Houston, You’re Not in Kansas Anymore

May 27, 2016

At some point after your 5th 100+ year rain event in one year, dim awareness may begin to arise that something has changed. Houston, we have a planetary emergency..

Why does climate change make for stronger storms and more intense precipitation?
It’s one of the clearest, most elementary predictions from fundamental physics, that a warmer atmosphere holds more water. In addition, this is one of the easiest to document changes that has been observed as climate changes.



Below, interviews with scientists explaining the hows and whys – the kind of succinct explanation that moved Slate’s “Bad Astronomer”  Phil Plait to write:

..it pays to keep things on-topic, short, and sweet. That’s why I love the “This Is Not Cool” video series by Peter Sinclair and Yale Climate Connections. They’re short, tackle one issue, have expert interviews, and are easy to understand.

If you agree with that, support these videos by clicking on the Dark Snow logo above.



My friend Paul Douglas, who appears in the vid above, has a piece in the Guardian today on extreme rains.



Is it a fluke, or evidence of a broader trend? Can we connect the dots with a high degree of confidence? Both NASA and local farmers confirm a longer growing seasons, with more allergens, pests and invasive species. Rainfall rates are increasing; wet areas trending even wetter. My home state of Minnesota has witnessed four separate 1-in-1,000 year floods since 2004.

A warmer atmosphere is increasing water vapor levels overhead, juicing storms, fueling an increase in flash floods in the summer, and heavier winter snows along the East Coast of the USA. “All storms are 5 to 10 percent stronger in terms of heavy rainfall” explained Dr. Kevin Trenberth, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. “It means what was a very rare event is now not quite so rare.”

In recent decades, weather patterns have appeared to become more sluggish and erratic, worldwide. Rapid warming of the Arctic may be impacting the jet stream, the high-speed river of air that whisks weather systems around the planet. These high-altitude winds are powered by north-south temperature gradients, which are being altered by rapid warming of northern latitudes. Preliminary research suggests a drop in jet stream wind speeds, creating a “wavier” pattern where weather systems can become “stuck”. This translates into supernaturally-persistent blocking patterns, where weather stalls for extended periods of time.

When weather goes into a holding pattern consequences can be severe: record rains; deeper, drier droughts; a longer, more intense wildfire season; and longer periods of life-threatening heat. Worldwide, record highs have exceeded record cold by a significant margin. On July 31, 2015 the town of Bandar Mahshahr, Iran experienced a staggering heat index of 165°F. From relentless winter flooding in the UK to disruption of India’s monsoon to chronic fires in Indonesia to more midwinter rain and less snow from the Alps to the Rockies, the planet’s accelerating warming signal is now showing up in the weather.



6 Responses to “Houston, You’re Not in Kansas Anymore”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Back after a couple of days of not receiving any new posts from Crock. WordPress was perhaps suffering from temporary insanity (or the Verizon strike is messing FIOS up). Still not getting the comments, though, so will have to comment in order to get the new comments in a thread.. Anyone else having this problem? I used to get all comments on all posts without having to make a comment myself, but that capability seems to have been deleted by WordPress? Help, anyone?

    I have said many times that climate change is not going to get our attention until we have continuous downpours and flooding and dozens of tornadoes at a time marching across the entire country every day. I watched the NBC Nightly News last night, and they were quite proud of the many clips they had of tornado outbreaks in several states—-showed six at one time on the screen. NO mention of WHY this is happening—-we are apparently knocking out the “info” part of “infotainment”.

    • skeptictmac57 Says:

      I hope (and I think) that the fence sitters are beginning to pay attention.
      The die hard ‘skeptics’ will be wearing out their hoary (whorey?) talking point of “There has always been…” insert any increasing sign of AGW here. Motivated reasoning has no bounds in the true believer. They will go to their grave denying the obvious.

  2. Feeling good because I donated to Dark Snow again. It’s not much, sort of a Bernie-scale amount. Might get you a bit of dried salted fish to take up on the glacier. But the theory is every little bit helps, right?

    Come on all you other lugs out there, throw some money at Dark Snow! Let the Greenman feel the love!

  3. Bastrop County, directly east of Austin, declared its fifth flood disaster in one year.

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