Strong Westerlies Push El Nino Toward Extreme Event

For the past two weeks, winds have been blowing in an anomalous west-to-east pattern across the Western Pacific. It’s the third such pattern since El Nino conditions began to become more prevalent during March of this year. And forecast model response to the most recent westerly wind burst is an overall shift toward predicting a record event. Models are starting to settle on at least a strong El Nino come fall (1.5 degree Celsius anomaly or greater for Nino 3.4) with many ensembles predicting something even more intense than the super El Nino of 1998.

This third, El Nino heightening, westerly wind burst (WWB) coincided with a strong, wet variation of the Madden Julian Oscillation pumping up thunderstorm activity throughout the region. Last week, a consistent 20-35 mph westerly wind pattern had become very well established. Over the past four days, multiple cyclones became embedded within the pattern, which now stretches over 3,000 miles in length, pushing locally stronger winds and reinforcing the already significant wind field.

By today four cyclonic systems, including Typhoon Chan-Hom, had further heightened westerly wind intensity:

image

(The current strong westerly wind burst is looking more and more like the extreme event of early March of this year. It’s the third such event — one that is increasing the likelihood that the 2015 El Nino will be one more for the record books. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

It’s a pattern that in today’s map looks very similar to the record event which occurred this Spring. And it’s the third significant WWB to initiate since March of this year.

WWBs push warm surface water in the Western Pacific downward and across the ocean (read more about how WWBs affect El Nino severity here). These warm water pulses traverse thousands of miles, finally resurfacing in the Eastern Pacific off South America. The resultant warming of surface waters there and through the mid ocean region tends to set in place ocean temperature and atmospheric patterns that reinforce El Nino — driving more westerly winds and still more warm water displacement eastward.

Three westerly wind bursts firing off since March of 2015 have pushed increasingly strong El Nino conditions. A warming of the Equatorial Pacific that, in combination with a massive and rapidly growing greenhouse gas overburden from human fossil fuel burning, is forcing  global temperature readings to hit new record high after new record high.

Nino 3.4 CSV2

(CFSv2 Model runs are pointing toward a very powerful anomaly come Fall. Image source: Climate Prediction Center.)

This third strong westerly wind burst appears to have again pushed model forecasts into very extreme ranges for Fall of this year. NOAA’s CFSv2 ensembles now predicts a peak sea surface temperature anomaly in the range of 2.5 degrees Celsius above average to 3.1 degrees Celsius above average. An El Nino of this strength would be significantly stronger than the monster event of 1998. One that would occur in a global context that includes an approximate 45 parts per million CO2e worth of heat trapping gas accumulation since that time. One that is now in the range of 1 C warming above 1880s averages (or 1/4th the difference between now and the last ice age, but on the side of hot).

Since we are now well past the spring predictability barrier, these new model runs have a higher potential accuracy. That said, we are still four months out and a number of additional factors would have to come into play to lock in such a powerful event. However, the trend is still for a strong to extraordinarily powerful El Nino. And since such an event is occurring in a record warm atmosphere and ocean environment (due to human-caused climate change), the continued potential for related additional anomalous weather events (drought, flood, wildfires, extreme tropical cyclones in the Pacific, etc) is also high enough to remain a serious concern.

Links:

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center

Earth Nullschool

Strong Influence of Westerly Wind Bursts on El Nino Diversity

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117 Comments

  1. climatehawk1

     /  July 2, 2015

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  2. Andy in San Diego

     /  July 3, 2015

    Some pretty big fires west of Lake Baikal.

    If you zoom in, take note of the smoke being trapped in the valleys.

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/24/2015-07-01/7-N51.68408-E97.17627

    Reply
    • Those have been burning since April. Just nuts.

      Reply
      • Yesterday in Ct the forescast was for mostly sunny skies, but by noon the blue sky had turned white. I had seen this before, and suspected that smoke from the many large fires out west, in Canada and Alaska was riding the jet stream all the way to the east coast. When I got home from work the first thing I heard on the mainstream weather was that “smoke from wildfires in Canada” was giving us hazy skies. I expect Greenland to have some seriously black snow this season😦

        Reply
    • james cole

       /  July 4, 2015

      Zoom way out onto a global scale, and you can still see the smoke plums! That puts the scale into a deadly perspective!

      Reply
  3. Colorado Bob

     /  July 3, 2015

    The Northeast coast of Greenland today :

    Terra/MODIS
    2015/183
    07/02/2015

    Link
    21:20 UTC

    Note the smoke coming from Alaska and Canada.

    Reply
  4. Colorado Bob

     /  July 3, 2015

    Fires and smoke in northern Canada

    Terra/MODIS
    2015/182
    07/01/2015
    19:10 UTC

    Reply
  5. Colorado Bob

     /  July 3, 2015

    Aqua/MODIS
    2015/182
    07/01/2015
    22:40 UTC

    Fires and smoke in northern Alaska

    Reply
  6. Colorado Bob

     /  July 3, 2015

    The smoke from Alaska crossing the Mackenzie delta.

