Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hottest June on record continues 14-month global heat wave

The first six months of 2016 were the hottest ever recorded, NASA announced on Tuesday, while Arctic sea ice now covers 40% less of the Earth than it did just 30 years ago. Temperatures were on average 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than average between January and June this year, compared to the late nineteenth century. In total, the planet has now had 14 consecutive months of the hottest temperatures seen since records began in 1880.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Two Middle East locations hit 54 C this week — world record for heat

The temperature in Mitribah, Kuwait, surged Thursday to a blistering 54 C. And on Friday in Basra, Iraq, the mercury soared to 53.9. If confirmed, these incredible measurements would represent the two hottest temperatures ever recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere.

It’s also possible that Mitribah’s 54 C reading matches the hottest ever reliably measured anywhere in the world. Both Mitribah and Basra’s readings are likely the highest ever recorded outside of Death Valley, California.

If you discard the Death Valley record from 1913, the 54 C reading from Mitribah Thursday would tie the world’s highest known temperature. Air temperatures of about 38 C combined with astronomical humidity levels have pushed heat index values, which reflect how hot the air feels, literally off the charts. In Fujairah, on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates, the dew point — a measure of humidity — reached 32 C at 4 p.m. local time Thursday. The 90-degree dew point, combined with the air temperature of 36 C, computes to a heat index of over 60 C.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bouncy grass in Siberia hiding dangerous secret - Update

Scientists on a recent recent expedition to Belyy Island in the Kara Sea off the northern coast of Russia, just off the Yamal Peninsula came across dozens of patches of grass with bubbles of carbon dioxide and methane underneath.

It's likely a small sample of things to come as the planet warms. This summer has been unusually hot on the island. It's similar to a phenomenon that grabbed headlines when first detected in Siberia several years ago ... the formation of massive craters in parts of northern Siberia. Experts believe they were caused by explosions of methane that had built up. One such blast on the Taimyr Peninsula in 2013 could be heard 100 km away.
Melting permafrost gives off greenhouse gases such as methane. Vast tracts of permafrost have been frozen for thousands of years, trapping nutrients that are a feast for bacteria when they melt. These bacteria give off methane as a byproduct.

This is a major problem because methane is far more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide ... more than 70 times the short-term warming potential. This is a too real example of a feedback loop that will accelerate warming.
Siberia's blowholes are exploding in numbers: Up to 20 have now been located, raising new fears the warming permafrost is releasing its methane reserves. Expeditions to the bottom of several craters late last year appeared to support speculation that they may have been caused by pockets of defrosted methane gas erupting though the softening surface. Deep lakes of methane-infused “slurry” were found beneath.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

5 Charts

_____________________________________________________________________2015 was the warmest year on record, and 2016 is certain to be even hotter. It's becoming clear that these warmer weather trends are not arbitrary, but confirmation that climate change is upon us now.

Climate change is becoming a reality — not a problem on the horizon. WeatherDB, a weather data site by Graphiq, breaks down climate change into five charts illustrating three of the major players in the complicated climate change web: temperature, carbon dioxide and water.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Baked Alaska - Heat records shattered across state

Heat records have been shattered this week in Alaska, typically the USA's coldest state. Deadhorse, located near the coast of the Arctic Ocean, skyrocketed to a record 85 degrees Wednesday, the warmest temperature ever recorded in that area.

It was also the state's highest temperature ever measured within 50 miles of the Arctic.
It was 88 degrees in Fairbanks on Wednesday, hotter than New York City's 85 degrees. The heat wave follows a freakishly warm start to the year in Alaska. It was the warmest winter, spring and first six months of the year there, according to NOAA.

So far in 2016, the state's average temperature is 30.4 degrees, some 9 degrees higher than normal.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Global jellyfish population exploding

Jellyfish populations the world over are exploding. More jellyfish are coming and that’s cause for alarm. The undulating, translucent creatures are notorious for their stings, which can be lethal. About 40 people are killed by jellyfish every year, compared to about eight killed by sharks.
Pollution and over-fishing may be the biggest culprits. The fewer fish that swim in the seas, the more food — such as plankton — is left for the jellies.

Overfishing also means that jellyfish have fewer encounters with the ocean-dwelling predators such as salmon.
Jellyfish wreak havoc by choking seawater intake valves and drainpipes, and clogging fishermen’s nets. “Jellies” have even been known to capsize fishing boats.

Researchers examined data and anecdotal evidence going back 60 years. They report that jellyfish populations are on the rise virtually everywhere, most acutely in areas with heavy concentrations of human activity. Coastal Europe and Asia and the Black Sea seem hardest hit.

Humans have little love or use for the creatures, which are sometimes called the “cockroaches of the sea.” Very few of the 2,000 known jellyfish species are considered fit for human consumption.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Toxic Algae Attacking Florida

The putrid algal blooms, which have been described as “guacamole-like”, have plagued the state’s waterways since last month.
A thick and toxic algae has spread throughout the waterways of Florida.
The toxic sludge can cause rashes and respiratory problems in humans, is killing wildlife and dramatically impacting on the area’s tourism industry. The blue green algae blooms — known as cyanobacteria — often form in warmer water when nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, found in fertilizers, pollute the water.
Climate change is also a major contributing factor as the warmer waters create the perfect conditions for the noxious algae.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Clouds Shifting Toward Poles With Climate Change

Over the last three decades, global cloud patterns have changed, and mid-latitude storm tracks--the paths that cyclones travel in the Northern and Southern hemispheres--have been drifting toward our planet's poles, according to a new study published in Nature.

The changes match those predicted by climate model simulations, and they've probably added to global warming that is causing climate change. Those findings are good news for scientists who for years have struggled to model the role of clouds in climate change. According to scientists the movement of clouds toward the polls is "problematic for our future" and makes efforts to slow warming more urgent.
About 70 percent of Earth is covered by clouds at any given moment. Their interaction with climate isn't easy to study.

Climate modelers have to take into account clouds can have two different effects on temperatures. During daytime thick clouds will keep the temperature cooler because clouds reflect incoming sunlight back to space. But thick clouds can also act like a blanket that keeps the Earth's warmth in. Clouds have been called the wild card of climate science. Researchers argue over how exactly global warming will affect clouds and vice versa.

Friday, July 8, 2016

US experiences hottest June ever recorded

June 2016 was the hottest on record for the contiguous United States, scientists from NOAA announced on Thursday.

The average temperature of 71.8 degrees Fahrenheit is 3.3 F (1.83 C) hotter than a typical June. The record was broken with none of the Lower 48 turning in below-average temperatures for the month. NOAA said 17 states in the West, Great Plains and Southeast were well above average, rising the national average temperature to the highest ever recorded for the month of June in the national climate record starting 122 years ago in 1895.
The contiguous U.S. finished the first six months of 2016 at 3.2 degrees above the 20th-century average, and with an average temperature of 50.8 degrees, it was the third-warmest first half to any year on record.

Heat wasn't the only problem in the Lower 48 last month. With an average of 2.47 inches of precipitation, last month was the 14th-driest June on record. The lack of precipitation allowed drought conditions to worsen in parts of the Southeast, Northwest, Northeast and Plains.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Toronto to see the hottest July 5 in almost 20 years

With a daytime high of 34 C, today will mark the hottest July 5 in Toronto since 1999. Humidity is nudging the mercury ever higher.

Overnight lows will be near 20 degrees, providing little relief. A heat warning was issued Monday by Environment Canada, and remains in effect for Toronto, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, Markham, Oshawa and Hamilton. The UV index is at 9, which is very high. The rest of the week promises no respite.

Friday, July 1, 2016

31 U.S. science societies send letter to Congress

Thirty-one of the largest U.S. science societies—collectively representing millions of scientists—sent a letter to Congress this week urging lawmakers to recognize anthropogenic climate change and take decisive action to combat it and its effects.

A previous letter with nearly identical language was sent by 18 of the 31 organizations in 2009, and some scientists are skeptical that this new document will budge the stubborn persistence of climate denial among congressional representatives. The letter warns of the numerous threats posed by climate change—including extreme weather events, regional water scarcity, heat waves and wildfires.

It also highlights the need for substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.