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Odd and Dangerous Mekunu Bears Down on Oman

This year, two tropical cyclones have sprung up in the Western Arabian Sea. A region where, according to our understanding of climate, “storms do not form.” Well, the climate has clearly changed. Because a storm is raging there now. And for Oman today, these changes bring with them serious threats to life and property.

(Discussion of how climate change has altered tropical cyclone formation and intensity dynamics in the Western Arabian Sea during 2018.)

About five days ago, tropical storm Sagar formed east of Somalia in the Western Arabian Sea near the Gulf of Yemen. The storm was notable due to the fact that it was the furthest west a storm had ever formed in this region, according to records. The storm then dumped copious amounts of rainfall over Somalia — resulting in the loss of 34 lives.

Just a few days later, a second storm, Mekunu formed in about the same region. Tracking north, it is now threatening Oman with the potential to hit category 2 intensity. Unlike Sagar, Mekunu poses a triple threat due to expected very heavy rainfall, large waves, and storm surge.

(Mekunu rages south of Oman and Yemen after forming in the Western Arabian Sea. Image source: NASA.)

The region near Salalah Oman that the storm is barreling toward — typically receives just five inches of rainfall per year. But Mekunu could deliver two to five times that amount (or more) in just a few days. Moreover, the flat coastal plain is backed by mountainous terrain to the north. The higher land produces lift that will intensify expected rainfall. And current models predict that more than two feet of water (24 inches) could fall on up-sloping regions facing Mekunu’s advance. What’s notable is that these totals keep rising and that peak local totals for the storm in the NOAA NCEP model show some ridiculous amounts — up to 74 inches (see below).

Why are peaks in this model so high? First, sea surface temperatures are very extreme throughout the region. In the immediate vicinity of Mekunu, ocean surfaces range from 30 to 32 degrees Celsius. The waters are about 1 to 2 C above normal and are thus providing Mekunu with a lot more moisture than is typical. However, the larger environment that Mekunu is feeding off of also has much higher than typical moisture loads. For one, sea surfaces east of Somalia have spiked to as much as 5 C above average recently — pumping out great loads of evaporation. Further, moisture levels over the Arabian Peninsula are high due to moisture streaming in along a rather intense subtropical Jet Stream moving over the also much warmer than normal sea surfaces in the Med. The result is a much higher than normal rainfall potential.

(Mekunu presents a very severe rainfall risk for Oman in addition to a predicted strong storm surge and very high waves. Image source: NOAA NCEP.)

Such heavy rains would flush floods of water into lowlands already confronted with high waves and rising seas. According to a recent report by Bob Henson at Weather Underground, wave heights could reach 24 feet along the coast. The same report cites storm surge expert Dr Hal Needham who states:

The significant wave height leads me to think coastal flood potential is a real threat. At some point the water from waves crashing onshore does not have time to drain before the next wave hits. My gut feeling is that we could see a noticeable storm surge that is quite dynamic, with a lot of wave action and rapidly moving water. Expect wave heights to be tremendous.

(Much warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the Mediterranean and Arabian Seas are helping cyclones to form in atypical regions even as they are lending fuel to their intensification. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Mekunu’s intensity is certainly quite high. And it is one of a recent spate of storms to impact the region. With research showing that the intensity of storms in the Arabian Sea has increased during the past 20 year period. However, the far western formation of Mekunu and Sagar add a new twist to the story. For it appears that the zone of storm formation is also shifting westward as sea surface temperatures rise and, apparently, Jet Stream changes have the potential to deliver higher levels of atmospheric moisture to the Arabian Peninsula. All of these factors feed both storm formation and intensity potentials.

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78 Comments

  1. Shawn Redmond

     /  May 24, 2018

    This is only getting started. Following http://floodlist.com/news weekly it is just unbelievable the amount of extreme flooding that is ongoing around the planet. No surprise to us here in the choir other than the timing. Looks like the 22nd century has arrive ahead of schedule. I tried to condense the following list as much as I could, won’t know if it worked til after I hit post. My apologies if its way long. Great work Robert as always!!

    Flooding News

    Sri Lanka – 12 Dead, 27,000 Displaced as Floods Worsen
    24 MAY, 2018
    Over 80,000 people have now been affected by floods in Sri Lanka, according to disaster management officials. More heavy rain has fallen since the flooding began on 20 May and…

    Europe – Storms Cause Flooding in Parts of Belgium, France and Germany
    24 MAY, 2018
    Storms across northern Europe have caused surface flooding in Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and France, including the capital Paris. The region has seen several violent storms over the last few days,…

    India – Floods in Tripura Leave 15 Dead, Thousands Displaced
    23 MAY, 2018
    Fifteen people have lost their lives and thousands have been forced to evacuate their homes after flooding in the north-east Indian state of Tripura. Rain has affected parts of the…

    Sri Lanka – Deadly Storm Dumps 350mm of Rain in 24 Hours
    21 MAY, 2018
    A storm that swept across several parts of Sri Lanka between 20 and 21 May, 2018, caused flash floods in several areas, with Southern, Western and Sabaragamuwa Provinces the worst…

    Horn of Africa – Major Flooding After Cyclone Sagar Leaves 16 Dead
    21 MAY, 2018
    Cyclone Sagar, a very rare cyclone in the Gulf of Aden, made landfall in north-western Somaliland on 19 May, 2018. At least 16 people have reportedly died as a result…

    Guatemala – 1 Dead, 1 Missing, 80,000 Affected as Flooding Continues
    21 MAY, 2018
    The disaster management agency in Guatemala, CONRED, reports that the heavy rain and flooding in several areas of the country has now affected 76,845 people. Over 30 incidents of heavy…

    Afghanistan – Death Toll Rises as Floods Hit Balkh and Herat
    21 MAY, 2018
    The flood situation in Afghanistan has worsened over the last few days as heavy rain has continued to fall. On 16 May, at least 34 people had died and 4…

    Colombia – 130,000 Threatened by Dam Collapse in Antioquia
    20 MAY, 2018
    The government in Antioquia department, Colombia, has declared Public Calamity as the Hidroituango Dam threatens to collapse. The dam is situated on the Cauca river and is in the final…

    Guatemala – Floods and Heavy Rain Affect 5,000
    19 MAY, 2018
    Civil protection in Guatemala (System of the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction – CONRED) reported on 18 May that almost 6,000 people had been affected by heavy rain and flooding…

    Afghanistan – Over 30 Dead After Flash Floods in 11 Provinces
    16 MAY, 2018
    At least 34 people have died and 4 injured in flash floods in Afghanistan over the last 7 days. The Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) reported that the flooding…

    USA – Deadly Storms Hit North East, Flash Floods in Maryland
    16 MAY, 2018
    Update: On 17 May, 2018, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) issued a flood alert notice for flooding in Frederick County and Washington County, Maryland. USGS said: “Intense rainfall (up to 10…

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    • bobinspain

       /  May 24, 2018

      Dreadful, all of it. Thanks for the update, Shawn. Otherwise I’d have know nothing about these catastrophes. There’s more bad news in India and Pakistan regarding high temperatures.
      https://edition.cnn.com/2018/05/22/asia/pakistan-heat-wave-wxc-intl/index.html

      Liked by 2 people

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      • +1.

        Seems it was pretty bad in the Persian Gulf in 4,000 BCE, too, during the the Holocene Thermal Maximum. I came across the following description of cyclones and floods in the book I am reading, “The Bible as History” by Werner Keller, (2nd Revised Edition, 1982. Bantam books.). In it (Chapter 3, “Digging up the Flood and Chapter 4, “A Flood Story from Old Babylonia” ) archaeologists have uncovered evidence of repeated severe flooding in Mesopotamia.

        The most severe, dated about 4,000 BCE, was discovered by British and American archaeologists led by Sir Charles Leonard Woolley, at Tell al-Muqayyar, ancient Ur, near present day Nasiriyah in Iraq. Woolley came upon a layer of clay imbedded with tiny marine organisms, clear evidence of a massive flood. It was some flood. The clay layer was 10 feet thick. Similar layers of clay, though not as extensive, were found at other sites, confirming a flood engulfing, according to Woolley “an area north-west of the Persian Gulf amounting to 400 miles long and 100 miles wide”. That would be much of Tigris-Euphrates basin. Combined with stories of the Flood from the Bible and the Epic of Gilgamesh, it seems likely cyclones were responsible. As Keller puts it: “To the last detail the weather conditions which he describes are characteristic of an unusual atmospheric disturbance. The appearance of black clouds and a roaring noise – sudden darkness in broad daylight – the howling of the southern gale as it drives the water in front of it. Any meteorologist recognises at once that this is a description of a cyclone . . . “. Even the gods of Mesopotamia are terrified “and flee to the upper reaches of heaven where the god Anu has his abode. Before they enter “they crouch and cower like dogs” . . . and all mankind had turned to clay.” . . .

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    • Public Health England is releasing a Global Hazards Weekly Bulletin. If you want to subscribe to their mailing list go here => https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKHPA/subscriber/new

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  2. Shawn Redmond

     /  May 24, 2018

    Not sure if this will post well or not but found it interesting along side the flooding.

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    • Thanks, Interesting – I was at an NZ Federated Farmers meeting the other day and this came up – it was mentioned in the context of the UK in 1946 and that, then the UK had 120 days of food, but that now it is more like 20 days.

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      • bostonblorp

         /  May 25, 2018

        I wish I could find where I read or heard the statistic that said on average the global wheat supply has only a few days of buffer built into it.

        Liked by 1 person

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    • wili

       /  May 27, 2018

      There’s something odd about that map or its legend. It seems to indicate that The Netherlands “Imports between 50 and 74.9 % of consumption,” but The Netherlands is the second largest exporter of food in the world, after the US.

      https://www.quora.com/How-is-the-Netherlands-the-second-largest-food-exporter

      Perhaps the figures in the map are not for net imports or something?

      Liked by 1 person

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      • In twitter, the map’s author clarified that it is mapping production of calories, not net-worth of food. So, some countries with huge production of pricey foods like olive oil, almonds, etc which would normally be categorized as food exporters are in the yellows and reds if they don’t produce enough food calories for their entire population.

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  3. bobinspain

     /  May 24, 2018

    Thanks for the excellent updates as always, Robert.
    This is a brilliant lecture, quite long, but highly thought provoking:

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    • JPL

       /  May 25, 2018

      “Climate Silence” – what a great way to characterize our collective inaction.

      Great video, thanks for posting. Pogo has never been more right – we have met the enemy and he is us…

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      • Bob

         /  May 25, 2018

        You’re welcome JPL. Although I agree with you in principle, the enemy isn’t us, it’s them, lol 🙂

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  4. Climate change par excellence.

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  5. Abel Adamski

     /  May 25, 2018

    https://reneweconomy.com.au/jaguar-plans-big-charger-network-ahead-of-i-pace-ev-release-67412/
    Jaguar plans big charger network ahead of I-Pace EV release

    Jaguar Land Rover is spending up to $4 million rolling out 150 changing stations ahead of the release of its first electric vehicle, the I-PACE, in Australia later this year.
    Jaguar has appointed Australian charging network provider Jet Charge to install the network, including at its new HQ and showrooms.
    The Jaguar iPace is capable of 100kW DC charging, which will take the EVs from 0-80 per cent charged in 40 minutes, and add 100km range in 15 minutes.
    The I-PACE was launched officially at the recent Geneva Motor Show, and will be showing off its wares in the first official test drives for invited motor journalists in Portugal in early June.
    The car, the first to confront Tesla head on in the luxury EV market, will be available in Australia from October, at a price of around $120,000, a battery of 90kWh and a range of 480km.

    Jaguar intends to offer an electrified version of all its models from around 2020.

    Them Indians don’t mess around – Jaguar – owned by TATA Industries, only 150 stations, not many for a country this size, but a healthy start

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  6. Andy_in_SD

     /  May 25, 2018

    Saving flood water to get through the droughts

    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-44071895

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. wharf rat

     /  May 25, 2018

    Alberto forms in northwestern Caribbean; storm’s rain will give South Florida a soaking
    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/weather/fl-reg-tropical-alberto-weekend-20180525-story.html

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  8. Greyson Smythe

     /  May 25, 2018

    BBC: Giant canyons discovered in Antarctica

    The deep troughs run for hundreds of kilometres, cutting through tall mountains – none of which are visible at the snowy surface of the continent.

    Dr Kate Winter from Northumbria University, UK, and colleagues found the hidden features with radar.

    Her team says the canyons play a key role in controlling the flow of ice.

    And if Antarctica thins in a warming climate, as scientists suspect it will, then these channels could accelerate mass towards the ocean, further raising sea-levels.

    “These troughs channelise ice from the centre of the continent, taking it towards the coast,” explained Dr Winter.

    Liked by 4 people

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  9. Greyson Smythe

     /  May 25, 2018

    Forbes: Carbon Pollution Has Shoved The Climate Back At Least 12 Million Years, Harvard Scientist Says

    The level of carbon now in the atmosphere hasn’t been seen in 12 million years, a Harvard scientist said in Chicago Thursday, and this pollution is rapidly pushing the climate back to its state in the Eocene Epoch, more than 33 million years ago, when there was no ice on either pole.

    “We have exquisite information about what that state is, because we have a paleo record going back millions of years, when the earth had no ice at either pole. There was almost no temperature difference between the equator and the pole,” said James Anderson, a Harvard University professor of atmospheric chemistry best known for establishing that chlorofluorocarbons were damaging the Ozone Layer.

    “The ocean was running almost 10ºC warmer all the way to the bottom than it is today,” Anderson said of this once-and-future climate, “and the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere would have meant that storm systems would be violent in the extreme, because water vapor, which is an exponential function of water temperature, is the gasoline that fuels the frequency and intensity of storm systems.”

    …more water vapor might have *something* to do with this mekunu…

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  10. Off topic, both to this article theme and to climate change, but still relevant, I think, as one of the risks we face is societal collapse, and a still mild but ominious version of it seems to be happening around here in this last week.

    Telling the story from the beggining:

    Brasil’s diesel and gasoline (and most of our bio-combustibles) are mostly sourced by Petrobrás, a partially state-owned company. Since Brasil’s petroleum production is not optimized for combustible production, most of the petroleum used in Brasil to produce gasoline & diesel is imported (almost 70% of it).

    Petrobrás is a huge enterprise, moving vast ammounts of money, and its directors are government appointed. It was a hotbed of corruption. Lava-jato (Car-wash), the big police/judicial operation that is shading light into Brasil’s corrupt circles and arresting corrupts of well-breed and fine reputation (like Brasil’s richest man, an former president, a former leader of the Camara of representatives, and many many more corrupt politicians and entrepreneurs) started by investigating corruption in Petrobrás. It was revealed that corruption had brought the enterprise to its knees, by syphoning billions out of it to corrupt’s pockets.

    In order to save the company from bankruptcy, a technical director was appointed to manage the company. He actually suceeded on that one mission, and last trimester was the first one in which Petrobrás stayed in the green (monetary, obviously) side of its balance in more than a decade. To do that, one of the measures used was to immediatly raise gasoline and diesel’s prices each time the dollar went up.

    That was working… until the American Fed raised interest rates, making investors flee from emergent countries to a more secure and lucrative USA. That made dollar prices spike (from 2,halvish to 4, in 2 weeks). As per policy, gasoline and diesel prices also spiked, being raised four times, in a single week.

    Now, Brasil basically doesn’t have trains (a few relic lines from imperial times can’t do much), hidroways have been abandoned for centuries and almost all transportation in the country is done by truck. Diesel trucks (I’ve complained of our government refusal to allow eletric transportation in other comments). And crossing Brasil’s highways can take more than a week (and yes, this long distances are commonly transversed). And freight is negotiated beforehand, with truckers being paid low and expected to fuel their own trucks… and 4 raises in diesel price in the same week meant truckers were paying to work, instead of being paid.

    Truckers revolted. They decided to stop the flow… both by not trucking and by barricading roads. They stopped delivering goods to harbours, airports and markets. The first thing that disappeared was combustibles: gasoline, diesel, ethanol ( my husband stayed on line for 3h yesterday to fuel our car with ethanol, and we were lucky. All gas-stations in my city and the closest 3 neighboring cities are, right now, empty. Memes joking about gasoline existing in Walking Dead after 10 years of zombie apocalipse and gone in Brasil after 3 days of truck lock-out abound).

    Food in restaurants is gone and most of them are closed. Supermarkets are closing with empty shelves. The public transport system (buses, also, not eletric) is almost closed (in São Paulo, only 30% of buses are still circulating). Airports are mostly closed, without fuel for the planes. Police doesn’t have fuel for its cars, and is reducing operations. Hospitals are having trouble, with lack of medicines (specially highly used things like saline solution) and doctors (almost everyone is having trouble getting to their jobs. I count myself lucky: I was in medical leave. If I wasn’t, I don’t know how I’d get to work: the roads I’d need to use are being blocked, with trucks, buses and burning tires).

    We’re in the 5th day of the strike. There’s actually wide popular support to the truckers cause, as contantly hearing of political corruption, of how politicians accused of crimes were trying to fudge the laws to escape prison, of the golden excesses of those corrupts.

    But at the same time, the lock-out results are terrible. I’m calculating how much food and water we have at home (about a month, if the eletric grid doesn’t fail) and hoping that the eletric system doesn’t fail (the eletric company already reported that they are not being able to give maintenance to the grid now.).

    It’s quite a slap in the face about how fast chaos can ensue.

    Link to article in Portuguese, but mainly photos:
    https://veja.abril.com.br/galeria-fotos/caminhoneiros-entram-em-greve-contra-aumento-de-combustiveis-23-05-2018/

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    • cushngtree

       /  May 25, 2018

      OMG! And there’s nothing in the standard news feed, just as with the Mekunu storm, you have to really look for it. Prayers to keep safe, please let us know how you’re doing. So glad you have some supplies on hand.

      Liked by 3 people

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    • cushngtree

       /  May 25, 2018

      Latest says the strike is temporarily lifted but will take quite a while to sort things out; this what you hear on the ground?

      https://www.agweb.com/blog/cash-grain-insights-156/brazil-truck-strike-has-been-suspended/

      “Brazil’s government struck a deal with truck drivers on Thursday to suspend a four-day protest. Truckers agreed to immediately suspend the strike for 15 days. Under the deal, a 10% price cut for diesel will be extended to 30 days. But normalization of trucking & logistics will take weeks to recover because of the magnitude of disruptions across numerous industries”

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      • Truck drivers don’t have an unified union here in Brasil. Eight from eleven unions had agreed with the governments terms yesterday, the remaining three were still causing chaos today (and it’s quite easy to barricade a road with trucks, it seems). I hope things return to order soon, and hope that the remaining three unions will stop the lock-out after monday, when the President will probably sanction the law zeroing the taxes on diesel, as the truck drivers demanded.

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        • bobinspain

           /  May 25, 2018

          I’ve just had a conversation with a lawyer friend in Brazil and like most of us I’d been completely unaware of what was going on. Apparently, there’s no sign of a deal and we’re now into the weekend. What intrigued me most is that it’s quite possible that the transport companies may be inciting and provoking the strikes, which is completely illegal. Does that ring any bells or make any sense? Anyhow, I hope the crisis is resolved for you all soon, as the situation is fragile and there’s a very real risk of a run on the banks should it deteriorate.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Bob, there are news that possible incitation of the strikes by transport companies is being investigated (http://politica.estadao.com.br/blogs/fausto-macedo/pf-investiga-greve-dos-caminhoneiros/ ). As far as if its truly happening, I don’t known. It could be, but its also possible that the moviment is grass-roots, or something in between. With today’s technology, people can organize easily and a pebble can create a tsunami.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Link in Portuguese (but Google translate can be a friend), on the possibility of incitation of the strikes by the transportation companies and on wheter the strike will stop or not: http://piaui.folha.uol.com.br/falta-combinar-no-whatsapp/

          I’m also receiving a ton of fake news videos (seriously, one of them shows a “brasilian” airport with russian signs >_<) in Whats App, asking for support for the strike, saying that it won't end until the President renounces (BTW, this is the last year of the President's term and we have regular scheduled elections this October) and many of them asking for military intervention. Seriously hope that I'm not seeing the beggining of a military coup here.

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    • Americans have no idea how fragile their daily lives are, and on occasions when it’s demonstrated (such as after Katrina, when the east coast didn’t have gas due to pipeline shutdowns), they forget as soon as the emergency is over.

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      • I had some notion on how fragile is our daily lives, and I confess that my plan for that is two fold:
        1. trying my best to help spread word, walk the walk and political action in order to try to prevent the worst from happening, and
        2. trying to make my already isolated by necessity (I’m really allergic to one of the substances used in cigarretes. When I lived in the city, a smocker moved next-doors, and 3 months after I was in the brink of kidney failure by corticoid overdose… and unable to breath unless I had intravenous corticoids every day. So I moved to a small ranch in the middle of the jungle) house into a self-suficient, resiliant refuge. But striving for self-suficience is hard and costly, and as I half-joked half-cried to some local friends here (cancelling a planned gathering, that frankly, if everything was ready here, would had been not cancelled and I’d advise them to come with their suitcases), this “semi-apocalypse” is coming 6 years too soon… I’ve not managed yet to have cisterns able to last for the entire dry season (which once upon a time was one month of no rains, but now is about 3 months of no rain each El Nino year), we still don’t have photovoltaic solar power/batteries, the cooking gas producing biodigestor hasn’t arrived yet, and the garden and fruit trees aren’t quite established and grown to be reliable to produce enough food to live&share (trees take their time to fruit, after all). Not to mention that the chicken& goats are still just in planning, and the tree wall is still a few years too small.

        The truckers strike has turned fully into a political strike today. The government has conceded all the economic demands of the truckers, and already published them into oficial law. There’s no longer taxes for diesel in Brasil, a minimum price for freight operations (larger than the truckers were asking) has been established, discounts in toll fares for trucks are now official, the price of the diesel is now fixed and subsided by the government. All the legitimate points for the strike have been won by the truckers.

        But the strike goes on.
        As far as I can tell, truckers are asking now for:
        1. Reductions in price now for gasoline too (as a bone to throw to the public… I don’t need to discuss here why this is a shoot in the foot).

        2. “Fora Temer” – the current president of Brasil. He’s highly unpopular, and truckers are asking him to renounce. “Small” detail: in 5 months, the election of Temer’s sucessor should be happening. Temer is not running for a second term. He’ll be out of the government anyway by the end of the year, if everything goes as it should. And truckers aren’t asking for an impeachment or any other legal way of taking a president from its seat. Messages on Whats app and other social media ask for “take down the president, the chief of the parlament, everyone in the parlament and senate and all the judges of the Supreme Court”, describing violent things to do with them, which may or not be a joke, probably are a “brasilian joke” (everyone laughs until someone shows weakness and is devoured).

        3. “Military intervenction now” – you known, how Trump’s election have empowered the racists to be blatantly so? Defensors of the dictatorship are feeling empowered right now, chanting for it, trying to lie and say that Brasil was paradise with no corruption, plenty of economic grownth and no, no, it’s a lie that people were tortured and murdered >_< But this is coherent with 2.

        4. "Lula livre" – one of the ex-presidents of Brasil is now in prison, because of corruption during his government. Some want the law not to be applied to him, and him freed because of his popularity. Actually, I didn't receive any message for this in the social media, nor saw any poster asking for it in the few manifestations I runned away from, but according to the newspapers there's also truckers for it… and I DO believe in the newspapers. This would be coherent with 2 (Temer is now a political adversary of Lula and his party) but not with 3 (Lula was tortured and almost killed during the military dictatorship in Brasil).

        There's no central liderance in this strike, as the transportation sector in Brasil is very sprawling. The 10 biggest trucking enterprises in Brasil are responsible for less than 3% of trucking operations, and 1/3 of trucking operations are done by autonomous truckers: people who have their own truck, and use it to make a living as an one person enterprise. Photos in newspapers and even in social media show that the manifestations are smaller, but very few people, armed with trucks and tires, can still block roads and cause chaos.

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  11. OT but important. The EPA has expanded the opportunity for critics to comment on a controversial plan that would restrict the scientific research the agency can use when writing regulations. The policy by EPA chief Scott Pruitt is largely aimed at restricting EPA’s use of well-established epidemiological studies, which underpin regulations on smog and soot from the burning of fossil fuels.

    => Pruitt ‘Secret Science’ Rule: Public Gets More Time for Say as Criticism Grows

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  12. Interesting articles in today’s Science Daily
    1. New theory finds ‘traffic jams’ in jet stream cause abnormal weather patterns.
    Study explains blocking phenomenon that has baffled forecasters.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180524141647.htm
    (The investigators say they can now predict blocking patterns using equations for traffic jams)
    2. Fleet of autonomous boats could service cities to reduce road traffic. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180523145836.htm
    (The boats are 4 x 2 m, can rapidly be 3-D printed using a low-cost printer. Can be used as taxis, for cargo, and be programmed to self-assemble into floating bridges, concert stages, platforms for food markets, and other structures in a matter of hours.)

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  13. kassy

     /  May 26, 2018

    Mekunu turns killer in Yemen

    Salalah: Cyclone Mekunu which wreaked havoc in the Yemeni island of Socotra strengthened in intensity on Friday as it bore down on southern Oman, lashing the coast with high winds and rain.

    Five people were killed and at least 40 missing on the Yemeni island of Socotra as Cyclone Mekunu pummelled the area.

    The five dead included four Yemenis and one Indian national, residents and medical sources told Reuters, while the missing including Yemenis, Indians and Sudanese.

    The NCM also predicts that Mekunu will intensify into a Category 2 cyclone over the next 12 hours, with an expected wind speed of between 155 to 165 km/h.

    The NCM is urging the public to follow its updates, reports and forecasts, and to ignore rumours circulated by unqualified individuals.

    “Latest observations show that tropical Cyclone Mekunu has intensified to category 2,” with high wind speeds, Oman’s directorate general of meteorology said on Twitter.

    The centre said the eye of the storm was expected to make landfall on the southern coast of the sultanate at 2000 local time (1600 GMT).

    Strong winds had already generated 12-metre-high waves.

    After several hours of heavy rainfall in the province, the meteorology centre warned of flooding and winds of up to 170 kilometres per hour.

    Civil defence authorities said they had evacuated 10,000 people to shelters, mainly inside Salalah which has a population of over 200,000.

    http://gulftoday.ae/portal/f8cb0894-b4bd-4acd-845f-e0599ef4fcc9.aspx

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  14. kassy

     /  May 26, 2018

    Another thing that should be perceived as odd and dangerous (but it is all kind of twisted in the current US political climate so it’s more like yeah figures they do that).

    Emails show EPA working closely with climate-change deniers

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior Environmental Protection Agency officials have been working closely with a conservative group that dismisses climate change to rally like-minded people for public hearings on science and global warming. Recently released emails show they also recruited help to counter negative news coverage and tout Administrator Scott Pruitt’s stewardship of the agency.

    John Konkus, EPA’s deputy associate administrator for public affairs, repeatedly reached out to senior staffers at the Heartland Institute. Emails show Konkus and the Heartland Institute mustering scores of potential invitees known for rejecting scientific warnings of man-made climate-change.

    etc

    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/emails-show-epa-working-closely-with-climate-change-deniers/

    The E in EPA stands for environment while much of it’s laws are actually public health related. If the agency was CEPA as in Citizens and Environment Protection Agency then maybe there would be more of an outrage?

    Like

    Reply
  15. Abel Adamski

     /  May 27, 2018

    https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/cows-seaweed-methane-burps-cut-greenhouse-gas-emissions-climate-change-research-a8368911.html
    Feeding cows seaweed cuts gas emissions by 90% – New study.

    Duhh known for decades in Aust, research done many years ago and actually identifying the varieties with the best results. I think I have the article on one of my old hard drives

    Like

    Reply
    • TS in Norway

       /  May 27, 2018

      Bergen, Norway where I live is setting a record for hottest May day on record today. The southern half of Norway has been setting all sorts of hotness-records in the last days. Remember I read about the coming high over Scandinavia here a little while ago.

      Like

      Reply
  16. Syd Bridges

     /  May 27, 2018

    Meanwhile, back in the UK, Messers Clausius and Clapeyron are hitting Birmingham.

    http://www.bbc.com/

    Like

    Reply
  17. wili

     /  May 28, 2018

    This isn’t too far from you, is it, robert? https://www.thedailybeast.com/maryland-city-experiences-extreme-flash-flood

    “Maryland City Experiences Extreme Flash Flood”

    “A city in Maryland was inundated with massive flooding on Sunday due to a storm, causing serious damage that will likely cause the town to “rebuild much of its Main Street,” according to The Baltimore Sun. The National Weather Service called the flooding in Ellicott City “extremely dangerous and potentially catastrophic situation,” and advised residents to “move to higher ground immediately and stay away from anywhere where water is moving.” The Howard County fire and rescue confirmed that there were “multiple rescues in progress” and said that the situation “rivaling the flooding incident in 2016,” which killed two people and cost the city “tens of millions of dollars in damages.” Gov. Larry Hogan also declared “a state of emergency” in the city’s county, The Washington Post reported. Residents said that the water “nearly reach[ed] the top of a stop sign” during the flash flooding”

    I hope you’re safe!

    Like

    Reply
    • I was out in Western Maryland camping over Memorial Day. Saw some rather big boomers out there. But we missed the worst of it. More on the way.

      Of course, I go camping and Ellicott City gets hammered again.

      IRT:

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      • wili

         /  May 30, 2018

        Glad you were safe. Thanks for posting on this event, with your usual insight and larger perspective!

        Like

        Reply
  18. Andy_in_SD

     /  May 28, 2018

    Hope this link works…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • wili

       /  May 28, 2018

      “The last report from the USGS gauge at Patapsco River near Elkridge at Patapsco Valley State Park indicated that the all-time record high stage has been broken and that the river rose 17.88 feet in ~2 hours. https://t.co/s4rKqyQRuT https://t.co/LrBgLieh1J
      #mdwx #flooding ”

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      • wili

         /  May 28, 2018

        Like

        Reply
      • wili

         /  May 28, 2018

        “Anyone who is outside around Ellicott City should find higher ground NOW. Another round of rain is coming in.”

        Radar GIF at the link.

        Like

        Reply
      • wili

         /  May 28, 2018

        “So, a tornado at like 8,000 feet elevation in Wyoming, epic flash flooding for th second time in as many years in Ellicott City, MD, an early season subtropical storm, some all time record May heat in the Midwest….just another day in [U.S.] weather.”

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
  19. Looks like the rain fall at Ellicott City broke the expected 1,000 year return period for the second time in two years!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  20. Stefan Rahmstorf answer’s your question…

    “If you doubt that the AMOC has weakened, read this…” http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2018/05/if-you-doubt-that-the-amoc-has-weakened-read-this/#.Wwv1jbPRmQw.twitter

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • cushngtree

       /  May 28, 2018

      Very good article, even a layman can follow it. I loved the term “Sverdrup–(a Sverdrup is a flow of a million cubic meters per second)”, my new Scrabble word! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    • Extensive article. I hoped it would discuss the North Atlantic Hot Blob, but all it had to say was – “It is the fact that land-based proxy data for surface temperature suggest the cold blob is unprecedented for over a millennium. It is the exceptional SST warming off the North American coast, an expected dynamical effect of an AMOC slowdown, and strong warming off the west coast of southern Africa (see Fig. 1 in my previous post).”

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      • Followup on Rahmstorf article: Two queries in the question section about the SSTA in the North Atlantic, one by me and one by “Nemesis”. No response as of yet.

        Like

        Reply
  21. wili

     /  May 28, 2018

    “Today will clench the first-ever five-day 90°F heat wave in May in Twin Cities history. (going back to 1871)

    Tomorrow should be >90°F, too. “Normal” high for today: 72°F

    Longer, more intense heat waves is one of the most certain predictions of human-caused climate change. ”

    Like

    Reply
  22. In support of the Tropical School:
    Dusty rainfall records reveal new understanding of Earth’s long-term climate. May 24, 2018
    U. Arizona. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180524174551.htm
    Summary:
    Ancient rainfall records stretching 550,000 years into the past may upend scientists’ understanding of what controls the Asian summer monsoon and other aspects of the Earth’s long-term climate. Milankovitch theory says solar heating of the northernmost part of the globe drives the world’s climate swings between ice ages and warmer periods. The new work turns Milankovitch in its head by suggesting climate is driven by differential heating of the Earth’s tropical and subtropical regions.

    Like

    Reply
  23. The George Marshall presentation above is quite good! It is also an example of why a purely scientific approach to explaining and promulgating information and solutions to climate change problems will not work in and of itself. I know that Robert does not like Guy McPherson because he feels that he is unscientific and possibly not logical. But this video shows in part why the Guy McPhersons of the world are necessary. The people susceptible to scientific reasoning are probably by and large already convinced that there is a problem (predicament?), but this is not enough to make the changes necessary to turn the ship around, if it is even possible to do so.

    Guy gets closer to the “story” element that our right brains might respond to than many other commentators, scientists, etc in this area. Now I get it: Guy has pissed off a number of scientists, and they seem to have returned the favor. On the other hand Guy has already done a fair amount of grieving, and most of us have not. Guy doesn’t take this into account, and makes disparaging comments about others in the field. Recently one of these feuds was “settled.” I would hope that more of these feuds would be “settled,” at least reach a stage of peaceful co-existance. The story tellers (the dot-connectors?) need the science, and the scientists need the story tellers.

    As a practitioner in a technical field I am well aware that a precise statement loses all but the most interested and determined in the audience. A glib superficial statement at best approximates an area around the truth or the precise statement. Al Gore did not present error bands around his hockey stick graphs, but he is important in bringing conscientiousness about this issue to large numbers of people. That’s just one of many examples.

    The people in this field need to come to terms with the number of different ways of explaining the climate change situation (story) so that we, as a species, have any chance of dealing with it to whatever extent that we can.

    Like

    Reply
    • Brian

       /  May 29, 2018

      The problem straight up with Guy McPherson is his math. In the one presentation that I saw, he said that something like 5C warming (half of his prediction) would come from the end of ‘global dimming’ as a result of industry shutting down and hence pollution settling out of the atmosphere “within a couple of weeks”. Sorry, that doesn’t pass the smell test let alone any other rational or reasonable thought process you want to throw at it.

      In what world do you live in where humans are just going to stop doing all the industry that we do just because it’s actively killing us? So even if (and i’m not saying it is) the warming contribution we can expect from the end of ‘global dimming’ is +5C, its not going to happen because people will still be using their refridgerators, running their AC, and driving to work.

      And even if you get every single American and Canadian and European to stop the madness, you now get to convince about 85% of the rest of the people on on the planet to stop going about their daily lives. Good luck.

      Literally the ONLY thing that would stop the capitalist system we find ourselves in today is a global nuclear war. I really hope you’re not advocating for that. This is why Guy McPherson deserves ridicule and scorn – he is a nihilist who just wants to see the world burn.

      Okay, I’ve said my piece. Peace.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
      • Global dimming accounts for about 0.3 to 0.6 C. Guy McPherson is off by an order of magnitude.

        As we’ve said here a hundred times before, systemic problems require systemic solutions. Climate change solutions are not about individual choice. It’s about mass action. You get mass industry producing high volumes of wind, solar, batteries and other renewable energy and efficiency tech in higher and higher quality, then you end up empowering people, en masse, to solve the problem. It’s not about an individual’s choice to give something up. It’s about planning, investing in, and providing for the future.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
      • Greyson Smythe

         /  May 29, 2018

        Also, even if global dimming stopped tomorrow, it would not cause a step change in the temperature of the globe. It would only mean that the forcing would increase immediately; after which the earth would warm at a faster rate.

        I see this mistake often, and it’s a big one.

        Like

        Reply
    • To say that Guy McPherson is necessary is the equivalent to saying that the chemtrail conspiracy theorists are necessary to warn people about the dangers of solar radiation management. Quite to the contrary, their arguments are so inaccurate that they serve to discredit reasonable sources that are concerned about similar issues.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  24. Matt

     /  May 29, 2018

    My memory is not the best by far and I don’t keep many records, but does anyone have old records in relation to precipitation events in this area during the massive 2003 European heatwave? I seem to remember there were large flood events around the Horn of Africa area moving into the European heatwave? or it could have been just after?????

    Like

    Reply
  25. Andy_in_SD

     /  May 29, 2018

    The Arabian Sea’s Suffocating ‘Dead Zone’ Is Even Larger Than We Imagined

    https://gizmodo.com/the-arabian-sea-s-suffocating-dead-zone-is-even-large-1825608533

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  26. kassy

     /  May 29, 2018

    Ocean waves show Earth’s CO2 imbalance is greater than expected

    British researchers have determined that ocean waves play a considerably more important role in trapping carbon dioxide than previously thought. Their studies showed that waves breaking on the shore will absorb a large number of bubbles at depths of “at least” 3.3 feet, releasing CO2 when they dissolve into the water. That, in turn, suggests the ocean is absorbing “many times” more CO2 than under current estimates.

    The findings point to a considerably larger CO2 imbalance than in current models, which suggest that more of the dissolved CO2 would reenter the atmosphere. That could increase the chances of ocean acidification that threatens sea life.

    https://www.engadget.com/2018/05/29/ocean-waves-play-important-role-in-climate-change/

    and

    Algae layer on ocean surface thwarts ability to suck carbon from the air

    Gas exchange between the air and the ocean is controlled by turbulence at the sea surface, the main cause of which is waves generated by wind. Greater turbulence increases the amount of gas taken in. However, results from the latest studies shows naturally occurring surfactants inhibit absorption by smoothing out the sea surface. The micro-organisms favour warmer conditions, so are increasing as oceans heat up as a result of climate change. The academics are warning the process could represent a vicious circle, driving further climate warming.

    Dr Ryan Pereira, a Lyell research fellow at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, said: “As surface temperatures rise, so too do surfactants, which is why this is such a critical finding. The warmer the ocean surface gets, the more surfactants we can expect, and an even greater reduction in gas exchange.” Co-researcher Professor Rob Upstill-Goddard, professor of marine biogeochemistry at Newcastle University, said: “The suppression of carbon dioxide uptake across the ocean basin due to surfactants, as revealed by our work, implies slower removal of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and thus has implications for predicting future global climate.”

    Read more at: https://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/algae-layer-on-ocean-surface-thwarts-ability-to-suck-carbon-from-the-air-1-4746181

    Like

    Reply
  27. kassy

     /  May 29, 2018

    Dutch government appeals against court ruling over emissions cuts

    Judges ordered a 25% carbon emissions cut by 2020 in the first successful lawsuit against a government’s climate policy

    The Dutch government has launched a bid to overturn a landmark climate ruling, arguing that judges in The Hague “sidelined democracy” when they ordered a 25% cut in carbon emissions by 2020.

    Government plans for a lesser 17% cut in CO2 pollution were deemed unlawful three years ago, in the first successful lawsuit against a government’s climate policy.

    Climate minister Eric Wiebes told Dutch media: “We also believe that renewable energy should be increased and CO2 emissions should be reduced, so this is really about something else: it’s about how the judge has intervened in something that’s [called] democracy, and actually democracy has been sidelined.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/28/dutch-government-appeals-against-court-ruling-over-emissions-cuts

    The problem with our democrazy is our politicians happily kicking the can down the road. Save it for the next election cycle and thus waste another 4 years.

    We want the Netherlands to be a “knowledge economy” but improving teacher pay “costs too much”.

    The problem with climate change is similar. All lip service and no action.

    #21

    De rechtbank heeft eerst geïnventariseerd welke mogelijke scenario’s in AR4/2007 door het IPCC
    aan de internationale politiek zijn gepresenteerd. Daartussen zat een 450 ppm scenario dat
    volgens toenmalig inzicht 50% kans gaf de opwarming onder de 2° te houden.
    Aan dat 450 ppm-scenario had het IPCC in box 13.7 toegevoegd dat volgens een veelheid van
    destijds gangbare ‘fairness’-benaderingen, voor het halen van dit 450-scenario de Annex I landen
    in 2020 hun uitstoot met 25-40% zouden moeten verminderen ten opzichte van 1990 en vandaar
    naar 80-95% in 2050.

    So basically since we are committed to the Paris agreement and to do that and hit the 450 ppm scenario or below requires a 25-40% cut before 2020 from the rich countries. The state basically committed to this and then set the bar lower.

    So basically the state has been told to stick to it’s word which is a rude surprise to our politicians.

    Like

    Reply
  28. kassy

     /  May 29, 2018

    The dutch quote above is from Urgenda’s plea bargain which you can find here:
    http://www.urgenda.nl/wp-content/uploads/Pleitnota-Urgenda-Hoger-beroep-28-5-2018.pdf

    It is in dutch but google translate seems to do an ok job:

    The court first took stock of possible scenarios in AR4 / 2007 by the IPCC
    presented to international politics. In between was a 450 ppm scenario that
    according to the previous insight, there was a 50% chance of keeping the warming below 2 °.
    The IPCC added to that 450 ppm scenario in box 13.7 that according to a multitude of
    at the time, accepted ‘fairness’ approaches, for the achievement of this 450 scenario the Annex I countries
    should reduce their emissions by 25-40% in 2020 compared to 1990 and hence
    to 80-95% in 2050.

    Like

    Reply
  29. Abel Adamski

     /  May 29, 2018

    EV’s down under
    http://evtalk.com.au/ace-plans-electric-car-making-in-australia/
    ACE aims to release its first Australian-made electric car by the third quarter of the year.
    Two models are in the pipeline- a ute dubbed the Yewt, and a cargo van.
    Australia has only about 4000 electric cars on the roads, and ACE would be the first Australian-made battery-powered car makers manufacturing in Australia.
    The company, which started as GetGreen – an energy management company – before evolving into solar farm development and branching out into electric cars, says it wants to bring manufacturing back to Australia, specifically regional Queensland

    “This is now a realistic proposition since our agreements on a new patented manufacturing process for electric vehicles.”

    The group is targeting the release of its first electric car by the third quarter of this year, with two more vehicles scheduled to be released in 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  30. Abel Adamski

     /  May 29, 2018

    And Now the Federal LNP Denier Govt is the owner of the Snowy Hydro
    https://reneweconomy.com.au/snowy-hydro-seeks-800mw-of-wind-and-solar-capacity-67813/
    Snowy Hydro, the massive energy utility that is about to be 100 per cent owned by the federal government, is seeking to boost its renewable energy portfolio by contracting 800MW of wind and solar capacity.
    A formal expression of interest document (EOI) was published last Friday, inviting proposals – including location and potential price – by June 19. Snowy Hydro wants to conclude contract negotiations by mid September.
    “The initial aim is to procure 400MW of wind and 400MW of solar off takes,” the document states, although the company may change its mind on the 50/50 split between wind and solar depending on the offers made.
    But during testimony to a Senate Estimates hearing last week, Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad – apart from saying that pumped hydro could clearly outperform a new coal plant – gave some indication of the sort of prices the company expected to see in the tender.
    “The price that we’re getting for wind and solar has come down by an order of magnitude,” he said. “We’re now getting prices in the 40s, 45s to 50s (dollars per megawatt hour).”

    The term cats and canaries comes to mind

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Robert McLachlan

       /  May 29, 2018

      Thanks for that, I didn’t know the Federal government had bought Snowy from the Vic and NSW state governments. I’m not sure why, perhaps the state governments wanted to cash up and the Fed was happy to borrow the money. Also very interesting is the proposed pumped hydro scheme Snowy 2.0 – 2GW capacity and 350GWh storage means a whopping 175 hours of storage. Almost like buying batteries at US$8/kWh.

      Like

      Reply
  31. Abel Adamski

     /  May 29, 2018

    https://reneweconomy.com.au/cwp-brings-in-partners-for-1300mw-of-wind-solar-and-batteries-66935/
    On top of Sandeep Gupta’s 10GW
    CWP brings in Partners for 1,300MW of wind, solar and batteries

    “We see a massive transition away from fossil fuels over the next 10 years,” Hewitt says. “The transition is on. The economics are there, and the window is there now to move really fast.”

    CWP is also involved in a huge project – along with Vestas and other international partners – to build 9GW of wind and solar in the Pilbara, to provide power to be exported via a sub-sea cable to south-east Asia, and also to potential customers in Western Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  32. Abel Adamski

     /  May 29, 2018

    The momentum is building
    http://workhorse.com/pickup/
    W-15
    Electric pickup truck with extended range
    The Workhorse W-15 is the first plug-in range extended electric pickup built from the ground up by an OEM. Lithium ion battery cells from Panasonic provide an 80 mile all‑electric range, while the onboard generator works to recharge while driving to get the job done.
    The W-15 comes equipped with an external 7.2 kw power outlet providing up to 30 amps directly from the vehicle battery pack.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  33. wharf rat

     /  May 29, 2018

    New England Journal of Medicine

    Mortality in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

    RESULTS
    From the survey data, we estimated a mortality rate of 14.3 deaths (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.8 to 18.9) per 1000 persons from September 20 through December 31, 2017. This rate yielded a total of 4645 excess deaths during this period (95% CI, 793 to 8498), equivalent to a 62% increase in the mortality rate as compared with the same period in 2016. However, this number is likely to be an underestimate because of survivor bias. The mortality rate remained high through the end of December 2017, and one third of the deaths were attributed to delayed or interrupted health care. Hurricane-related migration was substantial.

    https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1803972

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  34. kassy

     /  May 29, 2018

    If Americans Keep Ignoring Flood Risk, We Could Face a Housing-Market Crash

    In a perfectly rational world, the risk posed by an encroaching ocean would be included in the price when you bought a property. After all, only a steep discount could persuade a sensible person to buy a property that might be washed away within 10 years.

    But humans, apparently, are not all that rational. Despite clear evidence of rising global temperatures, over a third of Americans don’t believe that climate change is happening, according to a recent poll by Gallup. Only 45 percent think that it will pose a serious threat in their lifetime.

    Most significantly, if you live by the coast, you’re likely to be less—not more—worried about sea-level rise and flooding than those who live inland, according to Bakkensen and Barrage’s research.

    These inaccurate beliefs aren’t just causing awkward conversations over Thanksgiving dinner. They could also cause house prices along the coast to eventually plummet by as much as 16 percent, according to Bakkensen and Barrage, depending on how many flood risk “optimists” are willing to buy these properties in the near future. That’s only slightly less than the 19 percent drop in house prices during the 2007–09 Great Recession.

    These drops in value will occur as a series of shocks over time, as homeowners are forced to hastily re-evaluate their flawed beliefs: Unsurprisingly, the paper found that people often become convinced they live in a flood zone after they experience a flood firsthand.

    https://www.citylab.com/environment/2018/05/if-americans-keep-ignoring-flood-risk-we-could-face-a-housing-market-crash/561437/

    Like

    Reply
  35. 12volt dan

     /  May 29, 2018

    Some thing new in the ocean uptake of co2 and as with a lot of research these days (it seems) it’s not good.
    Invisible scum on sea cuts CO2 exchange with air ‘by up to 50%. from the Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/28/invisible-scum-on-sea-cuts-co2-exchange-with-air-by-up-to-50

    “The world’s oceans absorb around a quarter of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions, making them the largest long-term sink of carbon on Earth.

    Greater sea turbulence increases gas exchange between the atmosphere and oceans and until now it was difficult to calculate the effect of “biological surfactants”.

    Teams from the Natural Environment Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust and the European Space Agency developed a system that compares “the surfactant effect” between different seawaters in real time.

    They found surfactants can reduce carbon dioxide exchange by up to 50%.

    Dr Ryan Pereira, a Lyell research fellow at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, said: “As surface temperatures rise, so too do surfactants, which is why this is such a critical finding.

    “The warmer the ocean surface gets, the more surfactants we can expect, and an even greater reduction in gas exchange”

    the paper from Nature can be found here
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-018-0136-2

    Like

    Reply

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