Saturday 27 June 2015

The Dying Earth - 06/27/2015

Soon after temperatures surge to record high levels in the Northwest this weekend, a disturbance will roll in from the Pacific Ocean with spotty storms and dry lightning.

Record high temperatures will be challenged from Seattle to Salt Lake City this weekend

High temperatures will reach 100 F from the deserts to the upper part of the Great Basin, the Snake River Basin and part of the Northwest during one or both days of the weekend.

According to AccuWeather Chief Long Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok, "Much of the West, especially the Northwest will remain hot into early July."

The only cool spots will be right along the California coast, due to a sea brдeze.

Be sure to avoid strenuous activity this weekend into next week. If you will be outside for lengthy periods, be sure to drink plenty of water, avoid direct sunlight and where light-colored and light-weight clothing.

The combination of ongoing heat, dry landscape, low humidity and lack of rain will continue the wildfire threat over much of the West.

A torrid heat wave is now shifting into high gear and may shatter June or even all-time records in parts of the Great Basin and Northwest. Furthermore, it is likely to last well into early July.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for parts of northwest Oregon and western Washington, including Portland, Salem, Eugene, Vancouver, Seattle, Las Vegas and Death Valley. Heat advisories have also been posted for other parts of the Northwest and Great Basin.

Alaska, the great northern frontier of America, is being reshaped by climate change. While rising temperatures are altering its character and landscape, they are also bringing the ravages of wildfires.

In the past 60 years, Alaska has warmed more than twice as fast as the rest of the country, with average temperatures up by nearly 3°F. By 2050, temperatures are projected to climb an additional 2-4 degrees, with the Arctic region seeing the most dramatic increases. These rising temperatures are expected to increase wildfire risks in Alaska, just as they have in the rest of the western U.S

Wildfires have been on the rise across the western U.S. since the 1970s, at the same time that spring and summer temperatures have increased dramatically, and average spring snowpack has declined substantially.
Fires in Alaska don’t often make news in the lower 48, but they threaten vast expanses of forest, parkland, and tundra that store immense quantities of carbon. 

The state’s growing number of large wildfires have the potential to damage these ecosystems, and the people and wildlife that depend on them, while releasing a significant amount of carbon into the atmosphere, further contributing to global warming. Wildfire emissions over these vast areas also threaten air quality in Alaska and beyond.

Wildfires in Yukon

With over 300 wildfires ravaging Alaska right now I wondered about Canada's Northwest and Yukon Territories.

Yukon is doing OK with only 13 wildfires at this point though the southern part of the province is rated at extreme fire danger too.

On the other hand, Northwest Territory has 70 wildfires burning right now and the entire region is facing record high temperatures this weekend too

A Forest Service map shows the Lake Fire's perimeter as of the morning of June 26, 2015.

The Lake Fire burning in rugged wilderness south of Big Bear Lake grew by more than 4,200 acres overnight Friday, and a much smaller fire burning close by in the San Bernardino National Forest was deemed the result of arson.

A Forest Service map shows the Lake Fire’s perimeter as of the morning of June 26, 2015.

Nine days after the Lake Fire started near Barton Flats, it had consumed 30,526 acres, or more than 47 square miles, according to Friday evening’s fire update. The fire was 20 percent contained.

Meanwhile, the 100-acre Sterling Fire, which broke out Thursday night about 18 miles west of the ignition point of the Lake Fire, was 75 percent contained on Friday afternoon.

The fire was caused by arson, according to a statement from San Bernardino City Fire Department Capt. Mike Arvizo. Arson investigators were on scene, he said.

Nearly 7,400 structures were threatened by the Lake Fire, which was most active overnight near the Heartbreak Ridge portion of the fire, which is along the northeast tip of the fire perimeter

Lake Mead shrank to a historic low Tuesday night, igniting concerns of a possible water supply shortage.

Water levels dropped to 1,074.98 feet above sea level, the Arizona Republic reported, the lowest it’s been since 1937.

Over the course of its history, Lake Mead has been over-appropriated, causing a “fundamental math problem” the current drought affecting the West has only made worse, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.  

The lake, which runs along the border between Arizona and Nevada, is a primary water source for several Western states. The aforementioned math problem is such that the lake provides more water than it receives, says the National Park Service, supplying millions in the region.

Yet despite low water levels, the Southern Nevada Water Authority is slated to complete a third water intake or “third straw”this summer, which will keep water flowing to communities regardless of falling levels.

