Warm North Pacific Winds Predicted to Usher in Brutal Arctic Heatwave this Week

Sprawling over the Northeastern Pacific, there’s a big, doggedly-determined high pressure system. One grown to enormous size and influence in a global atmosphere boiling with the heat of fossil-fuel laden airs. A weather system that’s now able to stretch out a long arm of influence into the High Arctic due to an unrelenting northward shove of oppressive record global heat.

Beaufort Sea Ice Shattered

(The Beaufort Sea Ice has been shattered under the weight of a relentless a high pressure system that has dominated this region of the Arctic for about a month. Now, a freak early-season invasion of above-freezing temperatures is set to level another melt-forcing blow at a region that is very sensitive to the worsening impacts of human-caused climate change. Image source: LANCE-MODIS.)

Extreme Fires, Sea Ice Loss in a Context of Ever-Worsening Climate Change

Beneath the high, much warmer than normal airs have settled in over the Northeast Pacific, over Western Canada, and over Alaska. These much hotter than typical temperatures have provided fuel for a raging start to fire season in such far northern regions. In Canada, nearly a hundred and fifty fires now burn. Sparked by never-before-seen heat and dryness, the worst of these blazes has now consumed 620 square miles of land and more than 1,600 structures around the city of Fort McMurray — forcing about 90,000 people to evacuate and threatening Canada’s hothouse gas emitting tar sands production facilities. Meanwhile, in Alaska, the heat has been lighting off forest fires since as early as February. A month that once only featured a climate of deep chill and heavy snow — but one that in the new, greenhouse gas warmed, world features an ominous winter burning.

The high has also extended it atmospheric influence up into the Polar zone — joining a powerful ridge that has torn away and shattered sea ice across the Central Arctic since at least mid-April. Opening wide areas of dark, heat absorbing water and contributing to never-before-seen low levels of sea ice extent and volume for May.

May Arctic Heatwave Builds

As of Sunday, this lumbering high began a big shift to the west — expanding its influence on into the North-Central Pacific and the Bering Sea. There, it rallied a warm flood of airs in the form of northbound winds. Warm winds now readying to make a big push into the Arctic Ocean later this week.

image

(Huge northward thrust of warm air seen in this Earth Nullschool capture for predicted May 12 conditions. Note the large swath of above-freezing temperatures invading the Arctic Ocean as readings in Northern Alaska and the Northwest Territory of Canada hit the upper 60s and lower 70s. Regions that are typically still covered in snow experiencing conditions that would be somewhat warmer than normal May weather for the US West Coast city of San Fransisco more than 2,000 miles to the south. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

These winds are expected to build northward along a warm frontal zone over Northern Alaska and the southern reaches of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas on Monday. Linking up with two low pressure systems forming over the East Siberian Sea by Wednesday morning, this wave of heat rising out of the Pacific is expected to have expanded into that sea and taken in all of the Chukchi and half of the Beaufort. By Friday, this northward drive of above freezing airs is expected to have taken in about a third of the Arctic Ocean region in total.

Over Alaska and the Northwest Territory near the Mackenzie Delta, temperatures are expected to rise into the upper 60s to upper 70s Fahrenheit (20-25 C). These are temperatures 20-28 degrees F (9-16 C) above average for early-to-mid May and readings seldom seen for this region even during June. Such high temperatures will hasten melt of any remaining snow or ice and spike fire hazards over this Arctic zone.

Extreme warm temperature anomalies over Arctic zones predicted for May 13

(Two lows on the Siberian side of the Arctic and a high over southern Alaska and the Northeast Pacific are predicted to drive an extreme level of heat into the Arctic starting Monday and continuing on through the end of this week. This extraordinary northward thrust of warmth appears set to tip the scales swiftly toward high Arctic thaw conditions that are typically experienced during June. Such a high degree of added heat will have a profound effect on both sea ice and remaining snow cover. Image source: Global and Regional Climate Anomalies.)

Savaging of the Sea Ice to Continue

Over the Arctic Ocean, conditions will arguably be worse. Temperatures in the near coastal waters of the Beaufort Sea could rise to as high as 41 degrees F (5 C) while temperatures in the range of 32-38 F (0 to 3 C) are expected to cover a very wide zone of Arctic waters invading about 600 miles of the thinning sea ice area between the Mackenzie Delta and the North Pole and covering a breadth of around 800 miles from the Canadian Archipelago to the shores of the East Siberian Sea. These temperatures are also 20-28 F (9-16 C) above average and are more like the atmospheric readings one would expect during July over these typically frozen Arctic waters.

It’s not just the high temperatures that are a concern with this invasion of extreme heat running into the Arctic. It’s also its sheer scale — taking in about 30 percent of the Arctic Ocean zone, most of Alaska, a large region of Northeast Siberia, and a big chunk of Northwest Canada. Such a huge warm air injection will be taken in by the larger circulation over the Arctic Ocean and greatly shrink the remaining pool of cooler airs — driving temperatures to push more rapidly above freezing.

Freezing Degree Day Anomaly

(Off-the charts record Arctic heat shows up in a -1012 freezing degree day anomaly during 2016. In an average year, the Arctic experiences about 6,000 freezing degree days. We’ve lost more than 1/6th of that during 2016, which is basically like knocking one month out of the Polar Winter. Image source: CIRES.)

To this point, temperature anomalies above the 66 North Latitude Line are predicted to continue in the range of 2.5 to 3.5 C above average for the entire Arctic region into mid-May during a time of year when readings tend to moderate. In other words, this range is well above average for this time of year and continues a trend of record Arctic heat for 2016 that began during January. One that has now pushed freezing degree days (FDD) to a never-before-seen -1012 anomaly — which is like losing one entire month out of the coldest time of year in the Arctic.

