Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

28th September 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

plane flying through stormStorm Agnes: Bomb cyclone hits Ireland, UK with hurricane-force winds

Agnes, the first named storm of the winter season in the United Kingdom, is whipping Ireland, Scotland and England with hurricane-force winds.

The low-pressure system went through “explosive cyclogenesis” over the Atlantic before making landfall Wednesday, according to forecasters. U.S. meteorologists call this process “bombogenesis” – when a storm’s central pressure drops at least 24 millibars in 24 hours to become a so-called “bomb cyclone.”

Panopticon survived Storm Agnes! About his flight from Glasgow to the Hebrides he said: “Captain decided to go ahead with flight to Islay – scariest flight I’ve ever been on. Turbulence was wild and visibility was minimal. Absolutely terrifying.”


mariana agostinhoClimate change: Six young people take 32 countries to court

“What I felt was fear,” says Claudia Duarte Agostinho as she remembers the extreme heatwave and fires that ripped through Portugal in 2017 and killed more than 100 people. “The wildfires made me really anxious about what sort of future I would have.”

Claudia, 24, her brother Martim, 20, and her sister Mariana, 11, are among six young Portuguese people who have filed a lawsuit against 32 governments, including all EU member states, the UK, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and Turkey.

They accuse the countries of insufficient action over climate change and failing to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions enough to hit the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5C.


record heat southeast asiaRecord heat all over Asia

…from Indonesia (reaching early 38C) to Myanmar with 39.0C today at Shwebo (September record tied) to Nepal passing though the Koreas.

65% of countries/territories this month broke at least one monthly heat record.


electric transmission towerThe US power grid quietly survived its most brutal summer yet

Despite record power demand, the grid largely avoided blackouts. Don’t take this for granted.

Weeks of relentless heat all day and even through the night sent millions of Americans indoors where they devoured electrons as they desperately tried to cool off.

“It really has been pushing the grid into uncharted territory with these record levels of demand,” said Mark Olson, manager for reliability assessments at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a power industry nonprofit that works to keep the grid running smoothly.


students build greenhouse for grapesWildfires can make your California red taste like an ashtray. These scientists want to stop that

The U.S. West Coast produces over 90% of America’s wine, but the region is also prone to wildfires — a combustible combination that spelled disaster for the wine industry in 2020 and one that scientists are scrambling to neutralize.

Sample a good wine and you might get notes of oak or red fruit. But sip on wine made from grapes that were penetrated by smoke, and it could taste like someone dumped the contents of an ashtray into your glass.


plane flipped by windArizona’s monsoon will end as one of the hottest and driest on record. What happened?

Summer 2023 ended as the hottest on record in Phoenix, and now the 2023 monsoon season will end as the driest.

During a summer of unprecedented and prolonged heat in metro Phoenix, many people had eagerly waited for the monsoon season to begin and fend off the scorching temperatures. But aside from a few storms that offered temporary reprieves, monsoon precipitation was weeks delayed and below average.

The monsoon season officially ends on Saturday having produced fewer storms overall than previous years, especially in central and southeastern Arizona.


German wastewater treatment plantTreated wastewater against water shortages

Clean drinking water is growing scarcer all the time. To make up the shortfall, scientists are looking at whether the water we use to irrigate fields has to be of top-notch quality, or whether treated wastewater is also an option.


amazon droughtBrazil sets up task force for unprecedented drought in Amazon

Brazil’s government is preparing a task force to provide emergency assistance to inhabitants in the Amazon region hit by a severe drought that has impacted the rivers that are their life support, Environment Minister Marina Silva said.

Low river levels and hotter waters have killed masses of fish seen floating on river surfaces, contaminating the drinking water, she said.

“We have a very worrying situation. This record drought has disrupted river transport routes threatening food and water shortages, and a large fish mortality is already beginning,” she told Reuters in an interview.



australian record high temperaturesExtraordinary heat wave in #Australia, dozens of records are being pulverized with big margins.

Today 42.8C at Mandora,it’s 0.3C from national September record

Minimums up to 28.5C at Bidyadanga.

See list of records of highest Tmaxes and highest Tmins set (by Australiaweathernews)


wildfire behind housesHow Climate Change is Making it Harder Than Ever to Own a Home

Keenan, whose research largely focuses on the intersection of climate change and the built environment, has catapulted to the forefront of discussions surrounding climate migration, climate refugees, and so-called climate havens. As the United States faces increasingly catastrophic fires, extreme heat, droughts, and hurricanes, among other climate disasters, concerned residents are turning to Keenan to tell them which parts of the country might offer relief.


report on himalayan cyrosphereWater, ice, society, and ecosystems in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

Global “ice emergency” is locking in sea level rise that will put huge areas of Dhaka, Karachi, Shanghai, Mumbai underwater by 2050

Scientists warn of potentially huge rise in hazards and the release of vast amounts of carbon and methane as permafrost thaws

Major species, including Asiatic bear, wild yak, snub-nosed monkey and snow-leopards, will see significant habitat loss, and some species of amphibians and insects will be locally extinct without immediate emissions reductions

“The science is unequivocal,” said Pema Gyamtsho, Director General of ICIMOD. “We have to act now to prevent the Earth from spiralling towards a state beyond which it can no longer sustain life. With two billion people relying on waters held in these mountains for their food and water security, all of us have a huge humanitarian weight on our shoulders at this moment.”


methane molecules graphicScientists Identify Previously Unknown Sources of Methane Emissions

Numerous methane sources discovered in Hamburg

Through the project, the team succeeded in identifying numerous previously undetected methane sources in Hamburg. Along with natural sources such as the Elbe River, the largest share of emissions is caused by human activity. Around half of these emissions come from leaking gas pipelines, incomplete combustion, and other industrial and fugitive emissions.


brutal dust storm asiaBrutal dust storm sweeps across Southern Asia

According to NASA, more than two decades of low water levels in the Hamun wetlands have led to a significant increase in dust storms. This has been especially the case during the 120-day winds, strong summer winds that occur from late May to late September.

