially blackened landscape, whether by fire, or asphalt paving. Low temps will be above the norm, etc. Not much will go through a normal cooling cycle.

      Reply
  14. james cole

     /  June 20, 2015

    “Earth is entering a mass extinction that threatens humanity’s existence, researchers have declared.

    A team of American scientists claim that their study shows ‘without any significant doubt’ that we are entering the sixth great mass extinction on Earth.

    The study says that species are disappearing at a rate 100 times faster than would normally be expected – and that is a conservative estimate.”

    I am sure climate change is playing it’s part and soon will up this by orders of magnitude. Especially in the oceans. Habitat destruction is playing the big part on land right now, but add in a rapid climate change and I totally accept the notion that we are living in earth’s next great mass extinction. And it shouldn’t be happening, as earth on it’s own is very stable right now, stable and friendly to life. Some end game scenarios of climate change are going to reverse that to a hostile earth.
    No wonder the Pope decided to weigh in on the issue. The dream of economic growth through population growth and more energy use is a biological dead end!

    Reply
    • More fossil fuel use is the main issue regarding climate change… Fossil fuels are the center of gravity to the climate change problem. Halt fossil fuel burning and you’ve dealt with 80+ percent of the human contribution to climate change. Again, fossil fuel energy is the critical center of gravity issue regarding climate change. There’s no spinning that, James. Fossil fuel burning is the problem.

      Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  June 22, 2015

      Its a real time experiment into the resilience of ecosystems.

      Interestingly, this is the work of Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Paul_R._Ehrlich

      I think his career is really interesting, but this paper is around his less well known work on extinctions.

      Reply
  15. – Wildfires AK Kenai Peninsula

    Governor Declares State of Emergency over Fires in Southern Alaska

    Governor Bill Walker declared a state of emergency in Alaska Friday, as multiple wildfires continue to rage on the Kenai Peninsula.

    “By issuing this declaration, we are committed to helping residents on the Kenai Peninsula begin recovering from this tragic event,” Governor Walker said.

    The Alaska Army National Guard has been sent in to help control the fires. Crews have dispersed more than 254,500 gallons of water on the fire, the National Guard reports.

    mycentraloregon-com/2015/06/19/governor-declares

    Reply
    • From MODIS, these fires look quite large. 20×20 mile burn scar for one.

      Reply
      • That’s huge. That’s about a quarter of the state I live in! Seriously. I live mid state and it’s not much more than 20 miles north (as the crow flys) to the Massachusetts border, or New York if I head west.

        Reply
        • Serious fires all throughout AK over the past few days. Heatwave there expected to continue for at least another couple more. Otherwise, lots of storms over the permafrost zone this year which has tended to tamp down some of the fires cropping up. NWT seems a bit tamer than earlier in the month. Fires near Lake Baikal still burning, though. Some of this storm intensification may be an El Niño related impact due to increased moisture loading and somewhat increased south-north temp differentials giving the storm track a bit of a boost. It’s summer (which tends to feature lower differentials) so we shouldn’t be seeing big storm track impacts, although rains related to equatorial moisture flow intensification have been quite impressive as we’ve seen in the Central US, India (once the monsoon did arrive) and China specifically.

          We are dramatically increasing moisture loading with the current El Niño pushing the globe into new record temperature ranges. Something to watch for after the El Niño reaches peak heating potential this fall is the potential for significant deluges if El Niño rapidly transitions into La Niña. Even a slower draw down could result in some rather dramatic moisture dumps. So something to look out for this winter and into 2016.

          WPAC atmospherics do look like they may be setting up for another WWB and related warm Kelvin Wave formation. If that happens, we are at 3 in a row. Such an event would almost certainly be enough to set off strong El Niño come late summer through fall. So we may be looking at another +0.03 to +0.06 C for 2015, possibly putting us in the range of +0.8 C above 20th Century in an average of the major measures and + 1 C above 1880s. A solid +0.2 C above the denier cherry year of 1998.

      • Great summary and breakdown of the situation, Robert. You are very knowledgable and appear to have a really firm grasp on what’s occurring at any moment, at any point on the globe. And thanks to you, and the wonderful community of commenters, the noteworthy and meaningful events are never missed or overlooked by those of us trying our best to stay up to date. You always help me to gain a better understanding of current meteorological conditions, their meaning when placed in proper context, and their historical perspective or what they might indicate for future climate.

        Reply
  16. – Tidbits from the June 16, 2015 Drought Monitor:

    Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico

    Leeward areas of Hawaii have been drying out in recent weeks, particularly in the western half of the state, while windward areas have received adequate rainfall.

    Subnormal rainfall this past week kept the dryness and drought on Puerto Rico intensifying and expanding. Streamflow percentiles are in the low single digits in central and eastern parts of the island.

    A number of wildfires have broken out in central and west-central Alaska (in addition to parts of the extant D0 area), and fire danger remains extremely high.

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/home/narrative.aspx

    Reply
    • – RS seems to have attracted quite a few followers from the PNW which is undergoing some very pointed onshore, and oceanic, climate changes.

      Severe drought moving into Western Oregon

      More than three-quarters of Oregon now is in severe or extreme drought, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported Thursday, the most since November 2001.

      Severe drought has spread into eastern Marion, Linn and Lane counties as well as the southern counties of Josephine, Curry and Coos.

      The federal tracking site has a six-level scale; no drought, abnormally dry, and moderate, severe, extreme and exceptional drought.

      It puts the entire southeast corner of Oregon in extreme drought.

      http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2015/06/18/severe-drought-moving-western-oregon/28943871/

      Reply
  17. climatehawk1

     /  June 20, 2015

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  18. Robert returning to the environmental impact of the plutocrats, I don’t know if you’ve seen this article which argues well for fee and dividend as a first step to tackling both emissions and inequality

    http://inthesetimes.com/article/16096/how_the_rich_ruin_the_environment

    I have just returned from London where perhaps 300 000 marched against UK government policy – the link between ecological mayhem and inequality/avarice seemed well understood there.

    Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  June 20, 2015

    More proof insects don’t watch Fox News –

    Destructive Southern Pine Beetle Appears in Northeast States

    “The only thing that would allow them to move up the coast was the climate,” said Lisa Filippi, a biology professor at Hofstra University in Hempstead. “A very slight change in climate can cause a huge change in the life cycle of insects.”

    Link

    Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  June 20, 2015

    More proof trees don’t watch Fox News –
    Climate Change Impacts Western Wildfires

    Don Whittemore is a fire incident commander with the Rocky Mountain Incident Management team and he has battled blazes for a long time.

    “When I first got into firefighting 20 some years ago, Colorado was kind of jokingly referred to as the asbestos state,” Whittemore said, “Meaning that we just didn’t have fires and if we did have one it was an outlier. It was a rare event triggered by a weather anomaly.”

    Now Whittemore believes climate change is making fires bigger, pointing to fires that used to last just a few days now burning for weeks or months.

    It all started with the Hayman Fire in June 2002.

    “That was like a wakeup call for Colorado firefighters that, ‘Oh, wait a minute, our past experience is not necessarily a predictor of what we’re seeing on the ground and what we might expect,’ ” Whittemore said.

    Link

    Reply
  21. Colorado Bob

     /  June 20, 2015

    Mysterious Whale Deaths In Alaska Baffle Scientists

    Something is killing endangered fin whales in Alaskan waters and scientists have no idea what it is.

    Since Memorial Day weekend, boaters, fishermen and pilots have reported seeing dead fin whales floating in waters between Kodiak and Unimak Pass in the Kodiak Islands.

    Using photos submitted with the reports, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Juneau believe at least nine whales have died at the same time and place, south of Afognak Island in the Kodiak Archipelago.

    Link

    Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  June 20, 2015

    We don’t live in anthropocene, or the 6th extinction , we live in the age of paid stupid.

    Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  June 21, 2015

    139. no1der

    it’s an intelligence test and we’re failing.

    No, it’s a greed test. We are failing,
    Our greed out strips our thinking by light years.

    Reply
  24. dnem

     /  June 21, 2015

    Bill just rolled overhead in Baltimore with very impressive thunder and lightning and an equally impressive presentation on radar. For a storm 1500 miles inland from landfall.

    Reply
    • Tornado warnings all throughout the region tonight. My wife and I experienced green skies on our evening outing.

      Reply
      • On July 5th, 1984 a tornado struck my grandparent’s home, and other homes on the street. I was a young boy and my memory of the day is spotty. My grandparent’s house was relatively unaffected, but the trees in the back yard were uprooted, crushing the pool. It then proceeded down the road, tearing the roof or second floor off a half dozen other homes on the road. One of the memories I have of the event is my family commenting on the green sky, and urging my uncle to get out of the pool because of the impending storm. I have seen a green sky only one other time, a few years back, during intense thunderstorms that actually produced a small tornado in another section of town. I find it nearly unbelievable that my Connecticut town has seen multiple tornadoes in my short lifetime.

        Reply
        • This is my third green sky. A couple of years ago, my wife and I had a funnel cloud pass over us on the road. It touched down in the next county. Spotted a tornado near Emporia back in 2005 as well. Luckily no direct hits on homes or family members.

      • Glad your funnel cloud experience was only a close call! That’s an exciting and scary moment. As an adult interested in meteorology/climate, and also amazed by the power of Mother Nature, I find myself wanting to experience or see a tornado. I love extreme weather of all kinds (I’m sure most of us who frequent this space are that way) and get excited for record breaking weather of all kinds. When I was a kid however, the experience of a tornado must’ve traumatized me, as I was terrified when I would hear strong winds. Thunder storms would give me “tummy aches”. Lol Even windy days in winter would worry me until I grew up a little and learned what conditions typically spawn tornados. Now I wish I could re-live that July day as an adult.

        Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  June 21, 2015

    The Doors – When the Music’s Over

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 21, 2015

      What have they done to the earth?
      What have they done to our fair sister?
      Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
      Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
      And tied her with fences and dragged her down

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 21, 2015

        The Doors 47 years ago.

        Before I sink
        Into the big sleep
        I want to hear
        I want to hear
        The scream of the butterfly

        Well i saw that.

        Reply
      • Greg

         /  June 21, 2015

        Thanks CB. The scream of the butterfly indeed. I took my boys to see Jurassic World today, an ironic giant money sucking vacuum cleaner of an entertainment production all about the hubris and folly of man. One threatening early scene involved a close up of an apparent T-Rex claw and foot until the camera pulled back and we saw it was a crow in a suburban lawn. If only we had the scale to see and hear the small and the apparently silent and had ears sharp enough to hear the cry of the butterfly we would be terrified and in awe.

        Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 21, 2015

        Show them the t Doors,

        Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  June 21, 2015

    In the spring of 1967 this song changed my life.,

    Reply
  27. Colorado Bob

     /  June 21, 2015

    In the spring of 1967 this song changed my life.,

    I was smokin’ a lot of weed. The Doors were were right,

    Reply
  28. Colorado Bob

     /  June 21, 2015

    The Doors – Soul Kitchen (2006 Remastered)

    Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  June 21, 2015

    The Doors – 1967 The Doors Full Album

    Reply
  30. Greg

     /  June 21, 2015

    The climate is changing and the Navajo of Arizona are slowly losing as they try to adapt. With one third of the snow the used to get they’ve resorted to, among other responses, terracing dunes to retain water:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2015/0619/Climate-change-turning-sacred-land-against-Navajo

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 21, 2015

      I was in Colorado when this was in play. There were plans to take fresh water, and mix it crushed coal. Ship it to the southwest , and huge power plants would be fueling our unchecked growth. They called it “coal slurry pipelines”.

      Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  June 21, 2015

      And they have no money to drill a well . And drilling wells is the only answer.

      Reply
  31. So I just had Meet the Press on in the background while I caught up on some emails, and Mike Huckabee was interviewed and asked about the Pope’s encyclical. His response essentially was that we need to make fossil fuels cheaper and produce more energy so poor people “can turn on their air conditioners when it’s 100 degrees”. He then proclaimed that his college professors, scientists and Time magazine (a worn out denier meme) were warning that if we didn’t take action we’d be frozen to death by the 1980s. He then pivoted to abortion by saying Democrats don’t agree with the Pope on that issue, and continued his rant on that subject, completely ignoring the issue of climate change altogether after dismissing it as basically not occurring. When one looks at the rest of the Republican field of clowns, err candidates, it’s obvious the refusal to acknowledge the reality and seriousness of AGW is a position that even their Pope can’t convince them to change on. I shudder to think of the effects a Republican president would have on our climate. Two terms with a Democrat in charge (although a Republican congress has worked hard to impede any progress whatsoever) has been bad enough.

    Reply
    • All you have to do is look at Australia’s Tony Abott government to get an idea. It would be a great leap backward, but in this case with major global consequences. Another republican presidency, especially enabled by a republican congress, of this kind basically locks in RCP 4.5 about 3 C warming this Century and 6 C long term.

      And it really does go to show you how extreme the U.S. Right has become when even the Catholic Church is more liberal on the issue of climate change. It’s becoming quite clear that those like Huckabee don’t worship the Christian God, at least not the God who delivers a clear Biblical imperative to preserve and care for creation and not be counted among the destroyers of the Earth. You’d think that’s something that basically everyone could agree on. You don’t destroy your home. But Huckabee, in his golden calf worship, has not only decided to ignore the scientists (the real scientists, not the ones he makes up in his head) but he’s also chosen to ignore the commands of his God.

      So what happens if our country follows such backward thinking? Who puts personal and individual interests above compassionate commands of his God? And who, for obviously cynical reasons has chosen to ignore and even attack the science? There is a rich history of leaders who possessed such hubris and the ultimate and wretched fates of the peoples and nations who fell under their sway.

      Reply
      • They also oppose the Pope wrt capital punishment and even Jesus himself when it comes to his teachings concerning the poor. I wonder if they worship some kind of Death God, instead.

        Reply
      • Matt

         /  June 22, 2015

        Abbott is an utter disgrace to my country. Let me enlighten those of you in the US of what we now endure…. The man has made himself minister for women (and believes that they should be chained to the kitchen sink), minister for aboriginal affairs, states that coal is good for the world and that wind farms are “ugly” and cause illness in people, has proposed a commissioner for wind farms to “independently assess health concerns/complaints”, while failing to do the same for coal powered power stations, commented that he had wished that the bi-partisan agreement between our two major parties (Labor/Liberal) on a renewable energy target had never been signed, enforced a media blackout on reporting how our country deals with refugees, endorses paying people smugglers vast amounts of money to send refugees back to perilous situations and the list goes endlessly on, including turning his back on the most needy people of our community and the charities supporting them. We are indeed the lucky country, lucky in terms of resources, however under our 1950’s leadership, we are becoming irrelevant and a laughing stock on a world stage, and we are rapidly becoming uncompetitive and ill prepared for the challenges we are about to face due to climate change. We continue to destroy our tourism assets (such as the Great Barrier Reef, and Tasmania’s World Heritage Areas) at an alarming rate. This, unfortunately is what you have to look forward to if you vote in those Republican clowns. They have gone as far right as one could ever imagine in their worst nightmares!
        Good luck to you all!

        Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  June 22, 2015

      This Pope rocks!

