New Extreme Climate to Hurl More Rain Bombs at Texas, Light off Another Record West Coast Heatwave

They call them rain bombs. A new breed of severe storm fueled by a record hot atmosphere. One capable of dumping 2-4 inches of rainfall an hour and generating voracious flash floods that can devour homes and cars in just minutes. And in southeast Texas, the rain bombs have been going off like gangbusters.

In this week’s most recent iteration of flaring, climate change induced, storms, a region north of Houston and south of Dallas saw flood after flood after flood. Now, hundreds of people have been forced to abandon inundated homes, thousands of cars have been submerged, and seven people are dead. Rainfall totals for the region over the past seven days have averaged between 7 and 10 inches. But local amounts in the most intense bombification zones have come in at 16, 19, and even as high as 30 inches in Washington County. All time record rainfall totals that might be associated with a powerful hurricane. Floods that would typically happen only once every 500 years. But in the new moisture-laden atmosphere of a record warm world, a garden variety thunderstorm now has enough atmospheric oomph to frequently set off what were once multi-century floods.

Rain bombs over Texas 3

(Rain bombs again explode over Texas in a huge complex of storms on Tuesday afternoon in this GOES enhanced satellite shot. It’s all part of the same stormy weather pattern — associated with a trough and an upper level low — that over the past five days produced another round of record flooding over Texas. And it’s expected to remain in place through the end of this week. With more severe storms firing and 4-8 inches of additional rainfall on the way for some sections of soggy Texas, it appears that still more extreme flooding is likely. Image source: NOAA.)

It’s under these new, freakish, conditions that the Brazos River is today expected to crest at 53.5 feet — its highest level ever recorded. And this crest is predicted to push a flood of 8-9 feet into neighboring communities. Extreme flooding that local officials say Texans are not at all prepared for. In total, more than 40,000 people have been urged to evacuate. But with the worst flooding still on the way, the situation is still very fluid.

In isolation, the current Texas floods would be an extreme record disaster worthy of the weather history books. But it is just one of three such severe rainfall events to strike southeastern Texas since April. And, unfortunately, more storms are on the way as a strong ridge of high pressure out west is expected to generate another deep Central US trough and related rain bomb inducing storm pattern over the next five days.

West Coast Turns up the Heat

As parts of Texas face never-before-seen flooding, the US West Coast is staring down the gullet of an extraordinary surge of heat. A gigantic blob of hot ocean water off that region of the world is feeding the growth of a powerful atmospheric wave. And once the ridge of this wave really starts to swell northward on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, record hot temperatures are bound to explode all over the US West Coast and on up into Canada.

image

(Sea surface temperature anomalies on May 31, 2016. Extremely hot sea surface temperatures over a vast area stretching from the Equator to Alaska and all along the US West Coast enhance the development of strong ridges in the Jet Stream that have tended to spur extreme heatwaves over the past few years. Ocean temperatures over this zone now range between 1 and 6 C above normal late 20th Century values. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

In Fresno, the mercury is expected to rocket to 108 degrees Fahrenheit by Saturday — or about 18 degrees above normal for early June. Sacramento is expected to see 106 F readings at the same time — which is around 20 degrees above average for that Central California location. Further north, temperatures are also expected to skyrocket with Portland predicted to strike near 98 F on Sunday and Spokane calling for 96 F. In fire-ravaged Fort McMurray, the mercury is expected to top out at 85 F on the same day.

This expansive bulge of heat is expected to cover pretty much all of Western North American. Rising from the Desert Southwest, it is predicted to run through Oregon and Washington, rise up through Canada, and touch even the shores of the rapidly thawing Arctic Ocean.

Conditions in the Context of Human Caused Climate Change

The broader conditions fueling both record rain and potential record high temperatures over the North American West are the same. A record hot global atmosphere is one that is burdened with more heat and moisture than ever before. One that will inevitably produce more extreme rainfall and heatwaves than we are used to.

Locally, additional features related to a fossil fuel based warming of the world further contribute to the problem. Over the Northwestern Pacific, sea surface temperatures ranging from 1-6 degrees Celsius above average (2 to 10 F) generate a tendency for heatwaves and strong high pressure formation. These systems have often taken in all of the US West even as they’ve extended on up into Canada and Alaska. Adding to the problem is sea ice loss over the Arctic Ocean — which as of today is seeing the lowest ice extent ever recorded for this time of year. This sea ice loss tends to aid in Arctic warming which weakens the Jet Stream, which in turn tends to meander — creating these exaggerated trough and ridge patterns that have been associated with so much extreme weather recently.

image

(Earth Nullschool map of Jet Stream wind pattern predicted for early June 5, 2016. A powerful ridge expected to form over the US West Coast is predicted to drive record heatwave conditions there by this weekend even as a facing trough will again spike the risk for extreme rainfall events over Southeastern Texas. This Jet Stream feature and related severe weather conditions — ranging from severe heat to floods — is now influenced by numerous effects currently emerging as human-forced climate change worsens. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Large, hot ridges forming in one region tend to generate deep, stormy troughs in another. And the ridge over the US West has resulted in the formation of a related trough and unsettled weather pattern over the South-Central US centering on Southeast Texas. This trough has pulled cold, unstable air into the upper levels of the atmosphere over Texas even as it fed upon an uncanny volume of moisture streaming in off the abnormally hot waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean.

The results? Well, we’ve already experienced them in the form of record floods for Texas, periods of record heat for the Western US, and a never-before-seen May wildfire outbreak in Alberta, Canada. This week, the overall pattern is again expected to ramp into high gear — which is likely to produce possibly never-before seen June heat out west and more extreme flooding for Texas.

Links:

Texas Floods Force Evacuations

Texas Floods: More Rain is Coming

Death Toll Rises to Seven in Texas Floods

Hundreds of Homes Destroyed in Texas Floods

Observed Precipitation NOAA

NOAA/National Hurricane Center

Weather.com Local Forecasts

US Climate Data

Earth Nullschool

 

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208 Comments

  1. wili

     /  May 31, 2016

    Texas just doesn’t seem to be able to get a break, recently.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  May 31, 2016

      As with Ft. McMurray, there is a touch of irony there, since Texas is almost synonymous with oil. But mostly, of course, both are enormous tragedies, destroying lives of many who had little or nothing to do with ff development, and who reaped even less of the profits from it.

      Reply
      • Wharf Rat

         /  May 31, 2016

        More than a touch of irony. Texas, with Ted Cruz, Lamar Smith, and many others, is one of the hotspots of denial.

        Reply
  2. Jack Polonka

     /  May 31, 2016

    Robert, et.al.,

    What is that BIG BLUE BLOB in the North Pacific….. Fresh water coming out of the Bering Sea/ (through the melting of the acrtic ice pack from that end)…. Maybe a bigger problem along the lines of the big blue blob of freash water off the coast of Greenland/Iceland.

    Jack

    Reply
    • Persistent storm formation in that zone has generated cool water upwelling via Ekman type pumping. It’s another strong trough zone. Not as long lasting as the North Atlantic cool pool as yet. But something to watch. As Greenland starts to go down, these storm zones should enlarge.

      Reply
  3. Colorado Bob

     /  May 31, 2016

    The Media Is Ignoring The Most Important Part Of Stephen Hawking’s Comments On Trump

    But here’s the thing: in that same interview, Hawking also said he didn’t believe Trump was the greatest threat facing America, or even the world. The greatest threat, he said, is human-caused climate change.

    “A more immediate danger is runaway climate change,” Hawking said. “A rise in ocean temperature would melt the ice-caps, and cause a release of large amounts of carbon dioxide from the ocean floor. Both effects could make our climate like that of Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees.”

    Link

    Reply
    • Human forced warming is absolutely the greatest threat now facing humanity. Trump’s a serious threat because not only is he a complete ignoramus when it comes to anything climate science related, he’s pledging to promote policies that threaten to rapidly worsen what is already a terrible situation.

      Reply
    • utoutback

       /  May 31, 2016

      I was talking about the RS site to my sister-in-law yesterday and said this: “The folks on this site believe that we are doomed, but that this is no reason to give up hope or to stop fighting.”
      Keep up the good fight y’all.

      Reply
      • I don’t believe we are inevitably doomed. And I think a big push by all of humankind might get us out of the worst of this mess. I do believe, though, that we lock in more bad outcomes with each day that we burn oil, gas, and coal, with every instance in which we emit more carbon into the already carbon-laden airs. And I believe that if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels soon, then human civilization is probably doomed to suffer a devastating collapse and that if we don’t halt that harmful burning, then human extinction is a very real risk.

        Reply
      • My view as well, FWIW. What is most disturbing is the general lack of recognition of the urgency of the situation. We’re just reacting far too slowly at the moment to get a grip on this before it turns much more ugly.

        Reply
  4. Spike

     /  May 31, 2016

    France now being flooded in N.

    Guess there’s a lot of atmospheric moisture to be wrung out after recent record global temps.

    Reply
    • So as El Nino starts transitioning into La Nina some of the excess atmospheric moisture of a record warm world gets wrung out. We need to be looking at these trough zones with concern. The Pakistan Floods of 2011 give us an idea what the global atmosphere is now capable of when we come off El Nino. But this El Nino was the strongest since 1998 and global temperatures are much warmer than during the 2010-2011 timeframe. At this time, we could say the dice are even more heavily loaded for extreme conditions.

      Reply
      • Ought to be an interesting hurricane season.

        Reply
        • That region of disturbed weather off the US East Coast looks like its own mini ITCZ. There are quite a lot of lows all over the place out there.

      • Spike

         /  June 1, 2016

        Just discovered that gifted climate scientist and communicator Stefan Rahmstorf has a Facebook page. This comment is interesting and relevant:

        “Germany is suffering severe thunderstorms these days, and media are calling us to ask about the climate connection. Indeed it is so that global warming very likely leads to more severe thunderstorms. The IPCC concluded in its last report that “for all parts of the world studied, the results are suggestive of a trend toward environments favouring more severe thunderstorms.” A study analysing radar and rain gauge data from Germany concluded that severe convective rainfall increases faster in response to warming than expected just from the increased water-holding capacity of warmer air (Berg et al., Nature Climate Change 2013). And a sophisticated statistical model of hailstorm development predicts that “the potential for hail events will increase in the future (2021–2050) compared to the past (1971–2000), but only statistically significant in the northwest and south of Germany” (Mohr et al., Journal of Geophysical Research 2015).”

