Drought, Heat, Rain, Ice, Rising Seas, Hurricanes

A few items for you.

California drought: Sierra Nevada snowpack falls to 500-year low

The Sierra Nevada snowpack that is a critical water source for California fell to a 500-year low last winter – far worse than scientists had estimated and underlining the severity of the current drought, according to new research.

The snow accumulation in the mountains was just 5% of what is normal, inflating the risk of wildfires, drying up wells and orchards, and pushing communities into water rationing.

Climate Central has a couple of interesting US maps showing trends in change over time in Fall temperatures and precipitation. Have a look.

Peter Sinclair has something on sea ice. This is actually a bad year for sea ice. For various reasons related to climate change, Antarctic sea ice has become somewhat larger in extent. This is probably because of an overall increase in winds in the Souther Ocean, which blows the sea ice (and the albatross, as it turns out) around more. When you blow the forming sea ice around it spreads it out and the newly exposed open water freezes, so you get more. But this year, southern sea ice is low in its extent. The Arctic, nearing its minimum extent right now, is probably at its second or third lowest ever see in the available data (over the last several decades). So the two combined results in a very low year.

Clearly, if you burned all the fossil fuel you'd get a warmer planet. In the past, when there was a lot more CO2 in the atmosphere (like during certain ages of dinosaurs) this happened. Recent work by Ken Caldeira explores this concept, and NPR has a story on it. HERE.

Meanwhile, check out the ESSC Atlantic Hurricane prediction data for the last several years. For 2015, we've already hit 8, and the prediction is for 7.5. Another two may be forming now as we speak. So, the first thing to note is that these predictions are pretty accurate. The second thing to note is that we may be having a relatively active Atlantic hurricane seasons even if it does not seem like it.

That is all for now, thank you very much.

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