“A powerful winter storm engulfed the US Northeast on Monday, blanketing much of the region in heavy snow, blasting coastal areas with high winds and bringing New York City and other major urban centres nearly to a standstill…
““It’s the storm of the century!” predicted snowplough operator James Carew, 56, of Union, New Jersey…” [Photos]
“The leading climate scientist James Hansen has warned Boris Johnson that he risks “humiliation“ over plans for a new coal mine in Cumbria.
“The UK government, which hosts a climate summit this year, has allowed the mine at Whitehaven to go ahead. Dr Hansen, formerly Nasa’s leading global warming researcher, urged the PM to halt production – or be “vilified”.”
“The Jakarta provincial administration has deployed around five thousand members of the trash task force (pic), including river troops, to clear several main rivers of waste, as part of flood prevention measures during rainy season…
“In early 2020, flash floods triggered by high-intensity rainfall over several days had swamped several parts of 17 sub-districts of Jakarta as well as many other sub-districts in its metropolitan areas, including Bekasi and Bogor.”
“Flash floods inundated certain areas of the villages of Lamolda and Sekinyak near the Indonesia-Malaysia land border in West Kalimantan after heavy rains pelted the areas from morning to afternoon on Wednesday (Feb 3).
“The floodwaters that submerged certain areas of the two villages in Lumar Sub-district, Bengkayang District, reached as high as an adult’s waist…”
“How Heatwaves and Drought Combine to Produce the Perfect Firestorm:
“Long heatwaves during entrenched drought often trigger fears of bushfire. It’s easy to imagine rolling days of hot, dry weather desiccating leaves, bark and twigs, transforming them into a potent fuel.”
“The heavy and unseasonal rainfall in much of Chile over the weekend has caused an unprecedented disaster for the fruit industry, according to the chief of the Federation of Fruit Producers (Fedefruta)…
“”These rains were a climatic phenomenon out of proportions, a catastrophe that the fruit sector had not seen before,” Jorge Valenzuela told Agriculture Minister María Emilia Undurraga on Monday.”
“Increasing risk of floods as glaciers recede in Central Andes:
“A researcher at the University of Huddersfield has examined the rate at which glaciers have been retreating in the Central Andes and says further monitoring is needed to address the growing risk of ‘Glacial Lake Outburst Floods’ to communities located downstream from the melting glacier lakes.”
“Eight dead and more than 30,000 families affected by floods in Bolivia:
“Floods and other disasters caused by the latest rains in Bolivia have so far left eight dead and 30,943 families affected, of which more than a fifth have suffered great losses, reported the Vice Minister of Civil Defense, Juan Carlos Calvimontes.”
“Antarctica Is Melting in a Way Our Climate Models Never Predicted, Scientists Say:
“”The ice sheet is not changing with a constant rate – it’s more complicated than a linear change,” explains Lei Wang, who researches civil, environmental, and geodetic engineering at Ohio State University.
“”The change is more dynamic: The velocity of the melt changes depending on the time.””
“Rising Arctic Temperatures Bring Wild Weather Around the World: This week’s winter storm is part of a pattern caused by disturbances to the upper-atmosphere phenomena known as the polar vortex that can send icy blasts from the Arctic into the middle latitudes, chilling Europe, Asia and parts of North America.
“The disturbance and its effects have persisted for an unusually long time this year, said Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at the Woodwell Climate Research Center, with two disruptions of the polar vortex so far this year and, potentially, a third on the way.”
“January crammed 5 months of Austin [Texas] weather into 4 weeks: Snow, springlike heat, bit of rain…
“In what was possibly the most anticipated January of all time as we looked to get rid of the wretched year of 2020, the month did not disappoint. We got snow in Central Texas, for crying out loud! January brought five months’ worth of weather in four weeks…”
“The number of heat-related deaths in Arizona soared to a new high last year as people endured the hottest summer on record and the complications of the pandemic.
“The deaths of at least 494 people were linked to heat during 2020, state health officials said this week, a preliminary number that may continue to grow as more deaths under investigation are resolved.”
