Saturday, April 20, 2013

The legacy of Sandy and other climate news

Time for an update of the climate news since Weather and climate as March went out like a lion.  First, two stories about how Hurricane Sandy has changed the policies of the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center.

Accuweather via OurAmazingPlanet: Post Sandy: The Jersey Shore's Susceptibility to Major Storms
by Jillian MacMath,
Apr 05, 2013 10:38 AM ET
Before Superstorm Sandy made landfall on the Jersey coast on Oct. 29, 2012, few realized the intensity of the storm that headed in their direction.

The National Hurricane Center opted not to issue hurricane warnings north of North Carolina, and instead handed the reins to regional National Weather Service offices.

Local governments warned the public of the approaching threat, and issued evacuation orders to many towns. While some residents agreed to leave, others resisted, believing that people were 'crying wolf' about the storm.
Accuweather via OurAmazingPlanet: Weather Service Broadens Hurricane Warning Definition
Apr 04, 2013 03:09 PM ET
The National Weather Service announced today that, starting June 1, the definitions of hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings will be broadened.

The new changes will allow watches and warnings to be issued or remain in effect after a tropical cyclone becomes post-tropical, when such a storm poses a significant threat to life and property.

In addition, the National Hurricane Center will be permitted to issue advisories during the post-tropical stage.
Follow over the jump for more climate-related news from Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (BRAIN Initiative) on Daily Kos.

Daily Kos: Green Diary Rescue: James Hansen switches to activism, dilbut trashes Easter for town of Mayflower
by Meteor Blades
Two bits of big news this week: James Hansen, the climate scientist who did the mostest firstest to alert us to global warming at a time when most people didn't listen, announced his retirement as director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Science; and there was the big spill of toxic tar sands oil (actually, diluted bitumen) from a 20-inch pipeline in the little town of Mayflower, Arkansas. Owner Exxon Mobil said at least 19,000 barrels of oil and water have so far been recovered. That's nearly 800,000 gallons. So, this week, after looking at the Green Diary of the Week, we'll look at a rescued diary on the Mayflower spill and one on Hansen.
Accuweather via LiveScience: Anniversary of Niagara Falls Running Dry
Kristina Pydynowski,
Date: 29 March 2013 Time: 05:25 PM ET
March 29 marks the anniversary of when a massive ice jam reduced the mighty Niagara Falls to a trickle in 1848, a rare phenomena that lasted for nearly 40 hours.

The ice jam developed as strong winds blew chunks of ice from Lake Erie into the Niagara River's entrance near Buffalo, blocking the flow of water to Niagara Falls.

Residents first noticed the eerie silence of barely any water rushing over Niagara Falls during the evening of March 29th.
OurAmazingPlanet: Tropical Ice Reveals Rare Climate Record
by Becky Oskin, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer
Apr 04, 2013 03:31 PM ET
A new and rare ice core record of tropical temperatures highlights changes in the enfants terribles of world climate, the El Niño/La Niña–Southern Oscillation.

The climate record comes from Peru's stunning Cordillera Oriental mountain range, home to Quelccaya, the world's largest tropical ice cap. Researchers trekked to an altitude of more than 18,000 feet (5,600 meters) to probe the ice.

The two ice cores (or cylinders of ice) drilled from the Quelccaya hold 1,800 years of climate history, according to a study published today (April 4) in the journal Science Express. Alternating light and dark layers record the wet and dry seasons at the top of the world — light from snow and dark from dust during the dry season.
OurAmazingPlanet: Clouds Contributed to Record Greenland Ice Melt
by Charles Q. Choi, OurAmazingPlanet Contributor
Apr 03, 2013 02:51 PM ET
The culprit behind the record-shattering level of ice melting in Greenland in 2012 may have been low, thin clouds, new research suggests.

These novel findings, detailed in the April 4 issue of the journal Nature, may help answer climate mysteries elsewhere in the Arctic, the researchers said.

If the sheet of ice covering Greenland were to completely melt, such destruction of 720,000 cubic miles (3 million cubic kilometers) of ice would raise global sea levels by 24 feet (7.3 meters). In summer 2012, Greenland saw an extraordinarily large amount of melting across nearly its entire ice sheet. In fact, it was the largest ice melt seen in Greenland since scientists began tracking melt rates there in 1979. Ice-core records suggest melting events so extreme have only happened once every 150 years or so over the past 4,000 years.
OurAmazing Planet: Why Has It Been So Cold This Spring?
by Douglas Main, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer
Apr 02, 2013 05:09 PM ET
Although spring has arrived, it may not feel that way for many in the United States and Canada who have had to put up with unusually cold temperatures.

Last month was a chilly one, ranking as the second-coldest March in the continental United States since 2000, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The average temperature across the United States this March was also 13 degrees Fahrenheit (7.2 degrees Celsius) lower than in March 2012, and a late-winter blizzard broke snowfall records in many areas.

So, why has it been so cold?
OurAmazingPlanet: Isolated Coral Reefs Can Heal Themselves
by Douglas Main, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer
Apr 04, 2013 04:52 PM ET
Coral reefs may be more independent and resilient than previously thought.

New research shows that an isolated reef off the northwest coast of Australia that was severely damaged by a period of warming in 1998 has regenerated in a very short time to become nearly as healthy as it was before. What surprises scientists, though, is that the reef regenerated by itself, found a study published today (April 4) in the journal Science.

Until now, scientists have thought that damaged reefs depend on new recruits from nearby reefs to quickly heal themselves, said study author James Gilmour, a researcher at the Australian Institute of Marine Science. But this study found that may not always be the case -- at least with reefs like this one, which has good water quality and isn't heavily impacted by humans, Gilmour told OurAmazingPlanet in an email.
OurAmazingPlanet: How Climate Change May Help Penguin Colony
by Douglas Main, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer
Apr 05, 2013 12:45 PM ET
Antarctic warming has been a boon for one large colony of Adélie penguins, a finding that's surprising scientists.

A recent study found that over the last 60 years, a colony of the birds on Beaufort Island in the Ross Sea, south of New Zealand, increased by 84 percent, from 35,000 breeding pairs to 64,000 breeding pairs. This increase has come as glaciers have retreated from the island, leaving more bare, snow-free ground, where the penguins make their nests, according to the study, published this week in the journal PLOS ONE.
OurAmazingPlanet: Sahara Went from Green to Desert in a Flash
by Becky Oskin, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer
Apr 05, 2013 02:31 PM ET
From lakes and grasslands with hippos and giraffes to a vast desert, North Africa's sudden geographical transformation 5,000 years ago was one of the planet's most dramatic climate shifts.

The transformation took place nearly simultaneously across the continent's northern half, a new study finds. The results will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
Time to start compiling this week's news.

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