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

It’s been a ridiculously hot Winter and Spring for most of Western and Northern Canada. And in many locations, odd, Summer-like conditions are already starting to dominate. For these regions — areas sitting on piles of dry vegetation or thawing permafrost — a single hot day, thunderstorm, or even just the melting away of the Winter snow is now enough to spur the eruption of wildfires.

In Fort St. John, along the shores of Charlie Lake in Northeastern British Columbia and at about the same Latitude line as Ft. McMurray in Alberta, temperatures on Monday rocketed to 28 degrees Celsius (about 82 degrees Fahrenheit). These scorching readings were about 20 degrees C (36 degrees F) above average for the day. The excessive early-season heat sweltered an area that had seen extensive drying throughout a long, warm winter. And nearby grasses and crops became a ready fuel as Monday’s heat and winds sparked four sudden and severe blazes that swiftly leapt toward town.

Taylor Fire in Fort St John

(Taylor fire looms over fuel tanks on Monday evening. In total, excessive heat and dry conditions sparked 48 wildfires across Northern British Columbia on Monday — a number that had swelled to 53 by Wednesday morning. Image source: Destiny Ashdown/Facebook.)

By Monday evening, more than 48 fires had raged into existence throughout northeastern British Columbia — forcing the province to declare a state of emergency. By Wednesday morning, excess heat, thunderstorms and strong southerly winds had fanned a total of 96 wildfires across Canada.

In Fort St. John, two fires (The Taylor Fire and the Charlie Lake Fire) forced residents in the Baldonnel and Prince George communities to flee. The blazes cut power lines, generating outages for 2,700 customers, closed highway 29, consumed two homes, and threatened fuel storage tanks near Taylor. By early Wednesday (as of about two hours ago), these two fires had finally been contained and evacuation orders for Baldonnel and South Taylor were rescinded.

But as some fires came under control, other blazes swelled suddenly to more dangerous size. By Wednesday, the Beatton Airport Road Fire had grown to 4,500 hectares and a new evacuation alert had just been issued for that area. Meanwhile, the East Pine Fire, southwest of Fort St. John, had hit 500 acres even as it jumped the Pine River and continued to rage out of control.

Meanwhile, places along the thaw line in Northern Alberta began to erupt in plumes of smoke and flame.

Fire burning along the Freeze Thaw Line in Alberta April 19

(Satellite shot of fire burning along the freeze-thaw line in Northern Alberta on April 19th of 2016. During recent, and far warmer than normal, Northern Hemisphere Springs, Arctic wildfires have sprung up along thawing permafrost zones almost immediately after the snow line peels back. It appears that permafrost thaw provides a peat-like fuel that, in some places, continues to smolder throughout Winter, ready to erupt again during the increasingly early Spring thaw. A new Arctic fire hazard in a record hot world. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

So as of April 18th, fire season had already begun in Canada. With record global heat stooping over the region, it’s a fire season that is likely to be very severe as some of the worlds’ swiftest rates of warming are adding a growing volume of potential fuels. Thawing permafrost in drought zones can become a peat-like fuel for fires sparked by recent excess heat and by the new lightning storms that are now starting to invade Canada’s central and northern tiers. Adding to the trouble is a great swath of vegetation lacking in much-needed fire resiliency due to the fact that most plants there have never had to deal with flames. It’s just a simple fact that a human-forced warming of the world has generated a new threat of burning that plants in Canadian provinces have never faced before.

The new Canadian fire season, the one that climate change is bringing on, now starts in April. And it will likely continue on through September of this year. Nearly a half year of wildfires burning in what should have been one of the coldest climate zones in the world. A place now wracked by dangerous and difficult changes. A place where billions of sparks will fly this year over one of the world’s greatest piles of sequestered carbon.

