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Three Hundred Foot Tall ‘Fire Tsunami’ Burns Through Colorado

A massive 100,000 acre blaze has hurled off 300 foot high walls of fire that local authorities are describing as a ‘fire tsunami.’

The Spring Creek Fire, now the third largest in the Colorado state record, has forced more than 2,000 people to evacuate, destroyed or damaged 200 homes, and drawn the emergency response of 1,000 firefighters.

(Explosive Spring Creek Fire reaches 300 feet in height — forcing hundreds to flee.)

According to public information officer Ben Brack, firefighters were dealing with:

“unprecedented fire behavior. Because the fire has been moving so fast we don’t know exactly how big it has become. It was a perfect firestorm. This is a national disaster at this time. You can imagine standing in front of a tsunami or tornado and trying to stop it from destroying homes. A human response is ineffective.”

Thankfully, and due in large part to heroic efforts by firefighters and emergency responders to evacuate those in the fire’s path, no reports of loss of life have yet been received. Overnight rainfall on the 5th to 6th of July has also given firefighters an opportunity to respond. And now this enormous blaze is 35 percent contained. However, the explosive, lumbering fire is still a serious threat to the region.

Spring Creek Fire burn scar

(NASA satellite image of the Spring Creek Fire burn scar.)

Across the west, fully 60 large fires are now burning across the U.S. from Alaska to the Southeast. But the most intense fires are occurring in the west. These fires are sparking as record heat and severe drought conditions strike the west. And, presently, over 2,900,000 acres have burned on U.S. soil.

Heat is a primary enabler of wildfires. And with temperatures rising due to human-caused climate change, the western wildfire season has grown from 5 months in the 1970s to more than 7 months today. In some locations, like Southern California, the fire season is now year-round. In addition, the size of fires out west is increasing. So long as human fossil fuel burning and related carbon emissions continue, the western fire situation will worsen. With burn areas projected to increase by as much as 650 percent for some regions.

UPDATED

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38 Comments

  1. wharf rat

     /  July 6, 2018

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Keith Antonysen

     /  July 6, 2018

    Thanks for keeping us up to date. Your film segments supporting your articles are great.
    We are creating hell on Earth. As time goes on I’m getting more pessimistic about the impact climate change is having. Australia is going backwards in relation to reducing fossil fuel emissions. Though I do think with a concerted effort of heruculean proportions we can ward off the worst of climate change.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Thanks Keith. I think there’s a lot of work being done despite the present political situation in places like the U.S. and Australia — which we should do everything in our power to flip.

      I do a lot of research so it’s relatively easy to produce these short video clips. Have a couple related ones today.

      Here:

      Like

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      • And here:

        Like

        Reply
        • Mblanc

           /  July 7, 2018

          It’s great to have a range of ways to engage people, most of the youth I know don’t really read like us old folks.

          And even an old duffer like me realises dynamic visualisations hold so much more information than can be conveyed through words alone, and are probably the most important method for getting the message through.

          Do you have a Youtube err, channel thingy? I might send some links to your stuff to my family, because they tend to have narcoleptic episodes when I try and tell them the latest news.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks Mblanc. Hopefully, we can spread the word more this way. Here’s the channel link:

          https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZRjODCB2xMOw80Tbvujugg

          Like

      • Paul in WI

         /  July 8, 2018

        Not sure if a link to this article was posted previously, but here’s the latest from the Washington Post about the “Atlantification” of a region of the Arctic Ocean:

        A huge stretch of the Arctic Ocean is rapidly turning into the Atlantic. That’s not a good sign

        Here’s an excerpt from the article:

        Scientists studying one of the fastest-warming regions of the global ocean say changes in this region are so sudden and vast that in effect, it will soon be another limb of the Atlantic Ocean, rather than a characteristically icy Arctic sea.

        The northern Barents Sea, to the north of Scandinavia and east of the remote archipelago of Svalbard, has warmed extremely rapidly — by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit just since the year 2000 — standing out even in the fastest-warming part of the globe, the Arctic.

        “We call it the Arctic warming hot spot,” said Sigrid Lind, a researcher at the Institute of Marine Research in Tromso, Norway.

        Now Lind and her colleagues have shown, based on temperature and salinity measurements taken on summer research cruises, that this warming is being accompanied by a stark change of character, as the Atlantic is in effect taking over the region and converting it into a very different entity.

        Their results were published this week in Nature Climate Change by Lind and two colleagues at Norway’s Institute of Marine Research and University of Bergen. They underscore that the divide between the Atlantic and the Arctic isn’t just a geographical one — it’s physical in nature.

        While the Southern Barents is milder, the northern Barents has — until recently — had all the characteristics of an Arctic sea. It featured floating sea ice that, when it melted, helped to provide an icy, freshwater cap atop the ocean. This kept internal heat from escaping to the atmosphere, and also kept the ocean “stratified” — cold, fresher waters in the upper part of the ocean and warmer, Atlantic-originating waters down below.

        This situation, which occurs in much of the Arctic, was reinforced by the fact that freshwater is less dense than salt water, preserving stratification.

        But that’s changing. Less sea ice is floating down through the northern Barents Sea from higher Arctic latitudes, the research shows.

        Indeed, the lack of sea ice in the northern Barents Sea has been a regular feature of charts lately; at this very moment, an enormous stretch of ocean in this area that has traditionally been ice covered is currently open.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/06/26/a-huge-stretch-of-the-arctic-ocean-is-turning-into-the-atlantic-right-before-our-eyes/?utm_term=.8c4b089c5d06

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        Reply
  3. wili

     /  July 6, 2018

    “Heat is a primary enabler of wildfires…”

    And speaking of heat:

    “Africa’s Hottest Reliably Measured Temperature on Record: 124.3°F on Thursday in Algeria

    A historic heat wave in northern Africa on Thursday, July 5, brought Africa its hottest reliably measured temperature on record: 124.3°F (51.3°C), at Ouargla, Algeria. Ouargla (population 190,000) is the capital city of Ouargla Province in the Algerian Sahara Desert, at an elevation of 719 feet (219 meters)…”

    https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/Africas-Hottest-Reliably-Measured-Temperature-Record-1243F-Thursday-Algeria

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  4. We have a correction for the above post. The Spring Creek Fire was misidentified in the satellite imagery shown in the above video. That image was of the Dollar Ridge fire complex. The correct image has been replaced in this post. Mea Culpa.

    Like

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    • wili

       /  July 7, 2018

      Yeah, I’ve been hearing reports about the Dollar Ridge on the radio.

      Just heard a report on family separation also on the radio.

      We need a new term for the current ruling class, for their horrors on so many fronts:

      Terarchy–rule by monsters!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. Andy_in_SD

     /  July 7, 2018

    Siberia, if you know what smoke from fires look like, then this is an OUCH.

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/8/2018-07-05/5-N72.62909-E140.08235

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  6. Andy_in_SD

     /  July 7, 2018

    this is bad….

    Global warming may be twice what climate models predict
    Past warming events suggest climate models fail to capture true warming under business-as-usual scenarios

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180705110027.htm

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  7. Andy_in_SD

     /  July 7, 2018

    53C = 127.4F

    A day later, temperatures soared to a record high 42 degrees in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, while Iran experienced its hottest July temperature ever — 53 degrees — causing misery and power shortages and prompting the government to change work hours in Tehran to save electricity.

    Earlier in the week, on July 1, temperatures hit a record 43 degrees in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku, prompting heavy use of air-conditioning that the government said caused an explosion at a hydroelectric power plant and a nationwide power outage.

    https://www.rferl.org/a/heave-wave-breaks-records-iran-caucasus-georgia-azerbaijan-armenia-causing-power-shortages-/29346342.html

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  8. kassy

     /  July 7, 2018

    Scott Pruitt says good bye with one more literally poisonous measure:

    ‘Super Polluting’ Trucks Receive Loophole on Pruitt’s Last Day

    WASHINGTON — In the final hours of Scott Pruitt’s tenure as administrator, the Environmental Protection Agency moved on Friday to effectively grant a loophole that will allow a major increase in the manufacturing of a diesel freight truck that produces as much as 55 times the air pollution as trucks that have modern emissions controls.

    The move by the E.P.A. came after intense lobbying by a small set of manufacturers that sell glider trucks, which use old engines built before new technologies significantly reduced emissions of particulates and nitrogen oxide that are blamed for asthma, lung cancer and other ailments.

    The rollback was immediately condemned by environmental groups, which have appealed to the White House to block the E.P.A. from creating the loophole. They noted that the effort to reduce air pollution caused by diesel trucks had been embraced by Democratic and Republican administrations for nearly two decades.

    Vickie Patton, the general counsel at the Environmental Defense Fund, blamed both Mr. Pruitt and Andrew Wheeler, the No. 2 official at the E.P.A. who will become its acting administrator.

    “Pruitt and Wheeler are creating a loophole for super polluting freight trucks that will fill our children’s lungs with toxic diesel pollution, ignoring public comments from moms and leading businesses across the country,” she said.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
  9. wili

     /  July 7, 2018

    https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/07/06/visiting-southern-california-this-weekend-record-setting-heat-expected-friday/

    Southern California heat wave: Temperatures reach 121 degrees, break records

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  10. Of course, all these fires pump more CO2 into the air.

    Like

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  11. kassy

     /  July 7, 2018

    Electric Vehicle Sales Foretell a Big Oil Crash

    Oil and gas companies have underestimated probable electric vehicle sales and the effect they will have on their own businesses and profits, a new report says.

    If the car manufacturers’ projections of future sales of electric cars are correct, then demand for oil will have peaked by 2027 or even earlier, sending the price of oil in a downward spiral as supply exceeds demand, says Carbon Tracker (CT), an independent financial think tank carrying out in-depth analysis on the impact of the energy transition on capital markets.

    The take-up of electric vehicles is crucial to the future of the oil industry because transportation takes up 50 percent of total oil demand. About half of the demand from transport is from light passenger vehicles, those that are most likely in the short term to switch to electricity.

    According to the CT report, demand for oil will fall by 8 million barrels of oil a day by 2030 because of the expected deployment of electric vehicles, meaning that the oil-producing countries will have to constantly reduce their production in order to keep prices up.

    The report argues that although oil demand will continue to be very large, the peak demand will have been reached around 2025. Demand displacement by electric vehicles “will significantly disrupt oil and gas company business models. Furthermore, we believe that when global oil demand peaks this will fundamentally alter investors’ approach to the industry.”

    https://www.desmogblog.com/2018/07/07/electric-vehicle-sales-foretell-big-oil-crash

    Any investors with doubt should really look at “proven (recoverable) reserves”. Accountancy is so much easier when you can make up BS. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  12. wili

     /  July 8, 2018

    “Japan Reels From Heavy Rains; Dozens Killed and Millions Evacuated

    TOKYO — Record torrential rains across western and central Japan unleashed flooding and landslides in several residential areas, killing dozens and triggering weather warnings in four districts of the country.

    By Saturday evening, at least 51 people were dead and 48 were missing, according to the public broadcaster NHK. More than one million people in 18 districts had been ordered to evacuate their homes and 3.5 million had been urged to leave.

    The Japan Meteorological Agency reported on Saturday that rainfall in many of the affected areas had reached record levels — with some areas reporting rain two or three times as high as the monthly average for all of July over just five days…”

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  13. wili

     /  July 8, 2018

    Super Typhoon Maria now at 160 mph, headed for China;

    looks like it’s headed north of Taiwan but will be broken down a bit before landfall:

    https://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/western-pacific/2018/super-typhoon-maria

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  14. wili

     /  July 8, 2018

    “The Bigger Kahuna: Are More Frequent and Higher Extreme Ocean Waves a By-Product of Global Warming?

    Increasing maximum wave heights off the Pacific Northwest coast may pose a greater threat than rising sea levels”

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/big-waves-northwest/

    “… the contribution of waves to the total water level, or run-up plus tide, is rising an estimated three to 10 times faster than the sea level…

    …Based on sophisticated statistical analysis of deepwater buoy data now spanning 30 years, the new 100-year event estimate is 14 meters. Ruggiero even suggests the possibility of one towering higher than a five-story building…”

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  15. wili

     /  July 8, 2018

    Apologies if this was posted before:

    “Global warming may be twice what climate models predict”

    https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/science-tech/global-warming-may-be-twice-what-climate-models-predict

    “Future global warming may eventually be twice as warm as projected by climate models and sea levels may rise six metres or more even if the world meets the 2°C target, according to an international team of researchers from 17 countries.

    The findings published last week in Nature Geoscience are based on observational evidence from three warm periods over the past 3.5 million years when the world was 0.5°C-2°C warmer than the pre-industrial temperatures of the 19th Century.

    The research also revealed how large areas of the polar ice caps could collapse and significant changes to ecosystems could see the Sahara Desert become green and the edges of tropical forests turn into fire dominated savanna.

    ‘Observations of past warming periods suggest that a number of amplifying mechanisms, which are poorly represented in climate models, increase long-term warming beyond climate model projections,’ said lead author, Prof Hubertus Fischer of the University of Bern.

    ‘This suggests the carbon budget to avoid 2°C of global warming may be far smaller than estimated, leaving very little margin for error to meet the Paris targets…’ “

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    • This is more confirmation of the ESS paleoclimate based long term warming potential of 5-6 C initially identified by Hansen. We’ve been using this number for some time now. It’s good to see that more work is being done in this area.

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  16. Well it would be great if the conversion to electric vehicles was sufficiently swift to give the oil industry the heebee jeebies. Much more likely is that the oil industry will have increasing difficulty meeting demand because of depletion, political problems, low energy return on investment, costs that exceed what the public is willing to pay and chronic underinvestment over the last 3-4 years. If we could just shut down fossil fuels (which is what we need to do), take the standard of living hit (BIG) so that we can continue to survive on the planet without being part of an omelette, that would be great. We all know that’s not going to happen. But some variation on that theme is what would be required to get the oil companies really riled. The oil we produce is of lower and lower quality requiring ever increasing amounts of energy and other resources to extract and refine; the net energy available to the rest of the economy is quickly falling from each barrel of oil. Countries like Venezuela and Nigeria are failing states which will take their oil production with them (probably in very messy ways.) How much oil Saudi Arabia has is a state secret, but we do know that the “water cut” of oil pumped out of the ground has been rising for years, and at some point is no longer economic to produce. The US seems to want war with other big oil producers, like Iran, maybe even Russia. Fracked oil wells are subject to 80-90% depletion after just a couple of years. Trump might want to produce Arctic oil, but probably very few will be willing to pay the price to get that oil (monetarily, not even mentioning environmentally). The long lead times for oil production require high levels of capital investment which have fallen sharply in recent years after the last oil price collapse. Fracked oil and tar sands (very low quality resources in that it takes a tremendous amount of energy to extract these resources) are bottom of the barrel resources, but they have put off peak oil by a few years. Other resources, such as oil shale, probably will take more energy to produce the product than is available in the end product (like ethanol). Assuming momentarily that we don’t get really serious about weaning ourselves off of oil (Manhattan style project times 100), we are more likely to continue to have wildly oscillating prices (farmer crop prices model) which will continue to wreck havoc on reinvestment and cost reductions (the last couple of years have been the exception with reductions in cost per unit). The result is that there will be oil supply shocks and oil price shocks (it doesn’t take much – look at Haiti right now with fuel price riots). The world uses about 93 million barrels of oil per day; 8 million barrels per day reduction due to electric cars would be great, but I think that supply will be a greater problem than demand. We would be so lucky to have a stranded oil asset problem! We still need prodigious amounts of energy to build (and maintain) the roads that all of these electric cars will be driving on, not to mention the prodigious amounts of CO2 released just in the chemical process of making concrete. Swift transition to renewables is not only necessary for slowing down our habitat degradation, it may even enable continued civilization if it happens before the serious supply shocks that are coming. It will take more than wishful thinking to turn this ship around!

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    • There are many obstacles to new oil exploration and new field development. Blockades by environmentalists and concerned citizens, increasing policies for rapid transition to renewable energy in regions that validate climate change, and direct political and public opposition to fossil fuels is helping to lock in a number of sources of oil and gas. Hopefully, this combination will lead to a net decline in oil production by the early 2020s. We should be clear that the oil industry is trying to fight out of this box.

      As an aside, it’s worth noting that with renewables, quality of living increases, especially in typically water poor regions or other regions where resources are challenged.

      Like

      Reply
  17. Abel Adamski

     /  July 9, 2018

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/08/trump-administration-opposes-breastfeeding-resolution-report
    Advocates for improved nutrition for babies have expressed outrage over reports that the Trump administration bullied other governments in an attempt to prevent the passage of an international resolution promoting breastfeeding.

    The US delegation to the World Health Assembly in Geneva reportedly deployed threats and other heavy-handed measures to try and browbeat nations into backing off the resolution.

    Under the terms of the original WHO text, countries would have encouraged their citizens to breastfeed on grounds that research overwhelmingly shows its health benefits, while warning parents to be alert to inaccurate marketing by formula milk firms.
    The administration also used its network of diplomats to lean on member states. Turning on the delegation from Ecuador, the US government said that unless the South American nation withdrew its backing of the resolution it would face punitive trade moves and even the potential loss of military help in its battle against gang violence.

    A Guardian investigation with Save the Children earlier this year found that formula milk firms were using aggressive methods to skirt around the regulations in order to press mothers and healthcare professionals to choose powdered milk over breastfeeding. The measures were particularly intensively deployed in the poorest regions of the world, where most growth in the baby milk formula business is now concentrated.

    A plethora of studies have shown the stark health improvements brought about by breastfeeding in the US and around the world. A Harvard study in 2016 estimated that 3,340 premature deaths a year among both mothers and babies could be prevented in the US alone given adequate breastfeeding.

    The milk formula industry has been struggling against stagnating sales in recent years, but is still worth $70bn annually. The small number of giants that produce it are concentrated in the US and Europe.

    One of those giants, Abbott Nutrition, is part of the healthcare multinational Abbott Laboratories that contributed to Trump’s inauguration ceremonies in January 2017.

    During the deliberations over the breastfeeding resolution, according to the New York Times, the US delegation made threatening suggestions that Washington would cut its funding for the World Health Organisation. As the single largest donor to the world body, awarding $845m last year, that threat would not have been taken lightly.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  18. kassy

     /  July 9, 2018

    Japan floods: At least 100 dead in record rainfall

    At least 100 people are thought to have died after record rainfall caused flooding and landslides in western Japan, a government spokesman says.

    More than 50 others are believed to be missing, the Japan Times reported.

    Since Thursday, parts of western Japan have received three times the usual rainfall for the whole of July. Two million people have been ordered to evacuate as rivers burst their banks.

    more on:
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-44762110

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  19. wharf rat

     /  July 9, 2018

    As Super Typhoon Maria Bears Down on China, a Chinese Researcher’s Cyclone Insights
    https://climatecrocks.com/2018/07/08/as-super-typhoon-maria-bears-down-on-china-a-chinese-researchers-cyclone-insights/

    Liked by 1 person

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  20. Andy_in_SD

     /  July 9, 2018

    a clearer shot of the Siberian fires. The burn scars are enormous.

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/8/2018-07-08/7-N61.82386-E130.15966

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  21. mlp in nc

     /  July 9, 2018
    Reply
  22. Mick Walker

     /  July 9, 2018

    https://electrek.co/2018/07/09/tesla-increases-price-model-s-model-x-china-new-trade-war-tariffs/

    ‘Tesla increases price of Model S and Model X by over $20,000 in China due to new trade-war tariffs’

    “Those are significant price increases as the original 25% tariff was supposed to be reduced to 15%, but it was instead increased to 40% in retaliation for the US’s latest list of tariffs for Chinese products.”

    This price increase is by no fault of Tesla, instead the result of a Trump induced tariff war, but very unfortunate because it will reduce demand for Tesla EV’s in China.

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    • Tesla has seen this before. It’s one reason why it is planning to build a factory in Shanghai.

      Like

      Reply
    • In any case, I’m pretty convinced that Trump’s trade policies are aimed at disrupting clean energy as much as possible. However, it’s likely to disrupt everything else as well.

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