Rapid Polar Warming Kicks ENSO Out of Climate Driver’s Seat, Sets off Big 2014-2016 Global Temperature Spike

“What is happening right now is we are catapulting ourselves out of the Holocene, which is the geological epoch that human civilisation has been able to develop in, because of the relatively stable climate. It allowed us to invent agriculture, rather than living as nomads. It allowed a big population growth, it allowed the foundation of cities, all of which required a stable climate.” — Stefan Rahmstorf

A strong El Nino in 2015 helped to contribute to record hot global temperatures over the past three years. But with so much heat unexpectedly showing up in the global climate system, there’s clearly something else going on. And indicators are that the natural climate variability that human beings have grown accustomed to over the last 10,000 years may now be a thing of the past — as it is steadily overwhelmed by a stronger overall greenhouse gas based warming signature. One that is concentrating more and more warming near the poles.

****

2014 was the hottest year on record. But that lasted only until the end of 2015 — which shattered the 2014 global heat record by a big margin. Then 2016 rolled around and produced what could best be described as an insane heat spike during the January through May period. Now, it’s about 95 percent certain that the 2015 record will also fall, leaving 2016 as the new hottest year on record in yet one more climate vertigo inducing temperature jump.

noaa-jan-may-temps

(The rate of warming for 2014 through 2015 is just off the charts. This scares scientists, and it should. This makes many climate experts wonder about causes, and it should. Prime suspect for the increased rate of change — amplifying feedbacks in the Arctic. Image source: NOAA Global Analysis and Weather Underground.)

In the end, temperatures are expected to level off near 1 C above 20th Century averages and around 1.2 C above 1880s averages by the end of this year. That’s a 0.3 C leap up since the mid 2000s. A screaming rate of decadal warming that is about twice as fast as that experienced since 1979. That’s an insanely fast pace of heat build-up. And it’s got many scientists seriously concerned. The records, as the Guardian aptly notes, were not just broken, they were obliterated. Adam Scaife, a scientist at the Met Office in the UK, agrees:

“The numbers are completely unprecedented. They really stick out like a sore thumb… Including this year so far, 16 of the 17 warmest years on record have been since 2000 – it’s a shocking statistic.”

So what the heck is going on? We know that a strong El Nino just passed. But, though a real beast of a thing, the 2015-2016 event wasn’t quite as powerful as the 1997-1998 El Nino. And global temperatures will end up being about 50 percent hotter than 1998 averages by the end of this year. Essentially leaving this great El Nino’s heat spike in the dust. Meanwhile, scientists attribute about 1/5th of the 2014 to 2016 heat spike to El Nino. The rest came from someplace else. But where?

The first obvious suspect is greenhouse gasses. In 1998, atmospheric CO2 levels peaked at around 365 parts per million at the Mauna Loa Observatory. This year, that heat trapping gas hit near 408 parts per million in the same measure. That’s a 43 parts per million jump peak to peak in just 18 years. A 12 percent increase in a gas that is capable of causing severe geo-physical changes in what, geologically speaking, is not even a blink of an eye. And you have to go back millions of years into Earth’s history to find times when CO2 readings were so high.

So the big build-up of heat trapping gasses is the obvious driver of the overall insane rate of warming that we are now seeing. But that doesn’t account for what is an unexpected acceleration over the past three years. And to puzzle out that speed-up we need to dig a little deeper. To consider factors that are known as amplifying feedbacks.

And, thankfully, in this investigation, we are not flying completely blind. NASA and the other global climate monitors give us a rough global overview of where the Earth is warming up the fastest. And an investigation of comparable temperature anomalies at the Earth’s surface can give us some indication where the extra heat is coming from and why.

1997 — Some Polar Amplification (aka Death of Winter), But Mostly Equatorial Warming

The obvious choice is to pick two relevant years for comparison. And for our purposes we’ll pick 2015 and 1997. The reason for this pick is that both 1997 and 2015 were years in which strong El Ninos were building up and having their impact on the global climate system. And based on what we know about El Nino, we can expect a lot of heat coming out of the Equatorial Pacific as sea surface temperatures there ramp up. In a climate system that is only driven by a natural variability related El Nino, what you’d expect is that the primary heat spike would be in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific region. Any other heat spike would be a possible indicator of another climate driver for global temperatures.

1997 Temperature Anomaly

(1997 may have been the last year in which a big El Nino still maintained a tenuous grip as the primary driver for the global climate system. Image source: NASA.)

So for the year of 1997 (Jan-Dec) we find that a strong heat pulse does originate from the Eastern Equatorial Pacific region. In fact, it’s the largest zone containing temperature anomalies in the range of 2 to 4 C above average. But during this year we also find some pretty big anomalies in Central and North Asia. These flow across the Bering Sea into Alaska, Northwest Canada, and the Beaufort. High Arctic temperatures are somewhat cooler, though still anomalously warm. And West Antartica also shows its own, not insignificant temperature spike.

Given the fact that El Nino will tend to strengthen the Jet Stream and generate a warming bias in the tropical zones, we can already see that there’s probably some polar amplification going on in 1997. And overall, the northern polar zone from 66 North to 90 North shows a positive anomaly signature that is just 0.1 C shy of the equatorial anomaly produced by El Nino. But the heat signal between El Nino and Northern Hemisphere polar amplification appears to be more balanced, with El Nino still providing a slightly stronger share of the overall heat contribution.

Understanding Polar Amplification’s Impact Due to Global Warming

For reference — polar amplification is an expected more rapid increase in polar temperatures as global greenhouse gas concentrations increase. Under pressure from greenhouse gasses, the poles warm faster for a number of reasons. The first is due to albedo or reflectivity loss as ice melts. White ice changing to brown earth or blue ocean due to melt absorbs more sunlight and creates a preferential warming at the poles. In addition, greenhouse gasses (especially CO2) capture and re-radiate sunlight’s heat energy like a blanket. As a result, temperatures tend to homogenize more over the globe resulting in a greater rate of temperature increase where it’s coolest and darkest. And the poles are the coolest and darkest places on Earth.

A third cause of polar amplification involves added heat resulting in natural carbon store release. And some of the greatest concentrations of the world’s sequestered carbon stores are locked in frozen ground and water at or near the poles. If ice at the poles thaws, you tend to end up with a higher overburden of greenhouse gasses in these regions. This is particularly true in the Northern Hemisphere where large regions of permafrost and ocean carbon stores are more vulnerable to release from early warming than the deeply sequestered stores in Antarctica.

(Dr. Jennifer Francis’s observations on Jet Stream weakening and polar amplification have big implications both down [Pole] and up [Equator] stream.)

Finally, as the polar zones warm up, they tend to generate weaknesses in the circumpolar Jet Stream. This is due to the fact that temperature differences between pole and tropics drive both Jet Stream speed and strength. As the relative difference drops off, the Jet Stream slows. And when the Jet Stream slows it meanders — creating big troughs and ridges centering on the middle Latitudes but sometimes extending all the way up to the poles. In the ridge zones, warm air is able to drive further north or south. And this feeds polar amplification by linking hot Equatorial air masses with the Pole itself. Over recent years, high amplitude Jet Stream waves have become a regular feature of the global climate system and have been associated with numerous extreme weather events — some of the most notable being the Russian Heatwave and Pakistan floods of 2011 and the anomalous late December 2015 warming of the North Pole above freezing.

2015 — Polar Amplification in the Driver’s Seat

By 2015, the polar amplification signature, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, started to look ridiculously strong.

2015 El Nino Polar Amplification

(2015’s picture of Polar Amplification during an El Nino year should disturb anyone who knows anything about how global climate systems should work. Image source: NASA.)

And during this year we find that the zone of greatest temperature anomalies lies not over the Equatorial Pacific — but over the high Latitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere. 2-4 C above average temperatures dominate a huge zone stretching from North Central Asia and Europe and on up to the North Pole. A similar zone dominates Northwestern Canada, Alaska and the Beaufort Sea. And pretty much the entire Northern Hemisphere Polar and near Polar zone falls under 1-4 C above average temperatures for the year.

By comparison, the Eastern Equatorial Pacific appears to play second fiddle to the Polar and near Polar heat build up. A broad region across the Central and Eastern Equatorial Pacific does see 1-2 C above average temperatures, with a small pool of 2-4 C deltas off South America. But it’s not that much greater a signal than a significant heat pool over the Indian Ocean. And the Northern Hemisphere near Polar zone is altogether the area that’s clearly the global heat center of gravity. An observation bearing out in NASA’s zonal anomaly measure which finds that Latitudes  66 to 90 North were about 1.6 C above average and the highest relative temperature anomaly zone on the planet. Meanwhile, the Equator lags at +1.2 C above normal. That’s a relative Equator to Pole anomaly change of +0.5 C from El Nino years 1997 to 2015. An indicator that El Nino may no longer be the primary driver of the global temperature and climate engine. And that its overall role is greatly diminished over the 1997 to 2015 timeframe. And, finally, that a greenhouse gas based warming polar amplification signature is now in the driver’s seat.

