Just HOW EARLY is spring arriving in your neighborhood?


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❝ How do you know when spring has begun? Is it the appearance of the first tiny leaves on the trees, or the first crocus plants peeping through the snow? The Spring Leaf Index is a measure of these early season events in plants, based on recent temperature conditions. This model allows us to track the progression of spring onset across the country. The map shows locations that have reached the requirements for the Spring Leaf Index model (based on NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis temperature products).

Click through to the article and a dynamic model of this map.

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“Bombogenesis” enters weather commentary – Republicans excepted, of course


Semi blown over in Marina, California

❝ One of California’s strongest storms in years – dubbed a “bombogenesis” or “weather bomb” – has hit the state, killing at least four people and bringing torrential rain and floods.

Power cuts hit 150,000 households and sinkholes swallowed cars.

Hundreds of homes were evacuated amid fear of mud slides near Los Angeles…

❝ One man was killed after a tree fell and pulled a power line onto his car in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles.

A second person died in a vehicle when it was submerged by a flash flood in the town of Victorville…

Two others died in car accidents in the San Diego area.

❝ Ryan Maue, a meteorologist for WeatherBell Analytics, told the Los Angeles Times that 10 trillion gallons of rain would fall on California in the next week, enough to power Niagara Falls for 154 days

❝ It is feared that areas that have been previously hit by forest fires could be more susceptible to mud slides as there is less vegetation to break the flow of running water.

Terry Anzur of KFI News told the BBC the dry, scorched ground that had been “saturated” with the heavy downpour was turning streets into “rivers of mud”…

❝ Meteorologists describe the “bombogenesis” as an intense extra-tropical cyclonic low-pressure area, or “a weather bomb”.

“It is likely the strongest within the last six years and possibly even as far back as December 2004 or January 1995.”

Gusts of 87mph were reported on the Big Sur scenic coastal highway.

If you’re sitting in a Million-dollar McMansion you ain’t worried about more than getting out to buy more of the right lite beer to slug down while watching reality TV. Not the reality the rest of us face; but, good enough to keep Fox News in business.

Earth three-peats hottest year record

❝ Earth sizzled to a third-straight record hot year in 2016, with scientists mostly blaming man-made global warming with help from a natural El Nino that’s now gone.

Two U.S. agencies and international weather groups reported Wednesday that last year was the warmest on record. They measure global temperatures in slightly different ways, and came up with a range of increases, from minuscule to what top American climate scientists described as substantial.

They’re “all singing the same song even if they are hitting different notes along the way. The pattern is very clear,” said Deke Arndt of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration…

“This is clearly a record,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies. “We are now no longer only looking at something that only scientists can see, but is apparent to people in our daily lives.”

❝ Temperature records go back to 1880. This is the fifth time in a dozen years that the globe has set a new annual heat record. Records have been set in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2010 and 2005…

Schmidt said his calculations show most of the record heat was from heat-trapping gases from the burning of oil, coal and gas. Only about 12 percent was due to El Nino, which is a periodic warming of parts of the Pacific that change weather globally, he said. Arndt put the El Nino factor closer to a quarter or a third…

❝ The effects are more than just records, but actually hurt people and the environment, said Oklahoma University meteorology professor Jason Furtado. They’re “harmful on several levels, including human welfare, ecology, economics, and even geopolitics,” he said.

I’ll second that emotion.

Examination of Arctic warmth leads straight to the expected cause


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❝ It normally takes many months to get a paper through peer review and into a journal, but a group of scientists has released their detection and attribution study early, and it’s a stunning indictment. We now know the culprit for the astonishing Arctic warmth of November and December. It seemed very likely that the guilty party was rising greenhouse gasses with Arctic amplification as the accomplice, and that’s JUST what the evidence shows. It’s overwhelming, and the defendants have no choice but to throw themselves upon the mercy of the court.

❝ The analysis shows that even in our present climate that is around a degree warmer than 1900, this heat is unusual, but would happen once every 50-200 years. The odds of it happening in the climate of 1900 are astronomically tiny, however, if we warm another degree, this will be a nearly commonplace event.

The study is here, and for those that do not want to read the whole thing RTFA for the conclusions.

❝ What this study took great pains to do was to show that this warmth is almost certainly not a natural oscillation in the Arctic climate. Such oscillations exist, but when they are subtracted out, this year stands out like a big red sore thumb. Chris Mooney at the Washington Post has a good summary of this study as well.

I’ll leave crayola-sophistry to the climate denial crowd. They have a good couple of years ahead with the government packed by both wings of the Republican Party.

2067: How the ski industry is [and isn’t] heeding predictions of an overheating world

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YOU RUMMAGE THROUGH A TRUNK IN THE ATTIC AND HAPPEN UPON A DUSTY OLD PHOTO ALBUM. FLIPPING THROUGH ITS PAGES, YOU DISCOVER A SERIES OF CANDID POSES FEATURING YOUR GREAT GRANDPARENTS BACK IN THAT DISTANT WINTER OF ‘17.

Decades before you were born, these hale frosty-faced relatives, evincing grins from their snowy past, stand in vaulted white ramparts, the curves of their landscape recognizable to you—and yet they seem so foreign. But there your ancestors are: bundled contentedly against the elements, riding packed trams to the legendary powderamas of yore; ascending to destinations like Rendezvous Bowl in Jackson Hole, the black diamond runs of Grand Targhee, to the crest of Lone Mountain, and mugging for cellphone cameras along the ridge at Bridger Bowl.

Savoring what old-timers called “downhill skiing’s golden age” in the Northern Rockies, they hit the piste in late November and didn’t quit until mid-April.

Now in your own time, it’s Presidents Day weekend 2067, a period that once represented the busiest stretch of the ski season in winters half a century ago. You find that notion unbelievable. On this mid-February afternoon, it’s drizzling as it was during the Christmas holidays and into January; the thermometer reads a balmy 60 degrees. Intrigued by the thought of what once was, you set out to find the elusive snow line.

Climate change deniers will see this as scary science fiction. Scientists won’t. Educated voters won’t.

Nice piece of writing and a useful approach to forecasting what we have coming — probably regardless of what solutions are adopted if any. Who knows how long the United States will choose in our usual anti-democratic fashion to be governed by short-term thinking and ignorant profiteers?

Meanwhile, read this tale from the MOUNTAIN OUTLAW.

Republicans end climate change the old-fashioned way — by censorship


…But I know what the Koch brothers say science is, and that’s good enough for me

❝ Remember when Scott Walker was a hot presidential prospect for about six minutes, and then he went to London and refused to venture a guess at whether evolution is real, and looked even more stupid than most Republicans while doing it? Well by golly, when it comes to other kinds of science, Walker is not confused at all. He knows, for instance, that climate change is a very controversial subject among people who are Koch Industries, so he’s made a concerted effort to make sure state policy is uncontaminated by too much science. That admirable decisiveness is showing, in the form of a state website that used to be about “Climate Change and Wisconsin´s Great Lakes,” but has now had every mention of “climate” — or for that matter, real science — carefully scrubbed away.

❝ As Scientific American reported way back in 2015, Walker has “moved to reduce the role of science in environmental policymaking and to silence discussion of controversial subjects, including climate change, by state employees.” He’s dismantled environmental regulations, and attempted to slash staff at the state Department of Natural Resources, getting rid of a third of its scientists and firing a bunch of the department’s “environmental educators,” because why would you waste state money on spreading liberal propaganda to innocent schoolchildren? And just like Rick Scott did in Florida, Wisconsin also tried to prohibit state workers from even saying the “C” word at all.

❝ And then there’s that website. Urban Milwaukee columnist James Rowen details how the DNR’s website has been purged of any science whatsoever, changing a page that had actually been a pretty decent introduction to how climate change is affecting the Great Lakes into a couple of paragraphs of shrugging and saying, gosh, we dunno…

RTFA. In case you need your understanding of Republican politics dragged away from the nuances of Trump’s flirtation with fascism. Neocons haven’t disappeared. They still don’t win primaries. They still retain control of states outside the Confederacy via reliance on gerrymandering and anti-voting regulations. Yes, they also get a bump in their national power from the Idiocracy perpetuated by the TweetFührer.

Pic of the day — Sahara snow!


Click to enlargeGeoff Robinson

More photos over here.

Doesn’t happen often. Almost four decades since the last time. The screwed-up dynamics of climate change may make this s more frequent occurrence. Or not.

Just like recent frigid visits of the polar vortex to North America caused by unusually warm air at the North Pole pushing cooler air South. Instability rules, so far.