Even a Monster El Nino Can’t Beat the Southwest Drought

For those who follow weather, it’s a rather strange and disturbing story.

A powerful Pacific Ocean storm forms about 500 miles south of the Aleutian Islands. Heavily laden with rains, strong winds, and trailing a long squall line, the system takes aim at the US West Coast. It’s a burly beast of a thing. Pumped up by an enormous bleed of moisture rising off of one of the mightiest El Ninos ever seen. An instance of extreme Equatorial heat that’s been firing off since October.

Another Pacific Storm Deflected

(Another Pacific Storm is deflected northward by increasingly persistent high pressure systems as the US Southwest swelters under unseasonable warmth. GFS climate reanalysis by Climate Reanalyzer shows this disturbing weather pattern again and again in the February forecast. In short, it doesn’t look like the California Drought is going to end anytime soon. Image source: Climate Reanalyzer.)

The towering El Nino-fed storm clouds chug east, steaming along toward what appears to be an inexorable collision with California, Oregon, and Washington. But, at the last moment, the storm slams into a heavy pile of atmospheric heat. Warm air building over the US Southwest and nearby ocean zones has shoved the upper air steering current called the Jet Stream pole-ward. The great storm is sucked up into this atmospheric train, delivering its rains along an arc from Washington State on northward.

And so the seemingly impossible has happened. A powerful El Nino’s rains and snows — usually bound directly for California, Oregon and Washington — have been diverted by a new kind of atmospheric pattern associated with climate change.

El Nino’s Rains Gone or Just Taking a Break?

Ever since late January, strong ridges have tended to develop over Western North America. By February 4th, the National Weather Service (NWS) had begun to report on the pattern — describing  it as El Nino taking a 5-10 day break. But the ‘break’ had already begun to show up on January 26th — about ten days prior to the February 4 NWS announcement. And now, on February 10, we’ve seen two full weeks of warm, dry weather settling in over California and the US Southwest. Meanwhile, long range model forecasts indicate that the ‘break’ from El Nino conditions will continue through at least February 16th.

Upper 60s to upper 80s California and Arizona

(Temperatures in the upper 60s to upper 80s is predicted for a large sections of California and Arizona on Tuesday, February 16th. It’s the kind of hot, dry air that brings back memories of recent years when formations of strong, ridiculously resilient ridges pushed California into one of its worst drought episodes on record. Image source: Climate Reanalyzer.)

It’s all just terrible timing. First, California snow packs during December and January began to recover due to strong, El Nino associated, storm systems barreling in. However, now during what should be the peak of the Southwestern rainy season, we have what could be a month long pause in storms hitting the region. It’s as if the rainy season is being hollowed out. And not just any rainy season — a strong El Nino rainy season which should have been far, far rainier than most.

Last week, Climate Central and Peter Gleick — a climate expert at Pacific Institue — made the following warning:

seven days of sustained warmth could melt as much as 30 percent of California’s snowpack. The hot, dry weather is exactly what baked in exceptional drought in California over the past four years. Some signs indicate the heat is driven in large part by climate change, but the role of the ridiculously resilient ridge is still an area of active investigation.

Well, by tomorrow seven days will have come and gone. But the end to the anomalous warm, dry spell is still nowhere in sight.

California Drought Really Hasn’t Budged

Meanwhile, a four-year-long California drought appears to be making a strong run at year five. In fact, if you look at the US Drought Monitor, you’ll find that a large swath of the West is currently suffering under moderate to exceptional drought conditions.

West Still Suffering From Drought

(Severe Drought remains in place over the US West. El Nino appears to have lost at least some of its ability to deliver heavy rains as an intensifying regime of human-forced warming pushes typical weather patterns further and further off-kilter. All bad news for an area that has been suffering from one severe drought after another since the early 2000s. Image source: Drought Monitor.)

Quite frankly, it’s insane that we’re still seeing these conditions during a monster El Nino. These droughts should be rolling back as the storm track intensifies and hurls severe weather at the US West Coast. But that’s not what’s happening. At least not consistently. Instead, we keep getting these extreme ridge patterns in the Jet Stream over western North America. We keep getting these very warm, very dry spells of weather during the wet season. And now, we have California Snowpack melting away in February of all times.

A Ridge-Trough Pattern That’s All-Too Likely Related To A Human-Forced Warming of the Arctic

The fact that these weather patterns emerged after the warmest January and lowest sea ice extents on record for the Arctic is a point that should not be missed by weather and climate analysts. It appears that what we are seeing is yet more evidence that polar amplification is driving a consistent high amplitude bulge in the Jet Stream over Western North America together with severe periods of warmth, dryness and snowpack melt during Winter. The hot side of a dipole pattern that is also setting up more extreme storm potentials as cold air is driven out of the Arctic along a deep trough over the Eastern US, slams into a record hot Gulf Stream, and then sets off a series of atmospheric bombs along a storm track running all the way across the North Atlantic and into Western Europe. Yet more evidence that what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic.