The severe Arctic warmth continues to have a profound impact on Arctic sea ice — pushing measures inexorably into new record low levels. As of today, pretty much all the major extent and volume measures showed sea ice at new record daily lows and indicated a pace of melt at start of season that is absolutely unprecedented. Of particular concern are volume measures which have rapidly closed and overcome the gap between previous record low years.

DMI sea ice

(DMI’s sea ice volume measure enters a new record low range during early May. Note how swiftly comparative sea ice levels have fallen since February and March of this year. In essence, we are currently just below the record low 2012 launching pad all while facing an unprecedented level of heat building up in the Arctic. Image source: DMI.)

In this context of extreme Arctic heat and already record low Arctic sea ice levels, we continue to expect new record lows to be reached by the end of the melt season — pushing past one or more of the low marks set during 2012 and possibly testing near zero sea ice ranges (blue ocean event) of 80 percent volume loss since 1979 and below 750,000 square kilometers of sea ice area and 1.5 million square kilometers of sea ice extent by September of this year.

Links:

Earth Nullschool

Global and Regional Climate Anomalies

CIRES

DMI

The Beaufort Under Relentless Pressure

Canadian Interagency Fire Center

LANCE-MODIS

 

Leave a comment

115 Comments

  1. climatehawk1

     /  May 9, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  2. I note the posts gradually change from what is to come, to what has come. An accurate reflection of events, sadly.

    Reply
  3. Can you explain the freezing degree days? The last graph stated the Arctic has 6,000 freezing degree days. How many days in a calendar year is this? All of them? Several years/decades?

    Reply
    • I’ll just give you the definition from the Polar Science Center:

      “Freezing degree-days (FDD) or thawing degree-days (TDD) are defined as departures of air temperature from 0oC. When temperatures fall below 0oC, it gives a positive value, whereas it becomes negative when temperatures rise above 0oC. This index is a measure of both duration and magnitude of below-freezing (or above-thawing) temperatures during a specified period. Therefore, the cumulative values of FDD or TDD for a given winter season or summer tell how cold or warm it has been for how long. As such, both FDD and TDD have been used to describe weather patterns and climate warming or cooling over time, as well as a proxy for the state of melting or freezing of arctic sea ice.”

      We’ll go from there if you have more questions.

      Reply
    • I’m gonna attempt an explanation for anyone who is still wondering about this, because it took me some time to figure it out myself. Hope this is accurate:

      The fdd is a rolling sum of the departures from 0 every day. So if it’s -10C every day for 5 days, it will be 50fdd. If it’s 20C every day for 4 days, it’ll be -80fdd. (if it’s 5C for 5 days and -5C for 5 days, fdd = 0)

      Most years, as Robert points out, we get about 6000 total fdd, so an average temp of about (~6000fdd/365 days) = -16.4C on any given day. This year, we’re around 1000 below that (The graph posted in this article is the anomaly of fdds, so the difference of the current fdd compared with a typical value for the date) for an average temp of (~5000/365) -13.7C. Meaning this year was generally around 3C warmer on any particular day compared with recent times.

      Reply
      • So Oliver provides a good explanation here. And above the 80 degree North line we only have tended to get about 30-45 days of near or above freezing temperatures each year. The rest of the year provides average below freezing temperatures and the coldest months have average days are around -30 — proving about 900 FDDs during January, for example.

        Reply
  4. Andy in SD

     /  May 9, 2016

    An Australian politician set a river on fire to show the effects of fracking on the environment

    http://www.businessinsider.com/fracking-river-on-fire-2016-4

    Reply
  5. Andy in SD

     /  May 9, 2016

    These fires in northern China are pretty vigorous…

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/24/2016-05-07/7-N52.02026-E128.36646

    Reply
  6. Andy in SD

     /  May 9, 2016

    Here is some good news.

    Starfish babies return in droves following massive die-off

    Droves of baby starfish are returning to Oregon and Northern California’s shores after a wasting disease decimated whole populations of the creatures over the past two years along the West Coast.

    http://www.cbs8.com/story/31920532/starfish-babies-return-in-droves-following-massive-die-off

    Reply
  7. Andy in SD

     /  May 9, 2016

    What the disappearing island says about Vermilion’s coast

    Say hello to some climate refugees who’ve lost their island..

    Isle de Jean is the historic homeland of a a band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians in Terrebonne Parish. Since 1955, the community has lost 98% of their island to coastal erosion.

    http://www.katc.com/story/31913709/what-the-disappearing-island-says-about-vermilions-coast

    Reply
  8. marcel_g

     /  May 9, 2016

    I often have trouble keeping all these weather things straight: I thought low pressure systems were generally cloudy and cold in the Arctic, and so slowed down preconditioning and melting, but these are really warm, so apparently they’ll accelerate it?

    I’ll have to go check the ASIF tomorrow to see, I expect there’ll be a vigorous discussion going on there.

    Reply
    • High pressure systems over the Central Arctic during spring and summer lead to compaction, and retreat of ice from the ice edge. Typically, storms in the Central Arctic lead to cooler conditions, less sunlight hitting the ice, and more spreading out of ice at the ice edge. However, warm storms bringing rain and warm air over the ice from more southerly regions have tended to have more of a negative impact on the ice during recent years. The storms in the ESS will anchor a warm frontal air invasion that will thrust above freezing surface temperatures over a huge section of the Arctic. The south to north flow will tend to thrust the ice away from shore on the Alaska side as well. High pressure will still occupy the Barents side — with the high sandwiched between a low off Norway that will aid in ice export through the Fram. The combination of dipole and warm air invasion is not one that’s good for the ice. If you want to preserve sea ice, you’d look for cooler than average conditions along with a weak but cloudy storm in the Central Arctic. Strong storms later in the year have tended to have a negative impact on ice as well. There’s quite a lot of heat overall, so anything that moves more of it around and into the Arctic can have a negative impact on the ice.

