Hothouse Monsters Clash: Godzilla El Nino Pummels Pacific’s Hot Blob

Two climate change spawned monsters are duking it out over thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean waters. And in a human heated world its an epic battle between these two warming fueled atmospheric and oceanic goliaths — the Godzilla El Nino versus the Pacific Ocean’s Hot Blob.

*  *  *  *  *

Ridiculously Resilient Ridge. RRR. Blocking high pressure system. All names given to a sprawling heat dome that has plagued the U.S. West Coast for the better part of two years running. It’s a weather system largely responsible for the California drought — the worst in at least 1200 years. A weather system implicated in an extraordinarily intense outbreak of wildfires across the North American West from Alaska through British Columbia and all along the US West Coast — including within the usually moist rain forests of Washington and Oregon.


(The RRR is shrinking and increasingly besieged by storms. A sign that the El Nino related Pacific Storm track intensification is beginning to assert. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

It’s a system connected to a climate change-enforced melting of Arctic sea ice and a similarly forced warming of the Northeastern Pacific Sea surface far above typical temperatures (see here, here, and here). An unprecedented and extreme heating of waters into a ‘Hot Blob’ stretching for thousands of miles. A related drying of airs. Oceanic and atmospheric heat energy generating an implacable atmospheric bully. A high pressure system so powerful it typically flung Pacific Ocean storms far off course — as far north as the High Arctic.

But now the RRR is starting to weaken. Its great northward extending ridge has retreated from Alaska. Intense storms exploding out from a system that is likely to rival the strongest El Nino on record (1997-1998) are now surrounding the ridge, nibbling away at its edges, cooling the waters of the hot blob through Ekman pumping, and raging on through Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.


(Storm-based upwelling is starting to cool Northeastern Pacific Ocean waters in a region that has been dominated by the Hot Blob during recent years. A condition that is undermining some of the RRR’s support. El Nino based storm generation to the south will likely continue to aim blows at this oceanic heat base. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

It’s early sign of RRR collapse. That the Hot Blob is starting to fail. With some of the precursors to likely far more intense Fall and Winter storms starting to get caught up into its spiraling decline. And as sea surface temperature anomalies are likely to hit 2.0 to 2.3 C above average in the Niño 3.4 zone in this week’s NOAA El Niño report, more RRR-challenging storms are likely on the way.

As Ricky Rood over at Weather Underground said this week it’s Godzilla vs the Blob. And Godzilla, at this point, appears to have the upper hand. And once the Blob goes down there’s nothing to keep what are likely to be some seriously epic storms slamming into the west coast of North America this Fall and Winter. But according to recent science, there’s a high risk that the Blob will creep on back as the Godzilla El Nino retreats during mid to late 2016. And for the West Coast that means high risk of a pretty vicious cycle of drought to flood to drought. A dangerous weather pattern intrinsically related to human-forced climate change.


Earth Nullschool

Godzilla Versus the Blob

California Drought Worst in 1200 Years

Climatologist Who Predicted California Drought Says it May Soon be Even More Dire

Dr. Jennifer Francis: Arctic Sea Ice, the Jet Stream and Climate Change

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

Leave a comment


  1. wili

     /  September 7, 2015

    First to ‘like’ on fb again ‘-)
    What signs would we be looking for if this El Nino were to go through an early collapse? Would strong westerlies (if that’s the right term) have to reassert themselves first along the Pacific equator?

    • The big mid latitude highs would hold their ground. Strong westerlies coming early, yes. But that would set up a potential El Nino return rather soon given the amount of hot water involved. Current conditions don’t really point toward this. We still have guidance to +2.1 to +2.8 C in Nino 3.4 by NDJ. Will see.

    • Thx for the help as well 😉

    • Saw this Anthony. It’s been posted a few times now. And it’s only one opinion. I’ve got researchers all over the place concerned about this condition becoming endemic long-term.

      In any case, it’s a good article when taken in the context of other opinions related to this warming-related feature. One the scientist who predicted it believes will tend to become a semi-permanent feature.

      So, in my view, it’s short-sighted to ignore the blob. It’s one hell of a bully. And it’s going to take one hell of an El Nino to take it out. That’s part of this El Nino’s story. In fact, I believe it’s the essential bit. The one that makes it unique and strange and potentially more dangerous than any El Nino we’ve yet seen.

      • Dangerous in that blob may amplify el nino, especially in regards to California?
        I wonder if Ekman pumping will be enough to cool it in regards to el nino amplification later in season? Thought the following gif might help us visualize.

        • Yes. It’s a case of enhanced likelihood for weather whiplash with a tendency to return to a drier than normal climate state rather soon.

        • Anthony — also wanted to thank you for posting this graphic. May use it in an update when I get back to my desk.

    • Wharf Rat

       /  September 7, 2015

      Looks like the Golden Gate is the hot spot. At least the Golden Gate Earth Warriors are on the case.
      Golden State Warriors Hook Up with The Solar Company to Green Practice Facility

      The Golden State Warriors and The Solar Company are cutting the ribbon today on a solar installation at the basketball team’s practice facility — the first in the NBA to be powered with renewable energy.

      • Wharf Rat

         /  September 7, 2015

        California governor lays out ambitious climate-change plan

        SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown has made climate change the centerpiece of his final tenure by laying out the most aggressive benchmark in North America, which would reduce California’s carbon footprint and boost the state’s renewable energy use to 50 percent in 15 years…
        …Californians share Brown’s environmental concerns and a majority supports his call for tougher standards.

        A July poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found 79 percent of residents agree global warming is either a very serious or somewhat serious threat to quality of life….

        Still touch and go in the lege. Over the years, energy and the environment have been surprisingly bi-partisan here, and we’ve shaped most national policies. EPA and clean water/air laws started by Nixon; Calif. Energy Commission, our tougher-than-EPA clean air law, and the world’s first coastal management agency started by Raygun; at he time, Arnold was the greenest governor in the country.

  2. Loni

     /  September 7, 2015

    You have been busy as of late Robert, with good analysis of events, thank you very much.
    Paul Beckwith made a recent video in which he shared his opinion that the Pacific currents had changed, (primarily due to lack of ice in the Arctic as I understood him to say), and the new normal would favor the return and entrenchment of the blob. In your penultimate line, you indicated as much, so have you seen Paul’s video, and do you agree with his thinking on the blob being here to stay?

  3. labmonkey2

     /  September 7, 2015

    Thanks for another great summary. So, we ‘left-coasters’ may be in for a doozy of a fall/winter this year after all.
    I liken your description to an old-school pressure cooker that had the release valve on the top (I remember my mom used a large fork to mess with the release mechanism).
    Here we have a hot Blob building up heat energy between the ocean and the atmosphere being held in place by the RRR (the pressure cooker lid). Now that the release valve is triggered, all that heat energy has to go somewhere. And with the heavier concentrations of particulate material circulating in the region from all the recent fires, I can only imagine that these will indeed be the storms of our grandchildren.

  4. Steve from NZ

     /  September 7, 2015

    Hi All,

    sorry for the off topic post, but I have just seen “Merchants of Doubt” at our NZ film festival. I highly recommend this film to get a handle on the scandalous use of “Public Relations” (there must be a special layer in Hell for PR guys) to cast doubt on climate change. The film tracks these methods from the tobacco industry denial to climate change denial (often using the same ‘experts’).

    These criminals have cost us easily twenty years in prolonging the “debate” long after the science was settled. They really do have the consequences of the crisis we now face on their conscience (that is if they have one, any suggestion of morality or values was sadly lacking with these people).


    • redskylite

       /  September 7, 2015

      I read that ‘Thin Ice: The Inside Story of Climate’ made a debut in Auckland yesterday and hopefully will travel around the country, and spur more public interest (and action) in the land of the long white cloud.

      Robert Scribbler always make Climate Science come alive and interesting with his remarkable science & literary talent, and with the help of his regulars always homes into the latest important issues. The blob interaction with the El Nino is a fascinating story indeed. The elements involved seem as mighty as a battle between Titans in Classical Greek mythology.

      Time to put the denial interest out of sight, they have done too much damage and harm in the past.

      “Kiwi climate change documentary premieres in New Zealand”

    • danabanana

       /  September 7, 2015

      Watched Merchants of Doubt a couple of moths ago and it just confirmed what I knew. It is a great movie but no efforts by the media to bring this movie to public notice. Also watch The True Cost, just as good but deals with Fast Fashion instead.

    • rustj2015

       /  September 7, 2015

      DeSmogBlog has continual examination and reportage of the actions of prominent deniers. Dante saved the lowest level of hell for those who commit treachery.

      • Yes, the Devil on Ice in the lowest level will have to let Judas Iscariot out of his mouth in order to deal with the Deniers.

      • DeSmogBlog does a fantastic job of tracking these guys. Some of the new investigative reporting efforts are also bearing fruit. We need to keep shining a light on these guys. Climate change denial and resultant political inaction din’t happen in a vacuum.

    • Absolutely, Steve! And certainly not off the topic when considering the broader discussion. Thanks for posting.

      In any case, I think this may be a good reply to any climate change denier post in public forums. This is the real climate gate. The crud made up in PR and right wing think tanks like Heartland aimed at delaying necessary action on climate change. This action by entirely amoral groups results in lives and homes lost, nations destabilized, and new wars ignited. They are the heart of darkness in the market-centered world. A sad and terrifying consequence of money-first thinking.

    • I read Naomi Oreske’s book of the same name, and would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it. It does a great job of exposing the key players involved in preventing action on climate change, and other scientifically proven realities. A very small, and very well funded group of professional contrarians has managed to convince roughly half of all Americans that reality doesn’t exist. And have also doomed their progeny to a future of misery and suffering.

  5. redskylite

     /  September 7, 2015

    I’m also off topic with this, but the please are getting louder from those South Pacific nations, as neighbor Australia holds stubbornly on to the old model of coal, coal and more coal. Abbott does not believe in the Science that low Islands will become unlivable in (Kiribati seems very close). A lot of lives depend on their decisions, and it is time they thought about the actions they are causing to other nations.

  6. Hello Robert
    I’ve been reading you all summer. Thank you so much for all your efforts.
    I’ll be translating this article for with the usual links and references to your excellent work.
    Keep it up!

  7. Kevin Jones

     /  September 7, 2015

    ESRL Global Monitoring Division reports daily avg. CO2 at Mauna Loa for 9/5/15 way down to 390.47 ppm. I figured this a ‘glitch’ but while just looking a minute ago, they reported 390.45 for 9/6/15. Strange.

    • Dave Person

       /  September 8, 2015

      Hi Kevin,
      Yeah, that is very odd. The measurements are very large outliers from the trend.


  8. Colorado Bob

     /  September 7, 2015

    Severe drought, floods destroy crops in Papua New Guinea highlands

    Food growers in Avaninofi say the extreme rainfall that launched this year’s problems was unprecedented.

    Papua New Guinea can receive 3 meters of rainfall a year. But no one in Avaninofi was prepared for the destruction unleashed in March by torrential rain, gale force winds and hailstorms, which affected more than 100,000 people across the country, local people say.

    In some areas, such as East New Britain Province, nearly a quarter of the country’s average rainfall for the month fell within 24 hours.

    “We have never experienced such flooding before.”

  9. Abel Adamski

     /  September 7, 2015

    Even NASA faces major issues and expense from AGW

  10. Abel Adamski

     /  September 7, 2015

    Further from The Nasa AGW issue from an unreliable source
    “Kennedy Space Center may have decades before waves are lapping at the launch pads. Still, when you put expensive, immovable infrastructure right along the coast, something’s eventually got to give.”

    Plus from left field a sad and sorry but true tale , but then the source

  11. Colorado Bob

     /  September 7, 2015

    Republicans plan attack on climate pact

    GOP aides have been holding meetings and strategy sessions behind the scenes for months to solidify the strategy, and its contours are beginning to emerge.


    • Here we go again. Merchants of Doubt? More like merchants of dislocation, death and extinction. For shame, republicans. All too willing servants of Mordor-like forces at work in our world.

      • Apneaman

         /  September 7, 2015

        Know thy enemy.

        How Will the 99% Deal with 70 Million Psychopaths?

        “Did you know that roughly one person in a hundred is clinically a psychopath? These individuals are either born with an emotional deficiency that keeps them from feeling bad about hurting others or they are traumatized early in life in a manner that causes them to become this way. With more than 7 billion people on the planet that means there are as many as 70,000,000 psychopaths alive today. These people are more likely to be risk takers, opportunists motivated by self-interest and greed, and inclined to dominate or subjugate those around them through manipulative means.”

  12. climatehawk1

     /  September 7, 2015


  13. rustj2015

     /  September 7, 2015

    Also, this is a bit of a sensation to imagine:
    Global warming: how much heat, exactly?
    Posted by Ugo Bardi at

    • L Racine

       /  September 8, 2015

      Ugo does “good work”…. been following him since the Oil Drum days…

  14. rustj2015

     /  September 7, 2015

    And, yes, from the department of “Now They Tell Us”:

  15. Leland Palmer

     /  September 7, 2015

    It’s good to see that Godzilla is making some progress at squishing the Blob. Thanks Robert, for all of the wonderful information.

    Sad to say, though, the loss of Arctic sea ice is not going away. If the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge (RRR) truly is tied to the loss of Arctic sea ice, our northern storm track in California is likely closed down more often than not, and California the agricultural wonder has become the greatly expanded California desert.

    If this Blob squishing is temporary, though, here in California we’ll take it. Anything to fill the reservoirs, I think, even if that means flooding.

    There’s enough water for the cities – agriculture will have to change or be drastically reduced, I think. Although, so far, the big agricultural interests are winning the struggle, and it’s the poor agricultural workers who are living without running water.

    Go Godzilla! Squish that blob!

    Oh, no, Hot Blob has got to go!
    Go, go Godzilla!

  16. Andy in SD

     /  September 7, 2015

    Severe drought, floods destroy crops in Papua New Guinea highlands

  17. Colorado Bob

     /  September 7, 2015

    Melting Ice Isn’t Opening Arctic to Oil Bonanza

    TERIBERKA, Russia — The warming Arctic should already have transformed this impoverished fishing village on the coast of the Barents Sea.

    The Kremlin spent billions in the last decade in hopes of turning it into a northern hub of its global energy powerhouse, Gazprom. It was once the most ambitious project planned in the Arctic Ocean, but now there is little to show for it aside from a shuttered headquarters and an enormous gravel road carved out of the windblown coastline like a scar.


  18. Andy in SD

     /  September 7, 2015

    I don’t think people understand that +2C simply implies that the species (humans) can survive as a species. It does not imply that civilization can remain stable in the form of civilization that we are familiar with. We unfortunately perceive the two as the same, they are not.

    The peaks and valleys of a local climate push out further. Max high becomes a higher number, max low becomes a lower number, max rain, max drought all of these vacillate through a wider range.

    Much of civilization is predicated on operating within those boundaries in a locale, with the out of norm deviations being described as disasters which affect these local civilizations. As the environment now operates in these wider ranges, what was once a disaster become part of the new normal.

    Consider Monsoons. What is a critical life giving annual event in one region, would be considered a disaster in other areas. Civilization adapted to this, and worked it into the equation. It now depends on it in India. Now it becomes bigger, smaller, sooner, later whatever. It doesn’t matter what the change is, it is change in a climatic equation that the locale is accustomed to and depends on.

    Civilizations job is to adapt to the new range of extremes. However, this is no simple task. We have achieved maximum populations within the locales by operating in concert with a set of known extreme boundaries. Some areas, a lower population is the maximum (desert, arctic), others a higher population can be sustained.

    All of that gets reshuffled and thus a local “civilization” must discover it’s new “maximum population” load. What comes of the excess which does not fit into the new maximum? Look to the Middle East & Europe.

    First comes local stress due to changes (less population support capabilities), this causes conflict over the new maximum consumable resource amount. The conflict causes those that do not fit into the new local civilization to seek out an area perceived to be able to sustain more people. Hence migration.

    This is nothing new for humans (migration due to a reduction in an areas ability to sustain a population). However, now there is a lack of unused space which can sustain a significant population.

    Yes, the species can survive +2C, but not in the manner that the public perceives.

  19. Arctic News: Arctic Sea Ice Collapse Threatens – Update 8

    Quite a dramatic drop on that graph – if it’s not a glitch, it’s quite a drop!

  20. – I like your “… temperatures (see here, here, and here) links.” 🙂
    Jennifer Francis the 2ne ‘here’ — that’s good.

    – Editorial comment: What about a Ekman pumping link (I didn’t see one.), since it hasn’t been mentioned recently. The “Blog/Godzilla/RRR gets repeated usage?

    – I don’t see mention of it but I would factor in the mass of warm, or hot, dry terra firma that is now the W/NW US and NA land mass. Historical gradients are — history.
    From personal observations (From studying winds and the coastal dispersal of aerosol pollution, etc.) and weather reports: weak onshore gradients and offshore gradients seem to now persist over the West Coast.