Links:

Climate Reanalyzer

Drought Monitor

Hot, Dry Weather Could Cut California Snowpack

Polar Amplification vs A Godzilla El Nino

NWS: El Nino Taking a 5-10 Day Break

Arctic Sea Ice Death Spiral Continues

BBC: Storm Imogen Takes Aim at UK

Hat Tip to DT Lange

Hat Tip to Andy in San Diego

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

 

 

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119 Comments

  1. pccp82

     /  February 10, 2016

    Does this mean El Nino is about to end? Also, could we be moving to a regime where the RRR is a permanent feature?

    Reply
    • I don’t think it’s ending so much as being jerked around.

      Reply
    • El Nino appears to be past peak. But the long range CFS models show it hanging on at least until early summer with a possible resurgence to El Nino conditions come Fall. This is not like 1998, so we may have more comparative heat — +1.15 or +1.2 C above 1880s values for 2016. That’s pretty rough. A bit worse than I expected about a year ago. The real question is how long will it take for us to see a La Nina?

      Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  February 18, 2016

        Do we know from paleo-climate research just how long the ENSO phenomenon has occurred? I rather suspect that in a global climate regime as massively and rapidly disrupted as it is now that it will be more than merely ‘distorted’.

        Reply
  2. It’s been a nice little break, but we now return you to your regular programming.

    I am not looking forward to the 2017 summer. But not as much as California isn’t looking forward to it.

    Reply
  3. Ryan in New England

     /  February 11, 2016

    Great post, Robert! This weather pattern is is like the resilient ridge…ridiculous. Every aspect of it is remarkable. The diverted El Nino moisture, the returning RRR pattern, abnormal warmth off the coast becoming somewhat permanent, significant melting snowpack in the middle of February, and a drought that can’t be busted by El Nino, which is typically the biggest provider of moisture to that state, even if it is in deluges and intense storms. It seems to me that anthropogenic warming is starting to overwhelm the dynamics of some of the planet’s largest weather producing features, such as the Arctic and its ice cap, the effects traditionally produced by El Nino, the Amazon rainforest, the Gulf Stream…climate change’s fingerprints are all over today’s weather. The answer to the nonsensical question “did climate change cause this storm?” is yes. Everything that happens these days is influenced in some way by the changes we have made. And the results are becoming ever clearer.

    Reply
    • The Atlantic is going off as predicted. It appears that global heating has already forced the pattern change out west. Those cities struggling with water scarcity should view this as the first real check. If El Nino can’t be relied upon to refresh the reservoirs … We have a lot of resource stress coming over the next two decades. I sincerely hope the west is ready.

      Reply
      • Steven Blaisdell

         /  February 11, 2016

        “We have a lot of resource stress coming over the next two decades.”
        In the western and southwestern US, much of Africa and western Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Mexico, Central and South America….

        Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  February 18, 2016

        And southern Australia, too, let me assure you from increasingly bitter experience. Tasmania looks like losing its temperate rain-forest very abruptly, too, through ‘unprecedented’ (the word of the day)dryness and fires caused by lightning.

        Reply
  4. climatehawk1

     /  February 11, 2016

    Tweeted.

    Reply
  5. Cate

     /  February 11, 2016

    Re atmospheric bombs running across the Atlantic to western Europe: The FB page Severe Weather Europe monitors forecasts, issues alerts, and posts photos and vids of extreme weather as it happens. Yesterday, huge waves and flooding along the coast of Croatia—not how we usually imagine the Adriatic.

    https://www.facebook.com/severeweatherEU/

    Reply
  6. Ailsa

     /  February 11, 2016

    Video of George Monbiot appearing before the recent UK Commons Environmental Committee on flooding. He is then followed by the new Chief Exec of the Environment Agency Sir James Bevan. Climate change and increased extreme weather events seem to be accepted as a given, but no real mention of AGW. I wonder how much effective follow through this will lead to? Of course there needs to be a further connect-the-dots to CO2 etc.

    http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/02d99e9f-6677-4ecc-8aa9-48cb8cdfe86b

    (Found at Adrian Colston’s ‘A Dartmoor and Devon blog’, who writes; “[Monbiot] covered a lot of ground – natural flood plain management, catchment level action, slowing the flow, re-wilding, dam building, beavers, maize cultivation, land use in the uplands etc… (and) the Basic Payment Scheme’s ‘ineligible features’ scandal.”)

    Reply
    • I think the current generation of market-centric (neoliberal) thinkers just can’t seem to wrap their brains around global warming. It pretty much cuts against the grain of their entire world-view. Effective response to climate change requires a society-level mitigation. And, having failed to generate that mitigation effort rapidly enough, taking care of the people impacted is also a society-wide endeavor. If your philosophy, if everything you believe in is predicated on cutting public services, on reducing flows of capital to the public and to investments in the public good, they you basically can’t respond to a big problem like global warming. Your world-view is so feeble that it results in an out of context problem every time government is required to respond. That’s why you have these conservatives in the UK who support flood planning at first and then inevitably cut it later as they attempt to resume business as usual. That’s why you have the same group cutting renewable energy funding against the best interests of the UK people and the people of the world.

      If ever there was a political group that, intentionally or no, set about to work directly against the interests of the people of the UK, the people they are supposed to represent, then this is it. And if we are interested in helping the people of the UK, as we should rightly feel compassion for their growing plight, then we should put forward every effort to have leaders in UK government who actually work for the best interest of the UK people.

      Reply
      • Dokkodo

         /  February 11, 2016

        So very astutely put. The way the government operates here seems to defy all common sense, democracy and logic only more and more as time goes on.

        Reply
      • Ailsa

         /  February 12, 2016

        Dokkodo and RS, from the committee sitting, I found myself quite impressed by Labour MP Mary Creagh (although still unsure how I feel about her arguing in favour of military action in Syria). She put herself up for, then withdrew from, position of new Labour leader after Ed’s humiliation. Her grasp of the issues and forthright questions gave me just a glimmer of hope. Probably I’m just grasping at straws! Shouldn’t get distracted from probably the best (only?) way forward which is local, personal, bottom-up initiative.

        Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  February 18, 2016

        Precisely. The Rightwing psychopathology does not comprehend problems that greed cannot solve. The ‘Invincible Hand’ will fix EVERYTHING, just so long as we get the prices right. The Free Market fundamentalists behave in exactly the same way as a cancer-they MUST grow infinitely, and they take NO notice of ‘limits’. Their egomania rejects any limits to their greed, which, as was noted as long ago as the time of Aristotle, is insatiable. The Right are, as we see every day, utterly unequipped, morally, spiritually and intellectually, to recognise, let alone accept, any limits, so they deny them or ignore them, and their MSM propaganda system follows orders and suit. It is a recipe for certain self-destruction.

        Reply
  7. Cate

     /  February 11, 2016

    Btw, lots of purple aurora about of late, it seems. Severe Weather Europe posted some stunning shots from Tasmania, and then there was this report from Canada, which suggests that the thin purple arcs are not proton arcs but potentially a “new discovery”……. hmmmm.

    http://web-preview.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/rare-proton-arc-spotted-in-alberta-sky/63405/

    Reply
  8. Cate

     /  February 11, 2016

    Apologies for double post mess, RS. Hope you can clean it up.

    Reply
  9. redskylite

     /  February 11, 2016

    Great Post on the persistent drought conditions, ditto from National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. Not sure this item has already been reported, but very relevant to the latest topic . .

    The weather patterns that typically bring moisture to the southwestern United States are becoming more rare, an indication that the region is sliding into the drier climate state predicted by global models, according to a new study.

    “A normal year in the Southwest is now drier than it once was,” said Andreas Prein, a postdoctoral researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) who led the study. “If you have a drought nowadays, it will be more severe because our base state is drier.”

    Climate models generally agree that human-caused climate change will push the southwestern United States to become drier. And in recent years, the region has been stricken by drought. But linking model predictions to changes on the ground is challenging.

    In the new study—published online today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union—NCAR researchers grapple with the root cause of current drying in the Southwest to better understand how it might be connected to a warming climate.

    http://www2.ucar.edu/atmosnews/news/19173/southwest-dries-wet-weather-systems-become-more-rare

    Reply
  10. redskylite

     /  February 11, 2016

    New report out on Climate Change in the Yukon . . .

    Two of the findings include how Yukon’s annual average temperature has increased by 2°C over the last 50 years with winters warming the most at 4° over the last five decades. This is double the national average.

    https://www.yukoncollege.yk.ca/research/post/yukon_climate_change_indicators_released

    Reply
    • Steven Blaisdell

       /  February 11, 2016

      Thanks for the great links. My Facebook page has become an excellent source of all things climate change, in large part from the great links posted here. Thanks again for doing the work.

      Reply
  11. Andy in SD

     /  February 11, 2016

    It was 88 degrees today, 91 on Monday where I live. Clear blue skies.

    Reply
    • Steven Blaisdell

       /  February 11, 2016

      No winter at all here in Central Texas, in any coherent sense of the word. Regularly as hot as early summer throughout January and February.

      Reply
    • So, for context for everyone reading Andy’s comment, the average daytime high in February for San Diego is 65 degrees F. 88 is 23 F hotter than normal. 91 is 26 F hotter than normal. If the month was August, the average high is 76 F.

      So it couldn’t really even be said that it feels like summer in San Diego during February. Over the past few days it has been 12 to 15 degrees hotter than a typical summer day — during February.

      Reply
  12. Very freaky — here in San Diego in early January, we had the worst street flooding that I’ve ever seen in my neighborhood. I was trapped at work for a while — standing water on the exit road that was too deep to drive though safely. I could have river-kayaked half the way home at the peak of the storm.

    Here’s a photo I took in Ocean Beach (near Abbott and Saratoga, for those who wish to Google it): https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CYATSavUEAAe6US.jpg:large

    Yep — that’s a new condo complex that was just built right on the beach. See that below-grade (underwater) parking? 5-6 feet of water in there. You could have kayaked around the whole building easily. First-floor units were all flood-damaged.

    And that’s the second time the place has flooded in the past 6 months. That’s what happens when developers bamboozle (or buy off) local city planners.

    But since then, it has been dry as a bone. The last few days have been ridiculously warm and dry. And there’s no significant rain forecast for the next week. El Nino is starting to turn into El Nada.

    What has been happening here is consistent with the projected pattern of more extreme downpours and longer dry spells as the world warms.

    Reply
    • For reference, Nino 3.4 is still 2.6 C above average. So that’s hardly El Nada. That’s a strong El Nino condition in its own right. Problem is, it appears the influence of global warming is now strong enough to disrupt the El Nino-related weather patterns we’ve come to expect.

      Reply
    • Oops — I should have included the “El Nada” qualifier “as far as San Diego rainfall is concerned”.

      If Feb, March, and April turn out to be abnormally dry in this strong El Nino year, then folks living in California and the Southwest may find themselves in an even bigger “drought” pickle than anyone had ever dreamed of.

      Reply
  13. We did have a bit of rain over this rainy season in Fresno CA (Sep-Feb), but not anywhere near enough. Looks like some smaller trees in my backyard have “given up the ghost” .

    Sent from my iPad 🙏🏻

    >

    Reply
  14. Vic

     /  February 11, 2016

    South Pacific not terrific.


    Fiji.

    “unprecedented temperatures” , coral bleaching, fish kills.
    Sea surface temps of up to 36C.

    Reply
  15. Colorado Bob

     /  February 11, 2016

    Moose: Life of a Twig Eater
    Full Episode
    Premiere date: February 10, 2016 | 0:53:10 | Video expires March 11, 2016 | Buy the DVD

    There is a growing problem in North America affecting moose, the largest species of the deer family. Whether they make their home in the Canadian Rockies or in Minnesota, moose populations are declining at a rapid rate. One reason is that many of the newborn calves are not surviving their first year. In order to find out why, one intrepid cameraman spends a year documenting the life of a moose calf and its mother to understand what it takes to survive.

    Moose populations across North America have declined by 65% in the last 25 years. Several factors at work, all driven by climate change.

    Reply
    • 12volt dan

       /  February 11, 2016

      It’s happening here in mid Ontario as well. Sad to see

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  February 11, 2016

      I watches this last night, Bob. I was going to post a link here, but see you’ve already got that covered🙂 I had been aware of the rapid decline in Moose populations, but every time I read or watch something about them (as with nearly all wildlife these days) it seems their future as a species is even more uncertain. Tragic to see, they are a beautiful animal.

      Reply
  16. Greg

     /  February 11, 2016

    Jeff Masters adds a few brief comments to the theme of this great post. “Another player is the strong upper-level ridge that’s forcing the jet stream from the eastern Pacific to split before it reaches the coast. This ridge–more akin to the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge of the last several winters than to a classic El Niño pattern–has brought sunshine and extremely mild weather throughout the U.S. West, shutting down winter rainfall.”
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/northeast-braces-for-a-frigid-windy-weekend

    Reply
  17. redskylite

     /  February 11, 2016

    Interesting piece on Ozone above the Arctic and rare nacreous clouds in the (AAAS) ScienceMag . . . . .

    Record ozone hole may open over Arctic in the spring

    “The bigger question is what role climate change might be playing. The notoriously mercurial polar weather is the main factor determining how much ozone is destroyed each spring, he says. But climate change is also expected to cool the stratosphere over the long run. The same greenhouse gases that trap heat in the lower atmosphere allow the stratosphere to more effectively radiate energy into space.

    On its own, the stratospheric cooling could make bad ozone years in the Arctic more common. It should also make polar vortices stronger, and more stable. But there is evidence that storminess at lower latitudes—another thing that is expected to increase in a warming world—will make stable polar vortices less common.”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/02/record-ozone-hole-may-open-over-arctic-spring

    Reply
  18. redskylite

     /  February 11, 2016

    An agreement to share data freely on the Zika virus outbreak . .

    A plea for open science on Zika

    11 journal publishers that signed the declaration—including The New England Journal of Medicine, PLOS, Springer Nature, and Science journals, pledge that they will make all papers concerning Zika virus freely available to anyone, and that data or preprints that are made publicly available won’t preempt their journals from later publishing the work. The 20 funding organizations, which include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, and public funding agencies from 11 countries, promise that they will require grantees to have plans in place for sharing their results and data “as rapidly and widely as possible,” including with public health agencies and the World Health Organization (WHO).

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/02/plea-open-science-zika

    Reply
    • From the article:
      “the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, and public funding agencies from 11 countries, promise that they will require grantees to have plans in place for sharing their results and data “as rapidly and widely as possible,” including with public health agencies and the World Health Organization (WHO).
      It’s extremely heartening to see so many leading international organizations united in this unprecedented commitment to open science, reinforcing the decision by the WHO to declare Zika a Public Health Emergency of International Concern,” Farrar says.”
      ________________
      It would be even more heartening to see international organizations including the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and the Wellcome Trust focus on the root causes of increases in vector borne disease and other crises that go hand in hand with human induced warming due to the use of fossil fuels.

      GATES FOUNDATION AND WELLCOME TRUST ARE STILL MAKING MONEY FROM FOSSIL FUELS.

      From the Guardian(http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/16/gates-foundation-divested-fossil-fuels-would-be-19bn-better-off):

      “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would have had $1.9bn (£1.3bn) more to spend on its lifesaving health projects if it had divested from fossil fuels and instead invested in greener companies, according to a new analysis.
      The Canadian research company Corporate Knights examined the stock holdings of 14 funds, worth a combined $1tn, and calculated how they would have performed if they had dumped shares in oil, coal and gas companies three years ago.
      Overall, the funds would have been $23bn better off with fossil fuel divestment. The Wellcome Trust, which is the world’s biggest health charity after the Gates Foundation, would have been $353m better off. The huge Dutch pension fund ABP would have had $9bn in higher returns, while Canada’s CPP would have had $7bn more.”
      _______________
      We can fumigate and vaccinate. We can genetically modify just about anything and create toxins to kill “pests”. BUT—–this will not help the integrity of the biosphere——this will not support a high level of biodiversity of life on earth.

      The hypocrisy of those that claim that want to help fellow humans and life on earth yet still make money from the murderous use of fossil fuels is truly despicable.

      Reply
    • I find this a bit funny. They’re holding on to fossil fuels and losing money doing it. They’re going against what the public wants, what’s good for the public, and it’s a monetary loss for them. So alienate people, contribute to climate harm, and lose money all while doing it. Even from the myopic mindset of looking only at quarterly profits, it makes no bloody sense.

      Reply
      • People need to learn that there are two kinds of divestment: Active Divestment, where you sell your fossil-fuel shares and Passive Divestment, where you hold on to those shares until their value drops to zero.

        Reply
      • Good points Robert.
        I should rephrase what I stated above regarding Gates and Wellcome Trust making money from fossil fuels given the fact that stocks are tanking. The statement I made should be past tense.

        Re caerbannog666’s point on active/passive divestment:
        I believe a key point in favor of active divestment is to remove the legitimacy of the fossil fuel industries. According to a report from Oxford University (http://www.smithschool.ox.ac.uk/research-programmes/stranded-assets/SAP-divestment-report-final.pdf); “The outcome of the stigmatisation process poses the most far-reaching threat to fossil fuel companies.”

        Additionally, there is a moral component to ACTIVE divestment as recognized by the UN and articulated by Desmond Tutu who said that “people of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change”.

        I’m with Desmond Tutu on this one.

        Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  February 18, 2016

        Perhaps they want climate destabilisation to occur. I’ve come to that conclusion, and some years ago. They cannot simply be this stupid.

        Reply
  19. Syd Bridges

     /  February 11, 2016

    This is yet another unpleasant reminder that global warming is not something in our future but is happening now with terrifying rapidity. As Central America, the Middle East, and North Africa become unsustainable, so the major food producing areas of Europe and North America are threatened by droughts and extreme precipitation. The crossover between food demand from an increasing population and the loss of productive land may be much nearer than most people think.

