Friday, June 20, 2014

Are Winters Like This Year's a Dying Breed?

Are Winters Like This Year's a Dying Breed?


The winter of 2013-2014 may have been unusually long, cold and harsh compared to recent years but we shouldn't get used to it, a new study says. That's because milder winters with fewer extremes may be more likely in the future thanks to the rapid warming of the Arctic.

Published Sunday in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, the study says that despite fears that global warming might lead to more cold weather extremes in places like North America – much-discussed during this winter's "polar vortex" – we're actually seeing the number of extremely cold weather days fall, not rise.
Screen found that winds that blow out of the Arctic from the north – they're responsible for the blasts of cold air that bring winter weather extremes in the U.S. – are warming up faster than winds that blow warmer air in from the south.
That reduces the difference in temperature between the two, which leads to less extreme weather and fewer extremely cold days, Screen told Mashable. "You're kind of taking the edge off of your cold extremes," he said.

At Least 12 Killed in Bulgaria after Torrential Rain and Flooding

At Least 12 Killed in Bulgaria after Torrential Rain and Flooding

Link: http://www.weather.com/news/bulgaria-flooding-20140620


At least 12 people – including 2 children – were killed in torrential rains and flooding in northeastern Bulgaria on Thursday. An unknown number of people remain missing.
In the Black Sea resort city of Varna, heavy rainfall in the city triggered a massive flood wave in the low-lying district of Asparuhovo, Reuters reports. The rush of water swamped streets and houses with mud and debris and left cars mangled and on top of each other. Roads in and out of the suburb were blocked and tens of thousands were without electricity. 
Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev confirmed that ten bodies were recovered from in Varna and two more bodies were found in the northern city of Dobrich, where the River Suha burst its banks, according to the Associated Press. CNN reports that dozens are still missing.

A state of emergency was declared in Asparuhovo and rescue workers were helping to relocate flood victims to temporary shelters. The Bulgarian Red Cross was on the scene providing providing drinking water, food and essential supplies to victims.

Twin Cities Flooding Causes Mudslide Near University of Minnesota Medical Center

Twin Cities Flooding Causes Mudslide Near University of Minnesota Medical Center


Flooding woes continued to worsen in Minnesota Thursday night when a hill gave way along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, forcing a road closure and evacuations from a nearby hospital.
Deputy Fire Chief Todd White tells the Star Tribune that the slide occurred around 7 p.m., sending a 100-yard swath of the bluff onto the road and river below. He says about 6 to 8 feet of mud were left on the West River Parkway, which was partially closed.
The mudslide comes after torrential rain and flash flooding in the area Thursday.
Minneapolis/St. Paul saw 4.13 inches of rain fall on Thursday, which set a daily rainfall record for any day in the month of June. The Twin Cities is also in second place for the wettest June with 10.76 inches, the record is 11.67 inches set in 1874. The Mississippi River at St. Paul is forecast to reach major flood stage this weekend, which could result in additional road closures.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

EPA: Here's How Power Plants (Yes, Power Plants) Will Help Us Fight Global Warming

EPA: Here's How Power Plants (Yes, Power Plants) Will Help Us Fight Global Warming



In highly anticipated announcement Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency released the draft of a proposed rule that would make the first-ever significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants nationwide, with a plan to cut their carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030.
Carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants – which today generate approximately 40 percent of the nation's electricity – are the proposed rule's main target. Coal is the most carbon-intensive fuel used for electricity generation, and releases roughly twice the emissions of natural gas, the next most widely used fuel.
Today's announcement is the beginning of a process that will take years before the rule is fully implemented. After today, a one-year period of public comment begins, followed by a June 2016 deadline for states to submit their plans to meet their emissions reduction goals.

Great Lakes Ice Free, At Last, in June!

Great Lakes Ice Free, At Last, in June!

By Jon Erdman,  Published: Jun 14, 2014, 9:02 AM EDT

The Great Lakes were finally 100 percent ice-free on June 10, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

View image on Twitter
Lingering patches of ice in parts of southern Lake Superior in late May and early June were the most widespread on record for that time of year dating to at least the early 1980s.
June daytime air temperatures predominantly in the 60s and 70s, along with a handful of wet June days helped melt remaining chunks of floating ice.
Despite this, Lake Superior water temperatures continue to be quite cold, generally in the upper 30s and 40s. One of the coldest winters on record, followed by a persistently chilly spring, were the culprits for this persistent lake ice.

NASA Satellite Shows Two Stunning Atmospheric Phenomena off Baja California

NASA Satellite Shows Two Stunning Atmospheric Phenomena off Baja California


NASA's Aqua satellite snapped this image of a set of swirling eddies called von Kármán vortices and a rainbow-like optical phenomenon called a glory off the coast of Baja California on June 8, 2014. (NASA)

NASA’s eyes in the sky are important parts of weather-monitoring efforts, with satellites tracking hurricanes as they barrel across the ocean and storm systems as they sweep across the country. But sometimes they just find really cool stuff in the atmosphere.

The von Kármán vortices, named for Hungarian-American physicist Theodore von Kármán, appear as a set of eddies following each other in a line. To explain how they form, it helps to remember that air is a fluid, just like water. Just as a rock can perturb water flowing around it in a stream, an island or some other obstacle can perturb the clouds and air flowing over it.

The aptly-named glory happens when light from the sun is scattered backwards by water droplets in clouds. To an observer on the ground, they appear as a halo of rainbow colors directly opposite the sun in the sky. They are most often seen in thin clouds or fog from mountains or other high ground and from airplanes.

Cost of Natural Disasters Has Quadrupled in Recent Decades, Official Says

Cost of Natural Disasters Has Quadrupled in Recent Decades, Official Says



It's getting a lot more expensive to recover from natural disasters today than ever, according to a senior European official who urged world leaders Thursday to spend more on preparing cities and coastal regions for the impact of storms and other disasters to ensure a stable future.
Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis response, told a conference on disaster risk reduction and management of the Asia-Europe Meeting that costs related to natural disasters have increased from $50 billion a year in the 1980s to $200 billion in the last decade, an era when the United States has weathered the impact of storms like 2005's Hurricane Katrina and 2012's Superstorm Sandy.
In three of the last four years, disaster-related costs exceeded $200 billion.
She said only 4 percent of spending for natural disasters today goes to prevention and preparedness, with 96 percent spent on response. But, she said, evidence shows every dollar spent on prevention brings at least $4 in savings on damage.