Friday, 18 August 2017

Canada's record heatwave and wildfires

More fire, more fury: Canada is ablaze amid record heatwave

Massive wildfires are raging in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.

JOE ROMM
17 August, 2017

With temperatures toppling 100-year-old records, British Columbia’s raging wildfires have already set the record for the most acres burned. And it’s only mid-August.

Meanwhile, the Northwest Territories have been experiencing their own Arctic heatwave, and equally devastating wildfires. One blogger pointed out that on Monday, the intense fires “rapidly expanded to consume a section of territory larger than Rhode Island in just one day.”

The thick smoke and aerosols led Environment Canada to issue health advisorieslast weekend for the Territories, and they re-issued warnings Monday for the worst-hit areas. And humans aren’t the only ones suffering: while adult animals know to flee the fires, younger ones don’t or can’t flee, especially young birds. “The heat is overwhelming them, particularly the past couple weeks have been really bad,” Sam Smith at Wildlife Rescue told CBC News. “We’ve had a lot of young nestlings, jumping out of nests to avoid the heat.”

The first week in August saw parts of British Columbia break records that date back to the 1890s, with some temperatures hitting the upper 90s F. By Wednesday, the B.C. Wildfire Service reported that province had already topped its all-time record wildfire season.

Scientists have long predicted that global warming would lead to more wildfires in both the defrosting Arctic tundra and in the “boreal” (subarctic) forests of Canada, Russia, and Alaska — a reality that is already evident in Greenland’s biggest fire on record. “Greater fire activity will likely accompany temperature-related increases in shrub-dominated tundra predicted for the 21st century and beyond,” a 2008 study found.

2013 study, “Recent burning of boreal forests exceeds fire regime limits of the past 10,000 years,” found that such wildfires are occurring at  double the rate of 500 to 1,000 years ago. The lead author of that study explained 
to LiveSciencethat “there’s a pretty clear link between humans inducing a warmer climate and increased forest burning.” Boreal forests store more than 30 percent of all the carbon stored on land (in vegetation and soil). Although tropical forests get most of the attention, they store a little more than half the carbon per acre that boreal forests do.

Massive boreal fires don’t just speed up warming by releasing CO2. They can spread spread black carbon over the Arctic ice and Greenland, reducing their reflectivity, increasing the amount of sunlight they absorb, and speeding up their melt.

As for British Columbia’s record-smashing wildfire season, it isn’t over yet. As Kevin Skrepnek, B.C.’s Wildfire Service’s chief wildfire information officer, toldCBC News this week, “the key message, unfortunately, is that for most of the southern part of the province, there’s no rain in the forecast at this point.”




John Pilger interviewed

How the World May End

John Pilger on Venezuela, Trump & Russia



In this season’s finale, we speak to John Pilger about the mainstream media pushing for a coup in Venezuela, the Labour Party’s division on #CorbynMustCondemn, UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia and US-Russia relations.  

ON THE BEACH 2017. THE BECKONING OF NUCLEAR WAR.


otb.jpg




Julian Assange sums up America today



The New Face of America

The new face of America is eerily familiar.
 

Hotter- than- average spring for Australia

Unusual winter warmth predicted to extend through spring for most of Australia


SMH,
17 August, 2017



Most of Australia can expect a hotter-than-average spring driven in part by unusually warm waters off the east coast, increasing the chances of an early and active fire season in the south-east.

For Sydney, the outlook is also for the abnormally warm winter to extend through spring.

The Bureau of Meteorology's three-month outlook released on Thursday also shows the odds will favour milder overnight temperatures will extend through much of September to November for eastern half of the country. (See chart below.)


Felicity Gamble, the bureau's acting head of climate prediction services, said that with neutral influences in the Indian, Pacific and Southern oceans, secondary factors such as the balmy waters off the east coast were playing a key role.

Most of Australia can expect a hotter-than-average spring driven in part by unusually warm waters off the east coast, increasing the chances of an early and active fire season in the south-east.


For Sydney, the outlook is also for the abnormally warm winter to extend through spring.


Forest regions of NSW, including areas around Sydney, are rapidly drying out, raising the risk of early and significant fire activity this bushfire season.
The Bureau of Meteorology's three-month outlook released on Thursday also shows the odds will favour milder overnight temperatures will extend through much of September to November for eastern half of the country. (See chart below.)

Felicity Gamble, the bureau's acting head of climate prediction services, said that with neutral influences in the Indian, Pacific and Southern oceans, secondary factors such as the balmy waters off the east coast were playing a key role.

"We're seeing those above-average temperatures [of winter] continuing," Ms Gamble said, adding a clear climate change signal was evident. "It's the background trend in warming temperatures that we've seen over the past couple of decades."

For Sydney, day-time temperatures so far this winter have been averaging 19.3 degrees, ranking it third behind 2013 and 2005, Blair Trewin, the bureau's senior climatologist, said. It's also likely to be among the top four warmest Augusts for NSW.

The city will have a couple of relatively chilly days on Friday and Saturday with tops of 16 degrees forecast. The rest of the month is likely to have average maximums of about 20 degrees, Joel Pippard, a Weatherzone meteorologist said.


July was easily Australia's hottest on record for daytime temperatures and June was the seventh-warmest, the bureau said earlier this month

Globally, last month tied with July a year ago as the warmest on record, NASA said earlier this week.

Rain outlook

A warm spring may add to the drying out of much of Australia after a drier than usual winter.
The bureau's outlook points to mixed odds for rain for the eastern part of the country, while the south-west may be in for a dry spring. (See chart below.)
Cooler-than-normal waters off the west coast means "there's less moisture to be drawn" as rain-bearing fronts move in, Ms Gamble said.
With little additional rain, July and August are shaping up to be Sydney's driest for those two months since 1995, Dr Trewin said.
A Fairfax Media has reported, bushfire researchers have already identified low moisture levels in both dead and live fuel across regions near Sydney and the far south coast of NSW.
The Sydney region can expect another mostly dry week, with the chance of some rain on Monday, Mr Pippard said.
After past two months of particularly dry weather, fire crews in NSW may be in for an active spring.
"It's definitely worth considering an early start to the bushfire season for most of NSW and southern Queensland," Mr Pippard said.
The NSW Rural Fire Service said on Wednesday they were battling 70 fires across the state, with many still active on Thursday morning:




At 7am 64 bush & grass fires burning across NSW. 21 not yet contained. Warm and windy conditions expected for parts of NSW today. 
Both states have had a few particularly warm days this week. Sydney posted its warmest August morning for 6am readings on Wednesday, with the mercury sitting on 22.1 degrees.
Odds continue to favour an early and active fire season for NSW.
Odds continue to favour an early and active fire season for NSW. Photo: Wolter Peeters
Elsewhere in NSW, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour both posted their hottest days on Wednesday for this early in the warming season. On Tuesday, Wilcannia and Cobar in the state's west had their hottest August days on record.
The bureau's outlook release on Thursday marks the first of a regular fortnightly rather than monthly update. The more frequently releases are intended to give farmers and other users of the climate maps earlier access to any change.
The move follows an instance in October 2015 when the bureau noted a sudden shift towards drier conditions with an emerging El Nino. That prompted a mid-monthly report that will now become standard by the agency.