    Tally ho…

    – Ekman pumping.
    Review of deep ocean dynamics: geostrophy, Ekman layer transports, the Sverdrup balance

  21. – WaPo 0907 (I haven’t read to deep into it yet.)

    Subject: “warming could slow or shut down the Atlantic’s great ocean circulation systems”

    New studies deepen concerns about a climate-change ‘wild card’

    ‘.. The papers offer new insight into how rapidly melting Arctic ice could slow or even temporarily halt the ocean’s normal circulation, with possible effects ranging from plunging temperatures in northern latitudes to centuries-long droughts in Southeast Asia.

    One study, by three scientists from Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute, uses computers to model how Greenland’s rapid thawing could affect the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, the system that pushes cold, dense saltwater into the deep ocean and helps transport warm water northward, helping to warm Europe’s climate.

    Their report, in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, says previous research may have underestimated changes to the ocean from the huge influx of fresh, cold water from melting ice sheets…
    … lead scientist Paul Gierz….

    A second paper, by a team of Texas scientists, sheds new light on how the Earth’s climate responded during a similar thaw from the planet’s geological past. About 12,000 years ago, rising temperatures at the end of the last ice age released huge volumes of cold freshwater, disrupting the ocean’s circulation systems and sending parts of the Northern Hemisphere back in to the freezer. Scientists refer to the era as the Younger Dryas period.

  22. –

    Intense Heat to Scorch Drought-Stricken West

    Searing heat is forecast to expand across the West this week, giving much of California a dose of above-normal temperatures.
    [I like the graphic.]

  23. Colorado Bob

     /  September 7, 2015

    From the Field: What is Making Arctic Ice Melt Faster than Expected?
    Scripps physical oceanographers travel to the Arctic to investigate one possibility

    Follow the Arctic Mix blog to read about research taking place now by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and other leading research centers.

    The goal of this National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded experiment is to understand the role ocean heat might be playing in the accelerating loss of Arctic sea ice. The rate of ice melt is set by a complex interplay between inflow of warmer waters through Bering and Fram Straits, retention of heat from the sun in the upper ocean, and turbulent mixing within the ocean interior. Most of these processes are heavily influenced by stratification, the layering of relatively light fresh water from river plumes and ice melt over salty, denser water below. One of the peculiarities of Arctic circulation is that the surface waters are cold, generally near-freezing, while the salt water below is a few degrees warmer. This is in contrast to most of the ocean, where warmer waters overlie cooler. The difference here is that density in the Arctic is set by salinity, not temperature.


  24. – US East getting hammered by toxic ozone pollution from usual, known preventable sources even as demonic fossil fuel interests and their sycophants repel tighter ozone standards.

    ‘The agency says hot and humid conditions with west to southwest winds during the afternoon and evening hours will lead to unhealthy air from elevated ground level ozone. Ozone is a major component of smog formed by the reaction of automobile and industrial pollution in heat and sunlight.

    The state health department says the conditions can cause throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath and aggravation of asthma and respiratory conditions. The symptoms are worse during exercise and heavy activity.

  25. – Re my above “Historical gradients… (From studying winds and the coastal dispersal of aerosol pollution, etc.) and weather reports: weak onshore gradients and offshore gradients seem to now persist over the West Coast.” This 0907 AirNow map tends to reinforce my findings.
    The coastal areas should be under strong marine influences that drives the Pm inland, which is the source of the Pm. But, in this map, you see the opposite. This is so up in the San Francisco Bay area.

    Pm which carries over the Pacific, if heavy, or dense, enough will fall-plummet-deposit onto and into the water.

    Note too the Central Valley ‘Food Basket’ is a sump collecting the Pm (Never mind the subsidence from water pumping.) (The Earth is just retracting in fear of the pollution.)
    Note that millions of people live there.

  26. – N as a likely, and known nutrient, seems to be making itself known and in the news as algae outbreaks, etc.
    Here’s some current headlines:

    ‘Russian River visitors heed toxic algae warning, keep pets out of water’
    [Dogs do not ever belong in our waterways, or shorelines — never! – DT]
    Santa Rosa Press Democrat

    ‘Algae blooms stain Lake St. Clair’
    Port Huron Times Herald – ‎Sep 5, 2015‎

    ‘Officials warning about blue-green algae in Finger Lakes’
    News 10NBC – ‎Sep 6, 2015‎

    ‘Health officials warn beachgoers of Lake Erie algae bloom’ – ‎Sep 6, 2015‎

    ‘8 Kansas lakes under blue-green algae warning’
    KSN-TV – ‎Sep 3, 2015‎

    ‘Blue green algae bloom confirmed at Desbarats Lake’ – ‎Sep 4, 2015‎

    ‘Lake Winnipeg algae bad for business, fisherman says’ hours ago

    ‘ Hunters cautioned about blue-green algae’
    Post-Bulletin-18 hours ago

    ” UPDATE: Algae problems growing in the Ohio River’
    WOWK-Sep 5, 2015

    ‘Treatment used on algae at Blackridge Reservoir may help Utah …’ 6, 2015
    HERRIMAN, Utah

    ‘ Russian River toxic algae kills dog’ 4, 2015

    ‘ Pick up your dog’s poop…’
    InfoTel News Ltd-Aug 13, 2015
    KELOWNA – … dog droppings … Dog poo contains bacteria, nitrogen and salts, which don’t dissolve …

    [Millions of dogs — millions of starving or climate refugee children…]

    ‘The scoop on dog poop’
    Bowen Island Undercurrent-May 28, 2015
    Dog poop is not fertilizer. It’s full of bacteria, nitrogen and salts which don’t dissolve and can be harmful to plants, aquatic life and people.

    ‘Toxic algae in river near Louisville’
    The Courier-Journal-Sep 2, 2015
    Unusually dry weather and sunny skies are feeding toxic algae blooms in the Ohio River, a drinking water source for 5 million. The blooms …

    ‘ Warnings posted at Toad, Wiser lakes because of toxic algae’
    The Bellingham Herald-Sep 4, 2015

  27. Colorado Bob

     /  September 7, 2015

    The current refugee crisis marks a watershed moment in the history of global warming because it’s the first wave of emigration to be explicitly linked to climate change, according to one leading scientist, who predicts rises in temperature and increasingly extreme weather will unleash many more mass movements of people in the future. Professor Richard Seager acknowledges that there is much more to the Syrian uprising than the climate, but says that global warming played a key role in creating the conditions that fuelled the civil war behind the refugee emergency.


  28. L Racine

     /  September 8, 2015

    Amazon Fires linked to SST gradient between North and South Atlantic.
    Came across this just published paper and thought it was worth sharing.

    Decadal variability of western Amazon hydroclimate is highly correlated to the Atlantic sea
    surface temperature (SST) north-south gradient (NSG).”

  29. Abel Adamski

     /  September 8, 2015

    As the band starts playing take your partners for the dance of your lives
    The storms and flooding already hitting the US

    • From the article:

      “The car is only as green as the hydrogen it is filled with, and most of the gas comes from fossil fuels. As a result, the Mirai’s environmental credentials are about the same as those of a traditional hybrid.

      All that will change, however. The Japanese government has plans to create a plentiful supply of hydrogen by 2030 using renewable energy. The Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, who was the recipient of the first Mirai, called it the “dawn of a true hydrogen society”. As part of efforts to reduce Japan’s reliance on nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, he announced a £16,000 subsidy per vehicle and plans for more than 100 refuelling stations.

      The situation is rather different in the UK, where the Government has committed only £11m in subsidies and vowed to build only 15 refuelling stations by the end of this year – an approach that prompted Mr Sano to warn that Britain will fall behind unless it “invests in infrastructure”.

      At 56,000 pounds sterling base price, this vehicles is more expensive than a comparably ranged Tesla, more expensive to refuel, and has more net carbon emissions unless renewable energy is used to generate the hydrogen (area dependent on infrastructure and certainly not the case in the UK). I wouldn’t call this competitive except for the fact that it takes somewhat less time to refuel in the event of a long distance trip.

      • Abel Adamski

         /  September 8, 2015

        I agree it is not competitive at this point, however that will change, also as in Qld, windfarmj operators are charging electric vehicles, the opportunity for storage of power as Hydrogen, thus refuelling stations becomes a proposition.

