Global Sea Surface Temperatures Increase to Extraordinary +1.25 C Anomaly as El Nino Tightens Grip on Pacific

On May 22nd, 2014, global sea surface temperature anomalies spiked to an amazing +1.25 degrees Celsius above the, already warmer than normal, 1979 to 2000 average. This departure is about 1.7 degrees C above 1880 levels — an extraordinary reading that signals the world may well be entering a rapid warming phase.

SST anomaly May 22

(Global Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies per GFS Model on May 22, 2014. Image source: University of Maine.)

It is very rare that land or ocean surface temperatures spike to values above a +1 C anomaly in NOAA’s Global Forecast System model summary. Historically, both measures have slowly risen to about +.35 C above the 1979 to 2000 average and about +.8 C above 1880s values (land +1 C, ocean +.6 C). But since late April, sea surface temperatures have remained in a range of +1 C above 1979 to 2000 values — likely contributing to NOAA and NASA’s temperature indexes hitting first and second hottest in the climate record for the month. During May, ocean surface heating entrenched and expanded, progressing to a new high of +1.17 C last week. As of this week, values had exceeded +1.2 C and then rocketed on to a new extreme of +1.25 C (See Deep Ocean Warming is Coming Back to Haunt Us).

Should such trends continue, and with little more than a week left for this month, May of 2014 is likely to set a new record for global surface temperatures. And with El Nino continuing to tighten its grip on the Pacific, potentials for new all-time record high global temperatures for 2014 keep increasing.

April-2014-Global-Land-and-Ocean-Temperature-Percentiles

(NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center found that April of 2014 tied April of 2010 as the hottest in the climate record. During this month, very few regions showed cooler than average conditions for the month while broad swaths of the globe were covered in warmer than average or record warmest temperatures. It is worth noting that 2010 was also an El Nino year. Image source: NCDC.)

Regions currently showing much warmer than normal sea surface temperatures include a broad swath of extreme +1 to +4 C readings from Baja California northwest toward the Bering Sea, an expansive zone of +1 to +3 C readings from the coast of southern South America and across the Pacific Ocean to New Zealand and Australia, almost the entire far South Atlantic between the East Coast of South America and the West Coast of Africa with very hot +1 to +4 C anomalies, almost the entire sea ice edge region in the Arctic with +1 to +4 C readings including a hot spot near the Nares Strait showing extraordinary +3 to +4 C departures, and two large areas of the Equatorial Pacific — one west of New Guinea and the Solomon Islands and the other off the West Coast of South America — showing +1 to +3.5 C departures.

Significant cooler than normal areas are confined to the Northwest Pacific and a stretch of the Gulf of Mexico off Texas. Another cool zone off of Greenland is likely the result of regional surface water cooling due to ongoing and increasing glacial melt, north wind bursts pushing sea ice out of Baffin Bay, and an expanding zone of fresh surface waters flowing from West Greenland into the North Atlantic.

Overall, the global ocean surface is very, very hot, likely near or above all-time record high temperature departures.

El Nino Continues to Tighten Grip on Pacific

Trends toward El Nino continued in the Pacific with the current strong, high-temperature Kelvin Wave persisting through its upwelling phase. By May 18, +3 C or higher temperatures had reached the surface off Western South America with +4, +5 and +6 C readings only about 25-60 meters below. Upwelling from 140 East Longitude to 130 West Longitude and down-welling off the coast of South America also continued to flatten the 20 C isotherm, providing a west-to-east pathway for warm water propagation.

Kelvin Wave May 18

(May 18 Kelvin Wave Monitoring by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.)

Over the past week, Nino zones showed either maintained temperatures, very slight cooling, or surface temperature increases. The Nino 4 zone in the Central Pacific remained at +0.8 C even as the key Nino 3.4 zone in the East-Central Pacific showed slight cooling to +0.4 C. Nino 3 in the Eastern Pacific continued to warm, hitting a +0.6 C positive anomaly. Meanwhile, readings directly off the coast of South America rose to a rather high value of +1.3 C.

Trade winds remained weak or ran west-to-east along the equator. Though no strong counter-trade west winds were visible over the past seven days, numerous areas of weak west winds emerged. Overall, the trades in this large zone were confused and erratic, harried by the development of low pressure system after low pressure system along the equator.

These conditions show an ongoing trend toward an ever-more-likely El Nino by Summer-to-Fall of this year. Sea surface and near surface heat content at high to very high levels during the ‘cool’ upwelling phase of the current Kelvin Wave hint at a Pacific Ocean prepping for a strong El Nino event should favorable weather conditions continue. Extraordinary global sea surface temperature departures in the draw up to this potentially severe event show how sensitive the global system is to any El Nino type warming or movement toward a change in Pacific Ocean temperature states.

In short, global temperatures appear to be on a hair trigger to rise.

Links:

University of Maine

Climate Prediction Center

Deep Ocean Warming is Coming Back to Haunt Us

NOAA’s National Climate Data Center

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105 Comments

  1. Colorado Bob

     /  May 23, 2014

    Trillions of Plastic Pieces May Be Trapped in Arctic Ice

    Humans produced nearly 300 million tons of plastic in 2012, but where does it end up? A new study has found plastic debris in a surprising location: trapped in Arctic sea ice. As the ice melts, it could release a flood of floating plastic onto the world.

    Scientists already knew that microplastics—polymer beads, fibers, or fragments less than 5 millimeters long—can wind up in the ocean, near coastlines, or in swirling eddies such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But Rachel Obbard, a materials scientist at Dartmouth College, was shocked to find that currents had carried the stuff to the Arctic.

    http://news.sciencemag.org/earth/2014/05/trillions-plastic-pieces-may-be-trapped-arctic-ice

    Reply
  2. Mark from New England

     /  May 23, 2014

    Great update Robert.

    Question: Is that a second Kelvin wave right on the equator due north of New Zealand and to the southwest of Hawaii? And why do you suppose the south Pacific is so warm east of New Zealand?

    It’s good to see that sea surface temperatures in the vicinity of the Great Barrier Reef are near normal – for now at least.

    Reply
    • Yeah. Let’s count our blessings for now.

      The hot pool in the Western Pacific is the origin. You need a downwelling due to a weakening of trade winds or west wind back-bursts to propagate it eastward. We’re still in the cool phase. But in about 30-60 days, look for more storms near New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. This would send those 30 C + temps downward and across the Pacific through Ekman pumping action. Then you’ll see the second hot Kelvin Wave. Of course, we await weather events to send it off. But the atmosphere is certainly primed for it.

      Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  May 23, 2014

        Robert, thanks for the explanation. 2(ish) more if I may…

        How many such Kelvin waves might propagate across the Pacific in the development of a large El Nino event? Can we expect a few between now and the early-winter?

        And briefly, how does Ekman pumping action work to move the Kevin wave?

  3. Colorado Bob

     /  May 23, 2014

    Nice post , all that warm water off the coast of North America is really crazy. Then that high moves , the water transport off that hot patch will be epic .

    Reply
    • Oh, the rains for the west coast. I dread this potentially very severe storm event. Hot blocking high still holding that terrible drought in place now.

      Reply
  4. mikkel

     /  May 23, 2014

    This is incredible. I never expected to see ocean anomalies 0.5C greater than land anomalies. Do you have any idea about how often ocean temps are considerably higher than air?

    Reply
    • Usually only in the build-up to El Nino. The average of +1 or greater over 1979 to 2000 for much of May is exceptional.

      Reply
  5. Colorado Bob

     /  May 23, 2014

    :” Get ready little lady , hell is coming breakfast ”

    Lone Wati.

    Reply
  6. I shudder to think what effect the red area off the coast of Baja, Mexico will have on tropical storms there later this summer, as any storm that hits there will likely rapidly intensify, perhaps causing enough build-up in strength to bring a tropical storm or even a hurricane as far north as the US/Mexican border.

    Reply
  7. Doug

     /  May 23, 2014

    I’ve been reading your blog daily for the past few months and really like it Robert. My understanding of strong El Nino events is an increased probability of lots of rain across the southern U.S. We live in Albuquerque, New Mexico on the West slope of the Sandia mountains which form the eastern boundry of Albuquerque. Any thoughts Robert if we could be in for some epic rain events this winter? Or would you say extreme rain events might be concentrated in California? Thoughts on us being on the West side of the mountain range? Last year there was some flooding here farther down in the valley of Albuquerque. I am asking you these questions because I wonder if it might be prudent to buy flood insurance. Thanks Robert.

    Reply
    • pintada

       /  May 23, 2014

      The above link might help you. It shows that during the typical el Nino that Alberquerque is wetter than normal. Given the drought that you are suffering now, I can’t say (and I doubt that anyone can say) what that might mean IF and when the el Nino develops.

      We lived in Grants for a year or so, and so we visited Alberquerque most weekends. Now that we are retired we drive down that way when we need a break from the quiet. Any precipitation events would move across the desert and run into the Sandia’s. So, your idea that you are not in a so called “rain shadow” is correct. In fact, I think Alberquerque is a little wetter than Los Lunas which is a little south of the Sandia’s. When I think about flooding, I always wonder about those houses and businesses that are right on the river (e.g. on Alameda at the Rio Grande)

      I would look at the drainage around your place. By “look” I mean take a walk around your neighborhood looking at the slopes, and go to the county planning and zoning office and ask to see their flood maps for your area. Does the water have somewhere to go? Is your house smack in the bottom of a gully, on a hill?

      My place is on a little hill overlooking an ephemeral stream. The stream and the lowlands will flood after a good sneeze, but my house is well above the 1000 yr flood zone. Here in the desert, it is location, location, location.

      Reply
    • If the storm track emerges along its typical path, most of the southwest would be in for substantial rain. California would bear the brunt, though, with the mountains taking the edge off for leeward areas. That said, southwesterly variations in the storm track would circumvent some of the protection provided by mountains. In any case, Albuquerque isn’t a location that is very well protected.

      When the rain comes, it will likely be quite a bit more intense than is typical. So if you look at local flood maps, you may need to increase potential severity and widen the scope of typical affected areas.

      All that said, I don’t think it appropriate for me to make recommendations on flood insurance. Might be something worth looking into, though, especially if you’re on a steep hillside or located in a valley. And two more things to consider — first, a one hundred year flood is now probably closer to a ten year event; second, if this El Nino is strong, the affected areas are likely to see something well worse than 100 year floods. To be safe, might want to gauge based on the 1000 year event range.

      Reply
    • Good luck on the rain. I remember one year of living in Albuquerque when it rained once, just once. When my wife and I finally got out of New Mexico we headed North straight to Seattle.

      Reply
  8. Tom

     /  May 23, 2014

    The west and southwest of the US could use the rain, but geez Louise, not all at once! Here on the east coast in PA we had hail and torrential rain come through during the late afternoon rush hour. Perfect. Just what we need, more delays and added craziness to drive home in. In Norristown the water supply was contaminated by the huge flooding rains of a few weeks ago and restaurants have been forced to close by the Board of Health until the water situation is cleared up. Notices and tv ads explained to all residents that they need to boil their water before using it for cooking or drinking. What a mess. Too much here, not enough there.

    Thanks for the update Robert. i’m reposting it on NBL.
    Tom

    Reply
    • Unfortunately the bulk of it would run off into the ocean. Along the way it picks up houses, condos and roads. Any retention would occur in the Sierra’s as snow pack which buy a couple of years which would be very helpful, but at a cost.

      If we do get an El Nino, there will be brisk business in large tarps so they can be laid out on hillsides around houses. In 97, Laguna Nigel looked like grandmas quilt from a distance.

      Hope your water supply gets corrected and is safe again.

      Reply
    • East-west dipole — 14 months and counting.

      Reply
  9. Mark from New England

     /  May 23, 2014

    Unfrickenbelievable: “House Votes To Deny Climate Science And Ties Pentagon’s Hands On Climate Change” – House Republicans would happily lead us to our doom singing Kumbaya if they could get their way. Gerrymandering of voting districts needs to be outlawed if we’re going to regain any semblance of political sanity in the US.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/05/22/3440827/mckinley-climate-pentagon-climate-change/

    Colorado Bob – yes, I know it’s at Joe Romm’s site, but even a broken clock is right two times a day!

    Reply
    • I think there needs to be a new definition for insanity: ‘driven insane by monied fossil fuel interests.’

      Reply
      • Regarding Congress hobbling the US military, earlier I wrote:

        Might one term this “industrial” sabotage? “Aiding terrorists”, perhaps, as part of the military’s climate preparedness is to address how terrorists may take advantage of regimes that become destabilized due to severe drought and food shortages? I find it difficult to imagine that any member of the House would go to such lengths to hobble the US military, even today’s House.

        This was of course after I regained my capacity for speech.

      • Industrial sabotage is a good term for it. Corporate self interest has migrated beyond loyalty to anything other than profit. Health, human welfare, livable climates, national security, stable governments, economies built to last — there’s nothing they won’t sacrifice to the almighty god of profit.

        Extraordinarily salient comments, Timothy.

    • Don’t feel too bad, Mark. Romm’s is one of the first websites I go to each morning.

      Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  May 23, 2014

      Koch Pledge Tied to Congressional Climate Inaction – The New Yorker

      http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/07/the-kochs-and-the-action-on-global-warming.html

      Perhaps this is where the recent state action (like North Carolina and Louisiana) and the recent US House action against taking climate change into account in policy making is coming from.

      Reply
      • Absolutely. You have the usual suspects throwing wrenches in the gears — the Kochs, Heartland, ALEC and related right wing media. Unfortunately, it’s not just the Kochs, although they may well be the worst of the bad actors.

  10. John

     /  May 23, 2014

    Interesting youtube video from NOAA

    Time history of atmospheric carbon dioxide, by CIRES & NOAA

    Reply
  11. Doug

     /  May 23, 2014

    Thank you Pintada for your response. There is an arroyo just a block a way from our house that would carry water down from the mountain, So, I suppose any significant flooding would bypass us. As usual though, people down in the valley get the short end of the stick. To be honest it’s one of the reasons we chose to locate farther up in the mountains. (potential for flooding)

    Reply
  12. james cole

     /  May 23, 2014

    The deniers have made great play out of the lack of atmospheric warming in recent years. They put it down as proof that global warming theories are wrong, at least they pull it out like a knife in any discussion of global warming. Of course more sober minds know that the recent heating has been going into sea temperatures, the very thing that is now surfacing to possibly produce a record En Nino. What I understand of air temperature rise is that in comes in steps, the graphs of it show that clearly. If the past is any indication, then we are due right now for another step up the staircase of atmospheric warming. Given sea temperatures, it seems obvious that some of that heat is now heading for a dump into the atmosphere. Am I right to expect a dramatic rise in air temperatures and some major records in all time highs coming? Given all the heat stored up in the sea from our C02 and methane forcing, would we not expect the next step in the air temperatures, that people associate as being Global Warming, to be up and up in a dramatic way?
    I am unable to break through the deniers willful ignorance when I point out that the sea takes up most of the global warming effect of greenhouse gases, though I know it is willful, it still drives me crazy. Deniers don’t just expose ignorance, they expose a willful ability to ignore all the laws of physics in aid of their political goals to run protection rackets for fossil fuel producers. This year will show us real effects of global warming, lets watch and see how media handles the events, and how unwilling they will be to connect record heat and record extreme weather with global warming. Media is failing civil society very badly, not just in climate science, but in many other ways. They are abject failures and totally enslaved to the corporate elites who now control government at most all levels.
    I, for one, will be glued to this blog as the year unfolds.

    Reply
    • I view denial people as several groups.

      1) Foot Soldiers. They do not research or seek out knowledge. They parrot what they get from their chosen media, pundits and media grifters. Easily swayed, they latch onto any soundbite no matter how incorrect and repeat it. They are impervious to anything scientific or logical. They don’t profit in any manner.

      2) Grifters (term from above post, thanks for that one it fits so well). They make money by whipping up a froth. They don’t care one way or another about anything but rather profit off of the media circus they participate in. Heartland, Rush, Fox etc…. They steer the foot soldiers. They profit well, very well.

      3) Legacy Profiteers. Koch, Shell etc… They pay the Grifters and feed them ammo to make confusion and noise, and thereby steer the foot soldier by proxy. Their goal is maintaining their current business model as long as possible. Most know the truth, but want profits at all cost. Some are hedging by purchasing water rights to aquifers and other opportunities. Part of their motive is to profit further when the 5hit hits the fan (they own the water and good land for food).

      Reply
      • Mark from New England

         /  May 23, 2014

        Pardon my rudeness, but perhaps: 1. Foot Soldiers = idiots, 2. Grifters = valueless opportunists, and 3. Legacy Profiteers = evil sociopaths.

      • Mark,

        Well put.

    • We had slow warming through the late 1940s to early 1950s. At this point, warming stopped, then ever so slightly receded through the mid to late 1970s. Then warming kicked into a much higher gear than that seen during the last warming period through to 1998. Since 1998 we have had slow warming — slower than the 1979 to 1998 period.

      If we are moving toward positive PDO now, given the much higher ghg levels you mention as well as extraordinary ocean heat content, we should see a faster pace of warming than during 1979 to 1998. It’s entirely possible we hit +2 C above 1880s values by the end of any new positive PDO cycle, likely by the mid 2030s under BAU.

      As for the deniers, I will agree with Andy below and add my own metaphor for a bit of color and dark humor. We have the criminally duped, the criminal lackeys, and the insane criminal masterminds. Profit, in this context, has gotten very ugly.

      Reply
      • frunobulax718

         /  May 23, 2014

        Given that there is a 40 year lag between atmospheric carbon input and climate change output (via temperature increases), can we make assumptions about what had been happening between 1910 and the mid-1930s?

        For starters, it was around that time that railroads started to take a backseat to the automobiles and trucks as the primary means of transport in the US. [Assuming those railroad engines were primarily driven by coal, an extremely dirty fuel.]

        It was also around that time that world population growth really began to take off. TPG was relatively flat before then, but we were in the ‘knee’ of the curve back by 1910, and had begun to go vertical by the late 1930s.

        But all this is simply speculation on my part. I was wondering if anybody else had some input on this.

        [BTW, can we also assume that the environmental movement of the 1960s had an impact on this past decade using the same logic? And can we expect that the year 2020 -- the 40 year anniversary of the Conservatives rise to power (1980) -- will bring more misery as that was the year they began to slash environmental regulations?]

  13. Gerald Spezio

     /  May 23, 2014

    Determinism is always the issue.

    All behavior, including the so-called ideas used to justify the behavior, is conditioned by the natural & social environment.

    Cognitive psychology has largely succeeded in replacing the very basic scientific concept of conditioned behavior with cognitive thought processes that are posited to “cause” the behavior.

    Cognitive psychology & the spontaneous generation of all causative ideas has sent scientific psychology down the dead end road of ideation – as in the spontaneous generation of maggots.

    Everything is caused except for creative human ideas?

    Reply
  14. My favorite quote this week

    “Plot idea: 97% of the world’s scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies.”

    Reply
  15. Colorado Bob

     /  May 24, 2014

    If Sydney’s balmy late autumn feels unusual, there’s a good reason.
    If the mercury reaches at least 23 degrees on Saturday – 25 is forecast – Sydney will post its longest warm spell in records going back to 1910, says Sarah Perkins, a leading heatwave expert at the University of NSW.
    Sydney’s 25.1 degrees on Friday matched the previous longest heatwave – defined as at least three consecutive days in the warmest 10 per cent for each date – of seven days set in August 1995. Including Saturday, that burst could stretch to at least 14 days.
    ”It’s actually quite scary, especially if it lasts for two weeks – that’s incredible,” Dr Perkins said.
    ”That’s blitzing records.”
    A number of other heat records are likely to be set. Friday’s top made it 14 days in a row above 22 degrees, smashing the previous record of six such days this late in May.
    Average maximums will also beat the existing record for May – 22.7 degrees set in 1958 – said Ben Domensino, a senior meteorologist at Weatherzone.

    Read more: Link

    Reply
  16. Rather than ‘industrial sabotage’, when speaking of climate deniers, their lackeys, politicos and backers — I think we have a cancerous institutionalized industrial anarchy. Industry does as it wishes. And strong arms the politicos who officially sanctify it. Meanwhile a doltish citizenry goes along with it as though they had zero free will even in the face of self extermination. Or collectively, humanus habitus deletum.
    Oh well… victims and executioners are we.

    Reply
    • Industrial anarchy is certainly a good term for it. My general problem with narcissistic ideologies is they tend to set up fatalistic social and political situations. They remove rational decision making, problem solving and sabotage public elements that affect good outcomes.

      Reply
      • Right, and as they say at corporate McDonalds, “We do it all for you”… everything.

  17. Colorado Bob

     /  May 24, 2014

    Extreme Weather Threatens Conflict-Hit Communities in Burma, Sri Lanka

    COLOMBO/RANGOON — When Sri Lanka’s long-running civil war ended in May 2009, Murigesu Tharmalingam thought his life would finally change for the better. A paddy rice farmer from the Jaffna Peninsula in the country’s Northern Province, he felt confident that peace would bring better crops and profits.

    But in the three decades that the civil conflict raged in Sri Lanka, the country’s weather patterns changed. The rainy seasons, which had once been predictable, are now erratic and extreme, swinging wildly between heavy but short outbursts and long dry spells.

    These changes have had a telling impact on farmers in the Northern Province like Tharmalingam. He has lost three rice harvests in the last year alone – to drought, floods and an infestation of insects.

    Tharmalingam is not alone. Experts warn that tens of thousands of conflict-affected persons are being made even more vulnerable by frequent extreme weather events and lack of effective efforts to deal with climate change in countries like Sri Lanka and Burma.

    Link

    Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  May 24, 2014

    Elof Axel Carlson is a distinguished teaching professor emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Stony Brook University.

    30,000-year-old frozen virus revived from Siberian permafrost

    These pithoviruses are of interest because they suggest other viruses are probably present in dirty ice cores that can be sampled from the arctic regions, Greenland, and Antarctica.

    So far all of the giant viruses have very distinct sequences. A third or more of their genes have no true cellular counterparts. Are they remnants of an early viral origin of bacterial cells? If there are hundreds if not thousands of virus species frozen in these soils, are any of them pathogenic in humans? Did our human ancestors 10,000 or 20,000 or more years ago succumb to virus diseases that could be lethal today?

    If global warming is softening the frozen tundra, will such virus diseases emerge among the people living near the Arctic Circle or exploiting the mineral wealth of Antarctica in decades to come?

    Link

    Reply
    • Excellent article. Hundreds to thousands of viral species… Pathogen odds just got a bit higher.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  May 24, 2014

        Yes, and we’re warming up a petri dish that’s been asleep for millennia..

  19. The Link Between the Southern Ocean and Climate Change

    “Marinov explains that increased precipitation around Antarctica—a consequence of climate change—has made the ocean surface waters fresher, and thus less dense. These lighter waters are less prone to move down through the water column and mix with deeper waters.

    The researchers’ models also point to some concerning implications for the future. A handful of the models indicate that growing levels of Southern Ocean fresh water could stop convection from occurring at all by 2030, and most of the models suggest convection will slow, reducing formation of the Antarctic Bottom Waters.

    “This is worrisome,” Marinov says, “because if this is the case, we’re likely going to see less uptake of human-produced, or anthropogenic, heat and carbon dioxide by the ocean, making this a positive feedback loop for climate change.” ”

    http://www.upenn.edu/spotlights/link-between-southern-ocean-and-climate-change

    Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  May 24, 2014

    Study by USU researchers could help predict future extreme weather

    According to the research, low atmospheric pressures in the eastern U.S. and high atmospheric pressures in the west can form what is called a dipole, which is what caused the extreme weather. Dipoles occur naturally, but the USU researchers noted that they have been intensifying since the 1970s. Wang, along with the other researchers, discovered the cause to be greenhouse gasses.
    “We found that the amplification of this reach really can only be simulated when you add greenhouse gas into the atmosphere,” he said. “Otherwise it will come and go. It will be more steady.”
    Even though the dipole meant a drought for California this year, that won’t always be the case. Wang said that it could bring other extreme weather in the future instead, such as flooding.
    “This year we had this high pressure in the west and low pressure in the east, but in different years it can flip,” he said.

    http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/news/local/article_c4b0beb0-e2cb-11e3-ab72-001a4bcf6878.html

    Reply
  21. Colorado Bob

     /  May 24, 2014

    The Wallflowers and Jordan Zevon – Lawyers Guns and Money

    Reply
  22. Gerald Spezio

     /  May 24, 2014

    A plausible scenario for the near future;
    California, Nevada, & Arizona cook like a fat piece of bacon with devastating forest fires everywhere.
    El Nino cuts in & heats the whole Western cook top to boiling.
    Worse wildfires erupt.
    Much of California, Nevada, & AZ begins to look like the moon.
    Then El Nino delivers the knockout punch & comes torrential rains & monumental floods.
    This is not-at-all far fetched before the end of 2014.

    Reply
  23. As mountain snow fails and glaciers melt, Pakistan faces water threats

    http://www.trust.org/item/20140523110407-xj352/?source=fiHeadlineStory

    Reply
  24. james cole

     /  May 25, 2014

    This says a lot about California’s weather patterns for now and for food prices. “According to the USDA, reported by Reuters, conditions in California could have “large and lasting effects on U.S. fruit, vegetable, dairy and egg prices,” as the most populous U.S. state struggles through what officials are calling a catastrophic drought.”

    Reply
  25. utoutback

     /  May 25, 2014

    Slightly off topic with a philosophical comment:
    My thoughts on the story of the garden of Eden and Adam & Eve being booted are that this is a metaphor for the primate development of the Frontal lobe (or forebrain) that is related to our capacity for self-awareness, imagination & creativity. These capacities remove us from the natural world of “the animals” who act and react to environmental stimuli mostly with instinct or very basic (fight or flight) learned responses. Humans have the capacity to imagine scenarios that do not actually exist and function as if they are real. This is a great ability. It allows us to imagine the world of climate change and develop responses before the changes actually occur (proactive behavior).
    Unfortunately, the same capacity to tell ourselves stories, allows some of us to imagine a “better” world than the one we actually live in. Thus we can alter our environment to suit our needs rather than realizing that our biology is integrated with the life of the planet and we make changes at our own (and unfortunately other species) risk.
    Faced with reality, we think we can do better with our technology. Or, we develop belief systems that tell us there is another world beyond this life where things will be perfect (heaven/nirvana). Religious systems often tell us to accept the suffering of this world so we can be rewarded in the next. How many times have I heard someone say at the death of a friend/relative “they’ve gone to a better place”. It makes me want to scream. There is no “better place” than this, our Earth, our birthplace, our home.
    What we need are new belief systems that accept the temporary nature of our existence on this planet and place the Earth (our mother) in a sacred and central position. Anything we do that damages our planet is sacrilege.
    In our present civilization we are all sinners.
    Thanks for reading.

    Reply
    • Paul from NSW

       /  May 26, 2014

      Amen.
      With Einstein, I say I believe in the God of Spinoza. One that expresses itself through nature. Rather than being an atheist he preferred to maintain “an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.” That is, he was agnostic.
      But we have stopped listening to the messages. We now have the knowledge, we don’t need the messages. Because of our attitude (greed/lack of humility) bad things are going to happen.

      What is sin then?
      According to Darwin (who was also agnostic) “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.”
      If there was anybody who was going to suffer because of what our institutions are unleashing, it is the poor. Bangladesh (sea level rise), India and Pakistan (thermogeddon), farmers (climate changes), the cities poor (food shortages), South America (glacial melt) etc etc.
      I do not believe the momentum that has been established can be diverted sufficiently to avert a major catastrophy. However, I do not believe all is lost. There is scope for redemption. As Darwin said “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” The challenge we face, as those who foresee the bleak future, is whether we can proactively prepare.
      Collectively we need to start thinking about ways in which the worst case (total anarchy) can be avoided. Localized anarchy will happen, but the longer it goes on the more difficult it will be to bring on the process of healing.
      This is a huge topic, but unless it is dealt with the logistics chains will break. I know that they are only one of the huge issues that face us, but without them, any other problem solutions will not hold up over time in a hostile environment.
      Again, from Einstein “We cannot solve a problem by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Don’t be hostile to the church. We have the intellectual understanding, but they have the hearts of the masses and the infrastructure. It has been used before in history and it can be used again. I know all the problems with it, I grew up in it. But religion remains the control of the masses, if used effectively, it may just prevent the complete collapse of civilization.
      What we need is a good plan.

      Reply
  26. 193 Square mile forest fire in Alaska. The size is not unusual, however it is too early in the fire season, that is what is being viewed as out of the norm.

    “The state is experiencing unusually dry conditions because of unseasonably warm spring temperatures.”

    http://www.chron.com/news/science/article/Alaska-fire-grows-to-193-square-miles-5502863.php

    Reply
  27. Steve

     /  May 25, 2014

    Utout: There have been a lot of things said/taught/assumed that simply are not true pertaining to religious matters. As a result, many find it hard to believe the bible. Even on the basis of who God is, there are many different teachings. On the other hand is it really logical thinking to assume that God does not exist because there are many false teachings? Can someone really be comfortable with the thinking that our world simply just came to be? God tells us at 2 chronicles 16:9 that he is searching for those with a heart who want to know him. If someone really wants to know God & know the truth, then he will respond. Based on the speed that things are changing, any other good hope might soon seem to be a fantasy.

    Reply
    • Perhaps you are looking for a theology blog and got lost along the way?

      Reply
      • Steve

         /  May 26, 2014

        It’s interesting to me seeing the number of comments lately bringing spiritual comments to the table. I don’t recall seeing any in following this blog for the first year. As things are going from bad to worse, I think many more people will begin having more thoughts or ideas about life. The increase in the speed that these weather events are happening has to be really alarming to anyone who is rational.

      • Steve, I certainly don’t think that human extinction is in the deck, but what we do in the next decade or so will largely determine what sort of energy infrastructure we will have for the rest of this century, which may largely determine what sort of world we are living in for millennia. Furthermore, given the effects global warming on agriculture and ocean acidification on fish harvests, I believe we are likely to see starvation on an unprecedented scale this century. Modern civilization might hang in the balance.

        As such, I can both understand and greatly appreciate the interest that various religious communities are taking in these issues and the efforts that they are making to protect our world. But the climate community is appropriately diverse, and I have seen what kind of hostility exists in some pro-science circles to religion, even though, in my view at least, one’s religion can provide a very strong normative foundation for science. If we are to move forward it is perhaps best to respect one another’s differences of opinion, and not simply view this crisis as an opportunity to convert people to our own worldviews.

        Some discussion of religion or more secular philosophy is understandable, but whether a given blog is more open to one set of views or another is probably best left in the hands of its owner. Regardless, I would still recommend keeping discussions of this sort limited so that it is easier for all involved to recognize their common interests. Additionally, if more sectarian discussions are kept limited even in more sectarian forums their communities stand a better chance of encouraging those that do not already agree with their worldviews to look at them more closely.

        Regardless, we really do need to work together on this. There is a great deal at stake. I think everyone here can see that.

      • Steve

         /  May 26, 2014

        Tim, I definitely understand & respect that a lot of people on here don’t want to hear about religious beliefs. I didn’t bring religion into any of my comments until Robert brought up Revelation 11:18 several months ago. I still have only made a few comments and they have only been in response to other’s comments. I’ve followed this blog for probably a year and a half and the attitude that most have has understandably turned pessimistic about any hope we might have for the future. The only debate seems to be how long do we really have. I keep my tongue in my mouth when I read 98% of these comments. But at times, I do like to point out that there is hope. It is going to get much worse, but there is hope. But it isn’t going to be by man’s doing.

        When looking at how quickly things are progressing in not only weather terms, but also in the death rate of starfish, dolphins, bees, bats, moose, and many others, the reality of the situation of very dim. I personally don’t think it is going to take very long for whatever hope people have to disappear. There is no evidence that shows the world’s governments are capable of acting collectively to stop the disaster. The massive interest in digging into the Arctic & the possibility that Keystone is still on the table is ample evidence for me.

        I responded to Utout because what bothered him, is one of the things that bothers me most with religious teachings. The lie about what happens at death. Nothing makes me sadder than hearing someone telling a parent who lost a child or a child that lost a parent, that God needed another angel. Does the person who thinks they are being supportive really understand what they are implying? You think there have been lies told about what is actually taking place in the envirnoment? You probably need to multiply that by a pretty high number when calculating the number of lies that have been told about the bible & God. That being said, I do come to this blog because of how well Robert breaks down what is happening & the number of really knowledgeable posters that he has.

      • frunobulax718

         /  May 27, 2014

        Cthulhu is gonna kick our asses!

  28. Would that make him a lost soul?

    Reply
  29. Hey climate observers, have you seen this ongoing rossby wave “decapitation”?

    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/Rhavn002.html

    Alex

    Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  May 26, 2014

      Looks like most of China and southern Siberia is as warm as the US southwest. Where in Russia are you Alexander Ac? Correct me if I’m wrong and you’re somewhere else!

      Reply
      • Hello Mark,

        I am not from Russia, though my parents studied there and gave me russian first name :-)

        I am from Slovakia, Bratislava and I work in Czech Republic, Brno :)

        Alex

  30. 2014 Niño unlikely to be a strong one?

    May 2014 Climate Briefing Highlights, with Prof. Tony Barnston

    Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  May 26, 2014

      Guess we’ll have to see. And Robert will certainly keep us up to date!

      Reply
    • Thanks for the link TGI,

      once the rossby wave from the Siberia dissapears, wildfire risk in this area will increase even more. We are headed to very noisy wf season in Russia (again, after 2010 and 2012 as the most recent examples)…

      Alex

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  May 26, 2014

        In all, the Siberian Federal District has seen 4,687 forest fires on 710,300 hectares since the beginning of this wildfire season, Interfax reports.
        Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_05_26/Siberian-forest-fires-triple-within-three-days-7137/

      • 1,755,000 acres approx. And we are not even into June yet. That’s a huge amount burned so early. 2012 saw 12 million acres by end of summer.

      • Steve

         /  May 26, 2014

        Bob, Is this having much of an effect on methane emission readings yet? Are their temperatures still well above normal? We finally broke out of our long run of temperatures that have been well below normal here in the Chicago area. We ended up getting a really nasty storm that fortunately was really short last Wednesday. 70-80 mph winds, hail ranging from pea to golf ball size and my neighborhood saw about 2.5 inches of rain in 30-40 minutes. The roads were temporary turned into steady flowing streams.

  31. john byatt

     /  May 26, 2014

    OT Robert
    john byatt says:
    26 May 2014 at 2:11 AM
    What a scam that Denis Rancourt climate guy blog is with Peter Laux’s challenge for a $10000 prize to :present a conclusive argument based on empirical evidence that increasing atmospheric CO2 from fossil fuel burning drives global warming”

    My submission was simple
    1 warming is unequivocal
    2 Peter Laux’s comment in reply to me on FB ” all you have shown is that the RF for CO2 is 1.6Wm2 that does not prove that it is due to humans”
    3 the laws of physice are non debatable

    of course he refused and i was called a troll but i asked for his address and that of his lawyer so it could be tested in court, i was then blocked and peter has gone into hiding

    c’est la vie

    – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/05/unforced-variations-may-2014/comment-page-7/#comment-541002

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  May 27, 2014

      Bob, Is this having much of an effect on methane emission readings yet?

      Sorry haven’t looked lately

      Reply
    • Yeah. Been tracking this one. 30% contained as of earlier today.

      Reply
  32. Colorado Bob

     /  May 27, 2014

    Half a million evacuated as China braces for more flooding

    Flooding in southern China killed 37 people and displaced nearly half a million in the last week, according to a statement released by the Chinese government today as it prepared for worse
    Thousands were rescued from their homes in southern China as local weather bureau authorities predicted the flooding to continue over the week.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/half-a-million-evacuated-as-china-braces-for-more-flooding-9435698.html

    Reply
  33. Colorado Bob

     /  May 27, 2014

    Buried fossil soils found to be awash in carbon
    MADISON, Wis. — Soils that formed on the Earth’s surface thousands of years ago and that are now deeply buried features of vanished landscapes have been found to be rich in carbon, adding a new dimension to our planet’s carbon cycle.

    The finding, reported today (May 25, 2014) in the journal Nature Geoscience, is significant as it suggests that deep soils can contain long-buried stocks of organic carbon which could, through erosion, agriculture, deforestation, mining and other human activities, contribute to global climate change.

    “There is a lot of carbon at depths where nobody is measuring,” says Erika Marin-Spiotta, a University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor of geography and the lead author of the new study. “It was assumed that there was little carbon in deeper soils. Most studies are done in only the top 30 centimeters. Our study is showing that we are potentially grossly underestimating carbon in soils.”

    The soil studied by Marin-Spiotta and her colleagues, known as the Brady soil, formed between 15,000 and 13,500 years ago in what is now Nebraska, Kansas and other parts of the Great Plains. It lies up to six-and-a- half meters below the present-day surface and was buried by a vast accumulation of windborne dust known as loess beginning about 10,000 years ago, when the glaciers that covered much of North America began to retreat.

    The region where the Brady soil formed was not glaciated, but underwent radical change as the Northern Hemisphere’s retreating glaciers sparked an abrupt shift in climate, including changes in vegetation and a regime of wildfire that contributed to carbon sequestration as the soil was rapidly buried by accumulating loess.

    “Most of the carbon (in the Brady soil) was fire derived or black carbon,” notes Marin-Spiotta, whose team employed an array of new analytical methods, including spectroscopic and isotopic analyses, to parse the soil and its chemistry. “It looks like there was an incredible amount of fire.”

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-05/uow-bfs052214.php

    Reply
  34. Colorado Bob

     /  May 27, 2014

    Colossal peat bog discovered in Congo

    A vast peatland has been discovered in a remote part of Congo-Brazzaville.

    The bog covers an area the size of England and is thought to contain billions of tonnes of peat.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-27492949

    Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  May 27, 2014

      Yet another reason to preserve the tropical forests there and elsewhere. If the industrial and rich northern countries had a shred of compassion and forward thinking, they’d pay to preserve these forests and safeguard them from logging, etc., while preserving the rights of the indigenous peoples therein to continue living as they have for thousands of years. The recent decision by the Ecuadorian govt. to allow oil exploration is the incredibly biologically diverse Yasuni (sp?) National Park is tragic.

      Reply
  35. Colorado Bob

     /  May 27, 2014

    Alaska wildfire burns 250 square miles, 1,000 buildings evacuated

    Almost 600 firefighters are battling the blaze among rolling hills mostly covered with black spruce, Begay said. The area has been without rain for more than a month, and steady winds from the southwest are fueling the flames.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Warm and dry spring conditions have given the Alaska fire season an early start. The state Division of Forestry on Friday issued a statewide ban on outdoor burning.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/27/us-usa-alaska-wildfires-idUSKBN0E70JD20140527

    Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  May 27, 2014

      I’d like to see a study of the impacts of increasing fires in the boreal forests on the region’s wildlife. There are many species of birds and mammals (and other creatures, of course) that live only in the boreal forest. I wonder what’s happening to the Blackpoll Warblers, Gray-cheeked Thrushes, Boreal Chickadees, Great Grey Owls, Brown Bears, Pine Martens, etc. that live there. Though the forest is vast, it’s very vulnerable to climate change, as we’re seeing.

      Reply
  36. Mark from New England

     /  May 27, 2014

    Over at Arctic-News.blogspot:

    Large Falls in Arctic Sea Ice Thickness over May 2014:

    http://www.arctic-news.blogspot.com/2014/05/large-falls-in-arctic-sea-ice-thickness-over-may-2014.html

    Reply
  37. Mexicans are dealing with the same drought as their northern neighbors, but with less water

    http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-05-26/mexicans-are-dealing-same-drought-their-northern-neighbors-less-water

    Reply
    • Mark from New England

       /  May 27, 2014

      More “dry news”… Robert, a few days ago TGI posted a video of Prof. Tony Barnston stating that the factors that favor the development of a strong El Nino appear to be weakening. Is that still the case? Here’s TGI’s previous post:

      2014 Niño unlikely to be a strong one?

      May 2014 Climate Briefing Highlights, with Prof. Tony Barnston

      Reply
  1. Global Sea Surface Temperatures Increase to Extraordinary +1.25 C Anomaly as El Nino Tightens Grip on Pacific | robertscribbler | Enjeux énergies
  2. Tracking El Nino Forecasts | Climate Charts & Graphs I
  3. What about McPherson's narrative? - Page 2
  4. Climate Change Summary | Agenda: Awakening!

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