Posted on August 25, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Hurricane Katrina was sprawled across all or part of 16 states at 2:15 p.m. CDT on August 29, 2005, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image. Photo courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.
How will climate change affect hurricanes?
Kerry Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
*This story is reprinted with permission from The Conversation
Three weeks and three days before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans 10 years ago, a paper of mine appeared in the scientific journal Nature showing that North Atlantic hurricane power was strongly correlated with the temperature of the tropical Atlantic during hurricane season, and that both had been increasing rapidly over the previous 30 years or so. It attributed these increases to a combination of natural climate oscillations and to global warming. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, global warming, Hurricane Katrina, hurricanes, Katrina, tropical storms | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 25, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
There have been significant die-backs in Colorado aspen forests during recent hot droughts and the stands may never regenerate in some areas because of global warming. @bberwyn photo.
Giant fires, insect outbreaks could be ‘game-changer’ for some forests
FRISCO —Forest Service researchers say “mega-disturbances” like giant wildfires and insect outbreaks are likely to hasten the slow demise of temperate forest ecosystems in the coming decades.
Even without those large-scale events, some forests appear to be transitioning to shrublands and steppe, and big disturbances could speed that process, according to a new study published this month in Science. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, Environment, extreme weather, forest fires, Forest health, forests, global warming, pine beetles and wildfires | Tagged: climate change, drought, Forest health, forest regeneration, forests, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 24, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New research suggests that winds strengthened by global warming present a potential threat to seabirds. @bberwyn photo.
UK study tracks impacts to coastal birds in Scotland
FRISCO — Biologists in the UK say stronger winds projected my many climate change models could have a big impact on some coastal bird populations. When winds are strong, females take much longer to find food compared with their male counterparts.
In many seabird species, females are smaller and lighter than males, and so must work harder to dive through turbulent water. They may not hold their breath for as long, fly so efficiently nor dive as deeply as males. The study suggests that climate change will exacerbate the differences and could ultimately affect population sizes.
To reach their findings, scientists with the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology at the University of Edinburgh and the British Antarctic Survey tracked shags — cormorant-like birds — on the Isle of May National Nature Reserve in south-east Scotland. Small tracking devices attached to the legs of birds helped measured how long they foraged for fish in the sea.
Scientists found that when coastal winds were strong or blowing towards the shore, females took much longer to find food compared with males. The difference in time spent foraging became more marked between the sexes when conditions worsened, suggesting that female birds are more likely to continue foraging even in the poorest conditions. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, extreme weather, global warming, wildlife | Tagged: climate change, Environment, global warming, seabirds, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 22, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
June and July brought record high temperatures and big rainfall deficits in many parts of the European Union
Drought conditions were widespread across Europe during June and July.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The western U.S. isn’t the only part of the world experiencing severe drought this year. Across much of central Europe, extremely warm temperatures and lack of rainfall have combined to create the worst drought conditions since 2003.
Hardest hit have been France, Benelux, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, northern Italy and northern Spain, according to new information released by the European Drought Observatory. The report includes data from satellite imagery showing that the areas with the largest rainfall deficits also recorded exceptionally high maximum daily temperatures, in some cases reaching record values. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, Europe, European drought, European drought observatory, European heat wave, European Joint Research Centre, extreme weather, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Towering flames at the Fork Complex wildfire in California, Photo via Inciweb.
Feds spending $150 million per day and seek firefighting help from Canada, Australia and New Zealand
FRISCO — This year’s wildfire activity in the U.S. has surged to the highest level in 10 years, with the National Interagency Fire Center reporting that about 7.2 million acres have burned so far, and officials said they expect the wildfire season to intensify in the coming weeks.
The drought-stricken far West is hardest hit, with 16 large fires currently burning in Washington, 14 in California and 12 in Oregon. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said federal agencies are currently spending about $150 million per day on fighting fires across the West. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, climate and weather, climate change, Drought, extreme weather, global warming, US Forest Service, wildfires | Tagged: climate, drought, Forest Service, West, Wildfires | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 20, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Is western drought the new climate normal?
New study quantifies global warming effect on California drought
FRISCO — Researchers say there’s new evidence that global warming will push the western U.S. into the driest conditions in at least the past 1,000 years, as higher temperatures exacerbate drought condition in the region.
The new study by scientists with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Cornell University focused on the current California drought, showing that warmer temps drive moisture from plants and soil into the air. Warmer temps likely worsened the California drought by 25 percent, the scientists concluded in their paper, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, Drought, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: California drought, climate change, drought, Environment, global warming, western drought | 4 Comments »