Global Warming

Earth’s Vital Signs

An international coalition of more than 14,000 scientists has signed an initiative declaring that world leaders are consistently failing to cope with the main causes of climate change and the deepening climate emergency.

Writing in the journal BioScience, the group calls for the elimination of fossil fuel use, the slashing of pollutants, the restoration of ecosystems, a switch to plant-based diets and the stabilization of the planet’s human population. They say the planet’s vital signs are deteriorating at a record rate, and also call for climate change to be included in core curricula in schools for the generation that will have to cope with the hotter decades to come.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 122 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius) in Al Qaysumah, Saudi Arabia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 103.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 75.0 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Environment

Jet Streams are the Weather

Devastating floods destroyed towns in Germany and Belgium. A ruthless heat wave broiled the Western United States and Canada. Heavy rains paralysed a Chinese industrial hub home to 10 million people. These recent weather phenomena are being intensified by the changing climate.

But the link between these far-flung extremes goes beyond warming global temperatures. All of these events are touched by jet streams, strong and narrow bands of westerly winds blowing above the Earth’s surface.

The currents are generated when cold air from the poles clashes against hot air from the tropics, creating storms and other phenomena such as rain and drought.

Jet streams are the weather – they create it and they steer it. Sometimes the jet stream takes on a very convoluted pattern. When we see it taking big swings north and big dips southward we know we’re going to see some unusual weather conditions. When that happens, warm air travels further north and cold air penetrates further south.

Under these conditions, winds often weaken and dangerous weather can remain stuck in the same place for days or weeks at a time – rather than just a few hours or a day – leading to prolonged rains and heat waves.

Global Warming

Climate Disasters

Atmospheric experts concede that they were shocked by the intensity of the recent European floods and the North American heat dome, saying their computer models are not yet able to project such extremes.

Some scientists say the next official predictions due out in August by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will already be outdated when released due to the rapidly intensifying climate emergency.

Freak weather events are now happening with greater frequency, ranging from the heaviest rain on record in parts of Japan and China this month to the record-breaking June heat across parts of India, Pakistan and Libya.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50.0 degrees Celsius) in Adrar. Algeria.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 73.3 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Global Warming

The Amazon rainforest – Carbon Sink to Carbon Factory

Forests absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) from Earth’s atmosphere, making them a key part of mitigating climate change. But humans may have already rendered the world’s largest rainforest useless in — and perhaps even detrimental to — the battle against greenhouse gases, a new study finds.

According to the study, published July 14 in the journal Nature, the Amazon rainforest is now emitting more than 1.1 billion tons (1 billion metric tons) of CO2, a greenhouse gas, a year, meaning the forest is officially releasing more carbon into the atmosphere than it is removing.

The carbon balance tipped due to “large-scale human disturbances” in the Amazon ecosystem, the researchers wrote in their study, with wildfires — many deliberately set to clear land for agriculture and industry — responsible for most of the CO2 emissions from the region. These fires also reinforce a feedback loop of warming, the team found, with more greenhouse gases contributing to longer, hotter dry seasons in the Amazon, which lead to more fires and more CO2 pollution.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius) in Death Valley, California.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 98.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 72.2 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Global Warming

Desert plant life disappearing due to climate change

The steady decline of plants in Southern California’s portion of the Sonoran Desert — which includes Anza-Borrego Desert State Park — is caused by climate change-driven heat increases, according to a new UC Irvine study.

That area grew hotter by 3 degrees over the study period, 1984 to 2017, with vegetation decreasing an average of about 1% a year in the desert portions of the study area. While fluctuations in rainfall accounted for some of the year-to-year variation, the broader trend resulted overall decrease of 35% of vegetation in desert ecosystems and a 13% decline in the adjacent mountains.

The findings, based on 34 years of NASA satellite images of 5,000 square miles of desert, add to a small but growing body of evidence that manmade climate change is reducing the amount of vegetation in drylands — primarily desert areas — worldwide, with trickle-down effects on animals and, in some cases, humans. About 41% of the Earth’s land mass is drylands, according to the UCI report.

Environment

Death Valley Hits 130′

Death Valley is more than earning its morbid name this weekend, as temperatures in the California desert reached a near-record-breaking 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius).

That makes it a tie for the hottest temperature ever verified on Earth since the mercury hit 131 F (55 C) on July 7, 1931, in Kebili, Tunisia. Though an even hotter temperature of 134 F (56.7 C) was recorded in Furnace Creek (then called Greenland Ranch) in Death Valley, on July 10, 1913, per Guinness World Records, some climate scientists say that reading was not verified.

Global Warming

Massive oil pipeline is threatened by thawing permafrost

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, one of the world’s largest oil pipelines, could be in danger.

Thawing permafrost threatens to undermine the supports holding up an elevated section of the pipeline, jeopardizing its structural integrity and raising the potential of an oil spill in a delicate and remote landscape.

The slope of permafrost where an 810-foot section of the pipeline is secured has started to shift as it thaws, causing several of the braces holding up the pipeline to twist and bend.

Environment

Eye of Fire

A rare combination of events near a Mexican oil platform in the Bay of Campeche created a massive ocean-surface fire that took hours to extinguish.

Mexico’s state-owned Pemex oil company, which has a long history of major accidents at its facilities, says the leak of an underwater pipeline allowed natural gas to accumulate on the ocean floor, and was probably ignited by a lightning bolt when it rose to the surface. Once a brief video of the fire went viral on social media, the orange bubbling mass on the water’s surface was dubbed “eye of fire.”

Pemex said swift action by its workers prevented any environmental damage, a claim disputed by environmental groups and activists.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 124 degrees Fahrenheit (51.1 degrees Celsius) in Death Valley, California.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 101.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 73.9 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Environment

Hottest June in North America

If the melting power cables in Portland, Oregon, weren’t enough of an indication, new satellite data confirms what many sweat-drenched Americans could have guessed: June 2021 was the single hottest June on record in North America.

The month saw record heat waves blast the Pacific Northwest and western Canada, with stagnant air bearing down on densely populated cities, like Seattle and Portland, for several days in a row. The culprit was a dangerous weather phenomenon called an omega block, which is essentially a dome of hot air trapped in place by atmospheric currents.

Environment

Unprecedented heat – Climate change is frying the Northern Hemisphere

The tiny town of Lytton has come to hold a grim record. On Tuesday, it experienced Canada’s highest-ever temperature, in an unprecedented heat wave that has over a week killed hundreds of people and triggered more than 240 wildfires across British Columbia, most of which are still burning. Lytton hit 49.6 degrees Celsius (121.3 degrees Fahrenheit), astounding for the town of just 250 people nestled in the mountains, where June maximum temperatures are usually around 25 degrees. Now fires have turned much of Lytton to ash and forced its people, as well as hundreds around them, to flee.

Roads melted last week in America’s Northwest, and residents in New York City were told not to use high-energy appliances, like washers and dryers — and painfully, even their air conditioners — for the sake of the power grid.

In Russia, Moscow reported its highest-ever June temperature of 34.8 degrees on June 23, and Siberian farmers are scrambling to save their crops from dying in an ongoing heat wave. Even in the Arctic Circle, temperatures soared into the 30s.

In India, tens of millions of people in the northwest were affected by heat waves.

And in Iraq, authorities announced a public holiday across several provinces for Thursday, including the capital Baghdad, because it was simply too hot to work or study, after temperatures surpassed 50 degrees and its electricity system collapsed.

Hundreds of people have been reported to have died from the various heatwaves across North America, Russia and India.

Global Warming

Huge Methane Plume over China

A massive plume of methane, the potent greenhouse gas that’s a key contributor to global warming, has been identified in China’s biggest coal production region.

The release in northeast Shanxi province is one of the largest that geoanalytics company Kayrros SAS has so far attributed to the global coal sector and likely emanated from multiple mining operations.

Details captured in European Space Agency satellite data show the plume about 90 kilometers (56 miles) east of Shanxi’s capital Taiyuan, in Yangquan City. The area has 34 coals mines, according to the Shanxi Energy Bureau.

The emissions rate needed to produce the plume observed in the June 18 satellite image would be several hundred metric tons an hour. For comparison, a 200-ton per hour release would have roughly an equivalent climate warming in the first two decades as 800,000 cars driving at 60 miles an hour.