American Southwest threatened by heavy-rain monsoons

GR: The article below illustrates the value of scientific analysis. The Southwest Monsoon has always caused flooding. However, memory alone is an unreliable indicator of changes in storm strength; numerical comparison of time periods is better. The analysis mentioned in this article confirms the assertion that climate-change is bringing stronger storms to the Southwest.

Flooding is the primary danger from intense monsoon storms, but around my house you sometimes have to dodge falling branches too. Combining wind and rain-soaked leaves often breaks the brittle branches of the weeping willows surrounding my place. The one below fell on Sunday. It only weighs a few hundred pounds, but over recent years, branches weighing several tons have fallen. The ominous sounds of cracking and crashing lend wings to one’s feet.

Fallen weeping willow branch.

From LabRoots:

“A new study published recently in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology suggests that the North American Monsoon (NAM) is becoming more intense in the United States Southwest, particularly in Arizona. Their results show that while storms are not as frequent as they have been in the last 60 years, the rain episodes are heavier and include high winds, dust storms, and flooding, which often threaten residents and property. This pattern, the study concludes, is consistent with flux caused by climate change.

Monsoons often come on suddenly. Photo: The Arizona Experience

“Because of specific Department of Defense installations in the Southwest, and because the existing models of the NAM do not represent patterns in the climate accurately, the team analyzed Arizona rainfall data from 1950-1970 and compared it with data from 1991-2010. Defining severe weather events as days when the highest atmospheric instability and moisture occur within a long-term regional climate simulation, the scientists found that while the mean precipitation for the region stayed the same during the different time epochs, the later time period had more heavy-rain storms.” –Kathryn DeMuth Sullivan (More: American Southwest threatened by heavy-rain monsoons).

Warmth will worsen wet and dry extremes – Climate News

GR: This warning is worth repeating. It needs to reach the ears of the climate-change deniers whose willful ignorance is endangering all of us and all the creatures sharing this ride with us. Storms, floods, and droughts will get worse.

Cloudburst, North Vancouver: Wet or dry, extremes will become more intense. Image: Terence Thomas via Wikimedia Commons

“Wet and dry extremes across the world will become more marked as the planet heats up, evidence from past climates shows.”

“Two US scientists have once again confirmed one of the oldest predictions of climate change: that those regions already wet will become wetter, while the arid zones will become drier.

“This time the reasoning comes not just from computer models of future climate, but also from the evidence of the past.

“Because the northern hemisphere will warm faster than the southern, the temperature difference will drive the planet’s rainbelts northwards, at least during the winter months. The tropics will become wetter, while the subtropics and the mid-latitudes will become drier, and this will be most noticeable in June, July and August.

“The predictions – made in the journal Science Advances – come from two researchers. Aaron Putnam is a glaciologist who studies ancient climates at the University of Maine. Wallace Broecker is an oceanographer at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, and one of the pioneers of climate research.” –Tim Radford (Learn more: Warmth will worsen wet and dry extremes – Climate News NetworkClimate News Network.)

Intelligence community to Trump: When it comes to global warming, you’re wrong

GR: Trump would prefer a few ignorant cheering supporters to a thoughtful response to dangers in the world. Of course, the U. S. oil-money Congress has its own reasons for denying climate change. “. . . the intelligence report also says that biodiversity losses from pollution, overexploitation and other causes is “disrupting ecosystems that support life, including humans.”

Remember, prepare, practice and be ready now. Courtesy U.S. Army graphic (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

“Each year the intelligence community puts together a “Worldwide Threat Assessment” report, and it inevitably scares the hell out of Congress and the public by detailing all the dangers facing the U.S. (Hint: there are a lot of them.)

“This year’s report, published Thursday and discussed at a congressional hearing, makes for particularly disquieting reading.

“While it focuses on the increasing danger that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program poses as well as cyberterrorism threats, one environmental concern stands out on the list: climate change.

“According to the new report, delivered to the Senate Intelligence Committee by Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence (DNI), warns that climate change is raising the likelihood of instability and conflict around the world.

“This is surprising given the Trump administration’s open hostility to climate science findings.

“The trend toward a warming climate is forecast to continue in 2017,” the report states, noting that 2016 was the hottest year on record worldwide. Climate scientists have firmly tied this to human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases, though the report does not make that link.

Norfolk Naval Base, the largest in the world, is experiencing flooding from sea level rise. 9 Flattops at Norfolk naval base, December 20, 2012 : From bottom to top, front to back: Aircraft carrier DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) Aircraft carrier GEORGE H. W. BUSH (CVN 77) Aircraft carrier ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) Amphibious assault ship BATAAN (LHD 5) Aircraft carrier ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) Aircraft carrier HARRY S TRUMAN (CVN 75) Amphibious assault ship WASP (LHD 1) Amphibious assault ship KEARSARGE (LHD 3) Amphibious landing platform dock NEW YORK (LPD 21) A T-AKE dry cargo ammunition ship Amphibious assault ship IWO JIMA (LHD 7) and various cruisers, destroyers, frigates and submarines of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. By: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ernest R. Scott

“This warming is projected to fuel more intense and frequent extreme weather events that will be distributed unequally in time and geography. Countries with large populations in coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to tropical weather events and storm surges, especially in Asia and Africa,” the report states.

“The report also cites worsening air pollution in urban areas around the globe, potential water resources conflicts in places like the Middle East. Interestingly, the intelligence report also says that biodiversity losses from pollution, overexploitation and other causes is “disrupting ecosystems that support life, including humans.”

“The rate of species loss worldwide Is estimated at 100 to 1,000 times higher than the natural background extinction rate, according to peer-reviewed scientific literature,” the report states.

“The findings in this report are surprising considering the Trump administration’s hostility to mainstream climate science findings and policies aimed at cutting emissions of greenhouse gases that are warming the planet. Some agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Interior Department, have gone so far as to take down pages devoted to peer-reviewed scientific reports on climate change.

“For example, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has said he does not believe that carbon dioxide is the main driver of global warming. This view goes against thousands of peer reviewed climate studies, as well as findings from his own agency.” –Andrew Freedman (Continue reading: Intelligence community to Trump: When it comes to global warming, you’re wrong–Mashable.)

How a Warming Planet Drives Human Migration

GR:  Thoughts on Climate Change

The climate news today (and really every day now) is not good. The Times article below focuses on just one of the bad bits. Global warming and consequent shifts in weather patterns are stressing everyone, but especially those people living in equatorial regions. Droughts, fires, and floods are becoming intolerable. The emerging climate-change-driven diaspora will carry the stress north and south into temperate latitudes. Projections made by many scientists in the U. S., European Union, and Asia portray a dismal future for Earth and humanity.

A Glimpse of Future Earth

Climate-change emigrants and their descendents moving north will not escape the ravages of a warming planet for very long. Stresses in northern latitudes have already begun. As the human population squeezes north to find food and water, resources will dwindle and conflicts will intensify. Nature in even the diminished form that we see now will sink toward unsustainable levels where wild plants and animals, then watersheds, then soils, and then fresh water are lost.

As I look out across my fields of invasive weeds and my ponds and small stream choked with artificially fertilized algae and filled with invasive animals, I remember the sunflowered fields and sparkling creek of my childhood. As the pace of climate change accelerates, “the good old days” will become a meaningful phrase for younger and younger people facing a constant need to adapt to more difficult times.

Want to keep up with the changes? The Daily Climate carries the best selection of current stories I’ve found. The Daily Climate included a link to the story below along with dozens of others. (Header image:  A farmer tries to revive his unconscious cow. Photo by CNN.)

Illustration by La Tigre.

“Climate change is not equal across the globe, and neither are its longer term consequences. This map overlays human turmoil — represented here by United Nations data on nearly 64 million “persons of concern,” whose numbers have tripled since 2005 — with climate turmoil, represented by data from NASA’s Common Sense Climate Index. The correlation is striking. Climate change is a threat multiplier: It contributes to economic and political instability and also worsens the effects. It propels sudden-onset disasters like floods and storms and slow-onset disasters like drought and desertification; those disasters contribute to failed crops, famine and overcrowded urban centers; those crises inflame political unrest and worsen the impacts of war, which leads to even more displacement. There is no internationally recognized legal definition for “environmental migrants” or “climate refugees,” so there is no formal reckoning of how many have left their homes because climate change has made their lives or livelihoods untenable. In a 2010 Gallup World Poll, though, about 12 percent of respondents — representing a total of 500 million adults — said severe environmental problems would require them to move within the next five years.

  1. ‘Amazon Basin: As glacial melting reduces freshwater reserves for the Andean plain, tensions are growing between locals and the mining and agribusiness operations that consume much of what remains. Researchers predict that this resource conflict will drive more migrants to the Amazon Basin where many have already turned to informal mining and coca cultivation, fueling the rise of criminal syndicates.

  2. “Lake Chad, 3. Syria, 4. China, 5. Philippines” –Jessica Benko (New York Times: Continue reading.)