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Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End

Global warming in 2020 and a sleeping giant


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Hurricane Delta has become the 10th named storm to make landfall in the US this year, breaking a record that has stood since 1916. It came ashore as a 100 mph category 2 hurricane in a sparsely populated salt marsh region of Louisiana, almost exactly where hurricane Laura made landfall in August.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is a warning from the severe-weather.eu site, concerning the transition of hurricane Epsilon to a powerful extratropical storm, hitting the UK on Tuesday. They were spot on with their prediction of the severe squally weather we got this morning. It didn't last long, but I can't remember seeing such intense sheets of rain.

 

"There is another, more concerning feature of interest after this weekend’s North Atlantic depression is over. The currently ongoing hurricane Epsilon in the northwestern Atlantic will undergo an extratropical transition and head towards Europe.

Global models are hinting a very powerful extratropical cyclone could form on Monday and head towards the UK and Ireland on Tuesday. Major waves and destructive hurricane-winds will be possible.

We are closely monitoring the evolution of the North Atlantic activity and will keep you updated in the coming days – stay tuned!"

https://www.severe-weather.eu/mcd/north-atlantic-cyclone-windstorm-uk-mk/

Edit: Epsilon's remnant now expected to head north to the Faroe Islands. UK will still get a lot of rain from the trailing rain bands and very heavy sea conditions.

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Updates:

Arctic Ocean sea ice coverage for the date is at a record low by a huge margin.  Click for larger image.

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

60,000 people are being evacuated from the Irvine area of Orange county, California, as the Silverado fire continues to grow.

Tropical storm Zeta is heading for the north east of Yucatan, Mexico, and is expected to arrive as a 75 mph category 1 hurricane early tomorrow. It'll be the third time this month that a tropical storm or hurricane has made landfall there. Currently predicted to make landfall near New Orleans early Tuesday as an 80 mph hurricane, but long range intensity forecasts are notoriously unreliable, and more often than not, too conservative. Zeta is the furthest into the Greek alphabet on record, and may not be the last named storm of the season.

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Super typhoon Goni is currently headed for the Philippines as a catastrophic 180 mph storm, equivalent to an Atlantic category 5 hurricane. It's the strongest storm of 2020, and will make landfall in a few hours. The Philippines is the most storm battered country on the planet. In 2013, super typhoon Haiyan hit with 190 mph winds, killing around 8,000 people and making millions homeless. Haiyan was the strongest typhoon/hurricane ever to make landfall, equaled by typhoon Meranti in 2016, which made landfall with the same intensity on a small outlying Philippines island.

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Secrets of the Ice: Unlocking a Melting Time Capsule.

Interesting article from today's Guardian on how melting snow packs around the world are yielding up ancient artefacts, which have been preserved in the snow for thousands of years, but which are at risk of rapid decay once exposed to the air. It's a race against time for archaeologists to collect these 'ice time capsule' objects, before they are lost.

Examples are a 3,000 year old bronze age arrow from the Altai mountains of Mongolia, a 4,300 year old spear from the Yukon, and a 10,300 year old basket from near Yellowstone. In Norway, a pre-Viking 1,700 year old woolen tunic has been found, and 3,300 year old leather shoes.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/nov/01/secrets-of-the-ice-unlocking-a-melting-time-capsule-archaeology-glaciers

It's fascinating stuff, although not in the same league as the discovery of a 5,300 year old body in the melting ice 10,500 feet up in the Austrian Alps in 1991. 'Otzi', as he came to be known, after the Otzaler Alps, where he was found, was fully dressed in  leather, and had a bow and quiver of arrows with him, as well as a copper knife. He appears to have lived between the late stone age and the bronze age, when copper was used, but the technology to alloy it with tin to make bronze had still to be discovered. He now has a museum dedicated to him, and is the most studied corpse on the planet.

Makes you wonder what else is out there , waiting to be unearthed. Or, should that be 'uniced'? Perhaps melting glaciers will reveal caves that haven't seen the light of day since before the last ice age, 120,000 years ago. Modern humans had still to emerge from Africa at that time, and the Neanderthals had what we now call Europe to themselves. It's not impossible that melting ice will reveal caves that contain the Neanderthal equivalent of Otzi. Now, that would cause some serious excitement.