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  February 11, 2016

      I think RS’s post offers much to consider in terms of food supply in North America. I think food will be the issue that will finally awaken most people in the West to the reality of climate change, although whether that awakening leads to positive action remains to be seen. Add to food supply problems the increasing numbers of refugees fleeing not only conflict but famine—last night the CBC reported that African/Middle Eastern refugee numbers to Europe for 2016 would reach 3 million, triple 2015—that’s just one small area. Btw, this morning’s news reports that NATO ships are now patrolling the Aegean “to deter people smugglers”….and presumably, also, the flow of refugees.

      Reply
    • So the thing that concerns me most is it will take a significant effort to manage what we’re seeing in the pipe as we climb up from 1 C toward 2 C over the next few decades. These are crisis years. How bad is determined by how much and how soon we mitigate.

      Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  February 18, 2016

      ‘ Terrifying rapidity’, says it all.

      Reply
  20. Climate change driving species to the Earth’s poles faster than predicted, scientists say

    Professor Camille Parmesan from Plymouth University in the UK said around the world animals and plants were moving towards the Earth’s poles, and it is happening faster than scientists had originally predicted.

    “For the species that we have really good data on where they’ve lived historically over the past 100 years, we’re seeing about half of those have actually moved where they live, which is an astonishing number given we’ve only had one degree centigrade warming,” she said.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-09/climate-change-driving-species-to-the-poles-scientists-say/7152682

    Reply
    • Science is necessarily conservative. From a risk standpoint, though, it can leave us flat-footed. Unfortunately, we’ll continue to see a lot of this ‘faster than predicted’ language coming out of the new reports.

      Reply
  21. Syd Bridges

     /  February 11, 2016

    I was checking out nsidc.org and I noticed this paper from October last year. I don’t recall anyone posting it. It gives another loss of Antarctic ice due to sublimation and scouring of the snow by the katabatic winds on the EAIS. 80 Gt per year isn’t much in SLR, but any extra contribution to it just adds to our woes.

    Das estimates that because of the sublimation, climate models have been overestimating surface mass by more than 80 billion tons per year. “This impacts the surface snow accumulation estimates of most major glaciers and ice streams of East Antarctica,” Das said.

    “What we’re seeing is that East Antarctica—already among the driest regions on Earth—is a bit drier than we thought,” Scambos said. “It’s more likely that it is losing ice, and adding to sea level.”

    http://nsidc.org/news/newsroom/powerful-winds-ablate-antarctica%E2%80%99s-snow

    Reply
    • So you add energy to the system in the form of heat and you get these unexpected effects. Even though temperatures aren’t above freezing at the surface, the ice is still impacted. It’s as if a titan were hammering away at the ice through all these physical processes. I really think we’re going to regret what we’ve already unleashed. People might, as a whole, in some remote way, understand that the climate is changing. But I don’t think they know in their heart of hearts how personal this can get. How personal, for so many, this is likely to get.

      Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  February 11, 2016

    The Koch Brothers Are Now Funding The Bundy Land Seizure Agenda

    The political network of the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch signaled last week that it is expanding its financial and organizational support for a coalition of anti-government activists and militants who are working to seize and sell America’s national forests, monuments, and other public lands.

    The disclosure, made through emails sent by the American Lands Council and Koch-backed group Federalism in Action to their members, comes as the 40-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is winding to an end.

    Link

    Reply
  23. Cnawan Fahey

     /  February 11, 2016

    Another excellent post. Interesting, I was just led here from the Peak Oil website. When worlds collide…

    Reply
    • wili

       /  February 11, 2016

      Welcome to the fray, CF! Lot’s of good info and discussion here. It’s kinda like POForums and the old Oil Drum, but without the troll swarms.

      Reply
  24. JPL

     /  February 11, 2016

    The Climate Movement’s Secret Weapon: Kids!
    They aren’t pawns. They’re passionate.

    http://www.seattleweekly.com/home/962967-129/the-climate-movements-secret-weapon-kids

    I love this!

    John

    Reply
  25. Reply
    • Anthony Sagliani ‏@anthonywx 3h3 hours ago

      Those complaining about how El Niño not working out, go take a trip to Southern Africa and try to find food.

      Reply
  26. WS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 10h10 hours ago

    The E #Pacific remains active this morning with several #gale lows over the waters – seas analyzed up to 32 ft!

    Reply
  27. redskylite

     /  February 11, 2016

    Chris Mooney in the Washington Post today discussing Hurricane Patricia, and another possible reason to worry (especially at night). . . .

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/02/11/we-may-have-just-seen-a-truly-ominous-new-weather-record/

    Reply
  28. Colorado Bob

     /  February 11, 2016

    New ‘Little Ice Age’ coincides with fall of Eastern Roman Empire and growth of Arab Empire

    Researchers from the international Past Global Changes (PAGES) project write in the journal Nature Geoscience that they have identified an unprecedented, long-lasting cooling in the northern hemisphere 1500 years ago. The drop in temperature immediately followed three large volcanic eruptions in quick succession in the years 536, 540 and 547 AD (also known as the Common Era CE). Volcanoes can cause climate cooling by ejecting large volumes of small particles – sulfate aerosols – that enter the atmosphere blocking sunlight.

    Within five years of the onset of the “Late Antique Little Ice Age”, as the researchers have dubbed it, the Justinian plague pandemic swept through the Mediterranean between 541 and 543 AD, striking Constantinople and killing millions of people in the following centuries. The authors suggest these events may have contributed to the decline of the eastern Roman Empire.

    Read more at: Link

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  February 11, 2016

      Large volcanic eruptions can affect global temperature for decades. The researchers suggest that the spate of eruptions combined with a solar minimum, and ocean and sea-ice responses to the effects of the volcanoes, extended the grip of the freezing climate for over a century.

      Büntgen points out that their study serves as an example of how sudden climatological shifts can change existing political systems. “We can learn something from the speed and scale of the transformations that took place at that time,” he said.

      Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  February 11, 2016

    How teachers are getting it wrong on climate change

    A major new survey of U.S. middle school and high school science teachers has found that across the country, a majority are teaching about climate change in their classrooms — but a significant percentage are also including incorrect ideas, such as the notion that today’s warming of the globe is a “natural” process.

    Link

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  February 11, 2016

      Chris Mooney

      Just to let you know, you do a bang up job kid, and I for one read your stuff.
      I would urge you to start reading Robert Scribbler, He keeps his threads clean. And as a result, they are full of reports from all over the world.

      But your threads are full of fleas, which like ticks, and the Aedes Aegypti are moving north due to climate change.

      Insert smiley face here.

      Reply
  30. Cate

     /  February 11, 2016

    Waterspout action in Croatia today. Lots more pics of this at Severe Weather Europe FB page. https://www.facebook.com/severeweatherEU/photos/pb.1377757209114043.-2207520000.1455230216./1772276659662094/?type=3&theater

    Reply
  31. Carol

     /  February 11, 2016

    This article makes a good point.

    The Anthropocene: Great Marketing, Wrong Product
    Are we living in a new geological epoch? Not exactly.

    Some clips from the article:

    The changes that scientists and others rightly point to in fact clearly demonstrate that humans at current scale are not an epoch, but an event, the equivalent of a meteor. The changes we’re introducing are so major, and so fast, that the appropriate mental model is not a new geologic epoch, but an existential, essentially instantaneous, impact across all Earth systems. In geologic time, we’re discontinuous—and given current rates of change, it is highly unlikely that we’re headed for a million years of stability.
    . . . . .
    The concept of Anthropocene is good marketing: It might even make some people look around them and think about how they propose to live on a terraformed planet. But it is profoundly misleading and runs the risk of making us far too comfortable, for it suggests long time periods of stability—that’s what geologic epochs are, after all. But that’s not where we are. The changes noted by scientists, most of which are within a century of our present time, tell us that we are unleashing change at a rate that is a flash across the sky, not marked in the slow deposition of rock. And that we would name an epoch after ourselves just as we turn ourselves into a design space only illustrates our lack of foresight, and how ill-prepared we are for the terraformed planet we have already created.
    . . . . .
    And the different framing matters, for if we are an event and not an epoch, we don’t have the luxury of time that Anthropocene suggests. Rather, we have the challenge of a rapidly and unpredictably changing planet, with a dominant species that is itself evolving ever more rapidly and unpredictably in an auto-catalytic frenzy. The implicit comfort of an Anthropocene is a siren call to a species trying to hold the boat together on rough seas that they, in fact, created. It is not an Anthropocene. It is a singularity. And we don’t have the spare time to adjust our game plan that the Anthropocene, unfortunately, suggests.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2016/02/some_say_climate_change_marks_the_anthropocene_a_new_geological_age_they.html

    Reply
    • Well, in geological terms, an event is all too often a signature for an epoch. For example — the Permian, or the Permian extinction, the K-T boundary, and the PETM. We might well start to call it the Anthropocene extinction event.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  February 11, 2016

        But the Beach Boys are playing here on March the 7th, should still buy my tickets ?

        Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  February 11, 2016

      Carol

      ” humans at current scale are not an epoch, but an event, the equivalent of a meteor.”

      I forget the author just now , but I remember the quote –

      “We are the meteor”.

      Which by the way , would make a great album title. Or book.

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  February 11, 2016

      We certainly are an event, and the human population shooting from two billion to over 7.3 billion (and climbing 200,000 every day) is the asteroid. In geologic timescales, we are pretty much as instantaneous as a massive asteroid strike.

      Reply
    • Scheduling tweet on this, thanks.

      Reply
  32. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    Carol –
    You bring up a much discussed point of late. That things truck along day in and day out, and then they don’t. Like the day the Arch Duke got himself and his wife, shot in the Balkans.
    ( His hunting log had 200,000 animals killed in it. If there was ever a reason to believe in Karma, The Arch Duke is it. )

    But , like the paper I posted up thread. Everything was just swell until –

    New ‘Little Ice Age’ coincides with fall of Eastern Roman Empire and growth of Arab Empire

    The drop in temperature immediately followed three large volcanic eruptions in quick succession in the years 536, 540 and 547 AD

    We in the West, have always believed that Nature was punching bag , and not our mother. It’s comes from the Bible, that passage about :
    “dominion over the Earth” .

    Well , all that worked out for us right up to the day it didn’t.
    ( See Detroit )

    And the much of this science was driven by modelers looking at 100 years in the future. Which gave us all a false sense of the future. As all here are coming to know , the future is next week, and not some modeler’s look into the 22 century. The hell to pay is here and now , not in the distant future. And any informed human on the planet about this subject is scared , depressed , and worried.

    The deniers claim we will somehow overcome. But if we do, we will go back to rocks, and the wise man said , ” We didn’t leave the stone age because we ran out of rocks ”

    So teach your grand kids flint napping, forget about Harvard.

    Reply
  33. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    And the tonic for all this –
    Enya – Sail Away(Orinoco Flow)

    Reply
  34. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    Our beauty knows no bounds and, music and art have proved that for over 40,000 years.

    As we say in Lubbock, “Art saves lives”.

    Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  February 18, 2016

      If we go extinct, our art dies, too, save for electro-magnetic broadcasts that some lucky extra-terrestrials might pick up some day, and wonder at a species that called itself ‘sapiens sapiens’, then cut its own throat.

      Reply
  35. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    I am not going to lose the Earth to greed, low information voters, human folly, or my own failings. I’m going to carry on. I owe it to the cave painters.

    Reply
  36. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    Reply
  37. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    Reply
  38. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    Reply
  39. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    We were artists long before we became greedy fools.

    Reply
  40. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    My friends it is an age darkness , and I have preached it. But I have changed.

    We are bigger than our problems. We can change this. To lay down and quit, is a sin over 40,000 years. No body ever laid down and quit , Except when you reached my age. Then one morning, they all got up, and left you. And then wolves made short work of your broken bones.

    That wasn’t a bad thing, it was “home health care”.

    Reply
  41. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    I planned to die decades ago. And then wolves made short work of my broken bones. This shock makes me crazy as turnip.

    Reply
  42. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    On serious note –
    I hope Trump wins the nomination, they will lose the Senate, and the Supreme Court. And most of the House.

    American is not as crazy as Trump thinks we are.

    Reply
  43. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    The Magnificent Seven (11/12) Movie CLIP – Surrendering to Calvera (1960) HD

    Reply
  44. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    One of the great lines ever –

    Calvera: No, come on, come on, tell me why.

    Vin: It’s like a fellow I once knew in El Paso. One day, he just took all his clothes off and jumped in a mess of cactus. I asked him that same question, “Why?”

    Calvera: And?

    Vin: He said, “It seemed to be a good idea at the time.”

    That line is 56 years old.

    Reply
  45. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    This movie informed my entire life.

    I Want Him Buried

    Reply
    • Carol

       /  February 12, 2016

      Never been much for Westerns, but you’ve convinced me to see this one!

      Reply
      • By all means. Great movie. Also see “The Seven Samurai,” on which it’s based, if you haven’t already.

        Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  February 18, 2016

        Kurosawa loved Westerns. Seven Samurai was one of the best, and the re-make, for once, was excellent, too. But my favourite is Derzu Uzala, which portrayed the beauty of the Siberian forests that we are so rapidly destroying.

        Reply
  46. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    Like everything these rich men have destroyed this,

    Reply
  47. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    Let her buck.

    Reply
  48. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    They chopped the entire movie into clips that lose their entire meaning.

    Reply
  49. Colorado Bob

     /  February 12, 2016

    ” if God didn’t want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep”

    Reply

  50. I believe a key point in favor of active divestment is to remove the legitimacy of the fossil fuel industries.

    Another advantage of “active divestment” is that you won’t lose all of your money.😉

    Reply

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