It has been a while since I delved into the climate news, so today I’ll try to get through a bunch of it. I know, it is depressing and repetitive, but I suppose it is good to be reminded of impacts on the environment, whether or not some people think they are over-hyped.
There have been quite a few new reports about how bad anthropogenic global warming (AGW) will be, but it is tough to find anything to new to add to the AGW list. Most of the "bad things" have been predicted over and over for nearly 20 years. I suppose I could start putting numbers behind each "bad thing" in order to indicate how many times we have seen it in the news but it would only start from today’s date and thus might not be too representative, and I don’t have time to search all the news from the last 20 years to get a comprehensive accurate count. So here are some of the recent news items:
Mass extinction of amphibians. (not a conclusive link)
Birds expanding their ranges further north.
More extreme precipitation events.
Many expensive climate troubles are projected for New York City.
More dead zones in the world’s water ways. This has been blamed on AGW in the past but this article puts more of the blame on fertilizer and other types of run-off.
What about rising sea levels? Check out this image of how sea level has changed over the last couple of decades. Some places in the world have seen the sea level go down while others have seen a big rise. The image is a good reminder that not everything changes at the same rate around the world and that there is a complex interplay between temperatures and ocean levels. Ocean circulations change over time and affect sea levels. Also, warmer oceans mean more evaporation, which in turn is a counter-effect of melting glaciers.
Here is a very interesting article about hurricanes and AGW. A new more detailed climate model predicts there will be little if any affect on hurricane activity. For years the mantra has been not only that there will be more hurricanes but that there will be stronger hurricanes. I have highlighted a couple contradictory studies in the past, and this is another one that runs against the orthodoxy. More hurricanes and less hurricanes are both on the AGW list. How can that be? More hurricanes – that is the easy one to understand – more devastation. What about less hurricanes? But of course, there will be more drought in areas such as the southeast U.S. because these areas rely on tropical systems for a portion of their yearly rainfall. Anyway, I suspect the AGW=more hurricanes talk will increase again if another cat 4 or cat 5 hurricane hits the U.S. A couple of tropical waves are causing a little concern right now.
So, a lot of news, but not much new. Thankfully the article about New York lists sooo many bad things that will happen because of AGW that there are 2 new items we can squeeze in. There will be more flooding of the subway lines and more power blackouts. So here is the updated list of bad things that will happen because of AGW:
(power blackouts, more flooded subways, Mountain snowmelt will occur up to 2 months earlier, more bee colony collapse disorder and other multiple infectious disease outbreaks, Caribou populations will decline, 1 in 8 bird species could go extinct – including long distance migratory song birds, eucalyptus leaves will become less nutritious and Koala bears will die, the 2008 tropical storm disaster in Myanmar, Tropical bugs will not reproduce, toxic chemicals will pour out of glaciers, Narwhals will go extinct, more deadly algae blooms, more poverty, a massive increase in volcanic activity, new disease outbreaks from previously frozen corpses, irreversible water circulation alteration in Lake Tahoe, dramatically decreased rice production, fewer flowers in the Rocky Mountains, the Butterfly fish will starve, transportation system will be ruined, air pollution related deaths will increase, tropical fish could go deaf, more “ocean deserts”, more tundra wildfires, collapsing oceanic food webs, sharks devastating Antarctic sea life, the drying up of Lake Mead by 2021, plant-devouring insect invasions, poor food quality, increased human mortality, more solastalgia/mental illness, more wars, the past 1993 conflict in Somalia, more intense heat waves, more heat deaths, polar bears starving, Isle Royale Moose dying, Walruses dying, Penguins starving (including King penguins), Australian bats dying, more hurricanes, less hurricanes, more intense and bigger hurricanes, a longer hurricane season, more stormy weather, rising oceans, more acidic oceans, California wildfires, more droughts, more floods, future disastrous declines in food production, coral reefs (hard and soft) dying, enormous extinctions of plant and animal species, massive loss of fish in the Bering Sea, the earth literally being torn apart, Amazon deforestation, a bigger ozone hole, a smaller ozone hole, less fresh water, more obesity, more hunger, more asthma, more allergies, more infectious disease, more kidney stones…more to come)
Lastly a beautiful sunrise photograph sent in by Sandy Kennedy of Park Falls. Notice the steam fog coming off of the lake. Have a great weekend – Meteorologist Justin Loew.
The story continues to be drier than normal weather. Given the above normal precipitation during the trend during first 6 months of the year I was optimistic that we would finally break our streak of consecutive years with below normal precipitation (which stands at 5). Alas, my optimism has shrunk. August is normally our wettest month of the year (normal precip: 4.53 inches) and so far it is turning out to be the driest in 2008. During the first 2 weeks of the month we only received 0.56 inches of rain which is about 1.5 inches below normal. We are now getting close to 1.5 inches below normal for the year as well and there isn’t much rain on the horizon. The chances of rain for the next week to 10 days are pretty slim. At least on computer model is showing a couple of cold fronts dropping in from Canada. One front late Saturday and another Sunday night into Monday. If an isolated thunderstorm or two does pop-up along these fronts they will most likely be confined to the northern half of the area and most likely north of highway 8. Next week on Wednesday and Thursday a weak trough of low pressure will move in from the south and provide another slight chance of thunderstorms. Dry weather of course means good conditions for getting outdoors so enjoy it while it lasts. Temps will reach the upper 70s today and then remain in the low to mid 80s from Saturday all the way through next week. Some spots might even reach the upper 80s.
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This post was written by jloew on August 15, 2008