“Surreal” U.S. Wildfires Should Not be Burning in Mid-November

The smoke here in Atlanta has been surreal — Meteorologist Stu Ostro

*****

It’s a script that reads like something from the pages of a dystopian sci-fi novel:

In Dallas, on November 16, the thermometer hit 88 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking a 95 year old record. In Ada, Oklahoma the mercury struck 85 degrees F. Further north in high-elevation Denver, temperatures soared to 78 F — punching through a 75 year old record.

Meanwhile, strange, out-of-season wildfires continued to burn from the U.S. South to North Dakota and New England. In Atlanta, smoke streaming out of nearby wildfires blanketed the city. Red-eyed residents were increasingly forced to don protective masks beneath the choking late-fall pallor. In Chattanooga, over 200 residents were hospitalized from smoke inhalation and shortness of breath.

appalachian-wildfires

(NASA satellite image of smoke streaming out from Appalachian wildfires on November 16, 2016. Note that smoke plume stretches over large sections of North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia — stretching all the way to coast and spilling out over the Atlantic. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

Today, winds blowing out of the northwest pushed smoke over large sections of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. And numerous additional locations issued air quality alerts.

Mass Mobilization to Fight Surreal Fall Wildfires

In the neighboring Appalachian region alone, more than 5,000 firefighters employing 24 helicopters and other pieces of heavy equipment have been battling blazes throughout forested lands for almost a week. A single fire in the North Georgia Mountains is larger in size than Manhattan. And with numerous large blazes raging throughout the region, about 130,000 acres has burned so far in an area that rarely sees large fires during summer — much less in the middle of November.

Asked about the situation, Weather Channel meteorologist Stu Ostro said — “The smoke here in Atlanta has been surreal, and [occurs] in the context of the persistent lack of precip and above average temperatures.”

Further north, wildfires have also sparked in New Hampshire, New York and North Dakota.

Conditions in the Context of Climate Change

In a number of cases, it appears that arsonists have ignited some of these fires. But warm conditions more similar to summer than fall have combined with an extreme drought spreading through the affected regions to push fire danger through the roof. So the impact of any ignition source is dramatically compounded by the heat and dryness. And the most intense fires are now burning in a region of extreme to exceptional drought centered on the mountains of North Georgia.

unseasonable-warmth-blankets-north-america

(Odd, unseasonable warmth blankets much of the U.S. and Canada in this surface air temperature anomaly map as wildfires rage in the southeast on November 16. Image source: Climate Reanalyzer.)

Such extreme drought and related intense warmth is not a normal climate feature for the southeast during November. Cool weather often dominates the North Georgia region at this time of year. But 2016, a year when global temperatures are now likely to hit 1.2 C above 1880s averages, brings with it an increasing likelihood of unseasonable heat and related rapidly developing drought in the affected areas. These fires, thus, occur under weather conditions that are consistent with what we would expect from human-caused climate change.

Links/Notes:

Stu Ostro

LANCE MODIS

Climate Reanalyzer

United States Drought Monitor

The National Inter-agency Fire Center

Note: Renowned and respected meteorologist Stu Ostro was generous enough to provide commentary on the smoke/fire situation in Atlanta — which includes a note on how odd he thinks the current situation is. That said, the analysis and assertion that the current situation is not normal and is related to climate change is my own initial observation. Stu’s inclusion in this analysis is in no way meant to imply that he agrees fully or in part with my particular assessment. You may want to seek his own professional opinion on the matter here on Twitter as I have found that he is both friendly and accessible.

Note: Official agencies issue burn warnings during dry times for a reason. Anyone lighting fires during such times of extreme dryness — like the present — represents a hazard to public safety. Health, property, the resiliency of our national forests, and individual livelihoods are all put at risk by careless, reckless or malicious use of fire under these circumstances. Please heed the guidance of local, state and national authorities in such instances.

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118 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on "OUR WORLD".

    Reply
  2. Nice, carefully and accurately laid out. Hope we can all report if/when we see any mainstream media coverage of the fires that mentions global warming. I am pretty sure these fires are not a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. But what do I know?

    Reply
    • Cheers Mike. Thanks so much for the kind words.

      Reply
    • And in other news. Arctic above 80 N. WTF???

      Reply
      • WTF indeed –
        And this is in the dark – what will happen under the summer sun in ’17 ??

        Reply
        • Polar amplification is odd in that most of the warming occurs during the dark of winter. However, if enough ice is lost, then the values can start to tip a bit during summer as well. The primary mitigator during summer is increased cloudiness. But that can really only go so far and is one of the only negative feedbacks in a system increasingly dominated by positive feedbacks. Added water vapor eventually tips the scales here.

      • Kevin Jones

         /  November 17, 2016

        Late May in November?????

        Reply
        • Ryan in New England

           /  November 17, 2016

          This is really becoming nuts. This season in the Arctic is unbelievable, and if this continues I fear it will set us up for a record breaking summer melt season. I realize that’s a LONG way off and lots of variables can and will change, but this is becoming really crazy.

        • La Niña does tend to tip the scales a bit here. The trend is for heat on top of heat in the Arctic. We could have some counter-trend weather help to mitigate. But that has not been the case so far.

      • danabanana

         /  November 17, 2016

        To quote CB Heat seeks cold… so we first see warming in Nights, Winters, Polewards and Highwards(snowline).

        Reply
  3. Dissent

     /  November 17, 2016

    RS, I really appreciate your blog. Thank you for fighting against the ignorance that threatens us all. I was in Atlanta recently and noticed the unique smell in the air that reminded me of wildfires in California in my youth. It seemed so out of place. My next thought was of ‘The Road’ and that ashen apocalyptic world. Great to see it covered here in your clearinghouse of climate catastrophe.

    I hope that the decision made on November 8 is something from which the biosphere we know can still be allowed to recover. I fear that war has been officially declared.

    Reply
    • The conflict has been with us now for a long time. It’s just that these guys are pushing to escalate it even futher. We are in trouble. Yet these guys would rather just focus on the comparatively minor problem that is ISIS. Want to multiply ISIS by 20? Keep warming the climate. The destabilization we see now is minor by comparison to what’s coming if we keep burning fossil fuels.

      Reply
  4. Andy_in_SD

     /  November 17, 2016

    source: https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/nfn.htm

    Daily statistics 11/16/16
    Number of new large fires 37

    States currently reporting large fires:

    Number of active large fires
    Alabama (1)
    Georgia (4)
    Kentucky (9)
    New Hampshire (1)
    New York (2)
    North Carolina (9)
    South Carolina (1)
    South Dakota (1)
    Tennessee (6)
    Virginia (3)

    Acres from active fires 92,190

    Fires contained 0

    Reply
    • Andy_in_SD

       /  November 17, 2016

      Reply
    • Thanks for this, Andy.

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  November 17, 2016

      A personal observation…here in Connecticut (southern New England northeast of New York City) we had a recent wildfire that was fortunately able to be extinguished, but just having one is a rare event, and this time of year is just unheard of. We are also in the midst of a severe drought, with rainfall deficits climbing and reservoirs dwindling.

      Reply
      • The added heat generates this odd situation where rainfall values have to also increase to prevent drought. But because the rain tends to come more in large bursts interspersed by dry periods you end up with this drought-flood dichotomy even in areas where there is no technical overall rainfall deficit.

        Reply
  5. climatehawk1

     /  November 17, 2016

    Tweet queued up.

    Reply
  6. Judith Langston

     /  November 17, 2016

    A new fire popped up on Ryo Mountain near the intersection of of the Hwy 53 @ Hwy 411 Fairmount, Georgia this afternoon as reported by the Gordon County Sheriff.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the report, Judith. It appears that these fires are likely to burn well into December. There’s a front coming through which may hit the northern edge over the next few days. Or not. The point is that warm, dry conditions are expected to remain in place for some time.

      Reply
  7. Greg

     /  November 17, 2016

    (Dropping in. Apologies if posted earlier. Also saw “Arrival” – Recommend. Thoughtful and timely and relevant for current politics.)

    Military Leaders Urge Trump to See Climate as a Security Threat
    Dozens of military and defense experts advised the president-elect that global warming should transcend politics
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/military-leaders-urge-trump-to-see-climate-as-a-security-threat/?WT.mc_id=SA_TW_ENGYSUS_NEWS#

    Reply
  8. Abel Adamski

     /  November 17, 2016

    The Great Southern ocean.

    Fascinating read, answers and poses questions
    http://www.nature.com/news/how-much-longer-can-antarctica-s-hostile-ocean-delay-global-warming-1.20978

    Reply
    • Interesting bit here. May want to also consider the fact that the Southern Ocean is a region where a huge amount of atmospheric heat is being transferred into the world ocean system. The cool water upwelling serves as a conveyor that transfers heat to the ocean bottom and, eventually, to the sea fronting glaciers. It’s a physical energy transfer mechanism that plays toward increasing the impact of global sea level rise even as it mitigates the rate of atmospheric warming.

      Reply
  9. Ryan in New England

     /  November 17, 2016

    China offers a history lesson to Trump regarding the reality of climate change.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/17/climate-change-a-chinese-plot-beijing-gives-donald-trump-a-history-lesson

    Reply
  10. Cate

     /  November 17, 2016

    Astonishing images of this week’s “king” tides along the eastern seaboard—the new normal, except that it’s not going to stay like this. It’s going to get much worse.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/11/15/supermoon-spiked-king-tide-offers-sneak-preview-of-sea-level-rise-along-east-coast

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  November 17, 2016

      Yep…and my state voted for the Lunatic and his CC denier regime. This election has shocked me to my core…but us Floridians are seeing CC happening right before our eyes..yet our state went to the Denier. Chilling..

      Reply
      • I think we can not make significant progress with global warming on national level until the republican party is worried about the problem. Time, rising tides, forest fires, record high temps and the death of winter are on our side. There are a lot of really powerful interests dedicated to blocking understanding and appropriate responses to global warming. Those powerful interests were big winners in the national election, but denial and creating confusion will not slow disastrous global warming. We need to figure out how to speak with our neighbors everywhere (but especially in red states) about the connection between the planetary disaster of global warming and the unusual events that happen all around us as the planet warms. I think republicans will finally get concerned about global warming when it is too late to prevent some really disastrous and painful system changes, but maybe it is never too late to mitigate some impact?

        I hope that is the case.

        Reply
        • Both climate change and renewable energy are issues that appeal to college educated republicans. And that provides some hope. What’s tough is reaching working class republicans who are now basically in a very difficult to reach place politically and emotionally right now. The siren call of white nationalism has them firmly in its grips.

    • Much, much worse…

      Reply
  11. Dave McGinnis

     /  November 17, 2016

    I believe I heard that these fires were mostly human-caused, perhaps mere carelessness but perhaps not. Any truth to this?

    Reply
    • bostonblorp

       /  November 17, 2016

      > “In Kentucky, a 21-year-old man was arrested in his hometown of Jenkins on Friday after police said he admitted to starting the wildfire to draw attention to his selfie videos on Facebook. ”

      It’s not often I’m rendered speechless..

      Reply
    • A number of the fires are suspected to have been lit by arsonists. In a few cases, arsonist have been caught. There are a few points to consider here, though.

      1. Without the heat and drought the fires, even those lit by arsonists, would have never grown so large.
      2. The fire hazard is very high, so there is a high likelihood that a good number of these fires were not lit by arsonists.
      3. The media has a noted tendency to focus on arson as a cause without highlighting the clear changes to the climate that have resulted in increased fire risk.
      4. In this case, the climate contribed to the large fires more than any arsonist. That said, arson has probably exaggerated the problem and made it worse.

      Reply
      • Matt

         /  November 18, 2016

        Yes the point here is, who cares how they started? If we were looking at someone lighting a fire at this time of the year normally, then it would put itself out.
        The same situation in the media is occurring here too in Oz. Focus on the arsonist, not the conditions. Is it any coincidence that our media is dominated by Murdoch also?

        Reply
  12. Tigertown

     /  November 17, 2016

    I live in the Southeast. From time to time, I have cleared land off, to build on and so forth.
    It always took forever to burn the type of trees that we have. The type of pines here, especially do not burn easy. They have to be really dried out. But recently, I have seen all types of dead trees everywhere that I went. Literally dead.

    Reply
  13. Uncle B

     /  November 17, 2016

    Sir, your efforts are so very much appreciated. This is the first site I check whenever I have a free moment.

    Reply
  14. Suzanne

     /  November 17, 2016

    Tess Rafferty….video…”Aftermath” …worth watching and sharing…because it accurately expresses how many of us feel about what has happened. And I will apologize up front…it doesn’t directly refer to CC..but still relevant…IMO:

    Reply
  15. John

     /  November 17, 2016

    USGS: Largest oil deposit ever found in U.S. discovered in Texas.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2016/11/17/usgs-largest-oil-deposit-ever-found-us-discovered-texas/94013292/

    Until we address Capitalism and Economic Growth on a completely new level, nothing will change until environmental destruction is well beyond repair.

    Reply
    • The issue that is most immediate is enacting a rapid transition away from fossil fuel burning to favor renewables. And I think that may be something that everyone who’s not aligned with the fossil fuel interests can agree on.

      Reply
  16. Abel Adamski

     /  November 17, 2016

    Methane

    Another piece of the puzzle is coming into focus

    http://phys.org/news/2016-11-mysterious-source-greenhouse-gas-methane.html#nRlv

    For decades, marine chemists have faced an elusive paradox. The surface waters of the world’s oceans are supersaturated with the greenhouse gas methane, yet most species of microbes that can generate the gas can’t survive in oxygen-rich surface waters. So where exactly does all the methane come from? This longstanding riddle, known as the “marine methane paradox,” may have finally been cracked thanks to a new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

    According to WHOI geochemist Dan Repeta, the answer may lie in the complex ways that bacteria break down dissolved organic matter, a cocktail of substances excreted into seawater by living organisms.

    Reply
  17. Cate

     /  November 17, 2016

    FishOutOfWater has some interesting analysis here.

    “Arctic Sea Ice Collapse Has Destabilized the Stratospheric & Lower Atmospheric Circulations
    Temperatures over the Arctic ocean are as much as 50 degrees F (30 Celsius) above normal. It’s above freezing in places that are normally 20 below zero in degrees F. Arctic sea ice collapse on the Atlantic side has allowed warm storms to penetrate the central Arctic. This extreme heat is destabilizing the northern hemisphere’s atmospheric circulation all the way up to the top of the stratosphere.
    Arctic sea ice extent, area and volume has collapsed to record low levels for November as warm Atlantic ocean water has pushed into Arctic seas that used to be ice covered. Sea ice cover is also low on the Pacific side….”
    The discussion continues, focusing on implications for winter weather and the US droughts.

    http://enewspf.com/2016/11/16/arctic-sea-ice-collapse-destabilized-stratospheric-lower-atmospheric-circulations/

    Reply
    • Interesting. And, yes, it is just insane.

      Fish, I think, was highly critical of my past atmospheric circulation analysis. Seems he may have gone the other way with this one.

      Worth noting that the forecast has the above 80 N region rebounding a bit to +10 to +15 C vs the +20 C average we see today. That said, we are likely to see another counter trend pause in sea ice growth = to 2-4 days or more.

      Sea ice coverage deltas tend to converge this time of year. So the trend is still odd and pretty disturbing.

      RE atmosphere — ridge formation has tended to run up through the Barents particularly, but the Pacific has also seen its share of warm wind events and odd ridging over Alaska.

      SSW in the forecast seems to indicate that we could have some strong Jet Stream anomaly patterns coming by Dec-ish as well.

      It’s a mess…

      Reply
  18. Cate

     /  November 18, 2016

    http://e360.yale.edu/feature/cargo_shipping_in_the_arctic_declining_sea_ice/3056/

    “Russia, China, and other nations are stepping up preparations for the day when large numbers of cargo ships will be traversing a once-icebound Arctic Ocean. But with vessels already plying these waters, experts say the time is now to prepare for the inevitable environmental fallout.”

    Russia has 40 icebreakers and almost a dozen major Arctic ports. China has published a lengthy handbook, Guidance on Arctic Navigation on the Northwest Route”, designed to assist Chinese shipping companies that will soon be using the NW Passage. Cruise ship companies are taking bookings for new ships and new routes, Meanwhile, Canada and the US still have “no significant ports” on the Arctic Ocean.

    The impact of all this increased traffic on the Arctic—particularly on sea ice and on fauna in such a vulnerable and sensitive environment—has yet to be quantified, or even studied at all in many cases.

    Reply
  19. Cate

     /  November 18, 2016

    Another good, plain-Engilsh summary from CarbonBrief on global CO2 emissions in 2016 and the implications for climate change goals going forward.

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/what-global-co2-emissions-2016-mean-climate-change

    Reply
    • Excellent report here. Although the sensitivity values may be a bit soft. Unfortunately 2 C is probably already a lock. We’ll be +1.2 C this year alone.

      Reply
  20. coloradobob

     /  November 18, 2016

    Climate change a Chinese hoax? Beijing gives Donald Trump a lesson in history
    China points out to global warming denier and president-elect that Republicans under Reagan and Bush actually put global warming on international agenda

    Link

    Reply
    • I think that it will be highly destructive to American standing in the world to have a climate change denier as President. What we see now is France preparing to slap a carbon tax on our goods. And who can blame them?

      Reply
  21. coloradobob

     /  November 18, 2016

    U.S. Companies to Trump: Don’t Abandon Global Climate Deal

    Hundreds of American companies, including Mars, Nike, Levi Strauss and Starbucks, have urged President-elect Donald J. Trump not to abandon the Paris climate deal, saying a failure by the United States to build a clean economy endangers American prosperity.

    In a plea addressed to Mr. Trump — as well as President Obama and members of Congress — 365 companies and major investors emphasized their “deep commitment to addressing climate change,” and demanded that he leave in place low-emissions policies in the United States.

    Link

    Reply
    • I hope he listens. Although his staff now appears to be more interested in setting up internment camps for Muslims. In all honesty, I think we are going to have to fight this guy. And fight him like we’ve never fought against a sitting person in command of the US since King George of England.

      Reply
  22. coloradobob

     /  November 18, 2016

    Large forest die-offs can have effects that ricochet to distant ecosystems

    Swann’s previous research looked at how a hypothetical massive tree planting in the Northern Hemisphere to slow global warming could have the unintended effect of changing tropical rainfall. More recent research has shown how European deforestation over the past thousands of years may have reduced rainfall over modern-day Africa.

    Read more at: Link

    Reply
  23. Whachamacallit

     /  November 18, 2016

    Hey Mr. Scribbler, I noticed my post had disappeared, did you end up deleting it along with the crazy denier guy? I’m not butthurt or anything, I’m just curious.

    To make this comment worth more, I will also add that the illustrious Tamino recently released a paper on Sunny-day flooding over the past years and two separate predictions on the chance of that event happening over the years. It’s about as reassuring as one would expect.

    Reply
    • I did take down the denier posts by Oale. Unfortunately, if I take down a parent post, then the following posts go with it. My apologies. If you like, please feel free to re-state your comment as I’m more than glad to support it here. Warmest regards — R

      Reply
  24. coloradobob

     /  November 18, 2016

    The end of the world.

    We all have front row seats.

    Reply
  25. “Surreal” – Arctic sea ice extent should not be going down in mid-November – but it is!

    From JAXA extent data:
    Nov. 16: 8,464,816 km² (8.46 m)
    Nov. 17: 8,418,099 km² (8.42 m)

    A loss of 46,717 km² (47 k)

    Link – Arctic Sea Ice Extent

    Reply
    • Andy_in_SD

       /  November 18, 2016

      that’s nuts!

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  November 18, 2016

      Un-freaking-believable! At a time when sea ice should be growing at its fastest rate all year, it really seems like we are witnessing a threshold being crossed this year in the Arctic. Remember last year it was above freezing at the North Pole around Christmas? Things once thought impossible now seem to be coming more frequently.

      Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  November 18, 2016

      Just wow….but most of our fellow travelers on this biosphere have absolutely no idea how dire all of this is..as they continue to turn away from the calamity that is on going.

      Reply
      • I think it is starting to look like Peter Wadhams has it right on the loss of Arctic Sea Ice. Will scientists and commentators who have bashed Wadhams offer an apology? An apology to Wadhams for using models on sea ice loss that are proving to be less accurate at predicting the actual loss of sea ice than Professor Wadhams’ observational model? I think an apology requires a moment of humility where folks who have bashed Wadhams have to say, well, what do I know? I have gotten this wrong and Wadhams appears to have been getting it right.

        Reply
    • That is absolutely nuts! And it looks like the JAXA sea ice site has gone down…

      Reply
  26. coloradobob

     /  November 18, 2016

    Reply
  27. coloradobob

     /  November 18, 2016

    Just ask the axis.

    Reply
  28. Andy_in_SD

     /  November 18, 2016

    Climate Change Wallops Alabama, but the State Climatologist Is a Climate Skeptic
    The state has few plans to deal with record drought that scientists say will only worsen as temperatures rise.

    Mitch Reid often takes his kids down to explore the creek behind his house in Hoover, Alabama, but this month, the stream ran dry. There’s no water to splash in—just dry rocks and thousands of dead fish, mussels, and snails.

    http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/11/01/alabama-drought-shows-state-mind-climate-change

    Reply
  29. Ryan in New England

     /  November 18, 2016

    I had commented up thread about my local drought (Connecticut). I was incorrect…my area is now in an extreme drought. Over the past two years we have received 20″ less rain than “normal”.

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?CT

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  November 18, 2016

      The river behind my house ran dry a few months ago and remains dry. I can’t ever recall seeing the Coppermine Brook bone dry. Many older folks have told me that can’t remember it ever this bad. And this is in New England, a region of the US that had previously been thought to be “safe” from climate change.

      Reply
    • Thanks for this, Ryan. I’m also finding some indication that drought is more widespread than just mid-latitudes. Even areas of Siberia that were expected to see increases in rainfall are ridiculously dry these past four years.

      Reply
  30. Cate

     /  November 18, 2016

    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/extremely-warm-2015-16-winter-cyclone-weakened-arctic-sea-ice-pack

    “A large cyclone that crossed the Arctic in December 2015 brought so much heat and humidity to this otherwise frigid and dry environment that it thinned and shrunk the sea ice cover during a time of the year when the ice should have been growing thicker and stronger, a NASA study found.

    The cyclone formed on Dec. 28, 2015, in the middle of the North Atlantic, and traveled to the United Kingdom and Iceland before entering the Arctic on Dec. 30, lingering in the area for several days. During the height of the storm, the mean air temperatures in the Kara and Barents seas region, north of Russia and Norway, were 18 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) warmer than what the average had been for this time of the year since 2003….

    Usually, during the Arctic winter the atmosphere and surface of the ice are very cold, while the exposed ocean waters are warmer, so there’s a heat transfer from the ocean to atmosphere. During the cyclone, the pattern was inverted and heat traveled from the atmosphere to the surface of the ice. After the storm, the weather in the Kara-Barents seas region remained warmer than average for January, leading scientists to believe this cyclone prevented the sea ice from recovering.”

    Looking for straight-up doom-free science info, I stumbled across this blog just as RS wrote that piece about the rain at the North Pole—another result of this cyclone. Been here every day since.🙂

    Reply
    • Great article by NASA. Maybe we deserve a little hat tip here😉. But it’s scary. And what’s happening in the Arctic now is very similar.

      Reply
  31. Cate

     /  November 18, 2016

    This is the anniversary of the Burin tidal wave that hit Newfoundland in 1929. Some researchers now think the Burin event may have been caused by an underwater landslide on the continental shelf, similar to the great Storegga slide off Norway that is theorised to have generated a tsunami that drowned Doggerland in the North Sea about 10K years ago.

    A current large research project in the UK involving both science and engineering focuses on the probability of such tidal waves happening again as a result of climate change, and how the UK might protect itself.

    http://archivalmoments.ca/2016/11/tidal-wave-reached-the-burin-peninsula/

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  November 18, 2016

      http://www.southampton.ac.uk/news/2012/08/assess-tsunami-threat.page

      Climate change may be a factor in tsunamis. This large collaborative project considers, among, other things, the effects of climate change on Arctic sediments, Arctic continental slopes, and “the contribution” that methane hydrates may make to sediment instability. An old link, will see if I can find some newer reports.

      Reply
        • Cate

           /  November 18, 2016

          A bit more about methane hydrates:

          “Earthquakes can trigger submarine landslides. Although the Arctic is not an earthquake “hot spot” at the moment, this may change. Seismicity is likely to increase due to the melting of ice sheets. We use models to get to know locations of future earthquake hot spots.
          Gas hydrates have a stabilising effect on marine sediments at continental slopes. But what happens when these hydrates dissociate due to temperature or pressure changes? Conducting geotechnical laboratory experiments we aim to increase understanding of how methane hydrate dissociation influences the engineering properties of marine sediments.
          With the help of computer models we analyse how the continental slopes will react to earthquakes and gas hydrate dissociation.”

          http://projects.noc.ac.uk/landslide-tsunami/submarine-landslides-and-tsunamis

        • Cate

           /  November 18, 2016

          One more and I’m done, I promise—this is a geologist on submarine landslides, again with a mention of methane hydrates.

          http://www.geological-digressions.com/?p=1128

    • Abel Adamski

       /  November 18, 2016

      I did read an article of a very large Tsunami that hit England in the 600’s , sort of around the time those couple of super volcano’s trashed the Justinian Roman Empire (or at least the following years without a summer did). Interestingly Irish monks who used to meticulously record the weather, clouds seasons etc reported on the ash clouds.
      Once writing started records were kept

      Reply
    • Witchee

       /  November 18, 2016

      Fascinating, Cate, thanks for the links.

      Reply
    • Both SLR and warming add stress to undersea slope systems that contain hydrate. Mainstream science has shied away from identifying this as a risk of note. I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.

      Reply
  32. Spike

     /  November 18, 2016

    A must watch here

    Reply
  33. Genomik

     /  November 18, 2016

    Had a fascinating conversation with a fellow futurist and tech CEO last night. She was pointing out how AI tech is accelerating very rapidly. She was optimistic about its capacities to solve the worlds problems, which I agree it has some potential to help. Healthcare we agreed would be great if AI helped costs to go down. It may be the case that AI can really help to understand human body processes.
    However I was not so optimistic about AI solving climate issues. She pointed out quantum computing could be a reality soon which is very transformative. Yet a unique challenge of climate as opposed to humans, is there is only one climate so one cannot do comparative modeling. With humans you can do literally billions of comparisons with different folks bodies and mutations. Run experiments with 50,000 patients vs 50K controls.
    With climate theres only one model and thus far many climate scientists are not accurately predicting whats next, let alone how to reverse it. It seems to me that reversing it will be immensely complex.
    Many of my futurist friends think the tech will arrive to solve climate issues. I noted we already have many of the tech, its the political will to implement them thats the challenge. The GOP actually defunding tools to diagnose and solve is absurd and a poor harbinger of solving CC.
    Further she pointed out that as climate changes it opens up new ecosystems. My response was that you typically lose diversity as climate changes thus jellyfish may rapidly advance into new areas but coral reefs and the unique diversity of them wont advance. Where there were 1000 species, a new ecosystems will have 100, like Jellyfish and cockroaches!

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  November 18, 2016

      I wish them well in their future utopia—-and I thank my lucky stars daily that I will not live to see it.

      Reply
    • I’m not sure computers thinking for human beings is a very high value proposition. As an advisory capacity, perhaps. In the military, ‘human in the loop’ is pretty critical. I think we should probably expand this to medical decision making and climate decision making.

      Reply
    • John S

       /  November 19, 2016

      This nasty business of willful AGW is not a problem of data or knowledge or models, it is a problem of politics.
      In my decades in IT I have found the adage ‘there are no technical problems, only people problems’ is usually true.

      Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  November 19, 2016

      The AI machines will no doubt work out the appropriate climate for themselves-the ‘soft machines’ might not like it, however.

      Reply
  34. Vic

     /  November 18, 2016

    Tesla Motors gains access to China’s EV charging network.

    https://electrek.co/2016/11/18/tesla-china-adapter-charging-stations-national-standard/

    Reply
  35. June

     /  November 18, 2016

    Category 6 blog has a good post on the Arctic today also.

    Crazy Cryosphere: Record Low Sea Ice, An Overheated Arctic, and a Snowbound Eurasia

    https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3506

    Reply
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