Monday, February 10, 2014

Extreme weather strikes around the globe

  Editorial note: this post has meanwhile been updated as
Extreme weather strikes around the globe update.

As the weather gets more extreme, disaster strikes around the globe.

Here's a snapsnot from today's news. In London, the BBC reports, flooded homes along the River Thames are being evacuated and thousands more are at risk. In Japan, reports Reuters, eleven people died, more than a thousand were injured and tens of thousands lost power when the worst snowstorm in decades hit Tokyo and areas around the Japanese capital before heading north to blanket the tsunami-hit Pacific coast. Many countries in the Middle East were hit by snow. The BBC reports that heavy snow in northern Iran has left around 480,000 homes without power and some towns and villages cut off.

What is causing these extreme weather events? The image below tells the story. While at times it has been cold at many places around the world, when averaged over the past 30 days, temperatures around the globe have actually been several degrees higher than they used to be. The Arctic has been hit hardest, with anomalies as high as 21°C over this 30 day period. This affects the Jet Stream and Polar Vortex, which in turn is making the weather ever more extreme.

The situation is further illustrated by the forecasts below.

And while the sea ice didn't look too bad at the start of the year, growth has meanwhile stopped, as illustrated by the image below.

Added below are two videos by Paul Beckwith, further discussing the situation.

Editor's note: Reanalysis of temperature anomaly Jan 12 - Feb 10, 2014.
Meanwhile, I've added another image (above), created with NOAA's reanalysis, which compares temperatures to a larger dataset, and the colors look a lot different, so NOAA may indeed have mixed the colors up somewhat in the initial image, as Albert suggested at the Facebook discussion (click on image below).

Anyway, the point made in the post remains, i.e. that as global warming continues, warming in the Arctic accelerates more rapidly than at lower latitudes, which weakens the polar vortex and jet stream in a self-reinforcing feedback that causes the Arctic to warm up even further compared with lower latitudes.

As said, the situation calls for comprehensive and effective action, as discussed at the Climate Plan blog.


  1. PIOMAS - volume of ice fell

  2. Meanwhile, sea ice area is even less. The Cryosphere Today shows an area of merely 12.50868 million square km for day 40, i.e. February 9, 2014.

    1. This means that the volume of ice will become smaller.

  3. Concerning - field color error, NOAA is managed by a Corporation and Corporations don't believe global warming news is something that should filter down to the public to such an extent as to raise Green Party upward. 'Little' mistakes are managed.
    Sites on line get attacked and Big Media doesn't hardly mention global warming and climate change.
    -Well, 7 billion people who figured out it is easier to destroy than create and who are seeking money that isn't linked to the health of a plan for keeping Earth alive, a symbiosis of civilization with HZ alive. -Why people don't see this is beyond me..
    Properly framed and constructed with feedback from science, Earth science and w communications potential of internet access to everyone, then quality improvements could be best maximized so full force of industry and technological advance could go toward keeping Earth alive and within HZ, while at the same time trying all out to leave no one stranded or in dire need of such things as food or shelter.. The potential to zoom up peace and prosperity is astronomical. Biblically flat Huge, figuratively speaking and there is no down side. Save maybe to a small fraction of the 1%..
    But we have to realize heat pulse is getting at methane hydrate and destabilizing it and letting vast methane out now and that the N Polar Jet is likely wrecked for all time unless somehow we restore it to normal by use of geo engineering.
    But habit of mankind and corporate's hold not to mention the pull of money, which is dug in hard and hard to break, - which by the way, currently isn't even allowed to come up face to face against that which is effectively impossible to reverse. Campaign promises of 'Yes We Can' now meet Runaway CH4 or methane release. -Which one will hold water..
    Water of life v the power of money's hold. The showdown of the Universe bar none. Any doubts who is watching..?

  4. Wouldn't put any faith in that reanalysis map. Compared to the raw operational maps, the reanalysis ones are dodgy scams for vested interests that have grubby fingers on noaas purse strings and want to deny the problem.