Climate and Calorific-Clouds

July 12, 2016

liarts450Bright sunshine this early Tuesday on California’s north coast — a glare after a gray-cloudy earlier start to the day.
Warming-up this week as our interior should near triple-digits, but still cool and breezy for us at the shoreline — the days go on.

Despite the ugly politics and mass murder, which dominates our news and thinking, our only environment continues to deteriorate, getting way-scary.
And out of control…

A clouds and heat mix.

(Illustration: Salvador Dali’s ‘Night Specter on the Beach,’ found here).

First those white-or-gray-or-black globs we see all the time right above our heads.
From Chris Mooney at the Washington Post:

In a new study published in Nature on Monday, scientists say they have for the first time thoroughly documented one of the most profound planetary changes yet to be caused by a warming climate: The distribution of clouds all across the Earth has shifted, they say.
And moreover, it has shifted in such a way — by expanding subtropical dry zones, located between around 20 and 30 degrees latitude in both hemispheres, and by raising cloud tops — as to make global warming  worse.
“As global warming occurs, there’s the expectation that the storm track will shift closer to the pole and the dry areas of the subtropics will expand poleward,” said Joel Norris, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, and the study’s lead author.
The work was conducted with scientists at Scripps, the University of California at Riverside, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Colorado State University.

Not just one but both of these changes to clouds  are “positive feedbacks” to climate change — tending to make warming worse.
Moving cloud tracks toward the poles enhances warming because at higher latitudes, less solar radiation strikes the Earth — so white clouds are reflecting less of it away from the planet than they would if they were closer to the tropics and the Equator, Norris said. Meanwhile, he continued, higher cloud tops in effect thicken the total column of cloud, and that means more trapping of infrared or heat radiation that would otherwise exit to space.
“We now have a thicker blanket, which is also a warming effect,” Norris said.

Natural-acting phenomena is made worse/or different-in-a-bad-way, an example as close as clouds. A coupld of years ago, ‘The Blob‘ appeared off the northwest Pacific coast, dropping water temperatures some five-degrees within the blob — nature breaking down. A new study published yesterday warns of the feedback.
From Climate Central:

The findings also suggested that while the drought and the blob of warm water were the result of the natural whims of the weather, climate change could make such events more likely and intense in the future. To a small extent, it’s already doing so.
“The atmospheric variability that forced the warm blob is the same that forced the drought,” said Emanuele Di Lorenzo, an ocean and climate dynamics professor at Georgia Tech who coauthored the analysis, published in Nature Climate Change.
“This atmospheric variability is increasing under greenhouse gases.”

A maybe-bright side, though, warnings seem to go unheeded:

The new findings could help scientists predict when similar marine heatwaves and droughts will strike in the future.
They also suggest such heatwaves will become more common and intense, which could mean greater drought risks in the West.
(By increasing evaporation and reducing snowfall, warmer temperatures are already making Western droughts worse.)
“This could potentially provide predictability,” said Cliff Mass, a University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor who wasn’t involved with the research.
“This is natural variability that we’re dealing with.”

And the end result gaining ground, and sky, as we continue on our merry way — from yesterday’s Guardian:

2014 and 2015 each set the record for hottest calendar year since we began measuring surface temperatures over 150 years ago, and 2016 is almost certain to break the record once again.
It will be without precedent: the first time that we’ve seen three consecutive record-breaking hot years.
But it’s just happenstance that the calendar year begins in January, and so it’s also informative to compare all yearlong periods.
In doing so, it becomes clear that we’re living in astonishingly hot times.
June 2015 through May 2016 was the hottest 12-month period on record.
That was also true of May 2015 through April 2016, and the 12 months ending in March 2016.
In fact, it’s true for every 12 months going all the way back to the period ending in September 2015, according to global surface temperature data compiled by Kevin Cowtan and Robert Way.
We just set the record for hottest year in each of the past 9 months.

The difference is that while September 1997–August 1998 was the hottest 12-month period on record at the time; it’s now in 60th place.
It’s been surpassed by yearlong periods in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Many of those years weren’t even aided by El Niño events; unassisted global warming made them hotter than 1998.
Global surface temperatures are now more than 0.3°C hotter than they were in 1997–1998.
That’s a remarkable rise over just 18 years, in comparison to the 1°C the Earth’s average surface temperatures have risen since the Industrial Revolution began.

Denial ain’t no river in Egypt, as the joke goes.
Now back to the current news cycle and some real-bad shit that really-ain’t the real bad shit…

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