      A bit of a lead on birth control would be amazing, but I sense he can only push his flock at a certain speed, along a modern, liberal path.

      I’ve never really admired a Pope before…

      Is it true that the right wing press in the US were calling him a communist?

      Reply
      • I’m sure it is true. The conservative media and leaders have become rabid and completely detached from reality. So much so that they don’t even pretend to use logic, reason or reality based arguments anymore. Anybody who doesn’t agree with them or buy into the whole free-markets-solve-all-and-government-is-bad ideology is quickly labeled a communist, socialist, Marxist etc. Of course, they and their followers have no idea what these words mean, or what actual communism or socialism would look like. Any program or policy that would help those other than the wealthy is called socialism. Of course, these idiots don’t have a clue about history or other countries of the world, and have no interest in learning about either. They will never appreciate or consider any policies that work or have proven track records…it’s all socialism.

        Reply
      • You understand, that they’re redefining what it means to be a socialist. Where Bernie Sanders and Nancy Pelosi are the examples of what it means to be socialist these days. Of course, they want you to think Stalin. But memory is fading and the significance of other events (the great recession, increasing income inequality, and climate change weigh more heavily).

        Reply
  32. 38 new fires spring up across Alaska as heat wave persists

    FAIRBANKS — Dozens of new fires sprung up throughout Alaska during the start of the solstice weekend with hot, dry weather continuing to fuel high fire danger throughout the state.

    There were 38 new fires reported with most, but not all, caused by lightning strikes, said Alaska Forestry spokesman Tim Mowry.
    “That’s a big bump in fire numbers. We haven’t had any rain, and we still have red flag warnings,” …
    Air quality alerts also were issued for Delta Junction, Big Delta, Fort Greely, Tok and Northway through Monday for the fires.

    http://www.newsminer.com/news/local_news/new-fires-spring-up-across-alaska-as-heat-wave-persists/article_8193529c-17f3-11e5-b517-a35ebc18c115.html

    Reply
    • Looking pretty amazingly brutal in the satellite shots for the past few days. Hope air quality where you are doesn’t suffer too much.

      Reply
  33. Oklahoma Earthquake? Blame Oil and Gas
    A new study proves what we’ve suspected all along—oil and gas drilling triggers earthquakes.

    Oklahoma had 585 earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.0 or higher last year. Before 2008, the state would average one or two.

    A study published today by Stanford University geophysicists says oil and gas drilling is responsible for the earthquake surge. The culprit? “Produced water,” the brackish fluid that comes to the surface along with oil and gas and is subsequently reinjected deep within the earth for disposal. If the researchers are correct, it settles a long-running debate about the contribution of oil and gas exploration to seismic activity.
    onearth.org-earthwire-oklahoma

    Reply
  34. – It’s going to get hot next weekend in PDX. Forecast for 96-101 F.
    Rivers with low levels could prove lethal to more salmon, etc.
    I will get into basic survival mode, and hope air pollution — with full complicity of the US Congress, doesn’t do me in.

    Reply
    • Looking at Alaska right now. It’s 79 degrees just 20 miles inland from Barrow. Whole state affected by wildfires at the moment.

      Reply
      • Yeah, and the big fire on the Kenai Peninsula (a coastal land mass with water on three sides) is troubling.

        Reply
  35. Good piece by Gwynne Dyer on the 6th extinction:

    http://www.straight.com/news/475221/gwynne-dyer-sixth-extinction-and-walking-dead

    “…climate change is the easiest part of the problem to fix…Maintaining the diversity of species (some of which we haven’t even identified yet) that provide essential “ecosystem services” is going to be far harder, because the web of interdependence among apparently unrelated species is very complex.”

    Reply
    • First deal with human fossil fuel emissions, that’s the big first step. After that, lots of added work is needed. But you can’t solve the problem if you keep dragging feet on cessation of fossil fuel burning.

      Reply
  36. – Here’s an interesting take on 1815-16 weather changes resulting from volcanic activity.