        As an aside, back in the late 70’s early 80′ Joh, the Premier of Qld (Corrupt right wing government) was backing a Hydrogen/Oxygen vehicle (Both gases in the one cylinder) , suppressed due to lobbying with the stated reason being the requirement for a boiler makers certificate to operate the vehicle, (also used for the steam engine powered vehicles that were being delivered (flash heat boilers ) that could use any source to heat the steam, not necessarily petrol or diesel

      • Carole

         /  September 8, 2015

        Romm, Joseph (2004). The Hype about Hydrogen, Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate. He is a physicist. From memory (I read it years ago):

        – H is an energy store, not an energy source (OK, we got that).

        The problems with H vehicles:

        – Size of tanks (big-big)
        – Tiny gas molecules leak easily, therefore super tight fittings needed
        – H is corrosive to the fittings (I think), therefore high maintenance
        – H is explosive at a much wider T range compared to gasoline (in case of leakage)
        – collisions
        – whole new infrastructure must be built to service them
        – FF needed to develop the whole thing

        That’s what I remember.

      • Abel Adamski

         /  September 10, 2015

        Carol, true , however a step at a time. Hydrogen under pressure in tanks is an issue, purely due to it’s atomic weight and structure. It actually over an extended time leaks between the atoms of the container wall. (Why hydrogen balloons deflate so quickly relatively speaking. (Matter is not as solid as we think)

        Collisions a fact of life and a real danger

        FF as a source of hydrogen or electricity to split H2O, however wind or Solar farms could do that as well as provide charging stations for electric vehicles. H2O splitting is one of the storage options for renewable energy storage

        • Seems like an opportunity for me to toss in my standard thoughts on electric autos:

          1) Once you buy a gas-fueled auto, you are stuck with its emissions for its lifetime. The utility system can, and must, change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and as it does, the “emissions” of your electric car will magically improve.

          2) Electric autos produce no tailpipe emissions, an important air quality benefit for many urban areas (and asthma sufferers). Also, it’s easier to control emissions at a large single point source (like a power plant) than at many smaller sources (individual autos).

          3) Electric autos can provide a means of “storage” and use of off-peak electricity supply (e.g., electricity from wind, which often blows strongly during nighttime hours).

          4) Solving the problem of transportation emissions inevitably requires electric cars, along with public transit, bicycles, and more.

  30. Abel Adamski

     /  September 8, 2015

    Now showing in a MSM outlet near you, what scientists and Robert have been alluding to
    one of the videos in that Yahoo item (at the end) is of a current ice and snow storm in the US

    • This is the best tweet I’ve seen thus far in the mocking-coal effort:

      “Amazing Coal. Little black rock changes climate, raises sea levels, increases extreme weather, causes illness. Clever Coal”

  31. L Racine

     /  September 8, 2015

    Not a lot of long term data on El Nino’s… lots of variables not a lot of data points…..

    Three classes of El Nino’s, different precipitation/impacts associated with them…

    Canonical El Nino (what you are describing above?)
    Modoki I El Nino
    And Modoki II El Nino…

    “….whereas the warm SST anomalies for El Niño Modoki II are asymmetric with the maximum SST anomalies extending and tilting from the northeastern Pacific to the equatorial central Pacific. ”

    This El Nino doesn’t look like any of them….. perhaps it will be called Modoki III…

  32. Dan B

     /  September 8, 2015

    We’re just back from three days on the central Washington coast. We took the Leaf on its inaugural trip to the ocean, which was “interesting”. Oregon has a great network of high speed recharging stations. Washington state does not. We stopped at a Nissan dealership in Olympia, 60 easy – no nail biting range worries – miles from Seattle. We sailed past the high speed charger in Tacoma, 35 miles from Olympia. From there it was 80 miles to our destination with only one Level Two charger on our route (turns out it was broken anyway). We arrived with 14 miles range left, a bit tough when you don’t know precisely how many miles there are to go.

    The beach was another matter. People were body surfing without wet suits. Usually the water makes you numb in 3 minutes and can easily induce hypothermia. Skinny 10 year olds were in the water for hours. The beach itself was bare of evidence of most sea life except for razor clam shells. Usually it’s covered with things that have washed up in the surf: huge kelp, seaweeds of all colors and shapes, sand dollars, shells, jellyfish, crabs, etc. Instead the surf was covered with a sticky olive drab algae, possibly some form of red tide. There were seagulls but only in a few locations, not the many clusters that would soar into the sky as you meander down the beach. On one walk we found three recently dead birds, either common murres or marbled murrelets. We’d never seen dead birds on the beach in ten years of Labor Day and Memorial Day visits.

    The combination of a remarkably clean (barren but dirty) beach and the dead birds seemed eerie to me, possibly a result of the blob sitting not far from shore.

    A Google search to identify the birds we found turned up this:
    Birds with no diseases, pests, or injuries, just empty stomachs.

    How many more species before we’re on the docket? How much time do we have? How fast must we deploy renewable energy? What remediation strategy can we undertake that could reverse the course of decline of our oceans? Or is it time to put our energies where we have a better chance of success than we might with the seas?

    It would seem to be surrender if we abandon hope for the seas since they are a kingpin in the health of the planet.

    • Thanks for sharing your observations on the changes on the seashore, Dan B.
      We need these sort of views to be seen and heard. MSM could do its readers a big service it they took a camera/reporter to the shore and talk to someone like you.
      Your narrative is to the point.

      Ps The absence of ‘noisy’ seagulls around Portland, OR of late was mentioned by a caller to KBOO radio.

  33. Doug

     /  September 8, 2015

    I don’t recall this being one of the effects of climate change. Welcome to the horror show.

    • Doug

       /  September 8, 2015

      Just realized it’s a five year old story, but it will leave a bad taste in your mouth…

      • Caroline

         /  September 8, 2015

        This is a new starving bear story:
        Can’t bring myself to read the articles; walruses, bears, starfish, coral reefs, whales, birds . . . . in every corner of the world there is suffering among human and nonhuman life due to AGW and habitat destruction.
        The sadness feels overwhelming and bottomless for those with compassion, empathy and a reverence for life on earth.
        Must be easier for the Donald Trumps/Koch brothers of the world.

  34. Andy in YKD

     /  September 8, 2015
  35. jyyh

     /  September 8, 2015

    If you lose the 0,34 deg C that’s about the difference between 1997 and 2014 , and this event doesn’t look as huge anymore, large it is but as of yet in my mind not even a close rival to 1998 El Nino. Or at least wasn’t a month ago.

  36. Maria

     /  September 8, 2015

  37. redskylite

     /  September 8, 2015

    Today NOAA announced the August Average Mauna Loa CO2, it was 398.82 ppm, which is up +1.81 ppm on 2014. We are steadily elevating the density and no sign of a level off yet, no celebrations today.

    I have just read a fairly lengthy article titled “ This Is the Year Humans Finally Got Serious About Saving Themselves From Themselves” in the September 7, 2015 issue of the New York Magazine. It is a fairly optimistic and bright read, what I particularly liked about it does quote an atmospheric CO2 level (of 450 ppm) at which point, we will certainly exceed the two degrees Celsius mark, I think this is a little optimistic but excellent that they print it. Too many articles are shy of quoting an estimated density, which causes a lot of confusion. I am sure models have improved since the 2005 symposium that set authoritative boundaries, and scientists could have much more certainty of the magic mark now. Let us know . . then we have a definitive target . . which we go beyond out our own peril ….

  38. Colorado Bob

     /  September 8, 2015

    Scores of cars, trucks washed away as torrential floods hit southern Spain (VIDEO)

    Heavy torrential rains and massive flooding have turned the streets of a Spanish town into fast-flowing rivers that literary washed away cars and even large trucks, a YouTube video shows.

    The small town of Adra, in the Almeria province of southern Spain, has been the worst affected by the rains. Its streets have been turned into fast-flowing currents of water that swept away cars and trucks.

    • Colorado Bob

       /  September 8, 2015

      • Maria

         /  September 9, 2015

        CB—I was headed to bed when I saw this last nite and thought of you because of your connection to Almeria and its cave paintings. I sorta, kinda thought you didn’t need me to set you know. 😉

  39. Colorado Bob

     /  September 8, 2015

    Mamma mia! Naples hammered with fist-sized hailstones (VIDEOS)

    The Italian city of Naples was pounded with a storm of massive hailstones on Sunday, many of which were the size of fists. The huge chunks battered cars, smashed windows, and injured several people and animals.

    The “baseball size hailstones” fell from thunderstorms at a speed of “at least 75 miles per hour,” according to Jonathan Erdman, a senior meteorologist for the Weather Channel.