      Reply
    • In line with this, can anyone recommend a good web site explaining the basics of meteorology? I have a textbook which I haven’t invaded yet. This is an interesting gap in my (and I suspect many people’s) knowledge, because I have been exposed to countless weather persons and their reports during my life, but the science under the surface always seems elusive…..

      Reply
  9. Steven Blaisdell

     /  May 9, 2016

    Oh-kay, all present indicators show ongoing and increasingly extreme record ice loss, an immense wildfire (one of many) is blasting CO2 into the upper northern atmosphere, Arctic temps are already off the charts warm, what ice there is is mostly new, fragile, and breaking up months ahead of normal….hmmm, what could make this worse? Oh yeah, how about a huge influx of extremely warm spring air across almost the entire Arctic? Now all we need is a fleet of icebreakers smashing what’s left in search of the next great revenue stream.

    The ICCI notes in “Thresholds and Closing Windows” that sea ice could recover relatively quickly to recent levels if CO2 returns to 1.5C above pre-industrial. This is not going to happen. The paper also notes that sea ice has shown “abrupt loss events” (2007, 2012) which establish a new normal in which recovery years “stay closer to the new lower… minimum,” where effectively ice free conditions (below 1m sq. km area) “could occur before 2040.” Well, guess what. Unless there’s a remarkably mild Arctic summer with low incidence of wind and storms, we are looking at something approaching ice free conditions. In 2016. Twenty-four years ahead of schedule. Which will then delimit the variation of so-called “recovery years” to a new baseline that’s close to or possibly ice free. The very definition of a non-linear loss trend, as evidenced by graphs of collapsing Arctic ice extent since ~1970, and especially since 2000. By my eyeballing (as per the report above), minimum extent has dropped roughly 3.5m sq km since 2000 and stands at around 4m sq km, in a clearly discernible non-linear free fall. Extent has fallen about halfway to zero in 16 years, in a non-linear collapse. It will not take another 16 years to reach consistent zero. It’s happening now. Our oceanic sinks are reaching capacity, our forests are failing, human population is expanding, third world nations are industrializing….there’s nowhere for the excess heat and CO2 to go anymore. No more reprieves, no more breaks in the action.

    The Arctic ice cap is disappearing, right in front of our eyes. It will be effectively gone most summers by 2025 or sooner. This is the pattern I’ve observed in the freezing of Lake Champlain, a very large lake between northern Vermont and New York. Its patterns of freezing/not freezing are closely tied to patterns of global warming, and presage on a smaller scale what we’re seeing in the Arctic. Which is the unthinkably fast and unstoppable disappearance of one of Earth’s defining mega-formations. And once the ice is gone…..

    Reply
    • islandraider

       /  May 9, 2016

      …all that energy, 80 calories needed to melt 1-gram of ice at 0C to 1-gram of water at 0C, starts going into the ocean. 80 calories of heat, applied to 1-gram of water at 0C, will heat that water to 80C. When the ice is gone, I think our situation is very serious.

      Reply
      • Baker

         /  May 9, 2016

        What do you think will be realistic SSTs of the Arctic Ocean in this case (of course it won’t warm to 80 C)? Which other impacts will it have in summer and will it be anything like winter again once the ice disappeared?

        Reply
        • So there are a lot of things going on right now. The main driver is a warming ocean in the Arctic due to connections with other warming ocean systems. The heat transfer becomes more uniform. So there’s not a huge jump in temp as the calculus would seem to indicate (the overall jump is about 5 C once the ice is gone), moreso an ocean surface that tends to stay ice free. In other words, the heat goes to work as latent heat. Phase change heat. The Barents is actually a pretty good study for this. Of course, you’ve got Greenland in play. But as a big factor, that’s probably at least a decade or two out.

  10. Jay M

     /  May 9, 2016

    meridional flow to Alaska, stat

    Reply
  11. Steven Blaisdell

     /  May 9, 2016

    Off topic, but saw this over at Grist.

    Coral reefs are straight-up dissolving now
    “A new study found that in the northern section of the Florida Keys’ reef — the third largest barrier reef ecosystem in the world — 6 million tons of limestone have disappeared over the past six years.
    This wasn’t unexpected. It’s just that scientists had predicted the reef’s “tipping point,” where coral development is so severely limited by ocean acidification that reefs erode, was a good 40 years off — not today.”

    http://grist.org/climate-energy/coral-reefs-are-straight-up-dissolving-now/

    Reply
    • The acidification is moving south as the heat-based bleaching moves north. It’s a bad, bad combo.

      We really need to stop burning fossil fuels quick. And individual action ain’t going to cut it. We all need to pull together as a group. That’s the only way to get some traction on this crisis.

      OT: I have some trolls trying to blame NOAA for climate change denial now. Basically making stuff up about a model that they hid which existed in the 1980s. It’s the usual anti-government garbage from the right. I want to very clear to everyone that without the amazing and faithful work like that done at NOAA, we would all be flying blind into this crisis. And it’s the kind of dedication, teamwork, and attention to detail that we see at NOAA that the rest of us could take as an example when confronting climate change.

      We need more support for government programs like this one. Less private/corporate BS.

      Reply
    • Somewhat related — the Aussie tourism industry is now calling for a halt in coal mining and burning due to climate change dangers posed to the Great a Barrier Reef.

      http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/great-barrier-reef-tourism-operators-beg-for-action-on-bleaching-20160506-goom2s.html

      Reply
      • The irony here, of course, is that tourists flying to Australia from all over the world to visit the reef will be contributing seriously to the destruction of that reef!

