Posted on December 29, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A NASA satellite shows oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill spreading across the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Oil spill impacts
Looking back over some of the top environmental stories published in Summit Voice, it’s interesting to see some of the long-running threads, including continued news about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. A half decade after BP failed drilling operation spewed millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico, scientists continue to track the impacts, including massive amounts of oil buried deep in sea-bottom sediments, as described in this Jan. 2015 story.
Monarchs bounce back
For some good news in January, an annual monarch butterfly survey showed a slight recovery in population numbers, up to 56.5 million from the previous year’s low of 34 million. But that was still more than 80 percent below the 20-year average and down 95 percent from numbers tallied in the mid-1990s. Near-perfect conditions during breeding season helped bolster the numbers in 2015. Read more here.
Monarch butterflies are struggling, but population surveys in 2015 suggested that, with some help, the species can recover. @bberwyn photo.
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, El Niño, Environment, La Niña, ocean acidification | Tagged: climate change, Environment, Food security | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 19, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
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 …’
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
Filed under: climate and weather, El Niño, global warming, La Niña | Tagged: Australia, climate change, extreme weather, flooding, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 12, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Western U.S. counties violating current and proposed ozone air quality standards. Map courtesy Jeremy Nichols/ClimateWest blog.
La Niña weather pattern found to contribute to spikes in western ozone levels
FRISCO — Spring ozone formation in parts of the western U.S. appear to be linked with the hemispheric La Niña weather pattern, when the path of the jet stream forces high altitude ozone down to ground level.
After discovering the link, a team of researchers say their findings may help forecast harmful ozone episodes well in advance, which could have implications for attaining the national ozone standard. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, Environment, La Niña | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, climate, Environment, La Niña, ozone | 1 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 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 »