    The Year Without a Summer

    Two hundred years ago, an unknown volcano Mount Tambora erupted. Hundreds of millions of tons of ash was flung into the air. Throughout the next year this layer of dust traveled to the other side of the globe.

    January through April 1816 were quite mild. Though there were occasional cold snaps. Temperatures fluctuated dramatically. Frost was a frequent occurrence. May finally brought winter with snow and ice. The flowers did not bloom; the birds did not chirp. June was worse with 6 inches of snow one day in Massachusetts. Nothing green survived.

    By August, the food supply had diminished. The farm animals were starving.

    In Germany, Karl Drais could not afford to feed his horse, so he invented the bicycle.

    Mary Shelley wrote, “A wet, ungenial summer and incessant rain often confined us for days to the house.” She spent the summer writing Frankenstein. Lord Byron wrote in Darkness, “The bright sun was extinguish’d.”
    http://blogs.southcoasttoday.com/numbers/2015/06/20/the-year-without-a-summer/

    Reply
    • I’ve always thought of Tambora as a great example of how the global climate is one enclosed system, and causes on one side of the Earth can have drastic effects on the opposite side. A volcano erupts in Indonesia, causing global weather to change, leading to crop failures all over the world, social unrest throughout Europe…and perhaps providing inspiration for a literary classic. It’s also good ammunition against the denier meme that claims volcanoes are causing warming😉

      Reply
    • Great link DT! Very interesting. In addition, Vermont’s population suffered a major loss from crop failure, motivating Joseph Smith to move to New York, the first in a series of steps that led to The Book of Mormon. The year without a summer in New England, and associated crop failures, led many families to head west towards Ohio in search of better land and climate, which was one of the first waves of westward expansion. And the inventor of modern mineral fertilizer, Justus von Liebig, experienced famine as a child from Tambora’s effect and studied plant nutrition when he grew up.

      Reply
    • james cole

       /  June 22, 2015

      It is now proven fact that several of human evolution’s great leaps in brain size coincide with periods of unstable climate, caused by the earth’s changing elliptical orbit on the 600,000 year timescale. The brain size leaps appear just at the point in the cycle that makes East Africa’s rift valley and surrounding landscape subject to wild climate fluctuations. I was not surprised to see this result of studies, because evolution is driven by change in environment and adaptation to it. In a perfect world, with little change, species get in a grove, why change, I’m doing alright Jack!
      But, this new change, associated with Global Warming ,is too fast by a long shot for species to adapt, thus the die off. In short, do not expect this coming rapid climate volatility to produce another great leap in human brain size. But we can thank natural cycles of climate change for driving our evolution forward to this point! Bigger brains did better when the landscape dried out and our friendly trees died away leaving us out in the open savanna. New Subject:
      By the way, it is now reported that 64 million people became displaced persons in 2014! Now much of this is directly connected to expanding wars. BUT, some wars, and much other of the other displacements are climate connected! This fact should scare all hell out of us! Imagine ten years from now? We already see the mass exodus of African and Middle Eastern people rushing to get inside the EU, and then on to North Western Europe. This too is a sign that should scare us all to hell!

      Reply
    • james cole

       /  June 22, 2015

      Back in the 70’s a book was written “The Last Great Subsistence Crisis in the Western World” by John Dexter Post This book detailed at length the crisis this wrought across the Western world. Both physical and sociological effects. One conclusion that will surprise nobody. In that crisis, the rich got richer, the poor got poorer. Reading this book as a young person made be aware that climate is not a set value, but the result of inputs and equations that we are subject to.

      Reply
  37. Jay M

     /  June 22, 2015

    Latest bulletin regarding the domoic acid problem “biotoxin” and mainly gastropod harvesting in the inlets and bays of Washington state. Looks like ocean harvesting is bannned during summer. Looks like temps of 104 F are predicted in Camas, WA in a week (20 Min. to PDX).
    https://fortress.wa.gov/doh/eh/portal/odw/si/biotoxinbulletin.aspx

    Reply
  38. Andy in San Diego

     /  June 22, 2015

    Another part of the Eastern Pacific Ecosystem Dying en Masse.

