What makes hurricanes stall?

A lot can go wrong when hurricanes stall. Their destructive winds last longer. The storm surge can stay high. And the rain keeps falling

Research shows that stalling has become more common for tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic since the mid-20th century and that their average forward speed has also slowed.

The Arctic has been warming about twice as fast as the mid-latitudes, where most of the U.S. is located. That’s changing the distribution, or gradient, of temperature between the Arctic and the mid-latitudes. And that can affect the steering currents, such as those associated with the Bermuda high.

On average, the forward speed of hurricanes has been slowing down. Simulations of tropical storm behavior have suggested that this slowing will continue as average global temperatures warm, particularly in the mid-latitudes…

A warmer atmosphere also means storms can tap into more moisture. As temperature increases, it’s easier for water to evaporate into vapor…If a storm slows, and if it has access to more moisture, it can dump more rain and produce a greater storm surge due to the slow motion.

RTFA. Even more interesting, mostly unnerving, factors affecting the course of hurricanes to come.

National Hurricane Center used all their names — then, two more storms arrived!


Forecast Landfall for Tropical Storm Beta

Here’s how active this year’s Atlantic hurricane season has been: When Tropical Storm Wilfred formed on Sept. 18, the National Hurricane Center exhausted its list of storm names for only the second time since naming began in 1950. Within hours, two more storm had formed – now known as Alpha and Beta.

Even more surprising is that we reached the 23rd tropical storm of the year, Beta, more than a month earlier than in 2005, the only other year on record with so many named storms.

So, why is the Atlantic so active this year? Meteorologists like myself have been following a few important differences, including many tropical storms forming closer to the U.S. coast.

RTFA, examine the cause-and-effect relationships that weather scientists examine before forecasting. Reflect upon climate change…and how and why it is happening. C’mon, you can do all that. And, living in an almost-democracy, you have as strong a mandate as any politicians parked in some executive suite.

Thousands of birds falling from the sky in American Southwest


Allison Salas/New Mexico State University

Thousands of migrating birds have inexplicably died in south-western US in what ornithologists have described as a national tragedy that is likely to be related to the climate crisis.

Flycatchers, swallows and warblers are among the species “falling out of the sky” as part of a mass die-off across New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Arizona and farther north into Nebraska, with growing concerns there could be hundreds of thousands dead already, said Martha Desmond, a professor in the biology department at New Mexico State University (NMSU). Many carcasses have little remaining fat reserves or muscle mass, with some appearing to have nose-dived into the ground mid-flight…

Historic wildfires across the western states of the US could mean they had to re-route their migration away from resource-rich coastal areas and move inland over the Chihuahuan desert, where food and water are scarce, essentially meaning they starved to death. “They’re literally just feathers and bones,” Allison Salas, a graduate student at NMSU who has been collecting carcasses, wrote in a Twitter thread about the die-off. “Almost as if they have been flying until they just couldn’t fly any more.”

Folks here in New Mexico been talking about this for days. At first, we thought it was just something local. We figured on climate change. Waterways are turning bad as much as trees and vegetation are dying off. It’s just more widespread than we ever imagined.

Green stimulus can repair global economy — and climate

Projects which cut greenhouse gas emissions as well as stimulating economic growth deliver higher returns on government spending, in the short term and in the longer term, than conventional stimulus spending, the study from Oxford University found.

Many of the projects that could create new jobs in the UK are “shovel-ready”, compliant with social distancing requirements and could be started quickly, said Cameron Hepburn…lead author of the study.

He cited energy efficiency programmes to insulate the UK’s draughty housing stock, the building of electric vehicle charging networks, redesigning roads for more cycling, flood protection and planting trees. “These all need large-scale deployment, offer low to moderate skilled work and will have benefits in terms of climate change as well as boosting the economy,” he said.

Problems and solutions in the UK and USA are similar enough that I imagine it wouldn’t take more tweaking than deciding which side of the road to drive on. Worth examining further. Expressed thoughtfully, could be a decent add to November election issues.

129, 000 years ago the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melted. Earth’s oceans rose about 10 feet.

High temperature in Antarctica, this week = 69°F.

…The mass melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet was a major cause of high sea levels during a period known as the Last Interglacial (129,000-116,000 years ago). The extreme ice loss caused more than three metres of average global sea level rise – and worryingly, it took less than 2˚C of ocean warming for it to occur.

To conduct our research, we travelled to an area on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and drilled into so-called blue ice areas to reconstruct the glacial history of this ice sheet…

…The results showed that most ice loss happened at the start of Last Interglacial warming, some 129,000 years ago – showing how sensitive the Antarctic is to higher temperatures. We think it’s likely this melting started well before the ocean warmed by 2˚C….

Our results suggest a 3.8 metre sea level rise during the first thousand years of a 2˚C warmer ocean. Most of the modelled sea level rise occurred after the loss of the ice shelves, which collapsed within the first two hundred years of higher temperatures.

I know, I know. Most Americans think like most American politicians. It ain’t happening while I’m around. Probably my kids and grandkids will be OK, as well. Someone further down the road will think of something to save our butts.

I’d rather have the concession for caskets that float.

Antarctica discovered 200 years ago…More marine conservation overdue!


Click to enlarge

Looking back, it seems only fitting that a Russian, Adm. Fabian von Bellingshausen, was the first person to sight Antarctica…200 years ago. In fact, on Jan. 27, 1820.

Now, the 25 member governments of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Living Marine Resources [CCAMLR], which governs human activity in the Southern Ocean, should honor the anniversary of von Bellingshausen’s discovery and the spirit of the treaty with a renewed push to protect the Southern Ocean.

This marine environment and the species that live there face unprecedented threats, led by climate change…Fortunately, CCAMLR already has proposals on the table for the creation of three MPAs—in East Antarctica…the Weddell Sea, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Each would safeguard critical foraging and nursery grounds for Southern Ocean species, including seals, whales, and penguins, and preserve the region’s essential function as a carbon sink.

The great Antarctic explorers and the signatories of the 1959 treaty have their names etched in history, and by doing the right thing this year, CCAMLR members could join them.

I’ll second that emotion.

Guess who AP cropped out of this photo when they published it?


Press conference in Davos of prominent young climate activists
Click to enlarge

When Vanessa Nakate addressed a tweet to the Associated Press asking why she had been cropped out of a photo, it was out of curiosity. She didn’t think her question would ignite a firestorm of criticism and spark an international conversation on erasure and diversity within the environmental movement.

“When I saw the photo, I only saw part of my jacket. I was not on the list of participants. None of my comments from the press conference were included,” she said. “It was like I wasn’t even there.”

The 23-year-old Ugandan activist had appeared at a joint press conference in Davos with other prominent climate activists, including Greta Thunberg, Loukina Tille, Luisa Neubauer and Isabelle Axelsson.

But when the news agency published a picture of the event, Nakate had been cut from the image – which showed only the four white activists.

AP responded with the standard trick bag of excuses for their racist screwup. Of course.

Atmospheric river storms are getting stronger

Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow bands of moisture in the atmosphere that extend from the tropics to higher latitudes. These rivers in the sky can transport 15 times the volume of the Mississippi River. When that moisture reaches the coast and moves inland, it rises over the mountains, generating rain and snowfall and sometimes causing extreme flooding.

Recently…a team of researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Army Corps of Engineers in the first systematic analysis of damages from atmospheric rivers due to extreme flooding. We found that while many of these events are benign, the largest of them cause most of the flooding damage in the western U.S. And atmospheric rivers are predicted to grow longer, wetter and wider in a warming climate.

RTFA. More info. A scale for evaluating the dangerous potential in these rivers. Another wake-up call for this nation.