Thursday December 13th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing post will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)😊.
More Climate Change Connections Announced
With each passing month and year more i’s get doted and t’s get crossed in association with connecting climate change with often increasingly severe weather. It makes logical sense that because carbon dioxide, being a gas, is redistributed nearly homogeneously throughout the atmosphere affecting radiation balance, all weather, to a degree, is influenced by carbon pollution. Bob Henson of Weather Underground thinks so too:
— Bob Henson (@bhensonweather) December 13, 2018
Two different sets of information crossed my radar the last couple of days confirming my last sentence, or at least reinforcing what I and those involved with climate have known for many years.
First from Climate Central we have the first annual national climatologicalal assessments indicating that indeed 2018 was a very wet year across moat of the United States. As we know carbon pollution increases global warmth, which in turn increases the capacity for the atmosphere to hold and the release more moisture. This from Climate Central’s report:
At 2:40PM on May 27, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning to the residents of Ellicott City, Maryland, west of Baltimore. Less than three hours later, a torrent of water gutted the city’s historic center — the second time since 2016 that extreme precipitation devastated Ellicott City’s old town. 2018 is on track to be the wettest year on record for the Baltimore area. There, and in many other parts of the country, heavy rainfall has become more common as the climate has warmed.
Of 2,800 stations analyzed by Climate Central, 133 (across 21 states) saw record precipitation totals this year, and 685 saw yearly totals that were among the top 10 on record. 2018 is already the fifth-wettest year on record in the contiguous U.S.
Here is an example from my hometown:
Warmer air holds more moisture. Earlier analysis by Climate Central showed that 42 of the 48 states in the contiguous U.S. will see increased runoff risks from heavy rain by 2050. Heavy rain can damage or destroy infrastructure, homes, and businesses. It jeopardizes public health, washing sewage into waterways, kicking up polluting sediments, and creating habitats for disease-carrying insects. By laying down impermeable surfaces like asphalt, communities and developers have limited the soil’s ability to absorb precipitation.
Just as climate change has made heavy rainfall more common in some areas, so has it encouraged droughts in others. As temperatures continue to climb from increasing greenhouse gas emissions, evaporation rates also increase. The higher evaporation rates dry out land surfaces faster, making droughts worse. Warmer temperatures can also cause more winter precipitation to fall as rain rather than snow, diminishing the store of snowpack whose slow melting many communities rely on for their water.
Methodology: Daily precipitation data was retrieved on December 10 from the Applied Climate Information System (www.rcc-acis.org) for the years with the lowest annual total, highest annual total, and 2018. Data was summed over the year to show a running total for each city. For the national map, annual precipitation data was collected and ranked for more than 2,000 stations.
Here is Climate Central’s trends through 2016 in association with precipitation for the United States:
Next Weather Underground has let us know that assessments pegging big 2017 worldwide severe weather events with climate change have been completed.
Please read the linked thorough report:
— Weather Underground (@wunderground) December 13, 2018
Quoting the Weather Underground article:
“These attribution studies are telling us that a warming Earth is continuing to send us new and more extreme weather events every year,” said Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) editor-in-chief Jeff Rosenfield at a press conference on Monday at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington D.C. “The message of this science is that our civilization is increasingly out of sync with our changing climate. A decade ago, we were focused on continental-scale, months-long extremes. Now researchers are often going after more local risks like heat waves, fire danger, and floods on scales of a few days, for pinpointed areas of extreme impacts. In barely a decade, the research focus has evolved enough to address a wider scope of societal challenges.”
Now comes the sticky fun? part that I imagine will be going on through the 2020s: Assessing blame, justice, and monetary retribution for the polluters. I did notice this last quoted bit from Dr. Jeff Masters, who wrote the linked article:
Uh-oh, the lawyers may be getting involved
“I attended the BAMS press conference on Monday in Washington D.C., and heard an interesting talk by Lindene Patton, an attorney with Earth and Water Law LLC. She told the audience that climate attribution studies are getting sufficiently confident in informing risk to the point where a line may have been crossed where lawyers will get involved. When a disaster strikes, and that disaster was more likely than not to occur due to climate change, we need to ask: did managers and builders who had a duty to protect people and property breach that duty by ignoring the new dangers? She called attention to engineering organizations like ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) and AlChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers), which are now reviewing their standards due to climate change considerations.”
I can imagine scenarios where oil and coal companies and their heads get assessed billions of dollars for reparation and adaption efforts. Climate assessments will breed assessments.😉 Likewise, as quoted, all sorts of organizations will need to protect themselves from liability as climate change attribution cases increasingly emerge in courtrooms. Deep down most climate people have some revenge thought on the brain and rightfully so. We would love to see some oil executives hanging from trees or being led to the guillotine. Let’s keep in mind that instead of spending time and resources to exact any revenge for bad behavior, we all want any efforts brought about by the courts to hasten societal change. Let’s hope that our legal system, instead of being used as a crudial, will in the future be another tool for faster change, producing a better future planet.
Here is some more weather and climate news from Thursday:
Greta Thunberg: "You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children" #FridaysForFuture #ClimateStrike #ClimateChallenge #ClimateLeader #cop24 #schoolstrike4climate pic.twitter.com/9XQblo3N6Q
— Paul Giesberg (@mamaloe66) December 13, 2018
Renewable Energy Is Bringing Good Jobs To The Midwest. Is Anyone In Washington Paying Attention? https://t.co/5muKbHo61s
— Frances Sinclair (@francessinclai5) December 13, 2018
We should be talking about risk rather than uncertainty https://t.co/2zPbj0ZVwH
— Richard Betts (@richardabetts) December 13, 2018
"It's just madness for us to allow global CO2 levels (in the atmosphere) to go beyond 450 parts per million, and temperatures to shoot past 1.5 degrees"
— Prof Peter Strachan (@ProfStrachan) December 14, 2018
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity.)
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The Climate Guy