80 F. high temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.
81 F. average high on August 11.
84 F. high on August 11, 2016.
August 12, 2000: Record-setting dew points develop in Minnesota. The Twin Cities have a dew point of 76, with a rare dew point of 80 at Faribault.
August 12, 1821: An eight-day heat wave ends at Ft. Snelling. Temperatures were in the 90’s each day.
Trade-off: Longer Boating Season, More Mosquitoes
Is the glass half-empty or half-full? The world isn’t ending, it’s warming. That will ratchet up environmental threats, but help to spark new technologies and business opportunities.
I’ve gone on record with my extended outlook: Minnesota will make out better than many other states, including Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. We have water, and our climate is trending even wetter over time.
The local NWS reports the last 12 months have been the wettest on record (since 1837) in the Twin Cities, with 40.72 inches of rain.
Growing season and boating/golfing season is longer now, but so is mosquito season. According to climate guru Mark Seeley, skeeter season in Minneapolis “is more than thirty days longer today than it was in 1980.”
Today should be the sunnier, drier, nicer day of the weekend with a few T-showers pushing into far western Minnesota. Sunday brings a better chance of a few hours of showers & storms. If anyone asks next weekend looks warmer with highs in the mid-80s.
Ignore the Back to School ads. There’s plenty of summer left to enjoy. More skeeters too.
Mosquito Season in Minnesota 30 Days Longer Now Than in 1980. Details via climatologist Mark Seeley in an article at Yale Climate Connections: “…He says mosquitoes thrive in warm, wet conditions. A warm, early spring means mosquitoes have a chance to breed sooner, leading to more mosquitoes and, potentially, more disease. As the world warms, spring is arriving earlier and earlier. Seeley: “Something like 75 percent of the last 20 spring seasons we’ve had have come on extraordinarily early.” Intense rainfalls have also become more frequent. When the ground cannot absorb more water, standing pools provide mosquitoes with an ideal habitat and breeding ground. It all adds up to a long buggy summer. On average, the mosquito season in Minneapolis is more than thirty days longer today than it was in 1980…”
Wettest 12 Month Period on Record. The Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service tweeted this out yesterday. 40.72″ precipitation (rain and melted snow) since August of 2016, making this the wettest 12-month period since 1837.
August Climate Trends. This month may wind up a couple degrees cooler than average for much of Minnesota. Dr. Mark Seeley explains longer-term August trends in this week’s Minnesota WeatherTalk: “Since the record-setting cold August of 2004, the month of August has been warmer than normal 75 percent of the time (9 years out of 12) in Minnesota. Over the same time period the August rainfall has been quite mixed, with 3 years near normal, 4 years drier than normal, and 5 years wetter than normal. Last year, 2016 brought the 7th wettest month of August in state history, with average rainfall across the state totaling close to 5.5 inches. So far the pattern for this August (2017) has favored cooler than normal temperatures with highly variable rainfall. Brimson, Embarrass, Hibbing and Crane Lake have already reported morning lows in the 30s F. Thunderstorms over August 3-4 brought 1 to 2 inch rains to some parts of the state, and even set new daily records for some climate station...”
Tropical Storm Gert? NOAA NHC had a 40% risk of tropical storm formation within 48 hours as of last night, which would imply a pretty good chance we’ll be tracking Tropical Storm Gert off the southeast coast by early next week. More showers and T-storms flare up east of the Rockies, a cooling rain storm for the Pacific Northwest. 84-hour NAM guidance: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
7-Day Rainfall Potential. California stays dry, but heavy showers and T-storms redevelop over some of the same counties from Oklahoma and Arkansas into the Carolinas and Tidewater, with some 3-6″ rainfall amounts expected.
Slow Warming. No heat spikes shaping up anytime soon, but temperatures trend a bit warmer in the days to come. I still believe 80s will be fairly prevalent for the first week of the Minnesota State Fair, which kicks off on August 24. Twin Cities ECMWF forecast: WeatherBell.
Heat Wave Sizzles Southern USA Into Late August. Although some partial relief is still expected over the northern tier of the USA, latest GFS model guidance keeps a hot ridge of high pressure centered over the southern Plains and southwestern USA into the end of the month. Meaning more 90s and 100s.
30-30 Rule. There’s a pernicious, pervasive belief that technology will save us – from ourselves. I’m not so sure. Apps on smartphones are great, but no replacement for common sense. In recent years I’ve run into coaches who don’t evacuate the ball field until and unless “they can see lightning”. Thunder? Rain? No problem – let the kids play! That’s risky, considering any rumble of thunder implies that lightning is nearby. Lightning can travel up to 10 miles, horizontally. And just because the rain has stopped doesn’t mean the lightning risk has passed. It’s smart to wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunderclap before heading back out onto the field. Remember the “30-30 Rule“. There have been 12 lightning fatalities across the USA this year. It pays to be paranoid. (Photo credit: Mitch Dobrowner).
It Wasn’t Even a Hurricane, But Heavy Rains Flooded New Orleans as Pumps Faltered. The Washington Post reports: “…Panic and rough memories have surfaced across New Orleans this week as residents cope with yet another reminder that parts of the city sit as much as seven feet below sea level. And even though U.S. taxpayers have spent nearly $15 billion rebuilding the city’s flood protections since 2005, few here are confident the fixes can keep the city dry for long. Unlike during Hurricane Katrina, the problem over the weekend wasn’t the 133 miles of levees and flood walls that protect New Orleans from the tidal surges of the Gulf of Mexico or Lake Pontchartrain, which hangs over the northern and eastern edge of the city. Instead, parts of New Orleans were underwater because the city’s hundreds of miles of drains and pumps couldn’t bail rainwater fast enough…”
Photo credit: “The Circle Food Store was engulfed in floodwater in New Orleans on Saturday. Officials in New Orleans say heavy rainfall overwhelmed the city’s pump stations.” (Brett Duke/NOLA.com/Times-Picayune/Associated Press).
Hot Words After New Orleans Flood, Pump Problems Revealed. More background from U.S. News: “…Part of the problem was that eight of the huge pumps meant to move floodwaters weren’t working. Six smaller “constant duty” pumps also were out, general superintendent Joseph Becker said Tuesday. “I was upset about that because everything that they had represented to the community indicated that all of the pumps were working, everything was fine, we were in great shape, we were prepared for hurricane season,” Stewart said. “And come to find out, in a typical rainstorm, the pumps could not do their job.” The storm was unusually heavy, with 9.4 inches (24 centimeters) in three hours. National Weather Service meteorologists told local news outlets that’s the sort of storm with a 1 to 2 percent chance of happening in a year…”
Insurer: Miami Is More Vulnerable to Hurricanes Like Andrew. Here’s an excerpt from a story at AP: “Almost 25 years have passed since a Category 5 hurricane struck south of Miami, and the city’s vulnerability to catastrophic storm damage has grown exponentially, according to a new insurance underwriters’ analysis. At the time, Hurricane Andrew was the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history, causing more than $26 billion of damage in Florida’s most populous areas, including $15.5 billion in insurance payouts. Stringent building code enforcement followed in Miami, but so did population growth, coastal development and climate change. “Our concerns lie with the fact that even though we’ve made good changes, 25 years later you have a much larger population living in Florida, and people forget what can happen or they don’t know what could happen,” said Monica Ningen, chief property underwriter for the U.S. and Canada at Swiss Re...”
File photo credit: “In this Aug. 25, 1992, file photo, rows of damaged houses sit between Homestead and Florida City, Fla. Almost 25 years after Hurricane Andrew struck south of Miami, a new insurance underwriters’ analysis says the city’s vulnerability to another Category 5 hurricane has grown exponentially.” (AP Photo/Mark Foley, File).
As Hurricane Andrew Memories Fade, Florida Weakens Building Codes. What short attention spans and memories we have, taking steps which may help special interests in the short term, but leave us more vulnerable down the road. Here’s a clip from USA TODAY: “…At the core of that growing dispute is a simple calculation: the tougher the building code, the more it costs to build a home. Florida’s codes dictate construction methods, require wind testing and mandate extensive training and oversight for inspectors. Those standards, home builders argue, can add unnecessary costs that don’t amount to a hurricane-proof home. Insurers and home owners’ associations say the tough codes save money in the long run. At the core of that growing dispute is a simple calculation: the tougher the building code, the more it costs to build a home. Florida’s codes dictate construction methods, require wind testing and mandate extensive training and oversight for inspectors. Those standards, home builders argue, can add unnecessary costs that don’t amount to a hurricane-proof home. Insurers and home owners’ associations say the tough codes save money in the long run…”
Hurricand Andrew satellite timelapse: NASA.
2016 Weather Report: Extreme and Anything But Normal. Here are a few highlights from NOAA’s latest report, courtesy of AP: “…2016 will be forever etched in my brain as the year we crossed a new threshold of climate change — one that gave us a grim glimpse into our future,” said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb, who had no role in the report. Scientists examined dozens of key climate measures and found:
— At any given time, nearly one-eighth of the world’s land mass was in severe drought. That’s far higher than normal and “one of the worst years for drought,” said report co-author Robert Dunn of the United Kingdom Met Office.
— Extreme weather was everywhere. Giant downpours were up. Heat waves struck all over the globe, including a nasty one in India. Extreme weather contributed to a gigantic wildfire in Canada.
— Global sea level rose another quarter of an inch (3.4 millimeters) for the sixth straight year of record high sea levels.
— There were 93 tropical cyclones across the globe, 13 percent more than normal. That included Hurricane Matthew that killed about 1,000 people in Haiti.
— The world’s glaciers shrank — for the 37th year in a row — by an average of about 3 feet (1 meter)...”
NOAA Report. Here’s a link to the 299 page State of the Climate summary.
What is Turbulence? It’s Scary, But No Cause for Alarm. It pays to be a little paranoid on every flight – but there is risk, especially when you unfasten your seat belt to go to the restroom. Here’s an excerpt from The Washington Post: “…Carmichael said that during the past three to five years, the introduction of tablets in cockpits has greatly assisted pilots who previously relied mostly on voice communications with controllers and dispatchers. He also sees the value of equipping cabin-crew members with the gadgets. “Flight attendants should have tablets so they can see what’s going on with turbulence and plan their service around it,” said Carmichael, adding that NCAR staff presented the idea to the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA at a conference in 2014…”
(To understand turbulence from a flight attendant’s point of view, read the presentation, “Turbulence in the Cabin,” by Candice Kolander.)
This Is How Much of the World is Currently On Fire. Popular Science takes a harrowing look at global wildfires: “…Here in the United States the Forest Service is reporting that 2017 is shaping up to be a worse than average fire year based on acres of federal, private and state land burned. So far, 5.6 million acres of land has burned this year, or 1.8 million acres more than the ten year average of 3.8 million acres burned by this time. Some states like Nevada are saying that 2017 is the worst fire season in 15 years, while Montana has already used up much of its firefighting budget, even as much of the state remains in drought conditions according to the US Drought Monitor. The state may have to tap into reserve and federal funding, but that isn’t the only cost. Brent M. Witham, a 29-year-old firefighter from Mentone, California, was killed cutting down a tree while working on the Lolo Peak Fire…”
Can Solar Panels Be Recycled? Here’s an excerpt of a timely blog post: “Retired solar panels used to become e-waste in landfills – a remarkably ungreen end to an environmentally friendly life. In recent years, encouragement from the solar industry and technological advancements have fostered the development of recycling programs for panels past their prime. Solar panel recycling now has the potential to become a $15 billion industry of its own by 2050. Furthermore, better recycling practices can prevent thousands of tons of e-waste from hitting landfills while reclaiming the materials needed to manufacture future panels. Though manufacturing solar panels requires energy input and the use of natural resources, panels produced today have an estimated energy pay back period of two years. Thus, in two years they will have produced more electricity than was required to manufacture them. This quick return on investment is even better considering that solar panels manufactured today have an estimated minimum lifetime of about 30 years. In fact, most manufacturers are so certain of the lifespan that they generally offer 25-30 year warranties...”
The Death of the Internal Combustion Machine? The Economist weighs in: “…Rapid gains in battery technology favour electric motors instead (see Briefing). In Paris in 1894 not a single electric car made it to the starting line, partly because they needed battery-replacement stations every 30km or so. Today’s electric cars, powered by lithium-ion batteries, can do much better. The Chevy Bolt has a range of 383km; Tesla fans recently drove a Model S more than 1,000km on a single charge. UBS, a bank, reckons the “total cost of ownership” of an electric car will reach parity with a petrol one next year—albeit at a loss to its manufacturer. It optimistically predicts electric vehicles will make up 14% of global car sales by 2025, up from 1% today. Others have more modest forecasts, but are hurriedly revising them upwards as batteries get cheaper and better—the cost per kilowatt-hour has fallen from $1,000 in 2010 to $130-200 today. Regulations are tightening, too. Last month Britain joined a lengthening list of electric-only countries, saying that all new cars must be zero-emission by 2050…”
EPA Report Shows Economic Growth, Environmental Rules Can Co-Exist. Here’s a snippet from USA TODAY: “…A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency found that since Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1970, the economy has more than tripled and the number of vehicle miles traveled every year has nearly doubled — all while the nation’s population and annual energy consumption has surged. At the same time, the levels of six key air pollutants — carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter and sulfur dioxide — have declined dramatically. The number of unhealthy air quality days annually in 35 of America’s largest cities has fallen significantly while the visibility at national parks across the country once shrouded in haze has improved substantially, the report said. “The U.S. leads the world in having clean air and a strong economy due to implementation of the Clean Air Act and technological advancements from American innovators,” EPA’s Trends Report declares…”
* The EPA report referenced above is here.
More Cities Require Solar as Prices Fall and Sea Levels Rise. Here’s a clip from a recent USA TODAY story that made the case for an ROI with solar: “…Besides helping curve green house gas emissions, there are many short term benefits of installing solar panels. Ulrich said homeowners often see immediate savings after installing systems. “There has been research that solar is cost competitive in most of the large cities in the U.S.,” Ulrich said. Solar is often a smart long term investment, she said, adding that the value of solar doesn’t depreciates like the value of a home or car would. Stoddard, whose home is powered by solar energy, maintains purchasing solar panels are one of the best investments a homeowner can make. “If you don’t have solar on your roof and you don’t have solar, you’re leaving money on the table,” he said. “It’s paying you money. There’s not many great deals in this world like this.”
The Rise of Electric Cars Could Leave Us With a Big Battery Waste Problem. The Guardian explains: “The drive to replace polluting petrol and diesel cars with a new breed of electric vehicles has gathered momentum in recent weeks. But there is an unanswered environmental question at the heart of the electric car movement: what on earth to do with their half-tonne lithium-ion batteries when they wear out? British and French governments last month committed to outlaw the sale of petrol- and diesel-powered cars by 2040, and carmaker Volvo pledged to only sell electric or hybrid vehicles from 2019. The number of electric cars in the world passed the 2m mark last year and the International Energy Agency estimates there will be 140m electric cars globally by 2030 if countries meet Paris climate agreement targets...”
Minnesota Sees Growing Wind Energy Capacity. Here’s a clip from AP, The Associated Press: “New data from the U.S. Department of Energy show that Minnesota’s wind energy capacity increased nearly 10 percent last year. Wind power accounts for nearly 18 percent of the electricity generated in the state, the Minnesota Public Radio reported . The data show that Minnesota ranks seventh in the nation for wind energy. The report said the state has added enough new wind energy last year to power about 150,000 homes. Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said the cost of wind power is competitive with other forms of electricity generation. “Wind is now turning out to be one of the lowest cost alternatives — competitive with natural gas, and with other forms of electricity,” he said. “That’s why we’re seeing such a huge growth in the wind energy in Minnesota...”
Target Will Buy 100MW of Wind Energy to Power 150 Stores. Bloomberg reports: “Target Corp. agreed to buy 100 megawatts of output from an Infinity Renewables wind project in Kansas. Power from the 474-megawatt Solomon Forks wind facility will help offset the energy used at 150 Target stores in the area, Santa Barbara, California-based Infinity said in an emailed statement Wednesday. Terms weren’t disclosed…” (File photo: Star Tribune).
Eclipse Hunter Reveals the Science That Can Only Be Done in the Dark. Quanta Magazine has some timely background and perspective: “On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will be visible from a narrow ribbon of land — the “path of totality,” which stretches across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. It will be the first total eclipse visible from the 48 contiguous states since 1979. These events are often described as once-in-a-lifetime experiences, but for Jay Pasachoff, they’ve come more often than that. He’s seen 33 total solar eclipses, and another 32 if you count partial eclipses and annular eclipses, in which the sun briefly looks like a ring or doughnut…”
Image credit: “The black disk in this composite image shows the area blocked out by the coronagraph of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). The sun itself, as seen by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, is shown for scale.” ESA/NASA
TV’s Ad Apocalypse Is Getting Closer. So says the author of a story at The Atlantic: “Disney announced on Tuesday that it will stop selling content to Netflix by 2019 and will instead launch two streaming services—one with sports content from ESPN (which it owns) and another for movies. It is a dramatic announcement with far-reaching implications for the future of television and, pulling back the lens even farther, the U.S. tech and media landscape. Before getting to the future, let’s start with the present of television. Pay TV—that is, the bundle of channels one can buy from Comcast or DirecTV—is in a ratings free fall among all viewers born since the Nixon administration. Since 2010, the time that Americans under 35 have spent watching television has declined by about 50 percent, according to Matthew Ball, the head of strategy at Amazon Studios…” (Image credit above: Kleiner Perkins).
The Secret to Office Happiness Isn’t Working Less – It’s Caring Less. A subtle, yet important distinction, according to the author at Quartz: “We live in an age of “total work.” It’s a term coined by the German philosopher Josef Pieper just after World War II—describing the process by which human beings are transformed into workers, and the entirety of life is then transformed into work. Work becomes total when all of human life is centered around it; when everything else is not just subordinate to, but in the service of work. Leisure, festivity, and play come to resemble work—and then straight-up become it. Even our co-circular habits play into total work. People work out, rest and relax, eat well, and remain in good health for the sake of being more productive. We believe in working on ourselves as well as on our relationships. We think of our days off in terms of getting things done. And we take a good day to be a day in which we were productive...”
People in Rich Countries are Dying of Loneliness. A story at Quartz made me do a double-take: “Sociologists have long been warning about the dangers of increased isolation thanks to aging populations, scattered families, and cultures that promote the individual over the collective. Now, new research analyzing previous studies suggests people who fall into the loneliness trap are 50% more likely to suffer an early death than those who remain socially connected. Previous studies have found that as many as a third of Americans are lonely….Such “epidemics,” while not confined to rich countries, are linked to prominent features of affluent culture: longer life expectancy, decreasing marriage rates, people having fewer children, more people getting divorced, and more people living alone…”
First-Borns are the Worst Drivers, Study Shows. I knew it. Here’s a clip from The Independent: “Younger siblings, take heart: you’re probably a better driver than your parents’ golden child, the first-born. According to a new study, the eldest child in a family is most likely to speed, get fines for motoring offences and have road traffic collisions. And at the other end of the scale, youngest children tend to be the safest drivers. The research, carried out by Privilege Car Insurance, assessed the driving habits of 1,395 motorists. They found that 89 per cent of older siblings are likely to speed, 47 per cent to annoy other drivers by cutting them off, 46 per cent to hog the middle of the road and 35 per cent to get fined...”
Drink Tea and Wine to Reduce Flu Symptoms, Says Research. Hey, it’s science – have another glass of wine. Harper’s Bazaar reports: “When you start feeling under the weather and want to stop flu in its tracks, your answer could be as simple as heading to your wine rack or putting on the kettle. Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine discovered that a compound found in foods such as red wine, blueberries and black tea could help gut bacteria to prevent severe influenza infections in mice, reports Spectator Health. It is thought that consuming the plant flavonoid compound before flu develops may reduce symptoms and flu’s impact…”
How To Make Your Brain Work Better? Lift Weights. Big Think explains why this is so: “Engaging in regular weightlifting could actually make your brain work better and prevent dementia, concludes new research by Australian scientists. As about 135 million people are estimated to develop dementia by 2050, the study’s findings are key in ensuring healthier brain function in the population. The researchers focused on 100 people aged 55 to 86 with “mild cognitive impairment” (MCI) who were asked to do weight lifting and brain training. MCI is considered a precursor to developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia...”
Weather Presenter Loses It When a Giant Seagull Drops By. Check out the video, courtesy of The Dodo: “Tara Jean Stevens, co-host of the Canadian morning show Vancouver’s Breakfast Television, is responsible for delivering the forecast each day, but she certainly didn’t see this one coming. While presenting the weather on Tuesday, Stevens was suddenly forced to share the airwaves with a scene-stealing seagull. The bird, it seems, had decided to rest his wings directly in front of the station’s live skyline camera, making him look gargantuan. It was almost like he knew exactly what he was doing. “I won’t let him distract me, though,” Stevens said. Turns out, that was a promise she couldn’t keep...”
TODAY: Blue sky, light winds, nicer day of the weekend. Winds: NW 3-8. High: near 80
SATURDAY NIGHT: Risk of a T-shower, especially west of the cities. Low: 60
SUNDAY: Few showers, possible thunderstorms. Winds: SE 3-8. High: 74
MONDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, a drier day. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 59. High: 78
TUESDAY: Partly sunny and sticky. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 62. High: 83
WEDNESDAY: Few showers and T-storms likely. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 66. High: 81
THURSDAY: Sunnier and nicer. Still quite humid. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 67. High: 83
FRIDAY: Muggy, a few pop-up PM storms? Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 63. High: 85
* Double rainbow photo above courtesy of Heidi Rusch.
New Studies and Catastrophes Give Climate Change Deniers a Lot to Deny. Here’s a clip from a column entry at The Miami Herald: “Denial begins to look like psychosis. Just in the past week, a cascade of new findings and climate anomalies have added to the scientific consensus that we’re cooked. Miami in particular. We’re seeing wildfires in Greenland, for heaven’s sake. Famously soggy Seattle has just gone through a record 54 consecutive days (and counting) without rain. On Thursday, Arctic explorer Pen Hadow left Nome, Alaska, in a 50-foot sailboat intent on something unfathomable before the onset of global warming. He and his crew intend to sail through the melting ice pack to the very North Pole. “If we can produce a visual image of a sail boat at 90 degrees north I think that could become an iconic image of the challenge that the twenty-first century faces,” Hadow wrote in his blog. That image would nicely illustrate the National Climate Assessment draft report publicized this week by the New York Times. “Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” noted the assessment, based on input by scientists from 13 different federal agencies…”
Photo credit: “A young student on her bicycle carefully crosses the water logged street on Lincoln Road Court as water levels have risen on the begimming of the annual King’s Tide where certain areas of Miami Beach become flooded, on Oct. 13, 2016.” C.M. GUERRERO.
More Climate Change Stories, Less Maps and Graphs. I agree with Dr. Marshall Shepherd. At some point (many) people tune out the science. How will impact me, my bubble, my family, my hometown? Be specific please. Here’s an excerpt of his post at Forbes: “…All of these reasons suggest that data, while important, can be more effective if presented in ways that the public resonates with. I love the Tedx talk by Judith Black who lays out how to effectively use storytelling to move the needle on climate change. Harvard University recently debuted a photography project called, Collapse The Distance: A Climate Change Storytelling Project. My colleague Professor Katharine Hayhoe at Texas Tech University has long argued that effective climate change communication is not about data charts and name-calling but values. Her You Tube series Global Weirding weaves aspects of storytelling and connecting with values to convey complex climate information. Dr. Steve McNulty, the director of the Southeast Regional Climate Hub, also weaves these attributes into his E.L.F.L.A.N.D approach to communicating climate...”
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fred-grimm/article166587642.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fred-grimm/article166587642.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fred-grimm/article166587642.html#storylink=cpy
Many of Europe’s Rivers Are Flooding Earlier in Spring as Climate Changes. A new study tracks 50 years of seasonal river flooding and what the changes in timing mean for water management and safety. Details from InsideClimate News: “Spring flooding along many of Europe’s rivers is starting weeks earlier now than it did 50 years ago, and some winter flooding is starting later, as the climate changes, a new study shows. The changes in timing are geographically nuanced, but the trends and their connections to rising global temperatures are clear and are likely to continue into the next several decades, a team of international scientists wrote Thursday in the journal Science. The researchers, from Sweden, England, Germany and Austria, analyzed data from more than 4,200 river gages between 1960 and 2010, covering all major European river basins…”
Photo credit: “Understanding the changing timing of seasonal floods helps communities prepare for flood risks and water reservoir managers schedule release times.” Credit: ASI/Land Tirol/BH Landeck.
The Closest Man to Trump is a Stealth Climate Believer. Who knew? The Denver Post has more details: “When it comes to climate change, the biggest influence on President Donald Trump may turn out to be his new chief of staff, John Kelly. The retired four-star Marine general shares the military’s pragmatic view of global warming. Under Kelly’s command from 2012 to 2016, U.S. Southern Command played a central role in Pentagon planning for the higher temperatures, more extreme weather and rising sea levels that it sees as threatening national security. Now advocates hope he will bring that view into the White House. For more than a decade, military leaders have warned that climate change is aggravating social tensions, destabilizing regions and feeding the rise of extremist groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State…”
Photo credit: Carlos Tischler, NurPhoto/Sipa USA/TNS. “U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly in Mexico City on Feb. 23, 2017. Kelly told a group of Latin American leaders on Friday, May 5, 2017, that the United States’ insatiable demand for illegal drugs has fueled the violence in Central America that’s driving migrants to the United States.”
Sailing to the North Pole, Thanks to Global Warming. Here is an excerpt of an interview at NPR:
PEN HADOW: “We are not going to be able to carry on mindlessly taking whatever we want from the environment. And I think a lot of people are looking to this as a symbol for a new debate.
KWONG: Because if two sailboats can get there, a whole universe of economic activity opens up around shipping and fishing. Both Russia and Denmark have filed claims for the North Pole, and other countries want to expand their Arctic territory, too. Unlike the South Pole, the North Pole has no legal protections. Hadow wants to shine a spotlight on the vulnerability of this region by being the first to get there.
HADOW: It is a strange challenge and ambition indeed – working very hard to put together a project that you don’t actually want to succeed.…”
File photo credit: Esther Horvath.
Yes, You Can Blame Climate Change for Extreme Weather. Not all extreme weather, but does a warmer (wetter) climate amplify heat, drought and rainfall rates? Yes. Connecting the dots with wildfires, hurricanes and severe local storms isn’t nearly as clear-cut, at least not yet. Here’s an excerpt from TIME.com: “...For years, careful climate scientists — and the politicians like Obama who listened to them — have avoided saying that any particular event was directly caused by climate change, even as they called for urgent action to address the issue. But researchers now say they can use a variety of approaches to show that climate change is all but certainly causing and worsening extreme weather events. A comprehensive new report from scientists at 13 federal agencies, published this week by the New York Times as it awaits review by the Trump administration, highlights the change in thinking. The scientists behind the report, leaders in their respective fields, say researchers can use statistical analysis, modeling and other methods to determine how much climate change increased the likelihood of a given event…”
Graphic credit: Lehmann et all, 2015.
Potential for “Super Heat Waves”? Here’s an abstract of a new paper at ScienceDaily: “Heatwaves amplified by high humidity can reach above 40°C and may occur as often as every two years, leading to serious risks for human health. If global temperatures rise with 4°C, a new super heatwave of 55°C can hit regularly many parts of the world, including Europe. A recently published study by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) — the European Commission’s science and knowledge service — analyses the interaction between humidity and heat. The novelty of this study is that it looks not only at temperature but also relative humidity to estimate the magnitude and impact of heat waves. It finds out that the combinations of the two, and the resulting heatwaves, leave ever more people exposed to significant health risks, especially in East Asia and America’s East Coast...”
Image credit: “Millions to be exposed to extreme Humidity and heat globally.” Credit: Image courtesy of European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC)