Hot Gulf of Mexico Hurls Rain Bombs at Florida and the U.S. Gulf Coast

Rain bomb. It’s a new kind of severe rainstorm that’s capable of overwhelming a city’s flood-handling capabilities in just an hour or two. Of generating 2-inch-plus per hour rainfall events in odd places and at unexpected times. A type of severe storm that’s been enabled by all the added heat and atmospheric moisture loading resulting from human-forced climate change.

*****

High Atmospheric Water Vapor NE Gulf

(High levels of atmospheric water vapor over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico is fueling the potential for severe, damaging and life-threatening rainfall events across the Gulf Coast this week even as numerous severe flood events occur across the globe. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Lately, due in large part to an atmosphere and ocean surface that’s about 1.2 degrees Celsius hotter than 1880s values and related added atmospheric moisture, the powerful, damaging, and life-threatening rain bombs have been going off hard and heavy across the globe. Last week, Ellicott City was hit, killing one and generating damage that will likely take years to repair. Yesterday, about 21 people lost their lives in a freak flood that dumped 20 inches of rain over part of Macedonia. In Sudan on Saturday, the Nile reached its highest levels in 100 years as thousands of homes were destroyed and more than 75 people lost their lives. In Karachi, Pakistan this weekend, 50 percent of the city is without power and ten people have lost their lives due to flooding. In India over the past two weeks, more than one million people have been displaced and 100 killed in devastating floods. And now, a very hot Gulf of Mexico appears to be hurling a number of similarly powerful storms at the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Severe Gulf Rainstorms Begin

There’s a hell of a lot of heat and moisture available to fuel storms over the Gulf of Mexico right now. And this region where ocean surfaces exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit (running from 30 to 33 C, or 1 to 3 C above average) over a broad swath is just now starting to toss some extremely powerful rain bombs at nearby states.

Rain Bomb over Gulf of Mexico

(26 inches of rain fell over a portion of the Gulf of Mexico in one 24-hour period just west of northern Florida. Over the coming week, this moisture is expected to shift northward over Lousiana, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle. Image source: Jesse Ferrell at Accuweather.)

Strong convection is blowing up from the hot surface of these waters and exploding into thunderstorms. Already, big rain bombs are starting to fall out over the Gulf or streaming onto shore. As of yesterday, one of these systems produced more than 26 inches of rain in just one 12-hour period. That’s an average of about 2.2 inches of rainfall per hour for 12 hours running, an amount of water that would cause extremely severe flooding if it fell on a U.S. city.

Today, these rain bombs began roaring ashore over the Florida Panhandle. A series of such systems dumped 20 inches of rain near Dekle Beach, Florida even as powerful storms firing near Pinland and Perry dropped 16 inches.

20 Inches of Rain Dekle Beach

(Earlier today, 20 inches of rain fell near Dekle Beach, Florida even as totals near 16 inches fell between Pinland and Perry. Image source: Jesse Ferrell at Accuweather.)

To be clear, these are just thunderstorms associated with a very hot and moist weather pattern over the Gulf — but they’re producing rainfall amounts usually seen in strong tropical cyclones. Meanwhile, National Weather Service radar shows strong storms continuing to cycle into this region of Florida even as south Florida is hammered by heavy storms and intense squalls swirl over the western Panhandle, Alabama, and Mississippi.

More Severe Rain on the Way, but the Rain Bombs Themselves are Tough to Predict

Over the coming week, the potential for continued heavy storms is high. NOAA’s precipitation forecast model shows rainfall potentials for the region in the range of 5-10 inches for some locations over the coming week. It’s worth noting, however, that NOAA model runs have often not captured the full potential peak rainfall totals in some recent severe events. To this point, it’s also worth noting that forecasting rain bombs can be difficult, particularly so during recent years. Monitors like NOAA can track the underlying conditions, but it’s generally tough to see exactly where the big precipitation spike will occur until perhaps a few hours before the rain starts falling.

Part of this prediction difficulty is likely due to the fact that the added atmospheric moisture loading — 8 percent since the 1880s and 5 percent since the late 1970s — due to global warming has increased instability to the point where new, and less well understood, types of weather are being generated. These days, there are new kinds of thunderstorms ranging the globe, and there’s a lot we don’t understand about them.

Links:

Jesse Ferrell at Accuweather

NOAA Rainfall Prediction

Earth Nullschool

The Macedonia Flood

Four Major Floods Taking Place Right This Second

20 Inches of Rain in One Day

Hat tip to TodaysGuestIs

Hat tip to Andy in San Diego

 

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92 Comments

  1. A lot of US citizens will only taking global warming seriously when the citizen or someone they love is impacted by the problem. Even then, the impact will need to overcome the “end days” and “acts of God” confusion that overwhelms any impulse toward rationality. It’s a sad state of affairs, but these events are the path to change. I agree with others here, RS: thanks for great website and your work. The solution is to drive human emissions down close to zero and delay is literally disastrous.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Mike.

      Absolutely. We’ve got a lot of hard work ahead on that one. It’s a daunting task, but we’ve got to go at it with everything.

      Reply
    • wili

       /  August 9, 2016

      “Even then, the impact will need to overcome the “end days” and “acts of God” confusion that overwhelms any impulse toward rationality.”

      Exactly. How ever extreme the consequences, those consequences purely by themselves will never convince anyone who has a different explanatory story firmly implanted in their brains.

      Reply
  2. Kevin Jones

     /  August 9, 2016

    I do so admire your dexterity, Robert. We all who have attempted so strongly over these years and decades to learn the bio-geo-chemical-physical nature of nature and the collective insult to it underway must never halt our collective instincts towards universal basic decency. Long-may you run.

    Reply
  3. DJ

     /  August 9, 2016

    We get these ‘rainbombs’ on a daily basis this summer in Calgary AB. Weather’s often violent and unpredictable here, but this is taking it to a new level. Another one out of the blue this afternoon, flooded the underpasses, turned hillside roads into rivers. Used to get a few of these every summer, but not on a daily basis.

    Reply
    • FrasersGrove

       /  August 9, 2016

      In the south Whiteshell Provincial Park , in eastrn Manitoba, we got 7 inches of rain in 4 hrs a month ago. Never seen anything like that, ever…

      Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  August 10, 2016

        Funny how the MSM and politicians seem able not to see them, isn’t it.

        Reply
  4. Griffin

     /  August 9, 2016

    I like the term “rain bomb”.
    I had read some pushback from meteorologists who were uncomfortable with the term in recent usage in some news articles. Given what we have seen in MD, WV, TX and so many other places around the world where thunderstorms have caused flash flooding on such a scale, I think the term fits quite well. You are exactly right Robert, it is like a bomb of rain upon the storm water drainage system of an area. Storm drain, creek, wash or whatever else may be used to remove water in a storm, it can’t handle the volume in the timeframe.
    Hopefully the term sticks and is used in all media. Perhaps then folks will realize that indeed things have changed and if we don’t change our ways fast, we will see not only more of this, but of even greater intensity as well.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  August 9, 2016

      The metaphor is very apt. We are all basically busily making bombs that will drop on ourselves and our children. Of course, the worst culprits are those who supply the bomb ‘parts’–the fossil-death-fuel tycoons. But all ff-generated electricity, ff-powered travel, and conventionally grown meat contributes to the problem–flying and meat eating at higher level than most others.

      Reply
    • Grif — Re: ‘meteorologists who were uncomfortable with the term” — was an alternate term or description offered? What made them ‘uncomfortable?
      Thx, just curous.

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  August 9, 2016

        In this case there seems to be a bit of confusion as to whether or not the term was meant to refer to a microburst (which is not what we are using it for here) or just the rain.
        Anyway, you can certainly gauge the reaction of Angela Fritz.
        I am a fan of hers. I would like to see her weigh in on what she thinks is a acceptable term for the rain events that we have discussed here.
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/07/29/rain-bomb-seriously-this-is-the-kind-of-thing-that-gives-weather-media-a-bad-rap/

        Reply
        • wili

           /  August 9, 2016

          The whole climate system has not been ‘weaponized’!

        • So when I hear this, I think of Jim Cantori standing in a full-blown hurricane, holding on to his hat, and shouting ’til he’s hoarse. What has Jim done? He made hurricanes interesting. And he helped people to appreciate the dangers. Was there a little more color and description than typical, traditional, dry weather media? Absolutely. But did Jim communicate the power and danger of hurricanes and help make the public more aware of the risks. I’d say absolutely as well.

          The definition I’ve been using is a weather event in which rainfall rates exceed 2 inches per hour. A microburst is a separate term. However, it’s illustrative of the fact that climate change alters the convective properties of the atmosphere to generate more powerful storms. Strong upward convection is illustrated by rising cloud tops. And a microburst is an example of a strong down-draft.

          Of course we’d see resistance and misconstruction surrounding the term rain bomb. It’s exactly the kind of knee jerk reaction toward any language we use to describe how climate change is violently changing the weather — which it is, absolutely. In my view, it’s the kind of term that the public can grab hold of — unlike the various clinical descriptions that tend to surround the issue of climate change.

          One more point — in warfare it is often the case that terms are intentionally stripped of any descriptive impact. This use is, in part, to take away some of the horror of employing weapons of war. To somehow, make it psychologically easier. Perhaps it is also easier to accept climate change if we only view it in a dry, nondescript way. And I’d call that an abuse — one that is likely the unintentional upshot of emotional armoring — all its own.

          For the weather has been weaponized. Turned into a random, indiscriminate kind of weapon that can hit anyone at anytime by the very hothouse gasses we are spewing into the atmosphere. Just ask anyone who’s been displaced by sea level rise, or is living in a near-constant drought zone, or who’s been impacted by a Zika virus that’s moved outside of its tropical haunts due to a warming world, or who lives beside an ocean, or lake, or river that flipped fulling into a dead zone, or who’ve been hit by one of these rain bombs — all events whose current intensity would not have been possible without climate change.

          Now I absolutely respect Angela and would be interested to hear what she thinks a more appropriate term would be. But part of the issue here is to alert people to the fact that there’s a rising risk of trouble right now. That it’s not really an easy thing. That it’s far more dangerous than this issue of ISIS, for example. We need to find ways to communicate that with impact. And only relying on dry, nondescript terms ain’t going to cut it.

        • Q: Aren’t these rain bombs the end result of focused atmospheric rivers? Would we get RBs w/out ARs?

        • Ultimately, the top potential water delivery of the most powerful thunderstorms is pumped up by climate change. Someone needs to do a distribution graph of this. But with 1.2 C warming this year, we’ve added about 8 percent more moisture to the atmospheric system overall. Since this distribution isn’t even, AR’s will tend to be loaded with a higher proportion of this difference and deliver more rain bomb type events.

          The issue here appears to be one where someone is having difficulty with a term. My opinion is that rain bomb is a pretty appropriate term for what’s happening. More water gets held up in the air and, at times, it drops out like a bomb.

          Like the term climate change denier, some people don’t like it. It’s probably too direct, not nuanced enough for them. That’s a little tough. The term is here. And it’s stuck.

        • The other bit is that it seems to me that the WaPo weather gang is having another small fit here. I don’t think anyone is saying that a microburst is a rain bomb. Just that a microburst is illustrative of convection and changes in moisture loading and convection are increasing the prevalence and likelihood of rain bombs in which hourly rainfall amounts exceed 2 inches per hour.

        • I guess we need to add the caveat that if a micro-burst produces rainfall rates in excess of 2 inches per hour, then it’s a rain bomb.

        • A partial answer to my Q:

          – March, 2016
          Atmospheric Rivers: A Blessing and a Curse

          An atmospheric river is a recently coined weather feature that is both a necessity and, all too often, a destructive menace particularly for those near the West Coast of the United States.

          Put simply, an atmospheric river (AR) is a thin, but long plume of moisture in the atmosphere that stretches from the tropics or subtropics into higher latitudes.

          The term was first used in a 1994 research paper and is now widely used by meteorologists.

          A more recent study published in August 2015 by the University of Reading and University of Iowa questions whether the term “atmospheric river” is misleading.

          The study argues that the AR may not be so much a moisture pipeline from the tropics or subtropics, as previous conceptual models, but rather simply a “footprint” of moisture ahead of the cold front.
          https://weather.com/science/weather-explainers/news/atmospheric-river-explained

        • Here’s an example of what one looks like:

          http://tablascreek.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c830853ef017ee5d8434e970d-500wi

          We’ve been tracking these things here for years. They can often deliver extreme rainfall events. But AR is a separate term.

          The thing with rain bombs is that you don’t need an AR to produce one. You just need enough moisture and convection concentrated over one area to fire it off. They can be quite isolated, and even embedded in a somewhat normal pattern. which is what makes them so tough to predict.

          ARs produce large influences over broad regions. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have rain bombs embedded, and you do more and more so. It’s just that rain bombs aren’t dependent on that particular atmospheric feature.

      • I’m not a scientist or a meteorologist, but it’s a stretch for me to call this a “microburst.”

        https://www.buzzfeed.com/bradesposito/hilary-raining?utm_term=.rlKYoa3JE#.olAJNmW5X

        Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  August 10, 2016

      Most ‘meteorologists’ are employed by the same MSM plutocrats who own fossil fuels and the banks that have SO very much invested in fossil fuels. That makes their ‘opinions’ quite ‘fungible’ depending on the ideological climate. Meteorologists were a redoubt for denialism long after the consensus was reached among real scientists.

      Reply
  5. Loni

     /  August 9, 2016

    Climate change is proving to be the Hydra-headed monster that was feared.

    Reply
    • Pretty big jump with the recent El Nino. The glacial adds haven’t really started to give this a big wag yet. But the pace appears to have picked up in the 2010 to 2016 timeframe.

      Reply
  6. WU
    By: Bob Henson , 8:02 PM GMT on August 08, 2016

    ‘With moist air predominant over much of the United States, several distinct areas of heavy rain will take aim on roadways, drainage systems, and people’s nerves over the coming week. The deluge has already begun across the central Gulf Coast, especially along the Florida coast from Tallahassee to Tampa, where totals of 3-6” were widespread from Sunday into Monday. These showers and thunderstorms are being fed by very high amounts of atmospheric moisture (more than 2” of precipitable water, the amount of water vapor in a column of air)…

    This week will bring additional potential for heavy Southwest rains, thanks in large part to a slug of moisture flowing up the Gulf of California around the east side of Tropical Storm Javier (see below). Precipitable water values may approach 1.75” – 2.00” in the Phoenix and Tucson areas, which would be among the highest levels on record for August. An upper-level trough extending unusually far south for August will also boost the potential for strong to severe thunderstorms packing high winds, especially on Wednesday. The juxtaposition of upper-level forcing with such rich moisture is quite unusual, suggesting that localized rainfall amounts–not everywhere, but in scattered locations–could be truly impressive.’

    Elsewhere in the tropics
    Tropical Storm Ivette is on its last legs in the Central Pacific, where it is projected to dissipate amid high wind shear by Tuesday. In the Northwest Pacific, Tropical Depression Eight will gradually strengthen, perhaps becoming a typhoon late this week, while Tropical Depression Omais spins down east of Japan.

    https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/wet-week-ahead-for-gulf-coast-arizona-deserts

    Reply
  7. Reply
    • – I’ve got to post this verbatim:

      – arcticnorthwestpassage.blogspot.com/2016/08/20160801-northwest-passage-roll-call.

      If you are on a Northwest Passage Expedition please check-in by posting below with your vessel name, country, length, general location and direction of travel.

      2016 NW PASSAGE LIST: (as of 20160801)
      S/V BREAK POINT (DE) 14m Prince Regent West
      M/V CRYSTAL SERENITY (BS) 249.94m Sitka Alaska
      S/V EAGLES QUEST II (HK) 17.6m Nome East
      S/V NOMAD (CA) 12.8m Arctic Bay West
      S/V PACHAMAMA (CH) 15.15m Nome East
      M/V POLAR BOUND (GB) 14.6m Irish Sea West
      S/V YVINEC (FR) 9m Greenland West

      Others? Please advise in comments below else
      email: voyageadviser (at) gmail (dot) com

      Notes:
      20160801 – Pt. Barrow Alaska approaches are blocked by sea ice

      20160802 – Cape Bathurst, Boothia, Foxe, Franklin, McClure, Parry, Peel, Prince of Wales, Ross, and Victoria all have concentrations of sea ice not appropriate for small craft navigation. Ice disintegrations are 2-4 weeks ahead of prior years. Stop and enjoy the sights along the way…

      20160803 – Pt. Barrow becoming ice free? from East winds blowing ice offshore to the west – plan Nome departure with arrival into Elson Lagoon entrance about 2nm SE of Pt. Barrow called Eluitkak Pass. Check weather and ice at Elson before proceeding to Herschel Island NWT.

      20160806 – Approaches to Pt. Barrow are open water navigation. Eastward to Canada across Arctic Alaska also has open water navigation.

      20160808 – NW Passage Route-6 is open.

      Reply
  8. – Veteran journalist/reporter Marvin Kalb and Nicco Melee have a well written piece about Trump and the media.

    – Pulitzer Center
    How Trump Owns the Media

    Marvin Kalb and Nicco Mele

    In this unusual presidential campaign, we are witnessing a frightening departure in American democracy — the rise of a European-style autocrat — and the media, especially cable television news, has been painfully complicit.

    Perhaps most concerning is that Trump, the Republican nominee, has been engaging in a mad bromance with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and striking an “I know best” pose about solving America’s problems — a dangerous political strategy for someone who admits that he has never been fond of reading. Using traditional democratic means, he could become America’s first autocratic president. Based on his own statements, often contradictory, he could decide to go around the established institutions of governance and create an unorthodox, one-man presidency. It is not coincidence that the word “fascist” has often been used to describe his ascent to power.

    The media has played an essential role in propagating the rise of Trumpism…
    http://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/how-trump-owns-media?utm_content=buffer1387c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    Reply
    • They’re right…

      Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  August 10, 2016

      I fear Trump, and regard him a the greater evil, particularly spear-heading an insane Republican Party, but that is garbage. The MSM has been fiercely, even hysterically, anti-Trump (which is probably to his benefit among his core voters) and there is NO ‘mad bromance’ with Putin, just slightly less hostility than Clinton’s insane belligerence. A nuclear winter will not cure climate destabilisation.

      Reply
  9. Colorado Bob

     /  August 9, 2016

    INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — From drought to drench.

    Record rainfall continued Monday after a record-breaking Sunday, and more precipitation is expected Tuesday.

    In 24 hours the rain-starved Vero Beach area received more than 80 percent of its monthly rainfall during August — usually the rainiest month in the year that typically totals just over 7 inches by month’s end.

    As of 7 p.m. Monday, 3.06 inches of rain had fallen in Vero Beach, National Weather Service meteorologists said, breaking the record of 1.99 inches for Aug. 8 set last year. Sunday, 2.76 inches was recorded at Vero Beach Regional Airport, surpassing the Aug. 7, 1997 record of 2.14 inches.

    http://www.tcpalm.com/weather/rain-pounds-indian-river-st-lucie-flood-advisories-issued-3994cabb-c0fe-4c0f-e053-0100007f79a8-389520691.html

    Reply
  10. Greg

     /  August 9, 2016

    North Carolina within the last 24 hours:

    Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  August 9, 2016

    Calgary has already had a year’s worth of precipitation

    After Saturday’s significant storms, Calgary now sits less than 1 mm away from its annual precipitation average.

    By the end of July, Calgary had already exceeded its annual rainfall average.

    As of Aug. 7, the city has already exceeded the August monthly average for rain. Typically Calgary can expect 57 mm of rain in the eighth month of the year. So far, 59.4 mm of rain has fallen in the first seven days of August.

    http://globalnews.ca/news/2871123/calgary-has-already-had-a-years-worth-of-precipitation/

    Reply
  12. Greg

     /  August 9, 2016

    Darren Mitchell gave his life with a reminder to us to stay off the roads especially now that we can’t predict these events well!

    Reply
  13. Greg

     /  August 9, 2016

    We need, among other things, real-time higher resolution radar and mapping.

    Reply
  14. Colorado Bob

     /  August 9, 2016

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  August 9, 2016

      NASA maps thawed areas under Greenland ice sheet

      NASA researchers have helped produce the first map showing what parts of the bottom of the massive Greenland Ice Sheet are thawed—key information in better predicting how the ice sheet will react to a warming climate.

      Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-08-nasa-areas-greenland-ice-sheet.html#jCp

      Reply
      • Witchee

         /  August 9, 2016

        Terrifying.

        Reply
      • Thanks for this, Bob. Hell of a map there. This becomes more of an issue once the central basin region starts to fill. This generates a kind of liquid pool upon which the ice above would slip and float — a mechanism that’s likely to speed destabilization.

        Reply
        • NS Alito

           /  August 10, 2016

          Topography-wise, is Greenland’s “Grand Canyon” below current sea level. Like PIG in Antarctica, is there a threat of ocean undercutting the cap?

  15. Abel Adamski

     /  August 9, 2016

    Just an aside.
    Rick Kool has done an excellent comment/explanation of Global Warming on a think progress article. I am saving it as a link for reference for doubters

    View story at Medium.com

    Reply
  16. Jeremy

     /  August 9, 2016

    “More than 60% of Maldives’ coral reefs hit by bleaching
    Scientific survey found all reefs had been affected by high sea surface temperatures, with up to 90% of coral colonies bleached in some areas.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/08/more-than-60-of-maldives-coral-reefs-hit-by-bleaching

    Reply
  17. climatehawk1

     /  August 9, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  August 9, 2016

    Lake Tanganyika fisheries declining from global warming

    Date:
    August 8, 2016
    Source:
    University of Arizona
    Summary:
    The decrease in fishery productivity in Lake Tanganyika since the 1950s is a consequence of global warming rather than just overfishing, according to a new report. The lake was becoming warmer at the same time in the 1800s that the abundance of fish began declining and the lake’s algae started decreasing. Large-scale commercial fishing did not begin on Lake Tanganyika until the 1950s.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160808163443.htm

    Reply
  19. June

     /  August 9, 2016

    Apologies if this was posted before.

    Humans are Poisoning the Ocean—and It’s Poisoning Us Back

    The study… discovered that a deadly variety of bacteria known as vibrios is spreading rapidly throughout the Atlantic as a result of hotter ocean temperatures.
    “We were able to demonstrate that there was an increase in the numbers of vibrios, probably a two or threefold increase, correlated with the increase in climate temperature, and then correlated with outbreaks of vibrio infections that have been recorded in the medical records,” said Rita Colwell, a microbiologist at the University of Maryland who is a co-author of the study, to the Post.

    “We don’t just damage the oceans even as we ourselves go unaffected by the consequences of that damage,” the Post observes. “Rather, from harm to fisheries to direct human health threats, that damage hurts us, too.”

    http://commondreams.org/news/2016/08/09/humans-are-poisoning-ocean-and-its-poisoning-us-back

    Reply
    • Thanks for this, June. Excellent, relevant article here.

      Reply
    • This was in the latest issue of Surfer Magazine (‘Contagion Present’ vol. 57 #8 Aug/Sept 2016) of my old home surf breaks in San Diego. People are dying of this and other toxins at Sunset Cliffs. Dead in four days, started like the flu!