So, basically what we have during an El Nino year is the pole warming relative to the Equator and under any condition other than human forced climate change — this is something that definitely should not happen. In other words, you’re not in Kansas anymore and Kansas isn’t on Earth anymore. At least the Earth that human civilization is used to. For what we’re experiencing is the climate of a planet that is definitely not operating under Holocene norms — but under the transitionally destabilizing forces of greenhouse gas based warming.

Warm Air Slots and The Death of Winter

So in comparison to 1997, it appears that during 2015 the Northern Pole gained heat very rapidly (increasing by +1 C over these 18 years) while Equatorial heat continued to build (adding +0.4 C over the same period). In other words, Polar warming was about 2.5 times faster than Equatorial warming during the 18 year interval. The result is that by the El Nino year of 2015, the Pole showed dramatically higher relative global temperature anomaly spikes. This, in a few simple words, is the evidence of a greenhouse gas warming based polar amplification writ large. But digging down into the details a bit more we find a number of further disturbing clues as to what’s really going on in the grinding gears of our global climate machinery.

September of 2015's Crushed Polar Vortex During a Spiking El Nino is a Bad Sign

(September of 2015’s crushed polar vortex and high amplitude Jet Stream wave patterns during a peak period of Equatorial heat known as El Nino is a bad, bad sign. A clear indication that polar amplification is starting the drive and destabilize the global climate regime. September 10 of 2015’s Northern Hemisphere Polar reference Jet Stream capture is by Earth Nullschool.)

The first is the appearance of a big warm air slot running directly from the Equatorial Pacific over the Eastern Pacific and North America and on up into the Northern Polar zone. Here we find the signature of 2015’s ridiculously resilient ridge (RRR) pattern in the NASA global anomaly map for the year. Warm air consistently funneled directly from the Equator, was drawn through the high amplitude ridge (see Dr Francis’s video above) and pulled into the polar zone.

But the RRR zone wasn’t the only big warm air slot pulling air north during 2015 — just, perhaps, the most obvious. A second big warm air slot appeared over the Eastern North Atlantic, Western Europe and extended to cover most of Asia. And this enormous Equatorial air sucking beast really ramped into high gear during late December of 2015 when it drove North Pole temperatures above freezing.

QBO Gravity Wave

(Upper level Equatorial zonal winds all peaked at the same time during September of 2015. A sign that Equatorial heat went north in a manner that produces some potentially bad implications for Northern Hemisphere Winter under a regime of human-forced climate change. Image source: Anthony Masiello.)

Taken in total, these warm air slots were enormous — exerting an amazing influence over the totality of global weather. The overall story is one in which the polar vortex was basically getting smashed during an El Nino year. Another big indication that things are teetering pretty far off kilter. One indicator of this was an anomalous spiking of all the upper level Equatorial wind speeds at the same time (in the Quasi Biennial Oscillation measure) during September of 2015. An event that current climate theory says shouldn’t happen, but it did. And yet one more hint that the Hadley Cell produced a huge northward bulge at the time. It’s also an indicator that Northern Hemisphere Winter is getting steadily beaten back to the ropes by the bully of northward running heat.

So what we’ve seen from 1997 to 2015 is a dramatic transition in which El Nino appears to have lost climate influence powers and become a slave to what is now a heat-sucking engine at the pole. It’s an emerging first phase of a death of winter type scenario. And the upshot is that the extra heat in the system that scientists are getting pretty concerned about appears now to be coming in large part from a ramping Northern Hemisphere polar amplification.

Links:

NOAA Global Analysis

NASA GISS

NOAA and NASA — Earth’s Warmest May on Record

Dr Jennifer Francis on Polar Amplification and the Jet Stream

Anthony Masiello

Quasi Biennial Oscillation

Earth Nullschool

Shattered Global Temperature Records Reveals Climate Change Emergency

Scientific hat tip to Dr. Jeff Masters and his best-in-class Weather Underground

Scientific hat tip to the prescient Dr. Jennifer Francis

Scientific hat tip to Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf

Scientific hat tip to Adam Scaife

Hat tip to Greg

Hat tip to Colorado Bob

Hat tip to Cate

Hat tip to DT Lange

 

 

Leave a comment

210 Comments

  1. Robert, in your first Figure why is there a disjunct between December and January? For example the December 2015 anomaly is 0.9, while the January 2016 anomaly is just above 1. I’d expect the transition to be smoothed as it is throughout the rest of the year.

    Reply
    • Paul —

      The figure is a measure of average temperatures so far in a given climate year.

      So for 2015, the entire year is included once you get to December on the graph. But for 2016, we only have Jan-May so only those readings appear in the measure.

      In addition, the January reading is a one month reading while the December reading is an average of all the months leading up to it together with it’s own monthly total.

      So that’s why you see a big gap from Jan 2016 to December of 2015. In essence the month of January was much, much warmer than the annual average for 2015 which is why you have the big jump in the graph.

      Reply
  2. Witchee

     /  June 17, 2016

    How I wish winter *were* coming!

    Reply
    • Me too.

      And dear goodness I think my brain just exploded. Now I think I need to go do something that does not involve any thought at all. Time for a jog.

      Reply
  3. Colorado Bob

     /  June 17, 2016

    Wow, nice work !

    Reply
    • Best compliment I’ve had this year!🙂

      Reply
      • Steven Blaisdell

         /  June 18, 2016

        Excellent, powerful analysis, really pulls the pieces together. I wonder if any of the major dailies would syndicate your articles – I think it’s long past time for widespread reporting like this on the single most important issue of the human era. I cannot escape the conclusion that we’re headed into a global blender – this is not going to turn out well, for anyone.

        Reply
    • – Absolutely…!

      Reply
  4. jeremy

     /  June 17, 2016

    Reply
    • Thanks, Jeremy. Timely reminder of insanely low water levels.

      Reply
    • Steven Blaisdell

       /  June 18, 2016

      Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 2008:
      “A water budget analysis shows that under current conditions there is a 10% chance live storage in Lakes Mead and Powell will be gone by about 2013 and a 50% chance it will
      be gone by 2021 if no changes in water allocation from the Colorado River system are made. This startling result is driven by climate change associated with global warming,
      the effects of natural climate variability, and the current operating status of the reservoir
      system. Minimum power pool levels in both Lakes Mead and Powell will be reached
      under current conditions by 2017 with probability 50%. While these dates are subject to
      some uncertainty they all point to a major and immediate water supply problem on the Colorado system.”
      http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~pierce/papers/Barnett_Pierce_2008_JWRR_Lake_Mead.pdf

      “Asked about how low the water can go before producing power is no longer possible, Cook said, ‘We don’t have a good answer for that,” because it’s never been experienced. But the official published number for the power plant’s minimum generation pool is 1,050 feet, he said. ‘That number is about to be revised to 950 feet,’ he added.”
      http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060002129

      Reply
  5. Colorado Bob

     /  June 17, 2016

    Russia significantly under-reporting wildfires, figures show

    Greenpeace analysis of satellite data reveals 3.5m hectares have burned this year, while government statistics claim only 669,000 hectares

    Link

    Reply
    • Not surprising at all from what we’ve seen here. Lake Baikal is currently being dwarfed by plumes from these fires. Biggest lake in the world and it’s being dwarfed by climate change.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 17, 2016

        Aqua/MODIS
        2016/168
        06/16/2016
        02:05 UTC

        Wildfire in southwest Kamchatka

        Reply
    • Spike

       /  June 18, 2016

      Not looking good for near future

      Reply
  6. Colorado Bob

     /  June 17, 2016

    Terra/MODIS
    2016/168
    06/16/2016
    18:30 UTC

    Dog Head Fire, New Mexico

    Reply
  7. Colorado Bob

     /  June 17, 2016

    SNPP/VIIRS
    2016/167
    06/15/2016
    05:10 UTC

    Fires near Lake Baikal, Russia

    Reply
  8. Colorado Bob

     /  June 17, 2016

    Got a nice clear pass of North Central Siberia today –
    Terra/MODIS
    2016/169
    06/17/2016
    05:55 UTC

    Reply
  9. Colorado Bob

     /  June 17, 2016

    Some of that African sand North of the Black Sea.

    Aqua/MODIS
    2016/169
    06/17/2016
    11:00 UTC

    Reply
  10. Cate

     /  June 17, 2016

    Awesome. See, when you explain it, I get it. Thanks so much for this amazing synthesis, Robert.

    And thanks for the hat tip.😀

    Wee typo: at the end of line 2 under figure1, “Pime” >>> “Prime” suspect….

    Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  June 17, 2016

    12,000 Years Ago, Humans and Climate Change Made a Deadly Team

    Climate change, habitat destruction, extinctions — the Earth has seen it all before, thousands of years ago. And humans may have been partly to blame for many of those changes in nature, too.

    A new study published Friday in Science Advances shows that the arrival of humans in Patagonia, combined with a changing climate, led to the extinction of many species of megafauna about 12,000 years ago in the southern portion of what is now South America. The research offers a significant moment in the natural history of the continent: a definitive date of the mass extinction of megafauna — large or giant animals, like mammoths and giant sloths — in this part of the world. It also suggests a potential relationship between threatened species and climate change in our own time.

    Link

    Reply
  12. Wow – those two Jan-Dec anomaly images just say it all!
    Wonderful (albeit scary) post Robert.

    Reply
  13. Cate

     /  June 17, 2016

    Crystal Serenity cruise of the Northwest Passage scheduled for fall 2016:

    There is now some controversy in the UK about the fact that the RSS Shackleton, a research ship, should be doing what the UK public pays her to do, which is research, rather than playing ice-breaker to the holidaying one-percenters.

    What gets my knickers in a knot, though, is the prospect that our indigenous northern communities may effectively become human zoos for the horrified titillation of the bored, stupid, and obscenely rich passengers of this filthy industry.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36541583

    >>>>”There is a significant tension between the science and environmental mission of the Shackleton and its participation in an exercise in tourism that has an enormous per capita carbon footprint,” Prof Michael Byers from the University of British Columbia told BBC News.

    Prof Byers, who holds a chair in global politics and international law, was invited on the trip to give a series of lectures to passengers. He refused, as he believes this summer’s trip will only encourage others.

    “This voyage is a significant contribution, at least on a per capita basis, to climate change by people who are going to see an ecosystem before it is destroyed by climate change. I find that irony quite terrible,” he said.

    One of the features of this year’s voyage will be visits to small and remote communities in the Arctic during visits to port. Prof Michael Byers says this one of the most unappealing aspects of the journey.

    “They (local populations) have endemic tuberculosis, sky high rates of diabetes, with people who are living in poverty and desperation,” he said.

    “The people who are coming off the cruise ships are not in the 1%, but in the 0.1% of the world’s financial elite. It is another example of just how extreme this particular voyage is.”
    <<<<<<<<<

    Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  June 18, 2016

      “The people who are coming off the cruise ships are not in the 1%, but in the 0.1% of the world’s financial elite. It is another example of just how extreme this particular voyage is.”

      Somehow that reminds me of a story about another great ship roughly 100 years ago on it’s maiden voyage loaded up with the elite heading into potential ice burg territory. Forgot how that one ended….

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  June 18, 2016

        Andy, aye, and that one ended a lot better than it could have because there were several ships in the area who could offer rescue. That won’t happen if the Crystal Serenity comes to grief. She will be on her own—-but you know what, that will be fitting, because it’s in the great traditions of polar exploration. They only found poor old Franklin last year.

        Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  June 19, 2016

        Yes, even though there will be Coastguard etc support, there is very limited medical facilities and accommodation, let alone food etc in that part of the world where populations in local centres is less than the ships passengers and crew.

        Reply
      • Cate

         /  June 20, 2016

        There won’t even be much in the way of coastguard support from Canada. Canada’s coast guard is over-stretched as it is, protecting folks who are making a legitimate living from our waters , so mainly fishermen, with some oil and other resource workers. I would guess that there is little appetite in Canada for supporting this kind of nonsense luxury, not that public disapproval would stop our govt from contracting out our coast guard resources, of course. In any case, their route is just too far for any quick or large-scale SAR effort. Just last fall, a fishing ship went down in the Labrador Sea, which was ice-free open water at the time. The crew took to lifeboats and SAR couldn’t get to the survivors for almost three days. The cruise ship will be much farther north and in ice. This is very–very—hostile territory.

        Reply
  14. Reblogged this on There Are So Many Things Wrong With This and commented:
    This is especially well done, Robert. Thank you.

    Reply
  15. Colorado Bob

     /  June 17, 2016

    Himawari-8 loop of the day – Wildfires burning northwest of Lake Baikal in Russia.
    2016/06/15. It may take some time to load, it’s a big gif, but it’s worth it.

    Reply
  16. Ryan in New England

     /  June 17, 2016

    Absolutely fantastic piece, Robert. A really well done and quite comprehensive post about an extremely important issue, and what appears to be a climate emergency. The situation grows more terrifying with each passing month.

    Reply
  17. Ryan in New England

     /  June 17, 2016

    The wildfire in California tripled in size overnight.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-wildfires-idUSKCN0Z22E3

    Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  June 17, 2016

    Current banner readings @ WU ..

    Karachi, Pakistan 82.4 °F
    Fairbanks, AK 84.2 °F

    Pretty nuts.

    Reply
  19. – Originally on ClimateWire June, 9 but don’t think it was posted here.

    What If Global Warming Emptied India?

    Climate change poses significant threats to the populous nation

    In an armchair experiment where humans are thought of as no wiser than animals, scientists have found that climate change could empty some nations by 2100.

    A warming of 2 degrees Celsius would cause 34 percent of the world’s population to migrate more than 300 miles, to places on the fringes of the tropics where the temperatures are milder. Dramatic population declines might occur in Mexico, Central America, Africa and India. The results were published today in Scientific Reports.

    The scientists are cautious about the predictive power of their thought experiment, particularly as it relates to humans. People, unlike animals, can adapt to higher temperatures through technologies such as air conditioning. They also face barriers to long-distance migration, such as land borders, language barriers or even buying an air ticket. The scientists stressed that they are only exploring a hypothetical response to rising temperatures.

    “We’re not making specific predictions about migration patterns of individual species, but the geophysical constraint is that, as the tropics get hotter, you’ll have to go far, essentially leaving the tropics, to cool off,” Adam Sobel, a professor of applied physics and math at Columbia University and a co-author of the study, said in a statement.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-if-global-warming-emptied-india/

    Reply
  20. Keith Antonysen

     /  June 17, 2016

    Thanks for another well researched article, Robert.

    Something that has intrigued me is that not a lot appears to be written about radiative forcing.
    For 2015, when taking into account all greenhouse gases, there is a forcing of 2.974 watts/square metre. The Earth is 510 square kilometres, and when that is broken down to square metres; and then, multiplied by 2.974 then we derive a huge number of watts.

    Is it any wonder that the atmosphere is out of phase?

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/aggi.html

    Reply
  21. – Thinning mussel shells beginning in the 1970s.

    [Circa 1973 is a personal climate benchmark for me. It was something I noticed, and which threw me completely off-stride. The reasons for my alarm only slowly made themselves known. More on that later– but very recently I came up with a term for my undeniable state of mind since: ‘suspended apprehension’.
    As things went on I grew highly skeptical of my fellow citizen’s ability to recognize the physical reality around them.]

    – Back to the mussels:

    Something Strange and Terrible Is Happening to Mussels

    A team of researchers from the University of Chicago has been comparing the shells of live mussels pulled from the Pacific coast today with historical shells, some of them thousands of years old. They’ve come to an alarming realization: Mussel shells are getting thinner and thinner.

    Shells collected that are over 1,000 years old are on average 27 percent thicker than today’s shells, the researchers note in new paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Thick shells were the norm until about the 1970s, when shells were 32 percent thicker than they are today. Then, things suddenly started to get thin fast.

    The unsettling cause for the thinning shells is the rapidly acidifying waters of the Pacific Ocean. Essentially, the mussels are in the process of a slow dissolve in the acid bath they now spend their lives stewing in.
    http://gizmodo.com/something-strange-and-terrible-is-happening-to-mussels-1782178554

    Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  June 18, 2016

    This high is really something, I looked up Flagstaff , they are at 72F . It’s not a “dome”. it’s a pan cake.

    It has the trappings of the Russia High. Very wide , and very stable, and a lot humidity trapped under it.

    Reply
    • – Many from Phoenix, or “The Valley’ will flock/drive to Flagstaff to ‘escape’ the heat. The air pollution will waft up to Flag as well.

      Reply
      • Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  June 18, 2016

        I love “The Flag” . , and the Mogollon Rim. I’ve seen Show Low. , the Ponderosa Pine Trees are huge. and widely spaced. This fire at Show Low, bares watching. Show Low This is the heart of this last stand of big Ponderosa Pine

        These logs These Ponderosa Pines are in every ruin .

        Reply
      • David Lange ‏@DavidLange2 17 Dec 2012

        Snow in #Flagstaff, AZ Scene 1

        Reply
      • – Flagstaff, the street I lived on for a year. Coconino National Forest land across the street. Nice but the house I shared with the homeowner insisted on have a wall-of-sound TV going 18 hrs a day.
        It was next to impossible to have peace and quite to do my photo essay work. I still feel a year behind. But had great interfaces with wildlife on the hillside.

        Reply
      • Reply
      • – Flakes of snow cling to the bird’s beak.

        Reply
  23. – USA – Prairie and tall grass grasslands are extremely important to greater ecosystem.

    The enormous threat to America’s last grasslands

    STUTSMAN COUNTY, N.D. — Over the past few years, Neil Shook has watched his world burn acre by acre.

    “I could tell something was happening,” Shook recalled, when he first noticed the plumes of smoke in 2011. By 2013, fires were raging every day, sending smoke billowing into the air — imagery that reminded Shook of Kuwait’s burning oil wells during the Persian Gulf War.

    Hundreds of acres of rolling green grasslands in North Dakota were being intentionally burned, plowed and planted in a matter of days. Shook, who manages the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding conservation area, watched as landowners backed out of federally funded conservation programs, opting instead to cash in on the state’s economic boom.

    “This was all grass,” Shook shouted as he wildly gestured toward a vast expanse of plowed, brown farmland near the wildlife refuge in June. “Now, what do you see?”

    In the mid-2000s, a perfect storm of conditions led to a decade of grassland destruction in North Dakota’s share of the prairie pothole region, a vast expanse of grassland and wetlands that stretches from eastern Alberta to northern Iowa. Corn and soybean prices were high, climate change had extended the growing season and genetically modified crops could now survive in the northern plains. And then the oil boom hit.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/06/16/the-enormous-but-forgotten-threat-to-americas-last-grasslands/?postshare=5881466187482564&tid=ss_tw-bottom

    Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  June 18, 2016

    So, Bob Dylan is out on the road, some jack ass called out , “Play Free Bird” !

    He so he played it!

    Now, his best work –
    Ballad of a Thin Man

    Reply
    • Ha! You’ve got my wife and I playing Dylan at home now. My uncle (who helped teach me how to surf) loved Dylan and introduced me to him on a quest for good waves in Hatteras back in the mid 80s. Great times.

      Reply
    • Cate

       /  June 18, 2016

      Best work? Agreed. I bought Highway 61 Revisited when I was 13, and this song cracked my head open. Every time.

      Reply
  25. Andy in SD

     /  June 18, 2016

    This is bad…

    California’s trees are thirstier than a college kid with a hangover

    Last year, almost 30 million trees died in the Golden State — and that number is expected to double or triple by the end of 2016.

    “We’re fixated on the rapid, invisible drought effects in the Sierras, but it’s estimated that 90 million trees have died from sudden oak death since around 2000,” says University of California forest advisor Yana Valachovic.

    http://grist.org/climate-energy/californias-trees-are-thirstier-than-a-college-kid-with-a-hangover/

    Reply
  26. Robert

     /  June 18, 2016

    Fairbanks is 84F at 6PM local time.

    Reply
  27. Colorado Bob

     /  June 18, 2016

    Welcome to party.

    Reply
  28. Andy in SD

     /  June 18, 2016

    A good piece on the discussion regarding permanently decommissioning Glen Canyon dam and moving all of it’s water to Lake Mead.

    As ProPublica explains, the crisis at Lake Mead, which some experts believe has a 50 percent chance of running dry within the next seven years, may provide a perfect pragmatic reason to get rid of Lake Powell. Since the two reservoirs are only 300 miles apart, the emptying of the upper body would thus fill the lower body, potentially saving as much as 179 billion gallons of water a year. Hoover Dam would still be able to control the water supply downriver, and higher water levels there would allow for greater and more efficient hydroelectricity production as well, recouping some of the power production that would be lost if Glen Canyon Dam was decommissioned. Thus, the argument goes that one full reservoir would be better than two half-full ones, especially when the one you’re draining is essentially a massive, leaky puddle sitting in the middle of a desert.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/05/lake-mead-hits-record-low-a-debate-over-dams.html

    Reply
  29. Keith Antonysen

     /  June 18, 2016

    I’ve been wondering for a few months about what has been happening in Siberia, apart from the wildfires:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/russian-exploding-permafrost-methane-craters-global-warming-2016-6?IR=T

    Reply
    • 0000

       /  June 18, 2016

      I’ve always thought that karst landscape looked more the result of these than pingos, but it probably doesn’t matter.

      Reply
  30. – weather.com/climate-weather/drought/news/india-reservoirs-down-nasa-photos

    … one of India’s reservoirs that has been hit especially hard by the drought – Jharkhand state’s Panchet Hill reservoir. Located in far eastern India, Panchet Hill stood at just 4 percent of capacity at the beginning of this month. The first frame in the image – the one that shows the reservoir considerably more full – was taken a year ago, while the second frame shows just how far the water level has fallen in 2016.

    According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, June water levels at Panchet Hill are about 40 percent of capacity during a normal year, but are replenished by the monsoon rains soon after. This year, with the reservoir at just 4 percent of capacity, it’ll take a lot more rain than usual to refill the reservoir, whenever the rain arrives.

    Reply
  31. Very warm temperatures right now at 80N in the northern Canadian Arctic archipelago. In various sunny places around Axel Heiberg Island, where mysterious remnants of Dawn Redwood trees still exist, it’s been over 13*C today:

    https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/overlay=temp/orthographic=-74.26,79.60,3000/loc=-85.982,78.923

    Reply
  32. Abel Adamski

     /  June 18, 2016

    What any domestic gardener worth their salt already practises.
    http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2016/06/16/Ancient-West-African-soil-technique-could-mitigate-climate-change/6531466088985/

    For at least 700 years, villagers in West Africa have replenished nutrient-poor rain forest soils with charcoal and kitchen waste, transforming the lifeless dirt into rich, fertile compost.

    A team of researchers from Europe, the United States and West Africa tested soil from dozens of sites in Ghana and Liberia and found 200 to 300 percent more organic carbon than unenriched soil. The scientists detailed their findings in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

    Duhh

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  June 18, 2016

      Yes, I remember my grandfather teaching me (as a youngster) that as I was helping him in his vegetable allotment. Seems the Japanese have discovered a variety of it too.

      Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science in Japan have shown that torrefied biomass can improve the quality of poor soil found in arid regions. Published in Scientific Reports, the study showed that adding torrefied biomass to poor soil from Botswana increased water retention in the soil as well as —the amount of plant growth.

      http://www.riken.jp/en/pr/press/2016/20160617_3/

      Reply
  33. A useful new database…

    Climate Signals (beta):

    Explore how climate change affects your world by searching events, impacts, and related climate signals.

    http://www.climatesignals.org/

    Reply
  34. Spike

     /  June 18, 2016

    That Guardian article about the climate emergency was refreshingly frank and well phrased. As a Brit it is encouraging to see someone from the Met Office step up and actually use simple direct language that captures the enormity of the situation in a way the public can grasp, in the way that Stefan has been doing for so many years (Hansen admires him for this).

    Reply
    • Josh

       /  June 18, 2016

      I agree. The Guardian does quite well for climate coverage – the BBC is just terrible. I liked to this already on Robert’s previous post but:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-36560548

      This article talks about sea ice loss in terms of opportunity it for the oil and tourist industries and does not mention a single negative to the arctic situation.

      A purely good news story despite the long term trend… I have submitted a complaint out of principle.

      You’re right, its nice to see somebody from the met office talking about this but until it’s mentioned properly in weather forecasts and their twitter they aren’t doing their job properly IMO!

      Reply
    • Prof Stefan Rahmstorf, “I hope people realise that global warming is not something down the road, but it is here now and it affecting us now.”
      – Indeed.

      Reply
  35. Jeremy

     /  June 18, 2016

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  June 18, 2016

      That’s like pretty much vertical in June. Greenland going over the cliff.

      Reply
      • We had a rather large melt spike a few days ago. The current graph returns to trend line:

        We’re quite a bit behind the big 2012 melt for Greenland overall this year. But there’s a lot of heat heading that way over the next two weeks.

        Reply
      • Cate

         /  June 18, 2016

        Is that spiking in melting up there pretty typical?

        Reply
        • It tends to bump up and down quite a lot. But the amplitude has seemed to increase over recent years, at least in my opinion.

  36. sunkensheep

     /  June 18, 2016

    Hi Robert,
    There’s so much wild weather out there it’s hard to keep up (this excites the storm chaser in me, but is also slightly worrying as I wonder exactly what kind of world our great geoengineering experiment is creating). While not as spectacular as that African thunderstorm, cold air aloft has delivered some decent hail into the normally “hot desert” centre of the Southern Continent. Needless to say this is quite out of character. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-17/wild-weather-red-centre-turns-white-as-hail-is-falls-on-alice/7521932

    Reply
  37. Spike

     /  June 18, 2016

    Interesting article on the legacy of FF exploitation in Canada. Unsurprisingly clean ups don’t have the resources needed

    http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/calgary/abandoned-oil-wells-in-alberta-1.3613068

    Reply
  38. Cate

     /  June 18, 2016

    This caught my eye in the newsfeed today because I do wonder about the effects of warming on the composition of the atmosphere and will there be enough oxygen, that sort of thing. The thing is, NASA has just launched a major multi-year study in the NW Atlantic of the effects of climate change on phytoplankton, so it does give pause. But if this is quackery, junk science or needless alarmism, please delete with my blessings, Robert.🙂

    http://russgeorge.net/2016/17/plankton-will-stop-making-oxygen-by-end-of-century/

    Reply
    • A few caveats here.