“Photographs taken in 1989 and 2020 by a father and son reveal how Vatnajökull [Iceland], one of Europe’s biggest glaciers, has shrunk by about 150 square miles (400 square kilometres) due to climate change.
“Dr Kieran Baxter from the University of Dundee followed his father’s footsteps to Iceland more than 30 years on to recreate photos of the Vatnajökull glacier.”
“Torrential rains caused flash floods Tuesday morning in Izmir [Turkey], blocking main arteries in the downtown area and surrounding districts of Aliağa, Foça and Dikili. [The article doesn’t quite capture how nuts these floods were; there is footage on YouTube for the curious].
“Calling the situation a disaster, the municipality urged residents to not leave their homes unless necessary.”
“Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar [India] witnessed the lowest temperature of minus 8.8 degree Celsius [16.6F] on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, a record since the January of 1991.
“Kashmir continues to be under the grip of a severe cold wave…”
“More than meets the eye (of the storm): Typhoons in Korea amplified wildfires in America…
“…the Oregon wildfire intensified to an uncontrollable extent and was spread over a wide area by strong gusts of wind that carried it forward. These unseasonably strong winds may have been stoked by an unexpected source: typhoons on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.”
“One person has died, and five, including a three-year-old boy, are still missing after Cyclone Ana pummelled Fiji on Sunday, just over a month after category 5 Cyclone Yasa tore through the country’s northern islands.
“Two more cyclones are already forming off Fiji’s coastline, and cyclone season still has three months left to run.”
“The largest mammal ever to live on the Earth, the blue whale, is under threat from boat collisions as one of its main feeding grounds in Chilean Patagonia is overrun with vessels, a new study has revealed.
“The endangered whales must contend with up to 1,000 boats moving daily through an important feeding area in the eastern South Pacific…”
“A new report documents draconian budget cuts to Brazilian environmental monitoring and firefighting of 9.8% in 2020, and 27.4% in 2021 — reductions, analysts say that were inflicted by the Bolsonaro administration in “a clear policy for dismantling national environmental policies.”
“Brazil’s environmental agencies under Bolsonaro have also been subjected to nearly 600 administrative and rules changes, invoked by presidential executive order and resulting in massive environmental deregulation.”
“An atypical summer storm continues to hit Chile this Monday after a three-day pass through the south-central part of the country, where it left floods, floods and blackouts, and threatens to leave almost six million people in Santiago without drinking water.
“The unexpected rains at this time of year in the central area, which suffered the worst drought in its history in the last 10 years, affected crops, mainly table grapes, an export product in this country and of which it is estimated that half of the production has been decimated.”
“Sea lions in California had been dying of a mysterious cancer for decades. Now, scientists say they have finally uncovered the likely cause: toxic chemicals from industrial trash, pesticides and oil refinery waste.
“A team of mammal pathologists, virologists, chemists and geneticists have concluded that sea lions with higher concentrations of DDT, PCBs and other chemicals in their blubber are more prone to cancer triggered by a herpes virus.”
“Unusual almond blossoms lift spirits in Alicante [Spain] as spring-like weather causes trees to bloom in abundance:
“According to figures released by Observatory of Climatology of the University of Alicante, January 28 registered a whopping 29.2 [84.6] degrees on thermometers, equalling the all-time record for Jan, which was set in 1982.”
“It was warmer in Mallorca on Friday than it had been on Thursday, and new records for January were set at six Aemet weather stations on the island. The highest temperature was 26.8C [80.2F] at the Son Servera weather station.
“Humanitarian staff have been working “round the clock” to reopen access roads and provide emergency relief from the disastrous impact that recent floods have unleased on displaced people living in camps in northwest Syria, the UN’s deputy humanitarian coordinator there said on Friday.
“Providing shelter, food, clean water and other relief supplies is “a massive undertaking…[that] will continue for months”, Mark Cutts told a press briefing in Geneva.”