        Reply
      • Spike

         /  June 1, 2016

        Here’s the abstract he refers to:

        http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v6/n3/abs/ngeo1731.html

        “We conclude that convective precipitation responds much more sensitively to temperature increases than stratiform precipitation, and increasingly dominates events of extreme precipitation”

        Reply
    • PlazaRed

       /  June 1, 2016

      Interesting to see a couple of weeks ago that the smoke from the Alberta fires was reported and photographed over the bay of Biscay,
      This smoke took about 2 weeks to go abut a quarter of the way around the world.
      Heavily moisture laden atmosphere can transport millions of tons of water over large distances very quickly as well. Just because its 32/C today in southern Spain does not mean that a lot of moisture from here is not going to fall somewhere else soon, Its usually our heat but somebody else’s rain.
      A lot of rain problems at the moment in France and Germany along with other central European countries. Looks like a lot of damage being caused and the news here talked about people in the affected areas never having seen so much rain and flooding.

      Reply
  5. Thanks for explaining Texas. I was wondering what was driving this. Not too good to be too close to water these days.

    Reply
    • Cheers, Miep. That latest GOES loop is a doozy. More rain bombs going off. This time starting to fire over Central Texas, but moving eastward into the flood zone this afternoon.

      NWS radar shows San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas all getting hammered. Houston in the firing line.

      http://radar.weather.gov/Conus/southplains_loop.php

      Watch out. I see some big ones also starting to go off in New Mexico.

      Reply
      • I watch the weather online during all my waking hours. A lot of local storms have a way of skirting CB, perhaps because it’s at a low spot (where the river is). I’m not quite in the 100 year flood zone, so not high-risk, but much more than a foot of rain fast, anywhere around here, would definitely flood people near the river or the main mountain draw.

        Reply
      • So far I have measured 1.5 cm rain here since the late December blizzard, and one cm was two days ago. I am most interested in what will happen around September, when things start to cool off and rain tends to kick in harder, and when the La Nina should be stronger. Hard one to call.

        Reply
  6. Not sure what Obama is supposed to do about Zika.

    Reply
  7. Reply
    • Reply
      • Cate

         /  June 1, 2016

        Very scary. I’m sure Robert and others can explain this in technical terms, but my understanding is that this old ice, the multi-year ice, helps to keep the polar ice-cap stable during variations in weather from one year to the next. Always there as a kind of insurance policy, it balances out the effects of warm years and maintains the equilibrium.

        Once it’s gone, and the only ice left is what forms every winter, the Arctic will be at the mercy of all the vagaries of weather in a warming climate, with no reinforcements to rely on.

        And when it is gone, I’m guessing that it’s not coming back anytime soon, not under these climate conditions.

        Reply
        • I’m no expert, Cate, but I think that’s essentially correct. The ice will re-form each winter for quite a while, even if the Arctic is ice-free in summer, but (obviously) the new ice will not be multi-year and will likely mostly melt again the next summer.

      • Thanks, DT, retweeted.

        Reply
      • marcel_g

         /  June 1, 2016

        Yup, this year is looking more and more like it could be a melting doozy. Many posters on the Arctic sea ice forum think so, but as always it’s unpredictable so we’ll have to wait and see. That area of low albedo is thicker ice, but is forecast to receive high temps and sunshine for the next few days.

        Reply
  8. Ryan in New England

     /  May 31, 2016

    The recent heatwave in Southeast Asia has been unprecedented. Half of Thailand’s weather stations have broken their all-time heat records in the past 42 days.

    All-time national heat records have been set this past April and May in India, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and the Republic of Maldives. The unprecedented heat has killed hundreds in India and dozens in Thailand so far. But nothing in the record books can compare to what has recently occurred in Thailand: a large country with over 120 meteorological sites that has seen half of its official weather stations break their all-time heat records

    https://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/half-of-thailands-weather-sites-break-alltime-heat-records-in-42-day

    Reply
  9. climatehawk1

     /  June 1, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  10. This is a fairly good piece about Zika and A. aegypti mosquitoes, published today:

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/05/stop-freaking-out-zika-olympics-aedes-aegypti

    Basically A. aegypti is a super-adapted synanthropic species that is well established in the southernmost USA, and Zika has been around for quite some time without becoming pandemic. However, this mosquito species does not travel far after adulthood, so a concentrated effort to encourage people in urban areas to check their properties for standing water could really help if people would just get with it. You have to be rigorous, though, because this species can breed in miniscule amounts of stagnant water.

    Trying to control insects with poisons runs doomed to failure, as they are r-selected and evolve resistance rapidly, while K-selected species (such as humans) who may also be adversely affected by such poisons take a bigger hit.

    All Obama could have done would have been to try to restrict travel, a move that would have been extremely unpopular and also would not have worked anyway in the long run. It’s going to become established like dengue and West Nile and it will become just another of many potential health risks to watch out for.

    Outside of the USA, a more disturbing aspect is Zika’s presence in countries that have wholesale banned abortion. They are in for a world of pain.

    Reply
    • Scott

       /  June 1, 2016

      Or, perhaps more accurately, “Outside the civilized portions of the USA, a more disturbing aspect of Zika’s presence in countries, and the less civilized portions of the USA, that have wholesale…”

      Reply
      • They haven’t quite done it yet. Oklahoma recently tried to criminalize providers but it got vetoed. Other states have de facto outlawed abortion by making it impossible for providers in more indirect ways. But yes, it’s heading in the wrong direction in the USA, I agree.

        A key to alleviating this whole mess, not just dealing with Zika, is to stop enforced pregnancies. There are a number of non-coercive ways to go about this.

        Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  June 1, 2016

      Many conservative states have been enacting TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws and have effectively closed down all but a handful of clinics that provide the service. They have also instituted mandatory waiting periods between when you decide to have an abortion and when you are allowed to have the procedure. This hits those without means the hardest, since they can’t take time off work, travel hundreds of miles (and the poorest don’t have cars), stay in a hotel for three days, then have a procedure and travel back home. I read about a thirteen year old rape victim in Texas who was forced to deliver her rapist’s baby because by time she could find a way to the nearest clinic the pregnancy was past the point where Texas would allow an abortion to occur.
      Couple this with the fact that many of these states are in the Southern US, where it is warm and humid and the perfect environment for the mosquitoes that carry Zika. Mississippi, for instance, has only one abortion provider in the state, and the some of the highest rates of poverty in the country. You think when a poor, pregnant women in Mississippi gets Zika she will be able to abort the pregnancy? If Zika becomes as common here as it is in other countries I feel we have created the perfect conditions for a disaster.
      And let’s not forget that the right-wing in this country is very “pro-life” until the moment you are born, then it’s every man for himself. How will they deal with children they forced women to have that require a lifetime of medical care?

      Reply
  11. Cate

     /  June 1, 2016

    Could the dust bowl happen again, even within decades, on the Canadian prairies? The prairie climate atlas developed at the University of Winnipeg suggests some scenarios, based on projected warming at several carbon levels over the next decades.

    >>>>> Using a number of different models, the Centre has developed projections showing the number of summer days with temperatures above 30-degrees Celsius, will dramatically increase across the prairies under current carbon emissions. In some places there will be three and four times the number of days of 30-degrees and above. will mean more heat waves, drought, and forest fires. As one of the world’s greatest crop production regions, the consequences would be dramatic.<<<<<<

    .http://www.rcinet.ca/en/2016/05/30/climate-change-canadas-prairies-a-dust-bowl-within-decades/

    Reply
  12. – SMOG – OILSANDS – ALBERTA

    On a subject already linked to here a couple of days ago.

    I’m perplexed as to why there would be surprise, or amazement, by these scientists.
    Once denuded of forest and understory, the tar sands, and the holding ponds are one big open-air vapor emitting pit. Evaporations of all types goes on 24/7.

    – The sun does shine there, though I don’t know if the hours of sunlight have changed over the years. Also, radiant heat, and the buildup of it, likely potentiates the ‘cook-off’ of VOCs. The sun is one big and effective ‘bunsen burner’.

    – The warming temps do add more latent/ambient heat to everything.
    Oh, well — maybe I missed something.

    I am smitten with the term ‘ Oilsands’. I say mischievously.🙂
    It’s good they are worried, though.

    ###

    – thetyee.ca/News/2016/05/30/Oilsands-Smog-Levels/

    – Why Scientists Are Amazed at Oilsands Smog Levels
    Air pollution report in Nature shocks even Canada’s top researchers.
    On any hot day Shell and Syncrude tour guides used to call the gasoline-like vapours that wafted from Fort McMurray’s huge open-pit bitumen mines “the smell of money.”

    But a new study in Nature has another name for the stench: air pollution and megacity volumes of it.

    In fact the tarsands, already the largest source of climate disrupting greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, have a new grim moniker: “one of the largest sources of anthropogenic secondary organic aerosols in North America.”

    The vapours react with sunlight and form particles in the air. “They are larger molecules than the hydrocarbons that would be emitted from a city. These vapours react in the atmosphere to form secondary organic aeorsols, which is part of smog.”

    Pollution from industrial bitumen operations pulsates into the atmosphere at the rate of 55 to 101 tonnes a day. Scientists aren’t sure if the pollution is coming from mine sites, upgraders, or 220 square kilometres of lakes containing mining waste — or all three.

    Environment Canada scientists taken aback…

    ###
    -endgame.org/oilsandsinfo

    Reply
  13. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2016

    Two complexes of thunder storms marching at each other –

    Lubbock radar

    Reply
  14. – Hi, Robert.
    I’ve had a visitor the past few days from my dear wife Christina. She’s heading to California after a time in Connecticut. She’ll be traveling by train over the next couple of days straight down the warming West Coast.
    – Here she is to say Hello:

    Well met, Robert! I’ve been a follower since David mentioned you. I’m throwing myself into the CA democratic primary on Bernie’s behalf, and his plain-sense stance on the climate crisis is the best reason why. His campaign should follow your blog–style and content the best around on the subject/s.

    Thanks for all you do!/C.

    Reply
    • Hey DT! Thanks so much for passing this on.