        If we really want to reduce the use of fossil fuels, the tourism industry as it is now will have to take a big hit.

        Reply
        • Cutting coal out will certainly do a lot to help considering that current coal carbon emissions are more than 20 times current air travel emission. But if the tourism folks want to help even more they’ll lobby for zero carbon air travel as well.

        • Of course, it would also help if the free market coal bags in office were taken out by an increasingly aware public.

    • Wharf Rat

       /  May 9, 2016

      After record, mind-numbing coral bleaching, what would it take to “Save the Reef”?

      Global warming impacts right now are beyond some of the worst scientific predictions, so what does that mean for aspirations to save the Great Barrier Reef?

      http://www.climatecodered.org/2016/05/after-record-mind-numbing-coral.html

      Reply
      • Half of what Spratt says is right. If we rapidly go to zero carbon emissions and apply atmospheric carbon capture, then we’d have a shot at saving the reef, if we’re lucky.

        The problem is that atmospheric sulfur injection, which Spratt suggests as part of the solution not only creates a severe moral hazard and an illusory out that would almost certainly be exploited by fossil fuel special interests, it also generates drought effects that negatively impact billions of people. It’s really not a solution and, at best, it’s a highly destructive temporary treatment. Spratt talks about bright siding — but it’s really a case of blind-siding. The fact that geo-engineering promoters are still blind to the negative consequences — social, political, and global environmental that would emerge.

        If atmospheric sulfur injection were used at all, it should be as a final resort, after all the far better measures were taken. If Spratt and others used their intellectual capital to promote an energy switch rather than endlessly trying to get geo-engineering into the tent, then we’d be far better off.

        Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  May 10, 2016

        The Great Barrier Reef is gone. The current, worst for 400 years, at least, bleaching, came on top of the Reef having lost fifty percent of coral cover over the last thirty years, and that from a degraded condition. The warming, bleaching, acidification and run-off of silt and poisons from land-clearing and cane-growing (to produce sugar with which to give ourselves diabetes)is a fatal combination. And we have State and Federal regimes stuffed to the gills with the hardest of hard-core denialists, egged on by the MSM, the Murdoch apparatus in particular, and coal-mining and export is akin to a religious obligation. But, fear not-with luck the Reef will be back in a couple of hundred thousand years.

        Reply
  12. B-I-N-G-O!
    You sure nailed this one, Robert.
    Had one eye on this for a while now.
    You stated it perfectly.

    ###
    If I were to use an old surfing term: “The Arctic is… eating it.”

    For non-surfers, to wit, a wipe out by losing out to the full force of the breaking wave.
    One may ‘ride’ the waves – but at any time the wave can, and will, crush you.
    Ah, yes. Those were the days- of waiting for storm surf. And feeling the ground shake under foot a hundred meters inland.

    ###
    Except in surfing you usually bob up to the surface — and do it again.
    I’m not sure if the Arctic can do that at this time.

    Thx2
    DT

    Reply
      • First, you the water. Then water by the ton hits you.
        Then you’re upside down and sideways — all the same time.🙂

        Reply
        • It’s like being put into a gigantic turbine. For a few seconds after the forever it feels like you spun there, you don’t know which way is up. Then, on the backside of the wave, you’re likely in a downward pulling eddy which can hold you under for another 30 seconds to a minute or more. Which is one reason why you’d really better be able to hold your breath and keep cool.

      • Eat it and go over the falls for sure.

        Reply
  13. ? Possible edit par 3 last sentence: move ‘warmed,’ comma right to after ‘world’?

    Reply
  14. – Across the Pacific- coast of (central?) China.

    Robert Speta ‏@robertspeta 2h2 hours ago

    400-500mm of rainfall the past several days contributed to the severe landslide in Fujian Sunday.

    Reply
  15. – Via climatehawk1 – A possible HRC (POTUS) climate map.

    If she’s elected president, Hillary Clinton intends to equip the White House with a situation room just for climate change, inspired by the Map Room where Franklin D. Roosevelt managed World War II, her campaign chairman, former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, said Friday.

    Podesta was one of nine veterans of seven previous administrations who spoke Friday at a Stanford University conference on “Setting the Climate Agenda for the Next U.S. President.” He cited a technologically sophisticated Climate Map Room as an example of planning for resilience—the capacity of the country to withstand and adapt to climate-change effects.

    -U.S. Army Signal Corps Officer Al Cornelius in the White House Map Room in 1943. (Photo courtesy Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum)

    Reply
  16. Zack Labe ‏@ZLabe 32m32 minutes ago

    JAXA #Arctic sea ice extent falling ~130,400 km^2 (last 24-hrs). Conditions favorable for large decreases this week

    Reply
  17. One little gem to lighten the mood. The last coal fired power station in South Australia has shut down forever. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-09/port-augusta-has-faced-downturn-before/7395970?WT.ac=statenews_sa

    Of course, if the proposal for the CSP project outside the town had got up when it was proposed, there’d be a good number of jobs for many of these people to move to straight away.

    Reply
  18. redskylite

     /  May 9, 2016

    Usually at the mention of Pacific Islands and sea level rise, deniers ome out from their holes and start mumbling about land sinking and erosion. So here it is in bold print proclaimed by the Washington Post.

    After the Pacific Ocean swallows villages and five Solomon Islands, a study blames climate change.

    In a recent paper in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the scientists link the destructive sea level rise to anthropogenic — that is, human-caused — climate change. The study is the first time anyone has concretely analyzed the loss of Solomon Island shoreline in the context of global warming, they say.

    . . . . . . . . . . .

    These sunken islands, he said, are a portent of things to come.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/05/09/after-the-pacific-ocean-swallows-villages-and-five-solomon-islands-a-study-blames-climate-change/?tid=twisira

    Reply
  19. redskylite

     /  May 9, 2016

    The Soloman Islanders had little (or absolutely nothing) to do with fossil fuel exploitation, so you would expect some support from nations more involved, but sadly none so far . .

    Is this an omen for the future of this planet ?

    “Some of the communities are extremely remote – there is no communication – and they’ve had fundamentally zero support from the international community.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/303389/'zero'-international-support-for-displaced-soloman-islanders

    Reply
  20. Abel Adamski

     /  May 9, 2016

    Meanwhile in The land of Oz and the yellow brick road

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/kevin-scarces-nuclear-royal-commission-backs-sa-waste-facility-20160508-gopj98.html

    South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill will make a “distinctly political judgment” by the end of 2016 on whether to act on a recommendation to set up a nuclear waste storage facility in the state to generate $100 billion in income over the project’s forecast 120-year life.

    The issue of whether Australia should become a large player in underground storage of other nation’s spent nuclear fuel rods was thrust into the national spotlight on Monday when a final report by Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce was publicly released, 14 months after his nuclear inquiry was originally established by Mr Weatherill to kickstart a debate about a nuclear industry.

    It has caused angst in the Australian Labor Party at a federal level because Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is against a nuclear industry. Mr Weatherill said on Monday that he hadn’t made up his mind yet about whether the state should proceed. The final report reinforced preliminary findings unveiled in February that revenues of $257 billion could be collected over 120 years by operating a large underground nuclear waste storage facility which costs $145 billion.

    Yeah lets go nuclear to save the world and create a lovely warm glow for 10’s of thousands of years

    Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  May 10, 2016

      Abel, in Australia the tradition is to have the ‘findings’ of ‘Royal Commissions’ decided long before the sham theatrics. The aptly named ‘Scarce’ is a notorious pro-nuclear agitator, and the results of this farce were easily and clearly predicted when he was appointed. Moreover, the prime site for the waste dump has turned out to be land owned by a former Liberal (our further Right party)Senator, who will make a bundle if the land is acquired. Lucky boy! His neighbours, or rather the land’s neighbours (he prefers an up-market suburb in Adelaide hundreds of kilometres away), seem not unanimously happy about becoming the world’s dumping ground for toxic poison. But the powers-that-be see a buck in it for themselves, and that’s all that matters, is it not.

      Reply
  21. Abel Adamski

     /  May 9, 2016

    And worse still from OZ, talk about a disconnect from reality.

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/cutting-to-the-core-csiro-to-end-longstanding-antarctic-ice-air-research-20160508-gop6tb.html

    Cutting to the core: CSIRO to end long-standing Antarctic ice, air research

    CSIRO plans to close its ice lab and cease key Antarctic science activities, moves that scientists warn will damage Australia’s international partnerships and run counter to a new $2 billion-plus government plan for the region.

    Staff in CSIRO’s key climate science units within its Oceans & Atmosphere division will be told as early as Monday where the intended axe of 74 jobs will land, according to a leaked union document obtained by Fairfax Media.

    The cuts are part of the agency’s plan to slash 275 jobs and shift resources elsewhere. Monday is expected to mark the start of the formal contacting of staff to inform them their positions will go.

    Antarctic science will bear part of the brunt just days after Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced government support topping $2 billion over 20 years to boost Australia’s position on the icy continent. The funds include an ice-breaker ship but also ice-core research now at risk.

    The document reveals the paleo-climate science unit – which runs the ice lab at CSIRO’s Aspendale site in south-eastern Melbourne – will be closed.

    The unit’s cuts also include monitoring the atmosphere for changes at Australia’s bases at South Pole, Mawson and other stations.

    This monitoring involves partnerships with the US space agency, NASA. The ice core analysis work also involved research for other nations, such as the EU.

    The CSIRO team to go was expected to join an international team that will hunt one million year-old ice that would extend knowledge of how the world’s climate has changed in the past.

    The group is also in talks on new research areas with US agencies that could open up fresh revenue sources, Fairfax understands.

    “Australia can’t just divest itself of important global capability without there being consequences,” a senior scientist familiar with the ice program said.

    “The public record of the leading players [in CSIRO’s paleo-climate team] shows they have made a global impact.

    Note “The funds include an ice-breaker ship”

    The current new high tech research vessel is funded for a ridiculously short time per year and spends over half its time doing exploration off the Southern Coast for the Oil and Gas Companies. So guess this is really for the F/F companies to do their ocean research off the Antarctic coast at taxpayers expense

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  May 9, 2016

      If The Repubs win expect the Scripps Institute to be shut down ASAP

      Reply
    • Vic

       /  May 9, 2016

      And while one hand slashes climate research to the bone the other hand delivers an extra $48 billion in tax cuts to businesses. Incredible.

      http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/the-number-malcolm-turnbull-wouldnt-reveal-company-tax-cut-to-cost-48-billion-over-10-years-20160505-gonr8c.html

      Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  May 10, 2016

        Our version of the Harper Inquisition against climate science. The CSIRO head who ordered this book-burning exercise is a ‘venture capitalist’, from the blessed ‘Silicon Valley’, ‘head-hunted’ (I wish!) by the hard, hard, Right denialist regime in power Federally. He has some mysterious prior working relationship with a Liberal MP, Jensen (just dumped from the party after a smear campaign based on lurid sexual passages from his ‘novel’)a supposed ‘scientist’ who somehow manages to be a fanatic climate destabilisation denialist. The nature of the prior relationship is mysterious, and will remain so, because our vaunted ‘Free Press’ has shown NO interest in investigating it.