    “It’s no wonder you can see the magnitude of smashed windshields and structural damage,” he added.

    Video footage shows the gigantic hailstones pummeling a car windshield, shattering the glass.

  40. Colorado Bob

     /  September 8, 2015

    Emaciated Female Polar Bear Raises Climate Change Alarms

    For polar bears residing on Norway’s Svalbard Islands, food supply appears to be rapidly losing pace with demand, The Dodo reports. And for the females, thin is in, although that’s certainly not what nature intended.

    In a Facebook post, wildlife photographer Kerstin Langenberger recently aired her concerns about the growing number of gaunt polar bears she’s seen in the Arctic archipelago. Her photo of an emaciated female polar bear stunningly exemplifies the perilous dietary plight facing mothers and cubs, in particular.

    “I realized that the fat bears are nearly exclusively males, which stay on the pack ice all year long,” Langenberger writes. “The females, on the other hand, which den on land to give birth to their young, are often slim. With the pack ice retreating further and further north every year, they tend to be stuck on land where there’s not much food.”

    • redskylite

       /  September 8, 2015

      Well caught, more and more effects of induced changes beginning to bite hard, it is particularly noticeable and distressing changes that are happening in the Arctic.Thanks for bring attention to it. Mashable has another story on emaciated bears . . . today . .

      Rapid sea ice loss is depriving polar bears of their habitat, since they depend on the ice to hunt prey. Ice loss has been particularly noteworthy in recent years in northwestern Svalbard, says Ian Stirling, an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta who has studied polar bears for four decades. Stirling works as an ecotourism guide in Svalbard and has seen the sharp decline in summer ice cover, as well as an increase in sightings of skinny bears coming onshore.

    • Maria

       /  September 9, 2015

      Oh my, CB and skylite…the bear looks skinnier than of one we saw earlier this summer. Makes sense, I suppose, that the body wasting would continue until winter.

  41. Colorado Bob

     /  September 8, 2015

    Extreme Weather and Food Shocks

    Amid these pressures, the global food system is coming under increasing strain, as highlighted in a recent report that we wrote in conjunction with other British and American experts for the U.K.-led Global Food Security program. Rising incomes and changing dietary preferences mean demand for food is growing faster than cereal yields. Water scarcity and soil depletion present challenges for agriculture, which faces sharper competition for resources from urbanization and energy production. A precarious supply-and-demand balance means the system is easily unbalanced.

    The stability of the global food system faces risks from the increasingly frequent extreme weather that is being driven by climate change. For example, in the United States there were more than four times more weather events causing damage in excess of $1 billion (in 2011 prices) in 2007-11 than in 1980-85. Drought is a particularly powerful driver of global food shocks. Two episodes stand out: in 1988-9, when maize and soybean were seriously affected in the U.S. Midwest, and in 2002-3, when rice and wheat were hit in Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

    Were these two events to happen in the same year — a multiple breadbasket failure — it would result in the loss of between 5 and 10 percent of the production of these major crops, more than enough to supply the basic calorie needs of the United States for a year. Until recently, such a calamity would have been expected every 100 to 200 years, but this number is shrinking rapidly due to climate change. An initial analysis of recent data suggests that the risk of a 1-in-100-year event during the second half of the last century is likely to increase to 1-in-30 years by 2040 — and perhaps even 1-in-15 years in the decades after 2050.


  42. Colorado Bob

     /  September 8, 2015

    Hottest Summer on Record for Much of the Pacific Northwest

    The summer of 2015 is likely to go down as the warmest such on record for much of the Pacific Northwest, especially for the states of Washington and Oregon. It was also anomalously warm in other parts of the country. Here are some of the details.

  43. – N as anthropogenic nitrogen/nutrient in widespread algae blooms. DT

    Algae blooms force out walleye

    OAK HARBOR, Ohio — Thick mats of algae spreading across western Lake Erie in recent weeks appear to be pushing one of the region’s most-prized sport fish to flee, forcing some charter-boat captains to cancel trips. At least one told out-of-state visitors hoping to catch walleye to stay home for now.

    Fishing guides who make their living on the lake say this year’s algae bloom is quickly rivaling the worst they’ve seen.

    “There are places out there where it looks like you’re running through green mud,” said Bob Witt, who runs a fleet of charter boats east of Toledo.

    Scientists tracking the algae say that the heaviest concentration is in the western third of the lake. [Why here? Close to N source? Water/climate conditions more suitable?]

    The greatest concern is that the algae produce a toxin that can cause vomiting, diarrhea or liver damage in extreme cases. A year ago, those toxins contaminated the drinking water for 400,000 in the Toledo area and southeastern Michigan.

    The blooms also are blamed for contributing to oxygen-deprived dead zones where fish can’t survive, but less is known about how the algae affect the movements of the fish population.

    • Dan B

       /  September 9, 2015


      I grew up near Lake Erie. Here are a few details. The lake is very shallow. I recall the deepest section as 100′. The western third is extremely shallow, often 8 feet deep. It warms up rapidly in summer. In addition all the agricultural runoff from farms around Lake Huron and the wastewater from Detroit add up. Southwest Ontario and Michigan are farm country, as is northwest Ohio. The combination of warm, slow moving water, and nitrogen loading has made this part of the lake prime real estate for eutrophication from excess algal growth. Lately it’s going into high gear.


  44. – The first priority should be to inventory various uses and consumption of the power, and cease unnecessary or nonessential uses — then think about how much you really need.

    – Ps ‘Pacific Electric Red Cars’, LA used to have a great mass transit street car system before motorcar/fossil fuel industry muscled them aside.

    ‘Drought is killing California’s hydroelectric power. Can solar make up the difference?’

    Snowmelt entering Big Creek’s hydroelectric powerhouses has slowed to a trickle. Reservoirs sit at their lowest levels ever.

    The 102-year-old central-California complex owned and operated by Southern California Edison lost 80 percent of its hydroelectric power this year, a direct result of a persistent drought that has wiped clean the Sierra Nevada snowpack and produced an eerie silence inside Big Creek’s 27 damns and nine powerhouses.

    “This is definitely the worst I’ve ever seen,” said Andrew McMillan, operations manager for Edison’s massive hydro plant, a historic project situated between Yosemite and King’s Canyon financed by Henry Huntington in 1913 to send power to his Pacific Electric Red Cars.

    • Ah, the Red Cars! Los Angeles would have 100+ miles of subway right now had it not been for the auto/tyre/oil companies that conspired to get rid of them.

  45. – Algae and algae mats can be more than type.

    ‘Onondaga Lake algae mats a sign of the season, not pollution: researchers’

    Syracuse, N.Y. — Those stringy, stinky mats of algae drifting in Onondaga Lake are the signs of the season, not pollution.

    What’s floating now is a type of algae that grows on plants that root in the bottom of the lake, said Dave Matthews, a scientist with the Upstate Freshwater Institute. Those rooted plants start to die as days get shorter and there is less sunlight.

    “As they die back, that filamentous stuff is free to float around and wash up on shore,” he said. “‘Tis the season.”

    This kind of algae shouldn’t be confused with harmful algal blooms, which are comprised of potentially toxic blue-green algae, Matthews said.

    “When people talk about algae blooms or harmful algae blooms, that’a s different kind of algae,” he said.

  46. Colorado Bob

     /  September 8, 2015

    Warning on deadly ancient viruses awakening in Siberia as climate change melts the permafrost

    The same team discovered another giant virus, which they called Pithovirus Sibericum, at the same location in 2013, then revived it in a petri dish, reported AFP.

    To the ‘astonishment of scientists’, these ancient specimens are ‘complex genetically’. ‘M. Sibericum has more than 500 genes, while another family of giant virus discovered in 2003, Pandoravirus, has 2,500. The Influenza A virus, by contrast, has eight genes,’ revealed the AFP report.


  47. Dr. M.

     /  September 8, 2015

    Arctic ice extent broke the 2012 record?

  48. – “They get real thin. It messes them up,” said Melvin Reed of Shidler, Oklahoma. “Sometimes you just have to shoot them.”

    AP exclusive: Drilling boom means more harmful waste spills

    An Associated Press analysis of data from leading oil- and gas-producing states found more than 180 million gallons of wastewater spilled from 2009 to 2014 in incidents involving ruptured pipes, overflowing storage tanks and even deliberate dumping. There were some 21,651 individual spills. The numbers are incomplete because many releases go unreported.

    Though oil spills get more attention, wastewater spills can be more damaging. Microbes in soil eventually degrade spilled oil. Not so with wastewater — also known as brine, produced water or saltwater. Unless thoroughly cleansed, salt-saturated land dries up. Trees die. Crops cannot take root.

    “Oil spills may look bad, but we know how to clean them up,” said Kerry Sublette, a University of Tulsa environmental engineer. “Brine spills are much more difficult.”

    In addition to extreme salinity, the fluids often contain heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury. Some ranchers said they have lost cattle that lapped up the liquids or ate tainted grass.

    “They get real thin. It messes them up,” said Melvin Reed of Shidler, Oklahoma. “Sometimes you just have to shoot them.”

    The AP obtained data from Texas, North Dakota, California, Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Kansas, Utah and Montana — states that account for more than 90 percent of U.S. onshore oil production.

  49. Colorado Bob

     /  September 8, 2015

    The troubling reason why deep ocean mercury is reaching California’s coasts

    We’re taught from a young age to be afraid of mercury poisoning — it’s the reason most people are careful never to break a thermometer. But human pollution is putting mercury into the environment anyway, in both the gases we pour into the atmosphere and the waste we dump into our waterways, and one of the biggest places it’s showing up is in the ocean.

    That’s bad enough, but to make matters worse, a new study, published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that a particularly toxic form of mercury is being shuttled from the open ocean into coastal areas in an unexpected way: in the fur of seals and sea lions.


    • redskylite

       /  September 8, 2015

      Washington Post really are producing worthwhile stories with Chelsea Harvey and Chris Mooney (and others), two studies on marine mercury and methylmercury this week, also highlighted in the New Scientists today . . .

      A hydroelectric dam is planned for the river, and the resulting flooding could wash more mercury downstream to the fish that local Inuit communities depend on. Damming the river could double the methylmercury in the lake, Schartup warns – and a similar thing could happen with hydroelectric developments currently planned throughout the Arctic.

    • Maria

       /  September 9, 2015

      Compared with forest ponds, he found large quantities of phytoestrogens in suburban water bodies. These chemicals, which can mimic estrogen and affect the sexual development of frogs and other animals (including humans), are produced by plants such as clover and other legumes (soybeans and peanuts, for example). It could be that just by maintaining a lawn and removing native plants from their yards, humans could be impairing the hormonal development of animals. Chemicals that have this effect, like bisphenol A, are called endocrine disruptors

  50. Colorado Bob

     /  September 8, 2015

    Tacoma zoo loses half its sea star population to wasting disease

    TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A disease responsible for wreaking havoc on wild sea star populations on the West Coast last year has reappeared at a Tacoma zoo.

  51. Colorado Bob

     /  September 8, 2015

    This entire subject has in the past, been centered on the physics, now the biology is voting in ever greater numbers. And as most of us know, biology not physics gave us the oxygen based system we all grew up with. It took 2 billion years, but it still changed the game.

    I say this because I have always hated the “The Puny Humans Theory”. Which is best summed up in this Op-ed from the New York Post –

    Wake up, Obama, climate change has been happening forever


    The entire idea is that people are so small, and nature is so large , we couldn’t change anything even if we wanted to. Never mind the Panama Canal, or the reduction of the North American Bison herd from 50 million to 5,000 in less than a decade. One bullet at a time.

    There over 7 Billion of us now, and for every 100 of us there is one psychopath.

    That leaves us with 70 million psychopaths. Hitler was a psychopath, he killed 60 million people.

    I really hate this “The Puny Humans Theory”.

    We are the greatest geo-engineers since that bacteria gave us oxygen.

    We killed over 290,000 Blue Whales like the movie “Moby Dick”.

    I really hate this “The Puny Humans Theory”.

    • Abel Adamski

       /  September 9, 2015

      Cats and Pigeons.
      All the unexpected side effects

      “Scientists said they will reanimate a 30,000-year-old giant virus unearthed in the frozen wastelands of Siberia, and warned climate change may awaken dangerous microscopic pathogens.

      Reporting this week in PNAS, the flagship journal of the US National Academy of Sciences, French researchers announced the discovery of Mollivirus sibericum, the fourth type of prehistoric virus found since 2003—and the second by this team.

      Before waking it up, researchers will have to verify that the bug cannot cause animal or human disease.”

      “Unlike most viruses circulating today, and to the general astonishment of scientists, these ancient specimens dating from the last Ice Age are not only bigger, but far more genetically complex.

      M. sibericum has more than 500 genes, while another family of giant virus discovered in 2003, Pandoravirus, has 2,500. The Influenza A virus, by contrast, has eight genes.

      In 2004, US scientists resurrected the notorious “Spanish flu” virus, which killed tens of millions of people, in order to understand how the pathogen was so extraordinarily virulent.”

  52. redskylite

     /  September 8, 2015

    Technical University of Denmark (DTU) has a great new study out on Zooplankton and new finding in regard to carbon absorption and cycles.

    And it comes with a warning . . . . .

    “This process has been going on for thousands of years, so it’s not a new mechanism by any means. But changes in the ocean, such as the water getting warmer and ocean currents changing, may have consequences for the copepods and their biology. Therefore, we might be running the risk that climate change will weaken the process and as a result reduce the ocean’s ability to absorb CO2.”

  53. Colorado Bob

     /  September 8, 2015

    I really hate this “The Puny Humans Theory”.

  54. – Interesting photo:

    Space Station Crosses Sun’s Face in Spectacular New Photo

    The picture, a composite of five images taken Sunday (Sept. 6) from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia by NASA photographer Bill Ingalls, captures a “transit” of the International Space Station (ISS) across the solar disk.

    Such transits don’t last very long, because the space station zooms around Earth at more than 17,000 mph (27,000 km/h) — the $100 billion complex completes one lap around our planet once every 90 minutes or so.

    Transits can offer more than just aesthetic appeal. For example, in the 18th century, astronomers were able to calculate the distance from the Earth to the sun by carefully observing two transits of Venus across the sun’s face (one in 1761 and the other in 1769) from various locations around the globe.

    • Maria

       /  September 9, 2015

      Ouch. Cheap Gas Fires Up Big SUV Sales, Slows Electric Cars, Hybrids

      By Benjamin Hulac and ClimateWire | September 8, 2015

      Consumers in the United States bought automobiles in the four months from May through August at the fastest clip in more than a decade, propelled by strong appetite for trucks, sport utility vehicles and crossover models and by low gas prices.

      Light-vehicle sales for August surpassed 17 million units for the fourth month in a row, measured at an annualized, seasonally adjusted rate, according to automotive data company WardsAuto. The last time that happened was 2000, the firm said.

      Compared against August last year, total sales were down less than half a percent for all light-duty vehicles, and light car sales were down about 10 percent. But light-duty truck sales—up a little more than 8 percent for the month, despite the fact that Labor Day sales will be counted in September—pushed some models to record sales totals and buoyed results overall.

      Ford Motor Co., the second-biggest player in the United States by market share, reported a 5 percent increase and the greatest sales volume since 2006. “Consumer demand for our newest vehicles made August a strong month for Ford,” Mark LaNeve, vice president for marketing, sales and service in the United States, said in a statement. “We also had our best month of Ford SUV sales in 12 years.”

      Like cross-town rival Ford, which saw sales of its brawny Mustang and immense Lincoln Navigator models jump 70 percent or more, General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler, the smallest by market share of the former U.S.-owned and so-called “Big Three,” reported sharp increases in demand for many of their largest vehicles.

      General Motors sold more than a quarter of a million cars in August, down from the same month last year, but buyers snapped up Chevrolets, pushing the brand’s truck sales up for the 16th month straight. Sales for Chevrolet’s Silverado climbed 20 percent, and Tahoe deliveries rose 5 percent; it was the best performance for both models since 2008. And GMC, the maker of freight-hauling, burly pickups, had its best month since 2005, the company said.

      Fiat Chrysler also reported a monthly gain: The company’s U.S. division had its best August since 2002, as eight Fiat Chrysler cars sold in the country set sales records.

      “In spite of a tough 2014 comparison and extreme stock market volatility, our dealer’s competitive spirit kicked in and propelled us to our 65th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases,” Reid Bigland, the head of U.S. sales for Fiat-Chrysler, said in a statement.

      Market fundamentals look good
      “All of the economic fundamentals that we look at, including job growth, disposable income and fuel prices, are in good shape and that should keep sales strong,” Kurt McNeil, vice president of General Motors’ U.S. sales operations, said in a statement. Sales at Toyota Motor Corp., the third-largest player in the U.S. market, declined about 9 percent.

      Economists consider rising demand for and orders of durable goods—items expected for work for three years or more, such as appliances, furniture, heavy machinery and vehicles—as an indication of improving consumer sentiment and a rosier economy.

      And wings of the federal government haven’t overlooked the industry’s growth and brisk business.

      The U.S. Department of Commerce said Wednesday that new orders of manufactured goods rose in July by 0.4 percent.
      see also:

  55. Andy in SD

     /  September 9, 2015

    Here is a nice satellite shot of the mega dust cloud.

  56. Abel Adamski

     /  September 9, 2015

    Good article on climate crocks

    Everywhere but the Anglosphere under the sway of the cults of Murdoch and Fossil Fuels and fundamental religious fanaticism

  57. Vic

     /  September 9, 2015

    Say hello to Mollivirus sibericum, the latest in a growing list of ancient organisms to be released from Siberia’s melting permafrost regions.

    “Unlike most viruses circulating today, and to the general astonishment of scientists, these ancient specimens dating from the last Ice Age are not only bigger, but far more complex genetically.

    M. sibericum has more than 500 genes, while another family of giant virus discovered in 2003, Pandoravirus, has 2,500.

    The Influenza A virus, by contrast, has eight genes.”

  58. Vic

     /  September 9, 2015

    Climate change hell came to breakfast in Syria then it stayed for lunch and dinner.

  59. – I like this. PNW needs spectral monitoring. Rainforest chemical color spectrum measuring

    Rain Forest Greenery Reveals Chemical Mosaic

    Each of the rain forest’s many trees and plant species develops a set of chemicals needed to help it carry out its life functions, including harvesting sunlight, fending off herbivores, attracting pollinators and adapting to climate change. Variation in topography affects every plant’s water, nutrients and other resources.

    Airborne laser-guided imaging spectroscopy has enabled scientists to observe that lowland Amazon forests are grouped together in chemical communities based on the soils and the geographical features on which they grow. This Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO) image shows floodplain forest canopies in red that are abundant with growth chemicals, as compared to forest canopies on bordering terraces in yellow-green that display fewer growth chemicals. According to Carnegie researchers, the maps explain the geographic pattern of carbon dioxide uptake in the lowland Amazon and help to predict forest responses to climate change. Courtesy of Greg Asner

  60. redskylite

     /  September 9, 2015

    A article from Joe Romm in ClimateProgress today, a few years ago would have been regarded as “alarmist”. In view of developments in the last few years and especu\ially more recently with masses of refugees from Syria (and Iraq), “alarmist” has been overused mainly by people with hidden and vested interests. His points are very real and need to be taken very seriously. With the droughts being experienced around the world “dustbowlification” is a very real prospect for large swathes of land . . . . . .

    “What will happen in the real world where this process occurs gradually over the coming decades for Mexico and Central America — at the same time United States is dealing with the self-inflicted destruction of its own livable climate?

    The situation will be a humanitarian and security disaster of almost unimaginable dimensions compared to the current refugee crisis. As Femia and colleague Caitlin Werrell told Climate Progress, ‘If we worry about the security implications of refugee and migration flows in the future, we need to think about the problem in terms of prevention. Preventive security.’
    It’s time to listen to the world’s top scientists and move quickly toward the supercheap path of avoiding climate catastrophe in the first place.”

    • redskylite

       /  September 9, 2015

      Apologies and bah – I don’t know where “especu\ially ” came from – please read “especially” instead.

      • No worries, skylite. I have 2 separate posts with just one link each in moderation. Robert is highly likely sleeping as I post this. Wonder what I did? Oh well. Scientific American has 2 good pieces tonight re: big jump in USA Suv’s, trucks. The other is about wind farms and how even they are impacted by climate change and normal climate variants like El Niño. The answer? Diversify your wind farm portfolio by “planting” in different parts of the world.

  61. Maria

     /  September 9, 2015

    Unanticipated calculations/prep for wind power generators? The W USA farms have decreased production this year because of El Niño. The Triple R is also implicated. Canadian farms produced more.

    Lower-than-average winds in the western United States in the first half of the year have cut into production and revenues at wind farms there, according to company data. Now, the industry is trying to figure out how it will deal with variable weather in the future.

    Wind energy is booming in the United States, with prices at an all-time low. The sector grew 8 percent in 2014, boosting domestic capacity to almost 66,000 megawatts and providing around 4.4 percent of the country’s electricity, according to the Department of Energy (ClimateWire, Aug. 11).

    That means changes in wind patterns that might have once gone unnoticed are now having a visible economic impact. And increasingly more people in the wind industry have a stake in predicting, and adapting, to unusual weather.

    “For industries across the world impacted by weather, it’s now all about adaptation,” said Pascal Storck, the global manager of energy services at environmental measurement company Vaisala. “Renewable energy is the poster child for an industry impacted by weather.”

    Concerns rose in January, when slower winds first appeared. In the first quarter, nearly all regions west of the Mississippi River saw winds at least 20 percent below the average for the last 30 years or so, according to an analysis by Vaisala.

    California, Washington, Oregon and Texas, hotbeds for wind farms, had a particularly slow winter. Some regions saw winds around 50 percent lower than normal.

    Since then, conditions have started improving into early summer but have remained largely below average for most regions in the West, according to Vaisala.

    Lower winds mean turbines have been churning out less electricity. A U.S. Energy Information Administration analysis confirmed that wind farms in California, Oregon and Washington had been working at a reduced rate this spring compared with the five-year mean.

    Most major wind operators, from NRG Energy Inc. to NextEra Energy Inc., also reported seeing slower winds in both the first and second quarters of the year—and reduced revenues.

    Duke Energy Corp. saw an $18 million drop from electricity from January to June, “primarily resulting from changes in wind patterns,” according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. AES Corp. reported similar losses of $19 million.

    The consequences of a changing climate?
    This year’s wind trends could be consistent with wider weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean, said Gil Compo, a climate scientist affiliated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Colorado.

    Above-average sea surface temperatures and a high-pressure ridge in the Pacific have been linked to a hot and dry winter in California and the Northwest. The same pattern could have also disturbed winds throughout the western United States, he said.

    A growing El Niño could add extra variability. Vaisala forecast winds in the Northwest and Midwest to remain low into the fourth quarter as a result. California could see above-average winds.

    But scientists warned there weren’t enough historical or current records on winds at turbine heights around 80 to 100 meters, or 200 to 300 feet, to reach any significant conclusions about the phenomenon.

    “The sparseness of the data makes it more difficult to assess how extreme events like what we’ve observed in the first half of 2015 are,” said James Wilczak, a research meteorologist with NOAA in Colorado.

    “Even with relatively good measurements of precipitation and temperature, trying to attribute a single season’s regional drought or temperature extremes to some kind of climatic shift is extremely difficult to do,” he added. “Attempting to do the same thing for turbine-height wind speeds is many, many times more difficult.”

    Some researchers have tried predicting long-term wind patterns but found that the models disagreed or that there was little convincing change.

    As the wind industry continues to expand, however, the need for good short- and long-term wind forecasts is becoming increasingly urgent, Wilczak said.

    Building a climate-resilient industry
    Companies know that winds fluctuate often. They build flexibility into contracts with utilities and warn investors of some seasonal and year-to-year variability. But this year’s weather conditions have exceeded those calculations, causing some companies to alter their annual expectations.

    For example, Pattern Energy Group Inc., which owns wind farms in Texas, California and elsewhere, reduced its expected 2015 output by 5 percent in a statement in April. Low winds have reduced its production by 15 percent in the first six months of 2015, according to SEC filings.

    “We are building a business for the long term. Short-term volatility and wind levels, or the capital markets, while frustrating, will occur from time to time,” CEO Michael Garland said in an Aug. 10 earnings call with investors. “We will continue to seek the best ways to manage these challenges.”

    His company’s adjustments included maintaining the availability of its equipment, especially during periods of high wind, and improving its forecasts for windy months in the future. The company also plans to keep some of its cash from above-average wind years as backup for below-average wind years, according to filings with the SEC.

    In the long term, weather conditions might be even less clear. The phrase “climate change” only very rarely comes up when energy companies discuss long-term prospects with investors—and even then, it’s most likely to raise concerns about government regulations on emissions.

    But “there’s nothing like an absence of the fuel to make people talk about the weather and climate,” said Storck, the global manager of energy services at Vaisala.

    Reaching out for better weather information is a first step toward preparing for a changing climate, he said.