      The article points out that the entire San Diego coastline is polluted, though, not just the ‘Cliffs.

      Vibrosis causes Cholera.

      Quote from article: “Basically, we have the same technology for managing runoff that the Romans had.”

      I can’t imagine paddling out knowing this is in the water…

      Reply
      • So there are multiple issues at work here. As climate change shifts the rainfall tendency to deluge, you’re going to have increasing run-off and more nutrients hitting the ocean. You’re going to have warmer waters that feed the dangerous microbes. You’re going to have more stratified oceans with lower oxygen content that feed dead zones and harmful anaerobic bacteria.

        Human beings can help by changing farming practices and working to reduce nutrient loading and run-off. But if you don’t tackle the larger mechanism of global warming, then you’re running to fall behind.

        Hothouse events do this to oceans, guys. We’re heading in that direction now.

        Reply
    • NOAA scientists report mass die-off of invertebrates at East Flower Garden Bank in Gulf of Mexico: Sanctuary recommends public avoid diving, fishing, boating activities in affected area…

      Several potential causes of the outbreak will be investigated, including poor water quality, disease pathogens and chemical spills. Each alone could cause mortality in coral reef organisms, but more likely, a combination of stressors is at work.

      “We know of no spills that have recently occurred near the Flower Garden Banks,” said Schmahl, “but water temperature over the banks is quite high, at 86 degrees.” In addition, large plumes of low-salinity coastal water have moved offshore following months of extreme rainfall in the region. That water is rich with plankton, nutrients and chemicals that arrive to the Gulf through runoff and river discharges. As the plumes decay, oxygen levels in the water can decrease.

      Combined, these stressors could make coral reefs animals and plants more prone to disease outbreaks, or simply fuel the growth of bacterial or algae mats that smother the reefs. Scientists from around the world are offering advice and assistance in trying to help discover the cause.

      http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/news/jul16/noaa-scientists-report-mass-die-off-of-invertebrates-at-east-flower-garden-bank.html

      Reply
  20. Greg

     /  August 9, 2016

    U.S.Customers Could Pay $2.5 Billion for Nuclear Plants That Never Get Built.

    Utilities including Duke Energy Corp., Dominion Resources Inc. and NextEra Energy Inc. are being allowed by regulators to charge $1.7 billion for reactors that exist only on paper, according to company disclosures and regulatory filings. Duke and Dominion could seek approval to have ratepayers pony up at least another $839 million, the filings show.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-08/customers-could-pay-2-5-billion-for-nukes-that-never-get-built?

    Reply
    • Lots of pork appears to get attached to these nuclear build studies — which is one reason why the plants tend to cost so much. It’s the big, high-tech project problem all over again. The same problem we had with the JSF and the F 22 writ large. In other words, it’s too easy for big corps to raid public coffers these days for giant, long term projects and produce little or nothing of what was promised. Boyd’s own pursuit of the F-16 program was instructive in how to help deconstruct this process. We need to do it for energy and climate. And high-cost, low delivery, slow to no-go giant nuclear projects like this aren’t going to help matters much.

      How many solar panels and wind turbines could you deploy with that money? Another 2 GW or more?

      Reply
  21. Greg

     /  August 9, 2016

    The amount of electricity we use to light our lives is dropping dramatically due to the very rapid adoption of LED lighting. Lighting is some 17% of our electric demand.

    Reply
  22. – Interesting info about a functioning natural nutrient cycle:

    Why Fish Need Trees and Trees Need Fish
    2008

    When they return to spawn, salmon become a veritable conveyor belt for nutrients. For example, an adult chum salmon returning to spawn contains an average of 130 grams of nitrogen, 20 grams of phosphorus and more than 20,000 kilojoules of energy in the form of protein and fat; a 250-meter reach of salmon stream in southeast Alaska receives more than 80 kilograms of nitrogen and 11 kilograms of phosphorous in the form of chum salmon tissue in just over one month.

    As the bodies of spawning salmon break down, nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients become available to streamside vegetation. According to Robert Naiman of the University of Washington, streamside vegetation gets just under 25 percent of its nitrogen from salmon. Other researchers report up to 70 percent of the nitrogen found in riparian zone foliage comes from salmon. One study concludes that trees on the banks of salmon-stocked rivers grow more than three times faster than their counterparts along salmon-free rivers and, growing side by side with salmon, Sitka spruce take 86 years, rather the usual 300 years, to reach 50 cm thick.
    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildlifenews.view_article&articles_id=407

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  August 9, 2016

      DT, a friend of mine lives in a tiny cove on the downwind end of a lake and receives any dead fish washed ashore. He told me he just takes the dead fish to feed his garden, a traditional fertilizer technique. He has the most amazing garden with incredible vegetables. The results are spectacular and its rocky New England soil.