    Aqua/MODIS
    2015/183
    07/02/2015
    20:05 UTC

    Link

    For everyone who doesn’t read this stuff , note the grey in the left center. and note clean white of the clouds around it, and above it. Smoke usually is at lower level than clouds. Smoke is always fine grained grey, and riding the lower winds. Clouds are bright white, and above it.

    Reply
  7. Phil

     /  July 3, 2015

    Robert, great post on WWB event. Will be interesting to see how things eventually compare with 1997/98 for super-status and also if the current events (in total) removes enough warmth from WPAC to avoid a follow up event during 2016 and revert back to ENSO neutral or even La Nina.

    Reply
    • We have west to east winds running pretty much all the way across the Pacific at this point.

      Tomorrow’s NOAA El Niño report will likely show some rather strong anomalies in EPAC. We see them now in the daily GFS summary.

      Reply
  8. Steven Blaisdell

     /  July 3, 2015

    Here we go…..

    Reply
  9. I don’t know how powerful this El Nino will be but we have been waiting for it for a year and will have to see how it unfolds. http://www.climateoutcome.kiwi.nz/latest-posts–news/el-nino-is-officially-here

    Reply
    • james cole

       /  July 4, 2015

      Interesting map! Australia dry, India dry, South Africa dry, Brazil dry. The whole southern half of USA wet, including much of California. All approximate of course, California looks close enough to being not a sure thing for major wet period. If they miss the rain patterns, they are facing a serious rethink about development in Southern California going forward. Real Estate especially needs this drought to break, or that market could begin to react negatively to water shortages, both residential and farm land prices could blow off their tops and start down. Millions of people, billions of dollars affected.

      Reply
  10. Greg

     /  July 3, 2015

    Robert, there is so much more extreme weather going on right now. It seems there is a strong likelihood of a connection to El Nino for much of it, when you compare to 2014. Do you know if there is a storyline for the El Nino of 1998 that includes the many months up to its peak, a documentation of weather events that year that were ultimately connected to El Nino? It would be helpful to have a comparative narrative to give context and provide for the ability to describe and make connections especially before the peak arrives. We have, of course, 17 years of additional energy in the system to take account of and a much eroded arctic ice cover.

    Reply
  11. Loni

     /  July 3, 2015

    Great post Robert, thank you for your time and the information. This one has almost been two years in the making, now in four months, we’ll see what been baking.

    Reply
  12. Tom

     /  July 3, 2015

    Thursday, July 2, 2015
    East Siberian Heat Wave

    http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2015/07/east-siberian-heat-wave.html

    The image below illustrates the intensity of the heatwave over western Europe, with temperatures forecast to keep hitting the top end of the scale for days to come.

    Global warming is strengthening heatwaves. The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the world, so the temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator is getting smaller. It is this temperature difference that powers the jet stream. The result is that the speed at which the jet stream circumnavigates the globe is falling. Furthermore, the path of the jet stream is changing, sometimes extending far to the north, then deeper to the south, just like a river will meander more where the land is flatter. [more]

    Reply
    • james cole

       /  July 4, 2015

      “Above image illustrates that these changes to the jet stream make that warm air from the south can more easily move up north, to higher latitudes, while cold air from the Arctic can more easily move down to lower latitudes, in both cases further decreasing the temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator, which makes these changes to the jet stream a self-reinforcing feedback loop that is rapidly making the situation worse.”
      Giant deep waves of cold air striking south to the east and west of the giant wave drawing hot air from Africa north into all of Western Europe. Big waves.

      Reply
  13. Tom

     /  July 3, 2015

    i sure hope CA gets some much needed rain out of this el nino.

    Friday, 3 July 2015
    Investigating the weather in eastern Siberia

    http://robinwestenra.blogspot.co.nz/2015/07/investigating-weather-in-eastern-siberia.html

    (Extremely!) warm weather in Chukhotka and Yakutia (Sakia) areas of Siberia

    [quote]

    In addition to the high temperatures within the Arctic circle there was this diagram which shows “rain over a large area close to the North Pole. Rain over sea ice will create melt ponds with associated loss in albedo (reflectivity), making that light that was previously reflected back into space by the sea ice will instead be absorbed by the water, further speeding up the demise of the sea ice”. [read it all]

    Reply
  14. Andy in San Diego

     /  July 3, 2015

    If this results in a significant El Nino, and especially if it is in the scope of the 97/98 one, how valid would the flood maps be for the Central Valley now due to aquifer plumbing.

    Reply
    • labmonkery2

       /  July 3, 2015

      Toss in to same file (pile?) with Old Richards Almanac. But I can only imagine that if we get the same level of rainfall that TX got in May – and in the same short time – most of this water will just runoff. The ground has subsided and now cannot absorb to replenish the depleted aquifers.

      Reply
      • Andy in San Diego

         /  July 3, 2015

        It would run off through the Sacramento Delta (big danger with the ancient dykes). In the Valley substance has caused sections of the canals to run backwards. And with depletion, depressions are forming in areas.