Links:

Early Wildfires Near Fort St. John Force Evacuations

Firefighters Make Progress on South Taylor and Charlie Lake Fires

Evacuation Alert Isuued for Beatton Airport Road Fire

City of Fort St. John Twitter Feed

Canadian Interagency Fire Center

Temperature Averages for Fort St John

LANCE MODIS

Hat tip to Andy in San Diego

Hat tip to Gordon Meacham

 

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116 Comments

  1. Jeremy

     /  April 20, 2016

    Unbelievable!

    Reply
  2. I noticed the last 2 springs and summers where I am are unbearably hot and MUGGY. Its usually hot and dry in Egypt.

    Reply
  3. Cate

     /  April 20, 2016

    Re peat burning: in Newfoundland in 1961, we experienced the legendary “summer of the forest fires” which engulfed large parts of the island for many months summer through fall. I was very young but can still remember the jeep-loads of American military personnel in camo who were brought in from nearby US basesl to help overwhelmed locals fight the fires well into November—until the snow came, in fact. The following spring, they had to be called in again, as hot spots surfaced in areas, not of permafrost, but of the thick dry peaty soils composed of heather-like vegetation we call “gowiddy.” I remember my mother explaining that despite the winter snow, the fire kept burning “down into the ground”, smouldering deep into the vegetation cover, to resurface with the warm winds of May.

    Reply
  4. Colorado Bob

     /  April 20, 2016

    Highway will soon let regular drivers reach Arctic Ocean for first time

    To hear Kevin McLeod describe it, the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway being built across a dramatic and challenging landscape to the Arctic Ocean is like a living thing.

    It breathes, it sweats and, if its temperature rises too high, people get worried.

    “The critical task for this whole thing is to keep the permafrost frozen,” says Mr. McLeod, who is heading a historic construction project that for the first time will extend Canada’s highway network from coast to coast to coast.

    “We are tracking the temperature of the highway much like a human body,” said the director of the Northwest Territories Department of Transportation. “Permafrost makes a great foundation if it remains frozen and that’s our aim, to keep it as frozen as possible.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/highway-will-soon-let-regular-drivers-reach-arctic-ocean-for-first-time/article29651915/

    Reply
    • Syd Bridges

       /  April 20, 2016

      I flew from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk in July 2002. It was 80 F in Inuvik but Tuktoyaktuk was freezing. The Arctic ice still had a hold then. I only waded up to my knees in the Arctic Ocean and was unable to warm up after that. They showed us a place in the permafrost where it had been artificially melted and told us that it would not reform properly until the next ice age. Once it’s gone, it’s really gone.

      Reply
    • That highway is so doomed.

      Reply
  5. Colorado Bob

     /  April 20, 2016

    DCI Group Subpoenaed in Expanding Exxon Climate Denial Investigation

    DCI Group is the latest group subpoenaed in an expanding investigation by state attorneys general into the funding of climate change denial by ExxonMobil, according to court filings reviewed by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

    ExxonMobil has now received separate subpoenas from both the New York and U.S. Virgin Islands U.S. Attorneys’ Offices. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and DCI Group have also been subpoenaed by the U.S. Virgin Islands for records relating to their role in helping ExxonMobil wth climate change denial.

    Link

    Reply
  6. Colorado Bob

     /  April 20, 2016

    Australia’s National Coral Bleaching Taskforce has released its first comprehensive map of the Great Barrier Reef’s bleached corals—revealing that a large portion of the reef has been slightly to severely damaged.

    Link

    Reply
    • Working on this now. So during this event 93 percent of the Great Barrier reef saw some form of bleaching. The previous worst event covered 54 percent of the reef. In some regions 50 percent or more of the corals appear likely to die off as a result. On top of other severe damages done to the reef over the last four decades including bleaching, pollution, and invasives, there’s reason to doubt the reef will ever recover.

      In addition, ocean heat has gotten to the point that sections of the reef will be vulnerable to bleaching on annual basis in the very near future.