      I’ll say this to Christina if you’ll be kind enough to send it on —

      Thanks so much to you for your hard work in supporting the best candidate for responses to climate change. Your work is really a public service and your political involvement is an example to everyone. Bernie has put in one heck of a race and he has raised the vital, tough issues that so many other candidates and media personalities avoid. Your support of him has helped the message of climate urgency go further than it ever has as part of a presidential campaign. Bernie has set such a strong example that, even if he loses, the presumptive candidate will be compelled to carry on where he left off. Good luck in California, and best wishes for building a strong Democratic Party support for a rapid, effective response to climate change. Your kind words mean a lot to me as well. And I’d be more than willing to chat climate communications strategy to anyone on our team who’d listen. I voted for Bernie here in Maryland. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he makes a strong showing over the coming week. I’m also keeping my fingers crossed for a good win (from either candidate) that includes Bernie’s ideas and those of the progressives that support him. A good win that unifies the Democratic Party and reinvigores the drive toward progress that is at our party’s roots.

      Thank you again and Godspeed,

      –R

      PS DT rocks. You’re very fortunate to have him.

      Reply
  15. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2016

    Earlier today a band of rain fell along the North bank of Colorado, River, 4 to 6 inches. Northwest of Austin / San Antonio, embedded in a wider field of 2 inch rain. This whole complex slowly moved Southeast to the coast all day. This not good. as all these Texas rivers run along the axis.

    Austin/San Antonio, TX Radar

    Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2016

    I got a nickle that says Texas is about to beat this :

    May 2015 is now the wettest single month on record in Texas and Oklahoma.

    Reply
  17. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2016

    New York Times
    Trump, 800-Pound Media Gorilla, Pounds His Chest at Reporters

    Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2016

    Glenn Beck suspended by SiriusXM

    Glenn Beck’s syndicated radio show will be off SiriusXM for the rest of the week after a guest was accused of hinting that Donald Trump, if elected president, could be assassinated.

    http://money.cnn.com/2016/05/31/media/glenn-beck-suspension-siriusxm/

    Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2016

    Trump tactics to ‘dupe clients out of $40m’ revealed in court

    Hard-sell tactics allegedly used by one of Donald Trump’s businesses to dupe some 5,000 customers out of as much as $40 million were laid bare last night.

    Hundreds of internal documents from Trump University, which sold courses on how to invest in real estate, were released after Mr Trump picked a fight with the federal judge overseeing class action lawsuit filed by disgruntled customers in California.

    Link

    A apparently one doesn’t pick a fight with federal judge.

    Reply
    • Glenn Beck plays loonie tunes to Trump’s bullying. I don’t know which is worse. Beck commenters inciting violence, or Trump’s apparent new dominance through Brietbart. But the fractures showing up in the republican base over this race are pretty astounding. It’s not like Trump could silence Beck even if he tried. In the end, it’s Trump inciting violence vs Beck inciting violence. A kind of loose cannoning back and forth that takes a high risk of not ending well.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 1, 2016

        They invented this crazy thinking they could manage it . Bill gave us Palin. Now he very sorry.

        Reply
  20. Daddy-o

     /  June 1, 2016

    I attended a film festival this past weekend where Josh Fox of Gasland fame premiered his new film. It is called ‘how to let go of the world and love all the things climate can’t change’.
    He goes down the rabbithole that we are all familiar with and comes to the same conclusions that Robert does…namely that we are in for a wild ride but now is no time to give in to despair…it is time to get off the couch and fight for a livable world. He profiles folks doing just that. I highly recommend it and hope that it reaches and speaks to those that are not yet versed in our current situation. Fox spoke after the film and I was impressed with his feisty nature and call to action. If this film takes off like his previous films, he could become an effective voice.

    Reply
  21. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2016

    Zephyr – Going Back To Colorado

    Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2016

    In 1968 I went to the Denver POP Festival. Hendricks . was the top of the bill . He was so high , he could not play . Outside the stadium , the Denver police fought pitched battles with gate crashers. The pepper spray drifted across the crowd. I will never forget it driving people to their knees. Like wave. . After it passed me. I looked up. I was the only person in Mile High that wasn’t bend over.

    Tommy Bolin shined that day, drugs killed him as well. But let us remember his bright clear flame.

    Tommy Bolin – Post Toastee

    Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2016

    One can not grind this grim grist every day alone, or without help.

    Music is the only comfort,

    Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2016

    Donnie Iris – Ah Leah

    We ain’t learned our lesson yet.

    Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2016

    Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress by The Hollies

    Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  June 1, 2016

    Why read this grim news we deal in?

    Reply
  27. Greg

     /  June 1, 2016

    Let’s add Germany to the list for rain bombs this week:

    Reply
  28. Chuck Hughes

     /  June 1, 2016

    I read this paper and my heart sank. When you think of the planet’s energy as a battery moving toward equilibrium with biomass as stored energy it’s easy to understand how we’ve gotten ourselves into the mess we’re in today. I honestly don’t see a way out of this one. This isn’t an ancient civilization collapsing. This isn’t even the death of an individual or a species… I’ve actually understood this situation for a long time but not in these terms. This is really bad news:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4534

    Reply
    • Mark from OZ

       /  June 1, 2016

      Great ( and terrifying) link Chuck!
      Many thanks!

      I’ve always marvelled at how when earth systems are in dis-equilibrium for example pressure gradients that spawn tornados or cyclones, fire or seismic shifts, how ‘speed’ in execution to achieve the goal (equilibrium)is always present.

      With almost no apparent concern about what occurs along the path to equilibrium, one can almost conclude that departure from equilibrium is a serious violation of natural law.

      A tornado, one of nature’s most formidable sights and displays of power, is really obeying a senior command to restore things ‘immediately’ to equilibrium and as many have witnessed ( and who’ll carry a lifetime’s serving of awe and astonishment) things change and evolve at great speed during the ‘re-setting’ process. And after the event, things can look and feel nothing like they were previously; the very definition of dramatic change.

      I sense there’s quite a few ‘work order’s’ being pinned up on the metaphorical job-site bulletin board and she’s just waiting for the arrival of the appointed work crew(s) to clock in. That so much restorative ‘activity’ is currently happening about the energy /oil industry’s vital organs suggests that intervention might be a necessary prelude to achieving equilibrium. If a job needs to be done, she might as well git stuck into the hardest parts first. And if a shortcut exists down that scary, dark, ‘gasoline’ alley, I’m certain she can handle herself just fine.

      Reply
      • Bad link, bad information, pseudo science. Bio-geochemical battery is an ideation that requires about a hundred bits of evidence to prove. Paper fails to provide them. Lacks proofs for almost all its assertions. These include:

        1. Biomass is the base of all energy on earth (hint — it’s the sun, various elements involving physical friction, geothermal heat, latent nuclear and other physical and atomic energy, and various non biological chemical and materials energy that living things have managed to access).
        2. Solar energy would increase biomass use (how??? Answer is assumed and not provided. Therefore this argument is also specious.).
        3. Concept of earth as biomass battery is unproven and ill defined.
        4. Huge logical fallacy in assuming that all energy available to humans comes from biomass and human economies will necessarily deplete that energy source.
        5. Complete failure to recognize the superior conversion efficiencies of renewables or the ability of most renewables to dramatically reduce or from whole sectors eliminate human dependency on biomass and fossil fuels for base energy.
        6. Failure to recognize the fact that solar hitting the Earth each year and wind blowing over the Earth each year represent about 16 times all the available energy from the totality of fossil fuel reserves. Failure to recognize that less than 1/1000th of the solar energy falling on the Earth each year would be enough to power current human civilization. Rooftops and roadways alone provide more than enough room for this power source. Add wind and second gen biofuels like switchgrass, already available hydro and geothermal and you have more than enough energy to power human civilization many times over without fossil fuels and leave more than enough land for natural systems.
        7. Failure to integrate land saving methods like vertical farming into thesis.

        Overall, it seems to me that the paper has failed to take into account numerous sustainability options and that its primary assertion is based on a combination of old fossil-fuel centric thinking, a failure to understand the total Earth system energy availability dynamic, and a failure to take into account various rapidly advancing sustainability features that are now available. Sadly, this kind of thinking remains a barrier to positive action and has worked to help delay a necessary transition to renewable based energy and to apply various sustainability related techniques that would have a positive impact on human civilization resilience, biosphere sustainability, and life support system protection.

        Reply
    • dnem

       /  June 1, 2016

      Clever and interesting paper, but I’m not sure how much really new there is there. It’s abundantly clear that the ridiculous explosion in human population and economic activity is a one shot deal, paid for by stored solar energy in the form of fossil fuels and is coming to an end. It never would have happened if not for the fact that solar energy got banked by biology and geology working together to make fossil fuels, and that we found ’em and dug ’em up. So now we are deep, deep into overshoot and it will be impossible to sustain the same level of population and economic activity without burning lots more FFs, which we all know we can’t do. But the paper doesn’t really talk about time scales and the question remains, can we unwind the global growth engine and transition humanity to a sustainable steady state before we irrevocably foul our nest?

      Reply
    • So I’ve done quite a bit of research on this issue, and what I’ve found is that the energy overshoot argument, presented in this fashion, is patently untrue. The paper therefore represents a branch of pseudoscience myth that I’ve termed — fossil fuel centric worldview. And though my response may sound sharp, the level of outright deception involved in presenting the argument in this fashion is enough to raise anyone’s blood pressure once they take a closer look. Moreover, taking such arguments to heart generates a dangerous lack of urgency and deflates a push toward a necessary transition away from fossil fuels. One that creates a social constraint and a perception contraint that locks in more harmful outcomes. So though I like you, Dnem and Chuck, I find that I must vehemently disagree with both the paper and with your assertions on the basis of principle and on the basis of a need to challenge what is the perpetuation of a dangerous and societally harmful set of myths.

      The first basic fact that the authors miss is that the amount of available energy coming in from the sun in a single year is many times greater than that of all the proven reserves of fossil fuel on the planet. The rational conclusion that swiftly follows from the unbiased observer is that the useful available energy to humans from the sun and the wind over even the scale of a few decades can easily exceed that of all fossil fuels. The primary reason is that biological conversion efficiency of solar energy is very poor — many times approaching 1 percent. Add in the energy lost in the process of breakdown into hydrocarbons and you end up with orders of magnitude less than the initial plant store. Wind and solar conversion efficiencies are 10 to 40 times that of initial plant biomass and are hundreds to thousands of times greater than the ultimate solar conversion efficiency of fossil fuels.

      In mining fossil fuels, what humans did was access an already greatly degraded energy source (which the authors should have recognized if they understood thermodynamics in which energy is lost in each step of conversion due to entropy). The equation they are missing is one of rate of solar energy conversion or RCe. Solve for RCe, and you find that fossil fuels are a terrible energy source from the standpoint of efficiently converting sunlight.

