Queensland flying fox species decimated by record heatwave

Queensland flying fox species decimated by record heatwave

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: November 29, 2018 SNIP: Thousands of threatened flying foxes have dropped dead due to heat stress brought on by extreme temperatures in far north Queensland this week. Conservationists and wildlife volunteers estimate more than 4,000 have perished this week during the record heatwave, which has seen temperatures in Cairns reach all-time highs of 42.6C. The species of flying fox affected is the spectacled flying fox, an endemic Queensland species found in north Queensland. It’s currently listed as vulnerable under national environment laws but conservationists have been pushing to have the species up-listed to endangered because of declines in the population. Volunteers found 3,000 dead bats and 54 live bats needing care at one site in Edmonton alone. “What’s scary about this one is the spectacled flying fox has been hit,” he said. “As far as we know, they’ve never suffered heat deaths before. This is an unprecedented and shocking heat-stress event, with climate change seeing threatened species never before affected dropping by the thousands and dependent pups left...
Watery heatwave cooks the Gulf of Maine

Watery heatwave cooks the Gulf of Maine

SOURCE: NASA DATE: September 12, 2018 SNIP: Most of us are familiar with heat waves on land, but in a warming world, heat waves are starting to become common in the ocean, too. One basin in particular, the normally cool Gulf of Maine in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, has seen several heat waves in recent years and has spent most of 2018 with unusually warm water temperatures. On August 8, 2018, scientists using satellite data and sea-based sensors measured the second warmest sea surface temperatures ever observed in the Gulf of Maine. Average water temperatures reached 20.52 degrees Celsius (68.93 degrees Fahrenheit) that day, just 0.03°C (0.05°F) below the record set in 2012. The map on this page shows sea surface temperature anomalies as compiled by NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch, which blends observations from the Suomi NPP, MTSAT, Meteosat, and GOES satellites and from computer models. Shades of red and blue indicate how much water temperatures were above or below the long-term average for the region. The map [on this post] shows conditions on August 8, the near-record setting day. The heatwave of 2018 fits with a much longer trend in the region, which is among the fastest-warming parts of the global ocean. In the past three decades, the Gulf of Maine has warmed by 0.06°C (0.11°F) per year, three times faster than the global average. Over the past 15 years, the basin has warmed at seven times the global average. The Gulf has warmed faster than 99 percent of the global ocean. “Climate change is likely contributing to the circulation changes through melting in Greenland and Arctic, as...
Summer weather is getting ‘stuck’ due to Arctic warming

Summer weather is getting ‘stuck’ due to Arctic warming

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: August 20, 2018 SNIP: Summer weather patterns are increasingly likely to stall in Europe, North America and parts of Asia, according to a new climate study that explains why Arctic warming is making heatwaves elsewhere more persistent and dangerous. Rising temperatures in the Arctic have slowed the circulation of the jet stream and other giant planetary winds, says the paper, which means high and low pressure fronts are getting stuck and weather is less able to moderate itself. The authors of the research, published in Nature Communications on Monday, warn this could lead to “very extreme extremes”, which occur when abnormally high temperatures linger for an unusually prolonged period, turning sunny days into heat waves, tinder-dry conditions into wildfires, and rains into floods. Circulation stalling has long been a concern of climate scientists, though most previous studies have looked at winter patterns. The new paper reviews research on summer trends, where it says there is mounting evidence of planetary wind systems – both low-level storm tracks and higher waves in the troposphere – losing their ability to shift the weather. One cause is a weakening of the temperature gradient between the Arctic and Equator as a result of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. The far north of the Earth is warming two to four times faster than the global average, says the paper, which means there is a declining temperature gap with the central belt of the planet. As this ramp flattens, winds struggle to build up sufficient energy and speed to push around pressure systems in the area between them. As a result, there is...
French nuclear production reduced by 3.1 GW due to heatwave

French nuclear production reduced by 3.1 GW due to heatwave

SOURCE: Reuters DATE: August 3, 2018 SNIP: The heatwave across France has forced French utility EDF to reduce or cut nuclear electricity generation at four reactors, power grid operator RTE said on Friday. EDF, which operates the 58 nuclear reactors that cover around 75 percent of France’s electricity needs, extended outages at the 900 megawatt (MW) Bugey 2 and St. Alban 1 nuclear reactors until Aug. 11. Production was reduced by 665 MW at the 900 MW Bugey 3, and by 300 MW at its 900 MW Fessenheim 2 reactor. EDF said on Wednesday said that forecasts of high temperatures in the Rhone River could lead to the shutdown from Aug. 3 of four nuclear reactors which depend on its waters for cooling: Bugey 2 and 3, St Alban 1 and 2. The utility discharges water it uses as coolant for the reactors into surrounding rivers and canals. The quantity and temperature of the water it discharges is regulated by law to protect plant and animal life, forcing EDF to cut output during prolonged hot weather when river temperatures rise. On Friday, water temperature rose to over 26 degrees Celsius (78.8°F) upstream the Rhine River where Fessenheim is located. On the Rhone, the water temperature was also at 26 degrees, according to Thomson Reuters...
Heat waves can be deadly for workers and will drain the US economy

Heat waves can be deadly for workers and will drain the US economy

SOURCE: Vox DATE: July 27, 2018 SNIP: As temperatures surge around the world, many cities and countries are breaking heat records. Massive wildfires have ignited in Europe and the United States amid the scorching weather, destroying thousands of acres of wilderness. Hundreds have died this year between the heat and fires. But the recent hot weather is dangerous in more subtle ways, and is an ominous signal of what increasing average temperatures and climate change portend for some of the most vulnerable who must endure the heat to earn a living. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 15 million people in the United States have jobs that require them to be outdoors at some point, and rising temperatures are already proving dangerous for them. In Georgia, Miguel Angel Guzman Chavez, a 24-year-old farmworker, died of heatstroke while working the field last month when the heat index reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Earlier this month, 52-year-old Cruz Urias-Beltran was found dead in a cornfield in Nebraska after temperatures topped 100°F. Postal worker Peggy Frank died in her mail truck near Los Angeles on July 6, when the temperature reached 117°F. She was 63. As the climate changes, heat waves are poised to get longer and more intense. That means more workers will face triple-digit temperatures, often for single-digit wages, threatening lives and livelihoods. While much of the rest of the workforce is in air-conditioned offices and stores, they’re not immune to the economic blows from climate change. By 2028, climate change will cost the US $360 billion per year, about half the expected growth of the economy, according...