Powerful Cyclone to Blow Hole in Thinning Arctic Sea Ice

Back in 2012, a powerful Arctic cyclone smashed the sea ice with days of wind and waves. This year, a storm that’s nearly as strong threatens to make a similar mark on late-season melt. With a very unstable Arctic weather pattern in play, there’s an outlier possibility the dynamic is setting up for something even more dramatic by late August.

****

Earlier today, a strong gale roared up out of the Laptev Sea north of central Siberia. Feeding on the abnormally warm, moist air over the Barents Sea and the hot air over northwestern Siberia, the storm collided with comparatively cold air over the central Arctic. The differences between hot/cold and damp/dry air can really bomb out a storm system.

Arctic Cyclone

(Storms, heat and moisture feed up through a high-amplitude wave in the Jet Stream over northern Europe and Siberia and into a developing Arctic cyclone over the Laptev Sea during the early hours of August 15, 2016. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

Central pressures in the storm fell to 969 millibars and the winds whipping out over the Laptev, East Siberian, and central Arctic waters gusted at 45 to 55 miles per hour. Waves of 6 to 10 feet or higher roared through the newly-opened waters filled with increasingly dispersed ice floes.

The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2016?

This powerful storm is pulling these strong winds over some of the weakest and thinnest sections of Arctic sea ice. During July and August a huge section of ice running along the 80° North Latitude line and stretching from the Laptev, through the East Siberian Sea, and into the Beaufort Sea grew ever more thin and eventually dispersed. Now 25 to 60 percent ice concentrations in this region abound — a tongue of thinning which stretches nearly to the North Pole itself.

Powerful Arctic Cyclone

(A powerful storm running out of the Laptev Sea and into the central Arctic is threatening sea ice with strong winds, large waves, and the motion of abnormally warm surface waters. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

The storm is generating waves, mixing warmer-than-normal surface waters with even higher temperature waters just below. These sea surfaces are between 1 and 2 degrees Celsius above average over much of the area, with pockets of 3 or even 4 C above normal surface water temperatures interspersed. The storm’s Coriolis Effect will spin chunks of ice out from the pack to float lonely in these warmer-than-normal waters as they are churned by the raging swells.

Storm Raging Over Warm Waters, Thin Ice

Currently, the storm’s strongest winds and waves are running through a big melt wedge that extends from the Laptev and East Siberian Seas toward the 85th parallel. The motion and force produced by the storm’s winds and waves will eject the ice currently located over the northern East Siberian and Chukchi Seas even as waves eat into it. Upwelling of warm water in the seas beneath the center of the storm will open and disperse the ice, generating holes and polynya as it tracks north of the 85th parallel and toward the Pole.

Thin Arctic Sea Ice

(Very low concentrations of ice, like those seen in this Uni Bremen image, are vulnerable to disruption and melting by storms during August and early September. Current ice thinning and dispersal are among the worst seen for any year. With a powerful storm now raging over the ice, impacts to end-season totals could be significant. Image source: Universität Bremen.)

Compared to the Great Arctic Cyclone (GAC) of 2012 — an event that helped to tip that year into the strongest late-season melt on record — this storm is a bit weaker. The GAC bottomed out at 963 mb and carried on for about four days. The current storm, by comparison, is expected to remain in place for quite some time even as it slowly weakens over the coming days.

Arctic sea-ice extent values are now tracking at around third lowest on record, or just above the 2007 line. Such a strong storm certainly has the potential to knock a big hole in the ice, possibly propelling 2016 closer to 2007 ranges or even beyond them. Surface waters in the Laptev, East Siberian, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas aren’t quite as warm as they were in 2012, but there’s still a lot of potential here for storm-associated melt. Meanwhile, the very warm waters over the Kara and Barents Seas remain a disturbing feature.

Arctic in hot water

(Above-average sea-surface temperatures during late summer have more potential to rapidly melt sea ice when they are churned up and put into motion by powerful storms. Image source: NOAA NCEP.)

Models predict that lows will continue to feed in from the Atlantic and northeastern Siberia along various high-amplitude waves in the Jet Stream to combine in a triangular bite between the East Siberian Sea, the Laptev Sea and the Pole. Such continued reinvigoration will tend to enforce a generally stormy and unstable atmosphere. And there’s some risk (small, but worth considering) that the current storm could refire into something more powerful on the fuel provided by one of these lows.

Troubling Atmospheric Instability Loads the Dice for Future Bombification

Already, a few of the long-range models are popping with amazing predictions of storm-center intensity in the range of 950 to 960 mb. Both the GFS model and CMC models separately produced these results for the nine to 12 day timeframe. GFS had backed off its own high-intensity forecast when this odd CMC run popped up (see below).

CMC Arctic Megacyclone

(CMC 10-day forecast model run showing an extremely powerful 955-mb low just north of Svalbard on August 25th. Such a storm is low-probability at this time, but its formation would likely result in serious impacts to sea ice. Image source: Tropical Tidbits.)

Though these are long-range outliers, there is quite a lot of fuel for strong storms in the region this year due to conditions related to human-caused climate change. In particular, ocean surfaces in the Barents and Kara Seas are in record-hot ranges. And the heat and moisture coming off those waters is fuel for some serious atmospheric instability as the Polar region attempts to cool. Any significant cooling in the 80-90° North Latitude region would help to generate a strong dipole between this zone and the Kara-Barents. Such a dipole would create strong instability for storm generation.

A low bombing out at 953 to 955 mb in ten days, as the CMC model currently indicates, would represent an Arctic megacyclone with serious potential to wreck sea ice. The location predicted would generate a strong push of warm water from the Barents and Laptev and on toward the ice-clogged polar waters. The resulting Ekman pumping and powerful swell generation would have the potential to generate severe ice losses in the late August timeframe.

Probabilities for such a storm this far out are low, but given the underlying conditions, it’s worth putting a marker out. This is, therefore, a situation to watch. We’ve already got one strong storm blowing away at the ice. A one-two punch would hurt even more. In other words, the situation in the Arctic just got really interesting. Let’s just hope it doesn’t tilt into scary…

Links:

Big Cyclone

LANCE MODIS

Earth Nullschool

Universität Bremen

Ice vs. Storm

NOAA NCEP

Tropical Tidbits

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105 Comments

  1. Shawn Redmond

     /  August 15, 2016

    Cudos Robert your ability to stay out in front of it all is just stunning. Have you cloned yourself or what. Hope so, we could use a few more of you!

    Reply
  2. NevenA

     /  August 15, 2016

    Great post, Robert. I’m doing an update over on the ASIB tomorrow.

    Reply
    • Cheers, Neven. Bang up job as ever on your earlier forecast Saturday. Thanks for keeping us all so informed! The weather up there looks pretty ridiculously bearish. Let me know when you post. I’ll link in a follow-up.

      Reply
  3. 44 south

     /  August 15, 2016

    Well, it seems that winter, in terms of what we used to think of as winter weather 20 years ago, has lasted about two weeks here in South Island.
    It got cold early August, then dumped six inches of snow on my little farm on the 5th, but that was gone by the 12th and I’m working in a t-shirt again now, with no “bad” weather in the next ten days forecast.
    Some of those out of season young birds didn’t make it. More to come in that regard.

    Reply
    • Andy_in_SD

       /  August 16, 2016

      Where are you located 44? That would help us so much in understanding the area impact of your locale.

      Reply
      • 44 south

         /  August 16, 2016

        Hi Andy I’m at Peel Forest, on the east coast of the South Island N.Z. at about a thousand feet above sea level, which is where the foothills of the Southern Alps start.
        Hoping it will be one of the last best places on earth. Beautiful place to live and die however it plays out.

        Reply
  4. metamemesis

     /  August 15, 2016

    Although such long-range forecasts are highly unreliable, it is fun to note that Hour 228 of that run has the low coming in at 951….
    http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/?model=gem&region=nhem&pkg=z500_mslp&runtime=2016081512&fh=228&xpos=0&ypos=203

    Reply
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  8. Ridley Jack

     /  August 16, 2016

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

    Hello everyone my name is Ridley Jack I’m a fan of Robert Scribbler and have been reading his articles for the past 12 to 15 months I thought I’d post the Nasa 2016 July Global temperatures http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt You can also see each month and the year going back to 1880. What do you think?

    Reply
  9. Reply
    • Hell of a shot there, DT. The frost giants and fire giants are really going to war this year. I think the Norse may need to give their myths an edit, though. Finbul summer.

      Reply
      • Syd Bridges

         /  August 16, 2016

        Well, it looks as though Surtr the Fire Giant has decided not to wait until after the Finbul Winter and the Battle on Vigrid Plain before setting the world ablaze. The Norsemen credited him with too much patience.

        Reply
  10. Syd Bridges

     /  August 16, 2016

    A storm that does considerable damage to the ice might cause 2016 to overtake 2007 in second place. I fear it will also increase the probability of a major melt event in 2017 or 2018. 2007 followed an El Nino in 2005 and 2012 followed an El Nino in 2010. Now we’ve had strong El Nino conditions in 2015-2016.

    Reply
    • I’d agree with you Syd. Earlier this year I wasn’t sure 2016 would catch 2007, or 2015, what with the cool(ish) cloudy Arctic weather of June and July that looked like it might slow down this year’s melt. However, this cyclone will probably push a lot of already weak ice into warmer waters, as well as mixing water layers and bringing warmer water up to the surface, so there’ll be more heat to melt that weak ice. So yes, even if this year doesn’t break the record, the ice will still be in terrible shape, setting up next year for major melt.

      Reply
    • It’s usually the Nino year +2 that’s the one to watch out for. Although a weak La Nina in 2017 might not produce the kind of NAO that we saw in 2012 and that likely helped to enhance the melt. We’ll get a better idea as Winter sets up.

      Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    Numbers out of Moscow, this is surely a piece of the mix going on up North –

    The weather service said that by early evening 92 millimeters (3.7 inches) of rain had fallen in Moscow, which is well over the monthly average for August.

    129-Year-Old Record Broken As Torrential Rain Floods Moscow

    Flash floods in Moscow after month’s worth of rain falls in 1 day (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

    http://www.mo4ch.com/flash-floods-in-moscow-after-months-worth-of-rain-falls-in-1-day-photos-video/

    Reply
    • Although the west coast of Norway is no stranger to rain, on August 9th we had a substantial 76.2 mm in one day which surely caused some problems here and there. There is a clear trend in much heavier downpours here and this summer has seen so much rain and bad weather that the health authorities even warned that the average person in these regions likely hadn’t gotten enough D vitamins this summer if they had been there all summer and would be adviced to take supplements of some kind. For August as a whole we are already at 251 mm which 60 mm over the average in August and there is still half a month to go! Last month we had a total of 263 mm which is double the normal for July.

      Reply
    • Pretty persistent trough in the region. Lots of storms still firing off over western Russia right now. Note that we also still have pretty widespread fires to the east in Siberia.

      Reply
  12. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    Melting glaciers pose threat beyond water scarcity: floods

    The melting of glaciers like Peru’s Pastoruri has put cities like Huaraz, located downslope from the glacier about 35 miles (55 kilometers) away, at risk from what scientists call a “glof”—glacial lake outburst flood.

    A glof occurs when the weak walls of a mountain valley collapse under the weight of meltwater from a glacier. Recent examples include the rapid draining in 2013 of a lake at Chile’s Ventisquero glacier in the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, six years after another, nearby lake essentially disappeared there.

    http://phys.org/news/2016-08-glaciers-pose-threat-scarcity.html

    Reply
    • Glacial outburst floods are one of those climate monsters in the closet that should keep us awake at night. The mountain glaciers are bad enough. But once the big ice sheets start to unzip, there’s an entirely new kind of risk to look out for.

      Reply
  13. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    Aqua/MODIS
    2016/228
    08/15/2016
    05:50 UTC

    Fires in central Russia

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  August 16, 2016

      Got to be tundra burning here –

      Aqua/MODIS
      2016/226
      08/13/2016
      07:45 UTC

      Fires in central Russia

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  August 16, 2016

        Terra/MODIS
        2016/225
        08/12/2016
        00:10 UTC

        Fires and smoke in eastern Russia

        Reply
        • Colorado Bob

           /  August 16, 2016

          Fires in central Russia
          Same area as the :
          08/15/2016
          05:50 UTC pass –

          Aqua/MODIS
          2016/229
          08/16/2016
          04:55 UTC

    • OK. So you got me up thread. Thanks for posting these, Bob.

      Reply
  14. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    These Photos Show How Hard Climate Change Has Hit Greenland

    Researchers captured the images, published in the book The Greenland Ice Sheet, in the exact location their predecessor had taken photos eight decades prior as temperatures had just begun to warm. Side by side, the images offer a stark comparison showing vast areas once covered in ice now empty land.

    http://time.com/4447252/greenland-ice-climate-change/

    Reply
  15. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    Missouri Flooding Prompts Evacuations, Knocks Out Power to Thousands in St. Louis

    Parts of St. Louis County, especially in the Florissant area, received more than 7 inches of rain from late Sunday night into mid-morning, and the rain was still falling, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Walsh. Cape Girardeau in southeast Missouri had about 8 inches of rain for the weekend.

    https://www.wunderground.com/news/missouri-midwest-flooding-latest-news

    Reply
  16. Abel Adamski

     /  August 16, 2016

    For a change, good news about Coral.
    A reef that was declared dead in 2003, has recovered, even with warmer waters.
    http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/climate-change-in-splash-of-colours-signs-of-hope-for-coral-reefs/article8994684.ece

    Reply
    • Corals can recover. It doesn’t always happen though. Depending on how hard the initial blow is, you’ve got maybe a 20-30 percent chance that parts of a reef will bounce back as new species or breeds that are more resilient to warmer water temperatures take hold. That said, even in this report, which was probably a best case scenario, the reef is still greatly reduced from its former vitality. In other words, a few hardy survivors is not really a story of recovery just, well, survival by some.

      Bleaching is a problem not just due to absolute water temperature change, but due to rate of change. So for reef species it’s a moving scale so long as you continue fossil fuel burning. In addition, as the bleaching pressure increases from the south, ocean acidification pressure creeps in from the north. The short message to send here is if you don’t want to have 50-90 percent of the world’s coral reefs gone by the 2030s-2050s, then you’ve basically got to stop burning fossil fuels.

      Reply
  17. Abel Adamski

     /  August 16, 2016

    Nature has it’s ways
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160809095138.htm
    Study demonstrates rapid decline in male dog fertility, with potential link to environmental contaminants

    The fertility of dogs may have suffered a sharp decline over the past three decades, a new study has found. The research found that sperm quality in a population of stud dogs studied over a 26-year period had fallen significantly.

    Genetic damage , explains the Trumpers

    Reply
  18. Abel Adamski

     /  August 16, 2016

    And one for DT
    http://www.news-medical.net/news/20160816/Smoke-waves-induced-by-climate-change-likely-to-affect-millions-in-coming-decades.aspx

    Smoke waves induced by climate change likely to affect millions in coming decades

    Reply
    • Thanks, Abel.
      I was a bit confused by the title, so:

      ‘…. a fire prediction model and advanced atmospheric modeling to separate pollution caused by wildfires from other pollution sources and track the likely movement of smoke. The team coined a new term, ‘smoke wave,’ to describe two or more consecutive days of unhealthy levels of PM2.5 from fires.’

      The research is described in the journal Climatic Change.

      “It hasn’t been well understood which populations will be most affected by the threat of air pollution from wildfires induced by climate change,” said Loretta J. Mickley, Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and coauthor of the paper. “If we can better predict, down to a county level, who will be most affected, the U.S. Forest Service can prioritize efforts to reduce wildfire risk, such as setting prescribed fires, to clear out dry underbrush.”

      The study found that across the western U.S., climate change will likely cause smoke waves to be longer, more intense, and more frequent. Of the 561 counties studied, 312 are expected to have more intense smoke waves in the next 30 years.


      The team estimated that about 13 million more children and seniors — who are at higher risk for respiratory illness — will be affected by smoke waves compared with the present day.

      “In the coming decades, we will be seeing the significant human health consequences from these extreme events in a changing climate,” said Jia Coco Liu, a recent Ph.D. graduate at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and first author of the paper.

      But it’s not just the future that worries health officials.

      “Climate change is a public health crisis and it’s happening right now,” said Francesca Dominici, Professor of Biostatistics and Senior Associate Dean for Research at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and coauthor of the paper. “Asthmatic kids are going to the hospital today in California because of the smoke from wildfires. If we can figure out who is most at risk, we can start thinking about smoke evacuations and early alert systems for hospitals and local primary care physicians.”

      [ Am unable to access the journal Climatic Change but no sign (as is typical) of basic defensive measures like getting a N95 particulate respirator, et al.]

      Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    Record rainfall inundates South Bend, Indiana

    Parts of Northern Indiana saw 9 inches of rain overnight, inundating entire neighborhoods. Rainfall was coming down too quickly for storm drains and run-off basins to work effectively. In a report in the South Bend Tribune,

    http://wqad.com/2016/08/16/record-rainfall-inundates-south-bend-indiana/

    Reply
  20. George W. Hayduke

     /  August 16, 2016

    Problems like these are not helping matters; http://commondreams.org/news/2016/08/16/nasa-study-nails-fracking-source-massive-methane-hot-spot Clinton really needs to drop the pro fracking stance if we expect to move forward.

    Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  August 17, 2016

      Fracked wells will leak methane long after their ‘productive’ days are ended.

      Reply
  21. Is there prior precedent for the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to have a mid-August temp drop from 105 to 75 along with cloudy and rain for a week or ten days? Mid-August the hottest time of the year. Usually. Can this current condition — which is pleasant I must say — be described as a Climate Disruption event?

    Reply
    • There’s a persistent trough over the region that’s been in place for the last few days. In any case, the readings I have for the last six are:

      102 F, 103 F, 103 F, 90 F, 86 F, 78 F

      Forecast for today through Friday:

      81 F, 81 F, 83 F, 87 F

      https://weather.com/weather/today/l/32.78,-96.80

      So hardly a case of 75 F temps for a week. You may want to check your figures.

      Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    ‘Climate Change in Your Face’ at the Great Barrier Reef

    Aug. 15 — The bleaching of large parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has put the beef and sugar industries under scrutiny over polluted runoff, raised fresh questions about coal mining and prompted politicians to seek new ways to finance reef protection activities.

    But threats to the world’s largest coral reef system also are reverberating far beyond Australia, adding to pressure on the international community to quickly implement the Paris Agreement to fight global warming.

    “I was up on the reef just a few weeks ago, on reefs that I had visited many times during my career, and they are almost unrecognizable,” Richard Leck, marine conservation spokesman for environment group WWF-Australia, told Bloomberg BNA in an interview in July.

    http://www.bna.com/climate-change-face-n73014446392/

    Reply
    • Reefs are one of the first to take the hit from climate change. We may be experiencing a time now where reef damage and loss due to a combination of ocean heat related bleaching and acidification will be continuous. Sure, it will ebb and flow a bit as the ocean surface cycles its heat. But in the higher latitudes, some reefs won’t make it due to acidification and near the Equator there’s at least a decent chance that bleaching occurs almost constantly going forward. Part of the issue is that the lowest temperatures now are comparable to those experienced during the El Nino year of 1998. And that was considered a bad bleaching event at the time. These conditions are basically constant now.

      Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    NORTH CAROLINA’S TOP EPIDEMIOLOGIST QUITS OVER COAL ASH CONTROVERSY

    North Carolina’s government opened for business this week short of one high-profile staffer: a scientist central to the long-running firestorm involving state regulation of coal ash contamination.

    Megan Davies, the top epidemiologist at the state’s Health and Human Services Department, tendered her resignation in recent days after one of her bosses publicly criticized a lower-level toxicologist.

    That toxicologist, Ken Rudo, had said the government whitewashed contamination risk in drinking water wells located near Duke Energy coal ash storage ponds.

    http://www.bna.com/north-carolinas-top-b73014446379/

    Reply
  24. Greg

     /  August 16, 2016

    Political sidenote: Follow up piece by Michael Moore with message to “Don”. Relevancy? The sooner this political theater is over the sooner we can move forward with action on climate change at the federal level and apply focused pressure to the very likely next POTUS.
    “Don, if you’re reading this, do it soon. Give your pathetic party a chance to pick up the pieces and nominate Ryan or Romney so they can be the ones to lose the White House, the Senate, the House and yes, praise Jesus and the Notorious RBG, the Supreme Court. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re only the logical conclusion to a party that has lived off the currency of racism and bigotry and fellating the 1 percent for decades, and now their Trump has come home to roost.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-moore/trump-self-sabotage_b_11545026.html?

    Reply
    • Well said. We’ve got to win this thing first. And after we’re going to need to go to work on the democrats as well. Let’s see if we can get as many greens/progressive dems in races as possible. We need to push this all the way down ticket.

      In any case, it seems to me that Trump is just a slight exaggeration of what many republicans actually stand for. I don’t think there’s much difference on substance. There’s just this thing that most republicans are better at packaging their nonsense in ‘dog whistle’ terminology that generally gets past the public filter.

      So there may be a thing or two that Trump disagrees with the republican majority about. But this guy has got it all — climate change denial, dislike/fear/hatred of minorities, pandering to the wealthy (in this case himself), pushing more harmful tax cuts, fighting to dismantle everything helpful that government actually does, and idealizing foreign autocrats, dictators, and oligarchs.

      The tea party movement that Trump sprang up out of, for all its corporate pandering, may as well re-name itself the new East India Trade Company. Real American patriots would recognize the distortion and hypocrisy. And as for taxes, well, I think the democratically elected federal government long ago dealt with the whole representation issue. These guys just don’t want to pay taxes so they can live on in gluttony and excess just like King George… Support the benevolent systems of a democratically elected government? These guys would rather set their feet on fire.

      Reply
  25. June

     /  August 16, 2016

    Robert did a post on this recently…he’s always on top of things.

    The [Olympics] Year the Rain Forest Burned

    Near-record early Amazon forest fires – not far from the Rio Olympics and coming on top of recent droughts – raise concerns that ‘we’re in a different regime.’

    http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2016/08/the-olympics-year-the-rain-forest-burned/

    Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    Watch Terrifying Video of Coral Convulsing as Seas Heat Up

    For the first time, time-lapse footage reveals the nightmarish horror of the heat-induced behavior known as bleaching.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/08/coral-bleaching-video-algae-warming-oceans-environment-science/?google_editors_picks=true

    Reply
  27. Greg

     /  August 16, 2016

    Tornado in Manila (no deaths) which has been fighting flooding.

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  August 16, 2016

      “this is no metaphor. By most of the ways we measure wars, climate change is the real deal: Carbon and methane are seizing physical territory, sowing havoc and panic, racking up casualties, and even destabilizing governments.”

      Reply
      • Well said! Kudos! And hell yes!

        And the big benefit is that if we actually mobilize to fight climate change, we are fighting to help people and to help nature. IF this happens, then it might be historic in that it could be the first time humanity actually stopped fighting each other to join together in a fight to save lives and to make the world a better, safer place.

        Reply
        • Cate

           /  August 17, 2016

          Brilliant piece by Bill McKibben. Everyone please share it like crazy on social media.

          Frankly, I think global mobilisation is the only way we’re going to fight this monster. This will be the ultimate test question for humanity: have we evolved enough, are we intelligent enough, to put aside our jungle instincts (making personal and communal sacrifices as necessary) and work together for a common good—for the good of the whole planet?

          The future of life on earth depends on our answer to this question, and it’s a question that all people now living must answer within our lifetimes.

          The thing is, we DO know how to do this—we do it at a family and community level all the time. But now we have to do it on a national and global level. Will we??

  28. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    Gardeners Beware: Report Finds Pesticides in Garden Plants

    Today, NRDC, Friends of the Earth, and the Pesticide Research Institute released a report showing that common bee-friendly flowering plants sold at stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, Ace Hardware, and True Value contain bee-killing pesticides. The study shows that 23 percent of bee-friendly garden plants sold at top retailers in 14 cities have been treated with neonicotinoid pesticides, the class of pesticides implicated in bee die-offs. Neonicotinoids are particularly toxic to bees because they are systemic pesticides. When a plant is treated with neonicotinoids, the pesticide becomes a part of the plant itself, contaminating the pollen, nectar, leaves, roots, stems, and flowers.

    https://www.nrdc.org/experts/rebecca-riley/gardeners-beware-report-finds-pesticides-garden-plants

    Reply
  30. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    Sea ice strongly linked to climate change in past 90,000 years

    Date:
    August 16, 2016
    Source:
    CAGE – Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment
    Summary:
    Expansion and retreat of sea ice varied consistently in pace with rapid climate changes through past 90,000 years, a new study shows.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160816111003.htm

    Reply
  31. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    New Antarctic ice discovery aids future climate predictions

    Date:
    August 16, 2016
    Source:
    British Antarctic Survey
    Summary:
    A team of scientists has discovered a 65 percent reduction in sea ice during the last interglacial period around 128,000 years ago.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160816084738.htm

    Reply
    • Interesting. So the Eemian saw a 65 percent reduction in sea ice at approx 1.4 to 1.9 C warmer than 1880 at peak. Not too surprising.

      So I’m curious how and if these periods may have coincided with large melt pulses coming from land ice — especially in Greenland.

      Reply
  32. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    The damage meter is really spinnin’

    At least 8 dead, 40,000 homes affected in devastating Louisiana floods

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/08/16/death-toll-in-louisiana-floods-rises-to-7-as-waters-slowly-begin-to-recede.html

    Reply
    • – See Trenberth at bottom:

      Disasters like Louisiana floods will worsen as planet warms, scientists warn

      National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to classify disaster as the eighth flood considered to be a once-in-every-500-years event in the US in a year


      “There’s a very tight loop – as surface temperatures of the oceans warm up, the immediate response is more water vapor in the atmosphere. We’re in a system inherently capable of producing more floods.”

      The number of heavy rainfall events in the US has risen well above the long-term average since the 1990s, with large regional variances. While the north-east, midwest and upper great plains have experienced a 30% increase in heavy rainfall episodes – considered once-in-every-five year downpours – parts of the west, particularly California, have been parched by drought.

      Warmer air, influenced by heat-trapping gases released by human activity, can contain more water vapor than cooler air. With the extra heat helping nourish storms, scientists expect global warming to help produce more intense downpours.
      “Assuming we don’t change our ways, warming is a virtual certainty and increased water vapor is virtual certainty,” Kunkel said. “That means increases in heavy rainfall is virtual certainty.”

      While scientists are loathe to attribute any single event to changes in the climate, they state that warming temperatures are helping tip the scales towards altered precipitation. Some, however, bristle at the belief that because floods and storms have always occurred, they should not be linked to climate change.

      Dr Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said the major floods seen in the US had a “clear human component in them. I have seen only a few reports and none mention climate change at all. It is pathetic.”
      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/16/louisiana-flooding-natural-disaster-weather-climate-change

      Reply
  33. Greg

     /  August 16, 2016

    A look at the national radar can not help but conjure up the image of river of water pouring out of the bowels of the Gulf northward.The numbers continue to rise. This from a news conference today.
    “Flooding in Louisiana has impacted at least 40,000 homes, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference, while 30,000 people and 1,000 pets have been rescued. 40,000 people have registered with FEMA for disaster assistance.
    https://weather.com/news/weather/news/gulf-coast-deadly-flooding-thousands-rescued-evacuated-latest-news

    Reply
  34. Greg

     /  August 16, 2016

    Robert, we know you are working on this one. July data added. From Gavin Schmidt:

    Reply
  35. Greg

     /  August 16, 2016

    Another graphic that shows the storms in the Arctic and Greenland from Peter Sinclair and UMaine:

    Reply
  36. Joint Cyclone Center ‏@JointCyclone 5h5 hours ago

    #Chanthu could become powerful extratropical cyclone into the northern Japan with 100kt (115mph) on Wed

    Reply
  37. NASA Study Nails Fracking as Source of Massive Methane ‘Hot Spot’

    The 2,500-square mile plume is said to be the largest concentration of the potent greenhouse gas in the country

    http://commondreams.org/news/2016/08/16/nasa-study-nails-fracking-source-massive-methane-hot-spot

    Looks like Clinton’s transition team leader is a little behind the times…

    Reply
  38. – An interesting hole here…

    Reply
  39. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    Are We Feeling Collective Grief Over Climate Change?

    The idea is highly controversial, but at least one psychiatrist is convinced that we are, whether we know it or not

    Yet she speaks of a collective anxiety that is insidious, even if we haven’t managed to connect all the dots.

    “There isn’t the slightest shred of doubt in my mind, that everyone on some level is anxious, deeply anxious, about climate change,” the forensic psychiatrist says. She attributes her belief to decades of experience with people who have difficulty knowing what they are feeling on a deeper level, and she understands that anxiety comes from many headwaters.

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/are-we-feeling-collective-grief-over-climate-change/

    Reply
    • – Its good to see this theme getting some prominence. (Also ‘forensic psychiatrist’)
      CC needs to be addressed on many levels — ASAP.

      Reply
  40. Reblogged this on 2016 Is Strange!.

    Reply
  41. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    Flooding in the South Looks a Lot Like Climate Change

    Climate change is never going to announce itself by name. But this is what we should expect it to look like.

    That’s what many scientists, analysts and activists are saying after heavy rains in southern Louisiana have killed at least eight people and forced tens of thousands of residents from their homes, in the latest in a series of extreme floods that have occurred in the United States over the last two years.

    That increase in heavy rainfall and the resultant flooding “is consistent with what we expect to see in the future if you look at climate models,” said David Easterling, a director at the National Centers for Environmental Information, which is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Not just in the U.S. but in many other parts of the world as well.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/17/us/climate-change-louisiana.html?_r=0

    Reply
  42. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    Can we economically outgrow climate change damages? Not for hurricanes we can’t

    When hurricanes like Katrina in 2005 or Sandy in 2012 impact on highly populated regions they bring about tremendous damages. More than 50 percent of all weather-related economic losses on the globe are caused by damages due to tropical cyclones. Researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now analyzed the magnitude of future hurricane losses in relation to economic growth. Showcasing the United States they found that financial losses per hurricane could triple by the end of the century in unmitigated climate change, while annual losses could on average rise by a factor of eight. Most importantly and contrary to prevalent opinion, they conclude that economic growth will not be able to counterbalance the increase in damage.

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-08/pifc-cwe081616.php

    Reply
  43. New Koch-Funded Group Aims to Promote the “Positives” of Fossil Fuels

    A long-awaited campaign to rebrand fossil fuels called Fueling US Forward made its public debut at the Red State Gathering 2016 on Saturday, where the organization’s President and CEO Charles Drevna gave attendees the inside scoop on the effort, and confirmed that the campaign is backed financially by Koch Industries.

    Back in February, Peter Stone first reported in the Huffington Post that a $10 million-a-year effort was proposed by a Koch Industries board member, James Mahoney, and Mr. Drevna, aiming “to boost petroleum-based transportation fuels and attack government subsidies for electric vehicles.” In early August, the Fueling US Forward website launched, and on Saturday, the first public comments were made about the campaign by Mr. Drevna, and they revealed a lot about how the Koch-backed initiative is working to re-frame fossil fuels.

    “We need a sustainable energy to ensure the future of the country,” Mr. Drevna told the audience.

    The source of that energy? That which Mr. Drevna labeled “reliable, abundant, efficient and sustainable fuels.”

    “Folks, that’s of course the fossil fuels,” he immediately added.

    Never mind that fossil fuels don’t align with any dictionary definition of “sustainable,”

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37246-new-koch-funded-group-fueling-us-forward-aims-to-promote-the-positives-of-fossil-fuels

    Reply
  44. Reply
  45. Darvince

     /  August 16, 2016

    CMC still has it on the 12z 08-16 run:

    Reply
  46. The earth.nullschool CO2 map appears to me to be sensitive enough to CO2 concentrations to see daily variations.

    I first noticed this over Sichaun, China, but now it appears to me to be worldwide, so far as I can tell. The CO2 readings seem to go lowest in the afternoon at most rural locations, when photosynthesis is at its peak.

    There appears to be a bug in the earth.nullschool time stamp on the CO2 map. The CO2 time stamp seems to differ from the other maps by about 12 hours, for both the universal time and the local time. So, ignore the time stamp for now.

    I have left a message on the earth.nullschool Facebook page, and hopefully they will fix this apparent bug, or tell me why I’m wrong about it being a bug in the time stamp for the CO2 map, but not for most or all of the other maps.

    To see the diurnal variation, go to Sichaun, China on earth.nullschool. Click on the “Now” control. Hit the single back arrow to go back 3 hours per click, and continue clicking until the minimum CO2 concentration is recorded. Click on the darkest area to see the lowest CO2 concentration in ppm. Over Sichuan this concentration reads about 330-350 ppm, these days. Look up the local time at Sichuan, China on the web. Subtract the number of hours you went back from the local time. For the lowest CO2 concentration, the local time will be equivalent to the afternoon, just about always. Hit the double back arrow to go back 24 hours, and you will see that this minimum CO2 concentration in the afternoon occurs just about every day.

    Since plants also collect diffuse light for photosynthesis and CO2 absorption, cloud cover shouldn’t interfere much with this pattern.

    https://earth.nullschool.net/#2016/07/31/2230Z/chem/surface/level/overlay=co2sc/orthographic=85.83,26.40,2048/loc=99.821,32.010

    This procedure can be applied at many locations around the globe, and the daily variations so far as I can tell seem to work out to CO2 minima in the afternoons, when photosynthesis is occurring the most rapidly.

    We need a second source to confirm this, but it does look like the forest carbon sinks in China are doing a great job at sucking up CO2, to me. The forest carbon sinks in Siberia seem to be doing a good job, and also in the Eastern U.S. and Canada. The Amazon and Africa look roughly carbon neutral and are scary, mostly due to fires, it appears.

    But the carbon sinks in China seem to be doing an outstanding job, and I wonder if that is partially due to the deliberate reforestation efforts of the Chinese government. I wonder if those reforestation efforts could be duplicated worldwide.

    Reply
  47. utoutback

     /  August 16, 2016

    I’ve not sent a musical comment before, but lets give it a try.
    Rodney Crowell – Fate’s Right Hand

    Reply
  48. The Chinese Grain for Green program:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grain_for_Green

    8.216 million hectares of marginal or steep farmland susceptible to erosion was converted to forest, the Wikipedia article says. The Chinese government paid the farmers to convert marginal farmland to forest.

    That’s about 31,700 square miles. That’s about 0.85% of the land area of China. What would the U.S. CO2 map look like if we did the same to 1% of the land area in the U.S.?

    Reply
  49. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    Bob Henson –

    The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2016: After Four Years, a Summer Sequel

    https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3385#commenttop

    Reply
  50. Colorado Bob

     /  August 16, 2016

    Big train going on now –

    National Weather Service Enhanced Radar Mosaic Loop

    Southern Mississippi Valley Sector

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

    Reply
  51. Clinton Transition Team Headed by Anti-Climate ‘Powerbroker’

    Clinton appoints Salazar who is Pro fracking, pro TPP, pro XL pipeline, against the anti-fracking vote coming in Colorado.

    Ken Salazar has previously claimed “there’s not a single case where hydraulic fracking has created an environmental problem for anyone”

    http://commondreams.org/news/2016/08/16/clinton-transition-team-headed-anti-climate-powerbroker

    Not looking good.

    Reply
    • If she’s got eyes in her head and even half a brain, she has to be better than Trump. First, we have to make sure Trump never gets anywhere near the Whiite House. Then we have to push Hillary to do the right thing with the climate.

      If Hillary gets elected, Bernie Sanders will likely be a power in the Senate. So, he will be there, pushing along with the rest of us.

      But if Trump is elected, likely it means years of denial totally disconnected from reason or reality.

      Reply
    • Overblown…

      Here’s a good, balanced article on the subject:

      http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/ken-salazar-tpp-trade-227068

      Salazar is probably a TTP supporter still. But he’s in no position here to make policy. Clinton continues to state that she wants more regulations for fracking while also continuing to state that she’s against the TPP. I’d prefer a ban too. But I think that’s a fight we are strategically going to have to take to the protest movements and on down to the states.

      I would say that Salazar’s appointment is uninspiring and probably behind the times. That Clinton needs to start making more Progressive appointments if she wants to lead a unified party. But I don’t see this as a reason to light my hair on fire. If Trump surged in the polls, then it’s hair on fire time.

      I’d like to point out that we need to build more clout for Progressives/Greens and grow the number of politically active people in these groups. But as we do this, I think we need to look at effective ways to apply our influence. To this point, there are two strong progressives/environmental advocates on the team — Granholm and Tanden. I’d want more. But this isn’t terrible.

      Reply
  52. NevenA

     /  August 16, 2016

    I just published 2016 Arctic cyclone, update 1.

    Reply
  53. wharf rat

     /  August 23, 2016

    Central and northern Alberta rocked by extreme weather

    “Roads are starting to wash away,” Wicklund said over Facebook. “It rained non-stop from two in the morning…fences are starting to fall over.”

    http://globalnews.ca/news/2897337/emergency-alert-issued-after-torrential-rain-results-in-flooding-in-westlock-alta/

    Reply
  1. July Was the Hottest Month Ever Recorded; 2016 Set to Make 1998 Look Cold by Comparison | robertscribbler

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