Following on from an unprecedented heatwave and unprecedented bushfires:
“Cyclone Owen will “wreak havoc” across Queensland, with remote communities braced for 280km/h winds and much of the state on flood alert, the premier has said.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state had done all it can to be ready for Owen, which is expected to hit as a severe category-four storm late on Friday or early on Saturday.
“The latest modelling on Friday suggested Owen would make landfall south of Kowanyama, on Cape York peninsula’s east coast.
“Flooding was also expected in other parts of Queensland, with Owen expected to dump as much as 400mm of rain on some areas in coming days…
“In central Queensland, there were concerns about possible landslides if heavy rain fell over vast tracts of land denuded by bushfires.
““We’ve just been through horrendous bushfires and now we’re dealing with a … cyclone,” Palaszczuk told the Seven network on Friday. “Owen will wreak havoc across our state and come down the east coast.””
“A thunderstorm sweeping across Melbourne on Friday caused widespread flash-flooding prompting numerous calls for assistance. Sydneysiders were also dealing with traffic chaos as residents along the length of the New South Wales coast were being told to prepare for heavy rainfall, damaging winds and large hailstones… Dungong in the Hunter region received 40mm in just 30 minutes during the afternoon as heavy rains drenched much of NSW.”
“A deep depression in the Bay of Bengal is expected to develop into a tropical cyclone in the next 24 hours and threaten parts of eastern India this weekend. People in areas from Chirala to Visakhapatnam and Puri should closely monitor the development and track of this strengthening depression.”
“The consequences for the Middle East were spelled out in one of the 6,000 scientific papers referenced in the IPCC report, published originally in the journal Nature Climate Change in 2016. Under the “business-as-usual scenario of future greenhouse gas concentrations”, it concluded, the environment in and around the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea and the Arabian Sea would come to “exceed a threshold for human adaptability”.
“Life in… the UAE and the entire GCC area, would no longer be supportable.”
“World water supplies are drying up and research at the University of NSW shows evidence that drought-like conditions are becoming more commonplace and Jim Macdonald told Michael Condon farmers can’t adapt much more.”
“Lead author Jascha Lehmann told the Thomson Reuters Foundation the researchers had been “a little bit surprised by the very strong signal” on drying in Africa.
“The findings suggest efforts to cut planet-warming emissions faster are crucial, he said, as “there are limits” to how much people can adapt if drought continues to worsen in the Sahel, a semi-arid zone that lies south of the Sahara desert.”
“Alaska is warming at twice the rate of the global average. And as air and sea temperatures warm at record-breaking speeds, sea ice forms much more thinly and much later into the year. According to the Arctic Report Card, during the winter of 2017 and 2018 when ice historically accumulates, the Bering Sea lost a section of ice the size of Idaho. With no ice, Teller has no natural defense from increasingly intense storm surges…”
“As temperatures rise in the Arctic, permafrost, or frozen ground, is thawing. As it does, greenhouse gases trapped within it are being released into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, leading to previously underestimated problems with ocean acidification and potential mercury poisoning.
“About one quarter of the region is covered in permafrost, which is soil, sediment or rock that has been frozen for at least two years. With its retreat, the carbon that is released could contribute significantly to global warming.
“”We call it the sleeping giant of the global carbon cycle,” said Professor Örjan Gustafsson, an environmental scientist at Stockholm University in Sweden. “It’s not really accounted for in climate models.””
“Another round of heavy rain, combined with melting snow, might trigger flash flooding and additional river flooding Friday in parts of the Southeast, adding another chapter to one of the wettest years on record for some… Over the first weekend of December, up to 11 inches of rain triggered major flooding in parts of North Florida and South Georgia. Flooding reached the doors of homes in Waycross, Georgia… The end result: most of the South and Southeast can’t absorb additional heavy rain.”
“No, we don’t need anymore rain, but it’s coming anyway. “For right now, from late Thursday night through Sunday morning, you’re looking at maybe around a little over an inch for the Asheville area,” said Sandy LaCorte, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
“That will have the Asheville area flirting with the all-time record for annual precipitation… We’ve already secured the 2 spot.”
“Nearly 20 years of drought conditions combined with increased usage in those states have shrunk reservoirs and generally depleted the water supply to the point where drastic—and, very likely, painful—collective action has become immediate and vital…
“The water associated with the Colorado River supports 40 million people and irrigates millions of acres of prime agricultural land, and, right now, today, all of that is in desperate shape, and there is no time remaining for dilatory measures.”
“Extreme weather has cost insurers over $220 million this year – the second highest payout on record since 1969. The staggering cost comes with a warning that New Zealand needs to be better prepared to cope with the increasing frequency and intensity of storms. It’s one thing to hear about climate change, but it’s another thing to see it. In 2018 New Zealand has seen climate change in action – with tornados, cyclones, heavy rain and gale force winds pummelling all corners of the country.”
“A severe cyclone expected to hit Queensland on Friday could also spark flooding and landslides in other parts of the state. Queensland is still recovering from its recent bushfire crisis but is once again on emergency footing as Cyclone Owen builds in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The category three storm is expected to grow into a destructive category four before it crosses the Queensland coast on Friday.”
“Seventeen people have been rescued by helicopter and 100 people are stranded in their cars on a flooded Hume Highway in northeast Victoria.
“With more than a month’s worth of rain already fallen across parts of northeast Victoria as wild weather rages across the state, authorities say some people have not heeded warnings about driving into floodwaters.”
“Adelaide has shivered through its coldest December day since 1968, with the mercury barely climbing above 16C. From a high of 35C on Wednesday, the maximum temperature at the West Tce weather station came crashing down to a chilly 16.4C at 9am, and from there, it only got colder across the state.”
“Gauteng residents must brace for yet another scorching day on Thursday as temperatures could reach 34°C in Johannesburg, 35°C in Vereeniging, while Pretoria could reach a maximum of 37°C, the South African Weather Service said.
“The province has been in the grip of a heatwave since the beginning of the Spring/Summer season in South Africa.”
“Tamil Nadu is set to hit by another cyclonic storm, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned. This would be the second storm to hit the southern state of India within a period of 30 days.
“Last month, around 12 districts of Tamil Nadu were severely hit by cyclone Gaja that claimed lives of as many as 46 people apart from causing widespread damage to property and livestock.”
“Snowy mountain winters are being “squeezed” by climate change, according to scientists in California.
“Researchers who studied the winter snowfall in the mountains there revealed that rising temperatures are reducing the period during which snow is on the ground in the mountains – snow that millions rely on for their fresh water.”
“Persistent warming in the Arctic is pushing the region into “uncharted territory” and increasingly affecting the continental United States, scientists said Tuesday.
““We’re seeing this continued increase of warmth pervading across the entire Arctic system,” said Emily Osborne, an official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who presented the agency’s annual assessment of the state of the region, the “Arctic Report Card.”
“The Arctic has been warmer over the last five years than at any time since records began in 1900, the report found, and the region is warming at twice the rate as the rest of the planet.
“Dr. Osborne, the lead editor of the report and manager of NOAA’s Arctic Research Program, said the Arctic was undergoing its “most unprecedented transition in human history.””
“NOAA has released its annual report card on the Arctic, highlighting that the region experienced the second-warmest air temperatures ever recorded [in 2018]; the second-lowest overall sea-ice coverage; the lowest recorded winter ice in the Bering Sea…
“…and earlier plankton blooms due to early melting of sea ice in the Bering Sea.”
“…the populations of reindeer, a.k.a. caribou, near the North Pole have been declining dramatically in recent years. Since the mid-1990s, the size of reindeer and caribou herds has declined by 56 percent.
“That’s a drop from an estimated 4.7 million animals to 2.1 million, a loss of 2.6 million.”
“Regional temperatures are a big deal because Y-K Delta residents can only travel to other villages by water or by plane. In the past the river usually froze thick enough before December to allow for an ice road, but that hasn’t been the case for the last couple of years. 2017 was the warmest December on record for Alaska, and this year is still not cold enough to for thick ice to build up on the river. Bethel has substantial weather data from the airport dating back to the 1920s.”
“Precipitation was just 44 percent of average July through October in Ketchikan. Average precipitation in that time is 49.39 inches, but Ketchikan fell well short of that mark with 22.08 inches. Southeast Alaska was also classified as abnormally dry or moderate drought in much of the first half of 2018, so the dryness has even longer-term roots. The drought had major impacts in late-September, according to a drought monitor report.”
“Hannele Arvonen, the owner of one of Sweden’s largest lumber yards, is spending the winter months planning for a new and unexpected threat to her business: regular wildfires raging just south of the Arctic Circle. Her business, Setra Group AB, had a tense summer as firefighters fought back fires raging through Sweden’s densely-forested Gaevleborg region during a drought that lasted months. Workers there are still painstakingly trying to recover sellable wood from the charred remains of tree stumps.”
“Richard Oswald did not need the latest US government report on the creeping toll of climate change to tell him that farming in the Midwest is facing a grim future, and very likely changing forever. For Oswald, the moment of realisation came in 2011…”
““When I was a kid, my dad would say an inch of rain was a good rain. That’s just what we needed. Now we get four inches, five inches, six inches in one sustained wet spell that lasts two or three days. I don’t ever remember that as a boy. I’ve never seen the sustained wetness in the land that we have now. Even though the river hasn’t gone on the land it’s raised the water table so that the rains that we’ve had this fall, which have been unusually heavy, make it muddy. Continually muddy,” he said.”
“Ge Chili,director of the Russian-Chinese Strategic Investment Foundation…
“…tells RBC that his group has asked Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to support a Chinese plan to construct a canal to divert water from the Altay region to China, a move that if Medvedev agrees seems certain to infuriate Russians and Siberians alike.”
“Providing water for drinking, irrigation and power, glaciers in the world’s highest mountains are a lifeline for more than a billion people.
“As climate change takes a grip and glaciers lose mass, one might think that, lubricated by more meltwater, they flow more quickly. However, satellite images from over the last 30 years show that it isn’t as simple as that.”
“Japan on Wednesday selected the Chinese character for “disaster” as its “defining symbol” for 2018, a year that saw the country hit by deadly floods, earthquakes and storms.
“Japanese TV stations broadcast the annual announcement live, with Seihan Mori, master of the ancient Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto, writing the character on a huge white panel with an ink-soaked calligraphy brush.”
“The muggy, showery weather is set to continue for the next couple of days after Rotorua [NZ] experienced its hottest December day on record this week. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research said the temperature reached 28.4C on Monday to become the warmest December day on record for the town.”
“Well, no surprises there because the Top End capital has just sweltered through its hottest ever night on record. In a message on social media this morning the Bureau of Meteorology (Northern Territory, Australia) posted: “This will not be a false alarm. Since 9am Tues morning, the temperature at Darwin Airport has not dropped below 30C, breaking the previous record of 29.7C”.”
“A tropical cyclone will hit Queensland this weekend, and rain and flooding will affect New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania as extreme weather sweeps over nearly all of eastern Australia.
“The Bureau of Meteorology has declared two simultaneous extreme weather systems on the east coast – a rare event that will create thunderstorms from Queensland to Tasmania.”
“Antarctic fauna could be in danger due to pathogens humans spread in the southern ocean, according to a study… The new study, which detected bacteria from humans in the genus Salmonella and Campylobacter in Antarctic and subantarctic marine birds, reveals the fragility of polar ecosystems and warns about the risk of massive deaths and extinctions of local fauna populations due to pathogens.”
“One of the unequivocal signs of climate change is actually the occurrence of heat waves that extend over longer than usual periods of time. The intense heat episodes observed over northwest Europe this past summer was a result of heat accumulation during a two month period. A weak displaced jet stream had a lot to do with the heat pattern observed, and scientists have associated this extreme event directly with climate change.”
“If it seems as if Houston is getting wetter, you’re not imagining things. The nation’s fourth-largest city found itself under multiple flash-flood warnings Friday night as an early winter storm doused Harris County with up to a half-foot of rain.
“The suburb of El Lago saw 6.56 inches within 24 hours. That’s Houston’s single-greatest one-day rain total since Hurricane Harvey struck in August last year. Friday was also the second-wettest December day on record at the airport, where bookkeeping dates to 1969. In one day, more rain came down than is normal for the entire month in Houston.”
“It’s been an above average year for rainfall across the state, but especially on the Big Island… West Hawaii Today reports that the Hilo International Airport recorded a rainfall total of 165 inches for first 11 months of 2018, which is a 43 percent increase from the average rainfall.
“Hilo is on pace to have its second or third wettest year by the end of December. Hurricane Lane dropped the most rain in August, which brought catastrophic flooding. The storm released as much as 50 inches of rain in some spots.”
“Heavy rainfall has left three dams in Duhok province on the brink of collapse, according to local officials, who say the government is ignoring their pleas for help.
“Meanwhile, Darbandikhan’s hydroelectric dam near Halabja has vastly increased its power generating capacity. Since last week, the Kurdistan Region has seen extremely heavy rain leading to flash flooding…”
“At least eight people have died and two others are missing as heavy downpours flood thousands of houses in central Vietnam. An extreme northeast monsoon dumping huge amounts of rain on central Vietnam since Saturday has triggered severe flooding in Da Nang City and many provinces… Da Nang has suffered heavy damage after the heaviest rainfall on record inundated 2,550 houses and flooded several downtown streets.”
“incredibly rare phenomenon of “ice hair” has been discovered in a Scottish wood, as temperatures plummet across the country.
“Delicate strands of “hair” are formed only when certain environmental conditions are present and a certain fungi is in the area. But one eagle-eyed photographer has managed to capture the fine and lace-like ice crystals…”
“While the Arctic sea ice is growing faster and higher during the winter months, it is more than offset by the melting in the summer months. So what we’ve seen is that the increased rate of sea ice growth in the winter helps to mitigate the melting during the summer. However, ultimately the warming summer temperatures continue to overall reduce the extent of sea ice… the seemingly inevitable ice-free Arctic will win out in the end, adds NASA.”
“NASA says it has detected the first signs of significant melting in a swathe of glaciers in East Antarctica.
“The region has long been considered stable and unaffected by some of the more dramatic changes occurring elsewhere on the continent. But satellites have now shown that ice streams running into the ocean along one-eighth of the eastern coastline have thinned and sped up.”
“If we continue our current level of greenhouse gas emissions — what some would say is a “business as usual” scenario — the overall global climate in 2030 will most closely resemble the overall climate of the mid-Pliocene period, Burke said.
“What did Earth look like then? Annual temperatures on average were about 2 to 4 degrees Celsius warmer than today, there was little permanent ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere, and the sea level was about 20 meters higher.”
“The central coast [of Vietnam] is experiencing heavy downpours and severe flooding, with Da Nang receiving the worst rainfall in history…
“The rainfall in Da Nang in the last 24 hours since 7 p.m. Saturday is about 635 mm [25 inches], the heaviest since archives were first available in 1975. Rainfall of 180 mm a day is considered heavy.”
“Temperatures dipped below 5 degrees in central Tokyo for the first time this season on Dec. 10, less than a week after various areas across Japan basked under record-setting heat… The mercury plunged to a bone-numbing minus 22.3 degrees in Nakashibetsu, Hokkaido, the lowest temperature in Japan on Dec. 10, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.”
“Parts of North Queensland have been drenched by ex-tropical cyclone Owen, with more than 200mm already falling in some areas since Sunday morning and the worst still to come. Wallaman has recorded 209mm of rain from 9am Sunday to 9am Monday, with the rain still bucketing down…”
“When Michelle Ready first moved to the cane farm she owns with her husband in Queensland nine years ago, it sounded like a jungle at night. “It was lush and green and wet,” she says. A week after a “frightening” fire ripped across their property in Finch Hatton, a small township in the subtropical region of Mackay, better known for its humid, rain-drenched summers, it’s obvious that things have changed.
““It has been unbelievably dry here … the last few years we’re just not getting the rain and then, when we do, it’s often associated with a cyclone.””
“As summer approaches, scientists are trying to predict whether sea temperatures around New Zealand will reach the record levels they did last year… New Zealand recorded its hottest January on record this year, and a Tasman Sea marine heatwave is said to have played a large part.”
“A powerful winter storm that struck the U.S. Southeast over the weekend killed at least one motorist, left more than 385,000 customers without power and forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights on Sunday.
“A winter storm warning remained in effect for most of North Carolina, Virginia and southern West Virginia as at least an additional 2 inches of snow and sleet were expected to fall overnight and into Monday after more than a foot of snow fell over the weekend.”
“The rainfall that doused Austin [Texas] on Friday shattered December records, with more rain falling in a single day than is typically recorded the entire month, according to the National Weather Service.”
“We already know that 2018 will go down in the books as the wettest year on record in Wilmington, North Carolina. The reigon is closing in on 100 inches of rain this year. The previous record of 83.65 inches was set back in 1877…”
“From three new cores and one existing one, they were able to compile a detailed history of surface melt events going back over 350 years. After analyzing the cores and identifying the timing and thickness of all the melt refreeze layers, they started by comparing those results to the available observations for recent years. That confirmed that their method was accurately tracking surface melt events.
“Their record shows that the melting over the last two decades is well outside the range of natural variability. In fact, it produces yet another hockey-stick shaped graph.”
“Early compilations of 2018’s data indicate that this year will likely become the fourth warmest on record, and the developing El Niño event is increasing the odds that 2019 will be the hottest year that human life has ever experienced.”
“Another storm system unleashed deadly flooding on parts of the Middle East this week, and more rain is on the way. The slow-moving storm has dumped heavy rain on areas from Turkey and Cyprus to Saudi Arabia and Iran in recent days.
“The flooding turned deadly on Thursday when four people were killed after their car was swept away in flood waters in Cyprus…”
“Wheat and opium farmer Murad Khan Ishaqzai, 80, has never seen a drought as bad as the one ravaging western Afghanistan where more than 250,000 people have been forced to abandon their homes. After his crops dried up in Gormach district of Badghis province earlier this year, Ishaqzai rented a truck and drove his family hundreds of kilometres through Taliban-infested areas to the neighbouring province of Herat. There, he and his family of seven took refuge in a squalid camp…”
“For around three weeks, four-year-old Anushree has been living in a high school on Santhanam Street in Thalaignayiru, a town in Tamil Nadu’s Nagapattinam district. “I cannot go home, it is broken,” she said.
“For most residents of Nagapattinam’s Vedaranyam block – where Cyclone Gaja made landfall on November 15 – the immediate crisis is shelter and housing.”
“Dr Ummenhofer discovered the Indian Ocean Dipole was an even bigger factor than El Nino in driving long-term Australian droughts…
“In its summer outlook the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said the IOD is currently dominating Australia’s weather and climate patterns. This comes after Australia experienced its driest September on record.”
“Drought-affected graziers desperate to feed their livestock have taken the unprecedented step of importing molasses all the way from Vietnam.
“The sugarcane by-product is a feed supplement that graziers in the region rely on to sustain their livestock during dry periods. Due to the shortage of Australian molasses, graziers and suppliers have had to turn internationally for supplies.”
“Disasters and nasty weather shut down portions of several California highways Thursday, according to officials. A mudslide and flooding closed a 10-mile stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway, aka State Route 1, in both directions from western Malibu to the Ventura County line, the California Department of Transportation said.
“The closure occurred in the vicinity of last month’s Woolsey Fire…”
“November 2018’s North America snow cover set a record for any autumn month in the satellite era.
“Last November’s average snow cover across North America was an estimated 9.77 million square miles, topping the previous November record of 9.56 million square miles in 2014, according to data from the Rutgers University Global Snow Lab.”
“Something strange is happening over much of the world — winds are slowing down.
“Average winds near the ground have been gradually decreasing by more than 25 per cent in some regions since the 1970s, based on records from weather stations across the world… Even stranger, the decline in wind speeds appears to be happening only over land, not over the oceans.”