Here’s an excellent new video from Peter Sinclair, contrasting the recent weather disasters in the USA with the “we’ll adapt” line recently run by ExxonMobil boss Rex Tillerson. It’s a powerful message, to which I would only add one thought: this is only the beginning.
Posts Tagged Jeff Masters
Forget the Gore Effect1, Chicago — and much of the eastern half of the continental USA — is now experiencing the Bast Effect — a record March heatwave in the Heartland of climate denial. The figures for this heatwave are truly extraordinary. Here’s Jeff Masters:
For the third consecutive day, Chicago, Illinois hit their warmest temperature on record so early in the year, going back to 1872. The mercury hit 82°F, giving the city its third consecutive day of 80°+ temperatures, smashing the old record by a month. Previously, the earliest Chicago had ever seen three consecutive 80 degree days was back on April 14 – 16, 1976.
Masters quotes the National Weather Service:
Chicago and Rockford have both broken high temperature records 3 days in a row and will likely break record highs for 5 days in a row. There is even the potential they could tie or break record highs for 6 or 7 days in a row depending on how warm temperatures get on Monday and Tuesday. It is extraordinarily rare for climate locations with 100+ year long periods of records to break records day after day after day. At the current pace… it is likely that Chicago and Rockford will not only break… but shatter their current record warmest Marches.
Joe Romm at Climate Progress has a very useful overview of the event, drawing heavily on the views of Masters and the Weather Channel’s Stu Ostro.
Even the most committed US denier can’t fail to notice midsummer weather happening in March, coming on top of a very mild winter. This is exactly the sort of extreme weather event that can drive public opinion in the direction of the need for action. It’s large, widespread and not too damaging (so far), yet undeniable. One can only hope that US politicians notice. And it might be a good idea to invite Bast to give a few talks outside Illinois…
The IPCC released the summary for policymakers of its Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) in Kampala, Uganda, on Friday (SPM, SREX site, launch presentation slides). The report concludes that globally there has been a significant decrease in cold days and nights and an overall increase in warm days and nights, that it’s likely that “anthropogenic influences” have led to warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperatures, and that heavy rainfall events are increasing in many areas. There has also been an increase in extreme coastal high water events.
The report also projects that it is “virtually certain” that increases in the frequency and magnitude of warm daily temperature extremes will continue through this century, and that there will be corresponding decreases in cold extremes. It’s also very likely that heat waves and warm spells will become more frequent and warmer. Heavy rainfall events are also expected to increase, and the proportion of rain falling in those events is likely to increase. There are also likely to be more problems from storm surges and sea level rises, an increase in droughts, and landslides in mountainous regions.
Much of the report’s content will come as little surprise to those who have been following the subject — in common with previous IPCC reports the conclusions are conservative, couched in laboriously exact language, and exclude the most recent work1 — and for me the most interesting parts are the discussions of how extreme weather events interact with human populations to create disasters. In this respect, arguing about whether an event was “caused by” or “made worse by” warming is largely irrelevant to trying to find ways to reduce the impact of current and future extremes.
See also: Jeff Masters has an interesting post going into more detail about the report’s findings, RealClimate considers the report’s discussion of tropical cyclones, plus news reporting from the BBC, Guardian, and Reuters.
Meanwhile, the usual suspects are scrabbling around looking for ways to misrepresent the report’s findings. The most egregious to date comes from Nigel Lawson’s secretly-funded “Global Warming Policy Foundation”, who pick a paragraph out of context and pretend that it shows that…
According to a preliminary report released by the IPCC, there will be no detectable influence of mankind’s influence on the Earth’s weather systems for at least thirty years, and possibly not until the end of this century.
… which is not what the report says at all!
Finally, Green.TV and WeatherUnderground have launched a new twice monthly video on current global extreme weather events. Here’s the first episode:
Definitely one to follow with interest…
- Unavoidable, given the way these things are put together.
Wet, wet, wet Jul 19Join the conversation at Hot Topic
Sunshine is pouring down on the Arctic, and the high summer melting season is well under way. This photograph from NASA’s Earth Observatory shows crew from the US Coast Guard cutter Healey collecting a supply drop canister from melt ponds on the surface of the ice in the Beaufort Sea during the current Icescape exercise. Which is a good looking way to introduce a rather serious graph…
That’s the Japanese version of the current sea ice extent as measured by satellite, and it shows that up to July 18 the ice was melting faster than in 2007 — the year that set the record for the summer minimum extent. Jeff Masters explained why July might be interesting in a post a couple of weeks ago, and today the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in the US released an update on the summer melt so far:
Arctic sea ice extent declined rapidly through the first two weeks of July, at a rate averaging nearly 120,000 square kilometers (46,000 square miles) per day. Ice extent is now tracking below the year 2007, which saw the record minimum September extent.
The next six weeks will determine whether we see a new record. The experts involved in the ARCUS “sea ice outlook” forecasting exercise are still being cautious, with only three teams in the latest round calling for a new record. But only two projections (one of them being based on a vote at µWatts) call for a higher minimum than last summer.
As ever, the best way to follow the summer melt is to visit Neven’s excellent Arctic Sea Ice Blog, and in particular his excellent single page overview of just about every graph, chart and webcam covering the region. Here’s what NOAA’s North Pole webcam was showing at the time of writing:
Whatever happens in September, there’s still lots of interest to look out for. Will the NW Passage and the Northern Route above Russia both open? (My money is on yes, and quite soon). And if I had a bet on this year’s minimum, I’d say the chances of a new record were looking pretty good. Although “good” is not the right word to use for a rapid change at one end of the planet that could have very significant consequences for the climate of the northern hemisphere. We do indeed live in interesting times…
We thought we’d try for a record short show — and failed, because once again there was just to much to talk about. We have more on Eritrean volcanoes, extreme weather over the last 18 months, a new report on the dire state of the oceans, and Stoat’s big bet. Special guest is Professor Michael Ashley from the University of New South Wales, discussing the state of play in Australia, John Cook does a rapid debunk of Bob Carter, and we have electric cars, more flow batteries and the gas we do not want to smell.
News & commentary: [0:05:00]
The eruption of Nabro in Eritrea: Earth Observatory image.
State of the oceans report – not a good read:
Sea ice bets: $10,000 on the line at Stoat.
Interview: Professor Michael Ashley of the Department of Astrophysics at the University of New South Wales [0:19:50]
Debunking the sceptic, with John Cook of Skeptical Science [0:44:50]
Bob Carter op ed, and…
Bob Carter: ’Between 2001 and 2010 global average temperature decreased by 0.05 degrees’
’…slight global cooling over the past 10 years’
The PIG is flying: Pine Island Glacier melt rate doubles.
ReFuel – An electric car-fest
Shale gas/fracking and why it isn’t any kind of solution to anything
The extraordinary sequence of extreme weather events during the last 18 months is probably the worst run of natural disasters since 1816, when a huge volcanic eruption at Mt Tambora cooled the earth enough to cause the famous “year without a summer“, according to a powerful blog post by Weather Underground founder Jeff Masters. He runs through the list, giving details of each:
- Earth’s hottest year on record
- Most extreme winter Arctic atmospheric circulation on record
- Arctic sea ice: lowest volume on record, 3rd lowest extent
- Record melting in Greenland, and a massive calving event
- Second most extreme shift from El NiÃ±o to La NiÃ±a
- Second worst coral bleaching year
- Wettest year over land
- Amazon rainforest experiences its 2nd 100-year drought in 5 years
- Global tropical cyclone activity lowest on record
- A hyperactive Atlantic hurricane season: 3rd busiest on record
- A rare tropical storm in the South Atlantic
- Strongest storm in Southwestern U.S. history
- Strongest non-coastal storm in U.S. history
- Weakest and latest-ending East Asian monsoon on record
- No monsoon depressions in India’s Southwest Monsoon for 2nd time in 134 years
- The Pakistani flood: most expensive natural disaster in Pakistan’s history
- The Russian heat wave and drought: deadliest heat wave in human history
- Record rains trigger Australia’s most expensive natural disaster in history
- Heaviest rains on record trigger Colombia’s worst flooding disaster in history
- Tennessee’s 1-in-1000 year flood kills 30, does $2.4 billion in damage
Masters argument is straightforward:
…it is highly improbable that the remarkable extreme weather events of 2010 and 2011 could have all happened in such a short period of time without some powerful climate-altering force at work. The best science we have right now maintains that human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases like CO2 are the most likely cause of such a climate-altering force.
There’s more heat accumulating in the system, and more water vapour in the atmosphere to drive weather events.
A naturally extreme year, when embedded in such a changed atmosphere, is capable of causing dramatic, unprecedented extremes like we observed during 2010 and 2011. That’s the best theory I have to explain the extreme weather events of 2010 and 2011–natural extremes of El NiÃ±o, La NiÃ±a and other natural weather patterns combined with significant shifts in atmospheric circulation and the extra heat and atmospheric moisture due to human-caused climate change to create an extraordinary period of extreme weather.
However Masters doesn’t think that this sort of weather is the new normal — at least not yet — but it does suggest where we may be heading in 20-30 years time:
…the ever-increasing amounts of heat-trapping gases humans are emitting into the air puts tremendous pressure on the climate system to shift to a new, radically different, warmer state, and the extreme weather of 2010 – 2011 suggests that the transition is already well underway.
You don’t have to be an alarmist to find that alarming.
[Update: 30/6: The Guardian turns Masters' list into a slideshow of compelling images.]
Fools rush in… May 18Join the conversation at Hot Topic
At the Heartland climate crank conference in Chicago a speaker predicts global cooling, and immediately becomes headline news for Morano and the denial echo machine. At the very same time, NOAA releases its global climate report for April, and notes that not only is April the warmest in the long term record, but that January to April is also the warmest start to any year. If you were gambling on 2010 becoming the undisputed warmest year ever, the odds just shortened considerably. As Joe Romm noted yesterday, the last 12 months is already warmer than any other 12 month period…
On the other hand, this is what Don Easterbrook thinks will happen:
Interesting graph. It might need some work, given that he seems to start all his blue lines almost 0.5ºC below where 2010 is likely to end up. I’ll bet it got warm applause from the crank crowd…
Meanwhile, Jeff Masters notes the continuing high sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic: “an eye-opening 1.46°C above average during April.” Not good news for the hurricane season…
Hat tip to Andy Revkin, first to note the delicious irony.