      Now, what we find is that though fossil fuels are terrible at converting solar energy to useful energy, the exact opposite is true when it comes to providing potential stores of carbon for release in the atmosphere. For with each step in the energy conversion process in transforming to coal, oil, and gas, the carbon density of the substances INCREASES. So we should solve for a new equation here which would be increase in carbon density. And for that, we find that fossil fuels are nearly the perfect substance, when burned, for the delivery of carbon into the atmosphere.

      Once we understand the physics, we understand that burning of fossils for fuel is just basically a process of organized insanity. We are using an energy source that has one of the absolute worst solar conversion efficiencies available but that has the greatest potential to rapidly damage the biosphere. And this is where the — we’re doomed — part of the equation comes in. For if we are idiotic enough to convince ourselves to believe the fallacy that fossil fuels are the only energy source of any worth economically, then we really are shooting ourselves in the head.

      Energy potential renewables

      My bet is that the researchers who produced this paper received funding from oil companies. The fact that they mangle even the most basic physical understanding of how the earth system works and how energy is lost in each step in the conversion process makes their arguments both suspect and entirely specious. Unfortunately, a number of people have been duped by these kinds of arguments (they are not new!) — most likely due to the ‘appeal to authority fallacy.’ What they obfuscate is the plain fact that renewable energy systems are the better option both from the standpoints of solar conversion efficiency and from the standpoint of reducing harm to the biosphere.

      What it all boils down to is can humanity sustain human civilization on renewable energy and continue to eek out qualitative improvements? And the answer is patently yes. Renewable sources like solar and wind have the advantage of requiring only a small portion of the available energy coming in from the sun each year to meet global human energy needs. A technological process that increases conversion efficiency over time, the energy can also benefit from synergistic efficiency gains all throughout the energy use and harvesting chain. Anyone who doesn’t realize this basically has failed to grasp the maths.

      Reply
      • dnem

         /  June 1, 2016

        I’m just not sure I agree Robert. I don’t want to get in a tit for tat here, so I’ll back off, research, and ponder the maths some more. But your argument about the poor efficiency of conversion of fossil fuels is sort of like saying evolution is a poor method for refining a species. Yeah but – given millions of years, it gets the job done. The fact is, humanity stumbled upon a huge wealth of energy dense fuels and without it we would not have shot from 1 billion to 7.4 billion souls since 1800. I didn’t get the sense the the authors of the article thought that we SHOULD continue to burn FFs to support humanity, just that supporting 7.4 billon peeps without them is a tall order. Yes we need to sequester only a small proportioning of incoming solar energy to support our needs, but that doesn’t mean that doing it is easy.

        Reply
        • Dnem — conversion of biomass into fossil fuel = Apple. Evolution of species over time = Orange.

          Even the argument you present here fails to understand the basic process at work. Evolution did not make fossil fuels. Sequestration in the Earth of biological material and exposure to heat and pressure produced fossil fuels. A thermodynamic process that involves energy loss due to entropy at each step.

          The solar energy conversion of biomass is bad when compared to that of solar cells. And due to the energy loss described above, the solar energy conversion of fossil fuels is terrible. And as a piece of writing, this ‘paper’ is more a jumped up bit of fallacy-riddled philosophy than it is a representation of anything scientific.

          And, yes, it really is as easy as doing the math. There is far more useful energy provided by the sun to the Earth in just a single year — on the order of 16 times that of all the totality of fossil fuels in proven reserves in the ground now. And only a tiny fraction of that available solar energy (less than 1/1000 th) would be needed to power human civilization as is. Wind could do it all by itself many times over. Even not adding in other energy sources, converting away from fossil fuels is a no-brainer from the available energy standpoint.

      • dnem

         /  June 1, 2016

        So wait a minute. I clicked on the link this morning and read the abstract and discussion. I think it said it was in PNAS and I thought it seems like a weird fit for that journal. Are you saying it was a fake? (Not that that changes the basic idea that humanity’s colossal expansion was only made possible by FFs).

        Reply
        • How is it even possible to define a false premise based on false assertions written in such a way that provides practically zero proofs for the assertions made. Operating under a fossil fuel centered worldview, as you seem to here, Dnem, is to embrace a number of myths and half truths that will result in predictions based on these myths turning up blatantly false. Worse, these myths continue a culture of captivity to fossil fuel use that will wreck us in very short order should it continue.

          I’ve already demonstrated that the available energy premise of the paper is dramatically false. But you continue to drift off-topic and assert more myths and half-truths. I’d say it’s the height of hubris on the part of fossil fuel interests to assert, as you have, that humanity owes its current level of prosperity to fossil fuels. To the contrary, fossil fuels have set up a number of serious and worsening threats to human civilization that could have been avoided or greatly reduced had wiser heads prevailed and alternative methods of increasing human quality of life been enacted or sustained.

          Fossil fuels crowded out other, better, more benevolent energy sources (biofuels in the US in the 1920s, early solar adoption, early electric vehicle adoption), efficiencies (communities centered on public transport and bicycles rather than ICE based roads) and ways of doing things (fossil fuel based chemical agriculture vs other high productivity farming methods) on their path toward economic dominance. In doing so, they inflicted pollution that now kills 7 million people each year and climate change on both the human and natural world. The degree of harm due to pollution and the level of climate disruption we now experience was entirely avoidable and not at all a necessary trade off for so many people enjoying a decent quality of life. Efficiencies were stymied, alternative fuels were stifled, alternative modes of transport were sabotaged or disincentivized, alternative and more effective methods of growing were backwatered, political systems were dominated, and the resource curse was enforced on a global scale.

          We have so much disruption and conflict and dislocation in the world today because of a dependence upon and captivity to fossil fuels that has been forced and was in no way as inevitable as you or others make it sound. It’s nonsense. Utter and complete and ridiculous nonsense to believe such a thing. A set of nonsense that ignores both basic scientific facts and the whole of the political and economic history of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

          Fossil fuel based energy dominance was not always the best or easiest path. But it was the path that often resulted in a rapid concentration of wealth for a small group of people. But we should not confuse the issue of concentration of money into a few hands due to the nature of an energy dense substance that is easy to dominate, monopolize and use to inflict a price escalating scarcity on markets with an energy source that provides a better overall quality of life to people as a whole. Fossil fuels were the best fuels for dominance based economic systems that had a high optimization for use in warfare. But even from jump they were not the most abundant source, nor the best for long term prosperity. And turning away from fossil fuels in large part means turning away from the very wealth concentration systems that have been so harmful to economies around the world. The problem has been qualified as an issue of growth. And that’s another inaccuracy. The problem of transitioning away from fossil fuels is one of inequality and of how much political and economic power fossil fuels have concentrated into just a few hands — such that powerful individuals and corporations generate a difficult to surmount but artificial resistance to change. And claiming that this economic dominance based resistance is somehow part of the natural order is to do everyone living on this earth a vast injustice equivalent to options out of ecocide denial and denial of access to what is now a life-saving set of new technologies.

          This paper fails on basic understanding of what is a plentifully available energy environment even as it perpetuates a perception that generates moral travesty and that basically victimizes pretty much everyone. We have energy in abundance in other words. Energy that is more democratic and more easily optimizable for the long term, for efficiencies, and for benevolent economic systems that are not based on dominance. Energy systems that are not highly optimized for warfare and that are more easily optimized for cooperative use and individual access. The highly available nature of wind and especially solar energy supports this premise and the overall extraordinary volume of that source combined with the high conversion efficiency of solar cells and wind turbines when compared to biomass provides yet one more path for human beings to have a far less burdensome and negative impact on the natural world.

          We are, therefore, only doomed to fossil fuel dependency if we allow the fossil fuel power bases to convince us that we are. And this paper does their work for them in a rather complete fashion. It’s not science, but the expression of that dangerous and deleterious world-view. And no, it’s not OK to stand aside and leave what is inevitably a destructive, fallacious, and systemically harmful mindset unchallenged.

      • dnem

         /  June 1, 2016

        Sorry, one more tit for your tat! I certainly didn’t say that evolution was the process by which fossil fuels arose. In my first post, I said “solar energy got banked by biology and geology working together to make fossil fuels.” I was only saying that the creation of fossil fuels might not be efficient (in a similar way that descent with modification by random mutation is inefficient), but that over the millennia, the process bequeathed us a massive load of very energy dense fuel (as evolution gave us a highly diverse and adapted biota). I have to stand by the assertion that the expansion of humanity is a direct result of the tapping of millennia banked solar energy (albeit inefficiently banked). Again, YES, enough solar energy lands on our orb to meet our needs many times over. I still think catching it, concentrating it (and storing it) is tougher nut to crack than you do. I hope I’m wrong.

        Btw, best I can tell the paper is a legit published “Perspective” piece in PNAS, August 4, 2015. http://www.pnas.org/content/112/31/1.abstract

        Reply
        • Dnem — evolution = Apple. Thermodynamics = Orange. Energy density = Plum.

          You continue to drift off the original point of argument, Dnem. You’ve now conflated three unassociated terms — two of which were not related to the original point.

          Energy density is an entirely different part of the discussion and one that is not at all related to total available energy. You could have one super dense drop of fuel. But since it only represented 1kw of power, it wouldn’t be very useful. You could have one super energy dense bit of anti-matter. But if using it wrecked the planet, then it wouldn’t be very useful.

          We are talking about useful energy and available energy. Not energy density, which the paper does not even address. The pseudo-science paper talks about available energy, not energy density. If you can’t keep to the subject at hand, then you’re not being honest in your method of argumentation.

  29. Bill h

     /  June 1, 2016

    One remark from someone hit by floods in Texts earlier this year stays in my mind: “rain drops the size of quarters”. This was soon after the north of Texas being hit with softball – sized hailstones. There’s a pattern here of increasing “drop” size, which is only to be expected as the hydrological cycle strengthens. Stronger upward flows of air drive the drops higher causing more water to condense and making the drops ever larger until they finally fall.

    Reply
    • g. orwell

       /  June 1, 2016

      “This was soon after the north of Texas being hit with softball – sized hailstones….”
      I missed this @ the time, and am REALLY surprised by this. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  30. Ryan in New England

     /  June 1, 2016

    A baby has been born with microcephaly in the United States. The mother contracted Zika in Honduras (where she is from). Mark my words, once Zika starts being contracted in the US people are going to start panicking. You don’t have to be bit my a mosquito, it can be transmitted sexually. And a disease that has devastating effects on pregnant women/fetuses has the potential to tear at the very fabric of our society. Having children whenever you decide you’re ready is something most people take for granted. How will people react when that freedom is gone, replaced by fear and anxiety?

