Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Worldwide climate system disruption

An update from Paul Beckwith on extreme weather patterns and the effects on winter sea ice

Climate System Disruption March 24, 2015

Examination of weather patterns and huge temperature swings and effects on the winter sea ice

It is a while since I have seen “Signs of Change”

Signs Of Change The Past Few Weeks Or So March 2015

The Brazilian drought has been made worse by the after effects of deforestation, killing the sky rivers, which have dried out the forest limiting it's ability to sequester carbon and generate precipitation to feed the ground rivers in a never ending positive feedback loop of fires and drought. 

Losing 91,000 hectares in a month,nearly double what we would normally expect in a year is the kind of exponential increase we have been concerned about. 

Add to that the issue of the gulf stream stalling we can now see the effects of abrupt climate change and the unraveling of our biosphere.

---Kevin Hester

Climate Change Induced Drought and Fire at Critical Stage in Chile — Construction of 12 Desalination Plants Underway

24 March, 2015

In the National Forests of Chile, it’s been burning since February.

An intense upshot of the stifling of water supplies through month after month heat and lack of rainfall. A kind of intense onset, persistent drought that has become all too common in a world in which atmosphere, ice and ocean temperatures keep rocketing on to new record highs.
Starting February 17th, massive fires erupted, spreading swiftly through Chile’s forested mountainsides and valleys, threatening protected woods and endangered species. The fires have continued off and on now for more than a month. Fueled by hot winds and a record drought that has forced the nation to build 12 desalination plants in a desperate effort to restore the country’s ebbing water supply.
Chile Fires February 17Chile Fires March 24
(Side by side frames of same region of Chile on February 17 [left frame] and March 24 [right frame]. For reference, bottom edge of frame is approximately 100 miles. Right frame is slightly off-set toward the east. Image source: Lance-Modis.)

Reports from BBC indicated that today’s fires are burning in three protected national parks: China Muerta National Reserve, Nalca Lolco National Reserve and Conguillio National Park. The fires threaten ancient growth forest that is the abode of the majestic Araucaria araucana trees. A kind of pine that can live up to a thousand years. Over 4,500 hectares are now burning and the smoke is plainly visible in the NASA satellite shot (right frame in the image sequence above). Fully fifteen fire brigades are involved in what is currently a massive firefighting effort.

Overall, the fires that have been raging for more than a month throughout Chile haveconsumed an exceptional 91,000 hectares – nearly double the 59,000 hectare per year average over the last five years. Years that themselves experienced increased heat, drought, and burning.

This extreme burning comes as Chile faces a ramping, multi-decadal water shortage set off by human warming. Climate scientists there have indicated a high risk of drastically increased drying throughout Chile over the next 35 years through to 2050 due to climate change related impacts.
According to President Michele Bachelet the country’s current drought situation is already at critical stages. Bachelet recently announced millions of dollars in funds to drill for underground water and to construct desalination plants to provide drinking water to fight ramping drought conditions with the ugly prospect of more to come.
In a report today from BBC, Bachelet noted that the situation was now endemic and expected to worsen:
Faced with this critical situation, there is no choice but to assume that the lack of water resources is a reality that is here to stay and that puts at risk the development of important regions of our country.”
Though climate change is expected to continue to ratchet down on drought impacts to Chile — increasing heat, melting critical glacial ice, and drying out forestlands — this year, at least, there appears to be some hope for an end to the stifling heat and the ongoing fires. Hints of the first rains of autumn have now begun to show up in Central and Northern Chile.
But by 2050 with the world expected to be between 1.5 and 2.5 degrees Celsius hotter than 1880s averages, the autumn rains will have been brutally beaten back — retreating further and further into fall. In that time, the heat and dryness of spring and summer will come early and the great glaciers upon which Chile depends so much for its water will be but wan shadows of former grandeur. If they exist at all.
Hat tip to Colorado Bob

Nearby Argentina is in drought from at least 2012 and Brazil is in drought, during its rainy season.

Someone needs to do an analysis of those areas that are affected by long-term drought and plot this on a map, along with countries affected by floods and similar extreme weather.

How much simply goes unreported?

Analysis - Argentine corn crop slammed by drought; harvest estimates wither (Jan, 2015)

Dry fields and bare trees near San Joaquin California

Californian drought worst on record hitting farm production and the US economy

"We're starting to panic!"

Dairy farmer and president of the Californian Farmers Union Joaquin Cantente said the drought is all anyone can talk about.

Signs on the roadside cry out, "Save our family farm!"

Farmers are fighting for water in what is turning into the worst drought on record, with the lowest rainfall, dam storage and snowpack.

Even the groundwater is being overexploited, said Mr Cantente, with the water table dropping by about three meters......

Britain set for HOTTEST Easter EVER as temperatures to rocket to 80F in holiday heatwave
BRITAIN could be about to roast in the HOTTEST Easter EVER with temperatures rocketing into the 80s IN WEEKS.

The ENTIRE country will bake in the fiercest April temperatures for years GETTY/EXPRESS

16 March, 2015

The ENTIRE country will bake in the fiercest April temperatures for years out-scorching Spain, Greece and even North Africa, according to some forecasts.

Early long-range models show a freak set of conditions due to come into play at the start of next month will trigger the long-awaited heatwave.

Thermometers are expected to tip the 80F mark in time for Easter which is on course to beat the historic scorchers of 1984 and 2011.

An unusually wavy jet stream will drag swathes of scorching air in from the Continent while high pressure will see Britain bask in blue skies and sunshine.

The sizzling prediction ties in with suggestions this summer is on course to be a super-scorcher putting even The Great Heatwave of 1906 in the shade.

Blistering heat lasted a week and with the mercury rocketing past 90F for four days it is considered the severest of the 20th century.

Experts say things will start to heat up in just a few weeks thanks to the “wildly deviating” jet stream and warmer ocean temperatures in the Pacific.

Scientists have confirmed an El Nino phenomenon, linked to rising global temperatures, has officially started.

The last one was in 2010 although after the summer it led to an exceptionally cold winter that year.

El Nino also brings a greater risk of typhoons in the tropical north-west Pacific, including China and south-east Asia, and drought in western parts of the United States.

It will come as a relief to many as Britain wraps up for another cold spell with sub-zero temperatures and even snow forecast over the coming days.

The sudden chill is down to ‘Polar Continental’ air about to sweep across the country from Siberia.

A similar weather pattern triggered an exceptionally cold snap during the winter of 2010 when temperatures dropped to -21.3C in Scotland.

The change will come as a shock to the system for many who just last weekend were enjoying highs close to 18C (64F).

It will be a different picture after today with icy winds from Russia making it feel close to -6C (21F) in the north – colder than Moscow.

Piers Corbyn, forecaster for WeatherAction, is predicting huge temperature swings over the next few weeks.

He said: “There will be big variations due to the wildly deviating jet stream, so there will be periods of extremely cold weather followed by unusually hot.

The jet is meandering bringing air in from northern Europe and the Arctic region and then from Spain, switching between bitter cold and warm through spring.”

Sunny forecasts have already triggered a flurry of bets on super-hot weather arriving before the start of summer.

Coral has slashed the odds on the hottest Easter on record from 10/1 to 6/1 with the hottest ever March at 10/1.

Spokeswoman Nicola McGeady said: "The latest gamble suggests punters are putting all their eggs in one basket and backing this Easter to be the hottest on record following the recent heatwave in Britain.”

The Met Office’s three-month outlook predicts a strong likelihood of above-average temperatures until the end of May.

It states there are signals of a positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) which will bring warm winds in from the west.

A spokesman said: “Overall this pattern typically brings near to above-average temperatures.”

The best of the weather is likely to begin the south with some forecast models showing above-average temperatures right through the summer.

Long-range predictions show temperatures between one and two degrees C above the norm right through until September.

However not all forecasters agree with the roasting predictions with some still backing an average spring to come.

James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather, said: “We will gradually see a return to some much colder and more wintry conditions as we progress towards the second half of March.

As we progress into this weekend and the early part of next week much colder air will approach us from the east and leave us in a much colder feeling easterly flow.

Throughout next next week there is the potential for some more notable and widespread snow showers across the country.

However, warmer weather is around the corner, and parts of the UK can expect some widespread warm temperatures and pleasant weather throughout May.”

Chris Burton, forecaster for The Weather Network, warned not to put the brollies away just yet with plenty more rain on the way.

He also warned of a chilly weekend to come with plunging temperatures making it feel “more like winter” than early spring.

He said: “As we go through Friday and into the weekend, a significant change in our weather will occur as chilly easterly winds develop.

These winds will drag in bitterly cold air from eastern Europe, with temperatures struggling to rise much above 4-7C by Sunday.

The strong easterly winds will also drag in a lot of cloud and some patchy drizzle, making it feel more like mid-winter than early spring.

Western areas will see the best of any sunshine this weekend, although this would bring the risk of overnight frosts.

Much of Europe is expected to have a warmer spring than usual, but for the UK, temperatures are forecast to be around average as a whole with temperatures flipping between mild and cold.

April showers are often a key feature of spring weather and that’s expected to be the case this year.”

Temperatures soared to 81F in 2011 and 74F in London during the Easter of 1984 with this year on course to beat both.

If the sunnier predictions come to fruition, Britons could be about to bake in the hottest month of April since records began in 1910.

Climate change blamed as erratic downpours hit Pakistan’s harvests

Late rains were unusually heavy this year, say local farmers, affecting winter crops of wheat, oilseed and potato

(Pic: Flickr/Umer Malik)
(Pic: Flickr/Umer Malik)
23 March, 2015

Anxious farmers in Pakistan waited for weeks for the rains to arrive – but when the skies finally opened, the downpour was so intense it destroyed crops and put the harvest in jeopardy. 

We weather scientists are really in shock, and so are farmers, who have suffered economic losses due to crop damage,” says Muzammil Hussain, a weather forecasting scientist at the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).

The wind from the southeast has carried moisture from the Arabian Sea. Normally, the northeast wind brings rain during winter, and the southeast wind brings monsoon rains in summer. But the pattern has changed this year because of what is believed to be global warming.”

Farmers across much of Pakistan plant winter crops of wheat, oilseed and potato late in the year and wait for rains to water the and.

This year, the rains arrived more than three weeks late and were unusually heavy, accompanied by violent hailstorms. Along with the rains, temperatures also dropped.

Ibrahim Mughal, chairman of the Pakistan Agri Forum, says excessive moisture due to heavy bouts of late rain is likely to lead to outbreaks of fungus on crops, and production could be halved.

If the rains come a month ahead of the harvesting time [April to mid-May], it is always disastrous,” he says. “It can hit production for a crop such as wheat by between 20% and 30%, and if the rain is accompanied by hailstorms and winds then the losses can escalate to more than 50%.”

Arif Mahmood, a former director general at PMD, says the onset of winter across much of Pakistan is being delayed by two to three days every year, and there is an urgent need for farmers to adapt to such changes.

Over recent years, winter has been delayed by 25 to 30 days, and also the intensity of the cold has increased, which has affected almost every field of life − from agriculture to urban life.”

This year has also been marked by abrupt changes in temperature. Ghulam Rasul, a senior scientist at PMD, says big swings in temperature are likely to add to the problems being faced by millions of farmers in Pakistan.

The average temperature during the first two weeks [of March] was between 11 and 13 degrees Celsius, but now it’s on a continuous upward trend and has reached 26˚C over the space of two days,” he reports.

The winter rains in the north and central area of Pakistan, and the sudden rise and fall in temperature, are related to climate change.”

Serious damage

Similar storms and late winter rains have also caused serious damage across large areas of northern India.

The states of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra – the two most populous states in the country – have been particularly badly hit.

In Maharashtra, snow and landslides have blocked roads and cut off towns and villages.

In Uttar Pradesh, there are fears that more than 50% of the wheat crop has been lost in the eastern part of the state.

Recent rains and hailstorm in different parts of the country had damaged Rabi crops in about 181 lakh hectares of land across 13 states during February 28-March 16 with UP and Rajasthan facing the brunt.

The affected cultivable land is huge if one looks at the total cultivable area (600 lakh hectare) in the current Rabi season. The wheat crop faced the maximum damage due to unseasonal rains.

About 12.1 million hectares of the 30.6 million hectares of wheat planted was damaged from the hail and rain on 1 March to 18 March

Pulses (aka. dal) form the basis of a vegetarian diet in India, especially for the poor

Pulses yield in India is likely to decline this year on reports of crop damage in some pockets of major producing states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Data compiled by the Ministry of Agriculture show a gradual increase in India's pulses yield over the last few years due to adequate soil moisture and also good post harvest crop care. From the level of 691 kgs a ha in 2010-11, the yield has risen to 781 kgs / ha in 2013-14.

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