        I’m just thinking how much pooling may occur due to localized ground water pumping.

        1 foot/year drop over 4+ years definitely can make a mess of someones first floor as the original grading (hydrological design of a building development) of the lots have been compromised.

        If an area 5 miles round is pumped at that rate, then one may create a 5 mile diameter, 4 foot deep anomaly. Not a hydrologist, I would like to see what one thinks about this theory.

        In 97/98 the delta was on the verge of massive catastrophic failure. Many areas were flooded in the region as the 100 year old earthen dykes are structurally unsound, the channels are silted. They were very close to 40 foot walls of water running through suburbs.

        Reply
    • That’s a great question, Andy. I’m curious to know myself. Parts of the Central Valley have sunk many feet from aquifer depletion. This obviously has implications for agriculture, since many farms are located on or near rivers and flood plains.

      Reply
  15. Greg

     /  July 3, 2015

    Hard to wrap my head around energy use. This short video captures it nicely. An Olympian toasting his bread using a bicycle. That is what it takes for 700watts. Someone posted here an EIA analysis at some point that estimated the true value of the energy of a barrel of oil and it was about $500,000 U.S. when measured solely by the cost of paying manual labor to do the same work at a standard wage. I am guilty as the rest for the energy I use, even when I try to be efficient. I use the stairs, for example, but its a tall building I’m using. Almost everything I do directly or indirectly screws up the environment and probably makes the future worse for my children, but I can’t let go of my life. Happy 4th everyone. Sorry about that to my friends across the Atlantic. But we all won in the end, sort of.

    Reply
    • A couple more order-of-magnitude stats, about wind, my favorite energy source (worked for the trade association for many years):

      1. Last year, U.S. wind turbines produced 5% of U.S. electricity. That’s the equivalent of what could be generated by burning all the coal in a train 15,000 miles long. (So, multiply by 20 to get how much coal we’d need each year to generate all of the electricity we use. Holy crap!)

      2. Cumulatively, U.S. turbines have already generated as much electricity as burning more than 1 billion barrels of oil. Currently, they’re adding another billion worth every four years–without using any fuel …

      Reply
    • Kirk McAllister

       /  July 3, 2015

      An interesting California energy stat. From the Aspen Ideas Festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=f2kCnOcaZvc
      3 academics, a nature photographer, an agriculture rep, and the former water manager for the city of Las Vegas all have interesting things to say regarding the West U.S. water crisis. One stat that came up just before the Q&A is that 11% of California’s electricity use is devoted to the extraction of groundwater and the transportation of water from one part of the state to another.

      Reply
    • Longjohn

       /  July 4, 2015

      The part they don’t mention is currently we don’t have anything that can use oil/gas with 100% efficiency. For instance an automobile engine is only about 25% efficient so to get one gallon of gasoline’s worth of work you have to burn 4 gallons of gas. And that doesn’t include any inefficiencies in the refining process. In fact the only thing we can really do efficiently with hydrocarbons is turn it into raw heat. But we can’t really convert raw heat into another form efficiently, for instance we have to boil water with it and create steam, another conversion with inefficiencies and then convert that energy once again into motion to turn a turbine introducing another inefficiency …. Then there are inefficiencies in the actual generation process

      In sum they aren’t really making an honest comparison here because 100% efficiency is purely theoretical and never achieved.

      What makes wind and solar so potentially good is they are single conversion processes. The problem is the Wealthy can’t commoditize the wind nor the sun so that doesn’t help them make Easy Money

      Reply
      • All these are aspects that I find to be positive in that they reduce the social and physical externalities of energy use when transitioning to wind and solar.

        Reply
  16. Andy in San Diego

     /  July 3, 2015

    An observation regarding silt run off in the Arctic.

    I have 2 linked satellite image, 1 year apart on the Mackenzie River delta. The first is for June 24, 2014. You can see how far the silt and debris travels off the coast. It appears to be stymied (tempered) by the remaining ice. You can see the deposition zone for the silt / soil. It is right on the delta.

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/8/2014-06-24/9-N69.55863-W135.21636

    I’ll post the 2nd image and further in a reply to avoid the spam filter from blocking 2 links.

    Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  July 3, 2015

      In the 2nd image from June 24, 2015 (this year) you can see the lack of the ice near the delta. Concurrently the runoff now carries silt and soil out into the ocean.

      http://www.arctic.io/explorer/8/2015-06-24/9-N69.55863-W135.21636

      My take away on this. When the silt / soil is not deposited in the delta and rather runs out to the ocean replenishment is reduced / compromised. This may speed erosion. The suspended particulate in the ocean may affect albedo and perhaps affect heat retention (someone else will know this effect). This may also push the fresh water / salt water boundary out further. It may affect the ecology of the delta.
      There are likely many other effects that other folks may identify.

      Reply
  17. This can’t be good:

    “The Runit Dome in the Marshall Islands is a hulking legacy of years of US nuclear testing. Now locals and scientists are warning that rising sea levels caused by climate change could cause 111,000 cubic yards of debris to spill into the ocean.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/03/runit-dome-pacific-radioactive-waste

    Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  July 4, 2015

      That is so sad. Can only feel for those locals.

      Reply
    • Good spot. History may just bite us on the SLR butt. Thanks, Guardian.

      ‘Brackish water pools around the edge of the dome, where sections of concrete have started to crack away. Underground, radioactive waste has already started to leach out of the crater: according to a 2013 report by the US Department of Energy, soil around the dome is already more contaminated than its contents.

      Now locals, scientists and environmental activists fear that a storm surge, typhoon or other cataclysmic event brought on by climate change could tear the concrete mantel wide open, releasing its contents into the Pacific Ocean.

      “Runit Dome represents a tragic confluence of nuclear testing and climate change,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, who visited the dome in 2010.

      “It resulted from US nuclear testing and the leaving behind of large quantities of plutonium,” he said. “Now it has been gradually submerged as result of sea level rise from greenhouse gas emissions by industrial countries led by the United States.”

      Reply
  18. i got this Nino Temperature Anomaly off a tweet that I follow. Don’t know if it’s been references here.

    Reply
  19. wili

     /  July 3, 2015

    A lot of melt going on in Greenland right now–beyond to standard deviations: http://nsidc.org/greenland-today/

    Reply
  20. Thanks again for all your work. I read this website often. I live and California and see the conditions here. I do check now and again on the climate in the country of Chile, which also has a Mediterranean climate, a central valley and a snow-pack that it depends on in the Andes. I was thinking with the developing El Nino there would be increased precipitation but apparently things this winter are rather arid. It is hard to find information on the web, best to search for ‘ski report’ to get information – such as this web page – http://unofficialnetworks.com/2015/06/no-snow-in-chile-season-pushed-back-fear-of-a-california-winter.

    Reply
  21. Ouse M.D.

     /  July 4, 2015

    After very strong +1 C daily anomalies for the Northern Hemisphere since about last December cci shows only + 0, 4 C for today. What’s up with all the data? NSIDC also showing unplausible Sea Ice Extents and Concentrations. Is the Corporate Government interfering with the Data?

    Reply
    • Anthropocene

       /  July 4, 2015

      I hope I speak on behalf of Robert – conspiracy theories of this type hold no truck here: This It would be difficult to fake sea-ice extent data when ships would be sailing through open water where ice is supposed to be. Why is NSIDC sea ice extent implausible? Go visit Neven’s site and educate yourself on ice melting dynamics.

      Reply
      • The sudden drop in cli reanilyzer is very odd though it never changes that much in one day. Could be a glitch. Not a conspiracy of course.

        Reply
        • It’s about -0.5 C from yesterday. We don’t tend to see jumps in that range and since the whole set has shifted, I’d say either a glitch or a change in the data reporting methodology. Looks like the new implied baseline is about + 0.8 C over the 1880 baseline. If that’s the case, the 1998 El Niño is the approximate benchmark. Note that the SSTA benchmark hasn’t changed.

  22. Colorado Bob

     /  July 4, 2015

    By the numbers: Saskatchewan forest fires on Friday, July 3
    Total number of fires, evacuees, helicopters and more

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/by-the-numbers-saskatchewan-forest-fires-on-friday-july-3-1.3137867

    Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  July 4, 2015

    http://www.cbc.ca/i/caffeine/syndicate/?mediaId=2671091893

    Aerial view of forest fires burning in northern Saskatchewan

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  July 4, 2015

      Very interesting view at the 1:50 mark of the video. Two areas of fire burning right on the bog.

      Reply
      • The two burning circles may be spot fires that the main fire is throwing out — fire is ‘spotting.’
        That’s my guess. The roundness of the spots may because of the uniformity of the fuel and the terrain. Those types of visual clues are often very important.
        Good ‘spot’, Griffin.🙂

        Reply
  24. entropicman

     /  July 4, 2015

    Wili

    Interesting that the majority of the current Greenland melting is taking place in the North.

    Whatever is supplying all that heat must be doing interesting things to the adjacent sea ice thickness too.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  July 4, 2015

      Entropicman, there was a lot of early melt in the Nares Strait a while back. I hear there are spots of rain various places around the Arctic. And I imagine that at least some of the soot from all those fires in Alaska and northern Canada are making their way over to Greenland.

      I don’t know how it all fits together, though. Not good signs.

      Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  July 4, 2015

    A group of Nobel Laureates have signed a declaration calling for urgent action on climate change

    In 1955, partly out of urgency and partly out of guilt, a group of 52 Nobel Laureates signed a declaration on Mainau Island in Germany calling for an end to the use of nuclear weapons. The work of some of these prizewinners—including that of Otto Hahn, who discovered nuclear fission—was used to build nuclear weapons. They were horrified their work was turned into technology that could kill billions.

    Now, 60 years on, again out of a mix of urgency and guilt, a group of 36 Nobel prizewinners have signed a new Mainau Declaration (pdf) calling for urgent action on climate change. The document is open for other Nobel Laureates to join.

    http://qz.com/444787/a-group-of-nobel-laureates-have-signed-a-declaration-calling-for-urgent-action-on-climate-change/

    Reply
    • Tom

       /  July 5, 2015

      A comment i left on the 4th included what you linked to CO Bob, but it’s still “in moderation.”

      From Caddyshack: “Some people simply don’t belong.”
      [Judge Smails remark to Ty Webb regarding Al Czervik belonging to the club]

      Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  July 4, 2015

    CO2 Emissions Threatens Ocean System, Amid Global Efforts Against Climate Change

    Twenty-two world-leading marine scientists warned that 2 degrees Celsius maximum temperature rise for climate change agreed by governments will not prevent the dramatic impacts of global warming in the ocean.

    The high level of carbon emissions due to human activities may eventually cause the oceans to disappear or lose their oxygen as the temperature gets higher, causing an excessive amount of acidity.

    http://www.dailytimesgazette.com/co2-emissions-threatens-ocean-system-amid-global-efforts-against-climate-change/17432/

    Reply
    • The author was a bit off regarding one point… He states, “The high level of carbon emissions due to human activities may eventually cause the oceans to disappear”. This actually played out on Venus where the oceans boiled away, resulting in what is traditionally, technically regarded as runaway global warming. But while this happened on Venus, given our distance from the sun, it is considered (even by James Hansen) entirely out of reach of humanity, even were we to burn all of our fossil fuel reserves. According to Hansen, by burning all of our reserves, we could render the globe uninhabitable by humans, but the oceans would remain.

      Please see:

      “In principle, an extreme moist greenhouse might cause an instability with water vapor preventing radiation to space of all absorbed solar energy, resulting in very high surface temperature and evaporation of the ocean (Ingersoll, 1969). However, the availability of nonradiative means for vertical transport of energy, including small-scale convection and large-scale atmospheric motions, must be accounted for, as is done in our atmospheric general circulation model. Our simulations indicate that no plausible human-made greenhouse gas forcing can cause an instability and runaway greenhouse effect as defined by Ingersoll (1969), in agreement with the theoretical analyses of Goldblatt and Watson (2012).”

      Open Access: pg. 24 (pdf), Hansen, J., M. Sato, G. Russell, and P. Kharecha, 2013: Climate sensitivity, sea level, and atmospheric carbon dioxide. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. A, 371, 20120294, doi:10.1098/rsta.2012.0294.
      http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/371/2001/20120294

      Reply
      • Wet Stratosphere Event is pretty damn bad enough as is…

        Reply
      • As I state:

        According to Hansen, by burning all of our reserves, we could render the globe uninhabitable by humans, but the oceans would remain.

        That should be bad enough for anyone. For me the loss of our organized global community is end of game. But the young author of the piece went a little further than that and as such opens himself up to valid criticism that he is being an alarmist, and more generally, that those who support climate science are guilty of alarmism, that is, alarm that is not supported by the evidence. He stated that “The high level of carbon emissions due to human activities may eventually cause the oceans to disappear” and even according to Hansen (who has previously raised the specter of runaway global warming) this is off the table. When the oceans boil away it will be due to the solar life cycle, not human emissions, and it will be at least 100 million years from now. What is genuinely on the table should be sufficient for any rational mind, and there is little reason to think that those who cannot be reached by means of it can be reached by anything.

        Reply
      • Robert, I wouldn’t disagree with any of the points you have made here. And given the evidence and what we both believe to be on the table, I think more than a little alarm is justified.

        Reply
        • Hear, hear!

          Off the top of your head, do you recall which model essay Hansen used for his runaway warming study? I know he used some idealized models for the original Venus Syndrome marker.

      • Not off the top of my head. However, referring to the article by Hansen (2013), I find:

        Finally, we use an efficient climate model to expand our estimated climate sensitivities beyond the Cenozoic climate range to snowball Earth and runaway greenhouse conditions.

        … and later:

        Our climate simulations, using a simplified three-dimensional climate model to solve the fundamental equations for conservation of water, atmospheric mass, energy, momentum and the ideal gas law, but stripped to basic radiative, convective and dynamical processes, finds upturns in climate sensitivity at the same forcings as found with a more complex global climate model [66].

        Looking at reference 66 I find that the complex global climate model is an earlier NASA standard, the GISS model E:

        The global climate model that we employ is the GISS model E [Schmidt et al., 2005], which has been adopted as the new standard GISS model with the present version designated as model III. Model E is a reprogrammed, modularized and documented version of prior GISS climate models including improved representations of several physical processes.

        Hansen, J., et al. Efficacy of climate forcings. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (1984–2012) 110.D18 (2005).

        Reply
      • PS The model E has been made publicly available:

        GISS GCM ModelE
        http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/modelE/

        Reply
  27. Carol

     /  July 4, 2015

    Could someone please s’plain me the two seemingly contradictory observations that drought (followed by groundwater depletion) 1:causes subsidence (as mentioned in this post), and 2: causes rising (see below). Is it dependent on the underlying geology?

