Hothouse Summer is Coming — Lingering California Drought, Record-Shattering Heat in Washington, and Thunderstorms Pounding the Northwest Territory in April

Writing about human-forced climate change isn’t easy. And, lately, year after year, I’ve grown to dread these three words more and more — Summer is Coming.

This year, it’s worse. The gateway of Equatorial-to-Polar heat transfer was thrown wide open as one of the strongest El Ninos on record blazed through the Pacific. As a result, Winter temperatures in the Arctic hit levels that were likely never seen by any human that has ever lived in a settlement resembling a town or a city. And one of the paths over which this heat ran was Western North America. A region that is now experiencing a number of early warning signs that trouble is on the way.

*****

What was perhaps the strongest El Nino on record is now fading in the Equatorial Pacific. It was an event that many hoped would provide significant relief to a drought-stricken California. An event that many hoped would crush a hot zone of Northeastern Pacific waters dubbed ‘The Blob’ — providing a new skein of cooler and far more familiar ocean surfaces. An event that many hoped would return at least some sense of normalcy to the US West Coast by restoring snow packs, reservoirs and flattening the Jet Stream while re-establishing a typical west-to-east storm progression.

Ridiculously Warm Sea Surfaces off US West Coast

(Ridiculously warm sea surfaces remain in place off the US West Coast. There, sea surface temperatures are in the range of 1-4 degrees Celsius above typical 1961 to 1990 readings. Such warm seas will tend to aid in ridge formation through Alaska and Western North America as Spring progresses into Summer. During recent years, a synergy has tended to develop between these abnormally warm waters, the warming and melting Beaufort Sea to the North, and the development of brutish, hot high pressure systems over the region. Image source: NOAA/NCEP.)

Unfortunately, many of these hopes have failed. The California drought remains firmly entrenched. Sea surface temperatures off the US and Canadian West Coasts remain abnormally high. And record-shattering heat and extreme weather is again settling in over Western North America during Spring. Though heavy rains and snows across Washington and Oregon during Winter have replenished higher elevation snowpacks there, an overall tendency for much warmer than normal conditions remains. And far to the north, the early break-up of Beaufort Sea Ice hints that any hopes for a return to flattened Jet Stream patterns may well be in vain.

This isn’t to say that the Summer of 2016 will be an exact mirror to that of 2015. More that newly established and climate change related trends promoting extreme warmth, southwest drought, Arctic wildfires, abnormal ocean heat and thunderstorms in the far north remain in place and are likely to have a continued and often disturbing impact this year. Perhaps even more-so after a recent Winter of record Arctic heat and a long period of abnormal warmth that has prepped a wide zone for potentially very severe warming-related weather in the months to come.

And already, it seems that weird Spring and Summer weather associated with a human forced warming is starting to settle in.

Freak Thunderstorms in the Northwest Territory

On Monday, extreme heat in the range of 15-35 degrees (Fahrenheit) above average settled in over much of Western North America. A strong upper level ridge of high pressure flexed its muscles over a broad swath stretching from California to the edge of the Arctic. All across Western Canada, unseasonably warm winds blew from south to north, carrying with them heat, moisture, and instability. Where the head of this roiling warm air mass collided with colder airs swirling over the Arctic Ocean — atmospheric sparks began to fly.

Residents of the Northwest Territory town of Yellowknife were amazed as an abnormal, early thunderstorm roared through the region — sparking off staggering displays of lightning and heavy downpours over the still-thawing lands. The storm emerged over the western edge of Great Slave Lake. It then rumbled past communities like Fort Providence, Kakisa, and Hay River, before finally thundering east over Yellowknife.

Yellowknife Thunderstorm on April 18 of 2016

It was an abnormal display that left many onlookers, including to city mayor stunned. “Um, there’s lightning. In Yellowknife. In April.” A flabbergasted Mark Heyck tweeted yesterday evening.

April thunderstorms are a more typical feature of the Great Plains of the US during this time of year. And it wasn’t until recently that human-forced global warming began to make these powerful storms a more frequent possibility for this near-Arctic region even during Summer. How unusual thunderstorms used to be for this region is driven home by the fact that tribes indigenous to the area didn’t even have a word in their language to describe them. For the early to middle spring period, it’s a 1 in 30 year event to see a thunderstorm over Yellowknife even when taking into context a very warm 20th Century. So back then it was basically a once or twice in a lifetime happening. But that was before a record global heating driven by fossil fuel burning settled into its warmest levels since the peak of the Eemian more than 115,000 years ago. Now, it’s pretty certain that such events will continue to become more common.

Never-Before Seen April Heat in Washington

About 700 miles to the south, Seattle, Washington experienced its highest-ever April temperatures in 122 years on Monday. There, readings rocketed to an extreme 89 degrees (Fahrenheit) as a powerful blocking high pressure system trapped a hot, stagnant air mass over the region pushing thermometers well above the 90 degree mark in many locations.

Yesterday’s Seattle high temperature reading was an amazing 31 degrees (F) above average for this time of year and a full 4 degrees (F) above the previous all-time record for the month of 85 degrees set on April 30th in 1976 — or nearly two weeks later in the season. Monday was also the second day in a row of above 80 degree temperatures. If today’s readings rise to their predicted values of 84 (F) then it will be the first time ever in April that there were three unbroken days of 80 degree or above in that Pacific Northwest City.

Above 90 Degree Temperatures in Northwest Washington

(Extraordinary spate of above 90 degree temperatures breaks out in Northwestern Washington yesterday. These are never-before seen readings for a region that typically experiences much cooler weather in the upper 50s (F) during this time of year. It’s unprecedented for April. Something that is an upshot of a severe and outlandish human forced warming that is resulting in more and more freak weather events cropping up around the globe. Image source: The National Weather Service and The Capital Weather Gang.)

The weird Seattle heat was accompanied by extraordinarily high temperatures running into the 90s throughout Puget Sound and over much of Northwestern Washington. Bellingham and Olympia experienced warmest ever April temperatures as well with thermometers hitting 83 and 88 (F) respectively. And in some locales, the proverbial mercury climbed to as high as 96 degrees (F) or about 39 degrees above typical April temperatures for the region.

To say such hottest-ever temperatures are disturbing would be an understatement. Though the region received strong rains and snows throughout Winter, record heat in this range will tend to push replenished mountain snows to rapidly melt and nearby forests to flash-dry. An area celebrating this year’s influx of moisture could thus soon find itself facing fire hazard and drought as Spring progresses into Summer.

Even a Strong El Nino Can’t Shake California from the Grips of Extreme Drought

Still further to the south, persisting and possibly worsening drought for the Spring and Summer of 2016 appears to be the likely conclusion. El Nino rains primarily funneled north into Oregon and Washington this year as very warm near coastal waters conspired with record low sea ice levels in the Arctic to pull the Jet Stream and related storm track northward. And though Northern California did receive some of El Nino’s snow pack and reservoir replenishing rains and snows, Central and Southern California have been left mostly bereft. And as a result, most of the state remains in the grips of extreme or exceptional drought — the worst levels we have a measure for.

