Fire ‘Halo’

May 15, 2014

628x471Clear with some of those tiny-wisp of clouds high up this early Thursday on California’s north coast — a hot one yesterday, but according to the weather people, the peak of the heat has passed.
Here on the normally placid shoreline, we hit near 85 degrees Wednesday afternoon, which for us is a “scorcher.” Things should calm down a bit today.

And this morning, a marvel with the full moon, now hanging wild-eyed out over the Pacific — a massive circle, called by the science guys as a “halo” — surrounds the shining sphere. A big one, too, extending well out from the moon itself. This phenomenon is really a visual spectacled for the person watching.
Via earthsky.org: That’s why, like rainbows, halos around the sun – or moon – are personal. Everyone sees their own particular halo, made by their own particular ice crystals, which are different from the ice crystals making the halo of the person standing next to you.

(Illustration found at sfgate.com).

Sounds romantic, huh — not!
During the last few days, a high-pressure system was the culprit for our heat wave, but as a trough of low pressure from the Pacific Ocean is forecast to move onto the West Coast, and shit should cool off awhile.
And the problem is — again! — climate change.
Via MIT News:

The results of the study, published today in the journal Nature, show that over the last 30 years, tropical cyclones — also known as hurricanes or typhoons — are moving poleward at a rate of about 33 miles per decade in the Northern Hemisphere and 38 miles per decade in the Southern Hemisphere.
“The absolute value of the latitudes at which these storms reach their maximum intensity seems to be increasing over time, in most places,” says Kerry Emanuel, an MIT professor and co-author of the new paper.
“The trend is statistically significant at a pretty high level.”
And while the scientists who conducted the study are still investigating the atmospheric mechanisms behind this change, the trend seems consistent with a warming climate.
“It may mean the thermodynamically favorable conditions for these storms are migrating poleward,” adds Emanuel, the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at MIT.
The implications are serious, since the movement of peak intensity means regions further north and south of the equator, which have not previously had to face many landfalls by violent cyclones, may now have greater exposure to these extreme weather events.
That, in turn, could lead to “potentially profound consequences to life and property,” the paper states.
“Any related changes to positions where storms make landfall will have obvious effects on coastal residents and infrastructure.”

Those are the storms, and shifting with that is those heat weaves, those pressure cycles, which in the Western US can be fatal — wildfires.
In the thrust of this heat is a wild series of wildfires in San Diego County, burning-out at least 14 acres.
A lot of heat, boiling-like and way-frightening. Via the LA Times:

And in the canyons adjacent to Rancho Santa Fe and Fairbanks Ranch, firefighters continued to battle the Bernardo fire, which erupted Tuesday and burned 1,500 acres by early Wednesday but damaged no structures.
By late Wednesday, the fire was described as 50% contained.
“It’s like a scene from Armageddon,” one homeowner said of the region as thick black smoke blotted out the sun in some areas.

And, baby, it’s all gonna get worse than that — from Skeptical Science:

If you’ve been following the science, there’s not much in either IPCC report that’s novel.
In truth, the most apposite summary of all the reports came from fellow Guardian blogger Graham Readfern in a pithy piece entitled ‘The hellish monotony of 25 years of IPCC climate change warnings’.
With not a little irony, he lists a number of dire topical prognoses – which he then points out were taken not from the current reports, but from the first IPCC report back in 1990, the year that Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web, and Nelson Mandela got out of jail.
The same warnings of course all appear in the latest reports, without some of the equivocation the earlier work contained, back when people thought the science would be enough to convince governments to act.
Ah, how naïve we were.

The facts are inescapable, and we’re hardly short of good, reliable information, so there’s no excuse now for inaction (or for investments in projects that will doom us all).
Neither do we need to get caught up in the ideological debate.
If you want a good, solid, non-partisan appraisal of the risks we’re all exposed to, and the host of reports mentioned are somehow insufficient, then read yet another document published this year: the Quadrennial Defense Review 2014, the Pentagon’s latest report on the issue, in which they describe climate change as ‘a threat multiplier’.
They say very clearly that it’s a threat to global stability and security, and I don’t believe anyone in their right mind is going to accuse them of being a bunch of leftie agitators.

Fire in the eyes…

(Illustration out front found here).

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