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/01/health/baby-born-microcephaly-new-jersey/

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  June 1, 2016

      Ryan, nail-head-whack again. Zika is quite simply terrifying.

      When we were starting our family a generation ago, AIDs had recently arrived, and everyone was learning that safe sex was the solution to preventing transmission (except in the case of blood transfusions) but basically, safe sex worked for AIDs. For Zika, nothing will work until a vaccine is found. A woman and her partner can be as safe and as clean as can be, but at three weeks or three months, she gets bitten by a mosquito and suddenly here’s hell on your doorstep—the initial panic, the anguished waiting, perhaps the dreaded decision that no hopeful mother-to-be ever wants to face …You are right, this attacks the very core of our human being-ness. It’s horrifying.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  June 1, 2016

        Cate, I think conservatives have created the perfect conditions for a public health crisis. Many conservative states have been enacting TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws and have effectively closed down all but a handful of clinics that provide the service. They have also instituted mandatory waiting periods between when you decide to have an abortion and when you are allowed to have the procedure. This hits those without means the hardest, since they can’t take time off work, travel hundreds of miles (and the poorest don’t have cars), stay in a hotel for three days, then have a procedure and travel back home. I read about a thirteen year old rape victim in Texas who was forced to deliver her rapist’s baby because by time she could find a way to the nearest clinic the pregnancy was past the point where Texas would allow an abortion to occur.

        Couple this with the fact that many of these states are in the Southern US, where it is warm and humid and the perfect environment for the mosquitoes that carry Zika. Mississippi, for instance, has only one abortion provider in the state, and the some of the highest rates of poverty in the country. You think when a poor, pregnant women in Mississippi gets Zika she will be able to abort the pregnancy? If Zika becomes as common here as it is in other countries I feel we have created the perfect conditions for a disaster.

        And let’s not forget that the right-wing in this country is very “pro-life” until the moment you are born, then it’s every man for himself. How will they deal with children they forced women to have that require a lifetime of medical care?

        Reply
    • The realities regarding the threat of Zika were discussed here back in January —–didn’t seem like a good idea to move forward with the Olympics at that time. Here we are 5-6 months later —–no surprise that doctors are now voicing their concerns about going forward with the Olympics, among other issues related to the transmission/spread of Zika.

      In the meantime, Haydyn Parry of Oxitec is hoping to capitalize on the latest news re Zika and expedite the approval/release of gm mosquitoes (imo BAD idea): https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2016/05/31/biotech-company-calling-expedited-decision-gm-mosquito-trial-florida-fight-zika/

      From Flaminia Catteruccia, an associate professor of immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health was asked this question:

      “When you release something that has a gene drive, however, could it potentially jump into other organisms, from the species that you released into a sister species?”

      His answer:
      “The chances are low, but it could happen. Gene drives [also] do not have boundaries and could spread to neighboring countries. So any release would have to be modifiable. Any release should be reversible. One of the things I’ve been discussing with [Harvard geneticist] George Church is that any gene drive mechanism should have a counter-drive mechanism … so the spread could be blocked and reversed. These are countermeasures that should be in place in case something goes wrong.”

      Reply
    • Skip

       /  June 2, 2016

      Zika won’t make near the dent that Roundup will:

      Half of All Children Will Be Autistic by 2025, Warns Senior Research Scientist at MIT
      http://www.anh-usa.org/half-of-all-children-will-be-autistic-by-2025-warns-senior-research-scientist-at-mit/

      Reply
  31. Ryan in New England

     /  June 1, 2016

    More bad news for the world’s coral reefs…

    The longest global coral bleaching event in history is now devastating reefs in the crystal clear waters of the Maldives, with images released exclusively to the Guardian powerfully illustrating the extent of the damage there.

    “It’s rare to see reefs bleach quite so spectacularly. These were healthy reefs in crystal clear water at the height of an intense bleaching event. The flesh of the corals had turned clear and we were seeing the skeletons of the animals glowing white for as far as the eye could see – it was a beautiful, yet deeply disturbing sight.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/01/coral-bleaching-spreads-to-maldives-devastating-spectacular-reefs

    Reply
  32. Greg

     /  June 1, 2016

    Via Peter Sinclair. Quantifying the uptick in extreme rain:

    Reply
    • Another revealing graphic. Every one of those events represents a huge monetary cost to some country’s economy. Like RS mentioned above, I don’t think we’re inevitably doomed, and I really think that human ingenuity and resourcefulness and ability to work together gives us a chance. But it’s a chance, and it could go either way and the end game still isn’t decided.

      I also don’t think most people realize how the climate crises is going to be death by a thousand cuts. The number of expensive local disasters increasing all over, dragging the world’s economy and political stability down in various places. Droughts, floods, heat waves, agricultural collapses, fisheries collapses, etc. Each one relatively small in terms of national and global gdp, but all of them adding up significantly, and causing cascading instability as people go hungry. Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia are all on the front line of climate induced instability, and much bigger than Syria.

      Like Elon Musk was saying, it’s not the avg temp that’s really the issue, it’s the spikes in a heat wave. The spikes are what kill people, not the average. Same goes for agriculture, vulnerable areas if there’s a drought 2 years in a row, those farms and farmers are gone for good, they don’t have crop insurance to get throw a disaster year. So a country might have a 20% or 40% reduction in crop yield, but that’s not 20-40 on every farm, that’s significant % of farms and farmers disappearing.

      Reply
      • Bill h

         /  June 2, 2016

        Agreed. Data of this sort is crucial if the self – styled sceptics are to be defeated. They continue to come up with claims that droughts, floods, heatwaves, etc. are no more common now than they were in the past. Some of their claims are indeed correct: for instance , the area of the Earth’s land surface subject to drought has not increased significantly over time. However, this obscures the increase in severe drought, as seen in Calif. , Syria and other places.

        Reply
  33. Bill DeMott

     /  June 1, 2016

    The thunderstorms in Germany and northern Europe are a new extreme. About 10 years ago I hired a Swedish postdoc to work with me on a project in Michigan. He told me that the Europeans always thought the the thunderstorms in American movies were an exageration. Living in Michigan, he learned that violent thunderstorms were real. Now, evidently, Europeans can experience violent thunderstorms at home.

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  June 2, 2016

      Thanks for that personal story, Bill🙂 The climate has definitely changed, and people are starting to notice.

      Reply
  34. Reply
  35. John McCormnick

     /  June 1, 2016

    Outside Brenham, the body of a 21-year-old man, Darren Mitchell, was recovered after his truck was overtaken in a flood. KHOU television reported that he had posted a Facebook message saying, “And all I wanted to do was go home,” just before his family lost contact with him.

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  June 1, 2016

      RIP Darren. You have left us thinking a lot about what we would do if this had happenened to us. Open the windows before loss of electrical and swim out?

      Reply
      • So sad. All that I’ve read or heard about Darren makes him seem like the kind of guy I’d have loved to hang out with. A bright spark that has now been unnecessarily and tragically put out well before his time.

        A tragedy made all the more bitter due to the fact that we could have avoided it.

        Despite what a harmful industry has told us, we did not have to get ourselves into a place where 400 ppm + CO2, 490 ppm CO2e and 1.3 C above 1880s temperatures annual has loaded up the atmosphere with these kinds of deadly extreme storms. I have no doubt in my mind that Darren would be with us today if we hadn’t burned so much fossil fuels, if we’d set out to reduce carbon emissions earlier when scientists started issuing their warnings about hitting dangerous weather extremes during the 21st Century.

        As the years pass, it will become more and more likely that many of us will find ourselves in a situation like Darren’s. One of such severe intensity that there is just no way out. We are turning our world into a death trap. Innocents are dying. The urgency to stop this deadly escalation of harm could not be greater.

        Reply
  36. Reply
  37. June

     /  June 1, 2016

    Just great…fracking offshore. Maybe this decision by the federal government will bring even more Bernie supporters to the California primary. I’m still hoping for a miracle. Yes I’ll be forced to vote for Hilary barring that miracle, but it galls me to have to vote for someone who supports fracking, and the whole “bridge fuel” idea, just to avoid having an outright lunatic as President. Maybe I’m being overly pessimistic, but I don’t think Hilary is going to be pushed into a stronger climate stance, and ‘slow but steady’ progress just isn’t enough to avoid increasingly nasty consequences. So i’m going to hope for that miracle right up to the end…

    “Feds OK fracking off the California coast”

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-fracking-california-20160531-snap-story.html

    Reply
  38. Greg

     /  June 1, 2016

    An update on the rains in Texas from weather.com. “On Wednesday afternoon, portions of southwest Lubbock received four inches of rainfall. There is no rest for the rain-weary over parts of Texas…the next threat for flooding is well underway. Another round of heavy rain inundated the Lone Star State over the past several days, resulting in even more flooding. After a brief break early in the week, more significant rain is already impacting parts of Texas.
    https://weather.com/storms/severe/news/flash-flooding-texas-severe-weather-forecast-plains-may27-0

    Reply
  39. Greg

     /  June 1, 2016

    Wind towers are getting taller and bigger. In the U.S. they aren’t as big as in Europe and one limit has been highways and steel tower size limits. There’s a move towards concrete with towers over 500 feet:

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  June 1, 2016

      Reply
      • This graphic is the “energy miracle” Bill Gates has been talking about. As turbine sizes increase, costs drop. Back in the day (around 1978), GE did a study that found that an 8-megawatt turbine was the most economical size. We’re now pushing that with some offshore turbines designs. Land-based turbines have been constrained to a max of around 3 MW due to transportation limits on blade length, but taller towers still offer greater energy output because wind speeds generally increase with altitude.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  June 2, 2016

        When I see the size of these towers I feel a sense of awe. The enormity of the blades, the height of the tower, quietly turning and generating clean electricity. I find it unbelievable that those who fight against wind projects object to the “eyesore” A horizon lined with majestic windmills powering your home is far better than smokestacks, oil/gas wells dotting the landscape and all the pollution that comes with it. To me, choosing between wind power and fossil fuels is like choosing between a mag-lev high speed train and a hand-fed, coal powered locomotive that can max out at 25 mph. It’s not even a choice.

        Reply
    • This is what economies of scale looks like. Can’t help but feel a sense of pride in being a human being when I see something like this. My only regret is that we didn’t scale these things up sooner. I don’t just see a technological enormity here. What I see is a gigantic energy life-raft. We need them and we need a lot of them soon.

      Reply
      • What I like is that the wind industry has survived everything the Republicans, beginning with Ronald Reagan, have thrown at it and continued to inexorably grow. I believe that now it is too big, and has too large a presence in red states, to kill. Tough luck for the Kochs, who ignored it a little too long.

        Reply
  40. Cate

     /  June 1, 2016

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/russian-rocket-baffin-bay-1.3610344

    Russian space junk, possibly with toxic fuel, scheduled to fall into the North Water polynya in Baffin Bay on Saturday.

    The space debris is a stage from a rocket set off under Russia’s Rokot program, a for-profit service that launches commercial satellites, said Michael Byers, a professor of international law and an Arctic expert at the University of British Columbia. He notes Rokot uses repurposed Cold-War-era intercontinental ballistic missiles to launch satellites. Those missiles, the SS-19, use hydrazine for fuel. Hydrazine is known to be extremely toxic — so toxic that technicians working with it have to use pressurized hazmat suits, Byers said.

    The rocket stage is expected to come down in what is called the North Water Polynya, an 85,000-square-kilometre area of Arctic sea that naturally remains ice free year round. The open water is a refuge for narwhal, beluga, walrus and bowhead whales. Its plankton-rich waters draw shoals of Arctic cod, providing food for an ecosystem that also supports seals, polar bears and millions of seabirds.

    (But our southern neighbours should not point fingers at the Russians too quickly—)

    An American rocket stage that came down off the coast of Newfoundland in 2005 released more than two tonnes of a hydrazine-based fuel.

    Byers said little is known about how hydrazine reacts in water, especially when it is cold and ice-choked. Nor is there any information on how much unused hydrazine the rocket stage is likely to hit the water with.

    Reply
    • Good/bad find.

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  June 2, 2016

      I’ve always been disturbed by the amount of toxic materials we allow to be intentionally discarded in the world’s oceans. Boats, rockets, trash, etc. It’s absolutely nuts how disrespectful and irresponsible the past few generations of humans have been. Industrial civilization has been a scourge on this planet. We are the five mile wide asteroid heading straight towards Earth.

      Reply
  41. Reblogged this on my sister blog, 2016 is strange! And included the following:

    Another rain bomb by June 6th. 500-year storm again in the same place, perhaps? That’ll be something!

    And they usually spend themselves out by the time they reach here in New Orleans… although this Memorial Day we did have heavy, windy rainstorm that looked like a hurricane at times, with wind coming from the East at one time and then the West later on and then back again! Should have taken a video.

    But one of these days our luck will run out.

    Hell’s bells. Oh, Sugar.

    Reply
    • – For a long time now, I’ve had a (sailor’s/naturalist’s) ‘hunch’ that localized or regional winds would behave unpredictably — this could be an example…
      – All bets are off with a disrupted climate.

      “…wind coming from the East at one time and then the West later on and then back again!”

      Reply
  42. Cate

     /  June 1, 2016

    Flooding in Bavaria today, after the terrible flash floods in Baden Wurtemburg earlier in the week.

    France, Belgium, and northern Germany are having extreme storms as well—in one place, six normal weeks of rain in 24 hours. .

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36429381

    Reply
  43. dnem

     /  June 1, 2016

    WHOA Robert! C’mon! I don’t have “fossil fuel centric worldview”! Where do you get that from? Have I ever written any here demonstrating a fossil fuel centric worldview? When did I EVER say “humanity owes its current level of prosperity to fossil fuels”?? A huge population is not synonymous with “prosperity.” Hugely abundant fossil fuels are an unmitigated horror that are leading Homo sapiens and lots of other totally innocent species to the brink of the abyss (and already over for many of those other harmless species). We are on the same side, Robert! I have a solar array on my house and evangelize for solar everywhere I go.

    I TOTALLY agree that humanity needs to pursue flat-out panic mode adoption of renewables and phase out all burning of FFs as fast as physically possible!

    Ok, there’s a lot of nonsense in that paper (who cares what percentage of standing biomass we have appropriated, for example), but it led me to make several points, which I stand behind. None of them are in any way an apology for FF interests. They are just my interpretation of the facts as I understand them. My points are:

    1) The runup from 1 billion to 7.4 billion people is in large part due to our mining of huge quantities of banked, high energy density solar energy (aka fossil fuels). This has nothing to do with prosperity. It mostly has to do with fossil fuel based fertilizer and mechanized farming supporting exponential population growth. I can point you to tons of analyses that support this idea. Do you really think there would be 7.4 billion humans today if all biomass just rotted away and was never concentrated and stored as FFs? I do not. This is more of an academic point. I don’t believe we’d have the massive population and massive global economy if not for the accident of abundant, high density FF energy. Maybe you think we could have expanded to 7.4 billion based on renewables alone. Doesn’t much matter; we can’t power the future with FFs, so let’s get on with it.

    2) It IS about energy density. Again, yes, enough solar energy falls on the planet to provide all our energy need, but it is very, very diffuse. Right now we only harness a tiny, tiny fraction of it, and store even less. Ramping up our capture and storage is a very big challenge. Stating that doesn’t mean I don’t WANT to do it. It doesn’t mean we don’t HAVE to do it. It only means I’m concerned about our being ABLE to do it. It’s the most important thing there is, period.

    I think where we butt heads sometimes is that you think it’s almost a betrayal or gives ammo to the enemy when anyone points out challenges in the conversion to renewables. I assure you I’m not saying it can’t be done so let’s just throw in with FFs. That ain’t me! I’d MUCH sooner say we should all (in the developed countries) cut way, way back on energy and consumption than say we should use FFs until renewables are fully ramped up.

    Yes, I’m a bit more pessimistic about the path to powering the economy on renewables than you, but that doesn’t make me a bad person, or a FF apologist. I’m just another human, fearing the worst and hoping for the best. OK?

    Reply
    • Continuing to drift off topic …

      Energy density is an argument which was not addressed in the paper. But this is another fallacy that has been used to make unrealistic assertions about renewable energy. Solar energy density is not required to power grids. High conversion efficiency solar panels already do that without requiring energy density equivalent to fossil fuels. The barriers were cost based, primarily. But those have fallen and now the primary barriers are economic resistance from fossil interests seeking to protect legacy assets and issues that any large infrastructure build out would face.

      Examples of how renewables superior economies of scale and positive learning curve combine with high conversion efficiencies generate energy systems that are superior to fossil fuels from the civilization and end users standpoint are evident in their positive learning curves. Energy density becomes a lesser issue when you consider the higher efficiency of electric motors, for example — which generate an effective energy density in batteries equal to a total system ICE by around 2022. This is due to the fact that it requires less energy to power an electric motor due to its higher efficiency, which puts renewable based electric systems on a better footing than a contrived pure energy density equation would suggest.

      I absolutely believe we could have supported 7.4 billion on non fossil fuel based agriculture. And the population explosion was primarily due to non-fossil fuel requisite advances in disease control that occurred during the 20th Century. Not the oft-cited chemical farming methods which were more a dominance play than anything else but which have allowed non productive land to be used in a way that generates a deal of overshoot when we farm in the way that we currently do (over abundance of meat based farming in which most grains and legumes go to feeding livestock and not people).

      I do believe that this particular approach is a betrayal and not the least due to the fact that it is so philosophically based, so riddled with unsupported assertions, that it takes very little effort to disprove. I understand that it comes from a certain endemic and institutionalized academic mindset that has existed for some time now. But it doesn’t make it any more valid or provable. To my view, it’s more a set of ecological dogma than anything else. And a mindset that ignores a variety of options before it immediately jumps to various conclusions. Perhaps this is so easy for me to see due to my threat responses based perspective — one that includes an understanding of where the resources are and how the current systemic optimizations are laid out. In other words, we’ve optimized to generate near the highest possible range of externalities and if you reduce those prosperity, quality of life, and human civilization lifespan increase. But saying the whole house is dependent upon its most harmful aspect — fossil fuel use — is as wrong as wrong can be.

      Reply
      • Just as a minor aside, an “un-density” advantage for wind power is that its benefits must necessarily be spread as widely as its footprint. For nuclear power or fossil fuels (the “dense” energy sources), the benefits flow to the owner of the power plant and the owner of the fuel mine. For wind, farmers or ranchers who host turbines are paid a respectable rental fee which often makes wind their most profitable “crop” in terms of dollars per acre.

        Reply
        • Exactly. There is a good and well supportable thesis that less dense, more widely available energy sources like wind and solar generate more benefits to society as a whole than dangerous, energy dense sources like fossil fuels and nuclear. Part of the issue is that a less dense resource requires more sharing, more democratic distribution of the benefits, and is a natural impediment to economic monopolization and concentration of political power into too few hands. That’s a kind of social resiliency that fossil fuel based and mining based energy sources lack.

          One further point about energy density is the fact that the more energy dense a substance, the more dangerous and toxic it tends to become. Nuclear energy kills fossil fuels on energy density. But we don’t see it in wide use except in bunkered and shielded power plants. Why? Well, if we used it in planes and vehicles, people would be falling out with radiation sickness. So how useful is energy density in this case?

          So no, it’s not all about energy density. It’s all about which energy sources are most benevolent and useful to human society and least harmful to the natural world. And the benefits of renewables are — high conversion efficiencies, a vastly abundant set of energy sources (wind and the sun), high efficiency motors, positive learning curves on cost, ability to leverage economies of scale, vastly reduced externalities (next to nil for carbon emissions and the water resource footprint), and a more democratic sharing of energy resources in broader society when implemented.

      • But, for energy, if you have to heat it or burn it in a biosphere, especially one that is finite — whether through combustion, partial combustion, or fission — you are playing a losing game. From what I know, all are extremely inefficient for sustaining their stated purpose.
        – Just a basic ground rule I follow with few exceptions.

        OUT🙂

        Reply
        • Chemical combustion generally creates a number of conversion efficiency problems. Engines and turbines lose on efficiency due to numerous moving parts, related friction and waste heat. Fission has a very high energy return, but the materials cost of containment and safety as well as the related complex systems required has generated a negative learning curve on cost bases. Nuke plants now take many years to construct and almost always see over-runs. Nukes remain more expensive than wind or solar.

        • So here are some of the new LCOE costs for all energy sources according to Lazard. What we find is that utility scale wind and solar are now among the least expensive sources when considering the total levelized cost of energy:

          Levelized energy costs

      • – Cooking for sustenance being one exception.🙂

        Reply
        • Open wood fires generate a lot of particulates and related deforestation is probably unhelpful. But, yeah, our problem right now is not people who use wood fires. If they switched to solar based electrical ovens, for example, it would be a net positive. But if they switched to coal or diesel or gas burning stoves — big trouble.

      • – “If they switched to solar based electrical ovens, for example, it would be a net positive.” That’s where Bob’s simple and effective solar oven’s could/should come in.

        – Bob, do have a quick reference image of your creation to share w/ newer viewers?

        Reply
    • So what makes a person a fossil fuel apologist is when they say things like human civilization cannot exist without fossil fuels, that prosperity is dependent upon fossil fuels, and that fossil fuels are the most abundant energy source on the planet. When people make false arguments about EROEI or energy density, this makes them wittingly or unwittingly fossil fuel apologists. Why? Well, it’s simply due to the fact that these are myths. All creating the wrong impression. All continuing a culture of captivity to fossil fuel use.

      The least a person can do in such a situation is perform some basic research and number crunching and not go around parroting anti-factual claims. Overall, the energy pessimism in many circles is fueled by a lack of education, by myth perpetuation. So yeah, if you believe the myths, then you’ll end up on the wrong side of the issue without realizing it.

      Reply
      • dnem

         /  June 1, 2016

        I’m at a loss here, Robert. I hope you are right and I am wrong. When I say I have concerns, I’m not blowing it out my ass. I read a lot on this topic. Maybe I’ve fallen prey to sophisticated propaganda. You are very strongly in the “conversion will be easy and the only barrier is our will” camp. I, and many others, are not. That doesn’t make me an apologist.

        You do amazing work here and I value this community.

        Out.

        Reply
        • I never said conversion will be easy. What I’m saying is that renewables are absolutely viable and rapidly scalable. That they are, in the end, a superior source to fossil fuels once we get there. And that our economic systems and political systems will be made more resilient, beneficial, equitable and democratic by them.

          And yes, if you just read the works of a certain set of thinkers, then you are falling for what amounts to a degree of bad thinking combined with sophisticated fossil fuel based marketing. The Oil Drum was a good example of this. And I can no longer count on two hands including all fingers the number of anti-renewables thesis that have now already been proven false.

      • wili

         /  June 2, 2016

        It’s certainly educational to hear the discussion. As usual, I’m squarely with Robert on this. The only caveat I would add would be that, though we may be able to sustain _current_ populations at acceptable levels of prosperity, what we cannot do is then grow consumption and population for ever on a finite planet. Besides the essentially technical issue of converting to renewables, we therefore also have a huge need to rethink some basic assumptions behind much of our economic thinking. Unfortunately, relatively few economists (that I know of) are engaging in this hard work at the deep levels necessary.

        Sorry if this is another meander off topic. To come back to more recent points–another advantage of the relatively less dense renewables–a solar panel array or wind turbine are much less likely to be an object of terrorism than are, for example, large, centralized ff power plants or (especially) nukes.

        Reply
        • Materials throughput per capita has been falling for some time. The main internal limiters are growth in overall materials throughput, limits to reasonable working hours, and non renewable energy throughput. Of course, the big external limiter is biosphere and arable land destruction — of which climate change is a primary driver and an overly chemical dependent agriculture is an enabler. Adding efficiency to renewables is a good way to drop energy throughput over time. Scalable and tech driven increasing efficiency for both wind turbines and solar cells also reduces the overall footprint. Switching farming methods and food consumption pushes the Earth carrying capacity higher. But overall, we should probably shoot for less than 5 billion long term and probably as little as 1-2 billion. The most immediate problem RE sustainability is a combination of fossil fuel use and a vast over-consumption of resources by the top 1 percent of the global populace. We have a situation now where there are about 1 million people with the same resource footprint as 30 billion subsistence farmers. This is a pretty unconscionable and unsustainable situation. It also reveals that the problem is not entirely one of population, but of a serious resource abuse by the wealthiest among us. There are exceptions of course. Some of the super rich do not maintain five palatial homes, own multiple vehicles (10+), own large fossil fuel driven yatchs (some now have mobile islands and submarines), fly jet aircraft and use water for lawns on the scale of that of a small town. But, sadly, that’s the exception rather than the rule.

      • well said Robert, this discussion is really interesting like wili said.

        Reply
        • We should thank dnem and Chuck for that at least. They got me going. I don’t write too much about sustainability here. But my research has continued apace. I’ve learned a lot since writing Growth Shock. Chiefly that characterizing the issue as simply one of growth is not really too accurate. It’s an issue of harmful resource use and overconcentration of wealth at the top of economic spectrums and of systems that perpetuate these kinds of destructive constructs that present immediate and serious risks. Population growth is background to this, but you drastically push back various immediate threats if you transition away from fossil fuels and solve the systemic inequality problem.

          In other words, taxing the rich is a pretty benevolent thing to do — especially if it helps to drive an energy transition. You get two birds with one stone — reduction in harmful consumption and non destructive energy sources (at least sources that have externalities that are orders of magnitude less than fossil fuels).

          Too bad republicans now run a party that is ideologically opposed to pretty much anything that’s helpful these days.

        • The Republican Party is behaving so bizarrely lately that one can only hope for their imminent demise. Their complete failure to provide viable candidates has led to their being hijacked by an opportunistic outsider whom the party leaders are unwilling to support. I don’t see how this can be seen as anything other than a huge embarrassment and sign of fatal weakness.

          I’m more concerned about libertarians who think individual freedom trumps everything.

          You are right that overpopulation is a hierarchal issue. The bottom ten percent are statistically irrelevant as far as the problem goes, while the top ten percent are a large part of it. However, it’s unrealistic to expect people to voluntarily restrain themselves. If we can’t collectivize enterprises, which is ultimately the sensible way to go, at least we should be able to back up some towards more sensible tax rates.

          I was talking to my brother awhile ago about Amazon. People I know are always saying Amazon is evil, it drives out small business, but actually it’s a brilliant business model, which is why it’s so successful. Imagine how it would be if Amazon was collectively owned and the profits were turned towards community improvements. That could certainly create a lot of good work for people.

          The problems are systemic.

        • We could have all sorts of beneficial laws and practices — collective ownership of corporations, more societally beneficial tax structures etc. The republicans, whether they realize it or not, have basically brought back King George in the form of these bullies like Trump.

      • Shawn Redmond

         /  June 2, 2016

        Thanks Robert for the input on Chucks earlier post about the “battery comparison”. It seemed wrong headed to me instinctually but I don’t have the technical training to pick at it. This happens to me a lot. Different views or often presented that don’t seem logical but I have to nothing to say because I can’t articulate my objections lucidly. This blog and all its contributors give me a fighting shot at it sometimes. Many thanks to all that post here.

        Reply
  44. PlazaRed

     /  June 1, 2016

    Large amounts of flooding in France today especially south of Paris.
    Meanwhile the temps in Oslo Norway today were 29/C, or just a bit warmer than Malaga Spain on the Mediterranean coast which was 30/C!
    Forecast for Spain long term this summer is for hotter and dryer than normal, Then again there is not much that is “Normal,” anymore?

    Reply
  45. Didn’t see this above but if it doesn’t load here I’m sure someone else will add it…

    Reply
  46. Reply
  47. – Holy Crap on a Hot Dog Bun: (My term.) — but PNW/PDX (via WU) weekend is now forecast to be 98 & 101 F.
    No thanks…

    Reply
    • It just keeps getting worse. The ridge is making a pretty ridiculous comeback.

      Reply
      • Indeed, Robert.
        A dagger like thrust which I hope does not impact Arctic as well.
        Snowpack loss & stream H2o temps likely to be unfriendly to aquatic life here.
        Thx.

        – What’s weird is that these high temps will be met with a lower pressure which I assume means humidity. Any of your insights welcomed.
        The Arctic ice sure does not need any warm and moist thermal type blanket.

        – Check out this WU sine wave graphic of temps and pressure for my immediate locale: 06/02 temps go down to 71 F then rebound on 06/04-05 for 98-101 F with the pressure descending. Will/does this extrapolate out to larger area of PNW…?

        https://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=pws:KORPORTL63

        Reply
      • Andy in SD

         /  June 2, 2016

        Hypoxia for the ocean critters, here it comes again….

        Reply
      • – Andy: plus we have recent findings of PNW coal dust effluent penetrating and harming marine environments.
        I think I posted a few days ago in one of Robert’s posts.

        Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  June 2, 2016

      So now that El Nino has started to fade, it seems like the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge is trying to establish itself again. I’ll never claim to be an expert in meteorology or atmospheric/ocean behavior, so I’m hoping Robert, maybe you could shed some light on what’s going on off the West coast of the US in regards to the RRR? Every time I look, it seems like the West coast is dominated by a massive high pressure ridge.

      Reply
      • The RRR is trying to reform and is getting a big assist from very warm sea surface temps in NE PAC and loss of sea ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi.

        Reply
  48. Jay M

     /  June 2, 2016

    sets up a bad fire season for PDX

    Reply
    • Yes, thanks.
      Also, grass and brush is dense and still moist — but when it dries… watch out!
      Some of these bursts of hot/dry weather acts like a powerful hair blow dryer on foliage.

      Reply
  49. Reply
  50. – NA – USA – California – Tulare County – #Chimney Wildfire as early June West Coast heat wave begins.

    Reply
    • ” …very explosive Fire behavior for #June”.

      Reply
    • – The fire is basically at the southern end, and least effected by the recent El Nino rains, of the Sierras.
      N/NE of Bakersfield:
      https://www.google.com/maps/@35.8488418,-118.0880993,247020m/data=!3m1!1e3

      Reply
      • 07:10 UTC — Current UTC, Time Zone (Coordinated Universal Time)

        – This post has a double meaning.
        Due to social-media use, as the NWS is now trying to form a way of date-stamping Tweets
        when warnings or alerts are sent out via Twitter.
        They want citizens to get critical up to date info — and avoid false alarms or complacency due to non date stamped ReTweets, etc.

        – Before I learned of this I sometimes preface a post w UTC to orient my post to relevant Tweets.
        If anyone has hints, etc. for NWS please advise them if they haven’t solved this problem.
        This is one way lives, etc, can be saved.

        – Robert, re my timely posts: What’s our preference — GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) or UTC?

        The post:

        Retweeted 19 times

        BLM California Verified account ‏@BLMca 2h2 hours ago

        #ChimneyFire UPDATE 3 of 3: Approx 250 fire personnel are on scene. @CountyofTulare is in the process of evacuating Chimney Peak community.

        Reply
        • I’ve been using UTC.

          Crazy fire activity already starting to flare. High risk for more as this heatwave digs in.

