Posted on July 2, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A loggerhead sea turtle swimming over a coral reef. Photo courtesy NOAA/Marco Giuliano.
Ocean advocates say warming ocean drives sea turtles into floating gillnets
FRISCO — Along with the potential for affecting weather over North America, the emerging El Niño conditions on the Pacific Ocean could pose a threat to endangered loggerhead sea turtles, conservation advocates say, calling on federal fisheries managers to implement legally required restrictions on gillnet fishing to protect the turtles.
When ocean waters in the eastern Pacific get warmer, the loggerheads tend to move into commercial fishing grounds, where they often die after getting tangled up in nets. When El Niño is occurring or forecasted, the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area (California ocean waters east of 120 degrees latitude) is, by law, closed to drift gillnet fishing during June, July and August. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, El Niño, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: climate, El Nino, endangered species, gillnets, loggerhead sea turtles, weather | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 26, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Wet summer possible across much of Colorado
FRISCO — El Nino may bring above average rainfall to Colorado this summer, Grand Junction-based forecasters with the National Weather Service said in their latest update. The cyclical shift in Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures affects the path of moisture moving off the Pacific and across the western U.S.
Visit NOAA’s El Niño page, where weather experts are maintaining an El Niño blog to track the developing pattern.
NOAA maps show a classic El Niño pattern with a streak of warmer-than-average sea surface temps extending along the equator from the South American coast westward.
Based on computer model projections and comparisons with past years under similar emerging El Niño conditions, probabilities are tilted toward above-average precipitation for much of the summer, especially in late summer going into early autumn.
The biggest effects of El Niño are often felt during the winter months, but right now it’s unclear how strong this year’s El Niño will be or how long it will persist. Looking at the series of most recent El Niños, forecasters detect an overall trend of drier than average conditions, with periods of good snowfall scattered throughout the winter months.
Strong storms in late fall can put down a good base in the Colorado mountains, but El Niño winters are also often marked by long spells of dry weather in between stormy patterns.
Filed under: El Niño | Tagged: Colorado, El Nino, weather | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 7, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Will El Niño bring a wet summer to Colorado?
Most northern reservoirs expected to fill with above average snowpack and runoff; southern basins, southeastern plains still under drought gun
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Reservoirs in the northern and central Colorado high country will fill on schedule this year, water managers said Tuesday at the annual Summit County state of the river meeting, outlining their expectations for river flows and runoff volume in the Blue River Basin, a crucial water source area for both sides of the Continental Divide.
Most speakers focused was on these headwaters, but statewide maps also showed much of Colorado’s southern tier with below to well-below average snowpack — down to 50 percent in the Upper Rio Grande Basin, according to the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Colorado snow survey program.
The dry conditions in parts of the eastern San Juans are part of regional Southwest drought footprint, which is increasing demand for this year’s runoff. Southeastern Colorado’s plains are still experiencing Dust Bowl conditions, along with parts of the adjacent south-central plains.
Troy Wineland, water commissioner for the Blue River Basin, said headwater streams in the Blue River Basin are flowing at twice their average volume for this time of year, with peak runoff yet to come. Generally, the Blue River and its tributaries reach peak flows some time in mid-June, though the exact timing is weather-dependent, Wineland said. The state of the river meetings continue the next few weeks with sessions up and down the Colorado River. Details here. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, El Niño, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Blue River Basin, Colorado River, Denver Water, Dillon Reservoir, Summit County News, water | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Many ocean regions record warm, even without El Niño
A few spots reported near-record cold in Dec. 2013, but most of the planet saw temperatures well above average during the month, especially the southern hemisphere. Map courtesy NOAA.
FRISCO — Nearly the whole world was warmer than average in 2013, with parts of central Asia, western Ethiopia, eastern Tanzania, and much of southern and western Australia reporting record warmth. No regions of the world were record-cold in 2013.
With record warmth in parts of the Arctic Ocean and a large swath of the southwestern Pacific Ocean, 2013 ended up tied with 2005 as the fourth-warmest year on record for Planet Earth, according to the NOAA National Climatic Data Center 2013 global climate report.
At the same time, the NSDC released the December 2013 global State of the Climate report, showing that the month ranked as the third-warmest on record, at 1.15 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, El Niño, Environment, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: 2013 global temperatures, climate, Environment, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Study findings suggest more Australian heatwaves
New study analyzes how global warming will affect El Niño events.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Strong El Niños — along with the extreme weather events that are driven by those warm Pacific ocean episodes — are likely to double as the globe heats up.
“During an extreme El Niño event countries in the western Pacific, such as Australia and Indonesia, experience devastating droughts and wild fires, while catastrophic floods occurred in the eastern equatorial region of Ecuador and northern Peru,” said CSIRO Dr. Wenju Cai, lead author of a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
“We currently experience an unusually strong El Niño event every 20 years. Our research shows this will double to one event every 10 years,” said Dr. Agus Santoso, a climate researcher with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. The international research team also included scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, El Niño, global warming | Tagged: climate, climate change, El Nino, extreme weather | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 17, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Cool U.S. readings the exception in a record-warm month
Planet Earth record-warm in November 2013. Graphic courtesy NASA.
FRISCO — November’s cool temperatures across parts of North America were the exception, as the rest of globe reported all-time record warmth for the month. According to the National Climatic Data Center’s monthly update, the average global temperature was 1.40 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average.
Many regions saw all-time record highs, including southern Russia, northwest Kazakhstan, south India, southern Madagascar, parts of the central and south Indian Ocean, and sections of the Pacific Ocean.
Northern Australia, parts of North America, south west Greenland, and parts of the Southern Ocean near South America were cooler than average, but no regions of the globe were record cold during November. Read the full report here. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, El Niño, global warming, La Niña, seasons, Snow and weather | Tagged: climate, global warming, National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, November 2013 global temperatures | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 22, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
NOAA’s winter outlook offers little relief for Arizona, New Mexico
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Drought conditions may persist across the southwestern U.S. this winter and may redevelop across the Southeast, according to the seasonal outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
“Even though we don’t have La Niña, the atmosphere across the Pacific seems to be stuck in a La Niña mode … It’s been quite surprising to us, how persistent the pattern is,” said Mike Halpert, acting director of the Climate Prediction Center.
Parts of the Southwest, especially New Mexico, have been experiencing one of the driest periods on record, and Halpert said there is “decent agreement” in the CPC’s models on the climate signal that has resulted in the persistent trend. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, El Niño, La Niña | Tagged: climate, Climate Prediction Center, drought, El Nino, ENSO, La Niña, Southwest, winter weather outlook | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 12, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Simultaneous changes in global precipitation patterns can’t be explained by natural variability
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Scientists with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory say unequivocally that greenhouse gases are affecting the distribution and intensity of precipitation around the world.
The new study, published Nov. 11 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows how emissions of heat-trapping and ozone-depleting gases affect the distribution of precipitation through two mechanisms. Increasing temperatures are expected to make wet regions wetter and dry regions drier (thermodynamic changes); and changes in atmospheric circulation patterns will push storm tracks and subtropical dry zones toward the poles.
“Both these changes are occurring simultaneously in global precipitation and this behavior cannot be explained by natural variability alone,” said LLNL’s lead author Kate Marvel. “External influences such as the increase in greenhouse gases are responsible for the changes.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, El Niño, extreme weather, global warming, La Niña | Tagged: climate change, Environment, global precipitation, global warming, greenhouse gases | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Shifts in precipitation patterns would have big consequences for agriculture, forests and municipal water supplies
Research suggests that deforestation will likely produce a weather cycle over the Amazon consisting of abnormally dry air in the sun-scorched northern Amazon around the equator weighted by wetter air in the cooler south (left). The Princeton-led researchers found that the Amazon pattern would be subject to meandering high-altitude winds known as Rossby waves that move east or west across the planet (center). The Rossby waves would move the dry end of the Amazon pattern directly over the western United States from December to February, while the pattern’s rainy portion would be over the Pacific Ocean south of Mexico (right). Image courtesy Princeton University.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Continued deforestation in the Amazon region could have significant impacts on the weather in North America, according to Princeton researchers, who used fine-grained climate models to simulate how precipitation patterns could shift in the future.
Their findings suggest that total deforestation of the Amazon may significantly reduce rain and snowfall in the western United States — specifically, 20 percent less rain for the coastal Northwest and a 50 percent reduction in the Sierra Nevada snowpack, a crucial source of water for cities and farms in California.
“The big point is that Amazon deforestation will not only affect the Amazon — it will not be contained. It will hit the atmosphere and the atmosphere will carry those responses,” said lead author David Medvigy, an assistant professor of geosciences at Princeton. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, El Niño, Snow and weather | Tagged: Amazon Rainforest, climate, drought, El Nino, western U.S. | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
‘We may have underestimated the efficiency of the oceans as a storehouse for heat and energy … ‘
The heat trapped by greenhouse gases isn’t missing — it’s in the ocean. bberwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — There’s more evidence that the world’s ocean are taking up the heat trapped by greenhouse gases at an increasing rate, according to a new study published in Science this week.
After reconstructing Pacific Ocean temperatures from the last 10,000 years, the researchers found that the middle depths have warmed 15 times faster in the last 60 years than they did during apparent natural warming cycles in the previous 10,000 years.
“We’re experimenting by putting all this heat in the ocean without quite knowing how it’s going to come back out and affect climate,” said study coauthor Braddock Linsley, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “It’s not so much the magnitude of the change, but the rate of change.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, El Niño, Environment, global warming, La Niña | Tagged: global, greenhouse gases, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, oceans, warming | Leave a comment »