Advertisements

Another Historic Storm: Surreal Ophelia Strikes Ireland with Hurricane Force

“Ophelia is breaking new ground for a major hurricane. Typically those waters [are] much too cool for anything this strong. I really can’t believe I’m seeing a major just south of the Azores.” — National Hurricane Center scientist Eric Blake on Twitter.

*****

Warmer than normal ocean temperatures due to human-forced climate change are now enabling major hurricanes to threaten Northern Europe. A region that was traditionally considered primarily out of the range of past powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricanes under 20th Century climatology. One that, in a warmer world, is increasingly under the gun.

(Ophelia roars over Ireland. Image source: NASA Worldview.)

On October 14, Ophelia hit major hurricane status as it moved swiftly toward Europe. Packing 115 mph maximum sustained winds over a region of ocean where we’ve never recorded this kind of powerful storm before, Ophelia set its sights on Ireland. Crossing over warmer than normal North Atlantic Ocean waters, the storm maintained hurricane status up to 12 hours before barreling into Ireland. At that time, cooler waters caused the storm to transition to extra-tropical. But this transition was not enough to prevent Ireland from being struck by hurricane-force gusts up to 119 mph, storm surge flooding, and seeing structural damage reminiscent to a category one storm.

360,000 power outages and two deaths were attributed to a storm that should have not maintained such high intensity so far north and east. Yet another historic storm that forced the National Hurricane Center to shift its tracking map east of the 0 degree longitude line (Greenwich) since they had not planned for a hurricane or its tropical remnants to move so far out of the typical zone for North Atlantic hurricanes (see image at bottom of page).

(Human-caused climate change produces angrier seas off Ireland as amped-up Ophelia rages.)

As with many of the recently powerful storms, 1 to 2 degree Celsius above average sea surface temperatures were a prime enabler allowing Ophelia to maintain such high intensity so far north. And under the present trend, it appears that the Atlantic coasts of Spain, Portugal, France, Ireland and England are now all more likely to see tropical storm and hurricane impacts in the future as sea surface temperatures continue to rise. In the past, strikes by tropical cyclones to places like Ireland were considered to be rare — with the last Hurricane to impact Ireland being Debbie in 1961. But recent climate science studies indicate that global warming is likely to increase the frequency of hurricane and tropical storm impacts to Northern Europe:

In a paper published in April 2013, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute predicted that by the year 2100, global warming would greatly increase the threat of hurricane-force winds to western Europe from former tropical cyclones and hybrid storms, the latter similar to Hurricane Sandy in 2012. One model predicted an increase from 2 to 13 in the number of cyclones with hurricane-force winds in the waters offshore western Europe. The study suggested that conditions favorable for tropical cyclones would expand 1,100 km (700 mi) to the east. A separate study based out of University of Castile-La Mancha predicted that hurricanes would develop in the Mediterranean Sea in Septembers by the year 2100, which would threaten countries in southern Europe.

The present Atlantic hurricane season can now only be described as a surreal caricature of what we feared climate change could produce. Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and a dozen or more Caribbean islands are now devastated disaster areas. Some locations may feel the effects of the off-the-charts powerful storms enabled by a warmer than normal ocean for decades to come. Puerto Rico, unless it receives far more significant aid from the mainland than the Trump Administration appears to be willing to provide, may never fully recover.  And now Ophelia has maintained hurricane status until just twelve hours before striking Europe’s Ireland as a powerful extra-tropical storm.

2017 has also been an extraordinary year basin-wide by measure of storm energy. Total accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) for the North Atlantic as of October 15 was 222.5. So far, according to this measure, 2017 is the 7th strongest hurricane season ever recorded since records began in 1851. The most intense season, 1933, may see its own record of 259 ACE exceeded over the coming days and weeks. For storms still appear to be forming over record warm waters. According to the National Hurricane Center, a disturbance off the East Coast of the United States now has a 40 percent chance of developing into the season’s 16th named storm over the next 48 hours. Meanwhile, during recent years, powerful late October storms like Matthew and Sandy have tended to crop up over warmer than normal ocean waters even as late season storms ranging into November and December appear to be more common. In other words, we’re not out of the woods yet and 2017 may be a year to exceed all other years for total measured storm intensity as well as overall damage.

(UPDATED)

Links:

Ex-Hurricane Ophelia Batters Ireland Under Orange Skies

The National Hurricane Center

Colorado State: Accumulated Cyclone Energy

NASA Worldview

Tropical Cyclone Effects in Europe

Hat tip to Eleggua

Hat tip to Jeremy in Wales

Advertisements
Leave a comment

135 Comments

  1. Ophelia is a great example of stratospheric cooling allowing a storm to intensify over SSTs that in the past would have been too cool to support it.

    Reply
    • SSTs were warm enough to support a major hurricane in this region alone even without countervailing cooler stratospheres. This warming ocean surface is the primary scientifically identified driver. If you have another scientific paper on the issue of T delta changes in the stratopshere vs troposphere as an enabler, please post it. But primary driver appears to be warmer SSTs.

      That said, atmospheric absorption band changes due to rising CO2 and other ghg do produce both warming in the troposphere and cooling in the stratosphere. So this is an interesting climate change related topic of discussion.

      Reply
      • Kerry Emmanuel had papers from 2008 and 2013 on the topic http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00242.1 – He concludes “At least in the North Atlantic region, where recent trends appear to be dominated by thermodynamic influences, downward trends in tropical cyclone outflow temperature, associated with a cooling tropical tropopause layer and lower stratosphere, are a significant contributor to upward trends in potential intensity over the past few decades…”

        The increase in intensity is, to a first approximation, proportional to the square root of the difference between SST and outflow temps. Stratospheric cooling is particularly strong over the North Atlantic. Besides the greenhouse gas effects, ozone depletion also increases stratospheric cooling. According to Emmanuel SSTs contribute about half of the observed increase in intensity, and stratospheric cooling the other half.

        Sulfur aerosols from volcanoes warm the stratosphere – using this method of radiation management, despite its other side effects, would tend to decrease hurricane intensity. Since 2013 the “volcano” that is China has leveled off in its emissions of aerosols, closing its dirtiest mines first. In the last two years we’ve also seen a record CO2 spike. Boom, pause over, stratosphere cools, record hurricane season.

        Here’s an article accessible to the general public on the topic of SC and Haiyan, referencing Emmanuel’s work: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/8/29/1694265/-Why-the-strongest-storms-are-getting-stronger-It-s-Climate-Change-but-not-what-you-think

        NHC acknowledges the effect in the 10/13 5 PM AST discussion “Little change in strength is expected while Ophelia remains a hurricane, since the relatively cool SSTs along the hurricane’s path will likely be offset by low shear and cold upper-level temperatures for the next 36 h.”

        Thus the madness of Ophelia is explained.

        Reply
        • I should correct myself on the following points:

          1. The finding that about half of the intensity increase is from SC is from the 2008 paper. In the 2013 paper Emmanuel says this: “Sea surface temperature measurements in the tropical North Atlantic region have been accurate and robust over the period that we are concerned with here, so this contribution to changes in potential intensity is well characterized. If the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis is adopted, slightly more than half (56%) of the increase of potential intensity in the North Atlantic over the past 30 years is owing to an increase in thermodynamic efficiency, the second term on the right of (6). As discussed previously, virtually all of this comes from the decrease of outflow temperature; the increase in sea surface temperature contributes only about 7% to the increase in thermodynamics efficiency over this period.”

          2. Ground-level SO2 emissions from coal burning stay mostly in the troposphere. Emmanuel, in his presentation on the day of Maria’s impact on Puerto Rico, thinks emissions from Europe might be a cause of the 1960s-1990s hurricane drought, as European emissions go over the Sahara and get pulled across the Atlantic. Since it’s much easier to warm the stratosphere than cool the oceans, we might be able to weaken hurricanes using a short term regional stratospheric SO2 injection.

          3. In estimating the square root intensity change, I neglected the outflow temp in the denominator, which changes the estimates. I played around with the equations a bit – with +2C ∆SST and -4C ∆SC I get a first-order estimate of 8% increase in intensity.

          I’ll also add this tidbit:

          “The outflow temperature may be thought of as the absolute temperature at the level at which a parcel saturated as sea surface temperature first loses its positive buoyancy when lifted through the unperturbed environment. Warming sea surface temperature by itself will allow such a parcel to penetrate higher into the TTL and thus attain a lower temperature; when coupled with any decline in TTL temperature, somewhat larger declines in outflow temperature can occur. For the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, the outflow temperature declines by 5.4 K while the 100-hPa temperature declines by 4.6 K from 1979 to 2010, while for the San Juan sonde the corresponding numbers are 3.8 and 2.1 K, respectively.”

  2. Genomik

     /  October 16, 2017

    Since this is happening I guess it’s possible for a hurricane that often hits Baja California could go farther north and hit Los Angeles or San Diego pretty hard as the ocean keep heating up. Seems very analogous.

    Here’s a hurricane map of one last year that hit Baja and came close to Los Angeles.

    https://watchers.news/2016/09/19/paine-becomes-11th-hurricane-of-the-season-moving-north-toward-baja-california/

    Reply
    • An absolutely plausible expectation.

      Reply
    • PlazaRed

       /  October 16, 2017

      When you consider that Ireland is well over the 50 degrees north, then you would be looking at it hitting Vancouver island if it were in the Pacific!

      Reply
      • Well, the cool water current on the Pacific side moves further south than in the Atlantic. Worth noting that increases in Greenland melt rates would also change the dynamic. But we’re not to the point of very large ocean impacts due to melt just yet.

        Reply
      • Genomik

         /  October 18, 2017

        We in San Francisco a month ago got hit by an extremely rare Lightning storm. I believe it was the remnants of a hurricane or depression down south similar to what I mentioned. That was highly unusual. It was also very warm and highly unusual summer rain. So perhaps that was a taste of things to come.

        Reply
  3. PlazaRed

     /  October 16, 2017

    The Brown clouds on the east side of the storms photos are from wildfires in Iberia and dust from the Sahara desert.
    The winds from the hurricane caused massive amounts of damage here over the last few days by driving wildfires.

    Large amounts of wildfires in the north of Spain today, possibly over 50 in total, leading to 4 people dead so far.
    In Portugal there are about 150 wildfires at the moment, mostly burning out of control.
    Temps have been as high as +36/C over the last week or rounding at about 100/F
    Rain is on the cards for tomorrow and a temp drop of up to 10/C in the north and west, so that with the help of much lessened winds this will probably at least kill off a lot of the fires.

    Portugal has been declared a catastrophic zone in large areas, massive amounts of properties destroyed 32 people confirmed dead so far but a lot more missing.
    The scenes are very similar to the California fires but with stone and concrete buildings damage does not look as bad until its seen from above.

    I shall continue to keep a watch of the situation on the Spanish news here

    Reply
    • Insanely warm and windy temperatures over the region. The fact that wildfires can be driven by Atlantic hurricanes in N. Europe is yet one more of those weird climate interactions that was unexpected.

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  October 18, 2017

        We got some pretty high temperatures east of Ophelia’s track, as well as the funny light and dust.

        I haven’t quite worked out if that is normal or not,

        Reply
  4. Jeremy in Wales

     /  October 16, 2017

    While the origin of this storm is very unusual Europe does get hit by extra-tropical storms and ex-hurricanes. Ophelia is the worst storm in Ireland since Hurricane Debbie in 1961
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Debbie_(1961)
    but the UK & Ireland regularly gets hit by autumn/winter storms of hurricane strength the most extreme probably being storms in 1704 and 1607
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_natural_disasters_in_Great_Britain_and_Ireland
    Having experienced the 1987 storm and willing the crashing trees behind our then house not to come crashing down I feel for anyone caught in the unstoppable force that you just want to go away.
    I am over 300 miles from the eye of the storm Ophelia but the wind is still gusting over 50 knots and trees and branches are down around town, many still are in leave.
    However we all know that warmer seas will lead to stronger storms and more damaging floods and this event could be another (ex)canary in the coalmine.

    Reply
    • While storms of this kind have impacted Ireland in the past, they were typically very rare. In addition, we’ve never seen a major hurricane form so far to the East. Warming SSTs near Europe help to load the dice for these kinds of events.

      Reply
      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  October 16, 2017

        Our knowledge of where hurricanes formed prior to the satellite age is sketchy. While Hurricane Debbie (1961) took a different track it seems to have been at hurricane strength close to the Cape Verde Islands
        “Around 1200 UTC on September 5, the low emerged off the coast of Senegal as a strong tropical depression or tropical storm. By this time, the system had a central pressure below 1006 mbar (hPa; 29.71 inHg), and sustained winds of 35 mph (55 km/h) were reported in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau. As the system neared Cape Verde, it continued to intensify and by the evening of September 6, reports from the nearby Danish tanker Charlotte Maersk indicated that the system was already at or near hurricane intensity.[1]” the paper indicates 15° N 25° W
        https://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/mwr/091/mwr-091-02-0061.pdf
        So Ophelia 2017 is incredibly rare – possibly unique – but with certaintly only from the 1960s onwards. This is one event and does not yet form a pattern – worrying and probably expected – and yes waters in the N Atlantic are warmer than recent history.
        Anyway wind is now dropping and I need my bed.

        Reply
    • Updated to include more European tropical cyclone climatology and climate change related information.

      Reply
  5. PlazaRed

     /  October 16, 2017

    I have just seen an interesting photo of the orange skies over London today caused by the south winds on the hurricanes east side pulling up the smoke and Saharan dust from Spain and Portugal.
    I hope the link works OK.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7cca7390583e54d19eecbb11b8b8bf5bcfd79b95e751e0eacce9758aa1a10e15.jpg?w=800&h=530

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  October 16, 2017

      It will post directly into the comment when the question mark is stripped from the end of the url. To embed an image from the url, the url should end in “dot jpg” or “dot png” or “dot gif”.
      Strip anthing after jpg, png or gif and it ought to embed ok.

      Reply
  6. eleggua

     /  October 16, 2017

    “The more immune you are to people’s suffering, that’s very, very dangerous.
    It’s critical for us to maintain this humanity.”

    “Over 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war in the greatest human displacement since World War II. Human Flow, an epic film journey led by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, gives a powerful visual expression to this massive human migration. The documentary elucidates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact. ”

    (thanx for the hat tip, Robert.)

    Reply
  7. eleggua

     /  October 16, 2017

    Not good news from Down Under.

    ‘Renewable power subsidies set for the scrap heap’
    16 October 2017

    https://thewest.com.au/news/australia/renewable-power-subsidies-set-for-the-scrap-heap-ng-b88629593z

    “The Federal Government will dump subsidies for renewable power and establish a reliable electricity target that favours gas, hydro and coal in a long-awaited energy policy to be unveiled by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today.

    The two-fold plan, which was expected to pass Cabinet and the Government’s backbench energy committee last night, will mandate that enough renewable energy is produced to meet Australia’s Paris emissions targets but no incentives will be offered.

    Instead, it is understood the Government will propose changing the rules of the National Electricity Market to establish the twin obligations of reliability and low emissions for the energy sector.

    The proposed energy package draws clear battlelines with the Labor Party, which yesterday reaffirmed its commitment to the Clean Energy Target recommended by chief scientist Alan Finkel, saying it was the best way to bring down prices.

    Shadow energy spokesman Mark Butler said that any Government shift away from the CET would demonstrate that Mr Turnbull was hostage to former leader Tony Abbott’s “radical right wing agenda”.

    “The best outcome for power prices will be delivered by a Clean Energy Target,” Mr Butler said……”

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  October 16, 2017

      Speaking of “Tony Abbott’s “radical right wing agenda””, he’s still making noise and news and nonsense.

      ‘Tony Abbott reflects on how he could become prime minister again
      George Brandis has delivered a stinging smackdown of Tony Abbott after his controversial speech on climate change.’
      October 16, 2017

      http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/tony-abbott-reflects-on-how-he-could-become-prime-minister-again/news-story/50398b89acc82190f922b9f0908fc4b8

      “…Brandis says “life is too short” to read everything Tony Abbott has to say in a stinging smackdown of his outspoken colleague today.

      The Attorney-General noted he had heard Mr Abbott had made some “interesting” observations about “people and goats and volcanoes” in his speech on climate change last week but hadn’t bothered to read it.

      Senator Brandis made the remarks in Senate Question Time today after he was asked about the former prime minister refusal to back a Clean Energy Target.

      It’s understood pressure from the backbench, including Mr Abbott, has prompted the government to drop the CET from its energy strategy, which is set to be announced this week…..

      (Abbot) also hit back at critics of a speech where he claimed climate change was doing “more good than harm”.
      Mr Abbott suggested his critics hadn’t actually listened to the speech, which sparked condemnation last week from Labor, the Greens and even members of his own party….

      “The problem,….over the last few years is that we haven’t been running a system for affordability and reliability, we’ve been running a system to reduce emissions,” he said.
      “It’s given us some of the most expensive power in the world — and this is literally insane, given we are the country with the largest readily available reserves of coal gas and uranium.”

      Mr Abbott made those key points in his speech to climate sceptics in London but also likened climate scientists to the “thought police” and claimed some of their findings were “absolute crap”.

      He also said: “At least so far, it’s climate change policy that’s doing harm; climate change itself is probably doing good; or at least, more good than harm.”

      ….Higher concentrations of carbon dioxide were “greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields,” he said.
      And in most countries “far more people die in cold snaps than in heatwaves” so a gradual lift in global temperatures “might even be beneficial” if accompanied by greater prosperity……”

      Reply
    • Vic

       /  October 17, 2017

      To think that as little as six years ago we led the world with a comprehensive suite of well designed, reality based climate policy. That’s all gone now, relentlessly, visciously torn down piece by piece, essentially by one man.

      There’s a very special place in history reserved for Tony Abbott.

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  October 18, 2017

        On Tony Abbott…no words. Amazing how many “deplorable” leaders in the world during a time when we need “informed, educated” leadership more than ever.

        Amy Winehouse..a powerful voice…so missed.

        Reply
  8. Vic

     /  October 16, 2017

    A data packed presentation here by Atlantic hurricane expert Professor Kerry Emanuel, delivered on the same day that hurricane Maria tore apart Puerto Rico.

    The final question of the Q&A (@ 1:10:00) broached the subject of hurricane outflow temperatures at the top of the troposphere. Emanuel did not provide an answer.

    Reply
  9. Abel Adamski

     /  October 17, 2017

    A new and good article from Peter Sinclair
    https://climatecrocks.com/2017/10/16/new-video-how-not-to-communicate-climate/

    New Video: How Not to Communicate Climate
    October 16, 2017

    Wait. Stop reading right here. Don’t dare think of an elephant.

    Didn’t work, did it. Just mentioning it implanted it in your mind, in your consciousness.

    It’s an argument made by Berkeley linguist George Lakoff, among others, and a key point in climate communicators’ lessons on how to – and how not to – talk about that dreaded “climate change” term.

    In this month’s Yale Climate Connections “This Is Not Cool” video, by regular contributor and independent videographer Peter Sinclair, Texas Tech climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe points out that the “greatest advances” in understanding of climate change over the past decade have come not from the physical sciences, but from the social sciences.

    A mere headline along the lines of “Myth XYZ” implants that myth, even if subsequently and thoroughly “debunked,” in the audience’s mind, says John Cook of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. “After time, all the details fade,” says Cook, the founder of the Skeptical Sciencewebsite. “And all they can remember is the headline,” reinforcing the myth.

    “In your brain, the neural circuits have to activate what you are negating in order to negate it, and that strengthens what you are negating,” Lakoff says. He points to then-President Richard Nixon’s famous ‘I am not a crook’ statement, “and people thought of him as a crook.”

    Hayhoe, of Texas Tech, supports connecting with others “over a shared value …. then connect the line between what we care about and climate change.”

    TV meteorologist Amber Sullins of ABC 15 in Phoenix says avoiding the words “global warming or climate change” is part of her strategy to avoid turning-off some of her audience. “You remove those two words and just talk about how they’re going to be affected as things change,” she says, “and they’re much more open to listening.”

    Reply
  10. eleggua

     /  October 17, 2017

    This video shot by the Berkeley Fire Department will give you a very real perspective of being in Santa Rosa early Monday morning, the 9th, during the height of the fire.

    ‘Berkeley firefighters arrived in Santa Rosa, stunned by scope of Tubbs Fire’

    “Berkeley firefighters release dramatic video showing what they saw as they arrived to help Santa Rosa fight the Tubbs Fire. Video courtesy Berkeley Fire Dept.”

    Reply
  11. eleggua

     /  October 17, 2017

    Reply
  12. Greg

     /  October 17, 2017

    OT but worth repeating some of the words John McCain spoke yesterday for the U.S. and the world:
    “We live in a land made of ideals, not ‘blood and soil,”…“To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”
    http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/10/17/john-mccain-full-speech-liberty-medal.cnn

    Reply
  13. I thought it was a great speech Something about we are about ideals,not blood and soil (as Hitler liked to talk about blood and soil)..Also we know of the personal suffering of both McCain and Biden

    Reply
  14. Erik Frederiksen

     /  October 17, 2017

    Here’s a short amateur clip of storm surge during Typhoon Haiyan. Should be required viewing for anyone living within striking distance.

    Reply
    • Vic

       /  October 18, 2017

      Even the relatively mild Ophelia packed a pretty hefty surge.

      Not to forget storm surge’s evil twin – swell.

      Reply
  15. Suzanne

     /  October 17, 2017

    At the Atlantic magazine…”Will Northern CA soon have Southern CA climate?
    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/10/is-norcal-the-new-socal-climatically/543021/

    In their entirety, the fires—from their speed to their wind-driven nature—suggest a much more southwest-like climate than the region today. Is this the future? Will climate change turn Northern California into Southern California?

    “The comparison is not a bad one,” said Alex Hall, a professor of atmospheric science and the director of the Center for Climate Science at the University of California, Los Angeles.

    It might be literally true for temperature. If greenhouse-gas emissions continue on roughly their current trajectory, then Northern California’s temperatures will warm by between 6 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.

    Reply
    • Yes, I was thinking the same thing. It also seems like Southern California is starting to get more tropical. Could be wrong, this is just the impression I’ve been getting.

      Reply
  16. Greg

     /  October 17, 2017

    Another preview of a terrifying future, happening now…Portugal:

    Reply
  17. Abel Adamski

     /  October 17, 2017

    An Interesting one
    Electric Vehicle Battery: 35 Years Ahead of Its Time!
    In 1980, the engineers of Gulf + Western Industries invented this advanced Zinc Chloride energy storage system to power electric vehicles. Watch this entertaining and informative film describing what still could be the answer to replacing gasoline in cars and light trucks. Outstanding performance at 1/4 the cost of gasoline. Also excellent for load leveling electric utilitities – an important consideration for increasing peak period output, lowering operating cost, saving capital expenditures, and reducing the utility’s envinronmental footprint.

    From a comment
    David Rockefeller and queen ‘Dutch Royal Shell’ Beatrix must have flipped their lids when they heard these electric cars logged over 200,000 miles in just four short years without a hitch. Zinc mining magnet Charles George Bluhdorn most likely was the tour de force behind this wonderful invention. Looking back at Gulf and Western’s history at the time these electric storage and power units were being tested, and later rolled out, G&W had ‘coincidently’ got the attention of the Security and Exchange Commission. Right on que in 1980 (when this technology was going to be made public) the SEC and Gulf & Western struck a ‘settlement’. One has to wonder if this technology being shelved was part of the ‘settlement agreement’? One only can wonder. … and as in the wonderful world of ‘coincidence theories’ go… Charles George Bluhdorn ‘conveniently’ died shortly after of a heart attack, at the ripe old age of 56. Which coincided with the last we ever heard of this wonderful technology again from Gulf and Western.

    Reply
  18. Greg

     /  October 18, 2017

    There has been a lot of attempts at growing food locally and indoors to solve a myriad of challenges and problems with conventional agriculture in an age of climate change and tremendous population growth. One startup that seems to really have the formula figured out, and not just for leafy vegetables like lettuce, is called Plenty and it got a $200 million investment because it claims it can grow 350 times the amount of food per unit of land and with 1% of the water and still make it locally, with the same cost, and with as good a taste and texture as a chef would require, and using only ladybugs for pest control. Worth watching as the future will require a great deal of indoor/vertical farming in an age of droughts/floods:

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40420610/has-this-silicon-valley-startup-finally-nailed-the-indoor-farming-model

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  October 18, 2017

      I think your article dovetails perfectly to what I read at the Conversation this morning….
      “World hunger is increasing thanks to wars and climate change”
      https://theconversation.com/world-hunger-is-increasing-thanks-to-wars-and-climate-change-84506

      Around the globe, about 815 million people – 11 percent of the world’s population – went hungry in 2016, according to the latest data from the United Nations. This was the first increase in more than 15 years.

      Between 1990 and 2015, due largely to a set of sweeping initiatives by the global community, the proportion of undernourished people in the world was cut in half. In 2015, U.N. member countries adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, which doubled down on this success by setting out to end hunger entirely by 2030. But a recent U.N. report shows that, after years of decline, hunger is on the rise again.

      As evidenced by nonstop news coverage of floods, fires, refugees and violence, our planet has become a more unstable and less predictable place over the past few years. As these disasters compete for our attention, they make it harder for people in poor, marginalized and war-torn regions to access adequate food.

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  October 18, 2017

        Suzanne,
        “Our world has enough food to feed all its inhabitants. When one region is suffering severe hunger, global humanitarian institutions, though often cash-strapped, are theoretically capable of transporting food and averting catastrophe.

        But this year, South Sudan slipped into famine, and Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen are each on the verge of their own. Famine now threatens 20 million people — more than at any time since World War II. As defined by the United Nations, famine occurs when a region’s daily hunger-related death rate exceeds 2 per 10,000 people.”

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/world/2017-famines/

        Reply
    • paul

       /  October 21, 2017

      Permaculture is the best, most efficient way of growing food. But there’s no money to be made as there’s no fancy tech to sell.

      Reply
  19. Vic

     /  October 18, 2017

    The old double whammy. Another major storm expected to hit the UK this Saturday.

    Reply
  20. Vic

     /  October 18, 2017

    Oops. One’s enough.

    Reply
  21. FasterThanExpected …http://www.fasterthanexpected.com/blog/…Third story down …Sinking into the sea: The coastline of the Northwest Territories is eroding faster than scientists can measure it .This was not a personal mission to dip a toe in chilly Arctic waters and come away with photographic proof. On the contrary, the federal government scientist was looking for a time-lapse camera, one of three that met a watery end by the very forces they were meant to capture: rapid erosion on what may be the world’s fastest-disappearing island.
    “This is our third year trying, and as of today, this is our third year failing,” said Whalen, who works for Natural Resources Canada. “We really can’t predict just how the island will change.”

    Reply
  22. Not sure if this was posted or not but ..http://climatestate.com/2013/12/31/planet-likely-to-warm-by-4c-by-2100-scientists-warn/,,,,New climate model taking greater account of cloud changes indicates heating will be at higher end of expectations…The scientist leading the research said that unless emissions of greenhouse gases were cut, the planet would heat up by a minimum of 4C by 2100, twice the level the world’s governments deem dangerous..
    Faster than expected perhaps ?

    Reply
  23. Suzanne

     /  October 18, 2017

    Heard a insightful interview today on NPR’s “1A” that I feel is worth listening too…
    https://the1a.org/shows/2017-10-17/the-father-of-microfinance-has-a-plan-to-fix-capitalism
    “The father of micro finance has a plan to fix capitalism” an interview with Muhammad Yunus 2006 Nobel Peace Prize laureate; creator of the microcredit economic movement; and author of the new book “A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment and Zero Net Carbon Emissions.

    The book at Amazon…”A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero, Poverty, Zero Unemployment and Zero Net Carbon Emissions”…

    Reply
    • Jimbot

       /  October 22, 2017

      With all due respect, Suzanne, that’s (…). Those types of initiatives have been tried before, they end up further increasing the already extreme wealth of the lenders and further impoverishing the poor debtors, as you might expect.

      Reply
  24. Suzanne

     /  October 18, 2017

    Understanding Climate Change’s latest video:
    Climate & Extreme Weather News #74 (October 14th-17th 2017)
    0:24 Portugal wildfires
    12:23 Spain wildfires
    24:02 Ireland: Storm Ophelia
    28:06 Typhoon Khanun
    32:41 Thailand: Bangkok flood
    36:56 India: Bangalore flood
    40:54 The USA: California wildfires
    46:37 Puerto Rico: Caguas flood
    48:27 Mexico: Santiago Tuxtla flood

    Reply
  25. Genomik

     /  October 18, 2017

    “Around the world, social and political instability are on the rise. Since 2010, state-based conflict has increased by 60 percent and armed conflict within countries has increased by 125 percent. More than half of the food-insecure people identified in the U.N. report (489 million out of 815 million) live in countries with ongoing violence. More than three-quarters of the world’s chronically malnourished children (122 million of 155 million) live in conflict-affected regions.
    At the same time, these regions are experiencing increasingly powerful storms, more frequent and persistent drought and more variable rainfall associated with global climate change. These trends are not unrelated. Conflict-torn communities are more vulnerable to climate-related disasters, and crop or livestock failure due to climate can contribute to social unrest.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/world-hunger-is-increasing-thanks-to-wars-and-climate-change/

    Reply
  26. Genomik

     /  October 18, 2017

    Cli-Fi refers to “climate fiction;” it is a term coined by journalist Dan Bloom. These are fictional books that somehow or someway bring real climate change science to the reader. What is really interesting is that Cli-Fi books often present real science in a credible way. They become fun teaching tools. There are some really well known authors such as Paolo Bacigalupi and Margaret Atwood among others. A list of other candidate Cli-Fi novels was provided by Sarah Holding in the Guardian.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/oct/18/clifi-a-new-way-to-talk-about-climate-change

    Reply
  27. PlazaRed

     /  October 18, 2017

    Persistent heavy rain falling today in Spain with some areas getting their first rains for anything from 2 months to 5 months.
    The 150 plus wildfires are not under control but the next problem is the run off from the burnt land getting into the rivers and the estuaries, this is projected to lead to contamination of the sea shellfish life and lead to problems with coastal fishing industries.
    Meanwhile anything up to 4 inches of rain fell today, in some cases 3 inches in less than an hour, this has lead to localized flooding and a lot of damage in some areas. Jerez had cars swept away and basements turned into what was called underground swimming pools.
    Large areas of agricultural land are suffering from flash flooding.
    As of tomorrow the 19th October, the rains will depart and the weather is set to be dry and very warm again for many days to come.
    There is a strong possibility that wildfires will return again soon.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/9579109/The-clean-up-begins-after-torrential-rain-and-flash-floods-in-south-eastern-Spain.html

    Reply
    • PlazaRed

       /  October 18, 2017

      Apologies for the spelling error in the comment above:-
      “The 150 plus wildfires are “NOT” under control but the next problem is the run off from the burnt land getting into the rivers and the estuaries,”
      This comment should start to have read:- “The 150 plus wildfires are “NOW” under control”

      Over 40 people dead in Spain and Portugal as a result of the wildfires which are now contained but in some cases almost everything in entire villages has been wiped out.

      Reply
  28. How good where the climate models ? https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ38rf7F3al/?taken-by=carbonbrief ,,, look good to me for the most part .

    Reply
  29. Greg

     /  October 19, 2017

    Another new stat for Ophelia. An 85 foot wave:

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  October 19, 2017

      Capital Weather Gang‏Verified account @capitalweather 9h9 hours ago

      A 5,000-mile-long ‘river in the sky’ targets the Pacific Northwest with heavy rain and snow

      Capital Weather Gang‏Verified account @capitalweather 6h6 hours ago

      A mega-ridge is in the forecast for the Southwest/Southern California next week, stoking wildfires and record heat

      https://t.co/cSbt9fMS7S

      Reply
  30. islandraider

     /  October 19, 2017

    My friend CB linked to this article over on WU. Comments & selected quotes are my own choosing.

    For a couple of years now, I have been asking people if they have noticed less bug guts on their windshield. Growing up in the midwest, I distinctly remember a huge mess, especially after night driving. I thought maybe it was less because I moved to different areas, but it appears not.

    From the article, quoting : “…the biomass of flying insects captured in these regions decreased by a seasonal average of 76 percent.”

    And, “If you like to eat nutritious fruits and vegetables, you should thank an insect. If you like salmon, you can thank a tiny fly that the salmon eat when they’re young,” Black said. “The whole fabric of our planet is built on plants and insects and the relationship between the two.”

    No way to really spin this one into a happy story (though the Post author does his best at the end of the article). Welcome to the collapse of the biosphere.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/10/18/this-is-very-alarming-flying-insects-vanish-from-nature-preserves/?utm_term=.6340a48e28a1#comments

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  October 19, 2017

      The explanation/cause determined from the data is “unknown”.

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  October 19, 2017

        All insects have their pupae, caterpillar phases. in those phases they have their different vulnerabilities. Larval/Pupae – virus, bacteria, fungal and predator. Not forgetting weather extremes out of the norm for their cycles. Caterpillar, as per pupae, plus availability of food as they rapidly put on mass and develop. Unseasonal cold chills and dried out vegetation limit that

        Reply
      • Greg

         /  October 19, 2017

        CB is still in the game. Why hasn’t he returned here? CB your insights are sorely missed. Time to return.

        Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  October 19, 2017

      the new Silent Spring?

      If that is confirmed it is a massive story. I can’t quite believe that a drop like that hasn’t been spotted before. Everyone of a certain age is aware the the windscreen splatter is very different now, but how could the specialists not be switched on to it?

      Reply
    • Ive talked to people around here for over 10 years about bug depletion . as a kid the 3 hour drive to Victoria used to cover the front of our car with bugs, we HAD to at least clean the headlights , now when I go visit my son , no problem , drive back no problem , er umm , yes this is a problem ! the river of rain is falling hard on B C , washing the burnt out forest into the rivers !! What a brutal year for forests .. Wild mushrooms came out in earnest about a month and a half late , The forest was cracking under each step up to about a week ago , the rains are a month and a half late and drowning out whats left of Cantrells , All species are suffering from this third year of no late Aug. rain . Ive seen 2 Ammenalias all year , Sad.

      Reply
    • Yahoo has the WP article ..Amazing all the negative hateful comments that it is “Fake news “to say insect splats on windows is absent.What kind of person would write such unbelievable lies ?

      Reply
      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  October 19, 2017

        We have discussed this previously and many of us have noticed how when travelling by car in the summer that windscreens do not now get plastered with squashed bugs, especially the big juicy ones that dried and were impossible to remove.
        The article in the Guardian reporting the research
        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/18/warning-of-ecological-armageddon-after-dramatic-plunge-in-insect-numbers
        suggested that pesticides are the likely the main cause.
        Looking at the graph, the large decline starts when mobile phone coverage started, I would also like to see research as to wether micro-wave mobile phone towers are also affecting insect life.
        http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/library/downloads/rf-emfs-6-animals-2017-07.pdf
        Perhaps the combination of pesticides and microwave radiation has been the tipping point for insects and small animals.
        I now turn the router off when not in use and changed the DEC phone for a eco low emission Siemens phone that only powers up when a call comes in. If micro-wave does damage insects then it will damage us.

        Reply
        • The piece of forest I keep has as one of its borders an eletric transmission line (a big, interstate one, that transmits energy from Itaipu dam to Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais), that should be plentiful of EMF. But I have noticed no diminishing of insects here… au contraire, I´ve already seem 38 different species of butterfly in this beginning of spring in Brasil, and plenty of different bees, mantis, dragonflies, etc. Absent of this place are deforestation (I´ve been adding trees, not taking them out) and use of pesticides. This is just annedotical, of course, but I´d expect that the worst problem is pesticides and destruction of habitat, not EMF.

        • Abel Adamski

           /  October 20, 2017

          Being of a Broadband /Carrier background in Telecoms, I consider a factor to be taken into consideration is not just the EMF. but most specifically it’s frequency and the harmonics of that frequency, all matter has it’s own resonant frequency and whether the frequencies of the carriers and whether analogue or digital (the modulation techniques are increasingly complex) resonate with biological aspects in the insects.
          In Umbrios’s case it is power so either 50 or 60 Hz, however telephony and data is in the GHz range with extremely short wavelenghts

  31. islandraider

     /  October 19, 2017
    Reply
  32. Abel Adamski

     /  October 19, 2017

    https://qz.com/1105119/watch-what-xi-jinpings-19th-chinese-communist-party-congress-work-report-said-on-climate-change/
    Xi Jinping to China: “Any harm we inflict on nature will eventually return to haunt us”

    Xi said (about 67 minutes in) that China must “cherish our environment as we cherish our own lives.”
    “Any harm we inflict on nature will eventually return to haunt us… this is a reality we have to face,” Xi told the congress about an hour from the end, adding that China must “develop a new model of modernization with humans developing in harmony with nature.”

    Xi’s remarks came as the country has increasingly focused on shifting from relying on fossil fuels to reduce its deadly air pollution and coal overcapacity problems at home. But China has also realized that these efforts allow it to command greater respect on the world stage, particularly as the US, under president Donald Trump, has made it clear it isn’t interested in playing a leadership role on safeguarding the environment.

    Reply
  33. Andy_in_SD

     /  October 19, 2017

    More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas

    Global declines in insects have sparked wide interest among scientists, politicians, and the general public. Loss of insect diversity and abundance is expected to provoke cascading effects on food webs and to jeopardize ecosystem services.

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185809

    Reply
  34. Greg

     /  October 20, 2017

    Eric Holthaus in Grist:
    “In my discussions with colleagues this week, not one weather or climate expert could think of an example of a tropical cyclone (Ophelia) in the last 90-plus years that has sparked such a series of megafires (Portugal). The closest corollaries were a 1978 storm in western Australia and a 2011 storm in Texas. Each fanned large fires, but the loss of life was relatively low. In 1923, a typhoon worsened the impact of fires sparked by a massive earthquake in Japan – but again, that required an earthquake.

    Like Portugal, California has a Mediterranean climate that features a long summer dry season. In the wake of the state’s record-breaking wildfire season, which occurred under similar weather and climate conditions as the Portuguese fires, there’s a lot the West Coast can learn from what’s going wrong in Portugal.
    http://grist.org/article/europes-hurricane-fueled-wildfires-might-become-a-recurring-nightmare/

    Reply
  35. Abel Adamski

     /  October 20, 2017

    The silent killer
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-20/world-pollution-deadlier-than-wars-disasters-hunger/9069776

    World pollution kills more people annually than wars, disasters, hunger

    Environmental pollution — from filthy air to contaminated water — is killing more people every year than all war and violence in the world. More than smoking, hunger or natural disasters. More than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.
    Key points:

    One out of every six premature deaths in 2015, about 9 million, was due to toxic exposure
    The financial cost of pollution-related death, sickness and welfare is $5.9 trillion annually
    The worst affected countries are in Asia and Africa, with India topping the list

    One out of every six premature deaths in the world in 2015 — about 9 million — could be attributed to disease from toxic exposure, according to a major study released on Thursday in The Lancet medical journal.

    The financial cost from pollution-related death, sickness and welfare is equally massive, the report said, costing some $5.9 trillion in annual losses, or about 6.2 per cent of the global economy.

    “There’s been a lot of study of pollution, but it’s never received the resources or level of attention as, say, AIDS or climate change,” Dean of global health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and the lead author on the report, Philip Landrigan said.

    The report marks the first attempt to pull together data on disease and death caused by all forms of pollution combined.

    “Pollution is a massive problem that people aren’t seeing because they’re looking at scattered bits of it,” Mr Landrigan said.

    Reply
  36. Abel Adamski

     /  October 20, 2017

    Stepped sea level rise
    Fascinating piece of research

    http://www.futurity.org/fossil-reefs-sea-levels-1578832/

    Sea levels rose in bursts during past global warming

    During the period of global warming at the close of the last ice age, Earth’s sea level did not rise steadily but rather in sharp, punctuated bursts when the planet’s glaciers melted, researchers report.

    The researchers found fossil evidence in drowned reefs offshore Texas that showed sea level rose in several bursts ranging in length from a few decades to one century.

    “What these fossil reefs show is that the last time Earth warmed like it is today, sea level did not rise steadily,” says coauthor André Droxler, a marine geologist from Rice University. “Instead, sea level rose quite fast, paused, and then shot up again in another burst and so on.

    Reply
    • Kassy

       /  October 20, 2017

      Nice work. Like they stated this was suspected.

      This knowledge is important because you need to know what to plan for. I live in the Netherlands and we rebuilt our dikes (levees) after the 1953 floodings. I tried to find the odds they planned for but failed to do so but basically you plan for maximum sea level/flood height (king tides etc) + maximum expected storm.

      Off course the average sea level rise has increased since then but the real changer is that the kind of storms we can expect might be worse then they expected back in the days.

      And then you still need an good prediction for sea level rise so this helps.

      Also it might make buying out those new coal plants like the one in Rotterdam which was discussed in recent comments look like a better option…

      Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  October 22, 2017

      +1

      Reply
  37. Greg

     /  October 20, 2017

    The boring company is working fast. Tunnel beginning between Washington and Baltimore. Privately funded by Musk under state roads so far. A side show in our narrative but relevant. Only electric transport will use these tunnels whether regulated or not as the expensive and time consuming ventilation needed for ICE won’t be used.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/10/19/elon-musks-east-coast-hyperloop-will-launch-digging-in-maryland-state-and-company-say/

    Reply
    • Twitter link from the above Guardian article:

      Reply
      • wili

         /  October 20, 2017

        wtf? How did we go from O to B in a week or so?

        Reply
        • Syd Bridges

           /  October 20, 2017

          I think, Wili, it is because Ophelia was a hurricane, but the north Atlantic storms have their own alphabetical naming sequence. Storm Aileen had already occurred in September, so this is the next Atlantic storm of the season for northern Europe.

        • Entropic man

           /  October 21, 2017

          Two different naming systems.

          The US National Hurricane Centre numbers tropical depressions in the tropical Atlantic or Caribbean and names them if they become strong enough. Harvey, Irma, Lee, Maria, Nate and Ophelia are part of that sequence.

          The UK and Irish Met Offices have been seeing more severe storms forming in the North Atlantic and started to name them last year. Aileen and Brian are part of that sequence.

          Ophelia was already named by the Americans before it approached the UK, so there was no need for a separate UK name.

        • Jeremy in Wales

           /  October 21, 2017

          Storm Brian hits the prom in Aberystwyth. Think you would park the car somewhere else!

        • wili

           /  October 21, 2017

          Thanks, Syd and Em; Not sure how I didn’t know this.

  38. wili

     /  October 20, 2017

    I just want to again thank robert for all his work, and all of you who supplement this excellent info with great insights and further info. But let’s face it, in this work, this obsession with the most important truths of our times makes us all ‘freaky’:

    Reply
    • Yes, this necessary obsession makes us odd. Psychologists say that the ability to ignore worrisome factors in our environment and remain functional is a sign of maturity.

      But, in this era of global warming, we need political activism to catalyze rapid change. So, being normal, and carrying on in a normal calm sane manner, submissive to authority, could kill us all. Especially since the authorities are in bed with the fossil fuel powers, although that appears to be changing.

      Let’s hope that we the freaks become trend setters, I think.

      What we need are disruptive technologies, like electric cars and solar energy. It’s hard to control the spread of technologies that have a cost advantage over the status quo.

      A truly intelligent species would have mobs in the streets, at this point, demanding BECCS (Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage), I think.

      Or not…depending on how low we can drive the cost of BECCS, how well we can make it fit into our world, how ecologically sound we can make the storage of so much carbon, and how big we can make the scale of this solution.

      Reply
  39. eleggua

     /  October 21, 2017

    Good article; worth the read in its entirety.

    ‘North Bay wildfires: How climate change made the disaster worse’
    Oct 20, 2017

    https://sf.curbed.com/2017/10/20/16504160/wildfires-climate-change-northern-california-wine-country-science

    climate scientists do know why conditions were tailor-made for the swift-moving maelstrom that killed 42 people, burned 6,700 homes and buildings, and blanketed millions of people in toxic smoke: Hotter temperatures; drier, abundant fuel; and stronger winds.

    What caused all that? The answer is simple, obvious, and predictable: climate change.

    Forty years ago, the average length of “fire season” in the western United States was about 138 days—the start of summer to the first winter rainfalls sometime in October. Now, says LeRoy Westerling, a professor at UC Merced and co-director of the school’s Center for Climate Communication, fire season in the West—the arid West, a vast inhospitable expanse made habitable for the white man’s notion of civilization thanks only to the power and glory of irrigation—lasts 222 days.

    “Fire season” is now another way to say “most of the year.”

    This shift happened in our lifetimes. Since 1980, average global temperatures have escalated steadily and rapidly. Sixteen of the 17 warmest years on record have all come since 2001—and the world was noticeably hotter well before then. In that time, the areas burned by wildfires in the west have increased 390 percent—that is, “390 percent per decade, over that original baseline,” Westerling said during Tuesday’s conference call. The probability of grasslands igniting has also increased significantly, from a 0.5 to 0.75 percent chance to a probability of between 1 and 2 percent.

    You probably knew most of this, but what you may not know are the full ramifications or what to do about it………

    …..When will it end?

    It won’t.

    “This is part of a broader shift going on in our climate system that’s going to continue for some time—for the foreseeable future,” said Westerling. “Forest fires are going to continue to increase [in frequency and in severity] until fuel becomes more of a limitation.”

    Even if we stabilize carbon emissions now, a task that will almost certainly require total regime change in Washington, D.C., “temperatures will keep increasing and the climate will keep changing for a while,” Westerling said. “This is part of what we have to learn to adapt to live with.” …….

    …..of course, we need to address climate change, immediately. It is real. It is here. “Climate change is impacting our health and safety,” Westerling said. “It’s critical we reduce emissions.””

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  October 21, 2017

      Linked in ^that article, another worthwhile piece, this one from a couple of years ago.

      ‘If You Only Read One Book About the Water Crisis: ‘Cadillac Desert’
      The current drought out West only underscores a problem entirely of our own making: for too long we have rigged the price of water to benefit a favored few.’
      07.11.15

      https://www.thedailybeast.com/if-you-only-read-one-book-about-the-water-crisis-cadillac-desert

      “…..Today, California and much of the West are enduring the fourth year of a record drought that has triggered unprecedented cutbacks in water use and unabashed fears for the region’s future. The crisis has also triggered much talk about who, or what, is to blame. Environmentalists point fingers at global warming and greedy agribusinesses that insist on growing thirsty crops in an arid climate; right-wingers assail feckless Washington bureaucrats and laws that give fish priority over people. But read the history of how the West—which, after all, is largely desert and semi-desert—obtained the cheap, abundant water that its residents now take for granted and a different picture emerges. As much as any other factor, it is the legacy of the Bureau of Reclamation—this federal agency’s decades of building hundreds of dams and canals to move massive amounts of water vast distances to serve human desires—that has left the West so vulnerable to the current drought.

      No book illuminates this history better than Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, by the late Marc Reisner. A magisterial mix of first-hand reporting, judicious background research, and old-fashioned (but not strident) moral outrage, Cadillac Desert was published in 1986 and updated in 1993. The book’s great value is to illuminate just how unnatural and precarious the West’s system of water supply is and how the system’s design and operation has been driven from the beginning by big-money politics and macho rivalries (particularly between the bureau and the Army Corps of Engineers) more than by any concern for the common good, much less for healthy ecosystems. ……”

      Reply
      • Haven’t read Cadillac Desert, but I think we have to recognize that California really was a kind of paradise, decades ago. Storms that filled the Sierras with snow pack every year, regular as clockwork were part of that paradise lost. We had plant communities that were actually adapted to the climate that we had back then. So the Bureau of Reclamation was just filling a functional role, and making relatively ecologically sound use of a natural resource, I think.

        Now we have lost that. Santa Rosa and Sonoma aren’t “God’s Courntry” any more. Like a fool, I thought that the Northern California coast would be relatively safe from the ravages of climate change…protected close to the coast by the ocean currents flowing south from the Arctic. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

        The disruption from climate change will be felt all around the world, and those who think they will be climate change winners are very likely to be wrong, I think. No matter where we live, our biological communities will not be adapted for the new climates we find ourselves in.

        Reply
    • eleggua

       /  October 21, 2017

      Santa Rosa, post fire-tsunami.

      ‘ The wake of the Tubbs fire on October 11. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images ‘

      Reply
    • bostonblorp

       /  October 21, 2017

      I was wondering the other day.. how long until we see something similar strike the grain belt with thousands of acres of wheat or corn going up in smoke?

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  October 21, 2017

        Years of high temps and low rains preceded firestorms in California. Similar conditions in the Midwest, albeit minus extended heatwaves.

        73 F. high temperature on October 17, 2017 in the Twin Cities, Minnesota.

        58 F. average high on October 17.

        72 F. high in the Twin Cities on October 17, 2016.

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  October 21, 2017

        ‘This Year’s Crazy Fires, Freezes, and Floods Cost Farmers At Least $7 Billion
        The climate change predictions are coming true. ‘
        Oct. 20, 2017

        http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/10/this-years-crazy-fires-freezes-and-floods-cost-farmers-at-least-7-billion/

        “So far, the nation’s largest and most productive agriculture regions—the Midwestern Corn Belt—have largely escaped the most cataclysmic events of what has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year for climate-related mega-disasters.

        That means the price and and availability of most foods have been mostly unaffected. But that’s just dumb luck—these regions are by no means immune, as the Central Valley epic, recently-ended drought, and the Midwest’s 2012 drought and 2008 and 2013 floods show.

        Meanwhile, several more-minor farming regions have been hit hard this year, racking up billions of dollars in cumulative agriculture losses. Relentless recurrence of such events appears to the shape of things to come. In a 2013 peer-reviewed paper, federal researchers found that the “frequency of billion dollar mega-disasters” like the ones that hit Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and California wine country have shown a “statistically significant increasing trend” of about 5 percent annually over the past several decades.

        Here is my attempt to put a price tag, in terms of agricultural losses, on the biggest climate-related disasters of 2017. The data remain pretty sketchy at this point, as researchers scramble to assess the damage. I’ll update this post as new information emerges……”

        Reply
      • eleggua

         /  October 21, 2017

        ‘U.S. Crop Harvests Could Suffer with Climate Change
        Future harvests of wheat, soybeans and corn could drop by 22 to 49 percent, mostly due to water stress’
        January 20, 2017

        https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/u-s-crop-harvests-could-suffer-with-climate-change/

        “Shifting climate patterns in North America could hit U.S. crop production hard, possibly even halving the production of corn by the end of the century, a new study finds.

        Scientists believe that the spike in average temperatures that is widely predicted by climate models for North America could hurt its agriculture sector. As the number of days that are hotter than 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) increases, they now predict, estimated future harvests of wheat, soybeans and corn could drop by 22 to 49 percent, depending on the variety of the crop.

        “Projections tell us that in the U.S., these crops will suffer from hotter days. Since these days will get more frequent with climate change, there will be harvest losses,” said Bernhard Schauberger, lead author of the study, released by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research……”

        Reply
  40. eleggua

     /  October 21, 2017

    These concerns didn’t need to be ranked and certainly not in this order. Otherwise, this piece is good.

    ‘Insectageddon: farming is more catastrophic than climate breakdown’
    20 October 2017 George Monbiot

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/20/insectageddon-farming-catastrophe-climate-breakdown-insect-populations

    “Which of these would you name as the world’s most pressing environmental issue? Climate breakdown, air pollution, water loss, plastic waste or urban expansion? My answer is none of the above. Almost incredibly, I believe that climate breakdown takes third place, behind two issues that receive only a fraction of the attention.

    This is not to downgrade the danger presented by global heating – on the contrary, it presents an existential threat. It is simply that I have come to realise that two other issues have such huge and immediate impacts that they push even this great predicament into third place.

    One is industrial fishing, which, all over the blue planet, is now causing systemic ecological collapse. The other is the erasure of non-human life from the land by farming…..”

    Reply
  41. Robert McLachlan

     /  October 21, 2017

    New Zealand has a new government led by the Labour party with a smaller, populist party called NZ First. They are supported by the Green Party who will get 3 cabinet positions including Minister of Climate Change. All 3 parties support a Climate Change Act (to make NZ carbon neutral by 2050) and an independent climate commission (to set targets and plans). This is a huge change as NZ’s gross emissions are up 24% since 1990 – amongst the highest in the OECD at 18t/cap – and we have been party to a huge international fraud involving trading of dodgy carbon credits.

    To illustrate what we’ve been up against, we used to have a state-owned coal mining company. It went bankrupt (in part because a foolish lignite venture), the government picked up the tab for some of the environmental damage before selling it off to an Australian company, Bathurst Resources. Their head said recently, “There is no viable alternative to coal, I mean we realize it’s a transition fuel, but there’s a lot of businesses, dairy, food manufacturing, … that rely on coal be a reliable, storable source of energy… Coal will still have a place to play in the next 15 years plus.”

    He’s right about dairy. Our largest company, Fonterra, is also our largest user of coal – they burn it to dry milk into milk powder, emitting 2.2Mt of CO2 last year. But I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone, even an American coal baron, calling coal a “transition fuel”!

    Reply
    • Thanks Robert, I was shocked at how Bathurst’s framing of “transition fuel” was allowed to go unchallenged by our (compliant) media. Hopefully the new government will work towards reducing Fonterra’s monopoly and their impact on Earth, and work towards assisting companies who have worked out how to make a profit AND protect people, land and water. Many of NZ’s ecological* problems have arisen from successive governments favouring quangos and monopolies and turning a blind eye to their single economic focus (hence NZ’s obsession with exporting unprocessed materials for a quick return and also how the milk payout system appears to favour milk over other forms of farming.

      * We should use words that place people within, as part of, our natural world, so using e.g. Earth, ecology, home or nature – ecology from Greek oikos/ home. ‘Environment’ is a binary word that places us as separate from our life-support, let’s place ourselves within our home when we speak on nature’s behalf.

      Reply
  42. Abel Adamski

     /  October 22, 2017

    Meanwhile in China
    http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/10/21/554271726/impossible-to-save-scientists-are-watching-chinas-glaciers-disappear

    Xinjiang, a land of mountains, forests and deserts, is four times the size of California and is home to 20,000 glaciers — nearly half of all the glaciers in China. Since the 1950s, all of Xinjiang’s glaciers have retreated by between 21 percent to 27 percent.

    In the past 50 years, says Li, the average global temperature has risen by 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit). As a result, these glaciers — split from the original Tianshan No. 1 glacier into No. 1 East and No. 1 West — are retreating by around 30 feet each year.
    Two hundred miles away, at the foot of the mountain range, conditions couldn’t be more different. At a grape orchard near the city of Turpan, it is 70 degrees warmer. This city sits on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert and is considered the hottest place in China — and the lowest, at 500 feet below sea level.

    This area gets, on average, half an inch of rain per year. But it’s an agricultural powerhouse. Nearly all of China’s grapes are grown in this valley. The water this region depends on arrives in the form of snowmelt from faraway glaciers, flowing here through thousands of miles of underground tunnels called karez, an ancient irrigation system built 2,000 years ago. Turpan’s karez wells are considered one of the great engineering feats of ancient China.

    Down a hole in the parched, yellow earth, cool water from the mountains flows through the karez beneath the vineyard of Magcorjan Abdurehim. The farmer stands in the hot sun, worried.

    A karez in Turpan is part of a 1,000-mile network of ancient water tunnels.
    Rob Schmitz/NPR

    “Thirty years ago, we had 182 ‘karez’ in my town,” he says in Uighur, the region’s dominant language. “Now, only 64 of them have water. Each year, several of them run dry.”

    There used to be nearly 2,000 working karez throughout this region, but that number has shrunk to less than a couple hundred. Melting glaciers in the mountains above Turpan have meant more water flowing into the region, but that has also led to a boom in industrial farms and oil companies competing for water in the karez. The ancient irrigation system is quickly running dry.

    Abdurehim shakes his head at the whole affair.

    “Water means life. We can’t live without it. I’m very worried we’re going to run out of it in my lifetime.”

    The weather isn’t helping. In July, the temperature here reached a record 119 degrees. Higher temperatures mean fewer grapes, he says.

    It also means fewer glaciers.

    Reply
  43. Abel Adamski

     /  October 22, 2017

    The humble vineyard
    https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/life/2017-10-22-raising-a-cautious-glass-to-the-long-term-fruits-of-climate-change/

    Raising a cautious glass to the long-term fruits of climate change
    Catalonia’s famous Torres wine estate is planting grapes now that will only reach fruition when climate change makes them viable — in a decade or two

    New York — Miguel Torres Maczassek is the fifth-generation owner of Bodega Torres in Catalonia’s Vilafranca del Penedès, about an hour outside Barcelona. Yet in 2012, he bought 195ha of land 1,200m high in the Pyrenees, even though it’s not possible to grow wine there … yet.

    Torres expects climate change to make it viable to produce grapes in a decade or two.

    “We are not about to grow Pinot Noir in the Pyrenees, but maybe we can plant the Pinot Noir,” he says, standing on his Catalan vineyard. “When we tell people we’re buying land where nothing grows today, they look at us strangely. But we believe it makes sense.”

    “Until now, I have never known a year in which it was too hot to make successful wines in Bordeaux or Burgundy,” wrote Denis Dubourdieu, the late, highly respected winemaker and researcher, in the Journal of Wine Economics last year. He was joined by 18 others in that report, including two members of the Torres family.

    Their data were uniform: earlier harvests, less acidic grapes, awful rains and droughts and higher humidity — including “almost tropical conditions” in Germany.

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  October 23, 2017

      There’s nothing “humble” about this nonsense. A winery bragging about its apparent foresight and advnatage-taking of dire circumstance isn’t humble and it’s not at all worthwhile vis a vis actually doing something positve to mitigatre or improve our common dire circumstance.

      While the planet’s roasting there’s nothing about this winery’s self-promotion worth toasting.

      As per Leland Palmer in a comment above:

      “The disruption from climate change will be felt all around the world, and those who think they will be climate change winners are very likely to be wrong, I think. No matter where we live, our biological communities will not be adapted for the new climates we find ourselves in.”

      Reply
  44. Suzanne

     /  October 22, 2017

    Good Morning fellow Scribblers. Hope everyone is safe and doing well. Wicked busy organizing our local grassroots GOTV group..

    Also, wanted to share some information on a GOTV project has formed which has been active in Massachusetts, but has now expanded to 6 states that I have looked into..and get some feedback from you all.
    The Environmental Voter Project is a non-partisan group, that goes after “inconsistent” voters that are usually ignored by candidates and political parties. They use meta data to “identify” these inconsistent voters as being individuals who feel the environment is a priority..but for whatever reason don’t vote. The group, EVP (Environmental Voter Project) uses their meta data with a 90% accuracy rate in finding these “inconsistent environmental voter” then work to get them to the polls.

    After going to one of their webinars and talking to one of their staff…the only concern I have about their efforts is they don’t “educate” the voter…they just focus on getting them to “pledge” to vote. The problem I have with that approach..is, for instance, our Tea Party Republican Congressman is very good at “appearing” to be environmentally friendly as it applies to our local environmental issues. You have to be paying close attention, and be highly informed, to read through and past his B.S. He is a smooth, slick operator. But he is the typical…Republican…he is all about deregulation..was for pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement…and 100% on board with the deregulation of the EPA.

    So, my fear, at least for my district..is EVP gets people here to the polls..and these people don’t do their due diligence..and pull the lever for the “slick” Tea Party Republican.
    What I would really like…is to get ahold of their “inconsistent environmental voter” list…knock on those voters doors in my district…and “educate” them on.

    Ideas and feedback???

    Reply
  45. Robert McLachlan

     /  October 22, 2017

    Dear Suzanne, Your post is moving and the situation you describe extremely difficult to overcome. Modern politicians do seem to have added a new twist to millennia-old traditions of hypocrisy. Just as bad is the way they have learned to talk and talk, pour on oil, yet say absolutely nothing. However, the EVP does sound like a worthy effort. Voting is a collective issue like climate change and is susceptible to the same threats of free riding and the tragedy of the commons. It has to be defended and supported at all costs. As far as action on climate change goes, I think all the work of this blog and its readers is essential. In the short term we continue to push for more renewable electricity and electric vehicles, for these are the areas where there is generally broad support. At the same time we can try and extend the discussion into new areas of decarbonisation and trying to get people to make connections – I believe that eventually the message that we must stop all burning of fossil fuels, and that driving a fossil-fueled car is wrong, will become widespread.

    In Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, he wrote

    “I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White citizens’ “Councillor” or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direst action” who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection. …

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  October 22, 2017

      Thank you Robert for your kind words and helpful post. I just love the Martin Luther King’s observations in that letter. It is something that is as true today as it was back when he wrote it…

      Reply
  46. An active storm system forecast for the UK.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/storm-brian-hector-maeve-wind-rain-uk-weather-a8014001.html

    More storms are on the way for the UK – following the strong wind, rain and flooding brought by Storm Brian.
    Although mild weather is predicted for next week, forecasters for Accuweather predict another 10 to 13 named storms will hit Britain this autumn and winter.
    Only five were recorded in the same period last year.
    “We expect an active storm period until January, with further storms until April,” said AccuWeather’s Tyler Roys.

    Reply
  47. kassy

     /  October 23, 2017

    More acidic oceans ‘will affect all sea life’
    By Roger Harrabin
    BBC environment analyst

    All sea life will be affected because carbon dioxide emissions from modern society are making the oceans more acidic, a major new report will say.
    The eight-year study from more than 250 scientists finds that infant sea creatures will be especially harmed.
    This means the number of baby cod growing to adulthood could fall to a quarter or even a 12th of today’s numbers, the researchers suggest.
    The assessment comes from the BIOACID project, which is led from Germany.
    A brochure summarising the main outcomes will be presented to climate negotiators at their annual meeting, which this year is taking place in Bonn in November.
    The Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification report authors say some creatures may benefit directly from the chemical changes – but even these could still be adversely affected indirectly by shifts in the whole food web.
    What is more, the research shows that changes through acidification will be made worse by climate change, pollution, coastal development, over-fishing and agricultural fertilisers.
    Ocean acidification is happening because as CO2 from fossil fuels dissolves in seawater, it produces carbonic acid and this lowers the pH of the water.

    Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the average pH of global ocean surface waters have fallen from pH 8.2 to 8.1. This represents an increase in acidity of about 26%.
    The study’s lead author is Prof Ulf Riebesell from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel.
    He is a world authority on the topic and has typically communicated cautiously about the effects of acidification.
    He told BBC News: “Acidification affects marine life across all groups, although to different degrees.
    “Warm-water corals are generally more sensitive than cold-water corals. Clams and snails are more sensitive than crustaceans.
    “And we found that early life stages are generally more affected than adult organisms.
    “But even if an organism isn’t directly harmed by acidification it may be affected indirectly through changes in its habitat or changes in the food web.
    “At the end of the day, these changes will affect the many services the ocean provides to us.”

    A synthesis of more than 350 publications on the effects of ocean acidification – which will be given to climate delegates at next month’s summit – reveals that almost half of the marine animal species tested reacted negatively to already moderate increases in seawater CO2 concentrations.

    more on:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-41653511

    Reply
  48. Andy_in_SD

     /  October 23, 2017

    E.P.A. Cancels Talk on Climate Change by Agency Scientists

    Reply
  1. Another Historic Storm: Surreal Ophelia Strikes Ireland with Hurricane Force — robertscribbler « Antinuclear
  2. Wildfires Rage Through Portugal and Spain, Kill at Least 39 | GarryRogers Nature Conservation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: