Hurricane Matthew will not soon be forgotten by meteorologists.
Despite wind shear that should have hindered its development, the storm exploded to Category-5 strength on Friday. “Jaw dropping,” was how meteorologist Bob Henson at Weather Underground described it. “Dissertations may be written on how this happened!”
With maximum sustained winds on Friday of about 160 mph, Matthew became the first Category 5 storm in the Atlantic since 2007. It also now has the distinction of being the southernmost Category 5 hurricane on record. Read More
Here at ImaGeo, I love posting big, beautiful images of the Sun in all its fiery glory. So when I saw the composite of two images above, there was just no way I could resist — and not just because the colors and patterns are so dang pretty.
The before and after composite reveals something I’ve never seen demonstrated so dramatically before: the Sun’s split personality. (And by the way, make sure to click on it, and then click again to zoom in close.)
The Sun as seen on the left is showing its relatively cool, calm and collected personality, which takes hold during the low point in its 11-year cycle. In this image, you’re seeing the Sun as it looked about 10 years ago.
The Sun as seen on the right is betraying its much more hot-tempered side, during its recent peak in the activity cycle.
Before I saw this composite, I never fully appreciated just how big a transformation the Sun makes over the course of just 11 years. Read More
I knew something bad was up when a Facebook friend posted this yesterday:
Oh joy! Now I have smoke coming in from TWO wildfires!
And then a little while later:
104F yesterday. Nowhere to hide. Moving to Canada. 😬
He lives in the Carmel, California, right on the edge of the Soberanes Fire, which has been burning since July 22. And his comments pretty well sum up California’s wildfire woes at the moment.
Even as the almost-contained, 128,595-acre Soberanes Fire continues to smolder, sending smoke my friend’s way, a new and dangerous wildfire has ignited not far off. It’s the Loma Fire south of San Jose.
After getting started late Monday afternoon, it has destroyed one home and six outbuildings, and threatens 300 more structures. Already covering 2,250 acres, the new blaze is just 10 percent contained, according to the latest update from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as CalFire. Here’s a snippet from the update: Read More
Science came up explicitly just once during the debate last night, as Dan Satterfield admirably pointed out quickly in an American Geophysical Union blog post. It happened when Clinton accused Trump of saying that climate change was a hoax.
Trump butted in, saying, “I did not, I do not say that.”
Except, he does.
The trail of fact-checking breadcrumbs that prove Trump’s claim to be, well, a hoax, leads to other equally mendacious statements he has made on climate, energy and other issues.
Let’s follow the trail, starting first with his denial that he ever said climate change is a hoax. Have a look at these comments he made on Fox News and judge for yourself: Read More
The heat goes on. And on.
According to data released yesterday by NASA, last month was the warmest August on record. That makes it 11 straight months of record-breaking global heat.
And as it turned out, August tied with July 2016 for warmest of 1,640 months now on record, NASA said. This despite the fact that the seasonal temperature cycle usually tops out in July.
Last month was 0.98 degrees Celsius, or 1.76 degrees Fahrenheit, warmer than the mean August temperature for 1951-1980. It beat out August 2014, the previous record holder for warmest August, which was 0.82 degrees Celsius above average.
With the continuing global heat, 2016 is almost certain to top 2015 as warmest year on record, according to Gavin Schmidt, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies: Read More
Even though the El Niño warming episode is over, Earth’s heat streak is continuing. Big time.
Since July is typically the warmest month of the year globally, that means it was the hottest of all 1,639 months on record.
Let us count other ways in which July 2016 was noteworthy: Read More
The largest cruise ship ever to attempt a complete transit of the usually ice-choked waters of the famed Northwest Passage is just days away from weighing anchor.
And at least for now, it looks like the coast is almost clear for the Crystal Serenity with its 1,070 passengers and 655 crew members. As of Aug. 11, 2016, sea ice is nearly gone from the southern route of the passage, according to NOAA.
The animation at the top of this post shows the mostly ice-free route, as seen by the Suomi NPP satellite on August 9th. Have a look to get your bearings, then click on the thumbnail at right to see the full-sized, unannotated version. (Click it again to zoom in so you can explore the route I’ve marked in the animation.)
Sea ice has long stymied mariners from completing the journey across the treacherous northernmost reaches of North America. The first documented full transit of the Northwest Passage was made by Roald Amundsen in a small, wooden boat between 1903 and 1906. Since then, his journey has been repeated fewer than 240 times. Read More
In a comment on an August 3rd post at the Wattsupwiththat website, Patrick J. Michaels of the conservative Cato Institute said that there has been a “hit list” apparently targeting climate scientists, and that he had influence over who was on it.
At this point, it is unclear exactly what this list was about. But from what Michaels said, it looks like it consisted of scientists being targeted for termination from their jobs.
|Note: See the update below about an effort by ExxonMobil in 2001 to get the Bush Administration to oust Robert T. Watson as chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change |
Considering the salience of global warming in the presidential election, and the unsettling nature of these comments, I decided to depart from my usual coverage of the science of our planet here at ImaGeo and try to shine a light on this.
Michaels, past president of the American Association of State Climatologists, and current Director of Cato’s Center for the Study of Science, is one of the most highly quoted doubters of mainstream science on climate change.
The Wattsupwiththat post to which Michaels responded concerned an announcement that Thomas Karl, director of the National Centers for Environmental Information, was retiring. NCEI is the part of NOAA that releases monthly updates on the global climate.
The post by Anthony Watts at the Wattsupwiththat website did little more than reproduce a copy of the press release announcing Karl’s retirement. Then, on Aug. 4th, Michaels wrote his response in the comments section of the post. Rhetorically addressing Karl, Michaels said:
I saved your job in 2000. You were on a hit list and I had you taken off because I thought you were a straight shooter. Seven months later what is detailed above happened.
Check out the image above, acquired by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft. It almost seems like something took a big bite out of the Sun, right?
And if that weren’t enough, here’s what happened a day later:
That bright streaking object is a comet plunging toward the Sun at nearly 1.3 million miles per hour before getting torn to shreds and vaporized, as witnessed by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO spacecraft.
Meanwhile, at the same time the comet was on its death plunge, the Sun belched, letting loose a gargantuan eruption of hyper-hot plasma into space. You can see it in the video — it’s that bolus of bright white stuff spewing out on the left. (Not to worry. It wasn’t directed toward us on Earth…)
Quite an interesting couple of days in the neighborhood of the Sun, eh?
First, let’s deal with the chunk of the Sun that seemed to go missing.
Since it started on July 22, the Soberanes Fire along California’s Big Sur coast has scorched at least 33,668 acres — an area nearly two and third times the size of Manhattan. Along the way it has destroyed 68 structures and resulted in the death of one bulldozer operator.
More than 5,000 firefighters are battling the blaze, equipped with 511 fire engines, 40 water tenders, 14 helicopters, six air tankers, and 67 bulldozers.
And after eight days, the Soberanes Fire is still just 15 percent contained. (For the latest on the fire, check out updates from the Incident Information System here.)
I decided to put together an animation of weather satellite images showing nearly the entire duration of the fire, from the morning of July 22 until today. The images come from the GOES-West satellite, which circles the Earth in geostationary orbit. Look at the annotated screenshot up top to get your bearings, then click it to watch it on Youtube. Read More