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Tropical storm Eta has formed in the Caribbean, and ties the record of 28 named Atlantic storms in a season, set in 2005. It currently has winds of 65 mph, and is predicted to be a high end category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds when it makes landfall in Nicaragua on Tuesday morning.

Thereafter, it becomes a slow moving system, as it meanders north into Honduras. That's very bad news, as Honduras and neighbouring countries are mountainous, and the longer it sits over the mountains, the more rain will be funneled down the steep sided valleys, potentially causing disastrous flash flooding. 

That was what happened in 1998, when hurricane Mitch stalled over the region, dropping 6 feet of rain, and causing upwards of 11,000 deaths. Mitch was the deadliest hurricane since the 'Great Hurricane' of 1780. Eta won't be nearly as bad, but it will be bad.

Edit 3 pm Monday: Eta now already a 110 mph hurricane, and predicted by the NHC to be a category 4 major hurricane with 140 mph winds at landfall in Nicaragua at 1 pm tomorrow.

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Subtropical storm Theta has become the 29th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, beating the record of 28 storms, set in 2005. It's currently a few hundred miles west of the Canary islands, and has winds of 70 mph, just below the 74 mph threshold for a category 1 hurricane. Current track would take it to Portugal, but that could change. In 2018, Portugal was hit by ex-hurricane Leslie, with 70 mph winds at landfall. This was the strongest storm to hit Portugal since 1842.

Hurricane Eta exited central America, went over Cuba, then turned west, causing extensive flooding in Florida, and is now a 60 mph tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico. It's expected to weaken as it slowly edges north to make its final landfall between Florida and Louisiana. But, it's 2020, so don't rule anything out. November sees an average of 1 named Atlantic system, but there's currently a third one brewing in the eastern Caribbean, which could become Iota at the end of the week.

The times they are a changin'.

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October 2020 Temperature Update

The following is a summary of global temperature conditions in Berkeley Earth’s analysis of October 2020.

  • October 2020 was the 5th warmest October since records began in 1850.
  • A moderate La Niña has strengthened in the Pacific, reducing temperatures from September.
  • Very warm conditions occurred over most of the Arctic, coincident with very record low sea ice extent for October.
  • With 10 months completed, 2020 is now slightly behind 2016 as the warmest year since instrumental measurements began.
  • A relatively cool October and stronger La Niña has sharply reduced the odds that 2020 will be a record warm year. We estimate only a 16% chance that 2020 ends as the warmest year, and a 80% chance that it finishes as the second warmest year.

I think they are way off with the 16% (5 to 1 odds) estimate for 2020 being the record warmest year. 

I'll take those 5/1 odds. Bet of the century. The first 9 months of 2020 are averaging 1.05 C above the 1951-80 average (NASA GISS). The current warmest year, globally, is 2016, at + 1.02 C. The La Nina cooling effect isn't that noticeable early on, being more noticeable the following year. The NASA figure for October hasn't been added to the table data page yet.

Add to that the fact that Arctic Ocean ice volume is currently neck and neck with the record low winter volume year, and this always produces high air temperatures there which boost the global temperature anomaly.

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This is some extreme hurricane season. Two weeks ago, hurricane Eta hit Nicaragua as a major category 4, and caused devastating flooding throughout central America. Now, 145 mph hurricane Iota is poised to make landfall in the same place tomorrow morning as a 155 mph category 5 storm. It's the first time there have been two majors in November in the Atlantic region, and these are high end majors. Iota is a record 31st storm of the season, and will be the strongest ever recorded in November.

The region has been afflicted by a multi year drought, which has resulted in 'caravans' of refugees travelling through Mexico in a largely vain attempt to resettle in the US. I've read that the news of Iota's impending arrival is the last straw for many, and that there is about to be a major surge of migrants making the dangerous trip through Mexico. We've been warned for many years that climate change would result in millions of environmental refugees, and we're now seeing the reality.

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Polar scientist wary of impending satellite gap.

Scientists are concerned that the two satellites monitoring Arctic, Antarctic and glacial ice volumes, CryoSat-2 and IceSat-2, will expire before their successor, the EC/Esa Cristal is launched in 2027/28 This could mean a 2-5 year gap in our knowledge of how much annual ice loss is occurring.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/...

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The devastating 2020 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended on November 30, and set an incredible amount of new records. Dr. Jeff Masters does an excellent summary in his article here:

https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/12/a-look-back-at-the-horrific-2020-atlantic-hurricane-center/

There were 30 named storms, the most ever recorded, 13 hurricanes (second highest), and 6 majors (second highest). There was a record number of rapidly intensifying storms (10), which has been a noticeable trend in recent years, and is probably global warming related. A record number made landfall in the US (12). Thankfully, many of the strongest ones landed in sparsely populated salt marsh areas, so the damage was a lot less than might have been expected.

Sadly, that wasn't the case in Central America, which was hit by two very late season major hurricanes. Hurricane Iota was the latest cat 5 on record making landfall in Nicaragua, just after hurricane Eta hit the same area. Damage from both storms has been estimated at $10 billion dollars in Honduras, or 40% of GDP, equivalent to 22 years of economic development.

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11 hours ago, Pat said:

Yonza, last couple of weeks have been very chilly and cold December so far. Does this help stop global warming? 

Nah, there has been record warmth in the Arctic, particularly in eastern Siberia and Canada. The polar jet stream has been changed by global warming, so that its giant, meandering waves are plunging further south, taking cold air with them, and taking warm air north on their return. We're getting the cold bit, and they're expecting a huge snowfall in the Alps.

There's currently a La Nina in the Pacific, which would usually mean that global temperatures will be a little lower in the first four months of 2021. However, Arctic Ocean sea ice volume is currently at a record low, and this will have a warming effect, which will more than counteract the cooling effect of La Nina. I expect global temperatures for the first four months of 2021 might set a new record, despite the La Nina, which would show just how 'out of kilter' the global climate has become.

Early indications are that November was the warmest November on record, globally, by around 0.05 C. Doesn't sound much, but is actually a fair jump.

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Pity they might not be able to benefit from the snow in the alps.   It is all very scary. Seems to be going on and on without much action.  Individually what can we do? This looks like a great idea:
Bosco Verticale/Vertical Forest in Milan, Italy. Said to equal 3 hectares of forests (20,000 sq m), It converts as much as 30 tonnes of CO2 each year. It also filters out dust particles, protects the residents from noise pollution and creates a microhabitat for insects and birds,

In our complex our is the only balcony with a lot of plants. 

balcony global warming milan.png

balcony whole aug 2020.jpg

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The NASA figure for the November global temperature anomaly has just been added to the table data, an incredible 1.13 C above the 1951-80 average, and that during a strong La Nina, which should have caused significant cooling.

The previous highest November was during the record 2015/16 El Nino, at 1.06 C. So, a strong La Nina year beats a record El Nino year by 0.07 C, just 5 years later. That is very, very disturbing.

And I really don't get why scientists are saying that 2020 'might beat or tie' the 2016 record warmth year. The 11 months so far in 2020 are 1.04 C higher than the 1951-80 average. The full year for 2016 was +1.01 C, so 2020 is quite clearly going to set a new record, in the NASA GISS record, anyway.

https://data.giss.nasa.gov/...

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Very cold temperatures at the moment. Still better to have cold, dry sunny days than the rain that seemed to be relentless.

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The NASA GISS global temperature anomaly for December has just been added to the table data, and it's surprisingly small - just the sixth warmest December on record, and the lowest anomaly for any month since August 2018.

That makes 2020 the joint warmest year on record with 2016 at 1.02 C above the 1951-80 average. The reason for the low anomaly is the recent development of a La Nina in the tropical Pacific, which is the cool counterpart of  El Nino. A record strong El Nino boosted global temperatures in 2016.

https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v4/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

However, the Guardian states that the NASA figures make 2020 slightly warmer of 2016, by less than a hundredth of a degree.

"Last year was by a narrow margin the hottest ever on record, according to Nasa, with the climate crisis stamping its mark on 2020 through soaring temperatures, enormous hurricanes and unprecedented wildfires.

The average global land and ocean temperature in 2020 was the highest ever measured, Nasa announced on Thursday, edging out the previous record set in 2016 by less than a tent

Due to slightly different methods used, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) judged 2020 as fractionally cooler than 2016, while the UK Met Office also put 2020 in a close second place. The European Union’s climate observation program puts the two years in a dead heat."

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Californians face unprecedented fire blackouts in January.

"In an unprecedented move, California utilities are warning they may need to cut power to more than 280,000 homes and businesses to prevent live wires from sparking wildfires as high winds are set to sweep through the drought-weary state.

Edison International’s Southern California Edison said 277,078 customers in multiple counties including Los Angeles face blackouts within 48 hours due to a forecast of a strong Santa Ana wind event. None of its customers that had been affected by earlier cuts are facing power outage as of Sunday afternoon, according to Southern California Edison’s website.

These power cuts are extremely rare in the winter and the utilities have never warned of a possible shutoff of this size in January. The blackouts planned this week could affect more than 800,000 people, based on the average size of the state’s households.

The unusual prospect of January shutoffs underscores how wild California’s weather has become as climate change brings about increasingly extreme warmth and drought. Last year, record temperatures took down large swaths of the state’s power grid and wildfires torched more acreage than ever before.

During a regular winter, public safety power shutoffs “would not be under consideration, but this winter has been anything but normal,” PG&E meteorologists said on the utility’s website. Only 22% of the average rainfall this winter has fallen in the southern Sierra, they said.

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Some of the effects of global warming can be extremely counterintuitive. It has long been predicted by climate scientist that the Arctic would experience above average warming, due to positive feedback effects. However, no one predicted the consequences of this, which we're now seeing.

The very cold polar air mass is held in place by the polar jet stream, which moves in a 'wavy', undulating manner, from west to east. The jet stream is a result of the temperature contrast between polar and sub polar air masses. As the Arctic has warmed more than the sub Arctic, the temperature contrast has diminished, resulting in a weakening of the jet stream. As a result, its giant 'loops', known as Rossby waves, have grown much larger, and are plunging further south than in the past. 

This has resulted in both anomalously cold and anomalously warm winters in temperate latitude regions, depending on whether the region is getting the downswing (cold) or upswing (warm) of the loops. The polar vortex also often splits into two 'lobes', one going over North America, and the other over Siberia, binging very cold weather to both regions. The giant loops carry this cold air further south.

That was the set up in the UK during the 'Beast from the East' winter of 2018, and we've had a less extreme version of the beast from the east in recent weeks, which now seems to be relenting, as milder Atlantic weather fronts start to dominate the weather again. However, there could be a return to Arctic conditions by the end of the  month. Eastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean are still trapped in the Arctic air flow, with -20 C recorded in Greece, and Athens blanketed in snow. Very unusual weather.

In North America, the plunging Rossby wave has brought record low temperatures as far south as Mexico. Record low temperatures rivalling the winters of 1899 and 1905 have been recorded in the US states of Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansa, Wisconsin, Colorado, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma, with emergency declarations in several states, as temperatures plummeted to -40 C, with wind chills of -60 C. The governor of Texas has issued a disaster declaration for all 254 counties. The temperature in Dallas fell to -15 C, and some 2.5 million households are currently without power. Most are heated with electricity. For comparison, hurricane Harvey resulted in 393,000 outages.

It's a slowly unfolding disaster, with several days yet to run. One story I read was that of a mother and her young son in Texas, who tried to keep warm by getting into the car in the garage and turning the heating on. They died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Increased demand for electricity is a factor in the power cuts, but it seems that the main factor is that the power generating infrastructure has simply been crippled by the cold. Natural gas has frozen in the pipes, wind turbines have seized up, and even nuclear plants are unable to function normally.

At the same time, New York state is experiencing well above normal temperatures for the time of year, as it is influenced by the upswing of the jet stream loop returning north.

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