Largest Winter Wildfire in Kansas History Probably Linked to Climate Change

Over the past few days, a 1.5 million acre (2,350 square mile) swath of the Central U.S. has burned. The wildfires, stoked by warm winds, prodigious undergrowth, and a nascent mid-western drought exploded across Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Six people have perished, numerous structures have been destroyed, and thousands of people have been forced to evacuate. According to initial reports, the losses in the form of cropland burned and livestock consumed by the flames are expected to be significant.

(Large wildfires and massive burn scars are clearly visible in this March 7 NASA satellite shot of North Texas, the Oklahoma Pan-Handle and Southern Kansas. For reference, bottom edge of frame is approximately 120 miles. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

For Kansas, a single blaze covering 1,000 square miles was likely the largest fire ever to strike the state. Meanwhile, similar enormous fires ripped through nearby Oklahoma and North Texas (see satellite image above). Though more favorable weather conditions for firefighting are on the way, concerns remain that the fires could continue to grow throughout the weekend.

It is not an unheard of event for wildfires to strike the plains states during winter. However, the rising frequency and intensity of large fires during recent years has been a cause for growing concern among climate researchers. And though humans and lightning strikes often provide the ignition sources for the wildfires that do occur, it is the underlying heat and drought conditions which can cause a wildfire to explode into an out of control monstrosity when such an ignition inevitably occurs. To this point, it’s worth noting that a similar large wildfire outbreak occurred during the winter of 2010-2011 — a time when near record warmth combined with drought to scorch 4,000 square miles in Texas and Arizona. And we should also note that global warming will tend to bring on these wildfire favorable conditions with increasing frequency and intensity.

(Near record warmth and below average precipitation over the past month set the stage for extreme wildfire risks this week. Increasingly, such anomalously warm temperatures and rapid onset drought conditions are driven by human-caused climate change. Image source: NOAA.)

This year, similar climate change related conditions set the stage for this past week’s dangerous outbreak. And though some researchers consider the fire regime in this region of the U.S. during this time of year to be cyclical in nature (possibly driven at least in part by the ENSO cycle), the added heat and increasing risk of intensifying drought periods due to climate change plays a role in the worsening fire regime as well.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, wildfire season in the Western U.S. has already grown from 5 months per year to 7+ months per year due to rising temperatures. This added heat and related expansion of the wildfire season has helped to increase the average number of large fires burning during any given year in this region from approximately 140 per year during the 1980s to 250 per year from the period of 2000 to 2012.

(Union of Concerned Scientists graphic shows stark wildfire trend for the Western U.S. A trend that is being repeated in many regions across the country due to climate change’s rising temperatures and increasingly intense precipitation extremes. See full infographic here: Union of Concerned Scientists.)

For the Central U.S. the story is much the same as researchers have warned that the frequency and intensity of wildfires likely would continue to increase in the coming years, given the confluence of climate change related factors such as higher temperatures and lower rainfall amounts. In Phys.org today, University of Illinois atmospheric sciences professor Don Wuebbles noted that increasingly intense wildfires are:

“…Probably… the new normal. Thirty years from now, we may look upon this as being a much better period than what we may be facing then.”

Links:

LANCE MODIS

NOAA

Union of Concerned Scientists

A Look at Questions About Current Wildfires

At Least 6 People Have Died in Plains Wildfires

Hat tip to Colorado Bob

Leave a comment

99 Comments

  1. Greg

     /  March 9, 2017

    Kansas sets wildfire record ‘it never hoped to see’ :
    http://www.kansascity.com/news/state/kansas/article137325113.html

    ‘We’re not out of the woods’: 1 dead, 656,000 acres burned:
    http://www.kansas.com/news/state/article137056168.html

    Wildfires burn more than 1 million acres, taking 7 lives:
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/07/us/wildfires-texas-deaths/

    Fire jumps a road in Comanche County near the Kiowa county line. The fire was racing east driven by winds of nearly 30 mph((March 7, 2017)
    http://www.kansas.com/news/weather/8ddg2a/picture137120063/ALTERNATES/FREE_960/staff%20fire(3)

    Reply
  2. Robert in New Orleans

     /  March 9, 2017

    I was of the opinion that It would require a small town being burned down to the ground before before the average person would care or take notice of these things. But today I am not so sure, I am starting to think that a large town/small city needs to be reduced to cinders before people react to this increasing threat.

    Reply
    • Andy_in_SD

       /  March 9, 2017

      Ft McMurray was a decent sized place. Perhaps it requires ones own town to burn to care any more.

      Reply
      • Tigertown

         /  March 9, 2017

        Anyone that ever gets to experience a fire close in magnitude of Ft. Mac is likely to take it to heart and remember it.

        Reply
        • Cate

           /  March 9, 2017

          It would be interesting to know the effect of the Ft Mac fire on the opinions about climate change held by the residents of that city.

    • yes…as a climate writer, my perception is that folks have become increasingly numbed to new information and developments in the climate sphere (there are exceptions of course). It is a great unknown – what magnitude of destruction and suffering will suffice to mobilize different levels of critical mass. Given our collective inability to address the situation, it seems clear that this question will be answered with many, many concrete examples in the not-too-distant future.

      Reply
    • “I am starting to think that a large town/small city needs to be reduced to cinders before people react to this increasing threat.”

      – this wrenches my heart, as I’ve witnessed the apathy many times and wonder how well-educatedd people can choose to deny what’s happening to our world.

      Sometimes someone will make a horrid expression and say, ‘I don’t want to hear about it,’ and others ask why focus on negative issues when there are so many good things in this world… for instance, in species extinctions or the after effects of Agent Orange — 2,4D is a pesticide widely used on pastures which trickled down via milk, cheeses, etc….— and many people just shrug…….

      Fires are horrid, and our planet is waving flags and blowing whistles – yet many are oblivious.

      Reply
  3. wharf rat

     /  March 9, 2017

    Logan Fire in northeast Colorado fully contained
    Updated: Wed 5:29 PM, Mar 08, 2017

    LOGAN COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) – Firefighters have completely contained a fire that was burning near the Colorado/Nebraska border.

    The wildfire, driven by powerful winds, scorched 45 square miles Monday and claimed five homes. Officials state that 15 outbuildings burned, but the extent of damage to livestock is unknown. It was first reported east of Sterling Monday, but jumped I-76 and spread into Phillips County later in the day.

    http://www.kktv.com/content/news/Northeastern-Colorado-fire-burns-30000-acres-destroys-several-buldings-415525133.html

    Reply
  4. Andy_in_SD

     /  March 9, 2017

    “The wildfires, stoked by warm winds, prodigious undergrowth, and a nascent mid-western drought exploded across Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. ”

    I would surmise a chain of events that assist in creating a drought situation.

    Not only reduced rainfall (the obvious culprit), but perhaps almost as important. The new ebb/flow of temperatures into higher spikes of above melt too early in the season, causing the ground snow pack to not percolate into the ground slowly in the spring. Rather it has rapid melt sessions where it is inclined to run off, leaving less to be absorbed by the ground.

    For snow/ice pack to gradually absorb, one needs snow/ice as well as a gradual increase in temperature. Sudden temperature spikes cause run off.

    Just a thought.

    Reply
  5. Robert E Prue

     /  March 9, 2017

    Hello, I live in Coldwater Kansas. I’ve noticed last summer was really wet here with torrential rains. Then, winter was warmer than average and dryer. Temps have been basically much warmer than average since January. Two years in a row this has happened

    Reply
  6. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    I was in the dry slot 3 days ago . When these fires started. Winds to 40 mph , gusts to 60 mph.

    Reply
  7. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    I am so sick of saying this, “Get Ready Little Lady Hell Is coming To Breakfast”.

    This is not a joke, or a clever reply. I have been dead serious since the first time i posted this.

    Reply
  8. Melissa Benyon

     /  March 9, 2017

    Thanks to the miracle of the internet, I see that Charles Koch’s revoltingly ginormous house in Wichita appears to be surrounded by trees. Having just finished reading, “Dark Money” by Jane Mayer, I’m not even going to ask if it’s wrong of me to hope the place burns to the ground in a wildfire this summer. It’s not wrong. Please let it burn.

    Reply
  9. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    One thing about these fires, our tree management program doesn’t really work . We ain’t cutting grass so next year it burns .

    So let’s review, the fires last Fall in the East , the fires all over the world.

    Reply
  10. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    This is a greater pattern .

    Reply
  11. Robert E Prue

     /  March 9, 2017

    The wind was a big factor. For awhile the fire was out of control on Monday. Got real close to having to evacuate Tuesday.

    Reply
  12. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    Dear Hilrey

    I swim in an ocean of despair, your link gave us all why we must care.

    Reply
    • Hilary

       /  March 11, 2017

      Thank CB, yes that is exactly why I watch it.
      Yes I’ve seen the pics of what is in dead birds gullets, breaks my heart. But the albatross parents ‘faithfully’ work to raise their chick. (and the staff at the site work hard too to ensure as many chicks survive)
      When it fledges it will be 5+ years before it might return safely to breed. That 66 year old bird still breeding is a marvel, she does better than anyhumans!
      Regards
      Hilary

      Reply
  13. Robert E Prue

     /  March 9, 2017

    You know, you can read about this stuff but when it hits this close to home,

    Reply
  14. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    Dear Hilrey

    You no have idea what I know about these birds. Let’s start here :

    Reply
  15. Robert E Prue

     /  March 9, 2017

    On the 14th and 15 of January we had worst freezing rain storm in at least 10 years here. Now these fires. I don’t know what to think. I’ve lived here since 1982 and never seen such off the wall weather events

    Reply
  16. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    How much crap can we feed or young ? And still party on ?

    Reply
  17. Robert E Prue

     /  March 9, 2017

    I’ve never commented on this site before. Have been lurking for a couple years. These fires are too close to home. Almost had to evacuate my home.

    Reply
  18. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    The greatest birds on Earth are dying, because they feed BIC lighters to their young.

    Reply
  19. Robert E Prue

     /  March 9, 2017

    I know people that just lost their homes.

    Reply
  20. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    So let us all watch that mother on her nest , she is plowing against the last and the best.

    Reply
  21. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    An albatross has a 8 foot wingspan. . They flew for years , they never slept. They feed BIC Lighters to their young .

    This fact I have learned many tears ago. At the same time I learned sea turtles eat plastic bags . They look like jelly fish,

    Reply
  22. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    Midway Island –
    Think I’m bullshitin’

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  March 9, 2017

      This is the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

      Reply
    • wj long

       /  March 9, 2017

      Referencing Colorado Bob’s post about Midway….

      In the yr 2001 I was sailing the Galapagos twice anchored
      up behind two separate islands I witnessed just about dusk
      several young men walking the beaches picking up trash,
      mostly plastic, every so many hundred yards they would stop
      and build a fire, the black smoke blossomed upwards and filled
      the air with a foul stench. After a mile or so of this they would walk
      back with shovels and bury the black cinders. Thinking about this
      and the Ocean currents around the Galapagos this trash was coming
      from either South America or the Galapagos themselves. At the time
      the population of Academy Bay was 23,000 souls. Darwin’s pristine
      environment was gone along time ago.

      Reply
  23. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    You people are about to miss me when I’m gone . And my turds are bright yellow. I have no idea why I am lying here so long.

    And I type the true.

    Reply
    • Xbuttef

       /  March 9, 2017

      I had the same symptom you have described. My digestive tract critters had all been annihilated from antibiotics and eating food products made from grains that had been “ripened” with herbicides. It really seemed that I was going to die. This is not a joke. I am serious. If I get banned for being off topic then so be it.
      You should get to a grocery store and buy a block of gorgonzola cheese. Eat just a couple teaspoons on a cracker every couple days. The stuff smells awful but for me it restored normal bowel function overnight. May this could help you. It can’t hurt to try it.

      Reply
      • mulga mumblebrain

         /  March 10, 2017

        And there is miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, fermented milks like kfir, yoghurt-anything fermented. Then feed them leafy greens and anything unprocessed. Of course you might need some ‘yellow soup’ as the Chinese called it, although a quack can administer it through naso-gastric feeding, or up the other end, which I believe is more efficacious.

        Reply
    • Tigertown

       /  March 10, 2017

      That sounds like Liver problems. ACV or pure malic acid will clean the liver.

      Reply
  24. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    Which old song to play ?

    To remind us where we all are here today.

    Reply
  25. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    I am trying to change this water wine.

    Reply
  26. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Walkin’ Blues

    Reply
  27. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    So everyone knows “Mean old Walkin’ Shoes” ?

    Reply
  28. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    There was a great time, at a great place that none of you will never know.

    I see that coming again.

    Reply
  29. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    Reply
  30. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    Everyone brighter than me , bite my ass.

    Reply
  31. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    I am not a frog on a log
    I am not Dead Dick in a creek
    I am not a shitty Tweet.

    I am the real deal with piles of fears , tears, and years ,

    Reply
  32. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    Nothing more lonely to be alone at night , fighting ghosts that do not punch.

    Reply
  33. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    ColoradoBob is crazy as fruitcake. Let’s kill him as fast as we can.

    Reply
  34. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    I for one loved fruitcake.

    Reply
  35. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    Reply
  36. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    The End of the World ,
    Here we are, not some far off place , but here a now . We all have a front roll seat .

    Buckle your chin straps . Buy your batteries, stock up on water, You’re going to need them.

    Reply
  37. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    Think like this Scribblers …………..

    Your cold food goes down . What food will you eat ?

    Plan , plan, plan.

    Reply
  38. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    What a world, Not of my making , I’m just along for the ride.

    Reply
  39. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    Let us pick a tune,

    Reply
  40. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    The Rolling Stones – Out Of Time

    Reply
  41. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    It’s a really wild world ……………

    Reply
  42. redskylite

     /  March 9, 2017

    R.S Thanks for the well illustrated narrative, the diagram for the increase of annual average large fires by period is an eye opener. Thanks to Colorado Bob for the great music.

    Let’s never forget the poor folks in the world who are losing homes, land and agricultural power from our continued use of burning fossils for energy.

    Shrinking Sagar Island struggles to stay afloat

    “An unpredicted high tide broke the embankments of Muriganga River in the night of July 12, 2014, and swept through 14 villages spread over 30 sq. km. The damage was extensive in the eastern part of the island. It disrupted life for about 25,000 people. More than 4,000 houses were destroyed and some 500 hectares of cropland turned saline.

    https://www.thethirdpole.net/2017/03/08/shrinking-sagar-island-struggles-to-stay-afloat/

    Reply
  43. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    I watched Leon drive his “lark” down Buddy Holly Ave. The end of an age , the end of time , the end of place.

    Reply
  44. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    The of an age, the end of a time , the end of a place.

    Reply
  45. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    One more ,,,,,,, from the Faces .

    The Faces – Around The Plynth

    Reply
  46. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    Water down the drain , I never forgot that, Here we are and an ocean has run through my fingers.

    Reply
  47. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    I am floating above so much. This may be a gift of being old, Or my head injuries. I have no idea why. But years ago I set off for a thing called “clear light” . At 17 I didn’t want money, I didn’t want women, I didn’t want fame, I wanted to “clear light”.

    Now , 50 years later, I can see it. I don’t have it, but I can see it.

    Reply
    • Cliff

       /  March 9, 2017

      No posts from Tamino in over a month. Does anybody here know what’s up?

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  March 9, 2017

        And A-Team has absented him/herself from the ASIF, and the threads are infected with trolls.

        Reply
        • DJ

           /  March 9, 2017

          Yeah, there’s been a really sad degradation at the ASIF – I’m not sure I’d call it ‘trolls’ as a lot of the off-topic stuff is from people who’ve been there a long time – seems like it’s degenerated into a lot of infighting, though. I’m noticing it all over – not the BS sites that have never had anything but trash, but places that very recently we forums for friendly discussion and sharing of ideas.

          BTW – re your question about Ft Mac residents. My neighbor works there, his son and parent live there. Last November, when it should have been well below freezing, we were both out in shirtsleeves raking leaves. His comment was ‘we’ve seen this before, I remember back in the 80s,….’. So there’s a sample size of 1 indicating what the opinions are of Ft Mac residents on the impacts of climate change. Not very encouraging.

  48. Abel Adamski

     /  March 9, 2017

    Australia had a bumper wheat harvest this year.
    However
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-09/csiro-climate-change-warning-for-wheat/8337110
    Climate change to blame for flatlining wheat yield gains: CSIRO

    Australia’s wheat productivity has flatlined as a direct result of climate change, according to CSIRO research.

    While 2016 set a new national wheat harvest record, the national science organisation’s findings indicate that result masks a more troubling long-term trend.

    While Australian wheat yields tripled between 1900 and 1990, growth stagnated over the following 25 years.

    A CSIRO study which monitored 50 sites across Australia’s wheat zone between 1990 and 2015 found that climate change was the clear cause of the decline.

    That trend remained, even after the bumper 2016 figures were included.

    Across those sites, average maximum temperatures increased by more than 1 degree over 26 years during the months when crops were growing — a significant increase. Rainfall during the growing period declined by about 72 millimetres, or 28 per cent.

    Climate variability can make it look as if there is no trend, just one year’s good and one year’s bad, but we’ve statistically analysed the trend that we observed,” Dr Hochman said.

    “The chance of that just being variable climate without the underlying factor [of climate change] is less than one in 100 billion.”

    Farmers and researchers ‘working hard to stand still’ as climate changes: CSIRO

    The CSIRO study found that wheat growers made significant productivity gains over the 26 years of the study.

    But instead of that translating to significantly improved yields, the research team found that those gains were only cancelling out the negative climatic changes.

    “Farmers, backed by research and by technology, have been working really hard to keep up, to adapt, to the tougher conditions, and have succeeded,” Dr Hochman said.

    “But they have succeeded in standing still, not in moving forward.”

    While farmers’ productivity is expected to continue to improve over the next 25 years, CSIRO scientists say there is a ceiling on those gains.

    If climatic changes continue on the trajectory the CSIRO observed at its research sites, Dr Hochman warns productivity gains will no longer be able to compensate for the decline.

    “If we assume the same trend continues, then there’s a point at which the two lines cross each other – in about 20 years’ time – and by then we will start to see declining yields.

    “The sad thing is that, at the same time, world demand for food is increasing and the opportunity for Australia to contribute to global food security, and for farmers to benefit from these growing markets, looks to be in doubt.”

    Reply
  49. Abel Adamski

     /  March 9, 2017

    http://www.techtimes.com/articles/200738/20170309/carbon-storage-capacity-of-trees-doubtful-study.htm

    Interesting, nutrient availability is the key.

    Interesting research at the end

    Forests and oceans are natural carbon sinks. Their slowdown in the absorption rate of carbon dioxide is linked with its oversupply in the air, which exceeds the pace in which absorption takes place.

    To remedy this, scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Germany led by biologist Tobias Erb found a way to expand the carbon dioxide absorption capacity of trees.

    This is done by supercharging plants to make them take more carbon dioxide to mitigate the hazards of climate change.

    “If you think about plants, they’re efficient CO2-fixing filters, but they are not fast,” Erb said.

    “I think there is a chance to improve existing biology with synthetic biology,” he added.
    Enzyme Re-Engineering

    The team led by Erb identified 17 enzymes from nine organisms and re-engineered three that had higher carbon consumption capacity.

    When the enzymes worked jointly, it surpassed the power of plants’ natural enzymes in the matter of carbon consumption and showed improved capacity at individual levels.

    The results were amazing. In the place of five to 10 molecules of Carbon dioxide consumed per second by existing enzymes, the ones Erb used consumed 80 molecules per second.

    So far, the test of enzymes has been in the lab. In the next phase, it will involve real world testing. Then the enzymes would be introduced into plants to see if the same result occurs.

    If the supercharging succeeds, it will offer a new tool to fight climate change and protect carbon-absorbing forests and give the option to add super plants by using the enzyme technology.

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  March 10, 2017

      I admit on contemplation to having massive reservations re this approach.
      Multiplying the plants CO2 absorption by a factor of 8 leads us to the real risk of stripping the earths atmospheric CO2 below sustainable levels and a level that would enable interglacials to form. Fossil fuels won’t last forever, the the downhill slope tp a nearly permanent ice age

      Reply
  50. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    A bull elephant writes to Berkeley

    Oh, if this were true, those giant toes could type lord knows what wisdom that is true.
    And teach us fiends of such small means , how tiny we really are.
    Of a world larger than we can see , from sea to sea, and everyday in every way how blind we really are.

    We stumble , we thirst , we murder to be first And the Earth shrinks all the while.

    What a fool , what a rule , how smart do we think we all rule ?

    The elephant can’t swipe a card or a clue . But she has one rule to her family be true.

    Reply
  51. Abel Adamski

     /  March 9, 2017

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/08/how-climate-change-battles-are-increasingly-being-fought-and-won-in-court

    How climate change battles are increasingly being fought, and won, in court

    Around the world courts are stepping in when politicians fail to act, with South Africa’s government the latest to lose a groundbreaking climate lawsuit with judges ruling against its plans for a new coal-fired power station

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  March 9, 2017

      That is our last hope in many cases..the courts. I know NRDC, EDF and many others have ramped up their legal challenges with this new Regime in the U.S. The NRDC was on the phone with us supporters less than a week after the election with their legal plan of action. Our last glimmer of hope are these organizations and their legal challenges. Support them if you are able.

      Reply
  52. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    A bull elephant writes to Berkeley.
    This idea has legs .

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  March 9, 2017

      The elephant I phone , Some group of wack a doodles fit a head set on a elephant , And we start to hear her. As time goes by , we understand her everyday. , What she tells us breaks the human heart,

      That’s not. a bad plot.

      5:34 AM central 3.9, 2017.

      My copyright starts here.

      Reply
  53. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    The human wack a doodles , God save us from the wack a doodles . God bless the wack a doodles,

    ” When logic and proportion have fallin’ sloppy dead.”

    Reply
  54. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    I now have point to live writing the “Elephant I-Phone” .

    Reply
  55. coloradobob

     /  March 9, 2017

    My turnip wagon is parked here daily. I ride it everyday to get here.

    Reply
  56. Cate

     /  March 9, 2017

    File under: FOOD SUPPLY

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-09/csiro-climate-change-warning-for-wheat/8337110

    “Australia’s wheat productivity has flatlined as a direct result of climate change, according to CSIRO research…While Australian wheat yields tripled between 1900 and 1990, growth stagnated over the following 25 years.A CSIRO study which monitored 50 sites across Australia’s wheat zone between 1990 and 2015 found that climate change was the clear cause of the decline…He expects that some farmers will move out of grain growing and choose livestock or other options, as climatic conditions decline.”

    Livestock production would contribute even more to climate change, of course. PIty the farmers’ plight.

    Reply
  57. Cate

     /  March 9, 2017

    Satellites going dark prove there’s nothing to see here, folks. What we don’t know won’t hurt us. Won’t hurt Big Oil, at any rate.

    http://mashable.com/2017/03/07/sea-ice-record-low-satellite-malfunctions/

    “The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, which tracks sea ice trends, warned in a news release on Tuesday that satellite data gaps may soon cause sea ice observations to go dark for a few years. The specific timeframe they’re concerned about is the period between now and 2023.
    The reasons for the concern are a little wonky, but they amount to a combination of aging, increasingly unreliable sensors aboard current satellites, a Pentagon decision not to launch a replacement satellite for one that failed on Feb. 11, 2016, and the likelihood that no new satellite with the necessary hardware will be in orbit until 2023 at the earliest.”

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  March 9, 2017

      Everyday I wake up to more evidence that this Regime are doing their very best to drive civilization into a 21st century “Dark Ages”.. I sincerely hope the March for Science, April 22nd will help to shed light on how this Regime’s War on Science is hurting everyone.
      https://www.marchforscience.com/

      Reply
      • My wife and I will be there. Hope to see you guys.

        As for the satellites — we’ve suffered from decades of a bankrupt ideology that puts markets ahead of the public good and that is blind to any need for revenue in an endless and single minded quest to cut taxes for the rich at the cost of pretty much everything else. We need those satellites and sensors. And we’re going to need funding for them. Putting out satellite eyes won’t remove the problem. And California has already pledged to launch its own if the federal sensors fail. But it’s all just another example of republicans inability to govern effectively.

        Reply
      • wharf rat

         /  March 9, 2017

        There’s a climate march the week after the science march. Best idea I heard yesterday from the women’s action group was “Let’s have another march in town”. The worst idea I heard was, “Let’s put Rat on the organizing committee.”

        New year, new resolve. Time to mark your calendars for April 29th, 2017.

        That’s the date of the People’s Climate Mobilization, a major march in Washington, D.C., when we will come together with hundreds of thousands of people to reject Trump’s attack on our communities and climate, and push forward with our vision of a clean energy economy that works for all.
        https://350.org/april-29-2017-lets-march/

        Reply
    • Erik Frederiksen

       /  March 9, 2017

      We won’t need satellites to know something is wrong as that ice goes away. Paleoclimate evidence indicates that when Arctic ice declines the world changes.

      Reply
  58. Cate

     /  March 9, 2017

    File under: what deniers need to know about CO2 (no, it’s not alllllll good)

    http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2017/Q1/rising-co2-due-to-climate-change-may-not-improve-agriculture,-model-shows.html

    “Purdue University researchers tested the effects of increased CO2 and warmer temperatures on plant water use. Although increased carbon dioxide and warmer temperatures generally improve photosynthesis, in these experiments the researchers found that pores on plant leaves, known as the stomata, were predicted to narrow in these conditions, reducing the amount of moisture plants release into the air.
    Although this change may mean some plants are more efficient in their water use in some arid regions, overall this change in plant physiology will have its own climate effects, resulting in less rainfall in some regions, damaging plants and crop yields, says Qianlai Zhuang, professor of earth and atmospheric science.
    “This study reveals that while increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide can directly strengthen plant uptake of CO2, it can also reduce plant transpiration, influence global precipitation patterns, and increase warming locally,” he says.”

    Reply
  59. Erik Frederiksen

     /  March 9, 2017

    I have a number of friends who lost their homes during the 2015 California fire season.

    The Rocky Fire burnt 20,000 acres in one five-hour period with little wind, a speed normally associated with fires driven by the powerful Santa Ana winds.

    A New South Wales fire chief said last year that fire behavior has gotten so extreme that they’ve had to change their tactics.

    And that’s at 1C. I read of one study indicating that at 3C the Amazon Rainforest may burn, adding enough CO2 to raise global temperature another 1.5C, putting us well into a 4C world.

    Reply
  60. climatehawk1

     /  March 9, 2017

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  61. This is so frightening, but You might want to amend the stated extent of the area burned, 4000 sq miles in Tx? 1000 sq miles in Kansas? An acre is not the same as a mile.

    Reply
  62. Sheri

     /  March 9, 2017

    Phoenix’s. Winter is now gone. We are having temps of high 80 to 90 for next few days. We have spikes in temps sometimes this time of year so this may not last but usually 90 doesn’t even make it until mid to late April. It’s warm but pretty nice for many outside events that we have here but I hate to think what after May brings. This is the third year on a row I have felt the major changes in our weather starting in Dec 2014.

    Best to you all scribbler’s . It is harder and harder to be hopeful about things in life over the next few months never mind past that.

    Reply
  63. Robert E Prue

     /  March 9, 2017

    Fires here in southwest Kansas out for now. Really dry and warm. Hoping for rain. Some years we have a late March blizzard. Would be so great now

    Reply
    • We’ve been having some cold snaps in east central Vermont, punctuating longer stretches of above-normal temperatures. Another snap is due Saturday, with a forecast high of 9F (~-13C), and a moderation to a high of 19F (-7C) Sunday. The lows will still be several degrees above records for both dates, but we’ll be firing up the wood stove again to take some of the load off the electric heat pump.

      Reply
  64. June

     /  March 9, 2017

    So far the methane is not reaching the atmosphere, but as the oceans continue to warm, and the dead zones grow…well, bad news. The study itself is in Nature, and is open access.

    Trump Cuts Regulations as Oceanic Dead Zones Release Massive Amounts of Methane

    The new study reveals the location of bacteria responsible for the release of massive amounts of methane in the ocean. The vast amount of methane they are producing covers an area that stretches from Panama up to Mexico, and all the way out to the Hawaiian Islands.

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39752-trump-cuts-regulations-as-oceanic-dead-zones-release-massive-amounts-of-methane

    Reply
  65. Interesting that wind is turning out to be such a dramatic harbinger of climate change. We’re thankful yesterday’s winds were tempered by the time they hit Syracuse.

    “Jeff Masters, who lives just northwest of Detroit, relayed this first-hand report through a marginal cell-phone connection: “Wednesday’s wind storm was the most extreme I’ve ever observed in my 50 years living in Michigan, with multiple hours of tropical storm-force sustained winds, and gusts approaching hurricane force. Most extraordinary were the sustained winds of 51 mph recorded in Grand Rapids, which brought down power lines that completely blocked I-96. I had to clear away multiple downed trees on my street to get out of my neighborhood, and it was an unnerving experience to saw at the downed trees while looking up at the swaying trees above, wondering which ones were ready to come down as violent 60+ mph gusts tore through.”

    https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3574

    Reply
  1. March Climate Madness — Wildfires, Scorching Summer Heat Strike Central and Southwestern U.S. By Winter’s End | robertscribbler

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