New marine heat wave resembles killer ‘Blob’ that devastated sea life on West Coast, NOAA says

New marine heat wave resembles killer ‘Blob’ that devastated sea life on West Coast, NOAA says

SOURCE: Seattle Times DATE: September 5, 2019 SNIP: A new marine heat wave has formed off the West Coast that is similar to “The Blob” that devastated sea life and ravaged runs of Pacific salmon. Although the similarities are striking, whether the new system will cause the same havoc is yet to be seen. Like The Blob, which formed in 2014 and peaked in 2015, the new mass of warm water emerged over the course of a few months. A persistent weather pattern has becalmed winds that typically stir up the ocean’s surface to keep it cool. The heat wave is relatively new and right now mostly has affected the upper layers of the ocean. If weather patterns shift, it could break up rapidly, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “It looks bad, but it could also go away pretty quickly,” said Nate Mantua, a research scientist at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California, in a news release Thursday. The Blob upended the West Coast marine ecosystem, resulting in the deaths of millions of animals, from seabirds to sea lions. Salmon runs cratered, adding to the stress on animals that eat them, including endangered southern resident killer whales. The new expanse of unusually warm water is eerily similar: It has quickly grown in much the same way, in the same area, to almost the same size, stretching from roughly Alaska to California. It is the second-largest marine heat wave in terms of area in the northern Pacific Ocean in the last 40 years, after the earlier Blob. About five years ago, sea temperatures...
Europe Is Warming Faster Than Even Climate Models Projected

Europe Is Warming Faster Than Even Climate Models Projected

SOURCE: Yale Environment 360 DATE: August 28, 2019 SNIP: Climate change is raising temperatures in Europe even faster than climate models projected, according to new research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The number of summer days with extreme heat in Europe has tripled since the 1950s, while the number of days with extreme cold more than halved. Extremely hot days in Europe have become hotter by an average of 4.14 degrees Fahrenheit, the study found, while extremely cold days have warmed by 5.4 degrees F. The research examined data from weather stations across Europe from 1950 to 2018, with more than 90 percent of stations showing that the climate was warming. “Even at this regional scale over Europe, we can see that these trends are much larger than what we would expect from natural variability,” Ruth Lorenz, a climate scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and lead author of the new study, said in a statement. “That’s really a signal from climate change.” The research comes after an extremely hot summer in Europe. Southern France hit 114.8 degrees F — a new record — in late June. Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium also recorded all-time national temperature highs. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently announced that July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth. “In the Netherlands, Belgium, France, the model trends are about two times lower than the observed trends,” said Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, a climate analyst at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute in De Bilt, Netherlands, who was not connected to the new study. “We’re reaching new...
China is going to get hot

China is going to get hot

SOURCE: Cosmos DATE: August 7, 2019 SNIP: Two months ago, climate scientists studying US cities found that global warming could produce killer heat waves causing thousands of excess deaths during unusually hot summers like the one now affecting the eastern US and much of Europe. Now, researchers have found that China faces an even worse problem – not just a few thousand extra deaths in unusually hot summers, but tens of thousands of additional deaths each year. And the problem, they say, will kick in at much lower rates of global warming than those predicted to endanger US cities. Part of the problem, write Yanjun Wang of Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology and colleagues, in the journal Nature Communications, is that temperatures in China have been increasing faster than the global average. But it isn’t the rise in average temperature that is the true problem, Wang’s team writes, so much as the fact that this rise is accompanied by an increase in the number of dangerously hot days. In Chinese cities, they say, global warming of 1.5° degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels (the Paris Agreement’s most ambitious not-to-exceed goal) could produce a 32.6% increase in the number of dangerously hot days. An increase of 2.0 degrees (the Paris Agreement’s less-ambitious back-up goal) could produce a 45.8% increase. Combining that with heat-fatality data from 27 large Chinese cities, the researchers calculated heat-death rates per year under each warming scenario, then extrapolated them to the rest of China’s 831 million city dwellers. Their conclusion was that the difference between 1.5° degrees and 2.0° degrees matters – a lot. Even...
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...
Crop damage mounts for EU farmers after torrid summer

Crop damage mounts for EU farmers after torrid summer

SOURCE: Reuters DATE: August 22, 2018 SNIP: European farmers are counting the cost of a summer heatwave that has shrunk cereal harvests and shriveled pastures, leaving some farms struggling to survive and shutting the EU out of lucrative export markets. The severe weather in Europe has coincided with adverse growing conditions in other major grain producing zones such as Russia and Australia, raising the risk that supplies in exporting countries will be eroded to their smallest in years. The latest harvest estimates have underlined the impact of drought and heatwaves in northern Europe. Germany’s farmers’ association DBV on Wednesday forecast a 22 percent plunge in grain production this year in the European Union’s second-largest cereal grower. Germany endured its highest summer temperatures in over a century as extreme weather gripped northern Europe from Britain to the Baltic states. The combination of poor harvest yields and shriveled grassland has led to spiraling costs for animal feed, putting pressure on livestock farms. A sharp drop in the EU’s wheat harvest will also limit exports from the bloc, adding to nervousness about global supply given weather issues elsewhere, including in top wheat exporter Russia. The weather woes in northern Europe and speculation about possible Russian government restrictions on grain exports have contributed to renewed price volatility on international...