Category Archives: Features

Can these giant dams keep Europe from drowning?


“Am Strand” 1870, by Dutch painter Frederik Hendrik Kaemmerer. Image source: Public Domain / Wikimedia

Excerpts;

A plan for a giant a 400-mile enclosure, The Northern European Enclosure Dam (NEED), would cut off the North and Baltic Seas from the Atlantic Ocean to protect 15 European countries from those rising seas.

The project’s scale is unprecedented. Its cost phenomenal. But it’s still cheaper than all the alternatives—including doing nothing. All the alternatives except one: Taking action now against climate change…

Read Full Article; BigThink (02-22-2020)

On rising Great Lakes, backyards are disappearing overnight


Lake Michigan, Chicago. Photo source: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Document and near-record water ranges in all 5 Nice Lakes are inflicting tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in injury from Minnesota to New York as eroding shorelines and monster waves trigger properties to plummet into the water, public piers and lakeside trails to crack and crumble, and parks and properties to flood…

Read Full Article; The WSJ (02-20-2020)

Antarctica melts under its hottest days on record


February 4 – 13, 2020

By NASA;

On February 6, 2020, weather stations recorded the hottest temperature on record for Antarctica. Thermometers at the Esperanza Base on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula reached 18.3°C (64.9°F)—around the same temperature as Los Angeles that day. The warm spell caused widespread melting on nearby glaciers.

The warm temperatures arrived on February 5 and continued until February 13, 2020. The images above show melting on the ice cap of Eagle Island and were acquired by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 on February 4 and February 13, 2020.

The heat is apparent on the map below, which shows temperatures across the Antarctic Peninsula on February 9, 2020. The map was derived from the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model, and represents air temperatures at 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) above the ground. The darkest red areas are where the model shows temperatures surpassing 10°C (50°F).

Mauri Pelto, a glaciologist at Nichols College observed that during the warming event, around 1.5 square kilometers (0.9 square miles) of snowpack became saturated with meltwater (shown in blue above). According to climate models, Eagle Island experienced peak melt—30 millimeters (1 inch)—on February 6. In total, snowpack on Eagle Island melted 106 millimeters (4 inches) from February 6- February 11. About 20 percent of seasonal snow accumulation in the region melted in this one event on Eagle Island.


February 9, 2020

“I haven’t seen melt ponds develop this quickly in Antarctica,” said Pelto. “You see these kinds of melt events in Alaska and Greenland, but not usually in Antarctica.” He also used satellite images to detect widespread surface melting nearby on Boydell Glacier.

Pelto noted that such rapid melting is caused by sustained high temperatures significantly above freezing. Such persistent warmth was not typical in Antarctica until the 21st century, but it has become more common in recent years.

The warm temperatures of February 2020 were caused by a combination of meteorological elements. A ridge of high pressure was centered over Cape Horn at the beginning of the month, and it allowed warm temperatures to build. Typically, the peninsula is shielded from warm air masses by the Southern Hemisphere westerlies, a band of strong winds that circle the continent. However, the westerlies were in a weakened state, which allowed the extra-tropical warm air to cross the Southern Ocean and reach the ice sheet. Sea surface temperatures in the area were also higher than average by about 2-3°C.

Dry, warm foehn winds also could have played a part. Foehn winds are strong, gusty winds that cause downslope windstorms on mountains, often bringing warm air with them. In February 2020, westerly winds ran into the Antarctic Peninsula Cordillera. As such winds travel up the mountains, the air typically cools and condenses to form rain or snow clouds. As that water vapor condenses into liquid water or ice, heat is released into the surrounding air. This warm, dry air travels downslope on the other side of the mountains, bringing blasts of heat to parts of the peninsula. The drier air means fewer low-lying clouds and potentially more direct sunlight east of the mountain range.

“Two things that can make a foehn-induced melt event stronger are stronger winds and higher temperatures,” said Rajashree Tri Datta, an atmospheric researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. With warmer air in the surrounding atmosphere and ocean, the conditions were conducive this month for a foehn wind event.

This February heatwave was the third major melt event of the 2019-2020 summer, following warm spells in November 2019 and January 2020. “If you think about this one event in February, it isn’t that significant,” said Pelto. “It’s more significant that these events are coming more frequently.“

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey and GEOS-5 data from the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA GSFC. Story by Kasha Patel.

Original Article And Learn More; NASA (02-21-2020)

Arctic ice melt is changing ocean currents; NASA (02-06-2020)

Antarctic temperature rises above 20C for first time on record; Guardian UK (02-13-2020)
Scientists describe 20.75C logged at Seymour Island as ‘incredible and abnormal’.

Temperature in Antarctica soars to near 70 degrees, appearing to top record; The Washington Post (02-13-2020)
The temperature beats a milestone set days earlier by nearly 5 degrees…

Antarctica logs highest temperature on record of 18.3C; BBC News (02-07-2020)
A record high temperature of 18.3C (64.9F) has been logged on the continent of Antarctica. The temperature was recorded in the Antarctic Peninsula, on the continent’s north-west tip – one of the fastest-warming regions on earth…

Climate change could kill all of Earth’s coral reefs by 2100, scientists warn


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Climate change could destroy almost all of Earth’s coral reef habitats by 2100, according to new research.

About 70-90% of all existing coral reefs are expected to disappear in the next 20 years due to warming oceans, acidic water and pollution, said scientists from the University of Hawaii Manoa, who presented their findings Monday at an ocean sciences conference…

Read Full Article; CNN (02-20-2020)

20,000 deaths since 1999: New report reveals deadly impact of extreme weather in France

xynthia-mayor-official
La Faute sur Mer’s mayor (left) and Vendée’s senator (right) in front of an aerial view of the 2 inundated towns of L’Aiguillon and La Faute sur Mer, Vendée, France. Photo source: ©© Sénat

Excerpts;

France is one of the most exposed countries in the world to the risks of extreme weather, a new report has found, with nearly 20,000 deaths linked to heatwaves, floods and storms in the last 20 years.

The report from the global climate charity Germanwatch ranked 183 countries around the world according to how exposed they are to extreme weather events – such as heatwaves, storms and flooding – linked to climate change.

France was ranked in the top 20 most exposed countries in the world, in the same bracket as India and Madagascar.The worst affected countries in the world were Puerto Rico, Honduras, Myanmar and Haiti…

Read Full Article; The Local Fr (12-14-2019)

À La Faute-sur-Mer, le temps n’a pas effacé le cauchemar de la tempête Xynthia; Le Figaro (02-21-2020)
Ten years after Xynthia storm devastated France, scars still remain.

La Faute-sur-Mer and l’Aiguillon-sur-Mer beaches, Vendée, France; By Claire Le Guern (03-2010)
The very last day of February 2010. It is 4:00 am. Howling winds, whipping rains, infuriated seas, and eight meter high (26 feet) crashing waves, are muffling the desperate cries for help…4:00 am… Twenty nine human lives are being swept away, drowned in the frigid and salty ocean waters. They were in their sleep, in their beds, in the comfort of their home. They did not understand, they could not react, most of them too old, too frail, or much too little to run for safety and climb on the rooftops, like most of the survivors did…
When daylight unveiled the disaster, French Prime Minister François Fillon held an emergency cabinet meeting and afterward called the storm a “national catastrophe.” French President Nicolas Sarkhozy, declared: “We have to find out how families in France in the 21st-century can be surprised in their sleep and drowned in their own houses.” Mr. Sarkozy added, “We have to shed light as urgently as possible on this unacceptable and incomprehensible tragedy.”
As much as this tragedy is utterly unacceptable, it is all too comprehensible and sadly, previously announced by warnings from many scientists, locals, and even more relevantly by an official 2008 report from the Vendée Equipment Department, DDE. The risks of marine submersion were known to the Vendée DDE, which strongly addressed and questioned coastal safety, citing in particular the fragile sea walls in L’Aiguillon-sur-Mer and La Faute-sur-Mer, as well as their existing location and development in flood-prone areas. “There is no doubt about the vulnerability of the Vendée coast to marine submersion”…

A French beach cleared of homes shows NC the way; By Orrin H. Pilkey; News Observer (02-24-2019)

Developers don’t get it: climate change means we need to retreat from the coast, Guardian UK (15-03-2016)
It is preposterous to build in areas that are bound to flood. So why are real estate companies still doing it?..

Excavation to begin on next phase of Summerland oil well cleanup


Capping of the Becker well, February 27, 2018, Summerland beach, California. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

During the week of February 10, 2019, exploratory excavation work will begin on oil wells leaking onto Summerland Beach, as part of the planning for capping up to three more wells on and off the beach – including the notorious Treadwell #10 offshore well (pictured above). The actual capping work will take place during the months of June/July 2020…

Read Full Article; EdHat (01-31-2020)

Becker well capped—a century later; Coastal View (02-28-2018)