Stormy Weather and Climate Change This Week

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South Carolina Floods

I haven’t said much about this partly because there is so much good coverage, but South Carolina’s floods, still ongoing, are going to get on the list of worst weather events of 2015. Since these floods are amounting to a one in 1,000 year event, they are actually on the list of worst weather events since Vladimir the Great died, Cnut the Great invaded Enlgand (unrelated event), Eric Haakonsson outlaws berzerkers in Norway, and Olaf Haraldson declared himself King of Norway.

And yes, that event was climate change enhanced in at least two ways, maybe three. With global warming there is more moisture in the atmosphere and in large parts of North America it seems that this moisture is often clumped up into longer term slow moving rain systems. That was going on in the region for days. Then, the strength, size, and wetness of hurricane Joaquin, which indirectly fed moisture into the system, was enhanced by very high sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic. Also, those sea surface temperatures have generally increased the punch from Atlantic based storms. All in all, it is likely that South Carolina, the neighbor of the state that is famous for making climate change illegal, and who’s congressional delegation refused to help the victims of Super Storm Sandy, got walloped by climate change.

Fortunately for the good people of South Carolina, our federal government does not act cynically and help is on the way. But next time we are called to help a storm impacted region, we expect South Carolina to put their big kid pants on and step up to the plate.

Oh No, Oho!

The storm formerly known as Oho, a Category 2 eastern Pacific hurricane, is in the process of doing something that does not happen very often: Slamming into British Columbia and Alaska. I’m told this is only the second time a tropical storm, in a post-tropical state, has followed a track like this.

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Probably not a big deal for a region where serious windy and wet storms are common. But this is yet another case of the tropics breaking out of their usual pattern as a result, likely, of climate change combined with this year’s ongoing El Nino. Certainly, warm sea surface temperatures (which are everywhere there is sea) have helped this system maintain strength as it has moved north.

Here in Minnesota, famous for winters that start in October, we will be experiencing a summer like weekend. Global warming plus El Nino has exacerbated an ongoing trend of warming falls. Too bad some of our garden plants respond more to changes in sunlight than to changes in temperature, or we might not be eating fried green tomatoes for dinner tonight.

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More hurricanes to come?

Meanwhile keep an eye on the Eastern Pacific. Two more disturbances are developing with reasonable (though not certain) chances of becoming tropical storms. 18-E is very likely to become a hurricane by early Sunday morning, and if so it will be called Pali. Disturbance Number 1, just getting going, has about a 50% chance of becoming a tropical storm over the next five days. All quiet in the Atlantic, the rest of the Pacific, or the Indian Ocean.

In case you were wondering about the climate change – hurricane link, this might be of interest to you:


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12 thoughts on “Stormy Weather and Climate Change This Week

  1. “Stormy Weather and Climate Change This Week”.

    Correction: There was no climate change this week. Only weather.

  2. Take a real close look at the name of that storm. Translate it correctly, then tell me it was just another storm. Nope. Climate change is called seasons. This type thing is called Judgement from God for the defiled minds this nation has endured and become. Translate the name of this storm and tell me otherwise.

  3. “South Carolina news outlet TheState.com reported on Sunday that an official, comprehensive assessment of dramatic climate change impacts looming large in South Carolina’s future was buried and barred from release, apparently due to political pressure.”

    From Climate Progress, Feb 26, 2013

  4. From the Union of Concerned Scientists April 2013
    “Reports came to our attention last month that the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had been withholding a report about the local impact of climate change since November, 2011.

    “Everything about the story pointed to political interference, including the unexpected departure of former DNR Director John Frampton, who had led the state agency for eight years and spearheaded the climate report in question. The local press reported that Frampton had been forced out by a political appointee who had been named by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to head a self-described “business-friendly” board in charge of the state agency.

  5. From the Post and Courier June 2013

    “Gov. Nikki Haley and officials from South Carolina’s electric cooperatives Wednesday blasted a proposed federal mandate to reduce carbon emissions, saying it would stifle economic growth and cause power rates to soar in the state.”

    Gee, Nikki. I wonder how the costs of cancers, asthma, and having your state half washed away compare to the putative soaring costs of power generation due to switching to a modern energy source?

    Can someone tell me how I can keep from looking at this lady as anything other than a pea brained toady of the fossil fuel syndicate? I can think of much more demeaning ways to describe her, but, basically, she and her Republican ditto head friends seem to be incapable of grasping the realities of carbon dioxide, infrared, fossil fuels, warmer oceans, and changing climate. What they are capable of grasping, however, are petro dollars, whatever the source.

    Nikki, you just sold your state down the river for a handful of silver. You are as incompetent of a leader and as complacent a puppet as any corporate destroyer of Democracy could ever hope for. Enjoy your Kocho brothers dollars. Ho.

  6. “Gov. Nikki Haley and officials from South Carolina’s electric cooperatives Wednesday blasted a proposed federal mandate to reduce carbon emissions, saying it would stifle economic growth and cause power rates to soar in the state.” From the Post and Courier June 2013

    Gee, Nikki. I wonder how the costs of cancers, asthma, and having your state half washed away compare to the putative soaring costs of power generation due to switching to a modern energy source?

    Can someone tell me how I can keep from looking at this lady as anything other than a pea brained toady of the fossil fuel syndicate? I can think of much more demeaning ways to describe her, but, basically, she and her Republican ditto head friends seem to be incapable of grasping the realities of carbon dioxide, infrared, fossil fuels, warmer oceans, and changing climate. What they are capable of grasping, however, are petro dollars, whatever the source.

    Nikki, you just sold your state down the river for a handful of silver. You are as incompetent of a leader and as complacent a puppet as any corporate destroyer of Democracy could ever hope for. Enjoy your Kocho brothers dollars. Ho.

  7. How often are the first two posts from are from two people who have never taken a science class? Is this the first time?

  8. “Fortunately for the good people of South Carolina, our federal government does not act cynically and help is on the way.”

    Of course, it is possible to plan for such extreme events. Unfortunately, our governing institutions were developed for an older, more stable world. This means that they were designed to be slow and difficult to change. In particular, response to rare disasters were mostly designed for action AFTER a disaster is occurring and are primarily oriented to recovery and restoration. This means we are almost unable to change our laws, regulations, and agencies to ANTICIPATE emergencies by acting to reduce damages and losses in the hours and days before it happens and are stuck with REACTIONS after the fact.

    It is becoming necessary for ordinary citizens to be aware of approaching disasters and take appropriate action in advance. The recent flooding in South Carolina can provide some examples. The characterization of it as a “1 in a 1000 year event” is inaccurate. It is based on the old world, not on the real world we currently experience. Is it 1 in 100 years, 1 in 10 years?

    The flooding was expected days in advance. On 2 October, I posted a link on Facebook to a projection for Sunday, 4 October: http://earth.nullschool.net/#2015/10/04/0300Z/wind/surface/level/overlay=total_precipitable_water/orthographic=-69.13,23.53,1024. The federal emergency declaration came later: https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2015/10/03/president-obama-signs-emergency-declaration-south-carolina. Also see https://www.fema.gov/blog/2015-10-05/inside-femas-south-carolina-flooding-response.

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