Your Thanksgiving Climate Survival Guide

November 22, 2018


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It’s Thanksgiving, and the Northeastern US has colder than normal conditions, and of course the idiot Troll-in-Chief is all over it.


Your sanity guide to navigate Trump tweets and Holiday dinner at Uncle Dittohead’s is here. You’re welcome.

Above, from the University of Maine, see today’s temperature anomalies – big red band of warmth across western North America, and cold blue in the east – related to big kink in the jet stream, which scientists have been describing for years as a response to defining sea ice in the arctic – see videos below.

The weather pattern we are seeing today is much like the “bomb cyclone” pattern we saw last January, and the ‘Polar vortex” of winter 2014 – cold US east, warm, dry west coast and Alaska.
The big warm ridge over western North America has brought unusual warmth to Alaska, and of course we know about the warm, dry weather in California.

Weather Channel:

Areas near the West Coast also had above-average conditions in October, and this warmth extended into Alaska, which set a new October record high at 9 degrees above average.

Scientific American January 2017:

In the past year the climate in the Arctic has at times bordered on the absurd. Temperatures were 30 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit above average in some places during the recent Christmas week. Through November the area of ice-covered ocean in the region reached a record low in seven of 11 months—an unprecedented stretch. More important, perhaps, the difference between Arctic temperatures and those across the midlatitudes of North America, Europe and Asia during 2016 was the smallest ever seen.

That narrowing gap is important to note because it seems to be driving extreme weather in the midlatitudes, from heat waves and droughts to heavy snowfalls. Why is the Arctic so crazy lately, and how strong is the connection to bad weather to its south, where so many people live? Scientific American asked Jennifer Francis, who is a research professor at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University and has investigated Arctic climate change and its links to weather worldwide since 1994.

How unusual is the ongoing string of Arctic climate records?
The records are astounding because there are so many of them. The extra warming that is happening up in the Arctic—the “Arctic amplification”—has been the greatest we’ve ever seen. We’ve also seen the lowest sea-ice thickness, and we’ve seen the greatest amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. That one doesn’t usually make headlines but it should; that water vapor comes from more evaporation because there is more exposed, open ocean. Also, a lot more water vapor is being transported northward by big swings in the jet steam. That’s important because water vapor is a greenhouse gas just like carbon dioxide and methane. It traps heat in the atmosphere. That vapor also condenses as droplets we know as clouds, which themselves trap more heat. The vapor is a big part of the amplification story—a big reason the Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else.

Does the extra vapor contribute to any sort of feedback loop—conditions that tend to feed upon themselves?
We’re starting to think so. It is directly part of a feedback, in that more loss of sea ice causes more evaporation, which traps more heat, which melts more ice—one of the vicious cycles. But another vicious cycle that may be emerging is that when the Arctic is very warm, we think that is leading to the jet stream taking wavier paths—big northward swings and southward dips. When the jet stream does that, it transports more heat and moisture up into the Arctic, which heats the Arctic more, which make the jet stream even wavier—another vicious cycle related to disappearance of sea ice. During Christmas the North Pole was above freezing—which is crazy for that time of year—and it was related to one of the big swings in the jet stream.

Very recently scientists have begun to more directly link climate change patterns to extreme weather events, which they have typically been reluctant to do. Are the links becoming clearer?
Well, first, warmer temperatures worldwide are adding to heat waves. And more water vapor worldwide is related to the atmosphere being warmer—we have about 7 percent more water vapor in the atmosphere now than we did in the 1950s, which is directly linked to the increase in heavy precipitation events. Drought is also pretty directly related to a warmer atmosphere.

Arctic amplification—[the faster rise of Arctic temperatures than midlatitude temperatures]—may be the most controversial factor. What we think is happening is that amplification is favoring these very wavy patterns in the jet stream. When those waves get large, we tend to see very persistent weather patterns across midlatitudes. The waves tend to move very slowly, and the waves are what create weather we experience. Different parts of those waves tend to favor very stormy patterns, very dry patterns or warm versus cold. So in your neck of the woods, weather conditions are going to hang around longer.

It’s still difficult to unravel the persistent drought in California—what fraction of that is due to general global warming versus more persistent jet stream patterns because the Arctic is warming fast. But that’s where the research is happening right now.

12 Responses to “Your Thanksgiving Climate Survival Guide”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    For this one day, let’s refer to the idiot Troll-in-Chief as the idiot Turkey-in-Chief. Do remember that turkeys are so dumb that they can drown in a rain storm because they stand there looking up with their mouths open. Sorry, that’s “fake news” and “alternate facts”, but it may also be another reason why the idiot TIC doesn’t like to go out in the rain.

    Seriously, the words “feedback loop” get scarier every time they appear—-sooner or later we are going to see them followed by “a tipping point has been passed” and the beginning of SHTF time will be upon us.

    • Sir Charles Says:

      This video went viral on European TV stations:

      • dumboldguy Says:

        As it should have, since it is illustrative of either how dumb he is (can’t remember how to close an umbrella) or, more likely, how he runs for cover when the wind even ruffles his hair—-he’s not going to get caught again like that time when the wind made him look like an escapee from a horror movie.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          This one is even better at exposing what a vain and narcissistic fool he is. It looks like that massive pile of hair is rooted in only about 1/3 of his scalp. I have never heard of someone having such grotesque and extensive plastic surgery to realign their scalp so that they can pretend to have a full “mane” of hair.

  2. Sir Charles Says:

    For a while that moron in chief was quite laughable. Nowadays he just sucks.

  3. John Says:

    Reblogged this on jpratt27 and commented:
    Time for the #GreenNewDeal

  4. Sir Charles Says:

    How to identify people open to evidence about climate change

    People resist climate information for varying reasons. Start by understanding your audience.

    Sometimes hard, but it might work.

  5. Typo in the second paragraph:

    “defining [declining] sea ice in the arctic”

  6. Sir Charles Says:

    I suppose Tramp is also saying: “Look at me. I’m so rich. There can’t be any poverty on this planet.”

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