    Whales found dead in Alaska puzzle biologists

    http://www.sciencerecorder.com/news/2015/06/21/whales-found-dead-in-alaska-puzzle-biologists/

    Reply
    • Biotoxin as top suspect in this case. Whales are not well adapted for warm oceans. Like most mammals, they are a cool/cold loving species.

      Reply
    • Griffin

       /  June 22, 2015

      “Puzzled”. Yeah, just like I am puzzled as to why my skin would itch after rubbing myself with poison ivy leaves.
      It would be nice if folks just started saying what they strongly suspect, while still stressing the need for definitive conclusions. There is little chance of the average reader waking up to the severity of the problem if the opening line suggests that even biologists have no idea what could be wrong.

      Reply
  39. A post-mortem on Bill. It lasted an unusually long time after making landfall. I imagine that as warming continues, and fuel for storms increases, we will see storms begin to last longer, even when they aren’t very powerful like Bill. Robert, you experienced some rain from Bill, right?

    Reply
  40. utoutback

     /  June 22, 2015

    I have to admit – I hate stupid people. And the definition of stupid is those who do things that cause themselves injury while also injuring others. I don’t care what deniers believe. It’s what they do and how they vote, effecting the rest of us, that bothers me.
    One of the messages of the early Earth Days was that there was much that could be done through conservation that would reduce use of resources. So during the last 30 years I have built 3 passive solar/energy efficient houses.
    Now, having once again moved, my wife and I have chosen to buy an older home built in 1972 and remodel. On house inspection it was determined that the ceiling insulation was less than R11. I don’t know how the previous owners lived here! So, in the remodeling I’ve replaced the lighting fixtures with LEDs, we are replacing an inefficient gas fireplace, installed an induction cook top, will redo all accessible insulation and install thermally insulated shades/curtains on the windows. I’m sure we will have a major reduction in energy consumption.
    Why, I wonder, have we as a nation not undertaken a major program to retrofit all our existing structures for energy conservation? The technology is already here. We could use the $ we spend on oil subsidies and corporate tax breaks to create a major change in energy consumption nationwide.
    Of course I know the answer. There are market segments making too much money on our current wasteful standards.
    Stupid is also about short term gain at the expense of long term pain.

    Reply
    • This plus a similar renewable incentive would be an amazing help. We are already seeing some rather significant efficiency gains from basic policy action like new light bulb standards, new appliance standards, and new fuel efficiency standards. Why not go all out and aim to increase home efficiency standards across the board? National recycling and waste re-use standards would be helpful as well.

      Reply
  41. nick

     /  June 22, 2015

    I wonder, what will happen to the amazon rainforest if the coming El Nino causes a very strong drought in the Amazon basin, like it did in 1998. The amazon has been experiencing a very strong drought over the past year, so one can imagine that it will last until the end of the year at least.

    Some climate models predict that the amazon rainforest might become a savanna because of global warming. Could the coming El Nino, if it is very strong, trigger the crossing of that critical threshold?

    The impact in terms of carbon emission could be very important if a significant part of the rainforest suddenly disappears.

    Reply
  42. JPL

     /  June 22, 2015

    Looking past the sensational title, this article is an interesting examination of a few of the models currently being used to predict how civilization will fare in the years to come.

    View story at Medium.com

    It is certainly a warning about our prospects in a ‘business-as-usual’ future.

    John

    Reply
  43. – PNW Very troubling Olympic Peninsula Wildfire
    Note the dry lichens in the canopy as fuel load source. This in a rain forest zone. A sign of things to come. These crown and canopy fires will allow the forest floor to dry out, and warm any waterways and other aquatic habitats, as well. Plus we heading for PNW record hot temps a week from now.

    ‘Wildfire burning in steep terrain in Olympic National Park’

    Firefighters are are working three wildfires in Washington state.

    A fire burning 13 miles north/northeast of Quinault in the Olympic National Park was started by lightning.

    ‘Fire officials say lichens, growing high in the tree tops, are catching fire and carrying the flames from tree to tree.’

    http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/2015/06/21/three-wildfires-burning-in-washington-state/29089265/

    Reply
    • – One has consider whether, and how much, lichen and the multitudes of forest (and urban forest) epiphytes are being nourished by excessive aerosol FF nitrogen pollution — only to become forest destroying fuel load.

      Reply
    • Dave Person

       /  June 22, 2015

      Hi,
      If arborial lichens such as Usnea are a key winter food source for black-tailed deer and mountain goats when they are pushed by snow to low elevation forest. Trees are blown down or the lichens are blown out of the branches falling to the forest floor where they are consumed readily. They contain much digestible energy, but little protein. However, ungulates are mostly energy deficient during winter. If the lichens are contributing to crown fires, that indicates how unusual the dry weather is and how historically rare fires are in that ecosystem.

      dave

      Reply
  44. – Rampant FF air pollution in a warming climate may cause humanity more problems than we recognize. This will become much more acute in a short time. The smoke and ash filled skies will increase as well.

    ‘Santiago Smog: Chile Declares Environmental Emergency Over Air Pollution’

    Extremely high level of air pollution in the Chilean capital of Santiago has forced authorities to declare a state of environmental emergency in the Santiago metropolitan area for Monday, the country’s environment ministry said in a statement. The emergency measures, which will force more than 900 industries to temporarily shut down and about 40 percent of the capital’s 1.7 million cars off the roads, are the first since 1999, according to media reports.

    “We’re currently facing unusual conditions, with one of the driest Junes in over 40 years and really bad air circulation conditions in the Santiago valley in recent days, which has boosted the concentration of pollutants,” the ministry said in the statement.

    http://www.ibtimes.com/santiago-smog-chile-declares-environmental-emergency-over-air-pollution-1976819

    Reply
    • – Reminder: Winds that traditionally ‘dispersed’ pollutants are now hampered in many locales by climate change etc. I’ve seen it up close. Its not pretty.

      Reply
  45. Jason Box tweets re a surge in Greenland melt

    Reply
    • Getting hot over Greenland again…

      Reply
    • Not good, except the Denialists will be thrown back from their claim that Greenland was not melting. They’ll go to a fallback position, saying “it’s not that far above the 95% occurrence! And make themselves look ridiculous in the process, if we had a decent newsmedia instead of a Denialists’ megaphone.

      Reply
  46. Slingshot

     /  June 22, 2015

    In 2011 the Los Angeles Times published an article titled “California’s ‘big one’ might be a megastorm” that described a sort of megastorm (or more exactly, an extended series of winter storms — a kind of amplified version of what happens in an El Nino year) that has occurred in California in the past.

    With such a storm, historically occurring “every 100 to 200 years … an ‘atmospheric river’ of moisture from the tropical Pacific [hits] California with up to 10 feet of rain and hurricane-force winds over several weeks.” The article then adds that “Geologists studying prehistoric flood deposits found evidence of even larger storms that occurred about every 300 years. Scientists project storms of that magnitude to become more frequent and powerful as a result of global warming.”

    According to the article, if a megastorm of the “every 100 to 200 years” variety dropped as much rain now as fell during the winter of 1861-1862, “the economic loss would be four times that of a very large earthquake.”

    Here’s the link: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/22/local/la-me-mega-storm-20110123

    Reply
  1. NOAA Shows El Nino Yet to Have Full Impact on Global Temperatures — More Severe Warming During 2015 Likely in Store | Artic Vortex
  2. Third Warm Kelvin Wave to Raise Extreme El Nino by Fall? | robertscribbler

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