Australian Broadcasting: How Global Warming Causes Extremes

Climate Denial Crock of the Week

Very good explanation of weather extremes worldwide under climate change.

Heads up on this came from Jennifer Francis.

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Melt Puddles, Distant Open Water Visible at North Pole Camera 2


Melt Puddles North Pole Camera 2

(Melt Puddles and Distant Open Water at North Pole Camera 2 on July 13. Image source: APL)

With the emergence then fading of a ‘warm storm’ in late June and early July, then a subsequent set of intermittent storms and sunny days, all occurring in warmer than freezing conditions, central Arctic surface ice melt has continued to proceed apace.

This melt is now plainly visible at North Pole Camera 2 were a number of near-camera melt puddles have been forming and growing over the past few days. You can see these melt puddles clearly in the above image provided by the Applied Physics Lab through its North Pole Camera #2. The puddles, which were at first in the front field of the camera, have now expanded to cover about 105 degrees of the view provided. Smaller, darker melt spots also appear to have invaded behind the markers set around…

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A Word on Cars and the Environment

Smart Cars

Smart Cars

Through the Luminary Lens is a wonderful blog that, among other things, discusses how humans are affecting the Earth and ways that we can minimize our negative impact on it. The writer has recently posted a photo challenge in which he uses his new Smart car as the subject, and talks about the Smart car’s advantages for the environment and your wallet!

Check out the post here.


More About Latest Heat Wave in Southwestern US

record heat tuesday

Weather system image

Robertscribbler has just written an informative blog post about the current heat wave and resulting forest fires. In it, he further describes the weather systems involved (with maps) and talks about the link between forest fires and global warming.

To read the post, visit his blog here. 

Heat Wave Breaks Records Across West- Another Effect of Global Warming

Map courtesy of

Map courtesy of

According to the Washington Post, June 1st:

“Triple-digit heat struck again elsewhere in Southern California, while metropolitan Phoenix saw just a slight drop in temperatures after experiencing record-breaking heat Saturday. The 119-degree high in Phoenix on Saturday marked the fourth-hottest day in metro Phoenix since authorities started keeping temperature records more than 110 years ago. The high temperature for the metro area hit 115 on Sunday.

Las Vegas temperatures have been at 115 and above in recent days — including a record-tying 117 on Sunday — helping make June the hottest ever in Sin City.

June was the third-hottest in Salt Lake City history, highlighted by the record high for the month of 105, set on Friday and Saturday.

High-temperature records were shattered across the region over the weekend. The high of 115 at Lancaster’s Fox Field on Sunday represented not just a record for a June 30 but an all-time high — surpassing the 114 degrees recorded 53 years ago.

In San Diego County, Campo set a record with a 107-degree mark.

Tragedy struck north of Phoenix as hot gusty winds fueled an out of control wildfire that overtook and killed 19 firefighters near the town of Yarnell. Forestry spokesman Art Morrison said the firefighters were forced to deploy their fire shelters, tent-like structures meant to shield firefighters from flames and heat.”

The important thing to remember here is that record heat is one of many indicators of a larger problem- abnormal weather is quickly becoming the norm. The governor of NY is convinced of this and is currently seeking ways to update NYC’s infrastructure, including possibly rebuilding or modifying coastline buildings and homes, after the disastrous effect Superstorm Sandy had on the city and state. His goal is to prepare the state for future large storms.

Photo courtesy of  Valley_Guy at Flickr

Photo courtesy of Valley_Guy at Flickr

The federal government has also finally become convinced and has expressed this in its official reports of the increase in recent years of forest fires. Millions of dollars are spent on fighting these blazes, and many lives are lost, including those of fire fighters.The prediction is that the rate, and intensity, of forest fires will only increase over time because hotter and drier than normal air means worse fires. Even home insurance companies are planing ahead for increased natural disasters like hurricanes by modifying current rates for natural disaster insurance coverage.

The reality is that regardless of whether or not we want to believe that we are in the midst of global warming/climate change, we will continue to suffer it’s consequences.

