Sunday, May 20, 2012

Whither the Weather?

With some of the hottest winter and spring months on record in the U.S. just behind us,  these forecasters say we're in for a hot summer.  Their methodology and predictions are a lot more limited than the headline suggests, but the dryness of soil bumping up the temps by a degree suggests how many "small" effects combine to create a cycle that feeds on itself.

Here on the North Coast, by the way, the pollen is so heavy that people who care about such things can't keep their cars clean of it.  More to the point for me, there are more and more severe spring colds that are exacerbated by hay fever.  I'm just coming out of one myself, and I hardly ever get colds.

In Climate Crisis news,  a new study concludes "A safe haven could be out of reach for 9 percent of the Western Hemisphere's mammals, and as much as 40 percent in certain regions, because the animals just won't move swiftly enough to outpace climate change."  This is about the ability of mammals (large and small) to migrate when conditions threaten them.  Apart from the specific animal species ability--which is usually greater than human animals would predict--the barriers are the cities and highways in the way.

One of the fears about Arctic melting is the possible release of methane gas, a very potent greenhouse gas which could accelerate the Climate Crisis beyond current predictions.  A new study shows evidence of methane release in various Arctic locations.

Another study looks at an area where Climate Crisis models predict changes, and those changes are happening: the salinity in the oceans.  The effects of these changes are what the models predict: dry areas getting drier, wet areas getting wetter, which in addition to longterm effects translates into longer and more severe droughts, and more floods.

Meanwhile, fire season in the West started early--for example, in Arizona (above photo.)

Any good news?  Yes. Power generation from carbon-spewing coal in the U.S. has fallen 19% in one year.  But the Obama initiatives to replace coal with green energy may founder as GOPer Congress threatens federal tax breaks for green industry.  Although not of course subsidies to oil and coal.

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