“Shell must pay damages to four Nigerian farmers for two oil spills back in 2008, a Dutch court has ruled today. [So, only 13 years that the villagers had to wait in their unliveable villages. Sheesh.]
The court found that the Nigerian subsidiary of Shell was liable for two pipeline leaks that occurred in the Niger Delta 13 years ago. The plaintiffs argued that the oil spill meant that their villages had become unliveable due to the pollution.”
“The export of Cameroonian timber to Vietnam conceals enormous environmental and fiscal abuses. According to a report published by two local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), these exchanges are marked by the illegal cutting of protected species and the issuing of false invoices.
“The loss of income due to this illegal flow is estimated at 58 million dollars, over the period from January 2016 to July 2020.”
“High-intensity tropical cyclones have been moving closer to coasts over the past 40 years, potentially causing more destruction than before.
“The trend of tropical cyclones – commonly known as hurricanes or typhoons – increasingly moving towards coasts over the past 40 years appears to be driven by a westward shift in their tracks, say the study’s authors from Imperial College London.”
“Analysts say Chinese officials are diverting so much water from dams along the upper Mekong River system that Southeast Asian countries are going dry during prime agricultural seasons and turning to other powers for help.
“Eleven southwest China dams have left much of the Lower Mekong region, with its population of 60 million, dry since 2019, according to data from the Stimson Center in Washington.” [Not a totally unbiased source, obviously, but I do believe this is an issue.]
“Marine heatwaves becoming more intense, more frequent:
“When thick, the surface layer of the ocean acts as a buffer to extreme marine heating—but …this “mixed layer” is becoming shallower each year. The thinner it becomes, the easier it is to warm. The new work could explain recent extreme marine heatwaves, and point at a future of more frequent and destructive ocean warming events as global temperatures continue to climb.”
“Arizona in 2020 saw its second hottest and second driest year on recordwith Phoenix seemingly leading the way, according to weather officials.
“Phoenix set a new record for the most days in a year with high temperatures at or above 100 degrees, totaling 145 days… In July, Phoenix set a new record for the hottest month ever with an average temperature of 98.9 degrees; however, the record was toppled by August…”
“How long might the Arctic’s ‘Last Ice’ area endure? …”The warming of the Arctic and decline in Arctic ice have come “far faster” than models had been projecting just two decades ago, says Chris Horvat of Brown University.
“Don’t think of it as being the warmest day, or the warmest month, over the past hundred years,” he cautions.
“Think of its being the coolest month for the next hundred.”
“Siberian peat fires have continued to burn after a year of record-setting wildfires in and around the Arctic Circle despite temperatures below minus 50 degrees Celsius, The Siberian Times reported Wednesday.
“Footage showing smoke rising from the snow in January and November offers physical evidence of the “zombie fire” phenomenon…”
“Massive Craters in Siberia Are Exploding Into Existence. What’s Causing Them?
“So far, researchers have gathered that the explosions come from gas, likely methane, building up in isolated pockets across the tundra. The pressure accumulates fast — the hills that precede each explosion swell in about three to five years — and when the strain is finally too much, the bubble explodes.”
“A series of powerful winter storms are barreling across the parched state of California, knocking out power to more than 400,000…
“Evacuation orders are in place in parts of San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, warning of an “immediate threat to life… parts of the Bay Area, and the Santa Cruz and Santa Lucia mountains could see up to 10 inches of rainfall through late Thursday.”
“Early US crop reports from three southern wheat-producing states have shown crop conditions below average and soil moisture shortage above average as extensive drought across the country has started to show signs of damage to the 2021/22 crop.”
“Nearly one-third of U.S. homes are at high risk of natural disaster, study says:
“Twenty-two weather- or climate-related disasters each resulted in at least $1 billion in damages last year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration… “Nearly every property in the U.S. has exposure to peril risk,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic.”
“Brazil’s ongoing military-led operation to curb illegal deforestation and fires in the Amazon rainforest will end April 30, Vice President Hamilton Mourão said at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.
