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Winter is Supposedly Coming; So Why is California Burning?

As forecasters expect a warming climate will make Santa Ana winds more frequent and faster, that Santa Ana blowtorch is likely to do a lot more damage to the developed parts of the state. — One of the conclusions of a recent climate study.

You can only imagine the impact this weather is having. — Los Angeles Fire Chief.

*****

The popular refrain these days is that ‘winter is coming.’ But for California and the North American West, this is clearly not the case.

(Four large wildfires burn across Los Angeles in this December 5 satellite shot. Image source: NASA Worldview.)

Conditions across the West have been drier lately. Hotter lately. A lot less winter-like during the winter season lately. Add in the fact that climate change is expected to increase the strength of the wildfire-sparking Santa Ana winds and this trend of ebbing winter is a rather serious factor.

The very reason why we use the words — fire season — is due to the fact that fire is more prevalent when it is hotter, when it is drier, and when the dry winds blow more strongly. For California, fire season happens twice a year — once in early summer and again in autumn as the dry Santa Ana winds begin to howl.

(Consistent unseasonal heat and the development of powerful high pressure ridges over the North American West amplify the Santa Ana winds and set the stage for more severe wildfires. This week, a strong ridge and related abnormal warmth and drought helped to fan a historic Los Angeles outbreak. Image source: Climate Reanalyzer.)

The Santa Ana season lasts from October through April. It notable due to the fact that it tends to threaten more heavily populated areas. Its primary mitigating factor — cooler winter weather — is receding. And, according to this research, the same factors that are warming the U.S. West are also making the Santa Ana winds blow stronger. So we have good reason to believe that the effects of human-caused climate change are making California’s fall and winter fire season considerably worse.

Today is December 6, just a little more than two weeks before the Winter Solstice. Seasonally, we are at the gates of winter. Winter should be coming. But, instead, we have drought in Southern California. Instead we have had consistently warmer than normal weather over the past 30 days. Instead we have 70 mile per hour Santa Ana winds raging over withering peaks and through the drying valleys. These are conditions consistent with a fire season amplified by climate change. Not with normal winter.

And today, in Los Angeles alone, we have four fires raging simultaneously.

The largest fire, the Ventura Fire, has now burned more than 65,000 acres. It threatens 12,000 buildings. And it is already estimated to have consumed at least 150 of these structures. The fire has cut off power to upwards of 250,000 people and has forced numerous closures and evacuations.

The Creek Fire, Rye Fire, and Skirball Fire have reportedly burned an additional 15,000 acres and forced more than 150,000 people to evacuate. The Skirball fire is threatening the Getty Museum even as it has forced the closure of a section of highway 405. This 150 acre fire is also encroaching upon a 28 million dollar home owned by right wing media mogul — Rupert Murdoch. Notably, Rupert has used his media empire to support the views of climate change deniers and has called rational concern over climate change related risks ‘nonsense.’ Today, one of his many homes may burn as a result of such ‘nonsense.’

(Present location and extent of Los Angeles wildfires. Image source: Google Maps.)

In total, more than 1,000 firefighters are presently battling these four fires around the Los Angeles region. And the risks to the city are now as high as they have ever been. For on Wednesday, weather forecasters are calling for Santa Ana winds to continue to gust as high as 70 miles per hour. With the strength of these powerful fire-inducing winds peaking on Thursday as gusts are predicted to hit as high as 80 miles per hour. The winds will loft sparks and burning material from the fires and drop it over the city — creating nightmare conditions for firefighters trying to contain the four blazes. Red flag warnings — indicating that conditions are ideal for fire combustion — are expected to remain in place over Southern California through Friday.

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81 Comments

  1. Witchee

     /  December 6, 2017

    Just posted Los Angeles Is Burning down below in a comment on the other fire thread. I once posted on a different board that one of the big reasons I left California was because I saw water scarcity as a long term issue (among others.) I was immediately flamed as an hysteric because ‘there is plenty of water for all the foreseeable needs’ in CA.
    Not.

    Reply
  2. Syd Bridges

     /  December 6, 2017

    I visited the Getty Museum two years ago.It is beautiful. It is at the top of a narrow valley. I hope it will survive and that we aren’t going to see Los Angeles as a giant Fort MacMurray. Of course, if it comes to saving the Getty Museum or Rupert’s house….

    Reply
    • Similar sentiments here, Syd.

      Reply
    • Vaughn Anderson

       /  December 7, 2017

      +1 Agree completely. The Getty Museum is important. Rupert’s house and what he does might have had a significant impact for the fire even existing. Aha!

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  December 7, 2017

      +1
      Save the Getty at all costs, let Rupert look after his own.
      Maybe he should go there personally to manage the event with his Fox News camera team

      Reply
  3. coloradobob

     /  December 6, 2017

    Southern California fires live updates: Homes burn in Bel-Air as new fire erupts in heart of L.A.
    DEC. 6, 2017, 12:55 P.M.
    Multiple fires are raging in Southern California. A series of Santa Ana wind-driven wildfires have destroyed at least 180 structures, forced thousands to flee and smothered the region with smoke in what officials predicted would be a pitched battle for days.

    Track the latest key details of each major fire | Watch live coverage from KNBC | Follow Times reporters and authorities on Twitter | See photos of the fires: Bel-Air; Ventura County; Sylmar and Santa Clarita | Share your story, photos and video

    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-southern-california-wildfires-live-updates-htmlstory.html

    Reply
  4. Odd how on the coasts, where the Rational People live, the climate change impact is so much more severe than where the Rapacious Right tend to live. If we could just invert that trend…

    Reply
    • No place is safe and everyone — left, right, center is in harm’s way. Murdoch’s home on fire is just another dark irony.

      Reply
      • No place is safe, I agree. I was alluding to relative impact. But I’m sure all will even out in the End. I suppose when the Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi river valleys are all teeming with Zika, Dengue, West Nile and Malaria…

        Reply
        • Precipitation extremes of drought and flood are a very real and rising risk for the central U.S. This will also help to spark more wildfires ala the Kansas fires we saw during recent years. Crop damage is also a rising risk which impacts primarily rural and traditionally conservative areas. Worsening hail and thunderstorm intensity is primarily a Central U.S. concern. Hurricanes like Harvey which track in from the Gulf and drift over the Central U.S. to dump copious amounts of rain… I could go on and on and on.

        • And yet, the Red Heartland takes no heed, despite your on and on.
          You’ve seen the new community in Texas, I believe, where they invite ONLY NeoCons to move in – “Escape the liberal coasts, move inland where your alt-right values will be honored.”
          It maybe that to tint to blue the core of the nation, Blue bloods may have to physically infiltrate the heartland.

        • Murdoch’s home and Fort McMurray and Houston all serve their dire warnings. If they do not listen, it’s on them. Their homes as well as ours are at stake.

        • eleggua

           /  December 7, 2017

          “the Red Heartland takes no heed, despite your on and on.
          You’ve seen the new community in Texas”

          A tiny community, isolated from most of the rest of reality. Not an archetype but an anachronism. Caring about climate change without caring for the lives of all on the planet seems absurb. Figuring out how to communicate with the “other” is vital.

          ‘Want to talk climate change with a Texan right now? Show some compassion first.’
          By Cody Permenter on Aug 30, 2017

          http://grist.org/article/want-to-talk-climate-change-with-a-texan-right-now-show-some-compassion-first/

          “……As I spend several days staring at the (Hurricane Harvey) devastation, want to know the one thing furthest from my mind right now? Climate change. And that’s pretty strange for a guy who spends his days running social media for an environmental news website.

          ….with unprecedented weather, comes climate talk — and the usual spats over bringing it up.

          ….Right about now, you might be wondering if I believe both sides have valid arguments. I don’t. Scientists and progressives have the research and facts to back them up. The links are present and documented. Sea surface temperatures have steadily increased in the region and atmospheric moisture content helped create a stronger, wetter storm that moved slowly because of the lack of prevailing winds. These were the perfect conditions to create the worst hurricane in recent memory.

          …there are risks involved with serving up climate talk without nuance or compassion during a natural disaster. To an audience that already distrusts mainstream, well, anything, you can easily come across as callous and uncaring toward victims of the storm.

          …..Texans are strong and loyal people. Show them you care and even the climate deniers among them just might surprise you. I called up a Trump-voting family member on the phone over the weekend to check on her. I asked how she was and whether she needed any supplies or help. We usually avoid talking about climate change, so I was surprised when, 30 minutes into the conversation, she mentioned “those 500-year storms sure are coming around very often. Something isn’t right.”

          I saw my opportunity, and I took it. “Well, I think it could have a lot to do with climate change …” She sighed and we carefully waded into a conversation about the water and what comes next.”

        • No doubt that “facts” (whatever those are) don’t come down to reality until one is directly impacted. Is fire not cold until you touch it? Is the water not shallow until you step in it? Is the poison not toxic until you taste it? For some, global warming won’t be real until it burns them, drowns them or poisons them. And, really, I can relate to that.

    • The drought, heat and tornadoes the middle of the country experiences are nothing to sneeze at. They also get fires, which is new for them.

      I spent some of my childhood and adolescence in Texas, in the 80s. Wildfire was unheard of. Now the state has big fires every year. They’ll get worse.

      Reply
  5. judith lewis

     /  December 6, 2017

    Greetings Robert

    I usually read your reports but do not reply.

    In this case however I confess I am scared for my acquaintances who live in California.

    But, but, but!!! Let me also say I want Murdoch’s home to burn burn burn.

    Judith Lewis Ottawa Ontario Canada

    Reply
    • Reply
      • miles h

         /  December 8, 2017

        pffft… its not wrong to think that! it’s a perfectly normal response.
        i read that his vineyard is torched, and eagerly await news that his house is in ashes. 🙂

        Reply
        • It’s irresponsible for a leader in civil society to justify the destruction of anyone’s property. I would like to say a few choice words as well. But due to the social responsibility inherent to public speaking and acting as a leading voice on key issues, sometimes restraint is the better part of valor.

          What I will say is that the fire burning Murdoch’s home is the height of irony. The world’s climate is definitely trying to tell him something. Based on past behavior it is unlikely that he will listen.

  6. Erik Frederiksen

     /  December 7, 2017

    My sympathies to those, like some of my family, who were roused at 2am to gather their belongings and flee. What to take with you? Where’s the cat?

    A number of my friends here in N California have lost their homes in recent fire seasons. The Rocky Fire here two years ago burnt 20,000 acres in one five hour period with little wind. That’s a speed more normally associated with fires driven by the Santa Ana winds.

    A NSW fire chief said that Australian firefighters are having to rethink their tactics because of the increasingly extreme fire behavior.

    Reply
    • Glen Kelleher

       /  December 7, 2017

      We’ve been lucky in the last couple of summers due to rain falling at fortuitous times. We’ve dodged bullets. But this also means there is a massive fire load out there waiting to burn.

      Reply
  7. Andy_in_SD

     /  December 7, 2017

    Winter? I remember that.

    Thanksgiving, it was 97 degrees at my house. This weekend it will be in the mid to high 80’s.

    The Getty has positive air flow pressure to keep smoke from entering, thick walls designed for fires. It is compartmentalized in order to seal it into sections. The grounds are kept clear of burnable debris.

    Reply
    • I hope the Getty makes it. Would like to see that museum at some point in my life…

      Thanks for your comment. I quoted it to my twitter feed:

      Reply
  8. eleggua

     /  December 7, 2017

    Snowing ash yesterday morning in Santa Monica. Welcome to the weird.

    ‘More evacuations ordered in Thomas fire as crews fight to protect Ojai amid ‘weird wind pattern”
    12.06.2017 11:30PM

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ventura-fire-20171206-story.html

    “Crews battling a massive wildfire that has caused tens of thousands of Ventura County residents to flee are bracing themselves for a day of heavy winds Thursday, when forecasters predict fire-stoking gusts of up to 80 mph…..

    “It’s definitely moving,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Capt. Garo Kuredjian said of the fire. “Forecasters were correct in terms of the wind forecast for tonight — it’s much windier than it was yesterday.”

    The fire is burning on the north and east side of Highway 150 and on the west side of Highway 33.

    “It’s a weird wind pattern,” Kuredjian said…..

    “We are in the beginning of a protracted wind event,” said state fire chief Ken Pimlott.

    “There will be no ability to fight fire in these kinds of winds,” Pimlott said. “At the end of the day, we need everyone in the public to listen and pay attention. This is not ‘watch the news and go about your day.’ This is pay attention minute-by-minute … keep your head on a swivel.””

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  December 7, 2017

      Curfew in Ventura.

      ‘Curfew declared in response to Thomas Fire’
      https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/AlertCenter.aspx?AID=Curfew-declared-in-response-to-Thomas-Fi-6

      “Effective December 5, 2017 a curfew is in effect starting at 10:00 p.m. and ending at 5:00 a.m. daily. The curfew is in effect until no longer necessary. During this curfew time no person shall be upon the public street, avenue, alley, park, or other public place or unimproved public realty within the entire jurisdictional limits of the City. This curfew is put in place to protect all residents of the City of Ventura and to prevent crime such as looting in evacuation areas.”

      Reply
    • eleggua

       /  December 7, 2017

      Fire picking up, 10pm Wednesday. News report from Santa Paula, about 10 miles west of Ventura; fire heading for 126, the connector to the 5. Basically, the fires ring the Valley.

      “I was expecting this year to see snow on that mountain and now the thing’s on fire.”

      Reply
  9. Shawn Redmond

     /  December 7, 2017

    Worst-case global warming predictions are the most accurate, say climate experts
    ‘There is a 93 per cent chance that global warming will exceed 4C by the end of this century,’ lead scientist says
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/global-warming-temperature-rise-climate-change-end-century-science-a8095591.html

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/19/350-agent-saboteur/

    While the State of Bolivia demanded that a 1ºC temperature increase not be exceeded, and the G77 called for severe, radical and necessary emission cuts, the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC), including most “climate justice” groups called for double this: the target of a full 2ºC temperature increase. A few of the more legitimate groups barely mustered the valour to “demand” the world not exceed 1.5ºC. One may wish to note that over 20 years ago, both Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth fully recognized the global average temperature increase must not exceed 1ºC (as clearly evidenced in documents). Yet at COP15, two decades later with climate change advancing rapidly, both groups under the TckTckTck umbrella participated in the 2ºC lie and the manipulation of civil society.

    Reply
    • This line of thought goes back to this well written piece : http://www.theartofannihilation.com/portfolio/test/ ,, A very thought provoking read with some heavy implications for all industrial advanced societies . I will keep my thoughts of the Canadian Gov, to myself for now . Thanks to whoever gave me this link .

      Reply
    • So to be clear, BAU fossil fuel burning gets us to around 1,200 ppm CO2e by end Century. Under paleoclimate based sensitivity that’s around 6 C warming by 2100 and 12 C warming long term. At that level, we would expect a more considerable response from the Earth System in the form of carbon feedbacks. So net warming is probably likely to be closer to 7 C under BAU and 14 + C long term, IMO.

      Reply
    • Present path is not BAU. But we could get back to it if fossil fuels regained dominance due to political capture. That would require a rather brutal 21st Century history. And the economic and political counter-force of the clean energy transition would have to be overcome. At this point, that’s actually a pretty high bar.

      I think we will avoid BAU. The question is — by how much. Hopefully by a considerable margin.

      In the end, we do need to cease fossil fuel burning entirely. That is a relatively high bar in the short term. But superior economics of modern renewables should help to win out. Policy moves this faster.

      Reply
  10. coloradobob

     /  December 7, 2017

    California Insurance Commissioner reported that the claims for the Wine Country fires had passed 9 Billion dollars.

    Reply
  11. kassy

     /  December 7, 2017

    Cheap deals!…let’s get ourselves some forests:

    Want to fight climate change cheaply? Nature has a deal for you

    To state the conclusion upfront: nature can help us limit global warming to 2°C, through conservation, better land management, and restoration of ecosystems. And we can do it at a lower cost than most other solutions.

    The researchers, led by Bronson Griscom and his colleagues at The Nature Conservancy, found that nations can get the most bang for their buck by concentrating on reforestation and limiting deforestation, in the US and across the world. Additionally, nations, states, and cities have many opportunities to store carbon in agricultural soils.

    To assess these natural solutions and their potential effectiveness, Griscom and colleagues carried out an analysis of most of the world’s current, land-based climate mitigation solutions. The project, the most comprehensive of its kind to date, is truly an effort built on the shoulders of giants, bringing together data from the latest scientific studies and climate models.

    Rather than testing specific hypotheses or asking research questions, Griscom and colleagues assessed 20 discrete climate mitigation options within the land sector, strategies like conserving forests, restoring wetlands, and planting cover crops. Their assessment fills in previous knowledge gaps, taking into account the need to safeguard food, continue fiber production, and protect biological diversity.

    Nor did they ignore economic realities. To appropriately constrain their model by real-world demands, the authors estimated the potential mitigation plans using two cost estimates for removing carbon from the atmosphere, using dollars and megagrams, or the equivalent of just over a ton. The high estimate is $100 per about a ton of CO2 equivalent, and the low $10 per ton of CO2 equivalent.

    Accounting for these costs, the authors then created global maps of where to implement the 10 most promising solutions. Most notably, the authors provide a global dataset of reforestation opportunities, and how they are constrained by food security and biodiversity safeguards. This dataset can help countries target their efforts to where they will have the most positive impact.

    Forests, soil, grasslands, and swamps

    We can start with what we know: Trees remove a lot of carbon from the atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis, nature’s way of turning waste into value. When trees grow, they use carbon from the atmosphere to build tree trunks, branches, and roots, locking away carbon molecules in solid form. The more trees we grow, the more carbon we remove from the atmosphere, so it should come as no surprise that the cheapest, most effective natural climate solution is reforestation.

    In fact, natural climate solutions that include reforestation, managing forests better, and soil conservation practices, can provide up to 37 percent of the needed carbon removal between now and 2030, an absolute must to reach ambitious climate goals. And natural climate solutions can deliver these climate benefits at a low cost: a third of them cost at or below $10 per ton CO2.

    That’s substantially lower than the estimated social cost of carbon, essentially the potential cost of dealing with carbon emission impacts, from health to environmental and economic (approximately $30 per ton of CO2 emitted). And most natural climate solutions deliver other benefits, including flood mitigation, water filtration, enhancing soil health and productivity, fostering biodiversity, and enhancing the resilience of natural systems. Not bad for $10 per ton CO2.

    Other low-cost options for climate mitigation include restoring grasslands, reducing fertilizer usage on farms, and planting legumes that can make their own fertilizer (called nitrogen fixers). Another option is to plant trees into places with little agriculture, which has the added benefit of improving air and water quality and providing habitat for birds.

    continues with more on soils and wetlands:
    https://massivesci.com/articles/natural-climate-change-solutions-forests-soil/

    Reply
    • Reforestation is helpful. Improved land management and conservation are helpful and will be needed. However, you can’t stop climate change if you don’t halt fossil fuel burning.

      Reply
    • That said, as the study notes, these practices are an essential follow on to an energy transition. In other words, you really have to do both if you’re going to have much of a shot at avoiding 2 C.

      Reply
      • eleggua

         /  December 7, 2017

        Let’s do both and more!

        ‘Sebastião Salgado focuses on big picture with parable of reforestation in Brazil ‘
        27 July 2015

        https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/jul/27/sebastiao-salgado-fredrick-shoo-reforestation-brazil-tanzania

        “When the renowned Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado took over family land in the state of Minas Gerais, instead of the tropical paradise that he remembered as a child, he found the trees cut down and the wildlife gone. He was devastated.

        It was 1994 and he had just returned from a traumatic assignment reporting on the genocide in Rwanda, he told a meeting of religious leaders discussing climate change in Paris last week.

        “The land was as sick as I was – everything was destroyed,” said Salgado. “Only about 0.5% of the land was covered in trees. Then my wife had a fabulous idea to replant this forest. And when we began to do that, then all the insects and birds and fish returned and, thanks to this increase of the trees I, too, was reborn – this was the most important moment.”

        Salgado and his family set up the Instituto Terra and have now planted more than 2 million trees, transforming the environment. In doing so, he says, he has found one answer to climate change – as well as creative inspiration.

        “Perhaps we have a solution. There is a single being which can transform CO2 to oxygen, which is the tree. We need to replant the forest. You need forest with native trees, and you need to gather the seeds in the same region you plant them or the serpents and the termites won’t come. And if you plant forests that don’t belong, the animals don’t come there and the forest is silent.

        “We need to listen to the words of the people on the land. Nature is the earth and it is other beings and if we don’t have some kind of spiritual return to our planet, I fear that we will be compromised.”….”

        Reply
        • eleggua

           /  December 7, 2017

          Wim Wenders and the son of Sebastião Salgado made a documentary about Salgado’s life. The second half of the film deals with his coming home, recovering, beginning the reforestation project and his recent, related photography. It’s a very worthwhile film.

          “For the last 40 years, the photographer Sebastião Salgado has been travelling through the continents, in the footsteps of an ever-changing humanity. He has witnessed some of the major events of our recent history; international conflicts, starvation and exodus. He is now embarking on the discovery of pristine territories, of wild fauna and flora, and of grandiose landscapes as part of a huge photographic project which is a tribute to the planet’s beauty.”

    • coloradobob

       /  December 7, 2017

      From the placing a Band-aid on a sucking chest wound department –

      Reply
  12. coloradobob

     /  December 7, 2017

    The fire index in So Cal
    162 is considered extreme
    Today’s number is 296

    Reply
  13. coloradobob

     /  December 7, 2017

    The page from the LA NWS Office this AM

    http://www.weather.gov/lox/

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  December 7, 2017

      This thing is almost a lead pipe cinch to bring down power lines all over the basin.

      Reply
      • coloradobob

         /  December 7, 2017

        VENTURA, Calif. — Southern California has felt yellow wind, orange wind, and red wind. But never purple wind. Until now.

        The color-coded system showing the expected strength of the winds driving the region’s fierce wildfires has reached uncharted territory, pushing past red, which means “high” into the color that means “extreme.”

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/california-wind-and-fire-danger-hits-unprecedented-high/2017/12/07/b9833c8e-db4c-11e7-a241-0848315642d0_story.html?utm_term=.252e9e2d3d04

        Reply
        • When these sorts of extreme conditions exist, fires almost inevitably follow, it seems like. Certainly, urban areas have a multitude of ignition sources, normally innocuous, that become dangerous when extreme conditions occur.

          Hopefully we can concentrate on the ultimate causes of these fires and avoid the witch hunt for individuals “responsible” for igniting these fires.

        • eleggua

           /  December 7, 2017

          Fires there are not unusual for this time of year. It’s the severity and rapid advance that’s different. Solimar fire in 2015 was described at the time as a “major fire” but it was nothing like what’s up now with the Thomas fire.

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

          “The Solimar Fire was a wildfire that broke out Christmas Day in Solimar Beach just north of Ventura, California. The fire, which burned 1,388 acres (6 km2), was the last major fire of the 2015 California wildfire season.

          The fire was first reported around 11p.m. on Christmas Day. Driving by strong winds, the fire grew to nearly 900 acres (3.6 km2) in a matter of hours. As the fire jumped Highway 101 it forced motorist to make u-turns and drive the wrong way to escape the flames.”

        • eleggua

           /  December 7, 2017

          A couple more images from the 2015 Solimar Fire. Thomas Fire is 70X the size of the Solimar Fire. Thomas Fire currently at 96,000 acres, 5% contained.

  14. coloradobob

     /  December 7, 2017

    Tuesday evening, Columbia University’s Earth Institute hosted a panel that was meant to focus on an issue we’re likely to be facing with increasing frequency: the need to move entire communities that are no longer viable due to rising seas or altered weather. But the discussion ended up shifting to how people in at-risk locations aren’t moving, and the entire governmental structure in the US is focused on keeping them right where they are.

    As a result, the entire US population is already paying for climate change, whether we accept the science behind it or not. And things will almost certainly get worse.

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/12/weve-all-managed-to-end-up-paying-the-costs-of-climate-change/

    Reply
    • Yeah. Total bill for natural disasters this year might approach half a trillion dolllars.

      Oh, gee, let’s cut taxes, say the Republicans.

      Reply
    • When we rebuild, can’t we build fire resistant houses!

      Is our official denial of climate change so great that we have to build back the same firetraps?

      Fredrich Shiller:

      Folly, thou conquerest, and I must yield!
      Against stupidity the very gods
      Themselves contend in vain. Exalted reason,
      Resplendent daughter of the head divine,
      Wise foundress of the system of the world,
      Guide of the stars, who art thou then if thou,
      Bound to the tail of folly’s uncurbed steed,
      Must, vainly shrieking with the drunken crowd,
      Eyes open, plunge down headlong in the abyss.
      Accursed, who striveth after noble ends,
      And with deliberate wisdom forms his plans!
      To the fool-king belongs the world.

      Reply
  15. Andy_in_SD

     /  December 7, 2017

    The fire looks like a volcano from above

    Reply
  16. Andy_in_SD

     /  December 7, 2017

    A virtual tool to observe climate change related reactions.
    ===========================================

    Virtual Earth System Laboratory

    Welcome to the Virtual Earth System Laboratory (VESL) for research. Here, the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) team hosts simulations related to glaciers, ice sheets, sea level, and solid earth. The technology behind the lab is described in a GMD paper, see the following JPL news release for more info.

    https://vesl.jpl.nasa.gov/

    Reply
  17. coloradobob

     /  December 7, 2017

    “There will be no ability to fight fire in these kinds of winds,” Pimlott said. “At the end of the day, we need everyone in the public to listen and pay attention. This is not ‘watch the news and go about your day.’ This is pay attention minute-by-minute … keep your head on a swivel.”
    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ventura-fire-20171206-story.html

    Reply
  18. coloradobob

     /  December 7, 2017

    General Electric Is Cutting 12,000 Workers From Its Power Business

    The industrial conglomerate said its power business has suffered as sustainable energy sources gain popularity and demand for traditional sources of fuel, like coal and gas, weakens. The layoffs are expected to help “right-size” the business.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurengensler/2017/12/07/general-electric-is-cutting-12000-workers-from-its-power-business/#984d5a3713cc

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  December 7, 2017

      Rethinking the utility company as solar power heats up
      The plummeting price of solar panels has led to a boom of customers and solar industry jobs. What does it mean for the evolution of utility companies? William Brangham reports.

      https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/rethinking-the-utility-company-as-solar-power-heats-up

      Reply
      • coloradobob

         /  December 7, 2017

        Solar power advances possible with new ‘double-glazing’ device

        This unique approach, developed by Dr Gavin Bell and Dr Yorck Ramachers from Warwick’s Department of Physics, uses gas – rather than vacuum – to transport electrical energy,
        The device is essentially a thin double-glazed window. The outer pane is transparent and conducts electricity. The inner window is coated with a special material, which acts a source of electrons under illumination by sunlight – this is called a “photocathode”.
        The two panes are separated by a safe inert gas, such as argon – exactly as is found in high quality double glazing windows.
        When sunlight hits the device, electrons are knocked out of the photocathode and bounce through the gas to the outer pane without being absorbed or lost.

        Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-12-solar-power-advances-double-glazing-device.html#jCp

        Reply
        • Well, they don’t say how efficient the device is. They do say that the ideal photosensitive material has yet to be identified. Very interesting, thanks for the link.

  19. coloradobob

     /  December 7, 2017

    The solar revolution on India’s rooftops is gaining momentum.
    The country added more rooftop solar power capacity in the last financial year than in the previous four years combined, making it the fastest-growing segment in the country’s clean energy space. During the financial year 2017, some 715 megawatts (MW) of systems were added, up from 227 MW in the previous year, taking the country’s total installed capacity to 1.3 gigawatts (GW, 1 GW = 1,000 MW) according to a report (pdf) by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). By 2022, the report estimates that the country will have around 9.5 GW of rooftop solar capacity—but that is still substantially short of the Narendra Modi government’s target of 40 GW.
    This has happened largely because rooftop solar power is now cheaper than commercial and industrial power in all major Indian states, according to BNEF. Besides, costs have halved over the last five years. Overall, because of increased competition and low solar panel prices, setting up rooftop systems has become cheaper than the global average by between 39% and 50% in India.

    https://qz.com/1148332/rooftop-solar-is-the-fastest-growing-segment-in-indias-renewables-market/

    Reply
    • As with China, rapid movement toward renewables by India is a big deal. You’re basically starting to trim down emissions sources from regions that were expected to see carbon emissions expand. The superior economics of renewables enables this. Policy is pushing it forward. India will achieve a rapidly expanding renewable energy base, IMO. It might meet its ambitious goals. But it will need a rather serious policy structure to do so.

      As for serious policy structure — China is really an example of what can be achieved through coordination and mass mobilization. If the world isn’t careful, through planning and investment, China will dominate the new energy paradigm. It’s clear that’s what they’re aiming for. And it’s clear that they consider this a matter of national interest if not national security.

      Reply
  20. coloradobob

     /  December 7, 2017

    These microscopic glass shells are supercharging solar power
    Deep beneath the sea, algae trap light by growing tiny glass shells. Now a Swedish startup is turning them into super-efficient solar panels

    http://www.wired.co.uk/article/sofie-allert-swedish-algae-factory-solar-energy

    Reply
  21. coloradobob

     /  December 7, 2017

    The Big Picture
    Acreage – 116,080 (181 square miles, larger than the size of San Jose, Calif.)
    Evacuations – 213,000 people (roughly equivalent to the entire population of Birmingham, Ala.)
    Winds – could hit 80 mph (equal to a Category 1 hurricane)
    Homes and businesses threatened – 19,975
    Homes and businesses damaged or destroyed – 196
    Thomas Fire
    Size – 96,000 acres
    Containment – 5%
    Homes and businesses threatened – 12,000
    Homes and businesses damaged or destroyed – 150
    (Last update: Dec. 7 at 6:10am PT)
    Creek Fire
    Size – 12,605 acres
    Containment – 5%
    Homes and businesses threatened – 2,500
    Homes and businesses damaged or destroyed – 30 (per the Los Angeles Times)
    (Last update: Dec. 7 at 6:00am PT)
    Rye Fire
    Size – 7,000 acres
    Containment – 10%
    Homes and businesses threatened – 5,460
    Homes and businesses damaged or destroyed – 1
    (Last update: Dec. 6 at 8:14pm PT)
    Skirball Fire
    Size – 475 acres
    Containment – 5%
    Homes and businesses threatened – unknown
    Homes and businesses damaged or destroyed – 15(Last update: Dec. 7 at 6:15am PT)

    http://fortune.com/2017/12/07/los-angeles-fires-latest-numbers/

    Reply
  22. coloradobob

     /  December 7, 2017

    Reply
  23. coloradobob

     /  December 7, 2017

    Fremont Canyon currently 7% RH and winds ENE 63 G 77.

    Reply
  24. coloradobob

     /  December 7, 2017

    Is San Diego prepared for wildfires? 10 tips firefighters tell their own families

    http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/the-conversation/sd-fire-preparedness-tips-san-diego-20171206-htmlstory.html

    Reply
  25. coloradobob

     /  December 7, 2017

    Sweltering 2017 puts Hong Kong on track for hottest temperature and highest number of warm nights in its recorded history

    http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/2123361/sweltering-2017-puts-hong-kong-track-hottest

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  December 7, 2017

      Over the summer, on August 22 – just a day before Typhoon Hato struck – the city reached 36.6 degrees. It was the highest temperature since the Observatory began compiling data in 1884.

      Reply
  26. coloradobob

     /  December 7, 2017

    Alaska just reported one of the most extreme snowfall rates on record: 10 inches per hour

    The furious storm dropped another 5 inches in 30 minutes, for a remarkable 15 inches in a brief hour and a half period. In the end, 40 inches of heavy wet snow accumulated in 12 hours.

    The Thompson Pass storm ranks among the most intense snowfalls that we know of, according to a quick analysis by Weather Underground’s weather historian, Christopher Burt.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/12/07/alaska-just-reported-one-of-the-most-extreme-snowfall-rates-on-record-10-inches-per-hour/?utm_term=.3560cddd67a2

    Reply
  27. coloradobob

     /  December 7, 2017

    ?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.npr.org%2Fsections%2Fthetwo-way%2F2017%2F12%2F07%2F569044881%2Fsouthern-california-braces-forecasters-say-even-stronger-winds-could-stoke-fires

    Reply

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