Katrina, Fire, Heat, Melt

Just a few pointers to some of today's interesting climate stories.

First, this is the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. After ten years, the costs of that hurricane are still being paid. See this overview. Also, astonishingly, or perhaps totally expectedly, one third of Louisiana blame a Democratic Senator from the Midwest for the lousy response to Katrina by the Republican executive branch.

Meanwhile, wildfires out west are really bad. A friend of mine drove way into the rocky mountains over the last few days and noted that for a long time he couldn't even see any mountains the smoke was so bad. I suppose we're lucky here in Minnesota. We get a LOT of smoke from fires in the Canadian Rockies and Alaska, but now most of the smoke is passing to our south.

Anyway, there are now tens of thousands of people fighting the fires, including many brought in from other regions, and even other countries. At the moment there are no fire fighters left. If you live out there in the chaparral and a fire starts near your house, you might not be able to get help. Check it out.

A quick update on sea ice melt. This time I decided to display, on a graph produced using the interactive tool made available by the NSIDC, the first 20 years for which there are data (to get the background) and the current year so far, of Arctic Sea ice extent:

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 12.31.38 PM

The meme at the top of the post is available in higher resolution HERE if you want.

More like this

Everything is about ice these days, what with the Winter Olympics in full swing. Concerns that the temperatures at the mountain venue of Sochi would be problematically high have panned out; the lower parts of the downhill slopes are slushy and the bottom of the half-pipe is all bumbly wumply.…
Logging the Onset of The Bottleneck Years This weekly posting is brought to you courtesy of H. E. Taylor. Happy reading, I hope you enjoy this week's Global Warming news roundup skip to bottom Another Week of Climate Disruption News Information is not Knowledge...Knowledge is notWisdom September 2…
Focusing on Earth, but also a few tidbits on wind, fire, and ice, some current news and observations about global warming. Earth As humans release greenhouse gas pollutants (mainly CO2) into the atmosphere, the surface of the Earth, and the top 2000 meters of the ocean, heat up. But some of the…
August sea ice extent in the Arctic this year was 640,000 square kilometers below the previous record set in 2007.  It is also already a record monthly low for any month, though that record will not last as it is going to be broken this September when the lowest extent of the year is normally…

Excellent graphics there that say so much.

Aussie firefighters are among those fighting your blazes - saw news coverage of it some days ago.

Dreading what's going to happen in our upcoming El Nino summer.

"29 percent of Louisiana Republicans said Obama was responsible for the Katrina response"

Some people are just too stupid to be entrusted with a ballot.


Good job!


I was at Harvard too, it was fantastically fun, I can't even express how fun it was, it was just like, if I didn't have a wife and kids,
i could do this forever. (Yes, I thought about ditching the wife and kids to spend the rest of my life at Harvard- a junior faculty position and I knew it would be fantastic, but I had already set my sail in another direction. I did have a total blast there.

By Mark Schooley MD (not verified) on 28 Aug 2015 #permalink


Are you living in Minnesota? Winters there are chilly, especially this winter coming up. You may find that global warming isn't all that it's cracked up to be. ;-)

I think you may want to report how you're saving the world from fossil fuel burning by putting wood logs in the wood stove, and sleeping under down. Cabelas has a nice down -15F double-wide sleeping bag,it's really warm. You can cozy up with your wife and kids.

I remember in 1989, we lost power, and it was -3F. That was in Oregon, not Minnesota. We piled together with 3 kids, under REI down bags. We had a blast. You can't have more fun than sleeping with everybody under down when the temps get really cold, and power is out.

I can assure you that this winter will be cold in MN. Tr turning off the heat, and figuring out how to keep warm.

By Mark Schooley MD (not verified) on 28 Aug 2015 #permalink

@ ^ Mark Schooley MD : I'm pretty sure Greg Laden knows the difference between global climate and regional and seasonal typical weather somehow!

You do realise what the word 'global' in 'Global Overheating' means don't you? Hint : It does NOT mean that everywhere will always be hot and nowhere on Earth will be cold again and doesn't mean that some small areas might be getting even colder. Take a look at that top graphic for instance.

Also if Greg Laden or you want tales of temperature extremes I can give you plenty about heatwaves and droughts and bushfires we've had where I live and how we've struggled to cope with them.

Mark Schooley, you should ask Harvard for your money back.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 29 Aug 2015 #permalink

I always consult my M.D. for her opinion about AGW. She has assured me that two aspirin, plenty of rest, and lots of fluids, should take care of it, but if AGW gets any worse, I should consult my auto mechanic.

By skeptictmac57 (not verified) on 29 Aug 2015 #permalink

"Also, astonishingly, or perhaps totally expectedly, one third of Louisiana blame a Democratic Senator from the Midwest for the lousy response to Katrina by the Republican executive branch."

Just another example of Obama Derangement Syndrome.

By Christopher Winter (not verified) on 29 Aug 2015 #permalink

It has become clear that Mark Schooley M.D. believes that his personal life-stories trump all the science that has been done since, well, probably forever. How does someone come to think that way?

Greg - the smoke here in Trail has been pretty bad for weeks, both from the Okanagan Complex fire in WA (about 60 mi away) and from local BC fires. Finally woke up to pouring rain this AM so that should help - here is a picture I took two days ago that shows the smoke density here at that time

By Doug Alder (not verified) on 30 Aug 2015 #permalink

over millions of years. This planet has survived everything in its time, it will certainly survive us. The nuts and bolts of all this Global Warming outcry is not about saving the planet its about trying to save our owns skins

By Shirley Marcario (not verified) on 30 Aug 2015 #permalink

Yes, Shirley, Earth will survive. Without us, though, as we'll have succumbed to the effects of our profligate eco-destruction. That makes some people.. sad.

Oh, and Earth will survive, too, without most of its current set of large animals. (Something will likely replace them. Eventually. Like, say, a few million years, give or take a millennium. ...Another sad thought.)

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 30 Aug 2015 #permalink


I'm a big fan of the charctic graphic because of the easy interactivity, and that's a nice use of it.

But it reminds me of something I've wondered about over the years, which is why we keep moving up our "baseline" in the form of the mean for climate data. Where would 2015 be SD-wise if we just used those first 20 years?

I am aware of the 30-year factor with respect to GMST, but then I tend to see us in the new-normal phase with respect to most everything else. People need to see that, and moving the baseline reduces the visual impact. At this point, we should be pretty confident in data in the instrumental record at least.