July 19, 2016
Back just in time.
As we descend into the depths of summer, some of the year’s hottest temperatures may be soon upon us. Forecasters expect a high pressure ridge and extreme temperatures to combine to create what is referred to as a “heat dome” over large portions of the United States.
A heat dome occurs when high pressure in the upper atmosphere acts as a lid, preventing hot air from escaping. The air is forced to sink back to the surface, warming even further on the way. This phenomenon will result in dangerously hot temperatures that will envelop the nation throughout the week. Heat index values for parts of the U.S. are expected to reach 110 degrees or higher. In response, the National Weather Service has issued heat alerts for more than a dozen states across the U.S.
This map, based on data from NOAA’s HRRR Model shows the predicted high temperatures on July 18, 2016 at 5 p.m. EDT. These temperatures reflect the beginning of the scorching heat wave that is expected to last throughout the week.
The culprit for the sultry weather is an unusually intense and expansive area of high pressure, also referred to as a “heat dome,” that is parking itself over the South Central U.S.
The clockwise circulation of air around this high is dragging moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and pumping it northward, all the way to Canada, which is resulting in the high humidity levels.
In addition, evapotranspiration from crops in agricultural states such as Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Minnesota is also adding to the moisture content of the atmosphere.
The high pressure area itself will be strong enough to put it on a list of strongest such weather systems observed in that part of the country.
July 17, 2016
..and some other outrageous stuff as well.
They can’t help themselves.
Which comes first? Tobacco shilling or Climate denial? Or bigotry? Don’t let it confuse you. It’s all very, very clear.
Before there was North Carolina’s bathroom bill, there was a Mike Pence-endorsed bill that gave “protections” to religious people who wanted to refuse service to LGBTQ people in the state. The problem in Indiana, however, was that Pence missed the cultural shift and underestimated those who would stand in opposition to him and his bill. Boycotts were called, conventions and speeches were canceled along with concerts, and the dollars were quickly draining from Indiana‘s tourism at a time when the state was already struggling financially. The CEOs of Yelp and Salesforce said they would reduce investment plans in the state and Apple CEO Tim Cook denounced Pence’s law in an op-ed for The Washington Post.
“Our image. Our reputation as a state that embraces people of diverse backgrounds and makes them feel welcome…is at risk because of a new law,” the editorial in the IndyStar read.
Professor Jason E. Box, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) joins Thom. June 2016 marked the lowest recorded level that arctic sea ice has ever hit in the month June – and that’s bad news for our planet’s climate.
My Dark Snow colleague Dr. Jason Box offers some welcome buffering to some of the overly hyped Arctic methane-bomb rhetoric on the internet.
There is indeed reason for concern, and nobody is more concerned than scientists like Dr. Box who follow the issue, and importantly, have children.
Yes, large amounts of methane are frozen in undersea arctic permafrost, and a large release of that powerful greenhouse gas would indeed mean, as Dr. Box famously tweeted two years ago, that we would be “effed”. Indeed, methane seeps have been observed in the arctic ocean, but the area has not been well enough studied to tell how many, over what area, and whether these are new, or background phenomena that have been ongoing for some time.
But, data does not show a Methane melt-down currently in progress, despite what you may have seen on various heavy breathing you-tubes and websites from the “imminent human extinction” crowd.
Still, the risk is real, and represents a possible global high impact event that needs more study, which it is starting to get, with serious resources being deployed by several Arctic nations, as Dr. Box relates above.
See also today’s other sea ice post below on this page.
July 14, 2016
As the video above points out, arguments that wind and solar are “intermittent” and therefore unreliable are erroneous – as they fail to understand that ALL forms of energy are intermittent, and can fail at any moment. Utilities, therefore, are required to have sufficient back up resources available to pick up in a moment’s notice when a large power plant might go offline.
In the case of wind, for instance, the flow of energy is quite predictable days in advance, and although occasionally an individual turbine goes off line for a few days or weeks, it is almost unheard of for an entire multi-hundred megawatt array to go down at once.
Not so with coal or nuclear plants, which can trip offline in a microsecond.
Case in point.
BRIDGMAN — Donald C. Cook’s Unit 2 nuclear reactor is back in operation, about a week after it was shut down due to a steam line rupture.
The reactor was returned to power at 6 p.m. Tuesday, spokesman Bill Schalk said.
On July 6, workers manually took the reactor off-line after the steam line rupture was discovered.
Preliminary findings indicate the steam line ruptured due to “vibration-induced metal fatigue” of a steam expansion joint bellows, Schalk said.
Staff will redesign the equipment and make changes when the unit is shut down for a planned maintenance and refueling outage in the fall, he said.
“We’re working on that already,” he said. “We’ll either do something to reduce vibrations or strengthen the equipment.”
Metal parts had to be fabricated for the plant by its vendor before the repairs could be completed, Schalk said.
The steam line leads to low-pressure turbines and released pressurized, high-temperature steam. The rupture damaged the wall of the turbine building.
Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors assigned to the plant, and from the NRC’s regional office in Lisle, Ill, will be independently evaluating the company’s response to the incident.
My sea ice video from 2011 September 2011 is interesting because I included climate denier Joe Bastardi’s predictions from 2010, for what sea ice was going to do from that point.
You can skip to 6:37 to see how well self-styled ice expert and science denialist hero Bastardi’s predictions have done.
We never expect that those in the insular world of denial will acknowledge fact, but the steady accumulation of data shows why the number of Americans now alarmed about climate change has continued to grow. Not something to be particularly happy about, but here it is.
July 13, 2016
Joe Cook is a key researcher in the effort. I interviewed Joe in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, and also on the ice as the team was putting in on July 12.
For more, check out the interview with team member Chris Williamson the other day.