Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

Climate 7 June 2018

“The U.S. sizzled with record warmth” in May, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). May warmed to a record average 65.4 degrees in the Lower 48 states, breaking the high of 64.7 set in 1934, according to federal weather figures.

“May was 5.2 degrees above the 20th century’s average for the month.

“Weather stations in the nation broke or tied nearly 8,600 daily heat records in May, the NOAA reported. It hit 100 in Minneapolis on May 28, the earliest the city has seen triple digits.

“”The warmth was coast-to-coast,” said climate scientist Jake Crouch at NOAA’s Centers for Environmental Information…

“”The United Kingdom, Germany and other places also set May heat records, but overall global figures for the month are still being tabulated, Crouch said.

“It was especially warm at night in the U.S. during May. The overnight low temperature averaged 52.5 degrees nationwide. That broke the record by 2 degrees which “is unheard of” at this time of year, he said.””


Parts of Canada had a record warm May, too:

“Environment Canada has confirmed that last month was both the driest and warmest May on record for the Sunshine Coast.”

“Tait says a large piece of ice recently broke off the toe of the Llewellyn Glacier, at the south end of Atlin Lake, in B.C. He figures the piece was about a kilometre, or a kilometre and a half, long.”


Meanwhile on the East coast: “An unusually late frost is affecting blueberry crops across the province, with some farmers estimating 50 per cent of their fields were frozen and won’t produce fruit. Temperatures were at record-breaking lows in New Brunswick on Monday morning, causing irreparable damage to blueberry plants, many just starting to bloom.”


And while some parts of central and NW North America have been unusually dry – in some cases record-breakingly dry – parts of the east and south were absolutely inundated: “From Key West to Pensacola, Florida averaged 9.23 inches of rain in May, topping the 2009 record of 8.91 inches in measurements that have been logged since 1895.”


“The frequency of coastal flooding from high tides has doubled in the US in just 30 years, with communities near shorelines warned that the next two years are set to be punctuated by particularly severe inundations, as ocean levels continue to rise amid serious global climate change concerns.”


Tropical storms are slowing due to climate change – “A storm that sits still over one place for an extended period of time brings that much more wind and rain to that area. “Nothing good can come of a slower storm,” said Kossin.”


“It’s only the first week of summer, yet a heatwave is already set to hit Greece as of today, where temperatures will rise as high as 40 degrees Celsius.”


“In Bouake, Ivory Coast’s second city, the regular water supply trickled to a halt three months ago – a shortage that officials blame on a drought inflicted by global warming.”


“Rising average temperatures and increase in the number of heat wave events will adversely impact human health and crop yields across Pakistan, say researchers who participated in what they described as the first country-specific heat wave trajectory study.”


“Mumbai: If there is extremely heavy rainfall this weekend as forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), it might set a record for the highest 24-hour June rainfall in recent years.”


“Torrential rain has flooded some townships in northern Shan State [Myanmar], sources said… Locals said almost no flood was occurred in the village before and the flood is occurred due to deforestation.”


“Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong says, “The rainfall on June 5 reached 147 millilitres, we think even more in Kamala. After the inspection, locals in Kamala all say that they have never seen flooding like this anytime during the past 20 years. “We have declared parts of Kamala a disaster area”.”


“In a bizarre incident, a Chinese woman has been spotted cooking fish on the hood of a car because the country is experiencing an intense heat wave, with mercury soaring to 40-degree Celsius. The incident took place in the city of Binzhou, located in eastern China’s Shandong province.”


Read yesterday’s climate post here.

Climate 6 June 2018

“Central Europe has been hard hit from a severe flooding season that shows no signs of stopping.

“Poland has seen massive flood destruction in Warsaw, Sandomierz, Nowy Sacz, and other villages in the Southern region following severe storms on Sunday. According to Poland’s TVN Meteo, local mayor Grzegorz Sikorski said that it only took several hours of heavy rain to flood homes. He added that two bridges were destroyed and that the heavy rains caused a landslide.

“France’s Brittany region was hit by a devastating storm on Sunday and Monday. According to Stéven Tual, Meteo Bretagne meteorologist, between three weeks and a month’s worth of rain fell in 30 minutes. The Jarlot river reached its peak level since measurements began in 2014.

“The same rain-pour rates were prevalent along Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, especially in the city of Varna. Two villages in the Varna Province were also hit with a tornado, causing mass destruction. No one was reported injured.