Drought Monitor

(Conditions of extreme or exceptional drought still cover most of California. With ground water greatly depleted, snow packs below average, and reservoirs below average, a likely hotter than normal Summer followed by a predicted La Nina will tend to worsen drought conditions for the State and possibly for Arizona and New Mexico as well. A Strong El Nino was the best chance for California to receive drought-alleviating moisture. And it appears that opportunity has now passed. Image source: Climate Prediction Center.)

Despite strong water conservation policies set in place by the State during 2014 and tightening through 2015, reservoir levels are near normal in the North and well below normal in Central and Southern regions. Snowpack, which California relies on for water throughout the summer, is below average in all major regions, though rather higher than during 2014 and 2015.

Taking these measures into account, it appears that California received overall below average moisture amounts during the El Nino Winter of 2016 with normal levels of moisture falling on the northern 2/3 of the state and with the southern 1/3 receiving far less than normal precipitation over the past 90 days. As strong El Ninos typically bring above average amounts of precipitation to California, 2016 levels falling below even an average marker should be serious cause for concern. Closer to average, but still below average rains and snows, are nowhere near enough to bust what has been the worst drought in state history. More to the point, it appears that the current drought has settled in to a semi-permanent state with no end in sight entering its fourth year.

Southwest Drying

(The continuation of the California drought and the failure of a strong El Nino to deliver even normal levels of Winter moisture to the state are a part of an ongoing, climate change induced trend of western drying that has been growing in intensity since the 1980s. NCAR earlier this year found that California was losing, on average, about 6.5 percent of its pre-1980 average precipitation per decade. Image source: NCAR and Climate Progress.)

National Weather Forecasters at NOAA now predict an increasing likelihood of La Nina coming later this year. A moderately strong cool Kelvin Wave now rippling beneath the Pacific is beginning to surface in the Equatorial waters just to the west of Central and South America. If these cooler surface waters fan out along the path of the trade winds as predicted, it will likely be yet one more bit of bad news for California. La Nina, which may be in full swing by this Fall, tends to bring drier conditions to California. With the State’s groundwater still greatly depleted, with snowpacks still well below average, with reservoirs below average and with the State likely to face a warmer than typical Summer, this should be viewed by West Coast policy makers and residents alike as ominous news.

These are the kinds of conditions climate modelers predicted were a risk for the US Southwest as a result of human-forced warming. A climate state that researchers at NCAR earlier this year found was already starting to settle in as weather systems bearing moisture to the region were becoming more rare and infrequent due to a fossil fuel forced heating of the globe.

Conditions in Context — Severe Events Related to Human-Forced Warming Abound, Much Hotter Than Normal Summer Likely on the Way

Based on observations of overall trends, it appears that this Summer has been prepped for some obnoxiously extreme conditions. Never-before-seen Arctic Winter temperatures, record low sea ice, persistent pooling of hot water at the surface in the Northeastern Pacific, persistent development of strong ridges and record early season heatwaves over Western North America, the blocking of El Nino moisture from California by a northward shift of the storm track, the appearance of odd convective weather patterns like thunderstorms in the far north during April, and due to the fact that 2016 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record by a long shot globally all contribute to an overall pattern setting Western North America up for another weird Summer of freakish weather.

Never Before Seen Heat Over Western North America

(We have never seen Winter heat like this before over Western North America. This set-up creates a dangerous preparation that results in a heightened risk of seriously severe Summer extreme weather events like heatwaves, droughts, wildfires and thunderstorms ranging well into the far north. Note a similar preparation for Western Russia and North-Central Siberia. Image source: NASA GISS.)

Much higher than normal temperatures predicted over the US West, Northwest, Central, Northern and Western Canada, and Alaska are likely to result in increased risk of wildfires, heatwaves, drought, and related severities. Thunderstorms ranging far into the north where the permafrost thaw zones are now expanding bring together an unprecedented combination of new fuels for fires and more intense ignition sources in the form of Arctic thunderstorms. Possible early melt and low albedo related accumulation of abnormal warmth in the Arctic could exaggerate these extremes even outside of the high ranges which NOAA models are now predicting. And the pole-ward progression of El Nino related heat in the shift toward La Nina should propagate strongly along the now well-established pathway of the Northeastern Pacific and the North American West.

Such new weather and climate tendencies will almost certainly continue to result in weather events that residents will find odd and freakish. To this point, if you observe an extreme heatwave, instance of wildfire, or other instance of extreme weather in your area over the West this Summer it has almost certainly been given a serious amount of added oomph by the expanding number of climate change related conditions affecting your region.

Links:

NOAA/NCEP (Please help support public, non-special-interest-based, science like the fantastic work provided by the experts at NOAA, NASA, and NCAR and without which this analysis would not have been possible)

Rare April Lightning Storm Rocks Northwest Territories

Yellowknife Mayor Mark Heyck’s Twitter Feed

April Lightning Storm NWT Photos

Eemian Climates

Sizzling in Seattle: City Smashes Record for Hottest April Day

3 Days of Above 80 Degree Heat in April? Never Before in Seattle

The National Weather Service

California Data Center Reservoirs

NOAA ENSO

Southwest Enters Drier Climate Raising the Specter of Megadrought

Hat Tip to Cate

Hat Tip to DT Lange

Hat Tip to Greg

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

Hat Tip to Jean

 

 

Leave a comment

97 Comments

  1. redskylite

     /  April 19, 2016

    Robert, thanks for putting so much time and effort into these forums, the reality is really hitting us now, and I feel a little shell-shocked, even though I started studying the effects of our green house gas emissions over eight years ago. Still many people prefer not to acknowledge the problem, and this trait is getting exceedingly dangerous.

    Your posts and the lively postings from the columnists are the greatest source of daily happenings, and keep me well informed. Thanks to all you sincere folks who make this forum come alive.

    I read in today’s DW there is a growing danger to Arctic ecology from the sea ice melt, as creatures no longer have the protection of a thick ice cover, allowing man to wreak yet more havoc in that once pristine environment.

    Soon only the Antarctic will be pristine, and that may well slowly fade away too.

    “We’re mostly concerned about bottom trawling, where you use heavy trawl doors that can weigh several hundred kilos to put the net out and then drag it along the seabed with chains. The creatures on the seabed are very vulnerable and soft, and when they’re hit by these massive trawls they are destroyed.”

    http://blogs.dw.com/ice/?p=17199

    Reply
    • Thanks for this Redsky — although recent Antarctic changes like krill endangerment due to shortened sea ice freeze-up periods beg the question of how pristine that particular environment remains.

