Monday, May 27, 2013

Weather and climate news for Memorial Day

I'll begin with Extreme Weather Conditions Plague Entire Nation from ABC News.  It's slightly old news, as it came from Friday's uploads, but it does demonstrate what's been happening lately.

Record breaking rainfall in the South, snowfall hits Northeast on Memorial weekend.
It looks like there will be more severe weather to come as NOAA via Science Daily forecasts an Active or 'Extremely Active' Atlantic Hurricane Season Predicted for 2013.
In its 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook issued today, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an active or extremely active season this year.

For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA's Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook says there is a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
The drought is also continuing.  Not only is the economy repeating the 1930s, so is the climate of the Great Plains.  Michael Wines of the N.Y. Times describes the situation in Wells Dry, Fertile Plains Turn to Dust
HASKELL COUNTY, Kan. — Forty-nine years ago, Ashley Yost’s grandfather sank a well deep into a half-mile square of rich Kansas farmland. He struck an artery of water so prodigious that he could pump 1,600 gallons to the surface every minute.

Last year, Mr. Yost was coaxing just 300 gallons from the earth, and pumping up sand in order to do it. By harvest time, the grit had robbed him of $20,000 worth of pumps and any hope of returning to the bumper harvests of years past.

“That’s prime land,” he said not long ago, gesturing from his pickup at the stubby remains of last year’s crop. “I’ve raised 294 bushels of corn an acre there before, with water and the Lord’s help.” Now, he said, “it’s over.”
Meteor Blades at Daily Kos has more weather, climate, and other environmental news in Green diary rescue: The redwoods, the High Plains Aquifer and fracking ourselves crazy.

Follow over the jump for additional weather and climate news.

Other than the overview above, the big weather news of last week was the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma.  Discovery News gave their take in Giant Tornado Hits Oklahoma.

The giant tornado that tore through Moore, Oklahoma is already being called one of the more destructive tornadoes in US history. Anthony looks at how massive twisters like this form and what more we can expect from this particular system. posted this video from NASA as Oklahoma Tornadoes Seen From Space | Time-Lapse Video.

The NASA/NOAA GOES-13 satellite captured the midwest tornado outbreak. The time-lapse covers May 19th-20th, 2013. (Looped 3X)
The previous week brought other climate-related news, beginning with Time Magazine's How Natural Disasters Changed the World in 2012, which I forgot to include in Time Magazine on peak oil and climate change.
Last year, an estimated 32.4 million people worldwide were forced from their homes due to natural disasters. Here, 10 countries that suffered some of the worst displacements, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council.
Nature (UK) has two more articles.  First, Richard A. Lovett wrote Polar wander linked to climate change
Melting ice in Greenland may have helped to shift the location of the North Pole.

Global warming is changing the location of Earth’s geographic poles, according to a study in Geophysical Research Letters1.

Researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, report that increased melting of the Greenland ice sheet — and to a lesser extent, ice loss in other parts of the globe — have helped to shift the North Pole several centimetres east each year since 2005.

“There was a big change,” says geophysicist and lead author Jianli Chen.
Next, Jeff Tollefson reported Scientists ask public to hunt for power plants
Initiative will use crowdsourced data to inform global carbon modelling.

Big, ugly and emanating an incessant industrial hum, power plants belch clouds of steam and pollution as they generate electricity, the life-blood of modern society. You might think that it would be easy enough for a scientist to work out where they are and what they are doing.

You would be wrong. A team of researchers is now appealing to the public to rectify that situation.

“It turns out that we know far less about fossil fuels than we thought we did,” says Kevin Gurney, an emissions modeller at Arizona State University in Tempe, and leader of the Ventus citizen-science project. “We could use some help.”
Finally, Paul Gabrielsen of Science Magazine points out a problem complicating interpretation of conditions on Earth, particularly along the U.S. Atlantic coast the last time carbon dioxide was at 400 ppm in Atlantic Coast Warping Like a 'Magic Carpet'
Compared with western North America—mountainous, volcanic, and earthquake-prone—the geologically quiescent East Coast has earned the appellation "passive continental margin." But new geologic models show that Earth's churning interior warps and bends this and many other so-called stable areas.

Three million years ago, Earth was several degrees warmer than it is today—about the same global temperature that we may see by the year 2100. Geologists want to know what continental shorelines looked like during this ancient era, known as the Pliocene, in order to forecast future sea-level change. Scientists assumed that passive continental margins, like the Atlantic coastal plain and offshore sea floor, have no geologic forces pushing them up. The coast instead slowly and relentlessly sinks as the rock beneath it cools and sand and mud washed off the land fill the space created by the sinking continental margin. Without anything pushing the rocks up, the ancient coastlines studied by geologists should remain flat and horizontal, marking the level that the sea once came to. But one of these old beaches, the Pliocene-era Orangeburg Scarp, warps and bends along its course from Florida to North Carolina.

What if something is pushing the land up? David Rowley, a geologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois, and a team of geodynamical modelers simulated the lava lamp-like movement of hot material in Earth's mantle, which is a highly viscous though solid layer of rock between the crust and the molten core. Hot mantle plumes rising up from the core can affect Earth's surface, creating Yellowstone's steaming geysers and Hawaii's spectacular volcanoes.
For the weather, climate and environment news that I missed from two weeks ago, read Meteor Blades' Green diary rescue: Pedal power, electric cars, OFA on climate change on Daily Kos, which completes this installment of climate and weather news.

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