“Mourão defended the success of Operation Green Brazil 2, which was launched last May and saw deployment of thousands of soldiers across the Amazon.”
“Philippine forest trees threatened by deforestation and climate change:
“Philippines is home to more than 50 dipterocarp tree species, of which 25 cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. About 97% of the Philippines’ tropical forest have been subjected to logging activities, and are often converted to other land uses such as for agriculture.”
“Landslides cause buildings to collapse in Indonesia… Landslides across Indonesia, including Citraland, Lampung and Cimandar, cause disruption, including the destruction of buildings, in Indonesia. January 26th 2021.”
“The UK government will investigate a complaint against mining giant Glencore over a wastewater spill in Chad in 2018.
“According to three human rights groups, which brought the complaint, the FTSE 100 firm “failed to conduct appropriate environmental and human rights due diligence in relation to wastewater leaks and an alleged oil spill at the Badila Oilfield”.”
“Tens of thousands in northwest Syria lose shelter after floods inundate camps:
“Heavy rains and floods in north-west Syria has worsened the plight of tens of thousands of internally displaced persons, destroying their tents, food and belongings in the midst of winter, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Tuesday. “
“Lake of garbage: Every winter pollution is swept from overflowing landfills into Balkan waterways:
“…huge cranes are being used to clear tons of garbage crammed at the foot of the power plant. Serbia and other Balkan nations are overwhelmed by communal waste after decades of neglect and a lack of efficient waste-management policies…”
“Spain prepares to be battered by yet another storm as Justine heads our way:
“As the country continues to pick up the pieces after the devastating Storm Filomena, which caused an estimated €1billion in damages in Madrid alone, meteorologists have warned that Spain is in for another battering by “explosive” Storm Justine in the coming days.”
“Two Canterbury towns [New Zealand] have recorded all-time record temperatures today, with others breaking January highs.
“According to NIWA, Cheviot and Akaroa reached all-time record high temperatures with 38 [100.4F] and 37.9 degrees [100.2F] Celcius respectively. Akaroa’s previous all-time high was 35.4 [95.7F], with Cheviot’s 37.8 [100.04F] degrees.”
“Abu Dhabi: The Arabian Gulf has been experiencing the longest recorded meteorological drought over the last two decades, with temperatures in the region being on the rise since 1998, a top climate expert said today.
“The general pattern of the climate in the region is warming. There is warming over the seas and sea surfaces, a rise in maximum temperatures and drying precipitation. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of Category 4 and 5 severe tropical cyclones, which is critical when we look at the economy,” warned Dr Said Alsarmi, meteorological expert…”
“Cyclone Eloise, which made landfall across southeastern Africa Saturday, has displaced thousands in the region and the death toll has increased to at least 12 on Monday, according to figures from authorities…
“Eloise is expected to move toward southwestern Botswana tomorrow, where it will cause heavy rain.
“More downpours are also expected in South Africa in the coming days.”
“The rain that continues to fall in Santa Catarina caused on Sunday morning (24th) new floods and landslides in Florianópolis [Brazil]. Teams of Civil Defense and Fire Department are on the streets to check the occurrences.”
“A tornado described as “large and extremely dangerous” by the National Weather Service (NWS) in Birmingham, Alabama, caused significant damage throughout Jefferson County and surrounding areas Monday night, including ripping through a hotel and tearing off part of the roof of a church…
“”Significant damage has been reported…” NWS Birmingham said.”
“Thousands of England’s vital flood defences were in such a state of ruin last year they would fail to protect communities from extreme weather, an investigation has found.
“More than 3,400 of England’s “high consequence” flood assets, defined as those where there is a high risk to life and property if they fail, were judged by the Environment Agency to be in such a bad condition they were almost useless.”
“Small increases in air pollution are linked to an increased risk of irreversible sight loss from age-related macular degeneration, a large UK study has found.
“Previous work had already found a link between dirty air and glaucoma and a link to cataracts is suspected. The scientists said the eyes have a particularly high flow of blood, potentially making them very vulnerable to the damage caused by tiny particles that are breathed in and then flow around the body.”
“Gray whales are starving and dying off at an alarming rate along the Pacific Coast…
“Scientists are not exactly sure why the whales are dying, but in a newly released study, published in the journal Marine Ecology, researchers conclude it is likely a result of starvation due lack of prey, perhaps caused by warming Arctic waters where they feed.”
“Human activities might have shifted the movement of caribou in and near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge…
“A UC study published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution identified a shift in one herd’s movements after the 1970s that coincided with changes in herd size and climate, and the construction of new roads and other energy infrastructure.”
“The ongoing collapse of the world’s aquifers: All over the world—from the Netherlands to Indonesia to Mexico City—geology is conspiring with climate change to sink the ground under humanity’s feet.
“More punishing droughts mean the increased draining of aquifers, and rising seas make sinking land all the more vulnerable to flooding. According to a recent study published in the journal Science, in the next two decades, 1.6 billion people could be affected by subsidence, with potential loses in the trillions of dollars.”
“Roughly 160 International Organization for Migration (IOM) staff in central Mozambique are working to prepare local communities for the imminent arrival of Cyclone Eloise, which is currently packing winds of at least 150 km/h [93mph and may be as strong as 120mph on landfall).
“The people are scared,” said Cesaltino Vilanculo, an IOM Mobile team leader in the provincial capital Beira, who helped hundreds of families evacuate from unsafe temporary settlements to two accommodation centers.” [memories of Idai and Kenneth still fresh from 2019]
“Temperatures recorded by the Taipei weather station reached 29.8 degrees Celsius [86F] on Thursday, tying the record for the second highest temperature ever recorded by the station in the month of January, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB)…
“The weather station was established in 1949, the CWB added.”
“Northern Patagonia and the central region of Argentina are preparing to face a severe heat wave during the next 48 hours… [provisionally the town of Maquinchao, which is 888m / 2913 feet above sea-level, has recorded its all-time highest temperature of 38.4C / 101F]
“As reported by the National Meteorological Service, in some parts of the Patagonian and central regions of Argentina, temperatures may reach 40 degrees, between Thursday and Friday.”
“Mega winter storm is forecast to dump more than half a foot of snow across Midwest [US, lash drought-stricken California with two year’s worth of rain in one day and cause severe thunderstorms in the South…
“Beginning on Friday, the first low-pressure system is expected to bring snow from California’s Sierra Nevada into parts of the Great Basin and Rockies…”
“If Iqalummiut [far North Canada] feel like winter has been especially mild this year, they’re not wrong… If the rest of this month continues on a warm streak, David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada says, December and January’s average temperatures will be the warmest on record.
He adds that what’s exceptional is not the odd warm days necessarily, but the relentlessness of the warmth. “It’s almost [like] this cold weather has been missing in action,” Phillips said. “It’s going on week after week.””
“Displaced by floods in Bulgaria, rodents find home in Turkey:
“Coypus, semiaquatic rodents bred for fur in Bulgaria, found themselves as accidental migrants to neighboring Turkey recently. Hundreds of coypus, also known as nutria, were sighted on the banks of the Tundzha (Tunca) and Maritsa (Meriç) rivers…”
“By 2050 most people will live downstream of a large dam built in the 20th century, many of which are approaching the limits of the useful lifetime they were designed for, according to global research.
“To avoid the potential for dam failures, overtopping or leaks, the dams will require increasing maintenance, and some may have to be taken out of service. Many governments have not prepared for these needs…”
“As far as I know, your work is unique in pulling together stories from all over the world. Very sobering but a better and more complete view. Terrific and necessary work. Thank you!” – Simon
“With the inundation of so much depressing news, Justin Panopticon presents it in a succinct format that one can quickly go thru and see the big picture of climate and economics/politics to stay current and if a particle topic is of interest one can delve into the details… I try never to miss any of his posts…I am a Patreon of his work.”
– Karina S.
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Weekday updates on both climate change and the global economy. Stay current with what’s happening around the world with a quick scan of top news.