Lake Mead is fed by the Colorado River, and this historic low reveals the river is facing the same issue: it is providing more water than it is receiving from natural resources, including runoff and precipitation

Megacity drought: Sao Paulo withers after dry ‘wet season

Exceptional drought, extreme temperatures, unprecedented drops in reservoir levels and threatening water shortages for millions of people have dominated headlines in California in recent years. Unfortunately, Californians are not the only people being stressed with the “water crisis.”

Citizens of one of the most densely populated areas in South America – the Sao Paulo metropolitan area (SPMA) in southeastern Brazil – are struggling with one of the nastiest water crises in decades.

The worst drought in five years is creeping across the Caribbean, prompting officials around the region to brace for a bone dry summer.

From Puerto Rico to Cuba to the eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia, crops are withering, reservoirs are drying up and cattle are dying while forecasters worry that the situation could only grow worse in the coming months.

Central Indiana flooding


At least 50,000 people without power late Friday night after overnight storms 

Climate change and unregulated housing development are to blame for the devastation brought by floods that have so far killed at least 4 people and forced more than 80,000 from their homes in Cameroon's economic capital, experts say.

Heavy rains that began on Monday triggered major flooding in the Douala V district area, submerging over 60,000 hectares (150,000 acres) of land and forcing thousands to flee for safety.

"Many families, mostly children and mothers who found refuge on rooftops, were rescued from the deluge by the army's firefighting brigade," said Beti Assomo, governor of the Littoral region.

As the rains persist, the governor and other local authorities have advised people to evacuate the area.

Though living in the swampy Douala V area is unlawful because of the high risk of flooding, the land is cheap, attracting many of the city's urban poor.

"Inhabitants of squatter settlements such as  the Douala V council area and other flood-prone areas of the economic capital live in constant fear of every drop of rain," Didier Yimkoua, an environmentalist and secretary general of the National Salvation Front political party, told the Cameroon Tribune.

Heavy early monsoon rains have killed at least 81 people in India's western Gujarat state, bringing misery to thousands of people uprooted from their flooded homes, an official said Friday.

Nearly 9,000 people have been evacuated to higher ground in the worst-hit rural areas of Amreli, Rajkot and Bhavnagar districts of Gujarat, which had been suffering from a drought before the rains hit, said Ridhi Butt, a National Disaster Response Force official.

Butt said most of the deaths occurred when people were swept away by flood waters and mudslides, or buried in collapsed houses.

More than 1,000 Hindu pilgrims have been stranded on the mountain paths leading to Hindu shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath in northern Uttrakhand state because of the rains.

The state disaster response force and police are clearing the roads to restore the pilgrimage, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

India's financial capital of Mumbai was badly hit last week when torrential showers closed trains and led to a breakdown in public services.

The monsoon rains arrived days ahead of schedule in the western and northern parts of India, raising hopes the annual rains may not be as little as predicted by the India Meteorological Department.

The monsoon has covered nearly the entire country delivering 24 percent excess rainfall so far, flooding parts of Gujarat in western India and Assam state in the northeast, while a swollen river breached its banks in northern Jammu-Kashmir state.

However, the weather department said it expected a drier July.

Gujarat flooding : Amreli battles worst flood 

Heavy rains caused by a deep depression over the Arabian Sea bought heavy rain in Saurashtra region and parts of South Gujarat. The depression has since moved towards Madhya Pradesh but the rains have stranded people in several parts of Saurashtra, particularly in Amreli where 400 of 619 villages have been affected.

.I didn’t see this on RT

Heavy rains have flooded Sochi, the Russian city that hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics, leaving one dead and some areas under several feet of water, according to officials and reports. It is also forcing authorities to consider an evacuation, the mayor's office said.

More than a month and a half’s rain -- 100 mm, or about 4 inches -- fell in 24 hours on the seaside city, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti. Despite now being best-known for the Winter Olympics, the city is a popular summer resort for Russians, squeezed between the Caucasus mountains and the Black Sea.

According to the AP, a man was found dead during salvage operations Thursday. No further details were immediately available

Sochi freak floods: Cars washed away, tourists swim down city's road

The first heat wave of the summer months hits Spain today and will last until Tuesday.

Malaga will see highs of 36ºC and early warnings indicate that it will be even hotter inland in the Axarquia region. Ronda, Marbella and Antequera will reach above 34ºC while other parts of the Costa del Sol are expected to reach above 30ºC.

The Guadalquivir area will see a temperatures soar as high as 40ºC on Saturday, which is classified as an orange alert. Andalucía, Valencia and Murcia have all been placed on a yellow alert where it should reach between 36º and 38º in most areas.

According to the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET), the cause of the temperature soar is the result of a mass of very hot air which entered the west and south peninsular on Wednesday.

Temperatures are expected to increase on Sunday and will continue early next week as the heat wave progresses northwards

Severe El Nino Forecasted for 2015: Megafloods

When was there last a Jet Stream that looked like this?

The El Nino developing across the Pacific strengthened further, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, which again highlighted patterns shown by the data that are similar to the record 1997-1998 event.

Sea-surface temperature indexes for the central and eastern tropical Pacific are more than 1 degree Celsius above average for a sixth week, the bureau said. Models showed the central Pacific will warm further over the coming months, it said.

This is how it looks for investors anyhow. They seem to think its business-as-usual.

If Greenland goes, it is becoming clear that it won’t go quietly.

Scientists have already documented entire meltwater lakes vanishing in a matter of hours atop the vast Greenland ice sheet, as huge crevasses open beneath them. And now, they’ve cast light on the mechanisms behind another dramatic geophysical effect brought on by the rumbling and melting of this mass of often mile-thick ice: earthquakes.

In a new paper in the journal Science, a team of researchers from Swansea University in the UK, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, and several other institutions explain how the loss of Greenland’s ice can generate glacial earthquakes. In brief: When vast icebergs break off at the end of tidal glaciers, they tumble in the water and jam the glaciers themselves backwards. The result is a seismic event detectable across the Earth.

A study links extreme heat waves and cold snaps to changes in the way the atmosphere moves

Scorching summertime heat waves in Europe, Asia and North America, as well as extreme cold snaps in central Asia, have become more likely because of changes in the way air is flowing over those regions, a new study detailed in the journal Nature suggests.

The overall warming of the atmosphere that has resulted from the buildup of greenhouse gases has generally tipped the odds in favor of more extreme warm temperatures and fewer cold ones. But the way areas of high and low pressure meander around the globe can reinforce those odds, or counteract them. That leads to different patterns of temperature extremes in different places at different times.

The amount of rainfall a place gets isn't the only factor in how much water is available to it. These major urban areas show how dire the coming global freshwater shortage could get.

From May, 2014 by Robertscribbler

(Must-watch NASA presentation finding six Antarctic Glaciers in irreversible collapse.)

Generally climate change- denying RT discusses mass extinction (briefly)

The growing number of mammals, fish, reptiles and plants going extinct has many scientists concerned that the Earth is heading for a sixth “mass extinction event,” one rivaling that which killed the dinosaurs millions of years ago. Anya Parampil takes a look at the latest research on how humans could be bringing about the end of the world.

We've severely underestimated the health impacts of climate change.

So much so, in fact, that we could be on track to undo the last 50 years of gains in development and global health.

That's all according to a report published this week in the British medical journal The Lance.

Lloyd’s prepares “an exploration” of apocalyptic scenarios

Rarely does a document prepared by an insurance group read like an apocalyptic screenplay. But it does happen. In this case, Lloyds, a storied insurance market put out a report outlining the potential global meltdown that could occur if parts of the food supply chain failed.

It turns out that without food, society could go down pretty quickly. The report looks at what would happen if just three weather events (for example, drought in one area, too much rain in another, and disease in a third) threw off crop yields. 

They found that even a small reduction in the amount of crops like wheat, rice, and soybeans could lead to skyrocketing food prices, riots, declines in the stock market and political instability.

So why do insurance companies care? Because they're the ones that are betting against disaster. If something goes wrong, they're the ones that have to pay out claims.

Nothing to do with climate change, eh?

Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake is under threat. It lies around 5,000 kilometres east of Moscow and holds about one fifth of the world’s freshwater.

Illegal logging, construction and mineral mining are among the threats which some blame for the fact the water level in the lake has reached its lowest in 60 years.

Exceptional view of deep Arctic Ocean methane seeps

Deep Arctic Ocean Methane Seeps: Abundance of tube worms in the ocean floor surface imply release of methane gas from the sediments. Credit: CAGE

Close to 30,000 high definition images of the deep Arctic Ocean floor were captured on a recent research cruise. This gives us an exclusive insight into the most remote sites of natural methane release in the world.

Pacific Climate Warriors’ group aims to draw attention to climate change and protest Australia’s commitment to coal

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