        Reply
  22. Cate

     /  May 9, 2016

    Nova Scotia has legislated that 40% of its electricity must be green-sourced by 2020. Good on them, but a significant proportion of that is projected to come from Muskrat Falls, a hydro mega-project in Labrador which is currently way over budget, behind schedule, apparently plagued with all sorts of corporate skullduggery, and now under review by the provincial govt of Newfoundland and Labrador, which effectively owns the project. There are murmurs of cancellation—although purchase by the Chinese is probably more likely, imho!

    Muskrat Falls represents the island of Newfoundland’s last ditch attempt to join the continental power grid. We currently produce all our electricity on-island through hydro and oil-fired generation. The immense potential of wind, let alone solar or hydro, in this breezy little corner of the world doesn’t seem to have entered anyone’s mind. The concept of small-source, distributed power generation is foreign. We are desperate for an energy revolution between the ears.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/muskrat-falls-failure-warning-to-province-1.3571373

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  May 9, 2016

      ummm…..”solar or TIDAL….” that should be, sorry.

      Reply
    • Cate, it’s amazing how long the inertia of existing systems goes for! How long it takes for people to realize that renewables have become very feasible. Why the Maritime Provinces aren’t developing an offshore wind industry I have no idea, there’s so much shallow windy water there. Plus shipbuilding type jobs, I’m sure there’s a lot of transferrable skills between the two industries. And it doesn’t have to be offshore, actually, there’s so much road accessible windy areas on the East Coast that it’s a travesty it hasn’t been developed.

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  May 9, 2016

        Marcel, you are so right. Bring up wind, solar, or tidal here and people stare as if you have ten heads. They cannot imagine it at all—-it’s as if Big Oil has everyone mesmerised. Or brainwashed. But there are green shoots, and they are coming from the bottom, which is a good sign of new thinking about how energy is produced and who gets to produce it.

        For example, this organisation of skilled tarsands tradespeople, now seeking to move into renewables:

        http://www.ironandearth.org/

        Reply
      • Cate

         /  May 9, 2016

        Btw, many people I talk to in Newfoundland still believe that old myth that Newfoundland is “too windy” for wind power. When I point out that Shetland has windfarms, and Shetland is too windy even for trees to grow, their eyes just glaze over and the conversation ends. There is a serious unwillingness—even an inability—to engage with these issues.

        Reply
        • Perfect sign that they’ve been mislead. Cate– if you want to break the FF stranglehold on Newfoundland, you guys are going to need to organize. Same with us in the US, I think. We’ve made great strides, but there’s a combination of corruption and bad thinking that stands in the way of a more rapid transition. For example, here in Maryland home solar is popping up all over the place and we’ve got a decent set of policies supporting it. But we still have resistance in the form of condos and apartments which are not allowed, by law, to install rooftop solar. In addition, the condo boards tend to be stacked with some of the most conservative, non-visionary people around. But if we could get them out, then we could have them push back — write letters to the state legislature etc. We need effective community organizations that can coordinate with each other and that actively recruit within the community to counter some of the internal baggage and to form a check against outside influences.

          Utilities are also starting to be a growing problem. In North Carolina, for example, a petition to allow 3rd party solar installers was fined 60,000 dollars by the state legislature. A clear sign that the relationship with Duke Energy and North Carolina itself is unhealthy and acting in a manner that essentially protects a monopoly economic interest. It also protects legacy coal and gas burning power plants that inject millions of tons of carbon into the air.

          Utilities in some states are also now trying to charge people for their solar use. A circumstance that appears to be driving many to attempt to go off-grid. The numbers of off grid users are small now, but with much lower storage costs on the way, it appears that the second wave of solar coming in around 2019-2020 will include a significant number of utility defections.

        • Hmm, strange. On the other hand, it would have to be elected or utility officials who would need to make decisions like that (essentially, power plant siting).

      • Windy sites in much of the eastern U.S. are on mountain ridgelines, and there is fierce resistance from wealthy folks whose view will be “spoiled.” Ridgeline views also “impact” many who won’t get income or tax breaks. And of course, those considerations are all that matter. My suspicion is that fossil fuel groups are providing some of the funding for anti-wind organizations.

        All this may change once new, taller turbines with larger rotor diameters are rolled out, making less energetic sites developable. Or not.

        Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  May 10, 2016

        Cate, the opposition to renewable energy and climate science is an entirely Rightwing phenomenon, worse in the Anglosphere than anywhere else on Earth. Therefore it is a patho-psychological phenomenon, and an expression of the psyche of the Rightwing Authoritarian Personality type. They oppose renewable energy simply because they see it as ‘Leftist’-that’s all it takes, and their resistance is fanatical.

        Reply
    • Cate

       /  May 9, 2016

      Robert, there is definitely need for local study/discussion/action groups to raise awareness. and this is something that anyone can do in their community, either with other interested individuals or as part of existing community groups.

      It’s quite obvious that if utility companies are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem since they are the locus where most of us come into close personal contact with energy issues. So here is one thing a local activist group could do, to put pressure on local utilities to move to renewables as soon and as thoroughly as possible.

      The thing is, there is so much we CAN do. This is crucial to remember, in the face of all this rather overwhelming climate news.

      Reply
      • Some utilities are moving in the right direction. But there’s also a lot of foot dragging due to the issue of legacy assets. I absolutely agree that activist groups can put pressure on utilities and it’s worth noting that they’ve been very effective lately in shutting down coal plants and stopping new coal projects. As you say, there’s so much opportunity for good work in this area. I encourage everyone to jump in with both feet.

        Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  May 9, 2016

    Why Used ‘Second-Life’ Electric Car Batteries Are A Clean Energy Game Changer

    Battery costs are plummeting to levels that make EVs a truly disruptive technology, as we’ve explained. That’s why electric vehicle (EV) sales are exploding world-wide, and why Tesla broke every record for pre-sales with its affordable ($35,000), 200+ mile range Model 3 last month.

    But what you may not realize is that major EV makers — BMW, GM, Nissan, Toyota — are now exploring how much value their EV battery has for use in the electricity storage market after that battery can no longer meet the strict requirements for powering its car. This potential second life for EV batteries is a clean energy game changer for two reasons:

    These used EV batteries hold the promise of much cheaper electricity storage for renewables than is available today.
    If used EV batteries have value, then EV makers can charge less for their cars, making them even more affordable

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/05/09/3775606/used-second-life-electric-car-batteries/

    Reply
  24. Wharf Rat

     /  May 9, 2016

    San Francisco recently made headlines for establishing an ordinance requiring solar installations on new buildings, and now, yet another California city has passed similar legislation.

    The Santa Monica City Council has approved an ordinance mandating rooftop solar systems on all new residential and commercial buildings in the city. And although San Francisco’s ordinance goes into effect in 2017, Santa Monica’s kicks off in fewer than 30 days, on May 26. Other cities in the Sunshine State that created such solar mandates include Sebastopol and Lancaster, which passed their ordinances in 2013.

    http://solarindustrymag.com/santa-monica-mandates-rooftop-solar-on-new-buildings

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  May 9, 2016

      Whoa, a long wind-up, and then it’s like something explodes in the late 1990s….

      Reply
      • The late 80s and early 90s was when we crossed the ppm CO2 tipping point. In addition, that’s the time when China and Southeast Asia began to ramp up coal burning. Annual rates of CO2 accumulation accelerated from 1-1.5 ppm increases to 1.6 to 2.8 ppm increases. The only thing that really slowed down was the rate of methane accumulation. But that again picked up in the mid 2000s.

        Worth noting that we are now at 407.5 ppm CO2 approximate for April monthly averages at Mauna Loa. May should be about 0.5 ppm higher. So the peak for 2016 looks like about 408 ppm. The level of CO2 alone is enough to support a long-term temperature increase of around 3.4 C and would be more than enough to blow through 1.5 C (multi-annual) this Century. Add in other greenhouse gasses and we’re looking at around 4.5 C long term (unless the methane falls out) and 2.2 C this Century.

        We really are at a hard line now. It’s absolutely imperative that we cease fossil fuel burning very swiftly and start figuring out how to draw carbon out of the atmosphere in order to get back below 350 ppm as soon as possible. This is a very heavy lift. The current action right now is basically half-measures. Governments need to get involved on all fronts and the divisions now being caused by those defending the fossil fuel industry are vastly destructive to our future.

        Anyone voting for Trump or a republican in this election (at any level) is basically casting a vote for terrible climate impacts coming with more and more frequency and force. They’ve already locked in enough damage. We cannot allow them to lock in a near-certain wholesale wrecking of our civilizations and of the Earth-based life supports we all depend upon.

        Reply
      • It’s also a visual artefact of the fact that the circles diameters get bigger the further out they are, so it makes a bigger impression.

        Reply
  25. Connecticut Gordon

     /  May 9, 2016

    I’m unsure if anyone else is aware of this but the NSIDC site is back with sea ice data. The trend line is well below 2 standard deviations

    Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  May 9, 2016

    Rare Seal Pups Stranded on Shrinking Arctic Ice

    As the sea ice on which it depends breaks apart, the Baltic ringed seal of northern Europe is declining fast, experts say.

    Although hunting has been banned since the 1980s and pollution has decreased, the population in the Gulf of Finland has dwindled to about 10,000 due to a new threat—shrinking ice, according to the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission.
    ‘The Trend Is Real’

    As the ocean heats up due to global warming, Arctic sea ice has been locked in a downward spiral. Since the late 1970s, the ice has retreated by 12 percent per decade, worsening after 2007, according to NASA.

    Ice extent in the Baltic Sea has decreased by 20 percent in the past hundred years, and the length of ice season in the Gulf of Finland shortened by 41 days, the Baltic commission reports.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/05/160509-seals-baltic-russia-animals-science/?google_editors_picks=true

    Reply
  27. Genomik

     /  May 9, 2016

    What does the western U.S. have in common with the Middle East, north India and China? A bleak future where water is concerned.

    https://www.revealnews.org/article/were-running-out-of-water-and-the-worlds-powers-are-very-worried/

    Reply
  28. Abel Adamski

     /  May 9, 2016

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hillary-clinton-s-plan-to-combat-climate-change/

    Hillary Clinton’s Plan to Combat Climate Change

    If elected President, Clinton would tackle global warming via energy supplies

    By basically surrendering to Congress, sorry negotiating with Congress

    Reply
  29. Anthony Sagliani ‏@anthonywx 2h2 hours ago

    That was an awesome 30 hours without rain we had.

    Reply
  30. – A significant high in this region?

    Reply
  31. – Important in so many ways too.

    Reply
  32. – NA SW – I’ve been expecting something like this:

    Southwest primed for a nasty fire season
    In much of California, Arizona and New Mexico El Niño and La Niña have combined to create dry fuels, ready to burn.
    In May, record-breaking temperatures tipped over 90 degrees Fahrenheit (exceeding normal temperatures at this time of year by nearly 40 degrees) before an extreme wildfire erupted at bone-dry Fort McMurray, a Canadian city central to Western Alberta’s tar sands oil region. The inferno has engulfed more than 1,600 buildings, including one out of every five homes, and has pushed nearly 100,000 people to flee the city, the largest evacuation in Alberta’s history. Left behind are the near unrecognizable remnants of residential streets, burned churches and countless cars.

    The Alberta blaze may just be the beginning of what is shaping up to be a tough fire season in parts of the West. The wildfire season is changing; blazes are hotter and larger than they used to be and seasons are beginning earlier and lasting longer. The Fort McMurray fire “is consistent with what we expect from human-caused climate change affecting our fire regime,” Mike Flannigan, wildfire researcher at the University of Alberta, told Climate Central as the fires were burning last week.
    http://www.hcn.org/articles/southwest-primed-for-a-nasty-fire-season

    Reply
    • – A relevant repost I did for the dry So Cal Bight.
      Keep in mind that the coast is much like Fort McMurray but with US Hwy 101 being the one road in, and one road out. I-5 being the major inland. So Cal has many, many, more cars than NE Alberta.

      Reply
      • 1956 – Pacific Coast Hwy1 now augmented by US 101. So Cal Coast has much more traffic today.

        Reply
      • Witchee

         /  May 9, 2016

        Anyone who has watched Malibu burn over and over, or who saw Laguna Canyon go up in flames is well aware of how one road in and out looks. It looks not good at all. And then the people go right back and build in the same place. Insane.

        Reply
  33. – Here’s some interesting takes the psychology of some of us.

    WaPo

    Scientists now know the psychology behind your worries about the environment


    Past research has highlighted that those who care about the environment tend to be “Open to Experience” — wanting to try out new things and new experiences — and also to have high levels of empathy, or sensitivity to the suffering of others (including not just humans, but plants and animals). New research, though, suggests there’s a more intellectual side to being green as well. In particular, it finds that those with a tendency to engage in what is called “systems thinking” — embracing complex, multifaceted causal explanations for phenomena and recognizing the unpredictability of how nature works — also tend to value the environment more and to be more concerned about climate change.

    When it comes to the role of systems thinking in environmentalism, “the idea is that it’s encouraging people to think about longer chains of causality, nuanced aspects of a complex system, and how any behavior in that system can have both intended and unintended consequences, and those can be hard to predict,” said Oberlin College psychologist Paul Thibodeau, author of a new study on the matter just published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, and co-authored with his colleague Stephen Lezak.

    If there’s any icon of systems thinking, it might be the founder of evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin. At the close of “On the Origin of Species,” he famously described an ecological system and how evolution had managed to create its diversity and complexity:

    ” It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/04/27/this-key-psychological-factor-could-explain-why-you-care-about-the-environment/

    Reply
    • Charles Darwin had a great way with words.🙂

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  May 9, 2016

        “I know a bank where the wild thyme grows…..” 😉

        Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  May 10, 2016

        ‘When through the old oak forest I am gone,
        Let me not wander in a barren dream,
        But when I am consumed in the fire,
        Give me new phoenix wings to fly at my desire’.

        Reply
    • Many photojournalists have many of these same traits – especially the importance of empathy.

      Reply
  34. – Straight out of Houston, TX | The changing $$$ value of oil:

    U.S. oil industry bankruptcy wave nears size of telecom bust

    The rout in crude prices is snowballing into one of the biggest avalanches in the history of corporate America, with 59 oil and gas companies now bankrupt after this week’s filings for creditor protection by Midstates Petroleum and Ultra Petroleum.

    The number of U.S. energy bankruptcies is closing in on the staggering 68 filings seen during the depths of the telecom bust of 2002 and 2003, according to Reuters data, the law firm Haynes & Boone and bankruptcydata.com.

    Charles Gibbs, a restructuring partner at Akin Gump in Texas, said the U.S. oil industry is not even halfway through its wave of bankruptcies.

    “I think we’ll see more filings in the second quarter than in the first quarter,” he said. Fifteen oil and gas companies filed for bankruptcy in the first quarter.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-shale-telecoms-idUSKCN0XV07V

    Reply
  35. I like this:

    Reply
  36. ‘Ameriflux’ – the first I’ve heard of them. Any one else?

    How towers helped determine the impact of the 2012 U.S. drought on the carbon cycle
    Date:May 7, 201
    Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

    In 2012, the United States experienced the warmest spring on record followed by the most severe drought since the Dust Bowl. A team of scientists used a network of Ameriflux sites to map the carbon flux across the United States during the drought.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160507091317.htm

    Reply
  37. NASA Goddard Verified account ‏@NASAGoddard 14m14 minutes ago

    The Fort McMurry wildfire in Canada continues to burn – it’s smoke reaching Maryland and Virginia Sunday.

    Reply
  38. Colorado Bob

     /  May 9, 2016

    Why this could finally be the election where climate change matters

    “The Clinton campaign sees polling showing profound political vulnerability on climate for the Republicans generally and Trump specifically, so the Clinton camp intends to push climate themes aggressively, ” adds Paul Bledsoe, who worked on climate issues in the former Clinton White House and is now an independent energy consultant. “They see GOP climate denial fitting into a larger narrative of Trump and the Republicans being willing to deny factual information injurious to the American public just because it doesn’t fit into Tea Party ideology. That will be a meta-theme of the campaign, and climate fits into it.”

    Chris Mooney

    Reply
    • Thank goodness. And I say, sock it to ’em they deserve every little bit of what’s coming in the form of severe political payback.

      Reply
      • June

         /  May 9, 2016

        I just hope the pushback against Trump trickles down to the congressional races. We need to get Congress out of the clutches of the Republicans or climate action won’t progress very far.

        Reply
  1. Warm North Pacific Winds Predicted to Usher in Brutal Arctic Heatwave this Week | 2rhoeas3
  2. Fort McMurray Fire Slowed Sunday by Light Rain — Despite Progress, Official Expect Fire to Burn for Months | robertscribbler
  3. Massive Wildfires Erupt in Northeast China as Lake Baikal Blazes Ignite | robertscribbler
  4. Incêndios Enormes no Nordeste da China e no Lago Baikal - Alterações Climáticas

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: