Saturday, 13 January 2018

The latest from Paul Beckwith

Dissection of a Disaster: California Debris Flows

Paul Beckwith

I discuss how a sequence of many cascading events (worsened by climate change) resulted in horrendous debris flows (different from flash floods, mudslides, and landslides). Heavy spring rains in 2017 stimulated rapid vegetation growth (grasses, bushes, trees); baking summer drought killed off much of this vegetation, and intense wildfires consuming this bone-dry plant material continued into December charring the hills. Heavy rains in early 2018 on the burn scars ran down hills causing debris flows (water, mud, rocks, boulders) devastating towns and blocking major highways. 

Who Left the Arctic Fridge Door Open?

New normal? NO. Just Act I of our planetary Play. The Arctic has warmed so much that our jet streams have fractured. Waviness has increased so much, that loops and swirls have broken free, creating a chaotic mishmash with pockets of low and high pressures. And thus a smorgasbord of bizarre weather: winter hurricane-like weather bombs, snow in the Sahara Desert, baking drought amping up wildfires followed by deluges causing mudslides in California, oven-like temperatures exceeding 47 C (116 F) in Australia...

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