“Professor Richard Betts of University of Exeter, who co-conducted a recent study of river flood risk in Europe under global warming, told The Guardian, “Our results give the clearest picture yet of climate change increasing the risk of flooding…even at just 1.5 degrees C global warming.””


But further north:

“The Finnish capital Helsinki has had no rain for 30 days, a record-breaking dry spell for the Kaisaniemi weather station… “There’s no end in sight to the dry spell,” said Yle meteorologist Matti Huutonen.”


“Ice around Svalbard, a Norwegian island that sits between the Greenland Sea to the west and Barents Sea to the east, has receded rapidly over the past few weeks. Zack Labe, a PhD candidate at University of California, Irvine, told Earther the current ice coverage “is even less the average September minimum.””


“Heavy rains last month are having an impact on farms all across central Virginia [USA] potentially hindering future crops.”


“If you managed to get a glimpse of Great Falls on Monday after the near constant rainfall in the area, you would have been treated to a scene of utter violence. The Potomac River “boiled, churned, and even exploded into the air” on Monday afternoon, the Washington Post reported.”


“Flooding along the Potomac River continued to worsen Tuesday in some areas.”


“There’s a stark difference in rainfall in the Northeast [USA] this spring… just a few hundred miles separates record wet and record dry.”


“This year’s wildfire season could rival last year’s, which was one of the most devastating on record, said Vicki Christiansen, interim chief of the U.S. Forest Service.”


“At least four people including two minors were killed and 17 injured in the wake of a fierce dust storm that hit Lahore, Pakistan on Tuesday, rescue sources informed Geo News.”


“India is reeling under a sustained water crisis that shows no signs of abating. Excessive demand coupled with mismanaged water resources, erratic weather patterns and climate change have led to a sad state of affairs.”


“Macau and Hong Kong are likely to see significant rainfall in the next 48 hours and there is likely to be significant travel disruption across the region.” [Macau and Hong Kong will welcome this, I imagine, after their drought and record-breaking heatwave].


“Winter is meant to be cold, but Melburnians [Australia] could be forgiven for finding it hard to get out of bed so far this season. The city has recorded its coldest start to June since 1982, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.”


“The effects of a catastrophic storm that hit Tasmania last month are still being felt by residents whose homes, businesses and roads were torn apart. More than $45 million worth of damage was done when a record breaking 100mm of rain was dumped on the greater Hobart region in a single day last month.” 


Read yesterday’s climate post here.

Economy 6 June 2018

“A worldwide escalation of the trade tensions between the US and its major trading partners would have consequences for global trade equivalent to the 2008 financial crisis, the World Bank has warned.

“Using conservative estimates to assess the risks to the world economy from rising economic nationalism of the kind promoted by Donald Trump, the Washington-based organisation warned of “severe consequences” for world trade and economic growth, with the harshest impact reserved for developing nations.

“Under the scenario outlined in its latest global economic prospects report published on Tuesday, the bank found a broad-based increase in the use of import tariffs worldwide – to the maximum levels permitted by the World Trade Organisation – would trigger a decline in global trade amounting to 9%.

“While that would be similar to the drop experienced during the financial crisis of 2008-09, it warned the impact could be even greater if countries went further than the WTO rules…”


“It is increasingly difficult to justify the complacency in global financial markets in the light of the magnitude and potential significance of events in the United States, Europe and beyond which could be defining elements of the next global financial crisis.”


“The Federal Reserve’s next interest rate increase will mark a key milestone as the era of cheap dollars draws to a close, further unsettling a U.S. bond market already rattled by rising inflation and government debt supply… Next Wednesday the U.S. central bank will likely raise key overnight borrowing costs to roughly match its target for inflation, meaning that for the first time in almost a decade the cost of borrowing dollars will no longer be essentially free.”


“Foreign investors pulled $12.3 billion from emerging markets last month — the largest outflow since November 2016, according to the Institute of International Finance.”


“Pro-business leaders in South America’s largest economies are struggling to spark growth as their policies run head-on into domestic crises and emerging market turbulence.”


“Brazil’s extraordinary efforts to shore up its currency weren’t enough to stem a rout that left the real at the weakest level since former President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment in 2016.”


“… monetary policy tightening in the United States is pressuring the currencies of emerging markets: the Turkish lira is down more than 18% against the USD year-to-date (and more than half its value since 2013). This in turn makes it harder for Turkish companies to service their foreign debt. Currency depreciation coupled with rising oil prices have also contributed to widening the country’s current account deficit.””


“South Africa’s economy contracted at the sharpest rate in almost a decade in the first three months of the year, according to official statistics, underlining the challenge confronting President Cyril Ramaphosa’s bid to revive growth.”


“A financial crisis due to US dollar shortages is likely to occur in Asia, which seems to be in a similar situation as it was on the eve of the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. The approaching crisis has profound and complicated implications.”


“A growing number of private firms [in China] could face cash flow problems in the second half of the year as they are the most vulnerable to the government’s crackdown on shadow banking.”


“Japan’s household spending unexpectedly contracted in April and services sector activity slowed in May, figures out on Tuesday showed, raising the possibility of the economy falling into recession this quarter.”


“Australian new home sales fell heavily in April, adding to a long list of housing market indicators that are weakening at present.”


“One would have thought, in the circumstances, that bankers might have learned their lesson. Yet some bankers still seem to think that big is better. The Financial Times reported this week that UniCredit, based in Milan and with operations across Europe, is pursuing a possible merger with Société Générale, based in Paris and also with operations across the continent.”


“In 2008 and 2009, after the global financial crisis brought RBS close to the brink of collapse, the British government spent £45.5 billion ($60.9 billion) in taxpayer funds to bail it out. Now, the government’s determination to sell down its majority stake in the troubled lender is saddling the state with heavy losses.”


“…my analysis produced some alarming results. The safety net… struggles to cope with widespread shocks. Providing the same level of support today that was provided during the Asian financial crisis would exhaust all currency swap lines, all regional mechanisms, all regional development banks and the entire World Bank, and would require exceptional access to the IMF’s resources. If the European debt crisis occurred today, the entire global financial safety net would be exhausted.”


Read yesterday’s economy post here.

Climate 5 June 2018

“May and April of 2018 were the hottest in Germany since records began in 1881, the German Weather Service (DWD) said on Monday…

“”In the last few years we have been experiencing a series of climate records that collectively can only be understood in the context of climate change,” said DWD’s Deputy President Paul Becker.

“DWD said that not only had April and May been extremely hot months, but they had seen extreme weather events such as torrential rains and severe thunderstorms.”


“A man has died in the flash flooding hitting much of the country, after his car overturned in an accident on a flooded road… A record 588km of traffic jams were recorded in Ile-de-France this morning, largely due to the heavy rain still falling in the region.”


“To put the stormy period in context, the month of May saw 182,000 lightning strikes touch the ground. That’s double the previous record for a month of May.”


“In Liétor southeast of Madrid, cars and vans have been pushed everywhere by flowing water, even into rivers.”


“The phenomenon was historic, as some [Kenyan] stations recorded the highest rainfall on record, according to the end-of-season report by the meteorological department.”


“Several regions [of Kenya] will receive heavy rain above 40mm, the Meteorological Department said yesterday in an advisory. The rain was expected to start yesterday evening until tomorrow.”


“UNOCHA estimates that out of approximately 2.2 million people affected by the drought [in Afghanistan], at least 1.4 million will become acutely food insecure. They will require emergency assistance over the coming months and into the next lean season, the report said.”


61 Thai provinces on high alert for severe flooding:


“More than 40,000 properties are without power in southern WA after damaging winds and heavy rainfall battered the coast… Farmers have benefited from record rains pelting the Gascoyne, with Denham recording 98mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9am, on Tuesday, breaking its previous monthly record set in June, 1965.”


“Records show that the rain-laden front dumped almost twice the whole month’s average rainfall for Pakarae [New Zealand] in less than half a day.”


“Several wildfires have forced evacuations in California, Colorado and New Mexico.”


“American Airlines flight AA1897, which departed from San Antonio [Texas] just after midnight on Sunday, was only in the air for one hour before the pilots declared an emergency. That emergency was the hail storm wreaking serious damage to the aircraft’s windshield and nose cone.”


“In the last 23 days, Washington has received 10.43 inches of rain. The rainfall output over the past three weeks ranks second most on record for the time of year. We have seen five separate storms unload at least an inch of rain.”


“This spring in Western New York has been the most topsy-turvy one on record. The snows and ice of Buffalo’s coldest April since World War II were followed by its warmest May ever recorded.”


“The brief taste of summer that visited late last week will be only a fond memory for this first full week of June, as the temperamental spring of Atlantic Canada continues.”


“Lampman experienced similar flooding in 2011 and again in 2016. “2011 we flooded. 2016 we flooded, but not to this degree. Not that much rain, that fast. 2011 was the flood year but it came over a two month period, where this came in a few hours,” said Wallin.”


“Several people used the snow on their car windshields [Mission City, Newfoundland] to write, June 4?”


Weather whiplash and the death of seasonality – Sweden has summer snow, too:


Read yesterday’s climate post here.

Climate June 4 2018

“Not since December 2010 has Norway’s Meteorological Institute measured normal temperatures at its northernmost locations. It should still be freezing, below zero. Not so this May. Measurements at Longyearbyen airport on Svalbard could tell a story about global warming not seen before with a mean temperature of 1,8°C, which is 6°C above normal.

“Also the other Norwegian Arctic islands experienced a warm May, the institute reports.

“Bjørnøya in the Barents Sea was the warmest with a mean temperature of 3,7°C. That is 5,1°C above normal. Hopen was 5°C above normal, while Jan Mayen had 5,1°C warmer than normal for May.

“Ny-Ålesund, further north on Spitsbergen, had a mean temperature of 1,6°C, which is 5,6°C above normal for the month.

“On mainland Norway, temperatures in the last few days of May were warmer than most holliday resorts around the Mediterranean. Warmest was Etne outside Bergen with 32,7°C on May 30th. Mean temperature for Norway was 4,2 degrees above normal. Since mean values were registered first time in 1900, 2018 is by far the warmest ever measured the Meteorological Institute informs.”


Lots of North America had a record-breakingly hot May as well:


“A large area of high pressure over the Central states through Monday will shift eastward into the Deep South by Tuesday, allowing southerly winds to return and kick the heat into high gear.”


“Officials with the Los Padres National Forest announced this week the largest wildfire in California’s modern history is officially out, more than six months after it started.”


“Massive wildfires in Colorado and New Mexico have torched thousands of acres and forced hundreds to evacuate their homes.”


“Parts of Mexico continue to swelter in a record-breaking, prolonged heat wave that has caused at least three deaths, given a boost to the economy and even caused traffic lights to melt in two northern states.”


“Torrential rain has caused flooding in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, making some roads impassable for motorists. Thunderstorms hit Sanaa on Friday afternoon and again on Saturday afternoon, an unexpected occurrence in the city, as June is predominantly a dry month.”


“Coupled with the general effects of global warming, Pakistan is facing a certain water emergency.”


“Uttar Pradesh [India] was hit by another deadly dust storm that claimed 17 lives and left 11 persons injured last evening.”


“To date, this year’s rainfall total has been the second-lowest level recorded for Hong Kong, the Observatory said. For April and May, no water level could be recorded for Lau Shui Heung Reservoir because it had completely dried up.”


“Malcolm Turnbull, on a tour of drought-stricken areas in New South Wales and Queensland, has declared there is “no doubt that our climate is getting warmer”.”


“”The rain just wouldn’t let up, and we could hear rumbling [Tolaga Bay, NZ]. Then the wood and debris just started cracking and coming through our windows.””


Read Friday’s climate post here.

Climate 1 June 2018

UK beach

“The UK has enjoyed its sunniest and warmest May since records began, provisional figures show.”


“More storms are forecast for the UK after parts of the country were battered by torrential rain and flooding last night.”


“Thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain hit France’s northern and eastern regions overnight on Thursday, leaving mudslides and flooding in their wake.”


“More than 63,000 people in southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region are affected by drought, the regional civil affairs department said Friday.”


australian surfer“Most of Sydney posted its hottest autumn, beating records set just two years earlier, with more than double the normal number of days exceeding 25 degrees during the season.”


“Despite an overcast and cool ending to the month, it was the warmest May ever documented in Seattle as well as one of the driest.”


new mexico fires“The U.S. Forest Service said on Thursday it has taken the rare step of indefinitely closing off public access to a 1.6 million-acre national forest in northern New Mexico because of fire risks posed by prolonged drought in the region.”


“It’s official – 2018 is now the hottest May in Austin history!”


“North Carolina was hit hard by remnants of Alberto, which caused flooding and landslides across the western part of the state.” Some astonishing rainfall totals in NC with six months of rain in 15 days.


Read yesterday’s climate post here.