This Year’s Hurricane Season Is Going to Be Pretty Bad



Hurricane Sandy flood water in NYC subways - photo courtesy of

Hurricane Sandy flood water in NYC subways – photo courtesy of

In the June 6th episode of his news show, Chris Hayes discussed this year’s recently arrived hurricane season. He cited a report by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a federal agency, which predicts:

” …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 report goes on to say that of the factors contributing to this increase in severity, warmer-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea play a significant role.

Hayes makes the obvious connection between warmer water and global warming during the broadcast in a way that should put any doubt as to whether or not human activities can alter the weather to rest. He also mentions Superstorm Sandy, which will now and forever be considered the hallmark of extreme weather brought on by global warming/climate change.

Chris Hayes - photo courtesy of

Chris Hayes – photo courtesy of


Watch the video to see him tell it.



The Arctic Fox: Another Possible Casualty of Global Warming/Climate Change

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Arctic foxes are beautiful animals, perfectly adapted to their climate. Although their looks are cute and almost delicate compared to other foxes,  their home range is quite large and encompasses the coldest places in the world- the entire Arctic tundra, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Russia, Norway, Scandinavia, and even Iceland. These animals are so tough that they are the only native land mammal in their area of Iceland, according to Defenders of Wildlife. 

Of their several ingenious adaptations that make it possible to survive in such extreme conditions is deep, thick fur which allows them to maintain a consistent body temperature, as well as compact bodies which minimize the surface area that is exposed to the cold air.

Unfortunately for this amazing creature, it is under threat of extinction due to a variety of factors. They are prime targets of the fur trade and have fallen victim to diseases spread from domestic dogs.

Then, of course, there’s global warming. The Defenders of Wildlife webpage about the arctic fox explains:

“The Arctic fox is losing ground to the larger red fox. Arctic foxes are specially adapted to thrive in the far north. Where conditions are less extreme, however, this highly specialized species is generally out-competed by its cousin, the more adaptable red fox.

As climate change takes its toll and the snow-line continues to recede further and further north, the range of the Arctic fox shrinks, too, giving way to the northward advance of the red fox.”

The longer we humans take to acknowledge that the scientific proof of global warming is certain and irrefutable, the less time we will have to halt the extinctions of animals such as the arctic fox- animals which are very dependent on the specific conditions of their home habitats. Conditions that, as we argue and argue, will continue to shift and change.

Amphibians in U.S. Declining at ‘Alarming and Rapid Rate’

Yellow Legged Frog- photo courtesy of

Yellow Legged Frog- photo courtesy of



“Why the drop in amphibian species matters: Amphibians control pests, inspire new medicines, feed other animals and help make ecosystems work. They are inherently valued by people of all ages—watching tadpoles and listening to frog calls are some of the most accessible interactions we have with the natural world.”

For more, go to

Federal Plan Aims to Help Wildlife Adapt to Climate Change

This is  just another example of how those who wish to believe that global climate change isn’t happening will keep being proven WRONG. Even the Obama Administration is on board, creating a bold new program to address climate change and its inevitable effects on wildlife. In fact, they’ve been documenting how it’s already happening. Although this article is a few months old, I think it’s still really important to share here.

From the LA Times:

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2013 — The Obama administration Tuesday announced a nationwide plan to help wildlife adapt to threats from climate change.

Developed along with state and tribal authorities, the strategy seeks to preserve species as global warming alters their historical habitats and, in many cases, forces them to migrate across state and tribal borders.

Over the next five years, the plan establishes priorities for what will probably be a decades-long effort. One key proposal is to create wildlife “corridors” that would let animals and plants move to new habitats. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Daniel M. Ashe said such routes could be made through easements and could total “much more than 1 million acres.” The plan does not provide an estimate of the cost.

The effects of climate change are already apparent, the plan notes. Oyster larvae are struggling off the Northwest coast. In the Atlantic, fish are migrating north and into deeper waters. Geese and ducks do not fly as far south. In the West, bark beetles destroy pines because winters are not cold enough to kill infestations.

The plan, called the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy, does not prioritize species to target, although “the polar bear is the poster child” of wildlife threatened by global warming, Ashe said.

But efforts have already begun to protect wildlife. The lesser prairie chicken in the Great Plains, for instance, also faces threats from mining, oil production, farming and ranching. Climate change models estimate that the chicken’s habitat could undergo a 5-degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature and a drop in precipitation by 2060.

The federal government already pays ranchers and farmers to remove land from production to create wildlife refuges. If native prairie were restored to 10% of that land, according to one analysis, that could offset the prairie chicken’s projected population decline.

Recently, some state-level efforts to adapt to global warming have been stymied by politicians who reject climate science. In North Carolina, for instance, planning to build infrastructure along the coast that could withstand storm surges worsened by sea-level rise has been delayed. State politicians dismissed scientific models that predicted the rise by the end of the century.

But efforts to help wildlife adapt have not provoked a backlash so far, state and administration officials said in a conference call.

“With coastal communities, there are challenges with coral populations, with changing dynamics in fish population,” said Eric Schwaab, assistant administrator for fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “So people are less focused on why and more focused on what’s next.”

Weird Wintry Weather and the Climate-Change Link




It was high time to pass around a few cold ones in the shade of an awning in Amarillo, Texas, just a few days ago. Now it’s time to hunker inside, drink whiskey neat, and play charades.

The city broke a heat record on April 30, reaching a scorching hot 97 degrees. Then it got hit by unseasonably cold weather that has swept through the nation’s heartland. A couple days after reaching 97, the temperature bottomed out at 33 degrees, with the cold snap bringing some snow.

The topsy-turvy weather in Amarillo is emblematic of the climatic incoherence reigning across the country. The coasts are basking in spring weather while the Rockies, Great Plains, and Midwest are being smacked by snow storms.

The unseasonably late chill appears to be one of many symptoms of the changing climate. But before we dive into that, let’s take a look at the extraordinary weather pummeling the Midwest. From The Weather Channel:

Winter Storm Achilles may have set the record for the biggest May snowstorm at any single location in four different states! That said, these potential records are based on preliminary data and will have to be verified.

Wisconsin — We’ve seen snowfall reports of 18 inches near Hayward and 17 inches in Rice Lake. …

Minnesota — 18 inches of snow was measured in Blooming Prairie, between Albert Lea and Rochester. …

Iowa — 13 inches of snow has been measured by an observer in Osage. …

Arkansas — Up to 3.5 inches reported in Gravette.

The notion that global warming could trigger cold weather is enough to make a conservative pundit’s head explode. Science is hard!

But Minnesota Public Radio asked a meteorologist about possible links between the late-season snowstorms and climate change. While issuing the standard caveats about how climate change doesn’t “cause” any particular weather events, he explained some likely connections. Here’s a partial transcript of the the exchange during the radio station’s weekly Climate Cast program:

[Host Kerri] Miller: I think this late spring snow is a good opportunity to ask again as we have during our Climate Cast — weather or climate? How do we answer that?

[Meteorologist Paul] Huttner: What’s happening today is weather, there’s no doubt about it. This is a very out-of-season event. All weather in a way seems to be colored or flavored by the climate changes we’re seeing. If you’re going to tie a link to today’s weather to climate change you would have to cite Arctic amplification. We’ve touched on that before. That’s where this slower jet stream gets stuck. It slows down and these blocking patterns set up and our weather patterns get stuck. That’s what’s been happening a lot in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest this spring. Some links that this may be tied to the warmer Arctic Ocean that we saw last summer. It’s not a slam dunk, but the clues all seem to be pointing in the same direction. …

We’re seeing a trend where the atmosphere overall holds about four to five percent more water vapor than it did a decade ago, and that injects these storms with more moisture.

The other thing about this storm and drawing a parallel with Hurricane Sandy late last fall, it’s a little bit out of season. In fact, this is well out of season for Minnesota. It’s unprecedented, the amount of snowfall we’ve had today in Minnesota. Mark Seeley tells me that Dodge Center, with 15.4 inches of snow, broke the all-time state snowfall record for May 2 today. This is definitely an unprecedented out-of-season event. When you get these events in May, when we’ve still got cold enough air for snow but we’ve got so much warmth and moisture to the south, it just supercharges these storms and that can tend to produce more precipitation than an atmosphere with less water in it.

Schoolkids in Minnesota and Wisconsin got a rare May snow day on Thursday, while lucky students at one school in the Seattle area got a “sun day” on Friday to celebrate unusually warm and sunny weather.

John Upton is a science aficionado and green news junkie who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants: