Posted on February 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Can Chinook salmon survive global warming?
Research documents more fall and winter flooding
FRISCO — Threatened Chinook salmon have been able to adapt to many changes over millennia, but climate change presents a big new threat, as many rivers around Puget Sound have seen bigger fluctuations in stream flows during the past 60 years.
“There’s more flooding in late fall and winter,” said Eric Ward, an ecologist at NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center. “This is happening when the eggs are in the gravel or when the juveniles are most susceptible.”
More pronounced fluctuations in flow can scour away salmon eggs and exhaust young fish, especially when lower flows force adult fish to lay eggs in more exposed areas in the center of the channel. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, endangered species, Environment, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: Chinook salmon, climate change, endangered species, extreme weather, global warming, Puget Sound | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 3, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A tornado near Lakeview, Texas. Photo courtesy NOAA.
New study could help produce better tornado forecasting
FRISCO — Under certain conditions, wildfire smoke transported thousands of miles can intensify tornadoes in U.S., according to University of Iowa researchers, who studied how smoke from agricultural burning in Central America affected tornado conditions in the United States.
The research specifically looked at the smoke impacts on an April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak that spawned 122 twisters, killing 313 people, considered the most severe tornado event since 1950. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, extreme weather | Tagged: 2011 tornado outbreak, climate, extreme weather, tornadoes, wildfire smoke | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Extreme heat events piling up in cities around the world
South American cities in particular have seen an increase in heat waves, according to a detailed new UCLA study that tracked climate more than 200 urban areas.
FRISCO — The world’s urban areas are shaping their own local climate by affecting regional wind fields, and that is resulting in more frequent heatwaves, researchers say, reporting a climate “double-whammy” of global warming and an intensifying urban heat island effect.
Human activities and the built environment trap heat and prevent cities from cooling down, said UCLA geography professor Dennis Lettenmaier.
“Everything’s warming up, but the effect is amplified in urban areas,” Lettenmaier said after studying 217 urban areas across the globe and finding that prolonged periods of extreme heat increased significantly in 48 percent of them between 1973 and 2012. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, extreme weather, global warming impacts, heatwaves, Urban heat island | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 26, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Will global warming intensify extreme weather swings?
How will climate change affect ENSO?
FRISCO — Global warming could increase the frequency of extreme La Niña events in the Pacific Ocean, with more droughts in southwestern United States, floods in the western Pacific regions and increased Atlantic hurricane activity.
The international study, published in Nature Climate Change, used advanced modeling to show how increased land-area heating, combined with more frequent El Niños, will feed a cycle of extreme La Niñas. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, El Niño, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate science, El Nino, ENSO, extreme weather, global warming, La Niña | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 2, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Tornado numbers low for third year in a row.
Scientists say they can’t pinpoint and long-term trends
FRISCO — The number of tornadoes in the U.S. was below average for the third year in a row, NOAA scientists said last week. A preliminary count shows there were about 800 tornadoes in 2014, the lowest number since 1982 and about 20 percent below the long term average. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, extreme weather | Tagged: 2014 tornadoes, climate, extreme weather, tornadoes | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 26, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Some birds won’t nest at all during drought years.
Some Sonoran Desert species skip breeding entirely during extreme drought
FRISCO — Drought-driven delayed nesting by some southwestern bird species may lead to crashing populations, scientists said in a new study that looked closely at Sonoran Desert bird species, such as Black-tailed Gnatcatchers and Verdins.
The research suggests drought conditions are delaying nesting by two weeks or more for some species. Despite recent rainfall, drought conditions persist in much of the Southwest, making life tough even for species adapted to a dry environment.
Delayed nesting makes the birds more vulnerable to nest predators and parasites, according to the scientists with Point Blue Conservation Science and the U.S. Geological Survey finds that increased drought frequency in southwestern North America results in increased instances of delayed nesting. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Birds, climate change, drought, extreme weather, Southwest | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 18, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Forest Service scientists study aftermath of Rim Fire to assess effectiveness of forest health treatments
A NASA Earth Observatory image shows smoke plumes from the Rim Fire in August, 2013. NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response.
FRISCO — A detailed new study of fire behavior of the 2013 Rim Fire in Yosemite provides a nuanced view of the effectiveness of forest health treatments.
The Rim Fire was the largest recorded fire in the Sierra Nevada region, and U.S. Forest Service researchers said in their study that the fire burned with moderate to high intensity on days the Rim Fire was dominated by a large pyro-convective plume, a powerful column of smoke, gases, ash, and other debris — regardless of the number of prior fires, topography, or forest conditions. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, forest fires, Forest health, forests, US Forest Service | Tagged: extreme weather, Forest health, Rim Fire, U.S. Forest Service, Wildfires | Leave a comment »