      In any case, I’ve got to say that you guys rock. I’m very fortunate to have you and have learned a great deal from our continuing conversation.🙂

      Reply
  2. climatehawk1

     /  April 19, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  3. Abel Adamski

     /  April 20, 2016

    An excellent article and informed comments including by those who were there and who were involved over the decades
    https://theconversation.com/us-firms-knew-about-global-warming-in-1968-what-about-australia-57878

    Marc is collecting information for his paper and has a huge amount of information and commentators have added further such as a Coal Industry statement dating back to 2012, link next post

    Reply
    • Good link here, Abel. I want to thank you for all your links recently. Great stuff.

      I’m heartened to see that this investigation has gone global. It’s a crisis of global impact with players who actively worked to delay and soften our responses. So there’s a good deal of merit in pursuing these investigations.

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  April 20, 2016

        Thank you Robert, it is an honour to make some constructive contribution

        Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  April 20, 2016

      Interestingly in that articles comments there is discussion re creating a site with a timeline of papers and articles re AGW and a link is provided to a basic one, Marc is working secondarily to his thesis on one for Australia

      However back to 1912
      From the 17 July 1912 issue of The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal (NSW : 1888 – 1954)

      COAL CONSUMPTION AFFECTING CLIMATE.
      The furnaces of the world are now burning about 2,000,000,000 tons of coal a year. When this is burned, uniting with oxygen, it adds about 7,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly. This tends to make the air a more effective blanket for the earth and to raise its temperature. The effect may be considerable in a few centuries.

      http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/100645214

      Reply
      • – Ha, I like this simple and all inclusive phrase:
        “… uniting with oxygen, it adds… carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly. This tends to make the air a more effective blanket for the earth and to raise its temperature.”
        Thx

        Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  April 20, 2016

      Sorry back to 2012 should have read back to 1912

      Reply
  4. Jay M

     /  April 20, 2016

    were is the coolhouse

    Reply
  5. Cate

     /  April 20, 2016

    Stunning piece, Robert, and beautifully written, as ever. Thanks for the hat-tip!🙂

    I’m rereading Moby Dick at the moment. Check out Chapter 105 for Melville’s thoughts on the survival of the great whales in the face of mid-19th century hunting pressures. He was certain that nature was more than equal to the human capacity for destruction of life on earth, and of course, he never dreamed about AGW. So as I read, I often wonder what he would make of the world today and the parlous state to which we have brought it and all our fellow living things.

    His confident refutation of the suggestion even then that whales might be hunted to extinction is especially poignant in the context of current and possible future conditions in the Arctic and Antarctic:

    “…they (the great whales) have two firm fortresses which in all human probability will for ever remain impregnable….(they) can at last resort to the Polar citadels, and diving under the ultimate glassy barriers and walls there, come up among icy fields and floes! and in a charmed circle of everlasting December, bid defiance to all pursuit from man.”

    Reply
    • Not quite so impregnable after all, eh Melville?

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  April 20, 2016

        Yes, and how naive and romantic that view seems now—or, in the case of climate deniers today, how foolishly backward and stubborn. We have lost forever that Victorian-era confidence in the impregnable strength of our polar regions as unchanged and unchangeable realms beyond our ability to harm or even to penetrate. Now we know how fragile—how organic, alive, and responsive to us—they truly are. And how dangerous.

        Reply
  6. I saw your introductory sentences and my heart sank inside me today. I live in Phoenix almost all,of my life, 65 yrs., andfor anout 3 years now i have wondered when we might have a big jump in our summer temps. Whether it is from hotter records highs or just overall hotter nightly lows, I feared it coming in my lifetime rather than 20 or so years later. My life expectancy would be around 80.

    El Ninos usually bring much cooler winter and springs and lots of water. But none of thaf happened since last October. What little winter we have is fading away faster and faster fhe past 3 to 4 years. It makes me feel ill inside to think of what has happened to the Arctic this past winter. I am watching my worst feelings coming true before my eyes in the past year.

    Thsnk you for your website,
    Sheri

    Reply
  7. redskylite

     /  April 20, 2016

    I have always understood that things move around the ocean very slowly, measured in centuries and even millenniums. Research just published by Princeton University suggests things move around much faster . . .

    The billions of single-celled marine organisms known as phytoplankton can drift from one region of the world’s oceans to almost any other place on the globe in less than a decade, Princeton University researchers have found.

    Unfortunately, the same principle can apply to plastic debris, radioactive particles and virtually any other man-made flotsam and jetsam that litter our seas, the researchers found. Pollution can thus become a problem far from where it originated within just a few years.

    http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S46/10/76A60/index.xml?section=topstories

    Reply
  8. Andy in SD

     /  April 20, 2016

    Having lived in Hay River NWT and traveling around to Yellowknife, Pine Point etc… I had never seen thunderstorms up there ever. It was inconceivable, but that was the 1980’s. It may as well have been 1000 years ago.

    A new issue arising now is ablation of snow pack. The heat rises so high, so fast in the mountains that a significant amount of new snow pack simply evaporates. This robs the streams and plants, and further downstream the rivers. It also loads the atmosphere with more moisture.

    Reply
    • Just for reference for the other posters, can you mention many years you stayed there, Andy?

      Mid April temps already appear to be hitting the snowpack hard. It’s hard to say it’s just April. For many places, we’re already experiencing flashes of summer.

      Reply
      • Andy in SD

         /  April 20, 2016

        I was there 2 yrs full time, then part time after that for a few years. I also lived in central BC where thunderstorms were infrequent as well. Not sure if they are increasing there as well.

        If you check out the forest fire situation around the Peace River area, lots of fires already. That is way way too early for that area.

        Reply
      • Andy in SD

         /  April 20, 2016

        This should help track the fires. This site is very good for reference when the crap hits the fan.

        96 fires in Canada right now, 3 out of control.

        http://www.ciffc.ca/firewire/current.php

        Reply
        • Yeah, that’s a good one for once things get rolling. Was focusing on Alberta earlier as I’ve ID’d one wildfire smoke plume 100 miles SW of GSL in the sat shot.

      • George W. Hayduke

         /  April 20, 2016

        For reference we used to see spring runoff in May-June, we had our first pulse in March this year.

        Reply
    • -” new snow pack simply evaporates… loads the atmosphere with more moisture.”
      Sure, I’ll bet it does and rather quickly too.
      Thx
      Mt. Hood, OR ski area 0418 was in mid 70’s F daytime and low 50s Fat night. Not much freezing or near freezing ahead, either.