      Reply
    • From 2010:
      http://www.csmonitor.com/From-the-news-wires/2010/0326/Death-of-coral-reefs-could-devastate-nations

      “If the reefs vanished, experts say, hunger, poverty and political instability could ensue.
      You could argue that a complete collapse of the marine ecosystem would be one of the consequences of losing corals,” Carpenter said. “You’re going to have a tremendous cascade effect for all life in the oceans.”

      “People all over the world could pay the price if reefs were to disappear, since some types of coral and marine species that rely on reefs are being used by the pharmaceutical industry to develop possible cures for cancer, arthritis and viruses.”

      “A world without coral reefs is unimaginable,” said Jane Lubchenco, a marine biologist who heads NOAA. “Reefs are precious sources of food, medicine and livelihoods for hundreds of thousands around the world. They are also special places of renewal and recreation for thousands more. Their exotic beauty and diverse bounty are global treasures.”

      Reply
  7. anthropocene

     /  April 20, 2016

    Things seem to be deteriorating quickly in India and it’s still a few weeks before the monsoon: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-36089377

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  April 20, 2016

      Water availability in India’s 91 reservoirs is at its lowest in a decade, with stocks at a paltry 29% of their total storage capacity, according to the Central Water Commission.

      Some 85% of the country’s drinking water comes from aquifers, but their levels are falling, according to WaterAid.

      Reply
  8. climatehawk1

     /  April 20, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  9. Colorado Bob

     /  April 20, 2016

    Great Barrier Reef: Federal, Queensland governments not listening to scientists, ‘Godfather of Coral’ says

    The Queensland and Federal governments are not listening to scientists about the mass coral bleaching hitting the Great Barrier Reef, a renowned researcher says.

    Dr Charlie Veron, a prominent marine scientist who is known as the “Godfather of Coral” for having discovered about one-third of all coral species in the world, described the severe bleaching across the northern reef as “gut-wrenching”.

    Dr Veron said he was angry the Great Barrier Reef was not being made a priority.

    “Governments are being anything but up-front — they’re behaving like a mob of drunken sailors,” he said.

    Link

    Reply
    • I think the coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef will be remembered as the seminal event of the tipping point….That historians will point their finger to as that gut wrenching moment where everyone “knew” GW had arrived for good…and could no longer be dismissed. I cannot even fully grasp myself the shock of the sheer amount of coral bleaching going on….just so disheartening.

      Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  April 21, 2016

      ‘Drunken sailors’ are not necessarily psychopaths. Our ruling Rightwing politicians most definitely are. They and their followers and their MSM allies, particularly in the Murdoch apparatus, remain climate destabilisation denialists, even now. Murdoch ‘flag-ship’ The Australian in a recent editorial described the leading climate scientists’ observation that we were entering a ‘climate emergency’, as ‘hysterical nonsense’.

      Reply
  10. Ailsa

     /  April 20, 2016

    US and China lead push to bring Paris climate deal into force early:

    Early start date would add momentum for deeper emissions cuts and lock a future US president into the deal for four years

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/18/us-and-china-lead-push-to-bring-paris-climate-deal-into-force-early

    ~~~

    ‘But it’s a tall order. The agreement needs to be approved by 55 countries accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions to come into force.

    ‘The European Union will need agreement from its 28 member states before it can join the agreement – which makes it highly unlikely to be in a position to join early on […] That will force governments to cobble together a coalition of smaller countries if they hope to reach the 55% emissions threshold.’

    Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  April 20, 2016

    Fairbanks, AK
    The old climate was 48F high 23F low. It’s 58.3 °F, but look at the ten day forecast :

    Link

    Reply
  12. Colorado Bob

     /  April 20, 2016

    Extraordinary Heat Wave Sweeps Southeast Asia and Points Beyond

    What is most likely the most intense heat wave ever observed in Southeast Asia has been ongoing for the past several weeks. All-time national heat records have been observed in Cambodia, Laos, and (almost) in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. Meanwhile extreme heat has resulted in all-time record high temperatures in the Maldives, India, China, and portions of Africa as well. Here are the details.

    Link

    Reply
  13. Wharf Rat

     /  April 20, 2016

    Sort of OT, but discovered this while explaining to a denier that dead WW1 soldiers appearing in thawing glaciers does not mean glaciers were growing after the war. Pretty fascinating.

    It was beneath the surface of the great glacier that a “city of ice”, unseen and untouchable by Italian artillery or gunfire, was constructed. Designed by Lieutenant Leo Handl of the Kaiserjager, a labyrinth of tunnels connected five clusters of buildings or “cities.” [see map] Each outpost was composed of barracks, electric generators, supply depots, first aid stations and kitchens. Some of these buildings were beneath 60 meters of glacial ice. Cable cars brought soldiers and supplies to the last safe [from fire] ridge, whom then went beneath the glacier. Ice tunnels led to those bored through rock. From rock ridge and cliff poked the snouts of machinegun and cannon, with their hidden ports and interlocking fields of fire.

    http://www.worldwar1.com/itafront/marmolada.htm

    Reply
  14. -Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    WAKING UP TO ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGE
    Signs climate has entered abrupt shift. Includes Dr. James Hansen’s video abstract of new science. Special report on smoke pollution from Indonesian peat fires by correspondent Yew Jin Lee, with 3 experts. Sample from “Unwelcome Guests” #726 “The Flight from Death”. Radio Ecoshock 160420

    Download or listen to this Radio Ecoshock show
    http://www.ecoshock.info/2016/04/waking-up-to-abrupt-climate-change.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EcoshockNews+%28Ecoshock+News%29

    Reply
  15. – Down Mexico way — a huge explosion Veracruz oil hub:

    Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  April 20, 2016

    326. Gearsts

    Your top chart is really interesting, look at all that cold water coming down the tip of Greenland, and hugging the coast . But warm water just to the South . And the “Cold Blob” to the Southeast.

    The North Atlantic is having it’s 19th Nervous Breakdown.

    https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3286#commenttop

    Reply
  17. – Keeling Curve:

    Measurement Notes
    Comment on Recent Record-Breaking CO2 Concentrations

    Levels exceeded 409 parts per million for the first time in recorded history this month

    We are now witnessing the fastest growth rates of the entire record of CO2 measurements. This record-breaking growth is an expected consequence of the near record-breaking fossil fuel usage combined with the largest El Niño event in several decades.

    The larger story remains that Earth hasn’t seen levels this high in at least several million years. Unless fossil fuel emissions soon drop significantly below current levels, I expect CO2 levels will surpass the 450 mark by around 2035 and the 500 mark around 2065.

    Barring some major breakthrough that allows excess CO2 to be scrubbed from the air, it is currently an impossibility for us to reach the target of 350 ppm that many consider the threshold of dangerous climate change effects. I expect it will take at least 1,000 years before CO2 drops again below 350 ppm.

    – Ralph Keeling, director of Scripps CO2 Group

    https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/2016/04/20/comment-on-recent-record-breaking-co2-concentrations/

    Reply
    • – As we know the Keeling Curve indicates the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere — but it also represents a history of society’s very poor decision making.

      Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  April 20, 2016

      Sweet Jesus.

      Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  April 20, 2016

    When I was alone on the road , I bought a copy of George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue .

    When i felt alone, I played George Gershwin. It made me part of a bigger story. A real Tonic.

    I also played Madonna.

    Reply
    • I also love a wide range of music. But Bob, I agree, there is just something about Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” during difficult or confusing times in my life that has always helped to sooth and comfort me. This piece of music speaks to my soul…🙂

      Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  April 21, 2016

    Human beings cannot live in a pit of despair. And I shovel a lot of it.

    Madonna explains our problem perfectly.

    The oil fueled madness that traps us.

    Reply
  20. Griffin

     /  April 21, 2016

    I seem to recall that we discussed a good number of tundra fires that managed to burn through the winter last year. If this is something that becomes a widespread and regular occurrence, then that would seem to result in even greater than expected emissions from the tundra. I am no expert but it stands to reason that fires lasting through a Canadian winter should be rather rare. This is not good.
    Readiing this, the statement from Ralph Keeling and Neven’s latest update all in the last twenty minutes has my head spinning. http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2016/04/meanwhile-on-the-other-side.html#more

    Reply
  21. Colorado Bob

     /  April 21, 2016

    Hell comes to breakfast.

    Reply
  22. Andrew Taylor

     /  April 21, 2016

    I used to work in Taylor many years ago. Back then, April was still a time requiring a fairly warm jacket, and snow was on the roads.

    Reply
  23. Liz

     /  April 21, 2016

    Could methane be a factor in this fires? and, do you know why the Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis has said “no data” for about a week now?

    Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  April 21, 2016

      The sensor they use on the satellite has failed. They are using past data atm to calibrate the calcs to a new satellite, no ETA on that being done.

      Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  April 21, 2016

    This entire idea that climate change is some far off event . Is a pile of horse manure. It’s killing little girls waiting their turn at at a well in India.

    Reply
  25. I can’t figure out why the cost of extreme weather hasn’t had a greater impact to date…

    Meanwhile I don’t see this mentioned yet:

    “If the winter temperatures were becoming much colder, you’d imagine a lot of Americans would find it troubling and unpleasant,” said co-author Patrick Egan, associate professor at New York University. “Here, it’s the opposite. The changes brought about by global warming have increased pleasant weather but when that switches, it may be too late for policy changes to make an impact.” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/20/climate-change-weather-changes-us-study

    I just happened to have another one of those conversations with someone again today, someone who doesn’t see any downside to the unusually dry, mild spring we’ve had in central NY.

    Reply
  26. I noticed a couple of comments in the previous post regarding the difficulty of dealing with the loss of so much of the natural world we’ve known.

    “With Earth Day just three days away, it’s fitting that this week’s episode of “Days of Revolt” focuses on the environment. In the interview below, Chris Hedges talks with filmmaker Josh Fox about his emotional new documentary, “How To Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change.”

    http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/days_of_revolt_chris_hedges_josh_fox_examine_humanity_20160419

    Reply
    • Ailsa

       /  April 21, 2016

      Thanks for this link marcyincny, a fine interview and looks like a fine movie to go and see.

      Reply
    • Jean

       /  April 22, 2016

      Happy Earth Day to all.I attended a small fund raiser/musical/art/ celebration last week ..Today I am gardening…the media forgot all about Earth Day;;what a surprise

      Reply
  27. Colorado Bob

     /  April 21, 2016

    I can’t figure out why the cost of extreme weather hasn’t had a greater impact to date

    Just watch your insurance. It;s coming,

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  April 21, 2016

      Yep. Insurance industry is down on climate change like a duck on a June bug.

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  April 21, 2016

      Problem in the US especially is that the areas most affected are the areas the private insurers avoid and the Federal Government is the last recourse , so it is the taxpayer not the insurance industry footing the bill

      Reply
  28. Colorado Bob

     /  April 21, 2016

    It’s killing little girls waiting their turn at a well in India.

    Reply
  29. Jay M

     /  April 21, 2016

    well, when the climate changes, it will be called disaster

    Reply
  30. Colorado Bob

     /  April 21, 2016

    Back to the grim work , Where a 11 year old girl dies standing in heat , just to get water her family.

    Reply
  31. Colorado Bob

     /  April 21, 2016

    I haven”it taught you people something.

    The little girl at the well. And Madonna.

    Reply
  32. Colorado Bob

     /  April 21, 2016

    That’s our problem.

    Reply
  33. Reblogged this on GarryRogers Nature Conservation and commented:
    Fires can be beneficial by removing ladder fuels, but they are not a valuable maintenance force in the deserts I frequent. Here, fire is destructive and recovery requires decades to a century. Rising temperature and drought will make recovery slower. It’s been so dry lately that the introduced invasive species haven’t produced much fine fuel this year, and though the cause is suspect, the outcome might be good.

    Reply
  34. Andy in SD

     /  April 21, 2016

    Hey Robert,

    I’ve been scouting satellite daily’s for Russia below the melt line to see if the same is occurring there. It may be. I need a couple of days to get some daily data to page through, and some cloud clearance. I’ve been watching for anything around Lake Balkal (if any fires burned through winter) but am seeing what appears to be burning elsewhere.

    Anyway, in a few days if it turns out real I’ll post / let you know.

    Reply
  35. Matt

     /  April 21, 2016

    They are starting to panic a bit now!
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-21/qld-environment-minister-phone-hook-up-with-greg-hunt/7344334
    Apparently fixing agricultural runoff isn’t going to cut it to save the reef! Who would have thought that wouldn’t fix rising sea temperatures and acidity!

    Reply
  36. Reply
  37. Vic

     /  April 21, 2016

    Reef Madness.

    Scientists say they are fed up with Queensland’s biggest newspaper not covering the worst bleaching event to hit the Great Barrier Reef, so have taken out a full page ad to get the message out.

    “One of the reasons we placed the ad in [Murdoch’s] the Courier Mail was that we’ve seen very little coverage of the coral bleaching event in that paper and in fact there was a front-page story that said the coral bleaching event had been wildly exaggerated,”

    Reply
  38. Greg

     /  April 21, 2016

    “How Earth itself has dramatically upped the stakes for the Paris climate accord”: Washington Post covering 150 countries coming to NY to sign Paris Accord. Well balanced article with interview of, or quotes from, Micael Mann, Michael Oppenheimer, and Gavin Schmidt.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/04/20/as-nations-gather-to-sign-climate-accord-planet-reaches-new-warming-heights/?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_ee-climate-911pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

    Reply
  39. Greg

     /  April 21, 2016

    Some regional and national coverage of Shenandoah National Park fire which I’ve been breathing smoke from for several days. Fueled by what one official described as “historic dryness,” the inferno has nearly tripled in size across the southern portion of the park since Monday night:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/shenandoah-wildfire-grows-to-6ooo-acres-as-350-firefighters-battle-to-contain-it/2016/04/20/0ab479d2-0733-11e6-b283-e79d81c63c1b_story.html?hpid=hp_local-news_fire-640pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

    Reply
  40. Jeremy

     /  April 21, 2016

    NPR – Losing Alaska.
    Listen!

    http://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=474684609:474727224

    The level of denial in some of the interviewees is staggering.

    Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  April 21, 2016

      Jeremy, half the population is of below median intelligence. The Western publics are relentlessly brainwashed by an entirely Rightwing, business-owned, MSM. Greed is the only virtue under the magical Free Market. Environmentalists are viciously vilified, and denialism still runs rampant. The question must be-how will the morons react when they wake up to the fact that the Greens were right, the capitalists were lying, and they are about to die, en masse?

      Reply
    • Jeremy

       /  April 21, 2016

      Wow Mulga!

      When I think how dumb the average American is, and th n realize that half are dumber than that ……. !

      Oh George:

      Reply
      • – There is more here that may help explain our predicament of denial/gullibility which is like the inverse or even equal to acceptance of illogical and counterproductive actions.
        (I’m being a bit long winded here to tie together a society caught in a web of critical self deceit.)
        (As a young man, I hung around with social psychology, and social anthropology, people from my town’s university — UCSB. Though not s student myself, I gravitated to these learned and learning people. A treasured friend and unofficial mentor (RIP) was a well known and widely published professor of social psychology — so I often look at the social context of events.)

        – Anti-Intellectualism and the “Dumbing Down” of America
        There is a growing anti-intellectual dumbing down of our culture
        Posted Jul 07, 2014

        There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It’s the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility.

        ” … the triumph of video culture over print culture; a disjunction between Americans’ rising level of formal education and their shaky grasp of basic geography, science and history; and the fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism.”

        Famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov once said: “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

        https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201407/anti-intellectualism-and-the-dumbing-down-america

        Reply
      • – And when fossil fuel dependent and methane enriched McDonalds say: “We do it all for you.” They mean it — your thinking included.

        Reply
      • – But with so many expletives his message basically sucks. Too bad.

        Reply
  41. redskylite

     /  April 21, 2016

    Watching the antics of some drivers during the shocking recent floodings in Texas, I wondered if their driving was linked to denial, i.e not believing meteorologists, safety people etc, thinking they know better. Reminds me of the busy throngs of swimmers trekking down to local beaches with surfing equipment, when a cyclone approaches, when local civil defense advise people to stay away from beaches during cyclone hits. Surely this has an analogy to people ignoring climate science, although not in the same league.

    Marshall Shepherd in Forbes (warning subscription site with limited free trials) . . . .

    ‘Turn Around Don’t Drown’ Is A Cute Slogan: Why Some Don’t Do It

    The flooding in Houston this week has been historic. Forecasters warned 6 days in advance of potentially epic flooding, and they were right (Sidebar: Remember this when you see someone say these floods came without warning). The images and videos of water rescues were everywhere. And at the time of writing, there was more rain in the forecast for Houston. As I watched this video of a reporter helping a man trapped on a flooded roadway this week in Houston, the question was shouting at me, “Why Do People Drive Through Flooded Roadways?”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/marshallshepherd/2016/04/19/turn-around-dont-drown-is-a-cute-slogan-why-some-dont-do-it/#1591b3c03695

    Reply
  42. Ryan in New England

     /  April 21, 2016

    Fantastic work, Robert! You’ve really been doing a wonderful job keeping us well informed of the latest climate tragedies. With each new post I am blown away by the rapid changes occurring all around us. Each new event shocks me, and I think to myself “I can’t believe this is happening already!” What will it take to wake the public up to this issue!? Sadly, I think that the majority won’t pay attention to our collapsing ecosystems unless the sky actually caught on fire or something.

    Reply
    • Ryan, I am afraid you may be correct. It is like people can only respond on a global level when something truly catastrophic happens. I often ask myself….Do we need millions killed in a climate event to “wake up” the world? Is it going to take an “abrupt” climate change event to get world leaders to finally take “decisive”action? I don’t know..but I do know the “canary in the coal mine” events are coming at us furiously and frequently.

      Reply
  43. Jeremy

     /  April 21, 2016

    Reply
  44. Front lead this morning at the Washington Post online:
    “How earth has dramatically upped the stakes for the Paris climate accord:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/04/20/as-nations-gather-to-sign-climate-accord-planet-reaches-new-warming-heights/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_ee-climate-911pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

    Representatives from more than 150 countries will gather at the United Nations on Friday to officially sign a global accord aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing climate change. But in the four months since that historic pact was negotiated in Paris, a drumbeat of grim scientific findings has underscored that staving off the worst consequences of global warming may take far more aggressive actions.

    Reply
  45. labtekjen

     /  April 21, 2016

    OT but a bit of good news from my neck of the woods. Kinder Morgan is suspending their pipeline through MA and NH. I have no idea how to link here!
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/04/20/kinder-morgan-shelves-billion-new-england-pipeline-project/iEafnAP2P41o0B9tmM0lEI/story.html

    Reply
  46. Near 120W 40N

     /  April 21, 2016

    California water districts say drought emergency has ended

    How shortsighted can you get? A record El Nino underperforms and barely ekes out normal rainfall and snowpack in California. Given the shrinking ice caps and the expansion of the tropical zones due to global warming, the odds favor California’s drought resuming next winter. Telling the public it’s OK to waste water again is like eating your seed corn.

    http://www.scpr.org/news/2016/04/20/59815/california-water-districts-say-drought-emergency-h/

    Reply
  47. GROAN!😦

    RIMS 2016: Sea Level Rise Will Be Worse and Come Sooner

    Sea levels could rise by much more than originally anticipated, and much faster, according to new data being collected by scientists studying the melting West Antarctic ice sheet – a massive sheet the size of Mexico.

    That revelation was made by an official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday at the annual RIMS conference for risk management and insurance professionals in San Diego, Calif.

    Davidson said recent data that has been collected but has yet to be made official indicates sea levels could rise by roughly 3 meters or 9 feet by 2050-2060, far higher and quicker than current projections. Until now most projections have warned of seal level rise of up to 4 feet by 2100.

    These new findings will likely be released in the latest sets of reports on climate change due out in the next few years.

    “The latest field data out of West Antarctic is kind of an OMG thing,” she said.

    http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2016/04/12/405089.htm

    Reply
    • Robert in New Orleans

       /  April 21, 2016

      Okay, time to throw down the gauntlet.

      Does anyone have any background information about the insurance journal article noted above?

      Specifically the statement:

      Davidson said recent data that has been collected but has yet to be made official indicates sea levels could rise by roughly 3 meters or 9 feet by 2050-2060, far higher and quicker than current projections. Until now most projections have warned of seal level rise of up to 4 feet by 2100.

      Is this individual referring to Hansen’s latest work or is there something else out there that we don’t know about yet?

      I know there are a multitude of Climate Scientists, Mensa Candidates, Rhodes Scholars, Rocket Scientists and other brilliant people out there is cyberspace chomping at the bit to answer this question.

      Reply
  48. Greg

     /  April 21, 2016

    Two small steps forward, one back. Sigh:
    The barrage of responses praising the bill’s passage — from the Alliance to Save Energy, the Nature Conservancy, and the solar industry to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Edison Electric Institute — signaled a considerable diversity of support. Still, lots of eye rolling stuff contained within.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/04/20/the-senate-just-passed-overwhelmingly-an-actually-bipartisan-energy-bill/

    Reply
  49. Greg

     /  April 21, 2016

    A milestone was just reached. Sometime around the end of February, the millionth solar installation came on-line in the United States — a milestone that says as much about where the solar industry is going as it does about how far the industry has come.

    “It took us 40 years to get to 1 million installations, and it will take us only two years to get to 2 million,”
    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/The-U.S.-Solar-Market-Now-One-Million-Installations-Strong

    Reply
  50. – USA – Politics in a time of extreme climate crisis.

    U.N. members fear U.S. ‘sabotage’ of Obama’s climate commitments

    There are concerns at the United Nations about apparent attempts inside the United States to “sabotage” President Barack Obama’s commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the head of the U.N. General Assembly said on Wednesday.

    Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark, current president of the 193-nation General Assembly, issued the warning in an interview with Reuters ahead of Friday’s U.N. signing ceremony for the Paris agreement aimed at slowing climate change.

    With a U.S. presidential election just months away, Lykketoft warned that there appear to be forces at work in the world’s biggest economy aimed at undermining the historic climate deal.

    “What scares us a little … is there is all this sabotage inside the United States against this commitment for climate change, including (with) the Supreme Court,” he said.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-climatechange-idUSKCN0XH2SF

    Reply
  51. – AK PNW look to be hot. Must assume BC western CN in between to get the same.

    Reply
  52. WU link has Bob Henson’s CO2 response

    Hard to get over the shock of seeing weekly CO2 values above 408 ppm.

    Reply
  53. Reply
  54. not strictly on topic but non the less quite relevant …. I came across this excellent site which is using the crowd to map the land cover of Africa. Good habitat maps are an essential tool for developing strategies to combat/adjust to climate change.. So this is great way to idle away a few minutes and contribute to a worthwhile project that needs all the help it can get..

    https://geosurvey.qed.ai/130/kenya/12300832/

    Reply

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