Can global warming cause massive ocean dead zones?


Almost the entire Pacific Ocean was much warmer than average in October 2015.

Research links past warming spikes with low-oxygen conditions in North Pacific

Staff Report

Ecosystem changes in the North Pacific that are currently being observed by scientists may be linked with large-scale climate shifts, according to a new study that found a link between abrupt ocean warming at the end of the last ice age and the sudden onset of low-oxygen, or hypoxic, conditions that led to vast marine dead zones.

“This works tackles a long-standing debate about what causes expansion of Oxygen Minimum Zones, also known as dead zones, in the oceans,” said Candace Major, a program director in National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences. “The results demonstrate a link between warming surface temperatures and dead zones at great depths. The findings also show that the response time between warming and dead zone expansion is quite fast,” Major said. Continue reading

Climate: Study links deadly 2010-2011 Australia floods with long-term ocean warming


A NASA Earth Observatory satellite image shows swollen rivers in northwestern Australia during record-setting floods in 2010-2011. Visit this NASA page for more info.

‘Take action to forestall global warming …’

Staff Report

Deadly floods that swept across Australia in 2010 and 2011 were at least partly fueled by long-term warming in the Indian and Pacific oceans, according to a new study that highlights some of threats posed by human-caused climate change.

The research, published in Geophysical Research Letters, shows that ocean warming can have profound effects on atmospheric circulation, delivering huge amounts of moisture to land areas under certain conditions. Continue reading

NOAA reports record global warmth for October 2015



Sea ice extent below average at both poles; northern hemisphere snow cover well above average

Staff Report

For the sixth month in a row, the global average temperature broke all historical records in October, soaring to 1.76 degrees Fahrenheit above the monthly average.

According the monthly climate report from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, it was by far the warmest October on record, breaking the record set just last year by 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit. It was also the largest the monthly departure from average from any month on record.

Both land- and sea-surface temperatures set records during the month, a sure sign that El Niño is fueling the spike in global temps and all but ensuring that this year will go down in the books as the warmest on record. Continue reading

Climate: October’s minimum temperatures were record warm across most of the West

Record to near-record warmth west of the Mississippi


October just isn’t getting as cold as it used to, according to the National Climatic Data Center, which says that eight states reported their warmest-ever minimum temperature readings for the month. Map courtesy NOAA/NCDC.

Staff Report

Climate experts said this week the average temperature across the U.S. during October was the warmest for the month since 1963, at 3.3 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. The first 10 months of 2015 will go into the books as the sixth-warmest such period on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center’s monthly update. Continue reading

Some of 2014’s extreme weather linked to climate change


Extreme weather, coming to you, thanks to global warming

What’s normal?

Staff Report

Climate and weather experts say some of 2014’s extreme weather events can be linked with human activities, including the global warming caused by greenhouse gases.

In a report released this week, researchers specifically identified tropical cyclones in the central Pacific, heavy rainfall in Europe, drought in East Africa, and stifling heat waves in Australia, Asia, and South America with human activities.

“For each of the past four years, this report has demonstrated that individual events, like temperature extremes, have often been shown to be linked to additional atmospheric greenhouse gases caused by human activities, while other extremes, such as those that are precipitation related, are less likely to be convincingly linked to human activities,” said Thomas R. Karl, L.H.D., director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Continue reading

Epic Death Valley floods leave wake of destruction


Flash floods in October scoured roads and bridges from the landscape in Death Valley National Park. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

Autumn tourism affected by road damage, but many attractions still open

Staff Report

A series of El Niño-fueled storms in October ravaged parts of Death Valley with floods and mudslides, leading to serious road damage and impacting other park resources, including Devils Hole, a spring that’s home to endangered fish.

According to the National Park Service, flash floods heavily damaged historic structures at Scottys Castle. In a press release, the park service floods pushed over a wall and buried some buildings with about five feet of mud.

The park often sees weather extremes, including flash flooding, but geologists said October’s events were near the edge of the historic envelope. Continue reading

Study suggests California weather will be more extreme

More drought, more flooding …


An intensifying El Niño cycle could affect California weather.

Staff Report

The Pacific Ocean’s El Niño-La Niña cycle may become a dominant factor in West Coast weather by the end of this century and lead to more frequent weather extremes, according to a new study published in Nature Communications. Based on the findings, California could see the number of extreme droughts and floods by 2100, the researchers found.

A better understanding of what gives rise to El Nino and La Nina cycles — together known as El Nino-Southern Oscillation — might help California predict and prepare for more frequent droughts and floods in the coming century. Continue reading


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