      Reply
  9. Matt

     /  April 20, 2016

    Following from what has been posted here a few times… A new article today from the ABC (Australian version🙂 ) in relation to the staggering range of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. Only 7per cent not bleached!
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-20/great-barrier-reef-bleaching/7340342
    But not to worry,our fantastic government has a plan to protect it (must have been mentioned 100’s of times now)… It will improve the water quality from agricultural run off!! That will do it! I think they would do better by getting the tourists to tip the ice from their drinks into the ocean🙂

    Reply
    • Matt

       /  April 20, 2016

      Would probably have to be one of the biggest climate disasters ever…. Tourism will be decimated, property values will plummet, bio diversity has been lost, the fishing industry will be likewise decimated.
      But hey the Libs will fix it by sacking all our CSIRO climate scientists so we can hide under the blanket!
      We deserve everything we have got coming to us in Australia!😦

      On a side note here in Tasmania, our rapidly expanding fish farming industry has been hit hard with rising coastal sea temps. Having to already cap stock numbers and cancel expansion plans.

      Reply
      • And they spend every last ounce of their political capital trying to build yet one more coal plant. There’s a kind of Lemming syndrome going on with then, don’t you think?

        These hits to the reefs are tragic, terrible and the worst we’ve ever seen. The situation for corals is about as bad as it gets. A majority of the reefs will be done by the mid 2030s if warming isn’t somehow rapidly stopped. By 2050, there isn’t really anything left under BAU.

        Reply
      • Matt

         /  April 20, 2016

        Not just one more, but the biggest imaginable. But hey its good for jobs and apparently, humanity.
        Yes we do have a massive lemming syndrome only outweighed by our sheep syndrome which has got us into this mess.
        Again here in Tasmania our capital Hobart is averaging 2.9C above average for April so far… 17.3C vs 20.2C, and we are expecting 26C today on the 20th!!!!!!!!!! We have seen massive burning intrusions into the alpine areas of the World Heritage Areas, record temperatures and drought, and are moments away from massive power shortages! Our Eastern coastal waters has experienced temperatures exceeding 4C above average for over 100 days straight, introducing exotic species, and decimating the oyster industry with Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome POMS.
        But none of this is making any impact at all! So yes Lemming syndrome will be the death of us!

        Reply
        • Instances both eye-popping and mind numbing seem to be everywhere. Seems like you guys are getting summer temps in Fall while some states here are hitting summer temps in Spring. And your sea life crisis is reminiscent but seemingly worse than what happened off the US West Coast these past two years.

          This is happening as annual temps enter a range between 1 and 1.4 C above 1880s. So we’re getting close to the so-called danger zones but it already seems pretty dangerous to me.

      • Greg

         /  April 20, 2016

        Well done Robert. As Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath explains – to make a message “sticky” – six traits are identified:
        Simple, Unexpected,Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Story
        How to explain climate science which is “complex, abstract, dry and opaque – everything opposite to a sticky idea.” You did it here in this post for sure.
        I was thinking about Hansen’s Hiroshima bomb analogy, a sticky message I can’t get myself away from. The Australian climate scientist John Church’s work, helped to show at least 4 Hiroshima bombs worth of heat is added to our Earth System each second due to human greenhouse gas emissions. That’s 2.5 x 1014 Joules per second or more than 2 billion of these bombs since 1998. All that heat energy is now surrounding and permeating us. Poseidon is getting angry.

        Reply
  10. Scott

     /  April 20, 2016

    That map of areas expecting dryer weather and areas expecting more moisture scares the tar out of me. The dry spots are concentrated over places where the food comes from. It’s not as simple as just plant food in the blue spots. Growing food requires both water and good soil. There’s just not much dirt in northern Minnesota or northern New England, or Appalachia. There are a lot of rocks, and swamps, and thin, poorly drained soils. That’s why forest has been allowed to reclaim many of the farms carved out by the original colonists.
    When Iowa, Illinois, eastern Nebraska, southern Minnesota, northern Missouri, Indiana, and western Ohio and Kansas turn yellow, very bad things happen to the price of food world-wide.

    Reply
    • This is NASA’s RCP 4.5 projection (mid range emissions):

      And here is NASA’s near BAU RCP 8.5 projection (burn pretty much everything):

      Reply
    • Cate

       /  April 20, 2016

      Scott, I think food supply will be the climate crunch issue, the issue that brings it home to the dinner tables—and more pertinently, to the drive-thrus—of North America.

      I’ve heard so much self-deluding reassurance—not to worry, climate change is a good thing for Canada, it will extend our growing season and range more than enough to compensate for any loss of productive land in the US to drought and desertification. Well, that’s happening a bit at the moment–the growing season has lengthened by weeks in some areas of Canada—-but this is all part of the transition phase to a different climate. In the long run, northern expansion will not compensate for the loss of the great prairie breadbasket, for the very reason you mention: there is no soil fit to farm on in most of northern Canada. It’s all rocky and acidic, with very thin topsoils that require continuous and expensive improvement in order to produce food on any kind of industrial scale. that’s not even taking into account the question of how, in a sparsely populated wilderness with few to no roads or railways, we’d get that food to markets to the south.

      So we are looking at astronomical increases in the price of food, along with shortages and severe curtailment of the huge choices we take for granted today.

      Reply
    • Jean

       /  April 20, 2016

      Here in Okla Industrialized agriculture is sponsoring a “Right to Farm”amendment to the Constitution..4 other states have passed such measures..Kansas and Missouri are 2 of those states,I believe..Gives them the right to destroy more and more topsoil for Corporate profits.

      Reply
  11. Here I am in San Diego (Pt. Loma, about a mile from the beach), and it was almost 80 degrees upstairs last night when we went to bed. In the middle of f&%!ing April, right on the coast! Very few homes/condos/apartments here that are 20+ years old have air-conditioning. It just wasn’t worth the expense to install A/C in places that might need it for a very few days (at most) per year. Alas, that was during the Holocene….

    Reply
  12. Matt

     /  April 20, 2016

    So NOAA just came in @ 1.22C above 20th Century average.. can someone extrapolate that out from the pre-industrial baseline please?
    Also, if we are basing all our climate responses from IPCC’s 2C above pre-industrial, then why are all our major climate reporting agencies reporting differing baselines. I find that this really plays into the hands of the denier crowd, claiming that the numbers are changed (rigged), and unfortunately the public fall for it!

    Reply
    • Others may chime in here, but I believe it is very close to 1.5C above pre-industrial (1880 or so). I’ve made this point several times, most recently to Stefan Rahmstorf who is a Facebook friend of mine. The 20th century baselines (most often 1951-1980) certainly “dampens” the warming to the 99.8% of the public who have no idea about such baselines. Ha! – I even corrected a climate scientist who writes for the Washington Post who wrote a story about the record February heat quoting the 1951-1980 baseline of 1.38C above and said it was very close to the 1.5C that the Paris Summit cited. I politely pointed out that the ‘138’ was actually substantially ABOVE the 1.5C pre-industrial. She thanked me.

