Bad News For Hunters and Pond Hockey Fans
My sense: most Minnesotans are enjoying this extended weather honeymoon, with flashes of September warmth showing up in early November. But not everyone.
Hunters are irritable. WCCO Radio’s Mike Max had a special weather request for duck hunting in North Dakota. “Paul, I’d like low clouds and a northwest breeze”. Yep, and I’d like a shiny new Doppler, but that isn’t going to happen either.
Praedictix meteorologist Todd Nelson wants snow for tracking during Saturday’s Deer Hunting Opener. “Would you settle for heavy frost?” I inquired, hoping to find common ground.
Few (Authentic) Cold Fronts Into Third Week of November. If we do see a white Thanksgiving it’ll be by the skin of our teeth. Latest 2-week NOAA GFS guidance shows a persistent westerly (zonal) flow with temperatures above average across most of the USA; well above normal over the western US. More chilly slaps – no prolonged, deep pool of cold air necessary to get a real snowstorm.
Boston Among US Cities Most Vulnerable to Hurricane Damage. An article at Laconia Daily Sun caught my eye; here’s an excerpt: “…According to a recent report from CoreLogic — a property information, analytics, and data provider — nearly 8 million single-family homes are at risk of storm surge damage from hurricanes, and over 31 million homes are at risk of damage from hurricane winds nationwide. These risks are disproportionately shouldered by metropolitan areas along the Eastern Seaboard and along the Gulf of Mexico. Boston is one of only two metro areas in the Northeast to rank among the areas at risk of the most damage from hurricane storm surges in the nation. Over 159,000 single-family homes are at risk of storm surge damage in the Boston area. It would cost an estimated $54 billion to repair them. A total of 1.3 million area homes are at risk of hurricane wind damage...”
Atmospheric River Storms Hit Parts of Northern and Central California. From drought to flood in the meteorological blink of an eye. Storm Water Solutions has the post; here’s the intro: “Forecasters estimate that the atmospheric river storms that hit parts of northern and central California from Oct. 23 to 26 dropped 7.6 trillion gallons of rain. According to The San Diego Tribune, little of the rain fell in greater San Diego, which has drier soil. Ultimately, the atmospheric river fell apart as it moved south. The North Pacific storm that reached the Bay area on Nov. 1, and the one expected to arrive on Nov. 3 will not move into Southern California. “The jet stream is positioned to mostly go into the Pacific Northwest and northern California right now,” said Stefani Sullivan, a forecaster at the weather service office in Rancho Bernardo, reported The San Diego Tribune. “But eventually some rain should come down here.” Yosemite Park visitors saw Horsetail Fall on El Capitan flow, although it does not usually flow at this time of year. The flow is a result of the recent severe storms that swept through the area, creating the phenomenon known as a “firefall,” reported CBS San Francisco...”
What is a “Medicane”? No, It’s not health care – think of them as mini-tropical systems that form in the Mediterranean Sea. CNN.com has more details: “…Medicanes are very much like hurricanes,” says Dr. Richard Seager of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. He told CNN that because medicanes are “geographically confined over the Mediterranean Sea and are surrounded by land” they are typically smaller than a hurricane and often dissipate quicker. We are accustomed to seeing a hurricane form over warm tropical oceans, but a medicane can evolve and even sustain itself with significantly cooler water. Hurricanes require surface water temperatures of 26°C (79°F) to form and strengthen, while medicanes have been known to form within water temperatures of only 15°C (59°F)...”
Tree Rings Show Modern Cyclones Are Rainiest in Centuries. WIRED.com has details: “...A recent study addresses this question by using tree rings to reconstruct hundreds of years of seasonal cyclone precipitation levels. The studied trees, some over 300 years old, show that precipitation extremes have been increasing by 2 to 4 millimeters per decade, resulting in a cumulative increase in rainfall of as much as 128 mm (5 inches) compared to the early 1700s. The greatest increases have occurred in the past 60 years, and recent extremes are unmatched by any prior events. Beyond establishing these reconstructed historical records, researchers are working with these data sets to improve forecasts of what this region might expect in the future...”
Weather Phobias in a Time of Severe Storms. I learned a few new weather-related phobias, thanks to a post at Greek Reporter: “…In addition to the more common weather-related phobias, there are a number of rare meteorological fears, including cryophobia, or fear of the cold, and chionophobia, or fear of snow. Kruo/Kρύο means cold in Ancient Greek, and chion/χιών refers to snow. On the opposite end of the weather spectrum, there are two phobias related to the warmer months — heliophobia and thermophobia. Heliophobes are afraid of the sun (ilios/ήλιος in Greek), and thermophobes fear warm temperatures. Thermos, or θερμός, means warmth in Greek. Fog tends to lend a creepy air to any landscape, but most people don’t fear the dew itself. Those who do, however, have homichlophobia, which stems from the Ancient Greek word for fog, omichli/ομίχλη…”
Poison in the Air. ProPublica has a detailed mapping system that shows additional pollution-related health risks in or near your zip code; here’s an excerpt: “…At the map’s intimate scale, it’s possible to see up close how a massive chemical plant near a high school in Port Neches, Texas, laces the air with benzene, an aromatic gas that can cause leukemia. Or how a manufacturing facility in New Castle, Delaware, for years blanketed a day care playground with ethylene oxide, a highly toxic chemical that can lead to lymphoma and breast cancer. Our analysis found that ethylene oxide is the biggest contributor to excess industrial cancer risk from air pollutants nationwide. Corporations across the United States, but especially in Texas and Louisiana, manufacture the colorless, odorless gas, which lingers in the air for months and is highly mutagenic, meaning it can alter DNA. In all, ProPublica identified more than a thousand hot spots of cancer-causing air. They are not equally distributed across the country…”
7 Takeaways from COP26 Day 2. Restricting methane emissions worldwide would be another big step in the right direction. CNN.com has context: “…Around 100 nations and parties have signed on to a global pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% of 2020 levels by 2030, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced in Glasgow on Tuesday. Methane, which is the main component of natural gas, is an extremely potent greenhouse gas. Invisible and odorless, it has 80 times more warming power in the near-term than carbon dioxide. Von der Leyen said cutting the methane emissions “will immediately slow down climate change.” Helen Mountford, the vice president of climate and economics at World Resources Institute, an environmental research organization, said cutting methane emissions was essential to prevent the planet from warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius, a key threshold identified by scientists…”
Will COP26 Deforestation Pledge Be Game-Changer or Broken Promise? Here’s a clip from an analysis at Thompson Reuters Foundation: “A new pledge by world leaders to halt deforestation by 2030 is likely to fail unless quickly backed by more funding, transparent monitoring and tough regulation of businesses and financiers linked to forest destruction, environmentalists warn. More than 100 global leaders late Monday pledged to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by the end of the decade, underpinned by $19 billion in public and private funds to invest in protecting and restoring forests. The commitment – made at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow – included countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo which collectively account for the majority of the world’s tropical forests. While broadly welcomed, many conservationists noted that similar zero deforestation pledges had repeatedly been made and not met by both governments and businesses. Those include the 2014 New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF), the United Nations sustainability goals and targets set by global household brands...”
One Big Reason Why COP26 Actually Matters. Perspective from TIME.com; here’s an excerpt: “…Similar to past meetings, COP26 is unlikely to yield any firm binding commitment along the lines needed to keep the 1.5°C target within reach. But it can help accelerate things in the right direction. Enough momentum to scrap coal would signal to investors that it’s time to drop the fossil fuel. A commitment to end deforestation would put pressure on companies reliant on illegal logging. Even just reiterating the 1.5°C target with any credible path to get there would signal that governments are going to go deeper and, just maybe, try everything. None of this is guaranteed, but the possibilities should make COP hard to ignore for anyone who cares about climate change.”
How to Measure Success at COP26. The author at Grist reminds us to expect momentum, not magic: “…There’s a simple reason that experts think this gathering cannot force radical change onto the world: It operates via consensus. Any single member of the 199 countries meeting in Glasgow can derail the whole process by saying, “no.” The United Nations can’t strong-arm the world’s biggest polluters, China and the United States — or even tiny Lichtenstein — into reducing emissions. Negotiators also just don’t have that much latitude even with their own governments. They can’t strike an ambitious deal to, say, shut down the oil industry, and then come home and impose that decision on their country. If Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, abruptly stopped producing fossil fuels, it would likely collapse. That helps explain why the monarchy has set a date of 2060 to go “net zero,” a decade after the widely accepted goal. Each government is limited by its own economic reality and political processes...”
Fossil Fuel Financiers Announce New Climate Finance Group: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “A new group of banks and financial firms that claims to be able to provide $100 trillion in private financing over the next thirty years to help countries hit climate targets launched at COP26 today. The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero is made up of more than 450 banks, asset managers, and insurers. However, the group includes major funders of fossil fuels, including J.P. Morgan Chase and BlackRock. “This announcement yet again ignores the biggest elephant in the room,’’ Stand.earth climate finance director Richard Brooks told the Financial Times. “We cannot keep under 1.5 degrees [warming] if financial institutions don’t stop funding coal, oil, and gas.” (FT $, Wall Street Journal $, Bloomberg $, Washington Post $)
Biden Unveils New Rules to Cut Methane From Oil and Gas Operations. The Washington Post (paywall) reports: “More than 90 countries have signed the Global Methane Pledge, which requires a 30 percent cut in methane emissions by 2030, one of the Biden administration’s priorities for the current climate summit in Glasgow. The pledge’s signatories now include six of the 10 largest methane emitters and about 45 percent of global methane emissions. The Biden administration also unveiled a sweeping set of domestic policies Tuesday to cut emissions of methane from oil and gas operations across the United States. The proposals, announced at the U.N. climate summit known as COP26, represent one of the president’s most consequential efforts so far to combat climate change...”
Climate Change: Extreme Weather Events Are The New Norm. A warmer, wetter, more volatile climate is flavoring all weather now, making the most intense events even more intense, according to BBC News: “The accompanying rise in temperatures is propelling the planet into “uncharted territory” says the report, with increasing impacts across the planet. “Extreme events are the new norm,” said WMO’s Prof Petteri Taalas. “There is mounting scientific evidence that some of these bear the footprint of human-induced climate change.” Prof Taalas detailed some of the extreme events that have been experienced around the world this year.
- It rained – rather than snowed – for the first time on record at the peak of the Greenland ice sheet
- A heat wave in Canada and adjacent parts of the USA pushed temperatures to nearly 50C in a village in British Columbia
- Death Valley, California reached 54.4C during one of multiple heat waves in the south-western USA
- Months’ worth of rainfall fell in the space of hours in an area of China
- Parts of Europe saw severe flooding, leading to dozens of casualties and billions in economic losses…”
Twitter Takes Aim at Climate Misinformation at COP26. Axios has details; here’s a clip: “…Twitter on Monday will roll out a new program designed to “pre-bunk” climate misinformation, or get ahead of false narratives about climate by exposing people to more accurate information about the crisis on its platform. The pre-bunks, which include authoritative information about topics like the science backing climate change and global warming from experts, will appear in users‘ “explore” tabs, ”search” portals, and Twitter trends lists. The company says it’s working with a range of experts globally to provide context on topics that are going to be discussed during COP26. The company will also host relevant organizations via Twitter Spaces (live conversations)…”
Extreme Greenland Ice Melt Raised Global Flood Risk: Study. Here’s an excerpt and link from Phys.org: “The 3.5 trillion tonnes of Greenland’s ice sheet that has melted over the past decade has raised global sea levels by one centimeter and is heightening worldwide flood risks, new research showed on Monday. The ice sheet atop the world’s largest island contains enough frozen water to lift oceans some six meters (20 feet) globally, and extreme melting events there have been increasing in frequency for at least 40 years. Although it is one of the most studied places on Earth by climatologists, Monday’s research is the first to use satellite data to detect Greenland ice sheet runoff. Writing in the journal Nature Communications, researchers said that Greenland’s meltwater runoff had risen by 21 percent over the past four decades…”
Historical Precedents and Feasibility of Rapid Coal and Gas Decline Required for 1.5C Target. It has been done before, but on a much smaller scale, argues a review at One Earth: “…Fast transitions to low-carbon power sources are needed, yet it is unclear whether historical precedents for such transitions exist. The most similar shifts away from fossil fuels occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, when rapidly growing Western countries replaced oil with nuclear power and coal. Other cases of rapid decline in large countries involved switching one fossil fuel to another or in post-socialist countries following the collapse of the Soviet Union. More recently, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries have been successfully replacing coal with renewables, but electricity demand growth is lower in these countries, and fossil fuel power plants are generally older. The findings from the study indicate that an unprecedented effort will be required to de-carbonize Asia’s energy sector and meet climate targets...”
There’s No Cheap Way to Deal with the Climate Crisis. ProPublica talks about the need to adequately fund resilience and adaptation to a warmer, more volatile climate system: “…The bills for natural disasters and droughts and power outages are already pouring in. Within a few decades, the total bill will be astronomical, as energy debts surge, global migration swells and industrial upheaval follows. The scale of the threat demands a new way of thinking about spending. Past budgets can no longer guide how governments spend money in the future. Some economists and climate scientists have calculated that climate change could cost the United States the equivalent of nearly 4% of its gross domestic product a year by 2100. Four percent is likely a conservative estimate; it leaves out consequential costs like damages from drought and climate migration. It assumes the United States and other nations eventually move away from energy generated by oil, coal and natural gas, though not as immediately as many say is needed…”
Climate Deniers Shift Tactics to “Inactivism”. A post at Scientific American interviewing Dr. Michael E. Mann explains: “...I use whole bunch of “D” words to describe this: deflection, delay, division, despair mongering, doomism. To start with, there is an effort to deflect attention away from systemic solutions. They are trying to convince people that climate change is not the result of their corporate policies but of our own individual actions. I mean BP [a multinational oil and gas company headquartered in London] was instrumental in the whole idea of a carbon footprint. They introduced the carbon footprint calculator to help get people to think of this as an individual-responsibility issue…”
40 Years Ago Scientists Predicted Climate Change. They Were Right. Here’s an excerpt from Sci Physics: “Forty years ago, a group of climate scientists sat down at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts for the first meeting of the “Ad Hoc Group on Carbon Dioxide and Climate”. It led to the preparation of what became known as the Charney Report – the first comprehensive assessment of global climate change due to carbon dioxide. It doesn’t sound as impressive as landing on the Moon, and there certainly weren’t millions waiting with bated breath for the deliberations of the meeting. But the Charney Report is an exemplar of good science, and the success of its predictions over the past 40 years has firmly established the science of global warming...”