Alaska Warmer than Alabama

On the graph above, orange and red stuff is warmer than average, “average” being defined as the average on this date between 1979 and 2000. Blue/purple stuff is colder.

On the graph above, orange and red stuff is warmer than average, “average” being defined as the average on this date between 1979 and 2000. Blue/purple stuff is colder.






















A record warm air mass has resulted in many locations tying or setting record daily temperatures  across northern Alaska the past several days.  Some long term stations have broken all-time January high temperatures…including Denali National Park and Nome…

from Climate Denial Crock of the Week

Meanwhile, in the United States Congress:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee Tuesday voted down an amendment that would have stated conclusively that climate change is occurring. … Twenty-four E&C members — all Republicans — voted against the amendment. Among them was E&C Chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who has said before that he doesn’t think climate change is caused by human activity, and Joe Barton (R-TX), who also questions humans’ role in climate change. In total, the Republicans who voted to deny climate change have accepted about $9.3 million in career contributions from the oil, gas and coal industries, according to analysis by the CAP Action War Room.

It’s Hot in Phoenix, And Getting Hotter

“Phoenix is already hot, and it’s getting hotter,” Mayor of Phoenix Greg Stanton said at panel held at the Center For American Progress (CAP) today. “We’ve had more extreme heat and longer periods of heat — each year it seems like we get a report that it was the hottest summer on record.”

Stanton speaks the truth. The city averages more than 100 days a year with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees. In 2013, 115 days hit 100 degrees. In 2011, the city set a new record for days over 110 degrees with 33. That’s over one month of the year with scorching highs. This winter has so far been warmer than average.

Stanton is in D.C. with other mayors, including Ed Lee of San Francisco at the Conference of Mayors hoping to get direct conversations with President Obama — since the elected houses of congress have been unable to get a grip on the disasters facing the country/world.

See Climate Progress for longer, useful summary.

Flooding on the Riviera and in the Islands

Reports coming from the fabulous French Riviera that massive floods have tossed over cars, flooded basements and killed at least two.  Some 4,000 homes have been left without electricity.


Automobiles Floated up to Doorstep

Automobiles Floated up to Doorstep in Hyeres, France

Though some reports use words like “historic” and “unusual” nothing I have found puts these rains and floods in context — How unusual, in size or frequency?  What conditions brought it on? Are they unusual?  Not even insurance reports yet as to cost comparison.  It seems to me that every significant weather event should have such information included so the public has half a chance to understand trends in weather, and thereby, climate.

AND, in the Philippines, already devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in November, tens of thousands have been moved from temporary shelters because of new rains and flooding.

Philippines, January 2014

Philippines, January 2014

Thank the weather devils for flooding the Riviera — at least the wealthy will get their focus on and perhaps move on those whose decision making powers have gone missing in the dark recesses of their corporeality.

Billion Dollar Weather Disasters: New Record

Weather Disasters

From Jeff Masters at  Wunderblog: [For some amazing photos, click the link and scroll down…]

Earth set a new record for billion-dollar weather disasters in 2013 with 41, said insurance broker Aon Benfield in their Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report issued this week. Despite the record number of billion-dollar disasters, weather-related natural disaster losses (excluding earthquakes) were only slightly above average in 2013, and well below what occurred in 2012. That’s because 2013 lacked a U.S. mega-disaster like Hurricane Sandy ($65 billion in damage) or the 2012 drought ($30 billion in damage.) The most expensive global disaster of 2013 was the June flood in Central Europe, which cost $22 billion. The deadliest disaster was Super Typhoon Haiyan, which killed about 8,000 people in the Philippines. Four countries set records for most expensive weather-related disaster in their history, as tabulated by EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database, and adjusted for inflation:


And 2014 is starting out with more of the same:

At least 13 people are dead and over 40,000 forced from their homes after torrential rains, which first started Tuesday, caused flooding and landslides in northern Indonesia.


DROUGHT ridge 011414
I don’t know about the rest of you but walking around in San Francisco today, January 15, is a few clicks short of terrifying.  At 73 F — and feels warmer– it is spooky, and change not to come soon.  From the San Jose Mercury News via Climate Crock is this:

As California struggles through a run of historically dry weather, most residents are looking at falling reservoir levels, dusty air and thirsty lawns.

But meteorologists have fixed their attention on the scientific phenomenon they say is to blame for the emerging drought: a vast zone of high pressure in the atmosphere off the West Coast, nearly four miles high and 2,000 miles long, so stubborn that one researcher has dubbed it the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge.”

Like a brick wall, the mass of high pressure air has been blocking Pacific winter storms from coming ashore in California, deflecting them up into Alaska and British Columbia, even delivering rain and cold weather to the East Coast. Similar high-pressure zones pop up all the time during most winters, but they usually break down, allowing rain to get through to California. This one, ominously, has anchored itself for 13 months, since December 2012, making it unprecedented in modern weather records and leaving researchers scratching their heads.

And what this means is:

Last year was the driest calendar year in recorded history in California in most cities, with records going back 160 years. The first snowpack reading in the Sierra Nevada earlier this month found a snowpack of just 20 percent of normal.

Meanwhile, major reservoirs in Shasta and Oroville are each 36 percent full, about half of normal for this time of year. San Luis Reservoir near Los Banos is 30 percent full, 42 percent of normal.

Just remember, within modern man’s sojourn on earth during the African Humid Period what we now know as the Sahara desert was a green and verdant place with several huge rivers.  The California Humid Period may be wringing out its last drops….

California Drought: Ugly

When outdoor writers feature the state of state’s drought you know it’s not good.  Tom Steinstra’s report is not good.

It seems few in government recognize what is happening out there, a full-on drought. In the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, everybody connected to the outdoors gets it.

The only ranches, farms and duck clubs that are getting water are those that have wells. Those few are worried about pumping too much ground water. Last week, I actually saw one almond orchard where a rancher was running piped water from a well into spray-type sprinklers to try to keep the trees from dying. In the middle of winter?

All the water deliveries from irrigation districts have been cut off. Some duck clubs have been high and dry all winter and have members who haven’t taken a shot.

In the San Joaquin Valley, it’s grim. Many cattle ranches have landscapes that consist of brown stubble and dirt. Ranchers are bringing in hay at tremendous expense – one at Pacheco Pass has spent $350,000 this winter trying to keep his herd – and some are selling off parts of their herds.

The Decreasing Cycle of Cold Waves

The recent cold wave that has all climate change denialists doing victory dances?

As wunderground’s weather historian Christopher C. Burt[said], “The only significant thing about the cold wave is how long it has been since a cold wave of this force has hit for some portions of the country–18 years, to be specific. Prior to 1996, cold waves of this intensity occurred pretty much every 5-10 years. In the 19th century, they occurred every year or two (since 1835).

Climate Crock of the Week

Australia Bakes In the New Year

“A heatwave that has enveloped much of Australia for the past couple weeks is reaching a breaking point, but not after first smashing temperature records.

On Thursday, parts of inland Australia reached temperatures around 50 degrees Celsius, or 122 degrees Fahrenheit, before a shifting air mass is forecast to bring weekend temperatures back to averages in the mid-30s. There were reports of temperatures as high as 54 degrees Celsius, 129 degrees Fahrenheit, in the outback on Thursday.

With this unusual heat, Australia begins 2014 in the same way it ended 2013 — hot, dry, and politically uninspired to do anything about it. Australia spent much of 2013 on track to set a new record for hottest year ever.

Think Progress

New Research Linking Ice Loss, Snow Loss, and Extreme Weather

A new study for the first time found links between the rapid loss of snow and sea ice cover in the Arctic and a recent spate of exceptional extreme heat events in North America, Europe, and Asia. The study adds to the evidence showing that the free-fall in summer sea ice extent and even sharper decline in spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is reverberating throughout the atmosphere, making extreme events more likely to occur.


From Climate Denial Crock of the Week

From Vietnam to Sardinia Rare, Extreme Weather Dislocates Thousands

Vietnam:  A storm named Podul follows Typhoon Haiyan through Vietnam.  While Haiyan did little damage outside the Philippines, Podul is saturating south central Vietnam, leading the the release of reservoir holdings to protect the dams, and thus, more flooding.

Flooding in Vietnam has killed at least 28 people since Friday, with nine others missing and nearly 80,000 displaced, state media and government reports said, after a tropical depression brought heavy rains across central areas of the country.

In Quang Ngai province, where nine people were killed and four were missing, floodwaters rose above a previous peak measured in 1999, submerging many houses, the official Thanh Nien newspaper reported. … Around 100,000 houses were submerged and nearly 80,000 people… The Guardian


Slow-moving and powerful Extratropical Storm Cleopatra (called Ruven by the Free University of Berlin) dumped prodigious rains over the Mediterranean island of Sardinia on Monday, triggering floods that have killed at least eighteen people. … Monday’s deluge was … the 3rd greatest 24-hour rainfall event for Sardinia…

Sardinia Floos 2013

The rain was generated by a slow-moving low over the warm Mediterranean, kept in place (blocked) by ridge of high pressure.  Though the latest IPCC report says that ‘ trends in blocking intensity and persistence remain uncertain,” it seems to Jeff Masters and other observers that the world has had more than its fair share in recent years, including that which triggered the catastrophic flooding in Germany and Austria in June, 2013.

…extreme summertime jet stream patterns had become twice as common during 2001 – 2012 compared to the previous 22 years. One of these extreme patterns occurred in August 2002, during Central Europe’s last 1-in-100 to 1-in-500 year flood. When the jet stream goes into one of these extreme configurations, it freezes in its tracks for weeks, resulting in an extended period of extreme heat or flooding, depending upon where the high-amplitude part of the jet stream lies. The scientists found that because human-caused global warming is causing the Arctic to heat up more than twice as rapidly as the rest of the planet, a unique resonance pattern capable of causing this behavior was resulting.

Meanwhile, back in the USA, central Illinois was blasted by some 85 separately reported tornadoes on Sunday.  Eight are reported dead.

The grand total of 572 severe weather reports (filtered to remove duplicates) for the day were the most of any day of 2013, surpassing the 538 total reports from June 13. The 85 preliminary tornado reports is also the highest for any day of 2013, surpassing the 62 reports from January 29.

 The movement out of holding shares in big coal cannot happen fast enough.