“Water levels are influenced by rainfall and the flow of the Helmand river, which runs from the Hindu Kush mountains across Afghanistan before terminating at the wetlands. More frequent drought since 1999, along with increasing upstream demands on water resources for agriculture and other uses, have amplified the drying,” said NASA.


woman walks across dried out fieldThe Roots of the Global Water Crisis

The atmosphere at this year’s UN Water Conference, which took place in New York in March, was markedly different. Instead of apathy, there was a palpable sense that the water crisis is a global problem. Today, every country in the world faces water-related challenges, underscoring our collective vulnerability as the planet’s most vital natural resource is increasingly threatened. The robust engagement of the scientific community and civil society was also instrumental in shedding light on the far-reaching consequences of this crisis.


You can read the previous “Climate” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with an “Economy” 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.

26th September 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

mass extinctionMutilation of the tree of life via mass extinction of animal genera

We are in the sixth mass extinction event. Unlike the previous five, this one is caused by the overgrowth of a single species, Homo sapiens. Although the episode is often viewed as an unusually fast (in evolutionary time) loss of species, it is much more threatening, because beyond that loss, it is causing rapid mutilation of the tree of life, where entire branches (collections of species, genera, families, and so on) and the functions they perform are being lost. It is changing the trajectory of evolution globally and destroying the conditions that make human life possible. It is an irreversible threat to the persistence of civilization and the livability of future environments for H. sapiens. Instant corrective actions are required.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS)

researchers in antarcticaReport says Antarctica witnessed world’s most intense heatwave in 2022

The world’s coldest region recorded the most intense heatwave ever last year, according to a study published last month.

In March 2022, temperatures in Eastern Antarctica spiked about 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above the monthly average, said the study “The Largest Ever Recorded Heatwave – Characteristics and Attribution of the Antarctic Heatwave of March 2022”.

In just four days, a warm mass of air from Southern Australia was able to move into East Antarctica, “probably the first time that at least it’s happened that fast”, Edward Blanchard-Wrigglesworth, author of the study, was quoted as saying by The Washington Post.


coral bleaching graphicWhat is coral bleaching? Here’s how an unprecedented ocean heat wave causes changes below

Marine heat waves spread across more than 40% of the world’s oceans this summer, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In South Florida and parts of the Caribbean, the coral bleaching began by mid-July. The warmer-than-normal conditions continued through August and into September.


air pollutionWildfires Are Killing Decades of US Clean Air Improvements

The problem isn’t limited to the West. Burke noted that the study found smoke influenced pollution levels even in the South, Midwest, and Northeast—regions where wildfires are far less common. “The influence of wildfire smoke is broad, and it is affecting populations that did not used to be affected,” Burke said. “We are seeing influence in states that basically have none of their own wildfires. They are getting affected by wildfires from thousands of miles away.”


tractor in fieldEastern Iowa crops and livestock suffer through one of the driest summers on record

Overall, 2023 ranks in the top 10 driest years for Northeast and East-Central Iowa. Linn and Benton counties each have received less than 50 percent of normal rainfall throughout the summer, marking their record-driest summers. About 80 percent of the state’s topsoil moisture levels ranked below adequate, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture Crop Progress and Condition report Monday.

“The current drought, which is approaching 170 consecutive weeks of at least moderate drought conditions somewhere in the state, has been the longest in the U.S. Drought Monitor’s nearly 24-year period of record,” said Justin Glisan, the state drought coordinator and climatologist, in a statement.


mexican field droughtDrought conditions now affect 67% of Mexican territory

Two thirds of Mexico is now in a state of drought, after a year plagued by heat waves and abnormally low levels of rainfall.

According to Mexico’s Drought Monitor, updated every two weeks by the National Meteorological Service (SMN), 67.1% of the country was experiencing some degree of  drought on September 15. This is the highest proportion for that date since the record began in 2014, and almost five times higher than the figure of 14.3% registered on the same date in 2022.


jevon's paradox comicNew technology produces water in Death Valley, but Jevon’s Paradox looms

The inconvenient truth of striving for resource efficiency is that it often results in higher consumption

However, Paniagua has concerns regarding an issue identified by British economist William Stanley Jevons two centuries ago in relation to technological solutions. Jevons noted that improving efficiency in steam engines did not lead to a decrease in coal consumption. Instead, it resulted in an increase due to the proliferation of machines. This paradox helps explain why expanding road networks often leads to more traffic. “I’m not saying that will always happen,” said Paniagua. “But having more irrigation capacity often leads to more surface area being irrigated. A friend of mine is concerned that a nuclear fusion solution to produce abundant and affordable energy could potentially be misused. Nonetheless, this should not dissuade us from our pursuit of enhancing efficiency.”

[Kind of surprising to see Jevon’s Paradox mentioned in MSM]


chile floodingState of catastrophe declared as torrential rains and unrelenting floods force more than 30,000 people to evacuate their homes

Chile has been severely affected by extreme weather conditions in recent months amid the El Niño weather pattern.

June brought flooding to Santiago, the country’s capital, leading to evacuations of citizens amid what Santiago metropolitan area governor Claudio Orego said was the “worst weather front we have had in 10 years,” per Reuters.

Now, the central-south region has seen flooding and landslides that have cut locals off from essential services and prevented access to electricity.

Meanwhile, unrelated to El Niño, the country also experienced wildfires in February that Chile’s National Forests Association said destroyed more than 741,315 acres in the south-central region.


florida rain forecastFlorida flash flood threat looms as relentless storms pummel state through the week

These won’t be your typical Florida afternoon thunderstorms. The heavy rain results from available tropical moisture getting pushed along the stalled front and raining down on Florida.

“This is not just rain. This is tropical rain, can’t-see-out-of-the-windshield rain, gotta-pull-over kind of rain,” Merwin said.


car window smashed by hail‘My family was terrified’ | Round Rock residents left with extensive damage after hailstorm

Some of the largest hailstones were the size of a baseball.

Residents in Round Rock are picking up the pieces after Sunday night’s hailstorm. The storm ripped through Central Texas, starting north of Georgetown and into South Austin, producing a swath of hail that went more than 30 miles. Some of the largest hailstones were the size of a baseball.


european heat map september 2023Europe is still with exceptionally warm conditions, except the Central Mediterranean

In the East, anomalies are extreme:#Ukraine for example is recording >30C every day with locally warm nights and Tmins 16/18C, like in mid summer

Tmins >15C next days even in Estonia



antarctic icebergsAntarctica just hit a record low in sea ice — by a lot

Sea ice extent around Arctic was the sixth lowest on record as well

Sea ice levels around Antarctica just registered a record low — and by a wide margin — as winter comes to a close, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). This significant milestone adds worry that Antarctic sea ice may be entering a state of decline brought on by climate change.

[Washington Post]


high school football gameAmerican football season is getting hotter. Young players are dying

This summer, the hottest on record in North America, teams across the US have been forced to reckon with a changing climate. High school and college teams in searing south-west states – where temperatures rarely dropped below 110F (43.3C) this summer – escaped to practise in the mountains, or by the coast. Teams took to practising at dawn, before temperatures became unsafe. Friday night games were held later in the evening, or pushed to the next morning.

And under the searing late summer sun, athletes and coaches are increasingly questioning the sport’s macho, push-past-the-pain mentality. Coaches acquired wet-bulb thermometers, which account for humidity as well as air temperature, to better measure heat stress, as well as cold immersion tubs to treat heat stroke.


view up a treeThe Benefits of Collapse Acceptance – Part 1 – Prof Jem Bendell

I have learned much from the many people who made major life changes precisely because of their recognition that we are in an era of unfolding societal collapse.

[Not news, but some valuable ideas here for how to live in these times.]


 You can read the previous “Climate” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with an “Economy” 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.

23rd September 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

billion dollar weather disastersThe true cost of extreme weather

[climate meets economy]

It’s an amount so large it’s almost impossible to comprehend. It represents the estimated tab for 371 weather and climate disasters in the US since 1980 that topped $1 billion in damage. On the list are many of the country’s most destructive tropical cyclones, droughts, and severe storms, the most recent being Hurricane Idalia.

They’re the events we can remember — and many more we likely can’t because so many more disasters have been breaking into the billion-dollar club in recent years. Decade to decade, costly extreme weather events are increasing in both frequency and intensity as greenhouse gases build up in our atmosphere.


extreme heat middle east mapThe heat is still extreme in Middle East, specially exceptional in Iraq with temperatures yesterday exceeding 47C in Basra.

The capital Baghdad reached 44C with similar temperatures next few days.

It’s the hottest end of September in Iraqi history.



canadian wildfireWildfires turn Canada’s vast forests from carbon sink into super-emitter

Emissions from Canada’s record-breaking wildfire season are probably triple the country’s annual carbon footprint, experts warn, as climate systems reach a “tipping point”. The trajectory of the country’s wildfires has raised questions about how Canada can better tackle the blazes – and whether the issue is a global problem as nations race to reduce the volume of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.


sharkMultiple Ecosystems In Hot Water After Marine Heatwave

A study published today in Global Change Biology, led by researchers at UC Santa Barbara, found that while California’s network of marine protected areas (MPAs) provide many social and ecological benefits, they are not resilient to the effects of ocean warming. MPAs are locations in the ocean where human activities such as fishing are restricted to conserve and protect marine ecosystems, habitats, species and cultural resources.


hand turns off faucet1.5 million people asked to conserve water in Seattle because of statewide drought

An unusually dry summer along with a forecast of ongoing dry conditions, including a potential delay in sustained autumn rains, have prompted concerns about having sufficient water for people and fish, the utility said.


barge on mississippi riverDrought sparks drinking water concerns as saltwater creeps up Mississippi River

The New Orleans mayor, LaToya Cantrell, signed an emergency declaration for the city on Friday amid concerns about saltwater from the the Gulf of Mexico that has been creeping up the drought-hit Mississippi River in Louisiana.

