Tag Archive for: The Washington Post

The ‘Blob’ Is Surging Back In The Pacific, Leading To Fears Of Mass Die-Offs Of Marine Life And Unusual Weather Patterns

Across vast stretches of the Pacific Ocean extending from Hawaii north to the shores of Alaska, and southeast to near California, a new marine heat wave is underway. This event is widely referred to as “The Blob Part Two,” or just another “Blob,” after the first event, which took place 2014 through 2016, earned that odd moniker based on its bold red appearance on maps of ocean surface temperatures.

The new incarnation has already caused coral bleaching in the Hawaiian islands, and it may be tied to strandings of marine mammals along the California coast.

Study Raises Questions About Fluoride And Children’s IQ

A study of young children in Canada suggests those whose mothers drank fluoridated tap water while pregnant had slightly lower IQ scores than children whose mothers lived in non-fluoridated cities. But don’t dash for the nearest bottled water yet. Health experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association cautioned that public policy and drinking water consumption should not change on the basis of this study. “I still stand by the weight of the best available evidence, from 70 years of study, that community water fluoridation is safe and effective,” said Brittany Seymour, a dentist and spokeswoman for the American Dental Association. “If we’re able to replicate findings and continue to see outcomes, that would compel us to revisit our recommendation. We’re just not there yet.”

Mapping The Strain On Our Water

The United States has enough water to satisfy the demand, but newly released data from the World Resources Institute shows some areas are out of balance. The WRI’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas researchers used hydrological models and more than 50 years of data to estimate the typical water supply of 189 countries compared to their demand. The result was a scale of “water stress” — how close a country comes to draining its annual water stores in a typical year. Of course, many years are not typical, and unpredictable weather patterns of a changing climate can have drastic consequences.

The Days Have Been Getting Shorter Since June. So Why Does The Weather Keep Getting Warmer?

It’s been a little over five weeks since the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Since June 21, the days have grown progressively shorter. The sun has been in retreat, casting off a little less light every day, beaming down a little less heat. And yet, in many parts of the United States, the weather has only gotten warmer. Scientists have a name for this phenomenon: seasonal lag. In many places, the hottest day of the year comes weeks, or even months, after the longest day of the year. The reason for that has a lot to do with how water soaks up heat.

Alaska’s Sweltering Summer Is ‘Basically Off The Charts’

Steve Perrins didn’t see the lightning, but he couldn’t miss the smoke that followed.

It was around dinnertime on July 23 at Alaska’s oldest hunting lodge, nestled in the wilderness more than 100 miles northwest of Anchorage. What began as a quiet evening at the Rainy Pass Lodge soon turned frantic as Alaska’s latest wildfire spread fast.

The Alaska National Guard soon evacuated 26 people and two dogs by helicopter from the lodge, which serves as a checkpoint for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Study: El Niño Has Outsize Economic Effect On California

Considering it’s been long known that El Niño conditions often bring about flooding precipitation to California, a ripe field for study would be a thorough examination of the damage wreaked. And who knows catastrophic damage better than insurers? Their specialized knowledge prompted a pair of San Diego researchers to compare 40 years of insurance data against climate and water data to quantify the effect of El Niño on flood damage in the western United States. The findings of Tom Corringham and Daniel Cayan, both of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego, confirm the connections between extreme weather events and El Niño, which is the periodic warming of equatorial waters in the Pacific Ocean.

Earth Just Had Its Hottest June On Record, On Track For Warmest July

Boosted by a historic heat wave in Europe and unusually warm conditions across the Arctic and Eurasia, the average temperature of the planet soared to its highest level ever recorded in June.

According to data released Monday by NASA, the global average temperature was 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit (0.93 Celsius) above the June norm (based on a 1951-to-1980 baseline), easily breaking the previous June record of 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.82 Celsius), set in 2016, above the average.

The month was punctuated by a severe heat wave that struck Western Europe in particular during the last week, with numerous all-time-hottest-temperature records falling in countries with centuries-old data sets.

Wet California Winter Is A Boon For Skiers And Water Supply. But It Brings A Threat: Wildfires.

This early June morning is Boyd Shepler’s birthday, No. 66, and he is spending it in a classic California way: a few hours of skiing in a snowflake-filled morning, then a round of golf in the dry afternoon sun. The snow here in the Sierra Nevada is epic, packed into a base that is more than double the historic average for early summer. Here on Mammoth Mountain, the ski lifts will be running into August. At lower altitudes, a spring of atmospheric rivers and hard rain has filled the state’s once-languishing reservoirs.

California Is Already Drenched. Now Three ‘Atmospheric Rivers’ May Unload Two Months’ Worth Of Rain.

Californians proudly regard themselves as early adopters and trendsetters. So, of course, they’ll be the first to experience an aberrant weather pattern that is expected in the continental United States over the coming days. A jet stream sagging into the mid latitudes is forecast to drive into the Golden State some unseasonably late precipitation and a lot of it starting Wednesday and continuing into the weekend.

The United States Just Had Its Wettest 12 Months On Record. It’s Nearly Drought Free, But Flooding Is Rampant.

In just over a year’s time, the nation’s rainfall fortunes have shifted suddenly and dramatically. Rainfall famine has turned to rainfall feast. Thanks to its wettest 12-month period in recorded history, the amount of U.S. real estate covered by drought has plunged to its lowest level in recent decades, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Wednesday. But at the same time, excessive rainfall and flooding plague large areas of the country.