    “Groundwater is a load on the Earth’s crust,” said Klaus Jacob, a seismologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., who is unaffiliated with the study. “A load compresses the crust elastically, hence it subsides. When you take that load away (by the drought) the crust decompresses and the surface rises. From the amount of rising, one can estimate the amount of the water deficit.”

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/epic-drought-in-west-is-moving-mountains-17924

    Reply
    • Jacob

       /  July 4, 2015

      I’m not a scientist, but would it have to do with some type of isostatic rebound?

      As I understand it the groundwater aquifers being depleted in California are very deep and it took millenia, or tens of millennia to fill them up. We are depleting these aquifers in a matter of years and it may take the crust a long time to respond. So the quick crustal response is subsiding, but the long term crustal response may be rebound. By the time such rebound occurs the oceans will probably have risen enough to off-set any rebound. Perhaps I am off base here, and a more knowledgeable poster can articulate it better, but this is how a layman such as myself would explain it.

      Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  July 4, 2015

      Carol –
      Just to add to what Jacob said –
      Ground water, and oil & gas exist in the spaces between the rock, sand, or gravels. Remove the fluid or gas and the formation begins to compress. One of reasons the land is sinking along the Gulf coast is because of all the oil and gas that has been produced. Also, oil is very often mixed brine water . Geologically speaking, this is like running the 100 yard dash. The isostatic rebound from losing the weight, is like walking across the country.

      Reply
    • Carol

       /  July 5, 2015

      Jacob and Colorado Bob, Thanks for your replies. They sound plausible. Sometimes (often) science isn’t very clear-cut. I guess that makes it easier to argue about – especially for those who aren’t in the least curious, apparently like these people who were asked why we celebrate the 4th of July:

      http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/07/americans-dont-know-why-we-celebrate-fourth-of-july.html

      Reply
    • I am somewhat surprised by their results. As I understood it, we can measure water deficits by means of GRACE, the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment satellites where when the leading satellite slows but the following satellite accelerates and the distance between them decreases this indicates an increase in the local gravitational field and greater mass below. It works for glacier mass loss and has more recently been applied to underground water supplies. And as rustj2015 points out, when sufficient water is removed from the water table the water table may collapse as the result the weight of the land above it. This results in essentially irreversible loss of the water table’s capacity to store water. Furthermore, I would expect isostatic rebound due to water deficit to be a slow process, at least by human standards. But from the essay you link to this is not what they are seeing:

      “In fact, some parts of California’s mountains have been uplifted as much as 15 millimeters (about 0.6 inches) in the past 18 months because the massive amount of water lost in the drought is no longer weighing down the land, causing it to rise a bit like an uncoiled spring, a new study shows.”

      The tech paper makes clear that the subsidence and isostatic rebound are competing processes:

      In March 2011, widespread but modest subsidence prevailed over most of the WUSA, but this had changed to spatially random uplift and subsidence by March 2012. By March 2013, moderate subsidence had returned to the Pacific Northwest and northern California, while moderate uplift had begun elsewhere. A year later, in March 2014, uplift had dramatically increased in California and was widespread across the entire WUSA.

      Borsa, Adrian Antal, Duncan Carr Agnew, and Daniel R. Cayan. Ongoing drought-induced uplift in the western United States. science 345.6204 (2014): 1587-1590

      Interesting stuff!

      Reply
  28. rustj2015

     /  July 4, 2015

    Aye, salt th’ sea…

    Post-glacial rebound (sometimes called continental rebound, glacial isostasy, glacial isostatic adjustment) is the rise of land masses that were depressed by the huge weight of ice sheets during the last glacial period, through a process known as isostasy.

    “…111,000 cubic yards of debris to spill into the ocean.”

    very close to 40 foot walls of water running through suburbs.

    hmmm…something’s rising
    though not here:
    http://www.thereporteronline.com/20140616/gop-governors-epa-carbon-dioxide-rules-job-killer

    Reply
  29. Griffin

     /  July 4, 2015

    Andy in San Diego, if you look at today’s arctic satellite picture, please look at the area of open water that lies to the north of Iceland. If you zoom in on it, there is an interesting feature in the upper right corner, just to the right of the frame stitch line.
    It appears to be an eddy that is swirling around a bloom of phytoplankton. It is a beautiful feature, very bright.

    Reply
    • Andy in San Diego

       /  July 5, 2015

      Thanks Griffin,

      That looks like the swirl out of Twilight Zone, except in color!

      Reply
    • Good catch, Griff. This looks strikingly similar to the dead zone eddies we’ve seen reports of in the tropical Atlantic.

      Reply
  30. ‘Colorful Arctic Animals Revealed in Thousands of Undersea Images’

    New photographs of fluorescent sea creatures — including bright orange animals that resemble feather dusters with long, skinny handles, and spongy, neon-pink anemones — on the Arctic seafloor could help researchers determine how much methane, a potent greenhouse gas, will make its way to the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.

    “When you think about the Arctic, these very cold and deep environments, you don’t think about these colors, but some of these organisms are so colorful and beautiful. It’s amazing,” said Guiliana Panieri, a scientist on the photo-taking expedition and a professor in environment and climate at The Arctic University of Norway.
    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/colorful-arctic-animals-revealed-thousands-undersea-images-125521840.html#f09H8yr

    Reply
  31. Colorado Bob

     /  July 4, 2015

    Smoke over the Greenland Sea

    Aqua/MODIS
    2015/184
    07/03/2015
    04:30 UTC

    It appears these “rivers of smoke” are now a part of our atmosphere this summer.

    Reply
  32. Colorado Bob

     /  July 4, 2015

    Fires and smoke in northern Canada

    Terra/MODIS
    2015/184
    07/03/2015
    19:00 UTC

    Link

    The long hot summer , really takes hold. Note the smoke in the upper right hand corner . that’s Alaskan and NWT smoke.

    Too bad “senator snowball” isn’t there throwing snowballs at these fires.

    Reply
  33. Colorado Bob

     /  July 4, 2015

    Reply
  34. Colorado Bob

     /  July 4, 2015

    The smoke leaving Alaska, and on to the Arctic ocean –

    Note the 2 fires burning on the tundra.

    Terra/MODIS
    2015/185
    07/04/2015
    06:15 UTC

    Link

    Reply
  35. Colorado Bob

     /  July 5, 2015

    Smoke is wild card , it’s not in the models, and if the northern bogs, and peat, and tiaga really start to burn, and they are. We are deep trouble.

    Reply
  36. Jay M

     /  July 5, 2015

    I wonder if many of the bogs and peat masses that might be burned are subject to inundation with a moderate sea level rise, hence mixing with the world ocean. Not trying to be the optomist here.

    Reply
  37. Colorado Bob

     /  July 5, 2015

    Alaska wildfire season worst on record so far

    Fires are raging in Alaska, and there’s no end in sight.

    More than 600 fires have burned in excess of 1.8 million acres in the state, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, making this year the worst wildfire season so far in Alaska’s history. Fires have caused evacuations, highway closures, and rail and flight disruptions. More than 350 structures have been damaged, including about 70 homes.

    Link

    Reply
  38. Andy in San Diego

     /  July 5, 2015
    Reply
  39. Andy in San Diego

     /  July 5, 2015

    São Paulo: Worries Grow as Serious Drought Grips Brazil’s Largest City

    Brazil’s state-owned water and waste management company, Sabesp, did not respond to a request for comment. The Brazilian government also did not respond to requests for comment.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/sao-paulo-worries-grow-serious-drought-grips-brazils-largest-city-n385136

    Reply
    • wili

       /  July 5, 2015

      “Sabesp, did not respond to a request for comment. The Brazilian government also did not respond to requests for comment.”

      Ain’t nobody sayin’ nothin’ about nothin’! Sounds like certain states here where no on can say the words ‘Global Warming.’ I guess it’s not just us North ‘Merikans who think that if you just don’t talk about it it will go away, or it just won’t exist.

      Reply
  40. Really nice interactive graphics showing the various contributions to climate change over time since 1880:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-whats-warming-the-world/

    Reply
  41. Colorado Bob

     /  July 5, 2015

    Heat Records Shattered in France, The Netherlands; Brief Relief In Sight For Europe Heat Wave

    Unfortunately, that relief will be short-lived.

    Late this week into next weekend, the heat will build back once again from Spain into the same heat-fatigued parts of Europe into the following week.

    “The latest (long-range forecasts) suggest the ridge and heat will persist across central Europe and Iberia through the month (of July),” said Leon Brown, chief meteorologist based in the U.K. for The Weather Company.

    Link

    Reply
  42. – Some problems with asphalt, or, just add global warming heat.
    We have covered so much of the natural world with asphalt. A very unwise move on our part. This to accommodate FF consumption and toxic wheeled boxes (cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc,). All which seem to carry people who isolate themselves from the world around them.
    To me, that invites societal and ecosystem breakdown. We will see more ‘problems’ with asphalt as GHG and GW persist.
    – I have been working on the many aspects of asphalt uses and disuses. It’s not pretty.
    – But some related news, of which we will hear more of, first:

    UK
    ‘AA warns it’s so hot roads could MELT – and gritters are being deployed’

    The AA’s president Edmund King has warned motorists that the weather is so hot it could melt the roads, as the Met Office confirms today is the hottest day in nine years.

    Despite official temperatures hovering around 35C, these are usually measured off the ground and in the shade.

    Road surfaces are more likely to be close to 50C, which is the temperature tarmac usually starts to melt.

    Edmund King @AAPresident

    Some road surfaces can melt at 50 Celsius so if weather hits 30s the ground temp in direct sun can hit 50. You have been warned….

    Previously, councils have ‘fixed’ melting roads by using gritters to spread salt on melting tarmac to improve road surfaces.
    …have spotted gritters up and down the country ready to salt the roads if the weather causes them to melt.
    -[More salt onto the landscape?]
    http://www.motoringresearch.com/car-news/aa-warns-its-so-hot-roads-could-melt-and-gritters-could-be-deployed-0701981793

    Reply
    • ‘Goose Green ducklings freed from asphalt with butter’

      Five ducklings discovered “stuck fast” to melting asphalt are recovering after rescuers used butter to free them.

      Passers-by found the hot weather casualties at Goose Green in Ashill, Norfolk, on Wednesday.

      Staff at the RSPCA centre at East Winch loosened the tar with butter before bathing the birds in washing-up liquid and warm water.

      Manager Alison Charles said: “Butter is an old fashioned remedy for removing tar and it really works.

      Reply
      • I feel so bad for the beautiful, innocent creatures our culture is destroying. It breaks my heart. The people, especially deniers, not so much.

        Reply
    • – One more urban asphalt fire bit:

      JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Lightning struck some power lines in Jersey City early Monday morning, sparking fires and closing a roadway.

      Work crews told CBS2’s Valerie Castro electrical wires above the street fell to the ground after being hit by a bolt of lightning and then melted the asphalt.

      Crews had reopened John F. Kennedy Boulevard late Monday afternoon after spending all day replacing the asphalt and repairing the wires.
      newyork cbslocal com/2015/06/15/jersey-city

      Reply
  43. Colorado Bob

     /  July 5, 2015

    Arctic temps warmer than Miami? We have a serious methane problem!

    Current Arctic Weather Conditions

    According to Arctic News, as of July 2nd, “While the media gives wide coverage to the heat waves that have been hitting populous countries such as India, Pakistan, the U.S., Spain and France recently, less attention is given to heat waves hitting the Arctic.”

    Furthermore, “The heat waves that hit Alaska and Russia recently are now followed up by a heat wave in East Siberia… a location well within the Arctic Circle… temperatures as high as 37.1°C (98.78°F) were recorded on July 2, 2015.”

    And, even more, “With temperatures as high as the 37.1°C (98.78°F) recorded on July 2, 2015, huge melting can be expected where there still is sea ice in the waters off the coast of Siberia, while the waters where the sea ice is already gone will warm up rapidly. Note that the waters off the coast of Siberia are less than 50 m (164 ft.) deep, so warming can quickly extend all the way down to the seabed, that can contain enormous amounts of methane in the form of free gas and hydrates.”

    Also, on July 1, 2015, a temperature of 36°C (96.8°F) was recorded near the Kolyma River that flows into the East Siberian Sea.

    The Arctic is hotter than Miami!

    Somehow or other, 98°F in the Arctic makes the world seem upside down/sideways. Is it?

    Link

    Reply
  44. Will Greenland melt 2015 beat 2012? It’s looking impressive/scary.

    http://nsidc.org/greenland-today/

    Reply
  45. Andy in San Diego

     /  July 6, 2015

    This is the Sierras.

    If you zoom in & move around you’ll see zero snow pack.

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/24/2015-07-05/6-N38.08301-W118.43701

    Reply
  46. Andy in San Diego

     /  July 6, 2015
    Reply
  47. Ouse M.D.

     /  July 6, 2015

    Regarding Climate Reanalyzer again, do we have an updated baseline- meaning having to add + 0,8 or 0,8 C to every temp anomaly reading?
    Thanks.
    Because if yes, the Earth just went above +1 C

    Reply
  48. Yvan Dutil

     /  July 6, 2015

    The projection of the Hycom CICE model are insane! No wonder why they are password protected. The ARC is much better for the mental health (for now)

    Reply
  49. Robert In New Orleans

     /  July 6, 2015
    Reply
    • The warmer off shore waters have backed up onto the Continental Shelf. As a result we see the sharks’ prey and the sharks themselves moving closer to shore. Off my home town of VB, the dolphin pods gathering in the region of Cape Henry have seen a substantial shark invasion this year. So much so that kayak tours to that area have been canceled.

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  July 6, 2015

        Was in VB this weekend too, Robert. Thought about you. Noted all the Subject to Flooding signs in some of the neighborhoods and the past trip fishing, all we caught were jellyfish.

        Reply
        • I went surfing anyway… Probably not great for my health for an increasing number of reasons.

          How I recall the days when VB ocean water was beautiful and green and clear. Not the brown silty stuff we get now.

          My niece told me to bite the sharks if they came too close. I told her that sharks aren’t the problem — we are😉

  50. Dan B

     /  July 6, 2015

    Incredibly thick smoke over Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle. Air quality is one category below ‘dangerous’ in Bellingham, WA and Vancouver.

    Reply
  1. Screaming Hot Pacific A Sea of Storms as 2015 El Nino Breaks Records For Spring Intensity | robertscribbler
  2. El Nino Starting to Look Nasty — 5.1 C Spot Anomaly in EPAC | robertscribbler

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