    “The phone in our office is ringing off the hook, with people asking what happened, what does it mean, how usual is it, what is the prediction for the future,” he said. “And then the light bulb goes off: Where do I build my next set of projects to mitigate this?”

    The unusual weather patterns did not reduce winds everywhere. Canada, for example, saw above-average wind speeds throughout the year, according to the Vaisala analysis. So, Storck has been advising companies and investors on how to spread the risk across different wind farm locations to build a “climate resilient portfolio.”

    “If all of your eggs are in one basket, if all of your wind farms are in Texas and it’s negatively impacted by climate change, that’s a risk that needs to be accounted for,” he said.

    Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC., 202-628-6500

    • ” That means changes in wind patterns that might have once gone unnoticed…”
      ” Some regions saw winds around 50 percent lower than normal.”
      ” California could see above-average winds.” – [Onshore? Or off?]

      Turbines aside, the current state of the winds over much of NA are most important here. They are definitely not behaving as they historically have.

      I pointed out this likely hood awhile ago — just from reading the winds (speed, altitude, direction), the weather, and terrain change from AGW, etc.
      We have seen this reported on in stories about wildfires, trees falling, etc.

      Any upcoming El Nino effects on the NA coast will likely be of a new dimensions.

      As I watch the clouds and winds in PDX PNW I notice that the cloud formations and the weather systems don’t seem to congeal, or ‘dig in’, very much, or for very long. They don’t get organized.
      These weak winds also allow for more toxic particulate to fall out onto the land and onto the water — toxic atmosphere = toxic landscape/seascape.

      Thanks, Maria — it is good to find relevant data connected to another topic. These webs of info make for an educated network. Good stuff.

  62. Apneaman

     /  September 9, 2015

    The East Siberian Arctic Shelf: towards further assessment of permafrost-related methane fluxes and role of sea ice

    Sustained release of methane (CH4) to the atmosphere from thawing Arctic permafrost may be a positive and significant feedback to climate warming. Atmospheric venting of CH4 from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) was recently reported to be on par with flux from the Arctic tundra; however, the future scale of these releases remains unclear. Here, based on results of our latest observations, we show that CH4 emissions from this shelf are likely to be determined by the state of subsea permafrost degradation. We observed CH4 emissions from two previously understudied areas of the ESAS: the outer shelf, where subsea permafrost is predicted to be discontinuous or mostly degraded due to long submergence by seawater, and the near shore area, where deep/open taliks presumably form due to combined heating effects of seawater, river run-off, geothermal flux and pre-existing thermokarst. CH4 emissions from these areas emerge from largely thawed sediments via strong flare-like ebullition, producing fluxes that are orders of magnitude greater than fluxes observed in background areas underlain by largely frozen sediments. We suggest that progression of subsea permafrost thawing and decrease in ice extent could result in a significant increase in CH4 emissions from the ESAS.”

    • Dave Person

       /  September 9, 2015

      Hi Apneaman,
      This must be some of the first fruit from the SWERUS expedition.


    • Nice to see the Royal Society finally waking up to the ESS methane problem that Shakhova and Semiletov clued us into.

  63. I caught a program on public radio tonight that discussed the problems that Puerto Rico is facing—from debt to drought.

    The speaker pointed out that it’s the educated, professional middle class that is most suffering. The rich aren’t and neither are the poor who get subsidies for food, health care and other essential needs.

    Their sales tax rate is 11%—-ouch. Although these middle class professionals don’t pay federal tax, he said that PR citizens pay other taxes that USA mainland citizens don’t.

    Drought—3 days OFF and one day ON for many/most and water bills going up at the same time.

  64. Greg

     /  September 9, 2015

    Worldwide there have been 200,000 laid off in the oil industry due to low prices this year.

  65. Robert, ICYMI, or with the many acronyms in use I may have missed them — some useful links:
    Office of Naval Research (ONR) Arctic and Global Prediction Program

  66. The Navajo in New Mexico had to do this ten years ago, or more – wild or not – there was no water.

    28 Emaciated Wild Horses Euthanized Near Las Vegas; Drought Blamed

    The Bureau of Land Management euthanized 28 wild horses late last week in an area northwest of Las Vegas, and officials say drought was a factor in the animals’ weak condition.

    According to, 202 of the more than 400 wild horses in the Cold Creek area were rounded up as the BLM works to nurse the emaciated creatures back to health. All of the horses captured were in poor shape, but 28 of them were in such bad condition, the only option was for them to be put down, the report added.

  67. People living near 60 Freeway in Ontario breathe the worst air in the Southland

    Health experts have known for years that people living near major roads breathe higher levels of air pollution and face greater risk of asthma, heart disease, lung deficiencies and a variety of other ailments. But air quality officials did not regularly measure pollution near freeways until new federal requirements kicked in last year.

    Joe Ponce, who lives about two blocks from the new air quality monitor near the 60, said he sees evidence of air pollution in the fine black dust that settles on his Ontario home’s roof and the increasing number of cars and trucks blasting by on the freeway.

    “Anybody who lives next to a freeway is going to tell you that there’s more trucks than ever before,” he said. “When we were going through the recession, you could count them on one hand. Now they’re a solid lane.”

    – [Add NAFTA, and the Central Valley ‘food basket’ emissions into the Pm picture.]

    For decades, air quality officials deliberately measured pollution at a distance from traffic and other big pollution sources. But U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements that took effect last year require more than 100 big cities to place pollution monitors next to major roads and use them to determine whether the air meets health standards.

    – [Finally, after thousands of deaths and respiratory attacks — and ‘truckers’ et al giving themselves permission to pollute to kill.]

  68. Modi fiddles as drought shrivels India’s crops:

    ” … Meanwhile, across villages in the huge western state of Maharashtra, weeds grow through drooping sugarcane and soybean crops. Rats infest sunbaked rice fields.

    “Rains were more than 40 percent below normal in central Maharashtra. Farmers there, worried that their crops will fail again, said they had lost hope with Modi.

    “‘He only talks,’ said Nanasaheb Patil, 32, a rice grower in the hill village of Bamnoli. Patil got no government aid when unseasonal rain damaged his crops earlier this year. ‘Since he came to power, nothing has changed for us.’

    “Crop damage is no longer as big a worry for India as it was as recently as eight years ago, thanks to bumper harvests of staples like rice, wheat and sugar, aided by government subsidies.

    “But for India’s nearly 200 million marginal farmers, many of whom borrow heavily to cultivate plots smaller than two acres, the fate of one crop can make the difference between life and death … ”

  69. 4 Western States Could See Warmest Year on Record

  70. Greg

     /  September 9, 2015

    Japan currently experiencing “extraordinarilly heavy” rains with large evacuations in metropolitan Tokyo. Stationary front with left over tropical depression Etau:

  71. Spike

     /  September 10, 2015

    Interesting comment from head of UK Met Office on UK summer:

    “If we look beyond our shores there have been some big changes in the global climate this year. El Niño is in full flight, disturbing weather patterns around the world. The low pressure that has dominated our weather is part of a pattern of waves in the jet stream around the world that has brought crippling heat waves to places like Poland and Japan. And, looking back over past El Niños, you could have expected that a more unsettled summer might be on the cards for the UK. Closer to home the North Atlantic is more than 2 degrees colder than normal. It seems quite likely that the unusually cold North Atlantic has strengthened and pushed our jet stream south, also contributing to the low pressure systems that have dominated our weather.”

    Now the Met Office is hugely conservative and careful in its language, as the vocal denialist lobby over here, strongly represented in government, is quick to pounce. But this careful nuanced language really sounds akin to much of the work you do on here Robert. It’s a welcome contribution I think, especially given the fact that one Met Office scientist has been very aggressive in condemning Emma Thompson’s recent timescale error in talking about possible climate impacts.

  72. Spike

     /  September 10, 2015

    In Tochigi, more than 500mm (19 inches) of rain fell in 24 hours in places, according to local public broadcaster NHK, which said that was about double what normally falls there throughout the whole of September.
    Parts of central Tochigi have seen almost 60cm of rain since Monday evening, breaking records.
    Many other areas of eastern and north-eastern Japan have also been issued weather warnings, including Fukushima prefecture, home to the still-damaged nuclear plant hit in 2011’s earthquake and tsunami.
    The downpour overwhelmed the site’s drainage pumps, a spokesman for operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said. Huge volumes of water, used to cool the plant’s crippled reactors, are being stored at the site.

  1. West Coast Facing Severe Weather for Fall & Winter and What the New Normal Will Really Mean » Survival Acres Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: