A Visibly Extreme Jet Stream in Advance of Irma

On Tuesday, I wrote this blog about how Jet Stream behavior and related severe weather during summer of 2017 jibed with the findings of recent climate science. About how human-forced polar warming appears to be impacting extreme summer weather patterns by altering the upper level winds — with a particular focus on impacts to North America.

Yesterday, I looked at the upper level wind patterns running over North America in advance of Irma’s approach and saw this:

(Classic ridge-trough pattern like that identified by Dr Jennifer Francis and Dr Michael Mann. One that, according to their related research, increases the likelihood of certain kinds of extreme weather patterns and events. One that these scientists associate with polar warming set off by human-caused climate change. Image capture from 1500 UTC on September 6. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

It’s a classic high amplitude wave form in the Jet Stream. One that shows an extremely deep trough digging all the way down to the Gulf Coast in the east and arching back up into a pointed ridge north of Alaska and into the Arctic Ocean in the west. This kind of high amplitude wave pattern is not typical. Or if such a pattern did appear in the past, it tended not to stick around for so long. But during this summer, such intense high amplitude ridges have been forming again and again over the west and such deep troughs have been forming again and again in the east.

New Precipitation and Temperature Extremes

The most apparent visible effect of this ridge-west — trough-east pattern has been to produce record heat, drought, and wildfires in the west and record rainfall in conjunction with an extremely stormy weather pattern in the south and east. You can plainly see this dipolar relationship in the precipitation and temperature anomaly maps provided by NOAA below:

These maps cover precipitation and temperature observations for the last 30 days compared to climatological averages. In the west we find that precipitation for large regions has been less than 10 percent of normal (less than 1/10th normal). Meanwhile temperatures in the west have ranged between 1 and 4 C above average. In the south and east, large regions have seen between 200 and 800 percent of typical precipitation amounts (2 to 8 times the norm). Temperatures, meanwhile have ranged between 1 and 3 C below average.

This is the very definition of heightened extremes. Looking at the prevalent upper level air pattern over the U.S. for the summer of 2017, it’s clear that south to north upper level winds pulling air up from the Equatorial zone toward the pole are facilitating one side of the extreme and that a countervailing upper level wind originating near the pole and running south toward the tropics is driving the opposite extreme.

Slowing Upper Level Winds in a North-South Orientation Weakens the Steering Currents

Unfortunately, prevalent and long lasting heat or heavy rainfall isn’t the only apparent impact of this new pattern. Another aspect of this extreme dipole is a weakening of the west to east steering currents that typically begin to pick up in a region between 25 and 30 degrees North Latitude and to intensify further beyond the 30 N line. This effect is due to the fact that upper level wind patterns are oriented more in a north-south (west) or south-north (east) direction and due to the fact that under such large Jet Stream meanders the upper level steering winds tend to slow down.

(It’s not just Harvey and Irma. Weak upper level steering currents are contributing to a long range potential that Jose might loop back to strike South Florida.)

For Hurricanes like Harvey and Irma, stronger west to east steering winds have had two protective effects for the United States. First, they have helped storms to keep moving — working to generally prevent the kind of long duration stall we saw that helped to produce such catastrophic flooding during Harvey. Second, they have tended to deflect storms away from the U.S. East Coast. And for Irma, what this means is that this storm is more likely to strike the U.S. East Coast if the upper level steering winds that would typically turn it to the east are weak.

This is a dynamic upstream aspect of human-forced polar warming. One that produces added extreme weather risks on top of those already generated by warming ocean waters — which increase peak potential storm intensity — and rising atmospheric water vapor — which helps to add latent heat, lift and related convective available potential energy that increases top limits for storm intensity and heavy rainfall.

And as we sit here hoping and praying that Irma will re-curve away from the U.S. east coast, we should consider how polar warming may be helping to make such a terrible strike more likely — increasing risks to so many people and to so much that we all hold dear.

RELATED STATEMENTS AND INFORMATION:

Links:

Dr Jennifer Francis

GFS Model Runs illustrated by Earth Nullschool

Extreme Weather Events Linked to Climate Change’s Impact on Jet Stream

This is the Pattern Climate Scientists Warned us About

NOAA

Hat tip to Scott

Hat tip to Wharf Rat

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103 Comments

  1. cushngtree

     /  September 7, 2017

    I’ve been following this link for coverage (no paywall), lots of updates, lots of info. The damage is massive, and another hurricane already in sight….how do you contemplate rebuilding? And what choice do those islanders have?

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2017/sep/07/hurricane-irma-live-latest-updates-caribbean

    Reply
  2. cushngtree

     /  September 7, 2017

    Also keeping an eye on that twitter account from the fellow in the stairwell on St Martin
    https://twitter.com/woolfallalex No activity, hopefully d/t communications failure. Even if he has battery power, no cell towers survived, I’d imagine.

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  September 7, 2017

      Yeah, no word from him yet and a lot of coverage out of the UK re: his tweets but no word on him, just the tweets.
      Others in that stairwell are apparently ok.

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  September 7, 2017

      ‘Hurricane Irma has atheists praying for a stranger (Alex Woolfall)’
      September 7, 2017

      http://buzz.blog.ajc.com/2017/09/07/hurricane-irma-has-atheists-praying-for-a-stranger/

      Reply
      • Actually atheists aren’t praying for anything. However I do hope the people in Irma’s path don’t perish. I would like to see Mar-a Lago take a direct hit, then, perhaps, the feckless leader would take note. Really, I want all folks to survive this coming nightmare and be safe. Afterward, some serious talk on mitigating the coming climate disrupting impact of humanity on Earth and her children.

        Reply
        • eleggua

           /  September 7, 2017

          At least four self-declared atheists are “praying” for Alex as per their own tweets including in that article.

  3. cushngtree

     /  September 7, 2017

    And I’ll add my thanks to you, Robert, for keeping the trolls out; so hard to scroll through some of the other website comments, trying to glean facts from all the annoying noise!

    Reply
    • Thx for the kind words. It’s amazing the amount of public disservice coming from both the regular crowd and the usual rabble-rousers. Apparently Rush Limbaugh is telling people that Irma is not a danger. Yet one more public disservice announcement from someone who’s paid millions of dollars to mislead and misinform.

      Reply
  4. wharf rat

     /  September 7, 2017

    Thanks for the H/T, Robert, but it was really Scott who found the story. I just posted a tweet from it.

    Reply
  5. eleggua

     /  September 7, 2017
    Reply
  6. Shawn Redmond

     /  September 7, 2017

    Jose just up graded to cat2.

    Reply
  7. Very interesting–perhaps a longitudinal wind pattern to be repeated many times in the future. This seems to be described or implied in:
    http://www.columbia.edu/~lmp/paps/waugh+sobel+polvani-BAMS-2017.pdf

    Reply
  8. .I heard a mention of the Jet stream in the MSM when they first reported on Harvey..a weatherperson showed a screen w the Jet starting on the upper left portion going diagonally to the lower right..she said the jet stream would just sit there for days and not go anywhere…could not find a mention by anyone after that.seems strange

    Reply
  9. Dave Person

     /  September 7, 2017

    Hi,
    Right now the best tracking (but not intensity) model is the European and it has Irma going right up the spine of Florida so that Miami gets the strongest winds but hurricane winds span the entire peninsula. It will be interesting to see if NHC shifts their cone slightly west as a result of this latest model run. Overall, the NHC forecast should be the best guidance but the European model has very good when comparing observed track of Irma with model outputs.

    dave

    Reply
    • It’s worth noting that all models have undershot Irma’s intensity thus far.

      Reply
    • It’s also worth noting that the ECMWF has been all over the place on track. GFS has been pretty consistent with many models starting to come into consensus around the GFS track range. ECMWF may tend to be more accurate, but for this storm, GFS so far appears to have a bit of weight. Worth noting that GFS jogged a little west in the recent run. But it’s been going back and forth between essentially the same two projected track forecasts for the past two days.

      Reply
  10. wharf rat

     /  September 7, 2017

    Reply
  11. Shawn Redmond

     /  September 7, 2017

    The speed of intensification with these things is a testament to the amount of extra energy now available for the lows to feed on. Jose Sep 06 21:00 GMT makes cat 1 and 21 hrs later it’s up graded to cat 2. Irma at 09:00 Aug 31st is a TS and then 12 hours later it’s cat 3. The damn thing flops around a bit over the next couple of days flopping between cat 2 and 3 and then makes cat 4 at 21:00 GMT Sept 04 which lasts till 11:45 Sept 5 when it jumps to cat 5 and has been there ever since.
    All of this just speaks to everything that our RS here blogs about all the time. I’m sure at times it feels like banging your head on a wall, the following here not with standing. All though I expect the trolls at times make you want to shove pointy sticks in your own eyes. Thanks for your due diligence and perseverance. Stay safe RS over the up coming week I ‘m sure it will be challenging for a lot of folks. At the present rate the next couple of decades are going to be rude for most of us I suspect.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much, Shawn :). If Irma doesn’t encounter shear or interact with land, those 88F sea surface temperatures near FL could do some really serious damage.

      Some of the models are just crazy right now. GFS and NAM show Irma strengthening over warm water just prior to landfall.

      Reply
  12. Hilary

     /  September 7, 2017

    Excellent post here Robert, thank you for all your focus & clarity.

    Reply
  13. aspera2017

     /  September 7, 2017

    Excellent posts, and comments. Thanks Robert.

    Reply
  14. Keith Antonysen

     /  September 7, 2017

    Thank you Robert.
    Take care of yourself, it must be difficult emotionally to keep providing such horrendous information continually.

    Reply
  15. Bobinspain

     /  September 7, 2017

    As usual, thanks for all your hard work. I’m worried about the nuclear installations, apart from worrying about everything else. What can I say, huge collective hug required. Much love as always X
    http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/07/investing/nuclear-plants-shutdown-florida-irma/index.html

    Reply
  16. DrumBoy

     /  September 7, 2017

    This is interesting. Have similar patterns in the jet stream been observed in the Southern Hemisphere? I only ask as a current resident of Vanuatu who went through Cyclone Pam (which was a terrifying experience) and then last year watched nervously as cyclone Winston, after looping back to the west and hitting Fiji seemed to stall between our two countries before slowly heading south. Also Australia has some serious heatwaves caused by blocking highs this past decade. I’m just curious as to whether the changes to jet stream are not only being duplicated down under and might be causing some of the extreme weather patterns.

    Reply
    • NH polar amplification has, so far, been more pronounced — leading to more observations and scientific reports pointing toward anomalous jet stream behavior and related blocking patterns. The consensus science is not settled. But from here, where I tend to focus on cutting edge climate trends and related observations, I can say that it’s my opinion that this influence is visible now and happening now. I’m sure some high profile scientists would disagree with that assertion.

      As for the SH… polar amplification has been ramping up lately there as well and, in my opinion, it would tend to influence jet stream behavior. However, since most of the SH is covered by oceans which tend to be of more uniform temperature than land, it may actually be easier to test polar warming influences on the Jet (which would tend to be flatter and faster).

      Will see if I can find a SH polar warming/jet stream study to reference for you. But as the pole there warms, it’s this observer’s view that meanders, blocking patterns, and persistent weather will tend to become more prevalent.

      Reply
  17. eleggua

     /  September 7, 2017

    Op-ed
    ‘Climate disasters: The latest mandate for fossil fuel divestment’
    By Aaron Peskin and John Avalos on September 6, 2017 1:00 am
    (Peskin, currently on the SF Board of Supervisors; Avalos, termed out in January.)

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/climate-disasters-latest-mandate-fossil-fuel-divestment/

    “…The source of our troubles is a vicious cycle that is scientific canon: The burning of fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases that trap the earth’s heat in our atmosphere and raise global temperatures. Glaciers melt, and their waters swell our oceans. The earth’s warmer atmosphere absorbs greater amounts of evaporation. Increased moisture in our atmosphere creates massive storms, like Harvey, Katrina and Sandy. These storms arrive with greater frequency and increasing catastrophe. Meanwhile, earlier snow melt and increased evaporation and transpiration create a higher risk of catastrophic drought. These phenomena are linked to human behavior, and in order to prevent further climate disruption, we must limit the burning of fossil fuel, keep the sources of carbon in the ground and shift entirely to renewable sources of energy.

    In spite of the clear evidence of humankind’s impact on climate change, Big Oil continues to lead a climate change denial campaign, fueling fake news with dark money to mislead the public and protect its wealth. Even a recent op-ed in the San Francisco Examiner — “Divesting would bring SFERS high costs, no rewards” — cites a years-old Compass Lexecon report that claims that divestment could result in an $11.5 million annual loss to the retirement system….

    …f there’s not enough political will to convince SFERS to divest on its own accord, let’s ask the voters to weigh in on the June 2018 ballot, so we can show in no uncertain terms that the people of San Francisco would rather fully divest from Big Oil than wait to see what happens if we don’t.”

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  September 7, 2017

      ‘Local (San Frandisco) meteorologist falls victim to heat exhaustion during heat wave, collapses on Muni’
      Wednesday, September 6, 2017

      http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Drew-Tuma-ABC7-meteorologist-heat-exhaustion-12178706.php

      “…Tuma warned others to pay attention to themselves during a heat wave, noting that “even a very healthy 20-something is not immune to the effects of extreme heat.

      …”The minute you start feeling ‘different,’ do everything you can to hydrate and get into a cooler environment ASAP,” Tuma wrote. “Don’t let the effects accumulate over many hours and finally take you out.”

      On top of the incident, Tuma said that along with being recognized as the local meteorologist just after his collapse, doctors at San Francisco General cracked jokes about his new, lightning bolt-shaped injury, which they told Tuma was “perfect for the weatherman.””

      Reply
    • Making divestment a ballot issue = fantastic news. Let’s do it.

      Reply
  18. Greg

     /  September 7, 2017

    Reply
    • A furious duo that.

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  September 8, 2017

      Wow. It’s a Julia set.

      “In the context of complex dynamics, a topic of mathematics, the Julia set and the Fatou set are two complementary sets (Julia ‘laces’ and Fatou ‘dusts’) defined from a function.

      …the Julia set consists of values such that an arbitrarily small perturbation can cause drastic changes in the sequence of iterated function values. Thus the behavior of the function on the Fatou set is ‘regular’, while on the Julia set its behavior is ‘chaotic’.” – from wikipedia

      Reply
  19. eleggua

     /  September 7, 2017

    ‘(Houston) Council Member Urges Houstonians Not to Donate to Red Cross’
    Thursday, September 7, 2017

    http://www.houstonpress.com/news/houston-councilman-martin-tells-houstoninans-to-avoid-donating-to-red-cross-9767571

    “Repeatedly calling the Red Cross the “Red Loss,” Martin said it has been local government that has done all of the heavy lifting at the shelters and that has provided most of the resources — “yet every time I turn on the TV, I see [the Red Cross] taking in millions of dollars in donations,” Martin said. He said the Red Cross was the “most inept, unorganized organization I’ve ever experienced.”

    “Don’t waste your time, don’t waste your money [donating to the Red Cross],” he said. “Give it to another cause.”

    …criticism mounted most pointedly in 2015, after NPR and ProPublica released a series of damning reports targeting how the Red Cross responded to the hurricane that devastated Haiti in 2010. In their joint investigation, “In Search of the Red Cross’ $500 Million in Haiti Relief,” the news outlets found that despite claiming it had provided homes to more than 130,000 people, the Red Cross had built just six homes. (The Red Cross told the outlets that it had completed more than 100 projects in Haiti and repaired 4,000 homes, but refused to provide a list of the projects and the costs.)

    NPR and ProPublica found that much of the $488 million in donations was handed off to third-party organizations, which then did the actual boots-on-the-ground work — but not before the Red Cross reserved some of the money for its own administrative fees. A subsequent report commissioned by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) found that one quarter of the $488 million went to the nonprofit’s internal expenses….

    If you want to donate money to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey but plan on listening to Councilman Martin, see our post (below) on all the ways you can pitch in. “

    Reply
  20. Greg

     /  September 7, 2017

    and comparison of size to Andrew. Florida will be swallowed no matter the exact tract:

    Reply
  21. eleggua

     /  September 7, 2017

    Plenty of other, valid options for donating/helping folks in Texas (and elsewhere) listed in this article, including links to organizations, etc.

    ‘Want to Help Harvey Victims? Here’s How.
    Tuesday, August 29, 2017

    http://www.houstonpress.com/news/heres-how-to-help-victims-of-tropical-storm-harvey-9746190

    Reply
  22. eleggua

     /  September 7, 2017

    Robert, spotted this comment on Tropical Tidbits and wondering about your take on what he’s saying there re: Georgia Bight effect.

    https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/blog/2017/09/07/wednesday-evening-tracking-hurricanes-irma-katia-and-jose-all-threats-to-land/#comment-829083

    “One thing you forget to mention a diurnal tide, which is two equal high and low tides every lunar day (about every six hours).
    The dramatic, concave shape of the east coast from North Carolina to northern Florida, called the Georgia Bight, funnels the rising tidal bulge into a smaller and smaller area as it approaches the coast.
    The Lowcountry is at the center of the curve, resulting in the highest tides. Port Royal Sound, for instance, has an average tide height of about 8.0 feet, while in Jacksonville, Fla., it’s about 2.5 feet and in the Florida Keys only a foot or so.
    If she makes landfall at high tide add that to a hurricane surge, and you are talking about a lot more water.”

    Reply
    • So storm surge estimates include effects like tide — basing the storm surge from the top of assumed high tide. That said, the concave shape of the coast and shallower bottom in this region produces higher storm surge totals. This is one reason why surge estimates for a Cat 3 can exceed 20 feet in parts of South Carolina, for example.

      Present consensus track appears to bring Irma to landfall on the tip of South Florida and rides her on up through FL. That is a very bad consensus track. So far, it’s all very bad at the moment.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  September 7, 2017

        Thanks so much; got it. Been calling/contacting folks, urging immediate evacuations, head north and west of Florida right now, and to urge others, same thing. Thanks again.

        Reply
        • Looks like we had an eye wall replacement cycle over the past day. Irma back down to 150 mph. But CDO looks to be reforming. Still a very, very powerful storm.

  23. Erik Frederiksen

     /  September 7, 2017

    I read of one simulation showing a cat 5 strike on Tampa Bay; worse than Katrina, 2000 dead and 500,000 homes wrecked.

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  September 8, 2017

      Posted this article here several daze ago; maybe it’s this one.

      ‘Tampa Bay’s coming storm’
      July 28, 2017

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/health/environment/tampa-bay-climate-change/

      “…A World Bank study called Tampa Bay one of the 10 most at-risk areas on the globe….

      Its slow response to a major threat is a case study in how American cities reluctantly prepare for the worst, even though signs of impacts from climate change abound all around….

      The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council reminded them of the risks by simulating a worst-case scenario hurricane, a category 5 with winds exceeding 156 mph, to demonstrate what would happen if it entered the Gulf of Mexico and turned their way.

      The fictitious Phoenix hurricane scenario projects that wind damage would destroy nearly half a million homes and businesses. About 2 million residents would require medical treatment, and the estimated death toll, more than 2,000, would top the number of people who perished from Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi….

      There are few hurricane-proof buildings in the bay area. One is a gallery, the Salvador Dali Museum in downtown St. Petersburg with 18-inch-thick concrete walls and pressured glass supported by steel frames that could withstand anything the aforementioned storms could dish out. The building supervisor could stand at the windows and watch a hurricane pass as though it were on the Weather Channel.”

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  September 8, 2017

        “Mr. Weymouth’s striking building is a concrete trapezoid wrapped in an undulating wave of glass and steel. Its solid structure — with 18-inch-thick walls — can withstand a Category 5 hurricane. And its design is an homage to the Dalí Teatro-Museo in Figueres, Spain, which is topped by a Buckminster Fuller geodesic domes.”

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  September 8, 2017

        “…the Salvador Dali Museum in downtown St. Petersburg”

        Discusses and shows the design and construction re: protecting against hurricane winds, storm surge, etc. Obviously well planned, well constructed and definitely a beautiful building.

        Reply
  24. eleggua

     /  September 7, 2017

    Someone asked me, can Irma and Jose merge?

    Reply
    • wpNSAlito

       /  September 8, 2017

      No. The closest suggesting was that they might circle each other in the “Fujiwhara Effect” if they were closer (not gonna happen). As it is, Jose is expected to cross Irma’s trail of cooler water, which should weaken it a bit.

      Reply
      • If two hurricanes interact closely, the outflow from both tends to shear them apart. Upwelling in the wake of storms also leaves a cooler ocean surface trail behind them — which may suppress the strength of follow-on storms.

        Reply
        • eleggua

           /  September 8, 2017

          Thanks, wpNSAlito and Robert, for those explanations.

          Never heard of the “Fujiwhara Effect”. Reading the NOAA page on it. They say it can create a merge in some circumstances. Good thing, it’s not expected with these two.

          https://www.weather.gov/news/fujiwhara-effect

          “When two hurricanes spinning in the same direction pass close enough to each other, they begin an intense dance around their common center. If one hurricane is a lot stronger than the other, the smaller one will orbit it and eventually come crashing into its vortex to be absorbed. Two storms closer in strength can gravitate towards each other until they reach a common point and merge, or merely spin each other around for a while before shooting off on their own paths. But often, the effect is additive when hurricanes come together — we usually end up with one massive storm instead of two smaller ones.”

          “GOES-16 satellite imagery over the eastern Pacific Ocean from July 25 to August 1. Hurricane Irwin on the left collided with Hurricane Hilary on the right; the two merged before fading out over the ocean.”

        • eleggua

           /  September 8, 2017

          It doesn’t look like Irwin and Hilary merged, as it’s described on ^that page. Looks like they circle, then shear apart, one after the other. Looks like what you both explained occured, not a merge.

  25. Syd Bridges

     /  September 8, 2017

    Thank you for keeping us up to date on this disaster and the true causes of it, Robert. It must be a tremendous strain reporting all this bad news, made even worse by the knowledge that it didn’t have to be this way. Thank you so much for what you do. I do not comment all that often, but I do read everything that you and the other valiant contributors publish here. I know that it is the truth and I fully understand its great importance.

    From the paper of Arrhenius in 1896, through the work of people like G S Callender, Seuss, Keeling, Sagan, Hansen, Mann, and Jennifer Francis, we have had the whole picture of what would happen. No matter how much dirty oil and coal money is poured into the pockets of political and “think tank” whores, the laws of physics still stand, and now they will control what will happen-not the liars and the whores.

    My heart goes out to those who will pay the price of this systematic mendacity: lives lost and lives ruined as they are overwhelmed by nature’s response to what has been willfully done so that a small, amoral minority can become rich beyond the dreams of avarice. Last week it was Houston, this week it looks like Florida, with the looming Jose rapidly intensifying.

    It is not as if the carbon criminals could argue that there is no alternative to their planet-destroying products. Your articles have clearly highlighted the amazing progress in wind, solar, and electric transport that can safely substitute for carbon based energy. The FF companies have fought tooth and nail to slow this development, though with their huge capital resources they could have led us to a safer future, and made a huge amount of money doing so. At best they dabbled-like BP Solar-but like addicts who are going to stop after one last fix or drink, they quickly reverted to their principal-and utterly unprincipled-addiction.

    In September 2012, the remarkable Neven referred to “The Age of Consequences.” Now we see the Age of Avarice beginning to morph into the Age of Consequences.

    Reply
    • Thank you for both your kind words and keen insight, Syd. You may not comment often, but when you do — it’s always something that I find myself mulling over. In my view, your last two paragraphs are real heavy hitters. Submit as editorial comment to a major newspaper?

      In any case, we’re all kind of caught up in this spiral of addiction. Heavy investment in fossil fuel infrastructure in the form of sunk funds guarantees withdrawal symptoms by powerful and wealthy interests who have long seen fossil fuels as ‘hoards of wealth’ that they can corner, control, and exploit for a profit. The largess provided by this form of harmful capitalism results in a loss remorse by some who have managed to make a massive profit by exploiting fossil fuels. And because these groups and individuals are often connected to powerful supporting political, media, government, and economic institutions, then that loss remorse, in turn, becomes institutionalized and endemic. But we should be clear that these short term individual benefits coming from fossil fuel based wealth hoarding and energy market dominance is harming the rest of us. And failure to withdraw from continuing to enforce that dominance is a pathway to ruin.

      Reply
    • +1 When I ponder the plight imposed upon so many species , my thoughts go to the young people of today , my son , perhaps living in a world with no coral reefs , no ice …so saddening . Thank you . for your thoughtful comments . A tiny bit of rain here on Vancouver Isl. Still smoke in the Valley . The laws oh Physics are showing some teeth . Biting back at the hand that fed her for decades …. industrialized nations. Will it be enough to wake the sleeping sheeple ? Most people I know are clueless , to immersed in there lives , there daily problems . Yet I persist .( lost a few friends along the way )
      Cheers , Thanks for this place Robert , Helps keep some of us sane !!
      J B

      Reply
  26. Erik Frederiksen

     /  September 8, 2017

    Stronger tropical cyclones are one impact on storms from a warming planet.

    Last year James Hansen published a paper in which he said ocean overturning shutdown may be more sensitive to freshwater input from the ice sheets than previously thought.

    He said if the AMOC shuts down that the increased horizontal temperature gradient between high and low latitudes of the N Atlantic would drive superstorms unlike any today.

    Although controversial, he supplied multiple lines of evidence that past storms during a climate we’re headed towards moved boulders 10 times the size current storms move.

    He said all hell would break loose in regions around the N Atlantic, and he has a long track record of being right.

    Reply
    • I think there’s a lot to Hansen’s storms theory. Many scientists don’t want to approach it, because it’s one of those things that is difficult to prove conclusively. But I think the physical mechanisms Hansen identifies should concern us all. They certainly concern me.

      Reply
  27. eleggua

     /  September 8, 2017

    Just now reflecting and checking on Hansen, and ^there’s your post in concert.

    ‘The Planet Could Become Ungovernable’: Climate Scientist James Hansen on Obama’s Environmental Record, Scientific Reticence, and His Climate Lawsuit Against the Federal Government’
    July 12, 2017

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/scientist-jim-hansen-the-planet-could-become-ungovernable.html

    “This week, to accompany our cover story on worst-case climate scenarios, we’re publishing a series of extended interviews with climatologists on the subject — most of them from the “godfather generation” of scientists who first raised the alarm about global warming several decades ago.

    James Hansen is the former head of climate research for NASA, the author of the legendary early “zero model” for climate change, and is now the lead scientific figure in a lawsuit being brought against the federal government alleging complicity on climate change, which Hansen and his fellow litigants argue is a violation of the equal protection clause — since the costs of change will fall unequally on future generations……….”

    Reply
  28. Andy_in_SD

     /  September 8, 2017

    There are a few interesting items in this Terra Satellite shot.

    1) You can see the Hurricane factory at work all the way back into Africa.
    2) You can see the extent of the smoke blob over Western North America
    3) What is not getting airplay, but look at the Amazon. The fires and smoke blob are huge.

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/24/2017-09-06/2-N20.60156-W53.08594

    Reply
    • bearingwitness

       /  September 8, 2017

      Thank you for the link…
      I’m not familiar with storm/ hurricane formation-prediction… but is is possible another one is forming to the SE of Jose? o_O

      Reply
      • Andy_in_SD

         /  September 8, 2017

        That was what I thought too. Maybe it is a % chance of petering out or becoming organized.

        Reply
        • bearingwitness

           /  September 8, 2017

          How accurate are the predictions on Nullschool Earth?
          If you click on the “+1 day” in the control section (I’m not sure how to post a link on this)… from all appearances, it doesn’t seem like those clouds will form into a storm.
          Yet if you click forward to the 12th of Sept, another hurricane could be forming in the mid-atlantic, approximately where Jose started revving up on the 5th…
          Would this be worth following up somehow?

        • Andy_in_SD

           /  September 8, 2017

          I’m not sure how quickly the accuracy drops off when using the projection into future days either. It may be that for some areas and conditions it is more (or less) accurate as well.

          I agree that it would be interesting to track how accurate those projections are. Review the data each day to see how close it was (the 24, 48, 72hr etc…). I’m sure this is done, but would also like to observe that as well.

  29. eleggua

     /  September 8, 2017

    ‘James Hansen Hails Landmark Youth Climate Lawsuit: We Can’t Rely on Our Politicians to Do Anything’
    August 31, 2017

    https://www.democracynow.org/2017/8/31/james_hansen_hails_landmark_youth_climate

    “AMY GOODMAN: Last November, Federal Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene, Oregon, ruled the lawsuit could proceed. She wrote in her ruling, quote, “Federal courts too often have been cautious and overly deferential in the arena of environmental law and the world has suffered for it,” she said. One supporter of the lawsuit has been Dr. James Hansen, the former top climate scientist at NASA. From 1981 to 2013, he was the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He’s now the director of Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and joins us in our New York studio.

    Welcome back to Democracy Now!, Dr. Hansen….”

    Reply
  30. eleggua

     /  September 8, 2017

    ‘Hurricanes, floods, and wildfires haven’t changed Justin Trudeau’s mind on Kinder Morgan pipeline’
    by Charlie Smith on September 7th, 2017

    https://www.straight.com/news/961341/hurricanes-floods-and-wildfires-hasnt-changed-justin-trudeaus-mind-kinder-morgan

    “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity painted a stark picture of what was going to happen if fossil-fuel use continued unabated.

    This summer, we’re getting a taste of what those storms are going to look like with Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

    Meanwhile here in B.C., a record number of hectares have been scorched by wildfires, and massive flooding occurred this summer in Ottawa, Montreal, and B.C.’s Okanagan Valley.

    But despite what’s happening on the ground, the Trudeau government shows no indication that it will change its mind about the Kinder Morgan pipeline project.

    Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr is quoted on the CBC website saying the pipeline is in the national interest.

    And it’s clear that fierce summer storms, floods, and wildfires have not moved his boss or deputy Liberal leader and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to reconsider.

    “Nothing that’s happened since then has changed our mind that this is a good decision for Canada,” Carr insisted to CBC. “The decision was made with all of the facts, with all the scientific evidence, with all of the input, and we believe we made it for the right reasons and we stand by the decision.”

    In fact, the National Energy Board did not consider environmental and socioeconomic effects in its review of Kinder Morgan’s application……”

    Reply
  31. bearingwitness

     /  September 8, 2017

    From the live blog on The Guardian:
    “Irma continues its sobering record-breaking streak: with sustained wind speeds of 185mph (295kph) for 33 hours, it is the longest storm of such intensity since satellite monitoring began in the 1970s.”
    (@11.36 AEST)

    Reply
  32. wharf rat

     /  September 8, 2017

    Comment on the Cat 6 blog…

    Weather Channel: “Jim, the good news is we’re giving you a raise. That bad news is we need you to go to Miami.”
    Cantore: “Um, no thanks. I’m good.”

    Reply
  33. Leland Palmer

     /  September 8, 2017

    Wonderful reporting, Robert.

    So, the price tag for Harvey is going to be in excess of 150 billion dollars -some sources say 180 billion. The price tag for Irma could be similar, or even greater. So we could have a total bill for natural disasters this year of roughly a half trillion dollars.

    So, Trump, Pelosi and Schumer cut a deal for an initial 15 billion for Harvey reconstruction in the last couple of days. The alt Right is furious, reportedly. The news is full of cynical stories about who the political winners and losers of this deal are in Washington D.C. But could Trump be starting to see the obvious connection between climate change and extreme weather events? Is he ready to turn his back on his party about climate change?

    The models seem to show that Mar-a-Lago is going to take a hit from Irma, and might even encounter the highest winds of the eye wall of the storm, not to mention the storm surge. Could Irma be a “come to Jesus moment” for Trump, when he finally admits he was wrong about climate change?

    Trump wants to cut stuff from the budget. OK, but could he possibly make up for the cost of Harvey and Irma in a single year just by cutting?

    As always, the Republicans are the real big spenders in Washington. Reagan’s trillion 1980s dollars spent on Star Wars, for example, or Dubya’s three trillion dollars spent on invading the Middle East come to mind. Trump could spend similar amounts on rebuilding after natural disasters, maybe.

    Suppose we get to the point in five or ten years when events like Harvey and Irma happen every year? How long until that bankrupts the country? Or, will we just stop rebuilding?

    Reply
  34. James Moran

     /  September 8, 2017

    Love your work Robert! I am getting blocked from accessing Arctic Sea Ice Forum site as of today. Can you help me work out the problem? It is saying the website declined to show this location???????

    Reply
    • I’m not affiliated with the Arctic Sea Ice forum. May want to try to contact Neven who administers the site?

      Reply
    • kassy

       /  September 8, 2017

      There was a glitch which the ASIF earlier which has now been resolved (see top of Piomas september 2017 blog).

      Reply
  35. eleggua

     /  September 8, 2017

    ‘Australia has hottest winter on record as climate change drives long-term warming trend
    The danger period for bushfires has moved a month forward into September because of the more arid conditions’
    5 days ago

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/australia-hottest-winter-climate-change-greenhouse-gases-bushfires-a7926246.html

    “The hottest winter ever has been recorded in Australia amid a “long-term warming trend” mostly caused by climate change, according to the country’s Bureau of Meteorology.

    Peak temperatures during the day were up by 1.9 degrees Celsius (3.4 Fahrenheit) on the long-term national average of 21.8C during the period between June and August.

    Winter rainfall was also down to the least amount since 2002 and the ninth-lowest on record. Australia started charting the statistics in 1900 for rainfall and 1910 for temperatures.

    “You have a long-term warming trend which is largely attributed to changing levels of greenhouse gases,” the bureau’s senior climatologist Blair Trewin told AFP…..”

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  September 8, 2017

      ‘Incredible Burst Of Antarctic Air Makes Beeline For Victoria, NSW, Tasmania
      Have a Brrrrrrilliant week.’
      04/09/2017

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/09/04/incredible-burst-of-antarctic-air-makes-beeline-for-victoria-nsw-tasmania_a_23195828/

      “…A relentless conveyor belt of cold air is streaming north across the Southern Ocean to Tassie and the southern mainland, directly from the polar region….

      …”The large field of speckled cloud over the southeast of the continent shows the cold unstable air mass that has been ‘dragged’ up from Antarctic latitudes.”

      Dragged indeed. Normally systems like this lose a bit of puff on their way to Australia. Not this one. And that’s why snow fell to extremely low levels by Australian standards on Monday night and Tuesday morning…

      …This has been an interesting winter in Australia. Figures released by the Bureau of Meteorology last week showed it to be the fifth hottest winter ever (taking into account day and night temps), and indeed the hottest ever in terms of average daytime maximums.

      But there have been two or three intense winter storms — each of which has brought extremely heavy snow. The snow depth is such that snow bloggers are now speculating whether this could be the first season since 1992 when an official depth of three metres is recorded in NSW. The current official depth is 189cm….”

      Reply
  36. Vic

     /  September 8, 2017

    “A 2011 study analyzing one of the main sources of hurricanes – the African easterly wave (AEW) – found that the change in AEWs is closely linked to increased activity of intense hurricanes in the North Atlantic. The synoptic concurrence of AEWs in driving the dynamics of the Sahel greening also appears to increase tropical cyclogeneses over the North Atlantic.”

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

    Reply
  37. eleggua

     /  September 8, 2017

    Reply
  38. eleggua

     /  September 8, 2017

    “A panoramic view of last night’s sunset near #HurricaneIrma from the flight deck of one of our WC-130J Super Hercules aircraft.”

    Reply
  39. eleggua

     /  September 8, 2017

    On the east coast of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec: hurricane Katia.
    West coast:

    Reply
    • Andy_in_SD

       /  September 8, 2017

      8.1-magnitude earthquake strikes off Mexican coast leaving at least 32 dead
      – One would think the planet is pissed off and tired of humans…..

      http://globalnews.ca/news/3727188/mexico-earthquake/

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  September 8, 2017

        Not this one. We’re the planet, too.

        Reply
        • I totally agree elugga, we’ve all been misled by the semantics where we are separated from our place, our planet and even our selves (mind, body etc). When I studied we looked at the roots of words like /environment/ and that they separate us from where we dwell. Using ‘nature’, ‘Earth’ certainly wakes people up when they see it in an official report or gearing and that is worthwhile.

  40. wharf rat

     /  September 8, 2017

    Reply
  41. Shawn Redmond

     /  September 8, 2017

    Just thinking about the agriculture in the path of Irma. The growing season all over the continent has had a rough year. There is always concern over the California crops but the south east has had a lot of issues this year as well. The late spring freeze of blossoms in particular. I was wondering what the minds here think about the up coming winter supply of……. well everything fresh and green?

    Reply
  42. Shawn Redmond

     /  September 8, 2017

    Jose still strengthening. The conventional wisdom was that the passing of Irma would cool the waters in her wake enough to slow or stall Jose’s growth. I was looking at Nullschool this morning and the SST’s weren’t looking cool anywhere. I thought oh well maybe Nullschool can’t resolve that small. However the it would seem there is enough warmth left to work with. In view of the depth that ocean surface heat now reaches, do you think that the upwelling of colder water is not happening? If this is so, should we brace for more big storms this season not unlike the western Pacific last season. The Ekman pumping may not go deep enough to get the cooler water up to the surface with just one or two storms of our grandchildren! This line of intuitive thinking is not going well for me. Someone set me straight please.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  September 8, 2017

      What always happened in the past is that the enormous evaporating machine that is a hurricane caused so much evaporative cooling of the surface waters, that there was little energy left for a storm that followed. Also, as the cool, saltier surface waters sank, the water that replaced it from depth was also much cooler.

      I haven’t looked at buoy data recently, but in general the oceans are warmer everywhere now, not just at the surface. So the water that now comes up to replace the saltier surface water is not as cool as it would have been. So there is still energy to feed the next storm, contrary to how things have gone in most cases in earlier storms.

      Reply
  43. wharf rat

     /  September 8, 2017

    Reply
  44. labmonkery2

     /  September 8, 2017

    Hurricanes and floods and earthquakes – OH MY! and then I spotted this, too. The Solar Wind is blowing bigly. Might affect satellite comms and such? https://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/

    Reply
  45. eleggua

     /  September 8, 2017

    Thanks, Jean. John S dug it up and posted it to the previous thread in response to my request. You probably missed it there; a lot to follow between and among posts. I appreciate your effort; thanks again.

    Reply
  46. wili

     /  September 8, 2017

    The Euro model that just came out nudged the path just enough west to keep the eye in the very warm waters of the GoM for a while.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  September 8, 2017

      Well, probably not deep into GoM, just a bit west of the tip of the peninsula before crashing into Naples.

      Reply
      • Hank S.

         /  September 8, 2017

        2:00 update has direction of Irma as West (270 degrees.) For the past three days the direction has been WNW (285-290 degrees.) Expected change was supposed to be moe to the North, rather than the West. Any significance?

        Reply
        • A westward jog toward Cuba was anticipated. That said, the overall path has shifted somewhat to the west centering on a landfall in the Keys and then the Everglades. Here’s a graphic with the offical track and present location. Note the very warm SSTs as well.

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