      1. Loss of phytoplankton is a problem RE ocean oxygen levels.
      2. Loss of oxygen in the ocean has some effect on oxygen in the atmosphere. However, there is no geological evidence that asphyxiation of land animals has ever occurred due to atmospheric oxygen dropping below levels that can sustain terrestrial life.
      3. We had lost, by 2011, about 40 percent of ocean pytoplankton.
      4. It appears that though warming does hit global oxygen levels, especially in the oceans, that loss of phytoplankton is taken up by other organisms including other forms of phytoplankton such that net losses to the atmosphere do not present an asphyxiation risk. However, we do observe a drop in atmospheric oxygen and increases in other harmful gasses that result in a dramatic reduction of air quality and an overall more hostile terrestrial atmosphere during hothouse events.
      5. Asphyxiation of terrestrial land forms by 2100 due to lack of oxygen is therefore unlikely (very unlikely). However, the loss of oxygen in the oceans due to combined impacts (including but not limited to phytoplankton loss) is a huge concern.
      6. Hyper focus on this issue has in the past has produced inaccurate and misleading reports. The above is one of them.
      7. Ocean production of hydrogen sulfide gas in anoxic waters is generally a greater risk and one that does result in a direct poisoning of land and ocean creatures during hothouse events.

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  June 18, 2016

        So yeah, air quality can become—has become, is becoming, in some areas—more of an issue than a simple drop in oxygen: we can see that happening even now. Hyper focus on this area—yes, you do always stress the importance of the big picture, and I did have misgivings posting when I saw that this was done by some good person in a uni Dept of Mathematics.😉 Thanks for the clarifications. We’ll keep an eye out for the NASA reports.

        Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  June 19, 2016

        An interesting article in Gizmodo.
        Earths history and it’s atmosphere and suitability for mammalian/human life. excluding temperature factors

        http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2016/06/the-one-basic-fact-about-history-that-time-travelers-always-forget/

        Reply
        • To be very clear, terrestrial oxygen-breathing animals have existed since the Devonian at around 380 million years ago when the first lungfish began to advance out of the waters. Since that time, atmospheric oxygen has ranged between 16 and 28 percent. Hothouse extinction events like the Permian did not push atmospheric oxygen levels below those that would support terrestrial land animals.

          This is the context we are living in now. And in no period in which terrestrial animals existed did warming result in loss of oxygen producing life forms such that terrestrial animals suffered mass loss of life due to asphyxiation.

          Prior to terrestrial organisms, Earth absolutely had an atmosphere that would have been hostile to land forms today. However, the reasons for this had to do moreso with Earth’s transformation from its primordial state through the action of early life forms.

  39. 5+ C degrees above normal temps via weather.gc.ca/city.

    Sample of 0618-0620 Canada High temps vs norms

    Montréal-Trudeau Int’l Airport, Quebec – forecast 0618 – 0620: 31-33 C (88-91 F) vs norm of 24 C (75 F).
    Thunder Bay, ON 0617 27.6°C (80+ F) vs norm 22°C (71 F).
    Churchill, MB 25 vs 13 C (77 vs 55 F ).

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  June 18, 2016

      Out here on the Eastern Edge, we were 3C this morning—just above freezing. Tomorrow afternoon we’ll be mid-20s C, that’s 75-80F ish. Context: our traditional “last (killing) frost” date is June 15.

      Reply
  40. climatehawk1

     /  June 18, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  41. – Smoke From Sherpa Fire Prompts Air Quality Advisory For LA, Orange Counties

    Reply
  42. – Brazil (Where many things are going wrong.) Update:

    RIO DE JANEIRO — Just weeks before it stages the 2016 Olympic Games, the state government of Rio de Janeiro has declared a “state of public calamity in financial administration” and warned that the situation is so dire it impedes the locale’s ability to meet Games commitments.

    The Olympics start Aug. 5 with Brazil already facing an impeachment trial of suspended President Dilma Rousseff, a public health crisis over the Zika epidemic and a deepening recession.

    In an official decree published Friday afternoon by acting governor Francisco Dornelles, the state government said the crisis could cause a “total collapse in public security, health, education, transport and environmental management.”

    Coming less than two months before the city hosts its first Olympic Games, the move stunned many in the Olympic city.

    “It is completely unprecedented,” said Paulo Baía, a professor of political science at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He said while Brazilian cities had previously made similar declarations, he had never seen such a move from a state before.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/rio-state-declares-state-of-calamity-weeks-before-olympics/2016/06/17/5bd65b78-34d8-11e6-8758-d58e76e11b12_story.html

    Reply
  43. Reply
  44. – So Cal Bight/Santa Barbara Channel warm off-shore winds heading for cool marine air. Air gaining speed as it travels down slope of Santa Ynez Mountains.
    I’ve heard the wind sound like a thousand freight trains as it rattled a nearby eucalyptus grove – LOUD.

    Reply
  45. Reply
    • Mumbai has seen only 1.67 in of rain (42.4 mm). Normal month to date is 13.08 in (332.2 mm). Only 13% of normal.

      Reply
  46. Reply
  47. – Public health duality – Invade and frack at will with contamination everywhere but please don’t dirty our sewage.

    Reply
  48. Ryan in New England

     /  June 18, 2016

    Obama spoke at Yosemite National Park about the reality of climate change, and the changes already occurring in our national parks, among other places.

    “Here in Yosemite, meadows are drying up, bird ranges are shifting farther northward, mammals are being forced further upslope,” Obama said. “Yosemite’s famous glacier, once a mile wide, is almost gone. We are also facing longer, more expensive wildfire seasons.

    “Rising temperatures could mean no more glaciers in Glacier national park, no more Joshua trees in Joshua Tree national park. Rising seas can destroy vital ecosystems in the Everglades and at some point could even threaten icons like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. That’s not the America I want to pass on to the next generation.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/18/yosemite-obama-national-parks-climate-change

    Reply
    • Thanks for posting this, Ryan. Makes one wonder how much further we would have gotten during the Obama years without the obstructionist republican congress and a number of republican governors who stood in the way of positive change. Right now the clean power plan which would set the US on a faster energy transition track than it is on currently is languishing because of the obstructionist actions. People and animals will suffer on ever greater scales because of this failure.

      Reply
  49. – Mechanical noise for the most part.
    – Could Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven compose beautiful melodies in this cacophony of racket?
    Power Blowers! Muscle cars? Diesel powered ‘document’ shredders? … Personal sound devices like BOOM boxes used in public places?
    Wildlife use sound for territorial reasons and for mating, etc.
    It’s beyond the pale.

    Animals to Humans: Be Quiet, Already

    The fact that noise can have a profound effect on wildlife should not be surprising says Kurt Fristrup, chief scientist for the U.S. National Park Service’s Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division.

    “The fossil record is really clear: Animals developed ears before vocal chords,” Fristrup says. “It’s all about environmental surveillance. Hearing is the universal alerting cue, the essential sense that’s never disappeared in any species. From a zoological, evolutionary perspective, hearing is far more universal than vision.”

    In recent years scientists have become increasingly aware of the acoustic environment’s importance to wildlife — to behavior, communication and ultimately survival. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that noise humans produce — from road traffic, aircraft, ships, oil and gas extraction, mining, military activity, and other sources — should be considered a widespread pollutant that is, as Fristrup and colleagues noted in a recent paper, “detrimental to wildlife and natural systems.”

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/36446-animals-to-humans-be-quiet-already

    Reply
    • – One must have a quiet space in the mind to think. Without it one becomes rather doltish — and useless to the greater society as well.

      “You inhibit the perception of other sounds if you load up the environment with acoustic energy or noise,” Fristrup says. “It shrinks your world and reduces your capacity to sense things.”

      Reply
      • – Of the things I most cherish most about myself, my senses, my morals, and my character top the list. My senses are the hardest to maintain in our present ‘modern’ culture.
        My music has a special place too.

        Think of hearing only the sounds of a thousand Monarch butterfly wings fluttering nearby as bees and hummingbirds buzz in the eucalyptus above you.
        That’s it a treasure beyond rich.
        Thx

        Reply
  50. Ryan in New England

     /  June 18, 2016

    Battery technology/cost is at a game changing point.

    Since lithium-ion batteries have only just crossed the key price point for enabling widespread usage in both sectors — $300 per kilowatt-hour — we are really just at the beginning of the battery-driven clean energy revolution.

    Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) projects that over the next 25 years, small-scale battery storage will become a $250 billion market. They “expect total behind-the-meter energy storage to rise dramatically from around 400 MWh in today to nearly 760 GWh in 2040″ — nearly a 2,000-fold increase!

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/06/17/3789368/battery-miracle/

    Reply
    • Great article here. Thanks for posting, Ryan. But I’d like to add two caveats.

      1. The cheapest lithium systems are now at around 100 dollars per watt. Which is a huge deal.
      2. There will be a big market for the use of old EV batteries in energy storage systems. This second use market will have lower prices for batteries.
      3. Lithium as a material is, therefore, recyclable for other uses and will have a lower up chain externality than non recyclable materials used for energy like fossil fuels. And the whole renewable energy chain has an externality footprint that’s about 100 times smaller. Of course an energy resource that results in mass extinction if you keep burning it (fossil fuels) is incomparably worse. But the point here is that renewables are far better overall even without that particularly pressing concern.
      6. Jeremy banned again for spreading misinformation and making false comparisons.

      For anyone who wants to research the environmental impact of lithium extraction as a percent of the impact of electrical vehicle and battery construction, you may want to look at this scientific study:

      http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es903729a

      The study found that copper and aluminum mining for the vehicles had a far greater environmental impact than the lithium mining (which is primarily an evaporation driven process) in which battery components can be recycled and reused.

      All manufacturing at this time should be looking at ways to reduce environmental impacts. But these impacts for lithium are low when compared to even standard manufacturing chains and unlike fossil fuels do not rise to the level of existential threat to life on Earth.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  June 20, 2016

        Thank you for the link and information, Robert🙂

        Reply
  51. NWS Severe Tstorm ‏@NWSSevereTstorm 1h1 hour ago Miami, FL

    Severe Thunderstorm Warning including Miami FL, Coral Gables FL, Hialeah FL until 6:30 PM EDT

    – The rain — and the wind in the background.

    Reply
  52. – USA

    Reply
    • – firebreaksystems.com.au/introducing-phos-chek
      WHAT IS PHOS-CHEK MADE OF?

      Phos-Chek® is a fertiliser based product. The active ingredients are ammonium phosphate and diammonium sulfate; the active ingredients in many agricultural fertilizers. Before use, Phos- Chek® is mixed into a liquid concentrate that includes thickeners, flow conditioners, corrosion inhibitors and water. Phos-Chek® is considered very safe.

      SBCFireInfo ‏@EliasonMike 4h4 hours ago

      #SherpaFire – A DC-10 makes a phoschek drop Saturday off West Camino Cielo.

      Reply
    • – Flaps down act like air brakes – plenty of lift as cargo leaves aircraft. May be difficult to keep nose where you want it. Everyone else: STAY CLEAR.
      A small spotter plane has constant contact with the tankers and ground command.
      This all about perimeter containment — instant help for forming a fire line.
      Hot-Shot crews sweating on the ground dig, or back-fire, a defensible fire line.
      A dry wind can change everything in an instant, though.

      – I know a guy who walks bent over after, years ago, being hit with a load of Borate retardant which was in use in times past.
      – I’ve had my windows rattled by B-17s, during a loaded take-off, barely clearing a nearby treeline.

      Reply
    • SBCFireInfo ‏@EliasonMike 5h5 hours ago

      #SherpaFire – A BAe-146 makes a phoschek drop Saturday off West Camino Cielo.

      Reply
  53. – International

    Reply
  54. Greg

     /  June 19, 2016

    Another shelf cloud this week. Alabama

    Reply
  55. Andy in SD

     /  June 19, 2016

    This is a great primer for anyone who does not know the history regarding CO2 and the atmosphere, its early days (1800’s) up to recent times.

    https://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    Reply
  56. Reply
  57. Reply
  58. Climate Reality ‏@ClimateReality 3h3 hours ago

    #ClimateFact: Renewable energy is putting millions of people to work

    Reply
  59. Spike

     /  June 19, 2016

    Severe flash floods in Java, and the report has a terrific animation of recent rainfall in S Asia, especially China

    http://thewatchers.adorraeli.com/2016/06/19/severe-flash-floods-landslides-wreak-havoc-across-central-java-indonesia/

    Reply
  60. Spike

     /  June 19, 2016

    And a pretty powerful storm in Poland – the video clips are something else

    http://thewatchers.adorraeli.com/2016/06/18/powerful-storm-sweeps-through-poland/

    Reply
    • Lot’s of dust and storm action in the EUMETSAT image:

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  June 20, 2016

        If there was ever an image that captured the Sahara marching northward, this is it.

        Reply
  61. – I’m pretty sure this is the NE Atlantic/UK region.

    Joint Cyclone Center ‏@JointCyclone 18m18 minutes ago

    These could be values up to 3000 Cape with -10 lift, possible dangerous supercell thunderstorms for Thu next week

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  June 19, 2016

      Possible dangerous thunderstorms ahead indeed, Thursday, 23 June…..just as Brits vote to leave or remain in the EU.

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  June 20, 2016

        It’s probably caused by all the hot air coming from the dismal rivals. You know times are tough when the political atmosphere is so poisonous.

        I will be holding my nose when I vote to stay. I hate Little Englanders. I can’t remember who said ‘patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel’, but they had a point.

        Reply
        • Good points. This shooting reminds me in so many ways of the attempted murder of Gabby Gifford. Politically motivated violence in an attempt to intimidate the electorate.

      • Syd Bridges

         /  June 20, 2016

        I believe it was Dr. Samuel Johnson.

        Reply
      • Cate

         /  June 20, 2016

        I’m going to settle in and watch the returns online with the Beeb and a big bowl of popcorn. Gonna be an interesting night.

        Reply
  62. 17:29 UTC
    Zack Labe ‏@ZLabe 2h2 hours ago

    It’s hot. That’s about all there is to be said for today.

    Reply
    • – Via climatehawk1:

      – Jonathan Overpeck Retweeted NWS Phoenix

      In the business, we call this blowing past the old record. All too common these days…Thx to burning of fossil fuel

      – NWS Phoenix
      845am: Record Heat watch for Phoenix. Already 96 degrees & on the way to 119. Record of 115 from 1968 in jeopardy. #AZheat

      Reply
    • labmonkey2

       /  June 19, 2016

      Here in the inland portion of San Diego – we hit 108.5F with a RH at 3% just after 2pm. I’ve lived here all my life (60+ years) and have never experienced this without a Santa Anna wind, and certainly not in the middle of June!

      Reply
      • It’s just brutal. Height of the worst of the worst kinds of summer weather, but at the end of Spring. June is the new hottest July on record.

        Reply
  63. Reply
  64. – Via High Country News;

    The Geographic Legacy Costs of the Manufacturing Economy

    The evolution of how we consume will re-structure where we reside.

    That shift from one economic paradigm to another takes time. This emerging reality trickles down into discourse. How we look at the future is rooted in the past. Smoke and steel cloud our view of bots and bytes.

    Distance is related to both density and scale. Business owners know that the minimum retail shop size to turn a profit is linked to the population density within a given radius. A 6,000- to 8,000-square-foot Apple store, for example, requires a population of roughly 2 million within its trade radius to reach target profitability. The industrial revolution created similar dynamics 200 years ago for manufacturers and other large employers, concentrating workforces to support large-scale production. Now, advanced economies are primarily service-based, but living patterns are still highly concentrated and ripe for disruption.
    https://psmag.com/the-geographic-legacy-costs-of-the-manufacturing-economy-26c48cb3d965#.y23gp8nh3

    Reply
  65. – Canada – New Brunswick – High fire danger

    NB Forest Fires ‏@NBForestFires 15m15 minutes ago

    Wildfire hazard is high all over New Brunswick today

    Reply
  66. June

     /  June 19, 2016

    This past week’s Mauna Loa reading was almost 5ppm more than last year’s:
    407.20 week of June 12 this year
    402.42 week of June 12 last year

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/monthly.html

    Reply
    • Reporting from the midwest where my family (including dog) are feeling the heat and the air pollution that DT points out below. None of us feel well and our eyes are burning from the poor air quality combined with high pollen. That combined with the dying trees —-everywhere apparent—–makes it a challenge to stay upbeat. And we’re not even in the worst of it (i.e. in the midst of floods or fires) so I can’t complain!

      Been following the CO2 levels rise up and up and up . . . brings back feelings of the worst illnesses when my daughter was a baby/toddler—- a high fever (104 after tylenol) was terrifying. She recovered but I don’t see how the temperature and CO2 numbers can come down unless I’m missing something?

      How to find joy and peace in an age of climate chaos and ongoing climate catastrophes? It would be easier to deal with—- I suspect—– without the knowledge that my daughter will experience even worse conditions than I.

      Robert or others, are you surprised at what we’re looking at here with CO2 numbers and rapid polar warming?

      “We’re officially living in a new world”: Antarctica hits CO2 high unseen in 4 million years
      Earth’s most remote continent has officially caught up to the rest of the planet. That spells disaster for us all”:

      http://www.salon.com/2016/06/17/were_officially_living_in_a_new_world_antarctic_co2_hits_high_unseen_in_4_million_years_partner/

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  June 20, 2016

        Every day that goes by I am surprised by our pervasive inaction. We are on a path towards global catastrophe and possible collapse of our civilization, and apparently most people are totally fine with that. Usher in the 6th mass extinction and compromise our own survival? Sounds good!

        I find more and more it is difficult to stay positive. I have to admit that our bleak future is the single biggest determining factor in my deciding to remain childless. I’m thinking of this often, as I am 35 years old, and lots of friends my age are getting married and having children. And nearly every single new parent has no clue about the challenges their progeny will certainly face. They are in the midst of a delusion that life will continually improve and material consumption will increase forever. It’s a form of madness when viewed from the perspective of our current reality.

        Reply
      • wili

         /  June 20, 2016

        Ryan. well put. I’m generally much the same. Hang in there.

        Reply
      • Ryan, I agree with wili—-very well put, thank you.
        wili—- sometimes a simple “hang in there” helps ——especially when it is coming from a place of empathy and knowledge of the extreme challenges we are (all of us) facing.

        Reply
      • The only way to halt warming would be an amazing international feat of cooperation that would achieve-

        1. A full energy transition away from fossil fuel burning.
        2. A reworking of global agriculture to be net carbon negative.
        3. A reworking of global materials production to be net carbon negative.
        4. A widespread effort to rejuvenate the soil globally to add more ability of the biosphere to take in carbon.
        5. And possible additional activities to capture carbon from the global atmosphere.

        This is possible, but it requires a political defeat of those who are now obstructing these actions on a global scale. We have some advantages now in that the impacts of climate change are becoming more apparent and the economies of renewable energy are becoming more competitive. The main problem is that growth (there is sustainable growth constrained by rational self-limits or there is unconstrained growth which is then swiftly and catastrophically halted by running headlong into natural barriers) has been mythologized to be dependent on fossil fuels and that the free market loot and pillage natural resources and externalized all possible harm to the environment thinkers (anti-thinkers) have come to hold too much political power vs those who are more responsible.

        We can change this if we work together and are clear minded. But there’s no way we can if we don’t defeat the current crop of republicans here in the US and those like them around the globe who would slow climate responses to a crawl and then reverse them.

        What can you do individually? Divest, add solar to your house, get an EV or at least use E 85 if you must drive, walk or use a bike if you can go without, increase your efficiencies, grow a garden, go vegan, become active in an organization like the Sierra Club or 350.org, and never vote for a republican again but instead support the best candidates that you can find who have a reasonable chance of winning.

        Reply
  67. Reply
  68. Cate

     /  June 19, 2016

    Posted today: Weather Underground blog (WunderBlog) on JAXA Average Annual Extent and the prospect of blue ocean in 2016.

    https://www.wunderground.com/blog/viddaloo/annual-average-extent-417-june

    Reply
  69. Andy in SD

     /  June 19, 2016

    When the oil industry tanks (like now), guess who pays to clean up those abandoned wells?

    Privatize profits, publicize debts.

    The worst oil bust since the 1980s is putting Texas and other oil producing states on the hook for thousands of newly abandoned drilling sites at a time when they have little money to plug wells and seal off environmental hazards.

    In Texas alone, the roughly $165 million price tag of plugging nearly 10,000 abandoned wells is double the entire budget of the agency that regulates the industry.

    The state’s regulators want taxpayers to cover more of the clean-up, supplementing industry payments.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/business/headlines/20160619-texasfacing-massive-well-cleanup-costs-after-oil-bust.ece

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  June 20, 2016

      Typical America. Privatize the profits, socialize the losses.

      Reply
  70. – So Cal Bight coastal communities:

    Remarkable temperatures as of only noon w/ unofficial daily record highs already broken in Santa Monica & Santa Ana

    Reply
  71. – WaPo via climatehawk1

    Capital Weather Gang
    How global warming may push the Southwest heatwave past an extremely rare threshold

    The culprit is for this heat wave is an enormous, sprawling high-pressure heat dome that will span from roughly San Diego to Kansas City on Monday. The way we measure the intensity of a high pressure ridge is “geopotential height.” It’s the height at which 500 millibars is measured in the atmosphere (pressure decreases as you go up).

    This weekend, 500-millibar geopotential height is expected to be outside our normal climate range, according to large group of computer model simulations. In other words, the models predict this ridge will be more extreme than anything observed in this particular climate data set that dates back to 1979.

    Reply
  72. Reply
    • – A neighborhood in Los Angeles.

      Reply
    • Reply
      • – Historical photo from the 2008 Porter Ranch fire showing wildfire’s effect on a major California transportation corridor.
        – LA Times via phelpssports.com/viewarticle

        Reply
      • – Northridge quake, 1994 – A nearby similar location with earthquake damage:
        – A tractor trailer and camper are abandoned on a span of eastbound state Route 14 near Sylmar, California, on January 18, 1994.(AP Photo/Doug Pizac)

        Reply
      • – Also, the Porter Ranch is the site of the recent massive methane leak.

        -enr.com/articles/38584-major-methane-leak-creates-crisis-in-porter-ranch

        Reply
  73. – California | San Diego County:

    Reply
  74. Reply
  75. Cate

     /  June 19, 2016

    Polar Ocean Challenge is an expedition launched today from Bristol to “circumnavigate the North Pole”, ie, sail right round the Arctic Ocean in a single season. The purpose of the voyage is to draw attention to the state of the Arctic in the throes of climate change and to galvanise public opinion for action in the face of the climate crisis.

    The leader of the expedition is a seasoned polar explorer. The route will be counter-clockwise, leaving Britain and taking the North East Passage along the coast of Siberia then the Northwest Passage around or through the Canadian Arctic islands, then down the west coast (“east” is an error) of Greenland to home. They skipper hopes to wrap up the expedition in October.

    Here’s the BBC story:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-36562176

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  June 19, 2016

      And here is the Polar Ocean expedition website.

      The vessel is called the Northabout.

      There are vids, background info. tracking, social media links, etc.

      http://polarocean.co.uk/

      Reply
  76. Andy in SD

     /  June 20, 2016

    Yes… it is quite hot today, over 90 degrees here. We are about 4 or 5 miles from the ocean so it’s not as bad as inland (Ramona hit 109 today).

    We bought and I installed an energy efficient ductless AC 2 months ago (the old one was from the 90’s). It is a small unit, draws little power, and is keeping the house nice and cooled.

    Reply
  77. Reply
  78. – A bit about California’s Santa Ana winds – ‘108.5F with a RH at 3% just after 2pm …without a Santa Anna wind’.
    It sounds like the current intense ridge extends from the desert SW to, and out over a bit of, the Pacific. All is hot and dry — SD is like a suburb of Phoenix, AZ.
    Good luck to you.

    – labmonkey2 / June 19, 2016
    ###

    – Q. So why are Santa Anas warm or even hot?

    A. The Great Basin resides at a higher elevation than the LA Basin, which is near sea level. The air flowing into Southern California, forming the Santa Anas winds, is subsiding. When air descends, it is compressed, and its temperature rises. Dry (unsaturated) air warms on descent at a rate of 10C/km or almost 30F per mile — an incredible rate. That means if you take a piece of air located a only mile above your head, and brought it down to your feet, it would wind up 30 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than when it started. You don’t need to change the altitude of air very much to alter its temperature significantly.

    Q. So dryness is a critical characteristic of Santa Anas. Why are they so dry?

    A. The Santa Ana wind tends to have very low relative humidity (RH), often registering below 10%. RH depends on two factors: how much vapor is in the air (vapor supply) and how much the air can hold (vapor capacity). Vapor capacity depends mainly on temperature; warm air can “hold” more vapor than cold air. One way to decrease RH of air is to raise its temperature. Thus, as the Santa Ana winds blow downslope, they’re not just getting hotter, their relative humidity is also decreasing. Relatively dry air is thirsty air, and takes moisture from wherever it can, including your skin and plant life. Increase its speed, and very dry air can desiccate vegetation very quickly.
    http://people.atmos.ucla.edu/fovell/ASother/mm5/SantaAna/santa_ana_faq

    Reply
  79. Met Office ‏@metoffice 2h2 hours ago

    Today is the start of #summer in the astronomical calendar and is marked by the #solstice

    Reply
  80. BJD

     /  June 20, 2016

    Well, while you are cooking in Northern Hemisphere (don’t envy you, have been quite a few heatwaves like that, the one in 2009 in Australia, just before some devastating bushfires, was particularly awful), unseasonal heavy rains have again hit the East Coast of Australia.

    In my old home state of Queensland, in the southeast corner, there have been flash floods from amazing deluges that are more likely at the height of Summer than the middle of Winter:

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/queensland-weather-residents-cleaning-up-after-sundays-big-wet-20160619-gpmw9b.html

    Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Michael Knepp said the rain fell hardest in areas between North Pine dam to around the Archerfield area.

    “High falls were 199mm at Warner, 178mm at Toowong and 172mm at Everton Hills and Mitchelton,” he said.

    Mr Knepp said most of last night’s storm was just heavy rainfall, however there was an “unusual” weather event at an apartment complex at Mooloolaba.

    “By the stage it got to the Sunshine Coast it was moving a bit more,” he said,

    “To blow off the roof of a complex it must have been going fairly strong.”

    Areas hit hardest across greater Brisbane:

    Narangba – 152mm

    Morayfield – 143mm

    Mt Coot-tha – 148mm

    Deluge soaks south-east Queensland

    The greater Brisbane area received an average of 110mm of rain in Sunday evening’s winter downpour.

    Warner, north of Brisbane, received 194mm, while Toowong received 174 mm and Mitchelton 168mm.

    But the worst damage was saved for the Sunshine Coast, where winds torn off roofs and roads were flooded by the heavy falls.

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/brisbane-weather-deluge-dumped-almost-200mm-on-suburbs-20160619-gpmvi7.html

    Greater Brisbane received an average of 110mm in soaking winter rains that passed through the region Sunday afternoon.

    And there were even heavier falls in some suburbs as storms rolled through from about 1pm.

    Warner, north of Brisbane, received 194mm, while Toowong received 174 mm and Mitchelton 168mm.

    Gold Coast beaches received between 50mm and 70mm, while the hinterland had 119mm.

    Most of that rain came after 5pm, causing major problems on the roads and some localised flash flooding in creeks and open drains.

    No lives were lost in the wet weather.

    * * * * * * *

    And as I noted last time, this out of season, the average June rainfall for Brisbane (capital of Queensland) is about two inches, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorlogy, it has received about ten inches in the first 20 days of June.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/dwo/IDCJDW4019.latest.shtml

    Reply
  81. Colorado Bob

     /  June 20, 2016

    Consider a 2014 study of Jakobshavn by Joughin and three colleagues, which called it “Greenland’s fastest glacier.” Joughin found that its flow speed in 2012 was “nearly three times as great” as in the 1990s. It also found that in just over a decade, between 2000 and 2011, Jakobshavn alone raised sea levels around the globe by almost a millimeter. That may not sound like much, but it means the glacier lost about 360 gigatons, or billion tons, of ice.

    As the glacier loses ice in enormous iceberg calving events, it also retreats inland — and, in this case, into a deeper and deeper part of the fjord, where depths are above 1,300 meters. This, in turn, increases the flow speed further.

    Thus, the paper predicted that the glacier’s speed could, at the extreme, increase beyond the current factor of three to a factor of 10 faster than in the 1990s, because of its travel through such an incredibly deep basin. In the process, it would retreat backward 50 kilometers (about 30 miles) and hurl forth additional millimeters of global sea level rise.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/06/19/john-kerry-just-rode-a-boat-up-to-the-most-stunning-example-of-our-changing-climate/

    Reply
    • If you have 11 Jakobshavns, then you’ve increased annual rates of SLR by 1 mm per year. Problem is, we could effectively end up with about 300 by mid Century.

      Reply
  82. John B Davies

     /  June 20, 2016

    Normally in La Nina years temperatures are much lower than in El Nino’s but if you are right global temperatures in 2017 and 2018 won’t be much lower than in 2015 and 2016. Wait and see.

    Reply
    • So the El Niño to La Niña variance will continue. But it now occurs in a context that includes rapid warming and severe northern hemisphere polar amplification. La Niña years absolutely should be cooler than El Niño years. This is due to the fact that the El Niño variance is still strong enough to move the needle on the 2-5 year timescale. To completely over-ride that part of the Niño signal decad all rates of warming would need to be about +0.5 C every ten years. So to be clear, we’re not saying that we’ll have La Niña years that are hotter than the last El Niño year. But we will probably see a La Niña this year in which 1998 temps and temps from the mid 2000s are surpassed.

      The point of the article is to show that the global warming signal is stronger now at the NH pole in the T delta anomaly measure than the natural variability signal coming from El Niño. This does not mean that the 2016 to 2017 La Niña will be hotter than the 2015-2016 El Niño, just that the climate alterations coming from the polar amplification signal are now in many ways stronger than the natural variability based drivers from El Niño. What this means is that global warming is now having a greater impact on global weather than El Niño.

      Reply
      • John McCormick

         /  June 20, 2016

        Robert, very on topic.

        RGGI imposes a CO2 cap on power plant sources in nine Northeast States. Several organizations involved in RGGI operations urge RGGI States to apply the cap to all sources.

        I am a Vermont resident active in trying to get that idea on the RGGI agenda during its 2016 Program Review.

        If you have an interest, in knowing more, add a reply comment. I will oblige.

        John McCormick
        Louise Diamond Committee to Protect Next Generation
        Bristol, VT

        Reply
  83. – In this rapidly changing political and climate world any one of us may become a refugee. Many others already are.

    Reply
  84. Reply
  85. Kevin Jones

     /  June 20, 2016

    Great report, Robert. Thinking this “massive sprawling heat wave” must be squeezing the stratosphere (the ozone layer) thin, I looked up the UV Index for the lower 48. 80% of the US is at 10 or greater…. Never saw a map like it. EPA has Keene, NH at a 10. (Something I suggested to a local hippy-dippy weatherman 20 years ago would be part of our future. “Keene will never experience a 10 on the UV Index.” was his response…..).

    Reply
    • Hey, Kevin. Which EPA map did you use?
      Thx.

      Reply
      • Kevin Jones

         /  June 20, 2016

        Sorry, dtlange. This machine doesn’t allow cutting & pasting for reasons beyond me. Go to NWS. Scroll down to Active Alerts. Farther down to UV Alerts. Click on. From there you can go to EPA Sunwise and type in your zip code for your areas UV Index. With all this energetic ultraviolet pouring down, one might expect air quality issues as it converts volatile organic compounds into ground level ozone. From DC to NYC those warnings are up…..

        Reply
      • I think I found it, or something like it. It indicates some of the massive solar energy passing through our struggling atmosphere. And which natural systems must respond to.
        UV scares me. Mix that with ground level ozone and you have a very inhospitable environment.

        – cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/uv_index/bulletin.

        0620 sample text:

        THE UV INDEX IS CATEGORIZED BY THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
        AS FOLLOWS:
        UVI EXPOSURE LEVEL
        0 1 2 LOW
        3 4 5 MODERATE
        6 7 HIGH
        8 9 10 VERY HIGH
        11 AND GREATER EXTREME

        FOR HEALTH RELATED ISSUES…CONTACT EPA AT 1-800-296-1996
        FOR TECHNICAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE UV INDEX….
        GO TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE UV INDEX WEB PAGE:
        http://WWW.CPC.NCEP.NOAA.GOV/PRODUCTS/STRATOSPHERE/UV_INDEX

        CITY STATE UVI CITY STATE UVI
        ALBUQUERQUE NM 13 LITTLE ROCK AR 11
        ANCHORAGE AK 4 LOS ANGELES CA 12
        ATLANTIC CITY NJ 10 LOUISVILLE KY 10
        ATLANTA GA 11 MEMPHIS TN 11
        BALTIMORE MD 10 MIAMI FL 11
        BILLINGS MT 10 MILWAUKEE WI 9
        BISMARCK ND 9 MINNEAPOLIS MN 9

        Reply
    • Thanks, Kevin and DT. Looks like a huge mess. We should be clear that a big heat dome of this kind would tend to up UV indexes simply by thinning out the air and allowing all that direct sunlight to beam down. So that’s probably what we’re seeing now.

      You get a big enough punch of the troposphere into the stratosphere, though, and it can carry ozone eroding pollutants into the protective layer. There’s a big concern with this happening over Europe. We’ve also seen evidence that it may also occur in the Western Pacific where you have the tallest weather formations on Earth. We also have a concern RE the hydroxyl layer.

      All this is pretty speculative right now. You’d need something pretty unprecedented to create big holes at the lower Latitudes. Overall, the Montreal Protocol has done a good job reducing CFCs and other chlorine compounds in the atmosphere due to human emissions. So it’s worth noting that we’ve had good progress in that respect. But there’s enough atmospheric loading that if you get a big updraft of these particles that are still present to a decent extent, you could end up with trouble.

      Under BAU burning, you start to get higher hydrogen sulfide levels bubbling up out of the world ocean. And sulfur compounds are also destructive to the ozone layer. So that’s a concern if the oceans start to really go Canfield on us. In any case, there’s quite a bit of human sulfur emissions too to cause a concern. Pretty much anything related to fossil fuel burning is bad.

      Reply
  86. – Brazil now in turmoil tops the list here:

    Reply
  87. Spike

     /  June 20, 2016

    Serbia and Romania in the crosshairs in Europe currently

    Reply
  88. Spike

     /  June 20, 2016

    Reply
  89. Spike

     /  June 20, 2016

    Reply
  90. Hilary

     /  June 20, 2016

    I know there are 2 more posts now (hard to keep pace with you Robert!) but this elegant photo essay seems to fit best in here:

    “WARM WATERS is a long-term photographic project investigating the impacts of climate change on the vulnerable communities and environments throughout the Pacific Region. From rising sea levels and the effects of increasingly extreme weather effects, such as El Niño and super typhoons, to floods and droughts, the destruction of coast, and the first climate refugees — I am collecting visual evidence of what is happening on the front lines of man-made global warming today, and how these phenomena are being dealt with.”

    https://maptia.com/vlad_sokhin/stories/warm-waters

    Reply
  1. Rapid Polar Warming Kicks ENSO Out of Climate Driver’s Seat, Sets off Big 2014-2016 Global Temperature Spike | GarryRogers Nature Conservation
  2. Catapulting ourselves out of the Holocene
  3. India — careening on a course to ‘disaster’ without any care | Within Earth's Means

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: