19th Feb 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

The record-breaking January temperatures appear to be caused by shifts in the Arctic oscillation, a wavy ring of powerful wind that circles the Arctic at around 20 degrees latitude.

“Shifts in the AO have a direct impact on global weather by influencing how much cold air from the Arctic is pushed down and spread across the rest of the northern hemisphere.

“The exact relationship between the AO and global warming isn’t fully understood, but NSIDC director Mark Serreze says changes in one part of the planet will inevitably have affect other areas.

“‘We’re already seeing the Arctic warming at an outsize rate compared to the rest of the planet,’ he said. ‘If we’re changing the temperature gradient between higher and lower latitudes, the jet stream is going to respond to that.’”


The Finnish brown bears at Helsinki’s Korkeasaari Zoo have emerged from an exceptionally brief hibernation period…

“…due largely to record winter temperatures that have put this season on track to be the warmest winter in 100 years.”


“January was the warmest on record in Europe, and February could follow suit as above-average temperatures dominate the month so far.

“A very warm airmass has been spreading across parts of Europe over the past few days, producing unseasonal temperatures. Today, Dalmatia, along with parts of Greece and Spain, was among the warmest in Europe with temperatures reaching +20 °C in parts.”


Flood-hit UK communities are braced for further heavy rain as river levels continue to threaten to breach barriers.

“Both the rivers Wye and Severn will remain especially high into the weekend, after both broke records this week.”


“Scientists from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology has been surveying the lake [Windermere] for decades and monitoring the temperature and water quality.

“They found that, between 1981 and 2010, average temperatures were approximately 11°C, but that yearly-averaged temperatures were approximately 1°C above this after 2000.”


Winters are warming faster than other seasons across much of the United States.

“Four of the warmest Januaries have occurred since 2016. So far, this winter has been one of the warmest on record for much of the United States.”


Naples [Florida] warmed to 90 degrees this afternoon, breaking the previous record high for February 18 of 86 degrees.

“The old temperature record had stood since 2018. Temperatures hitting 90 degrees are well above the seasonable average in Naples for this time of year.”


“The Dakotas, Minnesota, part of Wisconsin, Michigan, are all legitimate places for concern right now, where we were wet from last fall [and now] there’s snow on the ground,” Todey says.

““All of those states set records in 2019 for wettest year on record, so there’s still ample water in those places to get rid of.””


Hawaii saw a ridiculous amount of records for heat broken or tied last year.

“Valentine’s Day may not have been the only reason Maui residents were feeling the heat Friday, as Kahului reached a record-high temperature of 87 degrees. The temperature broke the old record of 86 degrees set on Feb. 14, 2018, according to the National Weather Service.”


A man was killed by a flying gas bottle as a severe thunderstorm lashed Sydney overnight, bringing thunder, lightning and heavy rain.

“The 37-year-old was walking in The Rocks at midnight when a metal gas bottle became airborne and struck him in the head as winds reached 100kmh.”


“The town has survived for more than a year on water brought in daily by road tankers. Working six days a week, driver Mathew Byrne trucks in more than 120,000 litres of drinking water a day from the nearby town of Scone.

“The river hasn’t run since 2017,” said Byrne, relaxing in one of Murrurundi’s three pubs shortly after finishing a delivery. “There’s no water going through the creek. It’s pretty sad.”


More than 99 per cent of the state [NSW] remains in drought, despite record rainfall in Sydney which will see the desalination plant switched off next month and water restrictions wound back.

“As Sydney recovers from the worst drought on record, the situation is still “diabolical” for most of the state, in what is likely to create tensions in the Coalition ahead of the May budget.”


Climate change could wipe out almost all coral reef habitats around the world by 2100, according to research released Monday.

“The bleak outlook forecasts that warming oceans and rising seas could have a devastating impact on ocean ecosystems, suggesting that efforts to restore dying corals will likely encounter difficulties…”


A tropical rainfall belt providing critical summer rains to billions of people is at risk of shrinking due to future climate warming, according to new research.

“The resulting droughts could lead to social unrest and mass migration from affected regions, including Central America and sub-Saharan Africa.”


Read the previous ‘Climate’ thread here and visit my Patreon page here.

18th Feb 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

Hundreds of thousands of mussels have been cooked to death on a beach in New Zealand’s North Island, with experts saying more will die as the effects of the climate crisis accelerate.

“The mass die-off in Northland was sparked by “an exceptional period of warm weather” combined with low tides in the middle of the day, which had exposed the shellfish, said Dr Andrew Jeffs, a marine scientist from the University of Auckland.”


Australia’s hottest and driest year on record has slashed crop production, with summer output expected to fall to the lowest levels on record, according to official projections released Tuesday.

“The country’s agriculture department said it expects production of crops like sorghum, cotton and rice to fall 66 percent…”


Many parts of South Korea see snowfall during the months of December, January and February. However, this season, snow remained almost absent and very heavy snow was not seen…

“However, this Monday was a different one as snowfall pounded many parts of South Korea including the national capital Seoul.”


Normally, the Moscow River should be covered by a thick sheet of ice, but there’s hardly any for kilometers through the city.

“On the river banks, there are a few signs of snow here and there. And the temperature in the middle of February is two degrees Celsius. Unbelievable for this time of year.”


Temperatures peaked at 16.4° C on Sunday in Uccle [Belgium], setting a new record for a 16 February, meteorologist David Dehenauw published on his Twitter account.

“This news comes alongside reports that Belgium has become systematically warmer and winters gradually drier from the 17th century…”


One week after Storm Sabine wreaked havoc in northern Germany, the offshoot Storm Dennis, named Victoria in Germany, swept across the country, causing accidents on Sunday and Monday.

“Germany’s weather service (DWD) said the storm had wind speeds of up to 172 kilometers per hour (107 miles per hour).”


Houses in Hereford and surrounding villages were inundated by flood water as the River Wye reached its highest level on record.

“Communities across the country are assessing the cost of Storm Dennis, which brought winds of more than 90mph and up to 150mm (6in) of rain to some areas over the weekend.”


Parts of Wales that have been hit by the worst floods in a generation are preparing for further rain in the next 48 hours, as more than 450 flood warnings and alerts remain in place across the UK.

“Heavy rain is forecast in parts of north and south Wales from Wednesday evening…”


Authorities managing dams in Tennessee and Mississippi must make difficult decisions as floodwaters swell along the states’ rivers;

“…the surging water pressing against the dams has to be released at some point, and when it does, it often spells disaster for individuals living downstream from the dams.”


More rain will soak parts of the flood-weary South through Thursday, adding to what has been one of the wettest Februaries and winters to date from Mississippi to the Carolinas.

“The first round of rain, associated with an approaching cold front, is already soaking parts of the South and will persist through Wednesday morning before moving off the coast of the Carolinas.”


When rainstorms follow large and severe wildfires, they tend to flush ash, nutrients, heavy metals and toxins, and sediments into streams and rivers.

“This contamination from wildfires causes problems for the health of downstream rivers and lakes, as well as safe drinking water production.”


Caritas warns that Zambia is facing one of its worst droughts in decades and 2.3 million people urgently need help.

“Caritas is appealing for E745,000 to support communities as they cope with the impact of the drought and help them build resilience against future climate crises.”


“There is a link between climate change and the unprecedented locust crisis plaguing Ethiopia and East Africa,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said.

““Warmer seas mean more cyclones generating the perfect breeding ground for locusts. Today the swarms are as big as major cities.”


I’m a climate scientist, and I deal every day with the kind of worrying truths that induce “climate anxiety”. When you work on the polar regions, the statistics are even more stark because they are where we see the most dramatic and fast-occurring changes.

“The poles are also the places where we are seeing change at a much faster rate than predicted…”


Read the previous ‘Climate’ thread here and visit my Patreon page here.

17th Feb 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

A French ski resort has angered ecologists by using a helicopter to move snow from higher up the mountains after exceptionally mild weather left its slopes bare.

“Officials at Luchon-Superbagnères in the Pyrenees authorised the “exceptional” emergency operation overnight on Friday.”


Norway’s [indoor] Sno resort opened its doors just one month ago, during the country’s warmest January on record.

“The project is the brainchild of Olav Selvaag, a member of one of Norway’s richest families, known for real estate and property development. Among the owners is Norwegian billionaire Stein Erik Hagen.”


“Two St. Petersburg marmots roll out of their den, peer around in front of the cameras, and confirm what seemingly everyone in the Russian animal kingdom already knows — winter isn’t coming this year…

All across Russia, record-high temperatures have tricked countless plants and animals into thinking spring has arrived.”


Storm Dennis has hit England and Wales creating severe flooding, especially in south Wales where officials have warned conditions are ‘life-threatening’.

“Streets have been evacuated by lifeboat in some of the worst-hit areas and people moved to emergency rescue centres after their properties and businesses were devastated by water from overflowing rivers.”


New [UK] Environment Secretary George Eustice risked sparking anger in flood-hit areas yesterday after warning he will ‘never be able to protect every single household’ from extreme weather.

“Less than a week into his ministerial post, Mr Eustice warned the nature of climate change means extreme weather events such as this weekend’s deluge are becoming more common, advising: ‘We have to live with that fact.'”


The U.S. is on track to finish its warmest year on record as global temperatures rise due to the effects of climate change.

“Scientists are bracing for the next mass extinction as they struggle to keep up with changing weather patterns and its effects on millions of species.”


Pearl River in Jackson, Mississippi passed major flood stage on Sunday morning as it exceeded 36 feet, sending the Ross Barnett Reservoir beyond capacity.

“The river is predicted to continue to rise just under one foot in the next 6 to 12 hours.”


This also happened last year:

Part of the Argentine Army was mobilized this weekend towards rural areas of Chaco, due to flood flooding. The Ministry of Defense, led by Agustín Rossi, informed through the Secretary of Military Coordination in Emergencies that troops began to evacuate neighbors and deliver merchandise in affected areas.”


The drought currently affecting New Zealand’s North Island is having devastating effects on farmers — and has already dramatically changed the country’s landscape.

“New Zealand’s lush greenery has now turned into the driest of browns as the North Island’s thirst for rain continues.”


The mercury pipped 40C about 3.32pm on Saturday in Cairns, and after taking into consideration the 33 per cent humidity, the apparent temperature at the time was 41.5C.

The new record high for Cairns in February eclipsed the previous record of 39.7C, which was recorded on Fridayat Cannon Park.”


A Gold Coast [Australia] Councillor says mosquitoes have “reached plague proportions” in the city, after recent record-breaking rainfall created ideal breeding conditions

The council has restarted spraying residential areas to kill adult mosquitoes after efforts were suspended during recent wet weather.”


Kuwait has become threatened by the locust attack on its soil… Locusts arrived in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the eastern coast of Iran and Pakistan and numbered in billions.

“The only way to combat it is by spraying with pesticides, whether with portable devices on the shoulders or with cars, but for large countries that have large areas, they need to spray with planes.”


As these huge systems, like the Antarctic, respond to a warming planet, the scientific community have condemned governments… things are coming to a head.

“Climate change is now in the news like never before as temperature records continue to be broken, storms batter the UK and flooding, heat waves and the resulting disruption become the new normal.”


“Residents of the small Alaskan town Kongiganak can no longer bury their dead. Their cemetery has become a marshy swamp, sucking graves into the once frozen ground. On the island of Sarichef near the Bering Strait, the village of Shishmaref is shrinking so fast locals are considering relocating it entirely.

Global warming has shown that permafrost is not so permanent after all.”


Read the previous ‘Climate’ thread here and visit my Patreon page here.

14th Feb 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

Last month was the hottest January on record over the world’s land and ocean surfaces, with average temperatures exceeding anything in the 141 years of data held by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration…

“The record temperatures in January follow an exceptionally warm 2019…”


New Zealand’s largest city is on the cusp of its longest-ever dry spell, as a total fire ban is declared for the entire North Island, home to millions of people.

“According to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa), on Saturday, Auckland will mark 40 days of no rain – breaking the previous record from 2013, when no rain fell for 39 days.”


The temperature reached a scorching 39.7 degrees today at the Cairns Racecourse [Queensland, Australia] at 2.39pm. That is 0.2 degrees above the all-time maximum temperature record for Cairns in February, recorded at the airport on February 21 last year.”


The Sunshine Coast [Australia] bore the brunt of heavy falls overnight, however, with 232 millimetres [over nine inches] recorded at the airport since 9am Thursday – its highest daily total on record

“Multiple schools across the Sunshine and Gold Coasts told their students to remain home on Thursday because of flooding or road closures.”


Thailand is scaling back production forecasts for key agricultural commodities because of a drought, dealing a further blow to the country’s struggling economy.

“Rice, rubber and sugar are among the crops that help to sustain 11 million jobs, drive consumption and color the political mood of the rural population.”


At least seven people remain missing following Thursday’s avalanches in central Daykundi province [Afghanistan], a local official said.

“The fatalities bring the death toll from avalanches and flash floods in the country in the past two months to 72.”


In Tarif, on [Saudi’s] border with Jordan, the temperature hit minus 5 degrees Celsius, according to the weather services.

“It dropped to minus three in Hail further southeast, and minus 2 in Arar on the border with Iraq.”


A lunar landscape is taking shape in the far south of Madagascar. Not a single drop of rain has fallen on this part of the country since the end of September 2019.

“Two regions are particularly affected: Androy and Anosy, where the heat has dried up the plantations and where food reserves are almost exhausted, plunging nearly 500,000 people into a nutritional crisis…”


Over 1,000 animals died on a farm north of Cape Town, South Africa in recent months. This is as a result of the severe drought affecting the Kahalari Desert.

“The situation is more serious as the local flora and fauna, which are used to protect climatic conditions, struggle to survive.”


At about 3pm yesterday, a huge swarm of locusts entered Uganda from Kenya’s Kasai region and officials estimate it to comprise more than 40 million insects.

“They said the locusts entered through Nakasepan Village in Amudat Sub-county, Amudat District. Two hours later, another swarm entered through Komoret in Amudat.”


Meteorologists who have analysed radar images say they have ‘high confidence’ the Isle of Wight did experience a tornado last night (Wednesday).

“MeteoGroup – a private weather organisation based in Europe – have shared this radar image…”


Storm Dennis exploded into a “bomb cyclone” during the early-morning hours on Thursday as the looming weather system poses a new windstorm threat for Europe

“…just days after deadly Storm Ciara triggered widespread travel disruptions from the United Kingdom to Germany.”


As pretty much all roads in the country are closed right now due to the extratropical cyclone rolling over Iceland, it bears mentioning that some places are getting hit harder than others.

“Reykjavík is on lockdown until 15:00 today, as the storm is moving from the southwest, but other parts of South Iceland are contending with even worse conditions.”


Maine’s climate is not only changing due to global temperatures increasing overall, but the rate at which it is changing is speeding up, according to researchers at the University of Maine…

£Winters are getting warmer…”


Days of torrential rain across the Southeast [USA] left residents to deal with rising rivers, falling trees, weakened dams and mudslides Thursday as storms finally subsided…

“The rains were expected to create the worst flooding in Jackson since 1983. That’s the second-highest crest on record, below an epic flood in the spring of 1978 that created widespread damage”


Swaths of Southern California, including downtown Los Angeles, could be heading toward one of the driest combined starts to a year on record if the Golden State doesn’t start getting some rain, the National Weather Service said Thursday…

“…a persistent high-pressure ridge hovering over the eastern Pacific Ocean has kept wet weather at bay for much of January and early February.”


“Given São Paulo [Brazil] sits on the Tropic of Capricorn, heavy tropical rainfall is not unusual. Summer traditionally consists of hot, sunny days finished off with a heavy thunderstorm in late afternoon. But Monday morning’s rain was something different.

“In just 24 hours, 66 per cent of the expected rainfall for the whole month of February was dumped on the city.”


And in case you missed it:

Scientists in Antarctica have recorded a new record temperature of 20.75 degrees Celsius (69.35 Fahrenheit), breaking the barrier of 20 degrees for the first time on the continent, a researcher said Thursday.”


“After two years of ground field studies that began in 2018 at an Alaskan lake site with a methane hotspot, we found abrupt thawing of the permafrost right underneath the hotspot,” said Elder.

“”It’s that additional contribution of permafrost carbon – carbon that’s been frozen for thousands of years – that’s essentially contributing food for the microbes to chew up and turn into methane as the permafrost continues to thaw.””


Read the previous ‘Climate’ thread here and visit my Patreon page here.

14th Feb 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

The coronavirus outbreak could leave the world economy in its worst state since the global financial crisis, with economic activity tipped to shrink through the first quarter of the year as manufacturing and travel falters.

“With the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicting the first drop in global oil demand in a decade, analysts downgraded their expectations for the global economy as the fallout from the virus becomes clearer…

“Capital Economics believes global GDP will shrink by 1 per cent annualised through the start of 2020. It would be the first global economic contraction since the first quarter of 2009, which was during the depths of the GFC.”


The coronavirus outbreak is causing travel demand across the whole Asia Pacific region to slump, data showed on Thursday…

“ForwardKeys, a travel analytic company, said that airline bookings from across the region were 10.5% lower for March and April 2020 compared with last year. That drop excludes trips to and from China and Hong Kong.”


Japan – the world’s third largest economy – was contracting before the coronavirus outbreak:

“BoJ Executive Director Director Eiji Maeda said Japan’s economy have suffered a “big contraction” in Q4 due to sales tax hike and sluggish global demand.”


“‘Thousands of [Australian] businesses have had a horror start to the year with drought, bushfires and floods,’ she said today…

Now the coronavirus is having a severe impact on both their ability to create products and also export them to markets overseas.”


“The true economic toll of the coronavirus outbreak on China’s floundering economy will most likely be a closely guarded state secret. The world’s factory has shut up shop and the disruption is reverberating through global supply chains.

Many economists believe that China is suffering an “unprecedented” contraction – but Beijing will never admit it.”


In Dubai, the shopping malls and expat bars are as crowded as ever, but the economic outlook is not as sunny as the weather outside. Jobs figures are at their weakest for a decade, the low point of the financial crisis, as the city’s debts continue to bite.

“In Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, the reform plans of the “ambitious” crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, show signs of coming off the rails.”


Europe is stuck in a rut and it’s getting dangerous. Monetary policy is looser than it’s ever been and there’s little chance it will tighten any time soon. Is helicopter money the way out?

“If growth slows suddenly due to, for example, the coronavirus… there will be calls for more monetary easing.”


Germany is the world’s fourth largest economy:

Germany entered 2020 with a flatlining economy and manufacturers in distress, leaving it ill prepared for continued trade uncertainty and the new coronavirus threat.”


Exuberant equity markets have been telling one story since the coronavirus first escaped control in Wuhan. The bond, currency, and commodity markets are reading from a different, darker script.

“Safe-haven flight into the Swiss franc, the Japanese yen, and the dollar suggests that some large funds are battening down the hatches. The Australian dollar, a proxy for risk appetite, is plumbing depths last seen during the Lehman crisis.”


“JCB, the British digger maker, has cut working hours and suspended overtime for 4,000 UK employees after the coronavirus outbreak prompted a shortage in parts coming from China… JCB’s decision came as companies around the world counted the mounting cost of disruption caused by the coronavirus,

The boss of China’s biggest listed company, Alibaba, described the coronavirus outbreak as a “black swan” event…”


Read the previous ‘Economic’ thread here and visit my Patreon page here.

13th Feb 2020 Today’s Round-Up of Climate News

Images out of a northern region of Antarctica show a landscape nearly devoid of ice and snow after record-setting temperatures last week

“The recent highs in the region have followed a string of heat waves since January, Marcelo Leppe, director of the Chilean Antarctic Institute, told Reuters.

“The amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic has increased six-fold from 1979 to 2017, the World Meteorological Organization, the United Nations’ authoritative voice on weather, climate and water, said in a statement last week.”


Mass melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet, driven by warmer ocean temperatures, was a major cause of extreme sea level rise more than 100,000 years ago, according to new research…

“melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet caused a sea-level rise of more than three metres and it took less than 2C of ocean warming for that to occur.”


New Zealand’s environment minister has threatened the mining conglomerate Rio Tinto with legal action over what he says is an “outrageous” failure to deal with toxic waste from an aluminium plant.

“Recent South Island floods – in which the waste’s storage facility was nearly inundated, bringing ecological and human tragedy – have infuriated locals in Mataura…”


Regions around the north and the east coast of the South Island [NZ] are experiencing dry conditions ranging from near to extreme drought.

“Last month, Auckland received record low rainfall, just 7 per cent of their annual forecast amount… Marlborough had their driest January on record in the past 90 years according to NIWA.”


In the 24 hours up to 9am on Thursday, the northern Gold Coast [Australia] has 100mm-200mm of rainfall. A further 50-100mm has fallen since 9am… Cyclone Uesi was creating large swells along Australia’s east coast…

Meanwhile, those in the state’s far north are bracing for heatwave conditions into the mid-40s with February temperature records expected to tumble.”


One of the big drivers of drought in Australia, the Indian Ocean Dipole, is trending towards a more drought-causing positive state due to climate change, according to new research…

“Professor Nerilie Abram says Australia is at a heightened risk of experiencing more hot, dry years.”


Billions of locusts are ravaging crops in East Africa – the UN warns there is a risk of catastrophe.

“Officials say immediate action is needed before rainfall in the coming weeks brings fresh vegetation to feed new generations of the pests.”


Namibia’s dairy industry faces collapse

““This industry is in a huge crisis due to the continuing drought in some parts of Namibia and the accompanying poor economic situation in the country to such an extent that some of the farmers are exiting the industry,” Namibia Dairies managing director Gunther Ling said.”


This year’s winter in France has, so far, been the mildest in more than a century, and that has had a direct impact on the ski resort of Le Mourtis, in the Pyrenees mountains.

““There’s no snow,” said French holidaymaker Frederic Foltran, setting off for the piste this week not with his skis but with a two-wheeled scooter…”


“Some forecast models show an extreme solution, with the storm’s pressure dropping below 920 millibars into the 910s.

If this extreme solution verifies, Dennis would rank as one of the most intense North Atlantic storms on record, according to Weather Underground weather historian Christopher Burt and British weather historian Stephen Burt.”


For the first 40 days of the year, through Feb. 9, NOAA’s Daily Weather Records website showed 2,421 daily record highs [for the USA], meaning the highest temperature on record for a given location on that particular day, were tied or set in the U.S…

“In all, daily warm records outnumbered cold by a ratio of 7 to 1.”


New data released this week from USANPN (USA’s National Phenology Network) shows that parts of the southeastern United States are greening up far ahead of schedule

“In terms of the spring “bloom” that’s running ahead of schedule too.”


With an average high temperature of 54 degrees, DC’s weather has best matched the typical winter conditions in Atlanta.

““In one regard, this winter’s lack of extreme cold is almost unprecedented in the existing climate record for Washington DC,” the National Weather Service tweeted.“”


Minnesota ended 2019 as the wettest year on record, leaving the ground saturated and rivers high even before the spring thaw. The snow across most of Minnesota’s frozen landscape has 4 to 6 inches of water in it, and that already will generate a lot of water runoff…

“Many of the forecasting models are predicting [this spring] will be wetter than normal…”


Polar bears are spending more time on land than they did in the 1990s due to reduced sea ice, new University of Washington-led research shows.

Bears in Baffin Bay are getting thinner and adult females are having fewer cubs than when sea ice was more available.”


[For the summary and not the silly analysis, which suggests that jet stream behaviour can still be understood outwith the context of climate change]

Around the world and particularly across much of the United States, a question has emerged: What happened to winter?

“In Japan, record low snowfall has forced ski resorts to close prematurely. In Finland, forests that would normally be stark and bare at this time of year appear lush after what was an “exceptionally” warm January. And in one county in Michigan, municipal workers who usually spend winter plowing snow have taken to trimming trees.

“The lack of snow in Russia led Moscow to bring in fake snow for its New Year festivities and pushed one lawmaker to accuse the United States of using a “climate weapon” against his country.”


Read the previous ‘Climate’ thread here and visit my Patreon page here.