A round-up of the top climate and energy news.
More flooding could be on its way, after forecasters warned that the miserable weather – which has seen record amounts of rain fall in April and June, parts of the UK hit by freak storms, and flash flooding that has forced the evacuation of homes – is set to continue at least until the Olympics. [Guardian]
More than twice the average rainfall hit the UK in April. June was the wettest since records began, and the start of July has seen a month’s rain fall in 24 hours in some parts of the south-west.The bad weather has stuck and shows little sign of shifting, according to Helen Chivers at the Met Office. “The jet stream can get bends in it, it can get distorted, which can move us into a blocked pattern, like the dry weather we saw in winter … and the wet weather we are seeing now.”
… meteorologists are also studying how shifts in the Earth’s temperature, caused by global warming, affect weather conditions.
“A lot of work is being done into the decrease in Arctic sea ice,” said Chivers. “Essentially, if you warm up a sea, you change the temperature differential between the poles and the tropics and that in turn influences the jet stream. Research has already shown the influence on north-west Europe winters, making them drier and colder, but what happens in the summer is still relatively unknown”….
So can we expect to see more wet summers in the (dreary) future? Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office, said the recent bad weather could be ascribed to the natural variability of the weather. “But climate change could be making things worse, because the globally warmer atmosphere now carries 4% more moisture over the oceans than in the 1970s and this could be leading to increased rainfall in weather systems.”
The death of eight more people in Chicago over the weekend have been attributed at least in part to heat-related causes, bringing the total of heat-related deaths in Cook County to 18, surpassing the total from last year. [CBS News]
Efforts to contain a large wildfire in southern Idaho by Sunday evening were dashed as winds picked up and the region’s grass and sagebrush provided readily available fuel for a blaze estimated at 117 square miles. [Associated Press]
With the state’s population expected to double by 2060, Texas must begin an expensive and politically charged search for new water sources. [NPR]
The heat dome that was present during this year’s event was persistent and formidable, but it did not set records for its strength. In fact, it’s possible that with a stronger High Pressure center, temperatures could have shot up even higher than they did. [Climate Central]
Ocean acidification has emerged as one of the biggest threats to coral reefs across the world, acting as the “osteoporosis of the sea” and threatening everything from food security to tourism to livelihoods, the head of a U.S. scientific agency said Monday. [Associated Press]
Acciona Windpower’s generator-assembly plant here in the heart of the corn belt is down to its last domestic order as the U.S. wind energy industry faces a sharp slowdown. [Wall Street Journal]
Michelle Amaral wanted to be a brain scientist to help cure diseases. She planned a traditional academic science career: PhD, university professorship and, eventually, her own lab. But three years after earning a doctorate in neuroscience, she gave up trying to find a permanent job in her field. [Washington Post]