      • 07:34 utc
        Kyle ‏@highsierra86 2h2 hours ago

        @KLGnews also @TulareCoFire has assigned a local government task force to #ChimneyFire. Likely for structure protection and evacuations.

        Reply
    • dtlange – I’ve been reading about eCO2 causing falling lignin contents in grasses resulting in dramatically increased combustion processes – Combustion properties of Bromus tectorum L.: influence of ecotype and growth under four CO2 concentrations. Blank, White Ziska. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 2006, 15, 227-236. This was a Nevada study and leads to to some interesting citations but that area looks scrubby which would support a lot of grass families

      Reply
  51. USA Weather — another ‘WTF’ tweet:

    Reply
  52. BJD

     /  June 2, 2016

    Hey, don’t forget the Southern Hemisphere! Unseasonal heavy rains are predicted for the subtropical part of Australia, the state of Queensland, during what is usually the driest part of the year:

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/brisbane-weather-extreme-event-to-bring-huge-downpours-galeforce-winds-20160601-gp9js6.html

    The Bureau of Meteorology warned flash flooding was likely, with more severe inundation possible and branches likely to be ripped from trees in an unseasonably fierce downpour.

    Across the south-east, forecasters were predicting 50 to 150 millimetres of rain as an upper trough swept east across the state from Friday.

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/heavy-rain-king-tide-could-cause-flash-flooding-in-parts-of-southeast-queensland-over-the-weekend/news-story/2cccc0aba2de58d8bf2a2aa475579b85

    Fire and Emergency Services Minister Bill Byrne said residents needed to take steps now to prepare their properties and reconsider travel plans in the event of bad weather.

    “This is an unseasonal weather event, and residents need to make sure they have plans in place to cope in case they are affected,” he said.

    Reply
    • We’ve got these extreme rain events popping up all over the place again. France, Germany, US, India, Australia, NZ. So far it’s mostly rain bombs — at least in the NH. I just hope they don’t organize into something bigger. The ridge and trough zones are really starting to blow out.

      Reply
  53. Abel Adamski

     /  June 2, 2016

    Yeah I am a tech freak , CO2 extraction, what to do with the CO2, pure Carbon for steel manufacture, carbon fibre materials and Graphene (2D carbon).
    Here we have a super heat to electricity converter, apart from the examples quoted so many applications, even the plebian roof or structure body in the heat of summer to power the aircon inside

    http://phys.org/news/2016-06-graphene-device-fuel-efficient-cars-pole.html

    Reply
    • There’s been a lot of talk about graphene lately. Apparently a pretty big advance for efficiency and reclaiming waste heat. One application has been to add graphene to solar panels so you add in heat to electricity on top of solar to electricity. Graphene used in this way can also increase solar capacity factors as heat bleeds off after sunset.

      Reply
  54. Abel Adamski

     /  June 2, 2016

    Toxic pollution and our pollinators
    http://phys.org/news/2016-05-honeybees-astonishing-pesticides-non-crop.html

    Not just crop chemicals, what can you say. And now of course GOP legislators are trying to bypass the EPA and it’s chemical pollution laws using fear of the ZIKA virus

    Reply
    • The GOP isn’t content to simply fail to respond to one crisis (Zika). As part of their intransigence, they feel compelled in their poor polluted, withered hearts to add chemical contamination on top of a rapidly spreading epidemic.

      Reply
  55. Greg

     /  June 2, 2016

    Texans need to start those prayers and keep building those windmills:

    Reply
  56. Reply
    • Dave person

       /  June 2, 2016

      Dave,
      What is really remarkable about that image is that it appears virtually every state in the conterminous US is below normal precip for the last 4 years, albeit many areas only slightly.

      dave

      Reply
  57. 17:24 UTC

    In partnership with the Center for Climate & Security, SACE will be joined on this webinar by General Ron Keys, USAF (ret), Commander David “Deke” Slayton, USN (ret), and Colonel Mark “Puck” Mykleby, USMC (ret) to discuss the relationship between national security and climate change.
    Date and time: Thursday, June 2, 2016 11:00 am
    Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
    [David “Deke” Slayton was an Apollo astronaut and that POV to the subject.]

    Reply
  58. – PNW/PDX – NWS: “URGENT”

    URGENT – WEATHER MESSAGE
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PORTLAND OR
    924 AM PDT THU JUN 2 2016

    …VERY HOT WEATHER EXPECTED THIS WEEKEND…

    .THIS IS ONE OF THE EARLIEST HEAT WAVES OF THIS MAGNITUDE. SEVERAL
    RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES WILL BE BROKEN THIS WEEKEND. THIS COULD
    BE THE EARLIEST REACHING 100 DEGREES AT SOME LOCATIONS.

    ORZ003>008-010-012-014>016-WAZ020-022-039-040-045-046-030500-
    /O.NEW.KPQR.EH.A.0001.160604T1700Z-160606T0500Z/
    COAST RANGE OF NORTHWEST OREGON-
    CENTRAL COAST RANGE OF WESTERN OREGON-LOWER COLUMBIA-
    GREATER PORTLAND METRO AREA-CENTRAL WILLAMETTE VALLEY-
    SOUTH WILLAMETTE VALLEY-NORTHERN OREGON CASCADE FOOTHILLS-
    CASCADE FOOTHILLS IN LANE COUNTY-UPPER HOOD RIVER VALLEY-
    WESTERN COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE-CENTRAL COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE-
    WILLAPA HILLS-I-5 CORRIDOR IN COWLITZ COUNTY-
    GREATER VANCOUVER AREA-SOUTH WASHINGTON CASCADE FOOTHILLS-
    INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…VERNONIA…VENETA…ST. HELENS…
    HILLSBORO…PORTLAND…OREGON CITY…GRESHAM…SALEM…
    MCMINNVILLE…EUGENE…SPRINGFIELD…CORVALLIS…ALBANY…
    LEBANON…SANDY…ESTACADA…SWEET HOME…COTTAGE GROVE…ODELL…
    CORBETT…HOOD RIVER…LONGVIEW…KELSO…VANCOUVER…
    BATTLE GROUND…WASHOUGAL…TOUTLE…ARIEL…LAKE MERWIN…
    COUGAR…CARSON…UNDERWOOD
    924 AM PDT THU JUN 2 2016

    …EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH
    SUNDAY EVENING FOR THE INTERIOR OF SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON AND
    NORTHWEST OREGON FROM THE COASTAL MOUNTAINS TO THE CASCADE
    FOOTHILLS…AS WELL AS THE WESTERN AND CENTRAL COLUMBIA RIVER
    GORGE AND THE UPPER HOOD RIVER VALLEY…

    Reply
    • – Air pollution will substantially increase health risks.
      I plan to SHELTER IN PLACE.

      Reply
  59. Greg

     /  June 2, 2016

    That heart in Texas is all wet. The very sluggish upper low will dump a lot more rain in flood ravaged Texas the rest of this week:

    Reply
  60. Greg

     /  June 2, 2016

    The banks of the Horseshoe Bend on the Brazos River in Texas yesterday:

    Reply
  61. Greg

     /  June 2, 2016

    Today from rains yesterday in Simbach am Inn, Germany:

    Reply
    • 17:49 UTC
      Frédérique Geffard ‏@fgeffardAFP 1h1 hour ago

      FRANCE- The river Seine bursts its banks next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. By @Kenzotribou #AFP

      Reply
  62. France floods: Louvre to close as Seine rises further

    The world’s most visited museum, the Louvre in Paris, is to close on Friday amid worsening flooding caused by days of torrential rain.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36432429

    Reply
  63. Europe floods: Death toll rises as France declares natural disaster

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36432576

    Reply
  64. – Robert, starting today, I have RESEND my comments, which works but slows down thru-put.
    Is your certificate up to date, or…? I didn’t change anything here Firefox did up date to 40.0.1 recently.

    Firefox sez this:
    What does “Your connection is not secure” mean?
    (Redirected from TLS Error Reports)

    When Firefox connects to a secure website (the URL begins with “https://”), it must verify that the certificate presented by the website is valid and that the encryption is strong enough to adequately protect your privacy. If the certificate cannot be validated or if the encryption is not strong enough,
    Thx.

    Reply
    • – Tis now OK – A reboot of browser saved my FF “exceptions” list re RS.
      All is well now.

      Reply
  65. Colorado Bob

     /  June 2, 2016

    Investigating Climate Change the Hard Way at Earth’s Icy “Third Pole”

    A glaciologist doesn’t let a heart transplant keep him from braving dizzying altitudes to gather crucial ice core samples from retreating tropical and subtropical glaciers

    What have you learned from Tibetan ice cores?
    They have given us a glimpse of Tibet’s climate history going back to more than half a million years. We learned that the extent of glaciation is related to how far monsoonal rains penetrate the Tibetan Plateau. This is in step with the slow wobbling of Earth’s rotational axis, which drives tropical rainfall in 21,000-year cycles. We also identified periods when average temperatures in Tibet went up and down by several degrees Celsius in roughly 200-year cycles. It’s still a mystery why that was the case, but we suspect this may be related to the 205-year cycle of solar activity.

    In more recent times an interesting discovery is that the higher the elevation, the greater warming we have. This is in line with the observation that the vast majority of glaciers in Tibet and the Himalayas are retreating. In some extreme cases, as ice cores from the Naimona’nyi Glacier in southern Tibet show, all the snow and ice that accumulated since 1950 has melted or sublimated away at altitudes as high as 6,000 meters above sea level.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/investigating-climate-change-the-hard-way-at-earth-s-icy-third-pole/

    Reply
    • – Good find.

      And as you have said, “Heat seeks cold.”

      – If want to know what the heat is doing go to where the cold is.

      Reply
  66. Colorado Bob

     /  June 2, 2016

    Crisis in the Cryosphere

    I recently received an e-mail to draw my attention to a recent two-part
    feature article on the Scientific American website by Dr. John J. Berger,
    an independent energy and environmental consultant.

    The article called Crisis in the Cryosphere is about the changes going on
    in the world of ice and snow – our world of ice and snow – and the potential consequences of these changes. It was published 6 weeks ago,
    but its content is relevant every second of the day.

    Here’s an excerpt from part 2 that deals with Arctic sea ice:

    http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2016/06/crisis-in-the-cryosphere.html

    Reply
  1. New Extreme Climate to Hurl More Rain Bombs at Texas, Light off Another Record West Coast Heatwave | robertscribbler | GarryRogers Nature Conservation
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