      Reply
      • Nice — such a simple and direct cycle where everyone benefits.
        Ps Salmon go upstream of their spawning areas to die thus releasing nutrients as they decompose which washes downstream to nurture their offspring.

        Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  August 10, 2016

      And the bears process those nutrients, by eating the fish, then doing the proverbial in the forests. The web we are shattering everywhere.

      Reply
  23. USA California wildfires: Serious fire at So Cal Pilot Fire:
    – FEMA

    Reply
    • NBC Los Angeles Verified account ‏@NBCLA 1h1 hour ago

      #PilotFire has scorched over 6,300 acres north of San Bernardino, shutting down local schools due to air quality
      ###

      KTLA Verified account ‏@KTLA 1h1 hour ago

      Update: Size of #PilotFire increased to 7,522 acres — nearly 12 square miles
      ###

      SB County Sheriff Verified account ‏@sbcountysheriff 18h18 hours ago

      #PilotFire 4,700 homes impacted on mountain, mandatory and voluntary evacs; 500 homes in Hesperia impacted, mandatory and voluntary evacs
      ###

      SB District Attorney Verified account ‏@sbcountyda 9m9 minutes ago

      Under PC 463 any theft/burglary committed during a “local emergency” is classified as Looting and subject to increased penalties #PilotFire
      ###

      Reply
  24. Constraints on Climate Sensitivity from Space-Based Measurements of Low-Cloud Reflection

    “Physical uncertainties in global-warming projections are dominated by uncertainties about how the fraction of incoming shortwave radiation that clouds reflect will change as greenhouse gas concentrations rise. Differences in the shortwave reflection by low clouds over tropical oceans alone account for more than half of the variance of the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) among climate models, which ranges from 2.1 to 4.7 K. Space-based measurements now provide an opportunity to assess how well models reproduce temporal variations of this shortwave reflection on seasonal to interannual time scales. Here such space-based measurements are used to show that shortwave reflection by low clouds over tropical oceans decreases robustly when the underlying surface warms, for example, by −(0.96 ± 0.22)% K−1 (90% confidence level) for deseasonalized variations. Additionally, the temporal covariance of low-cloud reflection with temperature in historical simulations with current climate models correlates strongly (r = −0.67) with the models’ ECS. Therefore, measurements of temporal low-cloud variations can be used to constrain ECS estimates based on climate models. An information-theoretic weighting of climate models by how well they reproduce the measured deseasonalized covariance of shortwave cloud reflection with temperature yields a most likely ECS estimate around 4.0 K; an ECS below 2.3 K becomes very unlikely (90% confidence).”

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0897.1?journalCode=clim

    Reply
    • ECS at 4 C? That’s pretty rough.

      I think eventually, we’ll find that once all the factors are added in, ECS will come to hit near the 6 C ESS implied by paleoclimate (including the addition of all slow feedbacks over the multiple century time-frame and once the models work out all the mechanisms).

      Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  August 10, 2016

        What effect does the rapidity of increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas levels, the presence of novel, anthropogenically created greenhouse gases, and synergistic disturbances like forest clearance, ubiquitous pollution etc, have on ECS, in comparison to paleo-climate estimates, do you think?

        Reply
  25. The waters of this huge African lake aren’t mixing — and the consequences could be devastating

    A study published Monday in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” suggests rising temperatures have been responsible for significant declines in the fish that populate Africa’s Lake Tanganyika and feed the surrounding communities — and that these declines may only worsen as global warming continues to progress.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/08/09/the-waters-of-this-huge-african-lake-arent-mixing-and-the-consequences-could-be-devastating/?utm_term=.ceedb10b590a

    Reply
  26. Greg

     /  August 9, 2016

    Have posted this video before of the promotional roll-out of the world’s largest electric bus fleet in Shenzhen China. The builder, BYD, has the same essential mission statement as Tesla, translated from the Chinese as “solve the whole problem”. Only this company is growing tremendously, 16,000 people in Research and Development alone and they are already integrating solar, storage and electric vehicles of all kinds. Worth watching as they are beginning to show up everywhere.

    Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  August 10, 2016

        Tesla ought to collaborate with the Chinese company, and agitate with the Washington elite to cool the aggro in the China Seas. The world does not need a brawl between its two leading economies and scientific centres. I think this is an era that requires more co-operation than competition.

        Reply
    • Well done, BYD. It’s not too tough to imagine China driving down electric vehicle prices in the same manner that their large volume solar output helped to push down PV prices a couple of years ago.

      Tesla’s in for a race and I think they know it — which is probably why they’re focusing on the higher end of the traditional market as a backstop (30,000 dollars per vehicle and up). Exciting times ahead. Let’s hope the energy switch moves fast enough. Everyone should be cheering these innovations (and the like) on.

      Reply
      • NS Alito

         /  August 10, 2016

        Cities like Shanghai and Bogota have car-restriction rules (e.g., even/odd plate days) in times of excessive pollution. Is this driving EV sales in those areas?

        Reply
  27. Greg

     /  August 9, 2016

    This morning in Arizona. Cars Trapped, Drivers Rescued as Flooding Sweeps Through Tucson from seasonal monsoon fueled by warm waters:

    Reply
  28. Greg

     /  August 9, 2016

    Peter Sinclair has a new piece:
    Huang Ming, founder and CEO of Himin Solar Energy, is known as the “Solar King” of China. A former oil industry engineer, Huang made a life-changing decision to begin his company when his daughter was born: “I worried about there being no blue skies for her to see, so I changed my thinking from oil to solar power.”
    https://climatecrocks.com/2016/08/09/video-chinas-solar-king/

    Reply
  29. Got hit here again this morning with a lot of rain. Not 2″ or more this time nor any lightning I heard or saw. We don’t need any more bolts from the sky here.

    Storm #15 and completely unexpected when weather is saying sunny blue sky heading for the 90s again this week (temp predictions have been way off on the low side all summer).

    But what RS is saying is the base level for a rain bomb, 2″, has certainly happened here lately. Guess they aren’t microbursts but rain bombs. And they are coming out of nowhere and nobody is seeing them come. It’s getting freaky in these mountains.

    My long-time partner on Windward Side of Oah’u (next door to Crouching Lion) got blasted a couple weeks ago, 10″ washing down through their complex and triggered automatic water shutdowns due to flooding, but this weekend’s breaking up tropical storm didn’t unleash quite as much.

    Weaponized weather. Bet the military R&D around the world would love to have a handle on that.

    Reply
    • So they fiddled with it in the US back in the 50s, 60s and 70s mostly. I think the consensus is that’s it’s too much of a wild card to work effectively as a military weapon.

      At about the same time there was a comparable effort to minimize the strength of hurricanes through cloud seeding. Such weather engineering was again found to be pretty unpredictable with uncertain positive and possible severe negative impacts.

      Reply
  30. June

     /  August 10, 2016

    Another “this is going to happen quicker than we thought” study on rising sea levels.

    Volcanic eruptions can ‘mask the true effects of climate change’

    Satellite observations, which began in 1993, show that the rate of sea level rise has held fairly steady at about 3 millimeters per year. However, these records began soon after the [Pinotubo] eruption, which temporarily cooled the planet, causing sea levels to drop.

    The new study finds that the lower starting point effectively distorts the calculation of sea level rise acceleration for the last couple of decades. It also lends support to projections that show the rate of sea level rise escalating over time as the climate warms.

    “When we used climate model runs designed to remove the effect of the Pinatubo eruption, we saw the rate of sea level rise accelerating in our simulations,” said NCAR scientist John Fasullo, who led the study. “Now that the impacts of Pinatubo have faded, this acceleration should become evident in the satellite measurements in the coming decade, barring another major volcanic eruption.”

    http://www.wired.co.uk/article/climate-change-sea-level-rise

    Reply
  31. Approximately 2 feet of snow fell on Taupō District and Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Roughly 35 miles away in Upper Mohaka, roads were closed due to heavy rains and flooding.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/310381/'possum-pie-and-pig-tail-soup'-for-snowed-in

    Back in March, 100s of people evacuated after a foot of rain fell in 24-hrs, causing the Waiho River to burst its banks. “Strong winds also brought down trees and power cables in other parts of the country.”

    http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/catastrophes/march-heavy-rains-new-zealand-cost-insurers-nz30-million-icnz-1004097580/

    Reply
  32. Over the weekend, approximately 2 feet of snow fell on Taupō District and Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Roughly 35 miles away in Upper Mohaka, they were inundated with heavy rains and flooding.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/310381/'possum-pie-and-pig-tail-soup'-for-snowed-in

    Reply
  33. Back in March, 100s of people were evacuated after a foot of rain fell in 24-hrs, causing the Waiho River to burst its banks. It cost insurers $30 million NZD (roughly $21.8 million USD.)

    http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/?p=1004097580

    Reply
  34. “The “supercell” storm that hit Canterbury, New Zealand in late February has produced $4.8 million (New Zealand dollars) in insurance payouts, notes information from the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ).

    The storm brought torrential rain, thunderstorms, lightning, a large hailstorm and reports of tornado damage to parts of Canterbury.”

    http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/cost-of-supercell-storm-in-new-zealand-almost-5-million-1003144612/

    Reply
  35. Oops. I got ahead of myself. The “supercell” storm hit Canterbury in February of 2014. Devastating storms also hit in June of 2014.

    Maybe this is the new normal?

    Reply
  1. For Louisiana, The Rains of Climate Change Fall Hard — More Heavy Storms Expected to Hit Central US | robertscribbler

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