The declaration came amid concerns the saltwater, which is impacting the river because it is at such low levels, could impact the drinking water of thousands of residents in the next few weeks


turkish droughtCattle graze in dry reservoirs as drought grips Istanbul

Cattle now graze and sunflowers grow in the dried lakebed of the Terkos Dam outside Istanbul, where a drought this year has reduced water levels in the reservoirs of Turkey’s largest city to their lowest in nearly a decade.

In the 11 months to September, Turkey’s northwest received 23% less precipitation than average, according to the Turkish State Meteorological Service. In August alone, it was 74% lower than average, and down 90% from last year.


greenland tundra lakeArctic Lakes Are Carbon Banks. What Happens When They Heat Up?

Of course, one unusual year doesn’t amount to a trend. And no two lakes act the same: it’s their net gain or loss that determines overall carbon budget. But these lakes’ quick response to the change in weather could offer a peek over the horizon. If, in a warmer, wetter Arctic, lakes that normally store carbon switch to exhaling it into our already overloaded atmosphere, “this is obviously going to have a positive feedback effect on the climate system,” Bogard says.

Increased lake emissions could speed Arctic landscape thaw, fueling yet more emissions and more thaw. The impacts would be felt across the globe.


oil well carbon captureA known risk: How carbon stored underground could find its way back into the atmosphere

Generous federal tax credits are driving the onrush of carbon capture and storage projects being proposed in the U.S. But like a game of whack-a-mole, there’s a chance the planet-warming emissions could seep back up into the atmosphere after they are injected underground.


swedish landslideA landslide in Sweden causes a huge sinkhole on a highway and 3 are injured when cars crash

A landslide in western Sweden caused a huge sinkhole on a major highway to Norway early Saturday, and three people were injured when their cars and a bus skidded off the road, police said.

The cause for the landslide wasn’t immediately known. Swedish media said the area has seen substantial construction activities involving blasting and excavation work. A large amount of rain also has fallen in the past few days.


ocean methaneExtensive methane gas leakage from the deepest seabed of the Baltic Sea discovered

“We know that methane gas can bubble out from shallow coastal seabeds in the Baltic Sea, but I have never seen such an intense bubble release before and definitely not from such a deep area,” says Christian Stranne.


carbon offset junk projectsRevealed: top carbon offset projects may not cut planet-heating emissions

Majority of offset projects that have sold the most carbon credits are ‘likely junk’, according to analysis by Corporate Accountability and the Guardian

The vast majority of the environmental projects most frequently used to offset greenhouse gas emissions appear to have fundamental failings suggesting they cannot be relied upon to cut planet-heating emissions, according to a new analysis.


biden speaks at unBiden’s Words on Climate Change Don’t Match His Actions

Biden could argue that keeping energy prices low and avoiding antagonizing domestic oil producers will help win him a second term, during which he could do much more for the climate. Any of his Republican rivals would almost certainly do much less. Still, sending mixed signals about the emergency isn’t helping to end it.

Former climate scientist Patrick Brown recently accused his colleagues of overhyping the threat of climate change to get published. He was wrong; scientists typically take great pains to avoid doing that. But occasionally presidents and other people do exaggerate. There’s no need to overhype the threat: Climate change truly is an emergency. Action will go much further than hyperbole.

[LOL HELLO, PREDICAMENT! Please tell Mark Gongloff there is no solution!]

[Washington Post]


You can read the previous “Climate” thread here. I’ll be back on Monday with an “Economy” 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.

21st September 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

diver inspects coralOcean heat record broken, with grim implications for the planet

The oceans have hit their hottest ever recorded temperature as they soak up warmth from climate change, with dire implications for our planet’s health.

The average daily global sea surface temperature beat a 2016 record this week, according to the EU’s climate change service Copernicus.

It reached 20.96C (69.73F) – far above the average for this time of year.


brazil heat mapBrazil Could Break All-Time High Temp Record in Waning Days of Winter

The potentially record-breaking temperatures could create life-threatening conditions and decimate the country’s coffee yield

A heat dome, created when high pressure funnels and traps heat under a particular area, is set to hover over some parts of the country for several days, creating potentially life-threatening conditions, according to the Brazilian Report.


san antonio hourly temperaturesWednesday will be San Antonio’s 105th day in a row with temperatures above 90 degrees

A lot has been written about how hot this summer has been in San Antonio, most notably how the city has reached the 100-degree mark 74 times in 2023, including a record 23 days in a row from July 30 to Aug. 21.

Quite possibly the worst part, though, is that it’s been plenty hot with no real breaks from the heat. Wednesday will be the 105th-straight day with high temperatures above 90 degrees. The last time temperatures failed to reach 90 was June 7, when the mercury only rose to 88 degrees.

[San Antonio Express-News]


111F/44C yesterday at Rio Grande Village, Texas.

Similar or even higher temperatures are expected in Texas the next few days, near or at record levels for late September.

October might start breaking October records specially at El Paso and near the Mexican border.


man inspects dry wellThousands of Central Valley water wells risk failure

Even though California enacted sweeping legislation nearly a decade ago to curb excessive agricultural pumping of groundwater, new research predicts that thousands of drinking water wells could run dry in the Central Valley by the time the law’s restrictions take full effect in 2040.


greek wildfireRavaged by floods and fires, Greece struggles on the front lines of our climate reality

And as the weather becomes more extreme, so does the public anger. NBC News traveled the length of the country to speak to scientists, political leaders and people rebuilding their lives after the catastrophic events, and witnessed what looks to be a new era of climate politics taking hold in Greece and perhaps other democracies in the world.


broken cableOzark County community without internet and telephone service weeks after storm hits the area

Six weeks after storms hit Ozark County some still don’t have internet or phone service.

Steven Rehnberg said, “Without the internet, we’re dead in the water.” [We all can relate!]


chinese tornadosVideos capture deadly tornado whirling through eastern China

At least 10 people have died and over 500 people have been relocated after tornadoes hit Suqian and Yancheng, two cities in China’s eastern Jiangsu province.


maps of derna floodsLibya floods, mapped: How heavy rainfall wiped out a city

Record rainfall was recorded in the hours leading up to the floods on Sept. 10, with winds reaching 80 mph in some parts of the country. For many, this was just another downpour, but for the 90,000 residents of the Mediterranean port city of Derna, it became a catastrophe they had to fend off by themselves. Two poorly maintained dams in the outskirts of the city failed, sending millions of cubic meters of floodwater all through downtown and washing entire neighborhoods into the sea.

While the disaster has been widely blamed on climate change-induced violent weather, survivors and experts point at the complicity of local authorities in what they say was a fatal failure of public infrastructure during decades of corruption and neglect.

“It was apocalyptic. Apocalyptic. It’s the first time we’ve seen a catastrophe like this, even on TV. Half a city, gone,” said al-Shaari, who found himself “walking on bodies, stepping on dead people” the next morning, as he joined the desperate efforts to pull out survivors.

[Infrastructure failure meets climate change.]


spanish hailSpain hailstorm destroys nearly $43 million worth of crops as it hits nearly 100% of some farmers’ harvests

“[The storm] caused devastating damage to crops,” the association said, according to a translation, “some of which were on the verge of being harvested.”

Spain’s meteorological agency for the Valencia region warned on Sunday that the storm would move “quickly,” but that it would bring “very heavy rainfall and large hail,” according to a translation. “Strong gusts of wind” and more than 1,300 lightning strikes were also recorded. The hail was bigger than 1 Euro coin.


mt rainier glacierThe ‘Forever’ Glaciers of America’s West Aren’t Forever Anymore

Climate change is melting the ice on Mount Rainier. The environmental effects will be widespread, a Park Srvice study warned.

Once, there were 29. Now at least one is gone, maybe three. Those that remain are almost half the size they used to be.

Mount Rainier is losing its glaciers. That is all the more striking as it is the most glacier-covered mountain in the contiguous United States.

The changes reflect a stark global reality: Mountain glaciers are vanishing as the burning of fossil fuels heats up Earth’s atmosphere. According to the World Glacier Monitoring Service, total glacier area has shrunk steadily in the last half-century; some of the steepest declines have been in the Western United States and Canada.


derailed trainFloods, Winds and Temperature Extremes Challenge Rail Lines

The environmental risks to railroads are rising, but the measures to reduce the danger will be costly.

While abnormal temperatures and high winds cause their own problems, unusually large amounts of rain are considered the most dangerous.

“Extreme rainfall events can be fantastically destructive,” said Scott Cummings, the assistant vice president for research and innovation of MxV Rail, the research subsidiary of the American Association of Railroads.


You can read the previous “Climate” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with an “Economy” 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.

19th September 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

Over a billion sea creatures died from heatwave. Study reveals chaos on seafloor.



Greek wildfireRecord-breaking wildfires have occurred all over the Northern Hemisphere during 2023, new report finds. The total wildfire emissions for 2023 is estimated to be almost 410 megatonnes.

Boreal forests in regions all over the world have been experiencing the worst wildfires in recorded history in 2023, according to new research.


Derna floodEight countries witness devastating floods in Sept: Is climate change causing deluge across the world?

The latest series of extreme weather events took place against the backdrop of soaring global temperatures. Therefore, it can be tempting to see the deluge in different regions as a direct consequence of climate change — studies have shown that global warming is most likely affecting flooding. Attributing any flood event to climate change, however, is a tricky endeavour.


permafrostNear-surface permafrost could be nearly gone by 2100, scientists conclude

Most of Earth’s near-surface permafrost could be gone by 2100, an international team of scientists has concluded after comparing current climate trends to the planet’s climate 3 million years ago.

The team found that the amount of near-surface permafrost could drop by 93% compared to the preindustrial period of 1850 to 1900.


hong kongHong Kong had its hottest summer ever in 2023. The city recorded an average temperature of 29.7 degrees Celsius (about 85 Fahrenheit) in August, the highest since records began almost 140 years ago. It coincided with higher temperatures in mainland China and elsewhere in Asia as global climate change also sent the mercury rising in North America and Europe.


Australian beach walkersThe Bureau of Meteorology has declared an El Nino climate pattern, sparking worries about heatwaves as summer approaches.

It comes as an unusual spring heat causes sizzling high temperatures and extreme fire danger across Australia’s southeast, with a severe heatwave warning issued from Monday to Wednesday in NSW.

Temperatures have soared 14 degrees higher than usual in large parts of the country, reaching the mid 30s for the first half of the week.


Sydney marathon heatwaveA sweltering heat wave in Australia took its toll on runners in the Sydney Marathon on Sunday, with 26 people taken to the hospital and about 40 treated for heat exhaustion by emergency services.

Large parts of Australia’s southeast, including Sydney, are experiencing a spring heat wave, the national weather bureau said, with temperatures Monday expected to peak at up to 16 degrees Celsius (60 Fahrenheit) above the September average.


Wales floodingParts of Devon and Southern Wales have been left submerged following warnings that half a month’s rain may fall in the space of a single day, flooding airport terminals and shutting roads.


tropical forests threatenedThe Heatwave Threat: Can Tropical Forests Survive Climate Change?

Tropical forests are facing a daunting challenge as climate change brings about increasingly frequent and severe heatwaves.


fans in dormsMany college dorms lack air-conditioning—and not just at smaller institutions like Wayne State.

Public flagships including the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Maryland both have a substantial number of rooms on campus without AC, as do elite private institutions such as Boston, Yale and Cornell Universities.


Derna Libya flood carLibyan flood survivors weigh water shortages against landmine risk

People whose homes were swept away by flooding in Libya’s eastern city of Derna a week ago faced the dilemma on Sunday of whether to stay and risk infection or flee through areas where landmines have been displaced by the torrents.

Thousands of people were killed after two dams above Derna broke on Sept. 10 during a powerful storm, bringing down residential blocks lining a usually dry riverbed as people slept. Many bodies have been washed out to sea.


elephants in zimbabweWater shortage drives elephant migration from Zimbabwe

Large numbers of elephants from Zimbabwe’s biggest national park are moving to neighboring Botswana in a search for water, a spokesman said Monday.


antarctica sea iceAntarctic sea-ice at ‘mind-blowing’ low alarms experts

The sea-ice surrounding Antarctica is well below any previous recorded winter level, satellite data shows, a worrying new benchmark for a region that once seemed resistant to global warming.

“It’s so far outside anything we’ve seen, it’s almost mind-blowing,” says Walter Meier, who monitors sea-ice with the National Snow and Ice Data Center.


lightningLightning strikes 9,000 times during ‘insane’ thunderstorm as UK hit by flash flooding

Torrential downpours left Britain facing a deluge of rainwater as the country’s roads turned into rivers


congo landslideLandslide strikes northwestern Congo amid torrential rainfall, at least 17 dead

Authorities cautioned death toll may increase pending rescue, recovery efforts

“A torrential downpour caused a lot of damage, including a landslide that swallowed up several houses,” he said. “The toll is still provisional as bodies are still under the rubble.”


homs dust stormDesert dust storms carry human-made toxic pollutants, and the health risk extends indoors

Around the world, deserts now increasingly border built structures, including urban dwellings, manufacturing, transportation hubs, sewage treatment and landfills. As a result, desert dust lifts a growing load of airborne pollutants and transports these substances over long distances.

This is happening throughout the Global Dust Belt, an arid to semiarid region that stretches from western China through Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Similar storms occur in the U.S. Southwest and central Australia.


Climate scientists have run out of superlatives to describe this year’s y-axis extending events …

hear no evilNone of us has previously witnessed a barrage of extreme weather events of the kind that has been devastating lives across the globe this summer… Almost as astonishing has been the indifference of our leaders.

The silence has been deafening. Where are they? Why is no-one joining the dots and demanding some kind of serious response?


You can read the previous “Climate” thread here. We’ll be back on Wednesday 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.

16th September 2023 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

Dear readers, a heads-up that this will be my last climate thread until Saturday 30th Sept (last Economic one is on Monday), as I’m taking a break. Thank you all for bearing with me, especially my donors and subscribers – you are appreciated!

A small group of volunteers will very kindly be filling in for me when I’m away, so you can continue to follow climate and economic news here in our usual fashion.

“Odds that 2023 will be Earth’s hottest year have doubled in just a month, NOAA reports…

“Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calculate that there’s a 93.42 percent chance that 2023 will become the hottest year according to a monthly climate report released Thursday. That percentage is nearly double what was estimated a month earlier (46.82 percent) and a whopping 86 percentage points higher than the beginning of the year projection (6.9 percent)…

“The calculation — with four months remaining in the year — underscores how dramatically observations of global air and ocean temperatures and ice extent have diverged from anything scientists have previously witnessed, or that they would have predicted at the start of the year.”


“August 2023 Globally, according to JMA, had a temperature anomaly of +0.66C above the 1991-2020 baseline and was by far the hottest August on records 0.34C hotter of the second August 2016 !

“The world is in clearly uncharted territories, well above any early 2023 forecast.”


“Earth’s warmest August saw 65 countries set record high temperatures: Report.

“Thirteen per cent of the Earth’s surface, spanning 65 countries, experienced record high temperatures in August, while the rest of the world braved significantly higher temperatures compared to the 1951-1980 average, according to a new analysis conducted by an independent US-based non-profit organisation.”


“What this month’s deadly floods tell us about our global climate future. Scientists have long predicted that intense floods would come with rising temperatures…

“Yet “I’m a little shocked at how many are coming this year,” said Michael Bosilovich, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who focuses on Earth’s water cycle.”


“El Nino is getting most of the media attention, but IMO the ocean heatwaves elsewhere will also be messing with weather patterns in coming months.

“Note those dark red colors are 9 deg F above average, which is an absurd amount of ocean warming.” [Dr Jennifer Francis]


“The Air Was Hot This Year, But It’s Nothing Compared to the Ocean.

“…here’s the scary part. The “hottest year on record” in 1998 wasn’t as hot as our cool years are now. 2023 is making 2016 look cool. And by 2040 this year’s record highs will feel like an anomalously cool year. That’s because the amount of energy trapped in the oceans and the air combined, is only going up, and up, and up.”


“What’s the most important graphic to show the true f&%kery of our predicament?

“It’s not the huge number of local catastrophes, new highs for greenhouse gasses, record low sea-ice extent, record global or sea surface temperature.

“It’s this — the Earth Energy Imbalance:”


“Historic late warmth yesterday in Lithuania:

“The temperature reached 30.4C [86.7F] at Birstonas, which is the latest 30C ever recorded in Lithuania, two days later than the 31.2C at Druskininkai of 11 September 2016. Kudos LHMT for the input.”


“Luxembourg sets new September temperature records.

“The beginning of September in 2023 has officially been declared the warmest on record, according to data compiled by Météolux. The weather station at Findel Airport corroborates this, revealing that the initial ten days of September saw an average temperature of 20.3°C, surpassing the previous record set in September 2005, which stood at 20.2°C.”


“Thawing permafrost in the Alps… When the mountain breaks…

“The Spitze Stein, a secondary peak of the Doldenhorn, has become unstable. Because thousands of years of ice are thawing in the mountain, to which the Swiss say “Spitze Stei”, huge amounts of rock are in motion. At any time, millions of cubic meters could give way to gravity…”


“France investigates deaths of four Champagne workers in heatwave…

“Prosecutors in the cities of Rheims and Châlons-en-Champagne said two men died in recent days while picking grapes, a woman died at home a few days after feeling faint during her vineyard work, while a fourth died in hospital after falling from a straddle tractor without showing any physical injuries from the fall.”


“Climate change shakes up the recipe at Champagne’s oldest maker…

“…climate change poses an existential dilemma for vignerons. If their wines are defined by specific blends of limited grape varieties — as in much of Europe’s appellation systems — then rising average temperatures and shortened growing seasons will result in riper, more alcoholic wines.”


“40,000 people in France still without drinking water amid drought…

“In an interview with French daily Libération, Béchu explained that despite increased rainfall in some parts of the country over the summer, nearly two-thirds of the country’s water tables remained below seasonal averages. The minister specified that 62 percent of groundwater sources were below seasonal averages, and 18 percent were “very low”…”


“Summer 2023 in Spain was the 3rd hottest on records, only behind 2022 and 2003. 4 of the 5 hottest summers in Spain occurred after 2015.”


“Flash Floods Paralyse Madrid Motorway…

“On Friday, September 15, a torrential downpour in Madrid wreaked havoc on the M-40 motorway, leading to widespread flooding and several cars being swept away… The DGT has announced that traffic on the M-40 near Coslada has been rerouted in both directions due to flood water.”


“France is sending military forces to distribute water on the French Indian Ocean territory of Mayotte, which is facing an unprecedented water crisis prompted by the island cluster’s most severe drought in decades.

“Troops with the French Foreign Legion and French navy based in the region will work with local authorities to ensure water supplies to local populations…”


“Liberia to concede territory to UAE firm in carbon offset deal.

“A carbon offset deal could see Liberia concede 10 percent of its territory to a private Emirati company, extinguishing customary land rights and giving the United Arab Emirates (UAE) pollution rights equivalent to the forest’s carbon sequestration.”


“Algeria: Emergency crews working to extinguish wildfires…

“As of late Sept. 15, emergency crews are working to extinguish several wildfires that have broken out in Algeria’s northeastern Bejaia and Tizi-Ouzou provinces… responders warn that the blazes are spreading quickly due to strong winds. High temperatures are expected to persist in the affected area over the weekend.”


“‘Second humanitarian crisis’ feared in wake of Libya floods as hopes of finding survivors fade.

“Aid groups have warned of the growing risk posed by the spread of disease that could compound the humanitarian crisis in Libya, as hopes of finding more survivors fade days after deadly flooding. Sunday’s flood submerged the port city of Derna, washing thousands of people and homes out to sea…”


“Türkiye sees driest August in over three decades amid drought crisis…

“Surprisingly, when compared to August of the previous year, an increase in rainfall was observed only in the normally driest regions of the country, the Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia regions… the Marmara Region and nearly the entire Black Sea region were classified as “severe drought sites.”


“Water shortage in Central Asia worsening, Uzbekistan warns.

“Serious water shortages plaguing Central Asian countries have become “irreversible” and will only get worse, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev warned on Friday, as global warming and increased competition weigh on resources.”


“The average temperature in Xinjiang in the summer of 2023 was 24.1°C [75.4F], 1.6°C higher than normal, setting the hottest record in history.

“The average precipitation in Xinjiang is 44.9 mm, 40% less than normal, the lowest in summer history.”


“Pakistan is living an unprecedented heat wave for September with brutally hot days and nights.

“The town of Multan has recorded 9 consecutive Tmins >29C (from 29.2C to 30.8C / 87.4F). Highest Sept Tmin on records at Faisalbad with 29.8C. This September persistent heat is unprecedented.”


“Kashmir stares at water crisis as dry spell expected to continue…

“The dry spell as per the weather office is expected to continue and the water problem is set to assume an alarming proportion in Kashmir Valley, particularly in the Jammu region. The fact that almost all water bodies have dried up and the PHE department finds it tough to arrange from any viable source has worsened the situation.”


“10 all-time rain records broken in Himachal Pradesh this monsoon…

“The oldest record being broken dates back to 1927. On July 9, Una recorded 228.5 mm [9 inches] rainfall, breaking the previous record of 224 mm precipitation on July 22, 1927. “It’s unprecedented to have so many records broken in a single season. It also shows the unusual rainfall the state had this monsoon,” said Surender Paul, Director, Meteorological Centre, Shimla.”


“Western Guangdong, China, has received 1,047mm [41.2 inches] of rainfall in seven days, and another 200-300mm [8 – 12 inches] are expected to fall in the next three days.”


“Prolonged flash floods and landslides, in Vietnam’s northern mountainous region have killed five people, while four others remained missing.

“Vietnam’s National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control said on Thursday… A state of natural disaster emergency had been announced in the tourism spot of Sa Pa Town.”


“Climate change drives hotter, more frequent fire seasons in the Northern Territory [Australia]…

“Senior fire management researcher Andrew Edwards said periods of more intense-than-usual rainfalls over the Top End’s wet season, quickly followed by longer dry seasons, are becoming more frequent.”


“Exceptional spring triple heat waves coming in the Southern Hemisphere.

Temperatures will reach 42C/43C [109.4F] in Paraguay with a potential record of September hottest night for the whole Hemisphere. 40/42C in NE South Africa, 30C/35C in New South Wales, Australia and >25C in New Zealand.”


“August 2023 in Brazil was another exceptionally hot month.

“Temperature anomalies were generally +1C/+2C in the East and West and widespread >+3C above average in Central areas with many records broken during the whole month.”


“Wildfires, Deforestation Spark Emergency in Brazilian Amazon.

“Wildfires and a historic drought in the Brazilian state of Amazonas have sparked an environmental emergency as authorities struggle to contain blazes in the heart of the world’s largest rainforest… Smoke from the burning has darkened the sky in Manaus, the largest city in the Amazon basin, and other parts of the region this month.”


“Another record day in the Caribbean and South America

“MARTINIQUE: 36.6C [97.9F] Ducos, HIGHEST RELIABLE TEMPERATURE EVER RECORDED IN MARTINIQUE; FRENCH GUIANA: 37.0C Maripasoula monthly record; BRAZIL (yesterday): 41.3C Balsas all time high tied… Outrageous but the worst has yet to come.”


“Dominican Republic suspends visas to Haiti citizens amidst water conflict.

“The Dominican Republic announced on Monday it suspended the issuance of visas to citizens of Haiti and is also considering the closure of borders between the two nations following a conflict over water access. This issue stems from a contentious situation involving Haiti’s construction of a canal.”


“August 2023 in Mexico was exceptionally hot.

“With an average temperature of 27.2C [81F] and an anomaly of +2.5C above the 1991-2020 it was the HOTTEST August on records. This follows the hottest June, hottest July (hottest month overall),hottest August and hottest summer. Exceptional.”


“‘Sitting in a sweat box’: How record heat shut down schools in the East and Midwest…

“In recent years, this extreme heat, as well as more frequent heat waves, have put pressure on school districts to adapt to the climate crisis to protect students. In the East and Midwest, temperatures reached well over 80 degrees in September, making it difficult for much learning to occur in old buildings without adequate cooling.”


“‘It’s an emergency’: Midwest towns scramble as drought threatens drinking water…

“This part of Kansas is suffering what the U.S. Drought Monitor characterizes as exceptional drought, its most severe category… residents are facing unprecedented challenges with drinking water supplies. This corner of the state, which lacks the vast underground aquifers that sit below much of Kansas, is overly reliant on surface water such as lakes and rivers.”


“The floods this week in Massachusetts that put a few dams at risk have raised concern the structures may increasingly be at risk as the region is hit by stronger and wetter storms.

“There are thousands of dams across New England and many were built decades if not centuries ago, often to help power textile mills, store water or supply irrigation to farms.”


“Rain reaches New England, Atlantic Canada as Hurricane Lee pushes north…

“In addition to ferocious winds, Lee could also unleash up to 6 inches of rain in far northern Maine on Saturday, with neighboring New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island also at risk of seeing heavy precipitation. Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency Friday due to the storm.”


“As climate catastrophes rise, reinsurers reduce risks…

“While this may make business sense, it raises the question of whether individuals and businesses will be able to protect themselves against the effects of climate change if their insurance companies cannot even get coverage themselves.


“Climate change takes habitat from big fish, the ocean’s key predators.

“This year’s marine heat waves and spiking ocean temperatures foretell big changes in the future for some of the largest fish in the sea, such as sharks, tunas and swordfish… Large fish are important to healthy oceans because many of them, such as white sharks, are apex predators and serve as vital pieces of the top of the food chain.”


You can read the previous “Climate” thread here. I’ll be back on Monday 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.