      Reply
      • Agreed, beyond stupid. Raises an interesting q, though–how much can we expect from the public and politicians when climate scientists, the folks most intensely aware of the problem, cannot change their communications behavior? (And also, why the heck is it you correcting the Post writer and not NASA/NOAA/NCDC et al?)

        Reply
    • The conversion is 0.17 C LOTI for 1880s vs 20th Century for NOAA, 0.22 C for NASA. So March is +1.38 C approx for NOAA (they revised their number to +1.21 C), and + 1.50 for NASA. David above gets very close😉.

      (UPDATED)

      Reply
      • Matt

         /  April 20, 2016

        Thanks guys! that conversion number will come in handy from now on!

        Reply
      • Greg

         /  April 20, 2016

        Sorry, to bring this up again but the baseline is what? What is the absolute world average temperature that is used for the pre-industrial, or 1880’s? I never see those absolute numbers posted, and why not? I do have 14°C (57°F) for 1951-1980 in my memory as a reference. Thanks.

        Reply
  13. redskylite

     /  April 20, 2016

    Apart from the damage done by trawlers fishing for Arctic Cod (skrei), the thinning Arctic sea-ice looks likely to transform into a busy shipping route, with China and others anticipating an easier and shorter route for trade. Sorry Arctic we will no longer leave you in peace as a pristine and unspoiled environment in the far North; man will use you for his industrial march instead.

    China wants ships to use faster Arctic route opened by global warming

    “Once this route is commonly used, it will directly change global maritime transport and have a profound influence on international trade, the world economy, capital flow and resource exploitation,” ministry spokesman Liu Pengfei was quoted as saying.

    http://www.straitstimes.com//asia/east-asia/china-wants-ships-to-use-faster-arctic-route-opened-by-global-warming

    Reply
  14. – A first rate use of graphics to illustrate and reinforce the fluid text.
    Thx, Robert.
    Am sending post to local weather/climate media people.

    – The southern climate is climbing the latitudinal ladder and now reclaiming it as its own.

    – Many PNW hot temps are on or near the coastal waters — marine influence is MIA.
    The recent hot has also been dry with low humidity — now possible thunderstorms in forecast.

    OUT

    Reply
  15. Abel Adamski

     /  April 20, 2016

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/04/fight-global-warming-senate-calls-study-making-earth-reflect-more-light

    To fight global warming, Senate calls for study of making Earth reflect more light
    By Adrian ChoApr. 19, 2016 , 4:00 PM
    Budgetmakers in the U.S. Senate want the Department of Energy (DOE) to study the possibility of making Earth reflect more sunlight into space to fight global warming. Earth’s reflectivity is known as its albedo, and the request to study “albedo modification” comes in the details of a proposed spending bill passed by the Senate appropriations committee to fund DOE, the Army Corps of Engineers, and related agencies for fiscal year 2017, which begins 1 October. The bill does not specify how much money should be spent on the research.

    Here we go round the mulberry bush

    Interestingly to step into another frame that I do not discount.

    The shamans and wise men of the Indian Nations finally got a delegation to speak to Congress in the 1950’s -( must find link)
    They warned of the damage we were doing to the planet and the terrible consequences and also specifically mentioned the actions we would take out of desperation if we chose not to attend to the issue and change our ways , the consequences would only make a disastrous situation far worse with the unintended consequences.

    From memory on inquisitor or some other trash rag, but who else would publish that

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  April 20, 2016

      White roofs seems to be a good simple idea to me, especially in dense cities. There is a company or two that specialize in my part of the world. However I’m sad to say I haven’t noticed any in the large number of new building areas, nor can many new solar panel installations be spotted. I shudder at some of the more ambitious ideas I’ve heard aboit inserting more foreign bodies in our thin atmosphere.

      Great new video from Conservation International (CI), starring Joan Chen as Earth’s sky . .

      Nature Is Speaking: Joan Chen is Sky | Conservation International (CI)

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  April 20, 2016

      My memory was a little flawed
      http://www.inquisitr.com/2134013/global-warming-magnetic-north-changing-did-hopi-inuit-warn-science-governments/

      They were trying to give their warning from 1949, finally got to speak in 1992

      In 1992, Hopi leaders finally got their wish to speak to the United Nations about their 1949 prophecies (on what we now call global warming) and stated the following.

      “Nature, the First People and the spirit of our ancestors are giving you loud warnings. Today, December 10, 1992, you see increasing floods, more damaging hurricanes, hail storms, climate changes and earthquakes as our prophecies said would come…. Why do animals act like they know about the earth’s problems and most humans act like they know nothing? If we humans do not wake up to the warnings, the great purification will come to destroy this world just as the previous worlds were destroyed.”

      Reply
  16. Abel Adamski

     /  April 20, 2016

    Any excuse for Senator Snowball and Co
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/republican-senators-climate-change-palestine_us_5716a0ebe4b06f35cb7108ef?section=australia

    Senate Republicans Want To Cut Funding For UN Climate Change Agency, Because Palestine

    WASHINGTON — More than two dozen Republican senators this week asked Secretary of State John Kerry not to provide any funding for the United States’ involvement in the United Nations effort to address climate change, saying they object to the U.N. treating Palestine as a state.

    The Palestinians joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the international treaty that governs action on climate change, in March. On Monday, the group of 28 senators, led by Wyoming Republican John Barrasso, argued in a letter to Kerry that — because of a 1994 law barring federal funds from being distributed to any U.N. program that grants membership to a state or organization that lacks “internationally recognized attributes of statehood” — the UNFCCC should not receive U.S. funding.

    It may not be entirely a coincidence that this letter comes from a group of senators who, by and large, don’t really believe climate change is an issue the U.S. should be addressing at all.

    Reply
  17. Spike

     /  April 20, 2016

    Some comments from Kevin Trenberth here. “I don’t see at all how we’re going to not go through the 1.5 degree-number in the next decade or so,”

    http://lasvegassun.com/news/2016/apr/20/2016-already-shows-record-global-temperatures/

    And an event like the northwest Atlantic Ocean marine heat wave, in which an area about the size of the U.S. stayed 2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for three months, is likely to naturally occur about every five years in the North Atlantic and northwestern Pacific oceans, and more frequently in the northeast Pacific.

    http://thedailyworld.com/news/local/university-washington-study-pacific-blob-likely-return-five-years-time

    Reply
  18. Ryan in New England

     /  April 20, 2016

    Robert, fantastic job staying on top and ahead of developing situations! This latest post is very comprehensive, and you provide the information in context which is the crucial part that’s missing from mainstream news sources. Everybody, including the national news programs, will report about the record breaking, unprecedented weather events, but will never explain why these things are happening. It’s like a doctor explaining all your symptoms to you that you’re experiencing, but not letting you know you have cancer, and that the cancer is behind all your symptoms that have manifested and things will only get worse. You are the honest doctor we need who doesn’t pull any punches. You let us know we have cancer, and it’s self induced from decades of smoking. You provide a crucial service here.

    Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  April 20, 2016

    Mekong Delta Drought Crisis: A Climate-Change Security Risk In The Making

    The Mekong Delta region in southern Vietnam, and the country’s southern-central highland areas, is suffering a crippling drought. Record low water levels in the delta is also causing saltwater intrusion that is wiping out crops and contaminating drinking water supplies.

    The humanitarian and economic impacts are becoming increasingly dire. Government authorities estimate almost half a million households lack fresh drinking water and are experiencing food shortages. More than a million hectares of crops have been destroyed due to either a lack of water for irrigation or contamination by saltwater. It is estimated the drought could pull the country’s projected GDP growth this year down by a full percentage point.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/davisbrett/2016/04/20/mekong-delta-drought-crisis-a-climate-change-security-risk-in-the-making/#5a2655714a39

    Reply
  20. Jeremy

     /  April 20, 2016

    A somewhat terrifying article.

    “Climate change is on a fast track, a surprisingly fast, very fast track. As such, it’s entirely possible that humanity may be facing the shock of a lifetime, caught off-guard, blindsided by a crumbling ecosystem, spawning tens of thousands of ISIS-like fighters formed into competing gangs struggling for survival.”

    “Temperatures look set to soar over coming months over the Northern Hemisphere at large and over the Arctic in particular,” Record Arctic Warming, Arctic News, April 5, 2016.”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/20/global-warming-and-the-planetary-boundary/

    Reply
    • Yes and people just voted for more fracking in New York.

      Reply
      • I’m not sure that the New York Democratic primary was that big of a disaster for Bernie Sanders. Clinton is ahead in pledged delegates by only 1428 to 1130, with California still to come. So, it’s an uphill battle for Bernie, but not hopeless, I think.

        We still need Bernie. Hillary has it totally wrong on natural gas, and the fossil fuel corporations and media outlets like the Washington Post are spreading disinformation about natural gas. The truth will come out – methane leakage is far higher than 3%, probably 10% or more. Gasses leak, especially through old infrastructure.

        If U.S. leakage is 10%, how high is Russian natural gas leakage? They after all are a really huge supplier of natural gas.

        Natural Gas is a bridge fuel to a hothouse mass extinction event.

        Reply
      • By the way, how much gas leaks after it gets to the consumer?

        Won’t methane from incomplete combustion and millions of small leaks after the customer pays for the gas add to global warming just as much as large leaks?

        How much natural gas leaks from old wells? How much leaks during the fracking process?

        How much are the Russians leaking?

        Reply
      • How much natural gas release occurs that is not captured by the fracking process, that just filters up through the ground and into the water supply after the ground has been disturbed by fracking? How much methane is coming up out of the ground, and how much is on its way, after being stimulated by fracking?

        Reply
      • Satellite data is capable of answering all these questions… but the data is pretty crappy. Low resolution, full of noise, not real time, etc.

        Why is the satellite methane data so crappy?

        Reply
      • Leland,
        Thank you for your response. I really appreciate your thoughts on Bernie, methane concerns and questions you raised.

        Reply
      • Oh, thanks Caroline.

        This Huffington Post blog has the Clinton vs.Sanders numbers of delegates at 1474 to 1211 taking their numbers from the 17th of April and adding in the New York primary results.

        Clinton Delegate Lead Down to 194, Even as Dramatic Miscounting of Delegates by Media Continues

        “And there are still 1,674 [now down to 1383 – LP] pledged delegates yet to be awarded in twenty primaries and caucuses to be held over the next two months; scores of up-for-grabs delegates yet to be decided via state and county Democratic conventions; and hundreds and hundreds of super-delegates to be wooed by both candidates in Philadelphia this summer — with not a single one of them having officially committed themselves to anybody.

        That’s the cold, hard truth — the indisputable numeric data of the current election cycle — but it’s not the story Americans are being told..”

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/seth-abramson/clintons-delegate-lead-do_b_9711160.html

        There does seem to be a corporate media attempt to torpedo Bernie Sanders, by making the predictions that he can’t win a self fulfilling prophecy, I think.

        Reply
      • mlparrish

         /  April 23, 2016

        Leland,
        That article was a tremendous help. I think I’ve got it now. Much appreciated.

        Reply
    • mlparrish

       /  April 20, 2016

      Leland –
      I am worried like you. I find it increasingly difficult to keep up with the methane figures. A helpful lay website, Global Methane Tracking, has been offline for several days (‘server not found’) and is probably gone. I don’t know of another lay site just dedicated to methane.

      About the consumer leaks, they must be tremendous. I found the pipes leaking under my house a few years ago and had them and the furnace moved outside, where I thought it would be safe. A couple of years later (I have the gas company check every year) there was again a substantial leak. I suspect, but cannot prove, that even tight fittings leak a tiny bit, below detection methods. As you pointed out, methane is a gas.

      It is not only an issue of global warming. Methane as a small hydrocarbon is neurotoxic.

      I have been over the varied interpretations of methane’s warming potential many times. If the levels do not fall, then it seems to me the maximum warming amount is operative. If there is a flaw to this logic, please enlighten me.

      Reply
      • Hi mlparrish-

        My understanding of methane’s warming potential is that it is the area under the radiative forcing curve, with radiative forcing in watts per meter squared as the y axis, and time as the x axis. So, you start with watts per meter squared and end up with watt-years per meter squared. Since methane decays relatively quicky, it has a well defined area under the curve.

        But, CO2 decreases in the atmosphere very slowly, with a long, low curve, hundreds of years long. So, the question is, which period do you use for the area under the CO2 curve?

        It’s not that methane forcing gets any smaller, its curve is pretty much fixed except for really huge releases that create new atmospheric chemistry effects. But integrating the area under the CO2 curve over a longer time makes a bigger CO2 area, and so the area under the methane curve becomes relatively smaller compared to the bigger area under the CO2 curve when a longer time interval is considered.

        The image above is a graph of the curves of methane versus CO2. Note that the radiative forcing scale is logarithmic, with methane forcing starting out at about 104 times CO2 forcing, but decreasing rapidly from there. So the methane curve starts out with methane potency 104 times the CO2 potency, but by year 67 the forcing from the two gases is equal.

        The image is from an article from MIT that talks about methane, that introduces a further degree of complication because it considers what the stabilization year is, when you want forcing to stabilize and then fall after that. I don’t really understand their system, but it has a good discussion of the issue of methane potency.

        If we knew what the overall climate tipping point was (if there is such a thing) we could use the logic that forcing after that doesn’t matter since we would then be in the grip of an irreversible tragedy, to set the interval to measure the area under the CO2 curve. My inclination would be to use a time frame of 20 years, because we certainly want forcing to level off by then.

        Reply
      • Whoops! Lets try that again, posting that image:

        Reply
      • Darn, I have more trouble with that.

        Reply
      • Okay, here’s the link, instead:

        http://mitei.mit.edu/news/assessing-climate-impacts-energy-technologies

        Look for the graph: Radiative forcing of methane and CO2 over time

        Reply
  21. davisherb

     /  April 20, 2016

    I am grateful for your climate study and essays and I really appreciate your writing style. Thank you.

    Reply
  22. Jeremy

     /  April 20, 2016

    Another good read:

    “IMAGINE a future in which humanity’s accumulated wisdom about Earth — our vast experience with weather trends, fish spawning and migration patterns, plant pollination and much more — turns increasingly obsolete. As each decade passes, knowledge of Earth’s past becomes progressively less effective as a guide to the future. Civilization enters a dark age in its practical understanding of our planet.

    To comprehend how this could occur, picture yourself in our grandchildren’s time, a century hence. Significant global warming has occurred, as scientists predicted. Nature’s longstanding, repeatable patterns — relied on for millenniums by humanity to plan everything from infrastructure to agriculture — are no longer so reliable. Cycles that have been largely unwavering during modern human history are disrupted by substantial changes in temperature and precipitation.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/19/opinion/a-new-dark-age-looms.html?_r=0

    Reply
    • Thanks for this. It’s of the few things I can pass on to a number of people.

      Reply
    • My spirituality was grounded in the constancy of the seasons and the beauty of the natural world.

      No more. Talk about feeling unmoored . . .
      This is not negativity or pessimism—– it is reality. Where can one go to find a place that has not been harmed by humans? There is no such place.

      So many great teachers, poets, artists expressed love and hope through the muse of nature—-here is but one example that many are familiar with:

      The Peace of Wild Things
      BY WENDELL BERRY
      When despair for the world grows in me
      and I wake in the night at the least sound
      in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
      I go and lie down where the wood drake
      rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
      I come into the peace of wild things
      who do not tax their lives with forethought
      of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
      And I feel above me the day-blind stars
      waiting with their light. For a time
      I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
      _______________

      This poem—- among too many others to reference—- is no longer a salve for me. It now underscores all that humans have negatively impacted—- including the pace of change and the ebb and flow of life cycles.

      When the peace of wild things has been shattered by humans—-what does that leave us with?

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  April 20, 2016

        Caroline, yes! I feel just the same—bereft….robbed. I always found consolation in nature for a whole host of hurts but now, that source of strength is shaken, if not destroyed. Poems like this one, and so many other favourites, sound like elegies now, laments for things that once were but may never be again. It is incredibly difficult to cope with this.

        Reply
      • Cate,
        Beautifully said—-thank you. This site helps immensely. I really value your comments here.
        Elegies . . . . solastalgia (if you are not familiar with that concept, it’s worth googling)

        Reply
  23. Herb Davis

     /  April 20, 2016

    I am grateful for your climate study and essays and I really appreciate your writing style. Thank you.

    On Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 6:34 PM, robertscribbler wrote:

    > robertscribbler posted: “Writing about human-forced climate change isn’t > easy. And, lately, year after year, I’ve grown to dread these three words > more and more — Summer is Coming. This year, it’s worse. The gateway of > Equatorial-to-Polar heat transfer was thrown wide open a” >

    Reply
  24. George W. Hayduke

     /  April 20, 2016

    I’ve lived in the same community in west central Montana for 40+ years, last summer saw some of the most abnormal weather events of my time here. Lots of damaging wind events, a freak hail storm that sounded like a plane trying to land in our neighborhood. And today a forecast high of 80°F in April. After last summer I could see what was coming and if this article is any indication it may be a bumpy ride. Thanks Robert for this blog, it’s my go-to to keep in the know of what’s coming, a very important resource.

    Reply
  25. John B Davies

     /  April 20, 2016

    Hello Robert,
    One of my main concerns is the possibility of the total loss of Arctic sea Ice and a Blue Ocean event in late summer with all that is implied by that for the climate.

    However the Arctic has experienced an extremely warm winter and the melt season in the arctic has just begun. I am very surprised that the surface area of sea ice is not presently at a record low. It seems to me that the summer of 2016 may not witness a record low in sea ice area which in many ways will be both very surprising and very welcome. Should the high Arctic winter been any warmer than this last winter has been I feel sure that the area of Arctic sea ice would be significantly lower than it is now. I think Piomass must be right about the thickness of the sea ice otherwise much more melting would have taken place.

    I now think the sea ice area at the end of this summer will not be the lowest on record whilst acknowledging that this situation could change very rapidly. The sea ice area needs to be checked daily as if it does change we need to know immediately in case there is anything we can do to alleviate the situation as near total loss of the sea ice will lead to rapid further warming..

    It is very unsatisfactory that we do not know at this late stage what is likely to occur to the surface area of sea ice this summer. Watch this space is all we can do.

    In many other areas of the world the present warming will be very seriously detrimental both now and in the longer term future.

    Reply
    • Hello John and thanks for the comment.

      Current volume readings for PIOMAS are below those of 2012 for March (most recent update) and just a hair above 2011 for March (which was the lowest on record). The key for me here is trend and PIOMAS this year trended rapidly lower during the first 3 months.

      Arctic heat has been literally unprecedented this Winter and early Spring. We continue to see severe Arctic warming events, the most recent of which is due (according to GFS) in about 2-4 days.

      Very strong high pressure systems — a blocking high in the North Atlantic cycling warm winds into Baffin Bay, a blocking high that continues to form over western North America and the Eastern Pacific, and a very strong high that has stooped over the Beaufort for the past few weeks are all adding a melt preconditioning on top of the added and record heat. Fram export is strong and about to grow stronger as gale force winds are forecast to blow directly out of the strait over the coming days. Warm water influx remains high, snow cover is near record lows.

      In my opinion, these conditions are lining up for a very strong melt season this summer and there is a high likelihood that 2012 numbers will be challenged or surpassed. I’d say that blue ocean is not out of the cards for 2016 if current conditions continue down their present path. El Niño progressing toward La Niña ensures that the ocean Gyres will tend to spin up and deliver yet more heat to the region.

      Reply
      • Conventional wisdom is to focus on air temps, but most of the heat from AGW goes into the ocean, and the North Atlantic Drift goes into the Arctic. However, Arctic Sea Ice is insulated from the warmer water beneath it by a layer of cold fresh water.

        As the ice warms and weakens, the potential for a cyclonic storm that breaks up the sea ice and mixes the water underneath increases. Once warm salt water is mixed to the surface, everything changes. Twelve years ago, I thought this would all happen circa 2014.

        At this point I estimate that heat to warm the sea ice comes mostly from continental runoff, North Atlantic drift, and latent heat in the atmosphere, with direct radiant heating 4th. After the sea ice is gone, direct radiant heating will keep the system warm, and provide enough energy to drive a new NH atmospheric circulation regime.

        The current Beaufort Cracking, may be the beginning of a blue Arctic, or just another Black Swan reminding us that things we have not seen can happen.

        see also http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2016/04/beaufort-quick-update.html

        Reply
  26. Greg

     /  April 20, 2016

    Go West young ones. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks wind turbine technician as the country’s fastest growing profession. These technicians scale the tall white towers in hard hats and climbing gear, making sure those power-generating blades are spinning just right. Colorado is a great place to be a student. While the numbers are still modest it’s another leading indicator of the future.
    http://insideenergy.org/2016/04/19/wind-turbine-technician-the-countrys-fastest-growing-profession/

    Reply
  27. Jeremy

     /  April 20, 2016

    More than 25 million people live in the vicinity of Mt. Popocatepetl, including Mexico City’s 18 million residents. At 2:32 local time on Tuesday morning, the most dangerous volcano in Mexico roared to life in spectacular fashion, and this has many experts extremely concerned about what is coming next.

    But words cannot really describe just how spectacular this eruption was. If you are interested, you can view video footage of the moment when Popocatepetl erupted right here…

    Reply
  28. Greg

     /  April 20, 2016

    A shift in beliefs about climate change is taking place in the United States, if recent polls are correct. A new survey finds 94 percent of Americans believe in the phenomenon.This just published by Nat Geo Wild. 350.org’s Bill McKibben “I’ve never thought the problem was the number of people who believed; it’s the number that will get engaged in the fight with the fossil fuel industry,” he told HuffPost, referencing the most recent poll. “Happily that figure is shooting up as well.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/climate-change-belief-america_us_571712b4e4b0060ccda4d5ce

    Reply
    • Good news. And Bill is absolutely right here.

      We need more boots on the ground in this fight. This is about as real as it gets. A literal lose or save the world kind of thing. You will never have the opportunity to be a part of something so necessary and good again in your life. And if you don’t act now then your children may never even have a chance to.

      Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  April 20, 2016

    Santiago in chaos: Millions left without water as flooding strikes Chile capital

    Severe flooding has brought chaos to Santiago as heavy rains have been battering the region since Friday. An estimated four million people have been left without drinking water and, according to police reports, at least one person has been killed as a result of the floods so far. The capital was deluged after the Mapocho River overflowed its banks for the first time in 30 years.

    Link

    Reply
  30. Witchee

     /  April 20, 2016

    Jeremy’s quote from the NY Times above was similar to what I was thinking as I looked at the sky this morning. I used to be able to look at the sky and read it. Used to be pretty good at it. I could see storms coming.
    I realized this morning that it has been a long time since I looked at the sky and could read it at all. Not sure what I am seeing these days is even the sky- blue is gray, and at sunrise this morning the west was a deep gray that I would associate with storm clouds, except that there were no clouds, exactly, that was just the sky. An April dawn in 2016.

    Reply
    • – I hear you Witchee — and know exactly what you mean. Thanks for adding your view.

      “I used to be able to look at the sky and read it. Used to be pretty good at it. I could see storms coming.
      I realized this morning that it has been a long time since I looked at the sky and could read it at all…”

      Reply
  31. Jeremy

     /  April 20, 2016

    For those of you looking forward to Hilary as your new leader, you may with to consider:

    Reply
  32. Jeremy

     /  April 20, 2016

    For those of you who do now know of Nageez Ahmed, he’s one of the brilliant writers in his field – of a par with our good man Scribbler here.

    Here’s his latest, a must read document.

    “Parliamentary group warns that global fossil fuels could peak in less than 10 years
    British MPs launch landmark report on impending environmental ‘limits’ to economic growth.”

    “The new APPG report flags up two major challenges facing global society: the overconsumption of planetary resources and raw materials, and the breaching of critical ‘planetary boundaries’ triggering irreversible environmental changes.”

    View story at Medium.com

    Reply
  33. Jeremy

     /  April 20, 2016

    This was his most recent documentary – just brilliant.

    “The Crisis of Civilization”

    Reply
    • JPL

       /  April 20, 2016

      Thanks for the rec – just watched the first 10 minutes. Very interesting, plan on finishing this later.. Looks like this came out in late 2011. The film talks about global average temps having increased all the way to .7 C. Seems quaint now. That was a mere 5 years ago.

      Reminds me of Albert Bartlett’s famous quote:
      “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”

      Buckle your chin strap, the exponential function is coming to breakfast…

      Reply
  34. Reply
    • – A basic precept here on our only Earth: If it’s not solid terra firma, or water, all else whether low to the ground or high in the sky — is atmosphere.
      What we call ‘air pollution’ is really atmospheric pollution.
      In present day context, there is one cause for both — allowed fossil fuel emissions. (Might as well have a new arcane acronym — AFFE.)
      Casualties from air pollution are part of the same green house gas equation. They must be chained together in the public consciousness if we are to have any hope at limiting or stopping emissions.
      OUT

      Reply
    • ‘Six of the 10 worst US cities for short-term pollution are in California, which has been in the grip of an historic drought. Bakersfield, California, was named the most polluted city for both short-term and year-round particle pollution, while Los Angeles-Long Beach was the worst for ozone pollution.
      Small particles that escape from the burning of coal and from vehicle tail pipes can bury themselves deep in people’s lungs, causing various health problems. Ozone and other harmful gases can also be expelled from these sources, triggering asthma attacks and even premature death.’

      – CA Central Valley and Coastal Long Beach — Two air sheds with different and distinct topographies. But they share the same and known threat from emissions or attendant emission dependent human activities.

      – !!! “… triggering … premature death.”
      Homicide by another name?

      Reply
  35. – Extortion by another name?
    Immoral for sure — and among the chronic pressure tactics by the fossil fuel industry.

    EU dropped climate policies after BP threat of oil industry ‘exodus’

    Oil giant warned industry would pull out of EU if laws to cut pollution and speed clean energy take up were passed, letter obtained by the Guardian reveals

    The EU abandoned or weakened key proposals for new environmental protections after receiving a letter from a top BP executive which warned of an exodus of the oil industry from Europe if the proposals went ahead.

    In the 10-page letter, the company predicted in 2013 that a mass industry flight would result if laws to regulate tar sands, cut power plant pollution and accelerate the uptake of renewable energy were passed, because of the extra costs and red tape they allegedly entailed.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/20/eu-dropped-climate-policies-after-bp-threat-oil-industry-exodus?CMP=share_btn_tw

    Reply
  36. Wow… This reads like a great novel, Robert!! Non-fiction, unfortunately… ((Heard you on, I think, Ecoshock radio the other day – informative, to say the least!))

    Reply
  1. Canadian Fire Season Starts Far too Early as Fort St. John Residents are Forced to Flee the Flames | robertscribbler

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