Wednesday, 16 August 2017

July hottest on record DESPITE NO EL-NINO

NASA shocker: Last month was hottest July, and hottest month, on record

It's the first time we've seen such a record month in the absence of an El Niño boost.


ThinkProgress,
15 August, 2017



July 2017 has narrowly topped July 2016 as the hottest July on record, according to a shocking analysis by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) released Tuesday. As a result, July 2017 is statistically tied with August 2016 (and July 2016) as the hottest month on record.

What’s so surprising here is that records for warmest month or year almost invariably occur when the underlying human-caused global warming trend gets a temporary boost from an El Niño’s enhanced warming in the tropical Pacific.

But whereas 2016 set its temperature records boosted by one of the strongest El Niño’s on record, 2017 is setting records in the absence of any El Niño at all.

2017 is so unexpectedly warm it is freaking out climate scientists


Extremely remarkable” 2017 heads toward record for hottest year without an El Niño episode.

Yes, it’s surprising that July 2017 tied for warmest month on record despite not having the El Nino assist of July and August 2016,” prominent climatologist Michael Mann wrote in an email to ThinkProgress. “The extreme warmth of the Antarctic peninsula is particularly worrying given the disintegration of the Larsen C ice shelf we’ve been hearing so much about.”

NASA charts exactly where it was hot in July compared to the 1951-1980 average (see map below). Note that to show the extreme warming around Antarctica, the high end of the temperature legend had to be extended to a whopping 8°C (14.4°F).

When we see all-time global temperature records in the absence of any El Niño, that sends a message the underlying global warming trend is stronger than ever — and that we are running out of time to stop catastrophic impacts.
NOTE: NOAA releases its own monthly temperature report in a few days using slightly different data so it is possible they will have a different ranking for July 2017.



Wildfires in the NW Territories

Area Burned in Severe Northwest Territory Wildfires Doubles in Just One Day


Robertscribbler,

15 August, 2017
In just one day, an area of land covering 1,860 square miles of the Northwest Territory has burned. That’s a zone 50 percent larger than the entire state of Rhode Island going up in smoke over just one 24 hour period. And as you can see from the GOES satellite animation below, the volume of smoke being produced by fires burning in a permafrost thaw region is quite extreme:
*****
Over the past week, the Arctic and sub-Arctic Northwest Territories (NWT) of Canada have been baking under an intense late-summer heatwave. At a time when NWT temperatures should be cooling down from July peaks, most days of the past seven have seen the mercury rise into the upper 80s and lower-to-middle 90s (Fahrenheit).
These 10-35 degree (F) above average temperatures sweltered coniferous forests, peat bogs and thawing permafrost. The high temperatures also unleashed Arctic and sub-Arctic thunderstorms. A new breed of weather for this typically cool zone. One that has been enabled by a human-forced warming of our world through fossil fuel burning — causing temperatures in the Arctic to warm twice as fast as the rest of the globe.
(Extreme heat in the range of 95 degrees F [35 C] blankets the Northwest Territories on August 11, 2017 — drying vegetation and promoting wildfire producing lightning strikes. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)
As lightning strikes rained down over forests and peatlands unprepared for such intense warmth and energy, large fires began to spark. These fires were not yet as visible from the satellite as their, at the time, larger British Columbia brethren (lower left in the image below). But they were in a far northern region that has a recent if rather anomalous history of rapid fire expansion. And already, wispy plumes of smoke were becoming visible even in the wider-angle satellite shots.
Up until August 7th, fires in the Northwest Territory region of Canada had been a bit moderate compared to recent years. In total, about 330,000 hectares had burned throughout 2017. This put the region slightly above the 25 year average for fires, but well behind the more intense rates of burning seen in recent years. As of yesterday (August 14th), this number had climbed to 442,000 acres — exceeding the 15 year average, but still behind the more intense 5 year average.
(Intense Northwest Territory Wildfires begin to spark on August 7th of 2017. These fires are visible near center frame. Note intense fires burning in British Columbia at lower left. For reference, bottom edge of frame is approx 1,200 miles. Image Source: NASA Worldview.)
At this time, however, the satellite imagery was starting to look quite ominous (see image below). Very large and intense rings of fire were starting to expand north of Uranium City. And these fires were casting vast thick and inky plumes of smoke up and over much of Northern Canada. Their visible size and intensity hinted that something pretty extreme was happening on the ground.
As the fires appeared to explode in size, the various wildfire monitors began to check in. In just one day, according to the most recent NWT Current Fire Situation Reportthese massive fires more than doubled the total amount of land burned with 924,000 hectares now listed as consumed. This is roughly 3,565 square miles — or about the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. With an area fifty percent larger than the size of Rhode Island (1,860 square miles) being consumed in just one day.

(Very intense wildfires burning on August 14 rapidly expanded to consume a section of territory larger than Rhode Island in just one day. For reference, bottom edge of frame is approx. 1,000 miles. Image source: NASA Worldview.)
Meanwhile, land area burned for the Northwest Territory is now above the 5 year average. With these fires burning so intensely, and with hot conditions still on tap for next 48 hours, this already large burn area could continue to rapidly expand.
Much of this burning is occurring along a vast line of wildfires stretching for 200 miles south of Great Slave Lake. In other words, this is a fire line long enough to stretch the distance between Norfolk, Virginia and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. And the very dense smoke plumes being emitted by these amazingly large fires are likely to ultimately encircle the globe.
(Two hundred mile line of fires south of Great Slave Lake has completely blocked out satellite visual of the lake from orbit. Image source: NASA Worldview.)
Rainfall and cooler conditions by Friday might tamp down these blazes. But the situation at this time appears to be quite severe. Thankfully, unlike the terrible fires that have consumed hundreds of homes and forced tens of thousands to evacuate in British Columbia this summer or the Fort McMurray Fire of 2016 which forced the emptying of an entire city, these massive Northwest Territory fires are presently burning in remote areas.
However, the rapid expansion, large size and vast smoke plumes of these fires bear a grim testament to the fact that the fire regime has vastly changed for the worse in the Arctic nation of Canada. A situation that will continue to dramatically intensify so long as fossil fuels keep being burned.
(UPDATED)
Links:

Hat tip to Shawn Redmond
Hat tip to Spike



Heat wave in the High Arctic

Arctic heat wave sweeps across western Nunavut and High Arctic

Record-breaking temperatures from Cambridge Bay to Pond Inlet



15 August, 2017

Unseasonably warm temperatures over the past weekend saw people in the western Nunavut hub of Cambridge Bay heading out to their cabins or the beach, where some even dipped into the Arctic Ocean to cool off.


However, it wasn’t so long ago—for example, in 1974, according to Environment Canada—that you could expect to find snow on the ground at this time of year.

Recently, temperatures have been rising 10 degrees or more above normal ranges for this time of year in Nunavut’s Kitikmeot region and the High Arctic islands, where the weekend’s heat wave broke Environment Canada records.

Cambridge Bay’s high temperature of 22 C on Aug. 11 broke the previous high temperature of 20.5 C for that day, recorded in 2013.

Temperatures remained warm in Cambridge Bay throughout the weekend—21.6 C on Aug. 12 (breaking the previous high of 21.4 C from 2013) and on Aug. 13, when the high reached 21.9 C (breaking the previous high of 18.9 C set in 1949).

Taloyoak’s high of 21.8 C and Kugaaruk’s high of 22.8 C on Aug. 12 also broke records for the day.

Kugaaruk’s even-warmer high of 24.3 C on Aug. 13 then broke the previous high record temperature of 21 C, set on that date in 1985.

On Aug. 12, the hottest spot went to Bathurst Inlet where the mercury rose to 33.5 C, breaking the station record of 32.2 C set in in 2013.

Kugluktuk also saw a high, but not record-breaking, temperature of 26.6 C on Aug. 10—with more warmth, and a high of 21 C predicted by Environment Canada for Aug. 14.

Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay, with temperatures of 18.3 C and 18.4 C respectively, on Aug. 13, also broke previous recorded temperatures for that date.

Today Iqaluit is also set to enjoy some above-average temperatures, with Environment Canada forecasting a high of 16 C—six degrees above the usual 10 C temperature for Aug. 14.

Such warm Arctic temperatures reflect recent findings in the 2016 State of the Environment, the annual summary of the global climate, from the American Meteorological Society, released Aug. 11, that says the Arctic is “is warming at more than twice the rate of lower latitudes.”

In 2016, the average temperature of land surfaces north of 60 was two degrees Celsius above the 1981 to 2010 average, breaking the previous record of 2007, 2011, and 2015 by 0.8 C, the report said.

That represents a 3.5 C increase since record-keeping began in 1900, said the report, which includes a special section on the Arctic.

Rapid change is occurring throughout the Arctic environmental system,” the report said, with many signals indicating that the “Arctic environment continues to be influenced by long-term upward trends in air temperature.”

You can see those influences in the “young and thin” Arctic sea ice cover in 2016, down by a third from 1981 to 2010 average, earlier and more rapid springtime melt, increased vegetation and the kind of dry conditions which have led to the wildfires still burning in northwest Greenland.

You can read the entire Arctic section of the report here.

Nunavut locals cooling off in the Arctic ocean as warm records tumble in the High Arctic islands


15 August, 2017

Unseasonably warm temperatures over the past weekend saw people in the western Nunavut hub of Cambridge Bay heading out to their cabins or the beach, where some even dipped into the Arctic Ocean to cool off.

However, it wasn't so long ago-for example, in 1974, according to Environment Canada-that you could expect to find snow on the ground at this time of year.

Recently, temperatures have been rising 10 degrees or more above normal ranges for this time of year in Nunavut's Kitikmeot region and the High Arctic islands, where the weekend's heat wave broke Environment Canada records.
Cambridge Bay's high temperature of 22 C on Aug. 11 broke the previous high temperature of 20.5 C for that day, recorded in 2013.

Temperatures remained warm in Cambridge Bay throughout the weekend-21.6 C on Aug. 12 (breaking the previous high of 21.4 C from 2013) and on Aug. 13, when the high reached 21.9 C (breaking the previous high of 18.9 C set in 1949).

Taloyoak's high of of 21.8 C and Kugaaruk's high of 22.8 C on Aug. 12 also broke records for the day.

Kugaaruk's even-warmer high of 24.3 C on Aug. 13 then broke the previous high record temperature of 21 C, set on that date in 1985.

On Aug. 12, the hottest spot went to Bathurst Inlet where the mercury rose to 33.5 C, breaking the station record of 32.2 C set in in 2013

 Kugluktuk also saw a high, but not record-breaking, temperature of 26.6 C on Aug. 10-with more warmth, and a high of 21 C predicted by Environment Canada for Aug. 14.

Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay, with temperatures of 18.3 C and 18.4 C respectively, on Aug. 13, also broke previous recorded temperatures for that date.

Today Iqaluit is also set to enjoy some above-average temperatures, with Environment Canada forecasting a high of 16 C-six degrees above the usual 10 C temperature for Aug. 14.

Such warm Arctic temperatures reflect recent findings in the 2016 State of the Environment, the annual summary of the global climate, from the American Meteorological Society, released Aug. 11, that says the Arctic is "is warming at more than twice the rate of lower latitudes."

In 2016, the average temperature of land surfaces north of 60 was two degrees Celcius above the 1981 to 2010 average, breaking the previous record of 2007, 2011, and 2015 by 0.8 C, the report said. That represents a 3.5 C increase since record-keeping began in 1900, said the report, which includes a special section on the Arctic.

"Rapid change is occurring throughout the Arctic environmental system," the report said, with many signals indicating that the "Arctic environment continues to be influenced by long-term upward trends in air temperature."