This will be my last “Climate” thread before Christmas (although I will be posting an “Economic” one tomorrow), as we must hit the road, Griswolds-style, and visit family. I’ll be back with with a new thread on the 30th December.
I had a vague notion, as I lay in bed this morning, of putting together a bit of an annual recap but I quickly realised that it is actually a challenge, probably an impossible one, to find a corner of the planet that hasn’t generated some eye-popping statistic this year. It would take me longer than I have to do even a moderately thorough one.
Europe had its worst drought in 500 years with a heatwave that pushed the UK over 40C for the first time on record. China’s heatwave was the most intense and prolonged we have yet seen anywhere. Central/NW India and Pakistan had an unprecedented spring heatwave. The latter then experienced a mind-boggling summer of floods, as did vast swathes of sub-Saharan Africa. Australia’s rainfall likewise smashed records…
So many heat records, both land and marine, have fallen in what is supposed to be a cooler La Nina year. The prospect of an El Nino in 2023 is concerning, to say the least, in that context. The odds for that currently seem to be in the 50/50 ballpark… So, I’ll just keep keeping track, as best I can, of the evidence that the climate is increasingly destabilised and tilting to extremes.
In the meantime, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas/Holidays; I send cyber-hugs to anyone who has donated or subscribed; and, if you happen to be in the large areas of the States and Canada about to be enveloped by a blast of Arctic air, I hope you manage to keep warm!
Forest Fires in Argentine Tierra Del Fuego the Worst Ever:“
“Authorities in the Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego Friday confirmed that over 10,000 hectares of land have already been consumed by forest fires, making the current episode the largest such catastrophe in the history of the province.”
Rural producers concerned about the effects of the heat wave [Argentina]…“
“The problems for the Mendoza countryside accumulate. To the consequences of late frosts and hail are now added the effects of a historic heat wave whose damage gives its first signs. Many crops are being affected by high temperatures, low rainfall and water scarcity that is already a constant.”
Disaster scenarios raise the stakes for Colorado River negotiations.“
“The water managers responsible for divvying up the Colorado River’s dwindling supply are painting a bleak portrait of a river in crisis, warning that unprecedented shortages could be coming to farms and cities in the West and that old rules governing how water is shared will have to change.”
A ship that sank mysteriously 86 years ago has resurfaced as Utah’s Great Salt Lake continues to dry up… Water levels in Utah’s Great Salt Lake have reached historic lows…“
“The receding water of the lake, which has shrunk to about half its size according to ABC4, has exposed the intact hull of the W.E. Marsh No. 4. According to the Utah Department of Natural Resources, the ship was originally part of the Southern Pacific Railroad fleet…”
How states across the West are using cloud seeding to make it rain. “
“Whenever there’s a big storm in the American West, pilots are likely flying into the eye, seeding clouds with a substance called silver iodide… It’s no cure for drought, but cloud seeding can be an important water management tool… Experts say cloud seeding generally yields a 5% to 15% increase in precipitation.”
Canada’s polar-bear capital Churchill warms too fast for bears.“
“In Churchill’s frozen Hudson Bay, bears use the sea-ice as a platform to hunt seals. But the sea-ice-free season in this part of the Canadian Arctic is lengthening, leaving bears unable to hunt for long periods… The polar-bear capital of the world is simply getting too warm for polar bears.”
Attu: Climate change and Inuit resilience in the Arctic…“
“In recent years, they’ve seen a decline in fish such as the Atlantic cod, and are having to go further out into the water to be able to catch enough of them. They’re also seeing more musk ox on reindeer migration paths, which wasn’t as common an occurrence before. That shows migration paths are changing, because the two animals don’t get along well.”
On 17th December the Summit Camp (3200m above-sea-level) in the Greenland Plateau finally touched -50C [-58F] for the first time this season.“
“It had never happened that late, and it’s even more incredible that Siberia reached -60C before Summit had reached -50C.”
The Iceland capital Reykjavík was finally covered by snow for the first time this season.“
“We have to go back to 1933 to find a later date of its first snow covering. Let’s not forget November 2022 was the warmest on records in Iceland.”
Heavy snowfall descended on the Russian capital on Sunday, disrupting traffic, delaying flights and leaving pavements buried with snow.“
“In parts of Moscow, snow piled into mounds over 30 centimetres (12 inches) high, something not usually observed until the end of winter in February, the Fobos weather centre said. The last time a similar depth of snow was recorded in Moscow in mid-December was in 1989 and in 1993…”
Cold snap gives way to great thaw as homes are flooded by burst pipes.“
“Britain has seen a swing of almost 30 degrees celsius in less than a week, as the country defrosted from a record-low of -15.7C in Scotland on Tuesday to widespread mid-teen temperatures on Monday.”
[UK] Household water connections will need to be turned off “for weeks” on end and widespread rationing introduced as summers get hotter, according to the country’s biggest supplier.“
“Thames Water, which has faced a barrage of criticism for leaks and dumping sewage in seas and rivers, raised the spectre of widespread outages as droughts become more common during the summer.”
Earthworms may have declined by a third in UK [over the past 25 years], study reveals.“
“Earthworms are vital for the healthy soil that underpins all ecosystems and scientists said a large decline would sit alongside concerns about “insectaggedon” and the global destruction of wildlife.”
Drought, extreme heat, major fires: 2022 pulverizes all records [Spain]…“
“Records of hectares burned by macrofires, reservoirs at minimum water levels, the hottest summer since 1961: climatic anomalies pulverize all records in 2022 in Spain leading to cascading impacts, increasingly frequent and difficult to manage.”
Mediterranean Warm Spell: More December Records…“
“Libya: Zuara 32.0C [89.6F]; Italy: Torregrotta 30.2C (0.7C from December European record), Stromboli Island 24.2C, Trapani 23.8C; HOTTEST DECEMBER DAY EVER FOR ALBANIA: Vlora 25.6C [78.1F]; Romania: Sibiu 20.1C.”
Death toll after Congo capital floods rises to 169, U.N. says…“
“Heavy downpour caused floods and landslides from Monday night through early Tuesday, levelling at least 280 houses in Kinshasa’s Mont-Ngafula district and a large stretch of Congo’s main national highway, according to U.N. estimates.”
South Africa: Drought-Stricken Nelson Mandela Bay Flooded…“
“In June, Nelson Mandela Bay was a mere three days away from Day Zero of no water. No significant dam-filling rain had fallen in the metro in six years… Although these downpours may have seemed significant, SAWS’ weather guru Garth Sampson says to alleviate the current water crisis, a lot more rain is required.”
Zimbabwe starts cloud seeding to augment rainfall…“
“Zimbabwe has over the years experienced floods and droughts with a devastating impact on lives and livelihoods. The country now faces severe power shortages, which have been worsened by low water levels at its major hydropower plant at Kariba Power Station.”
Thousands of Kenyans are facing starvation following a drought that has ravaged 10 out of the 47 counties. Already, the government has declared the drought a national disaster.“
“Mostly affected are rural women struggling to feed their families and make ends meet. Matters have been made worse by human-wildlife conflict in worst-hit counties of Laikipia, Taita Taveta, and Kajiado hit hardest.”
[Pakistan] Flood-hit farmers demand increase in assistance…“
“Rejecting the government’s relief package of Rs10,000 per acre, the flood-affected farmers have demanded increase in the compensation amount and provision of free agriculture products… The farmers also demanded supply of agricultural products to make their lands re-cultivable.”
More on Sri Lanka: Last week a depression from the Bay of Bengala moved W to India.“
“During its passage,heavy rains and low temperatures were recorded in Sri Lanka, especially in the NE Coast, Trincomalee dropped to 16.5C [61.7F], a new historic lowest temperature, beating its record set in 1947.”
Spooked by a historic drought, local authorities in China have renewed controversial plans to dam the country’s biggest freshwater lake.“
“But environmentalists warn damming Poyang Lake, a winter stopover for over half a million birds, would threaten the fragile ecosystem and the endangered birds and other wildlife it supports.”
Ximaoshan (“西帽山) station in Yilan, Taiwan has scored an annual precipitation amount of 11517mm (453.43in) as of 3am today.
“This beats the previous record of 11516mm in mainland China in 1974 (士林大油), and is only 200mm shy of the East Asia record of 11718mm (in Yakushima).”
Torrential rains have led to flooding in eight regions in Thailand leaving more than 15,000 households displaced.“
“The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, in a statement, listed the affected regions as Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Yala, Songkhla, Narathiwat, and Pattani in southern Thailand as well as Amnat Charoen (northeast) and Chanthaburi (east).”
Victoria floods [Australia]: Roads ravaged by floods and councils left without funds to fix them.“
“Widespread wet weather has created havoc on the state’s roads and rail networks and left many councils unable to foot the repair bill… Bendigo recorded its wettest ever October with 239.6 millimetres [9.5 inches] of rain and the wet weather has devastated roads.”
Climate change is fuelling a global cholera upsurge, the WHO said Friday, warning the situation was compounded by vaccine shortages and will only worsen unless it is stamped out soon.“
“The World Health Organization is responding to cholera outbreaks in 29 countries, including Haiti, which has more than 1,200 confirmed cases, more than 14,000 suspected cases and more than 280 reported deaths.”
And, I’ll end on an upbeat note, for whatever it may be worth: “Cop15: historic deal struck to halt biodiversity loss by 2030.
“Governments appear to have signed a once-in-a-decade deal to halt the destruction of Earth’s ecosystems, but the agreement seems to have been forced through by the Chinese president, ignoring the objections of some African states.”
You can read the previous “Climate” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with an “Economic” thread.
If you found value in this content, please help me continue this work by becoming a patron of my work via Patreon. And if you are already a subscriber or have donated – thank you! It is an enormous help as the cost-of-living crisis ratchets up here in the UK.