A brutal and potentially historic heat wave is in store for the West as parts of Nevada, Arizona and California may get dangerously hot temperatures this weekend and into next week. In fact, by the end of the heat wave, we may see a record tied or broken for the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth.
The furnace-like heat is coming courtesy of a “stuck” weather pattern that is setting up across the U.S. and Canada. By early next week, the jet stream — a fast-moving river of air at airliner altitudes that is responsible for steering weather systems — will form the shape of a massive, slithering snake with what meteorologists refer to as a deep “ridge” across the Western states, and an equally deep trough seting up across the Central and Eastern states.
All-time records are likely to be threatened in normally hot places — including Death Valley, Calif., which holds the record for the highest reliably recorded air temperature on earth at 134°F … set on July 10, 1913.
… Heat waves are one of the most well-understood consequences of manmade global warming, since as global average surface temperatures increase, the probability of extreme heat events increases by a greater amount.
One study, published in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences in 2012, found that the odds of extremely hot summers have significantly increased in tandem with global temperatures. Those odds, the study found, were about 1-in-300 during the 1951-1980 timeframe, but that had increased to nearly 1-in-10 by 1981-2010.
An IEA report released yesterday found that renewables could supply the world with more energy than natural gas by 2016 as costs drop and demand spikes. [Businessweek]
The World Bank will be scaling back its coal financing, according to the organization’s draft energy strategy. [Bloomberg]
The coal industry is a small piece of the economy, and Coral Davenport has a long look at its future given planned carbon regulations. [National Journal]
White House climate adviser Heather Zichal rebuts three common myths about President Obama’s climate plan. [White House blog]
The day after President Obama released his plan to combat climate change, Republicans in the House plugged their own bill to expand oil and gas drilling. [National Journal]
The Sierra Club announced yesterday that National Coal will effectively stop surface mining in Appalachia following Clean Water Act violations. [Sierra Club]
Canadian oil companies are looking at ways to use waste heat to fuel algae-based biofuels and cut emissions… even as they extract a product that must be burned to be used. [New York Times]
Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park, one of the country’s last major wilderness areas, could soon become a site for oil drilling. [Reuters]
Leasing batteries for electric vehicles, rather than buying them outright with the car, is a big success in Europe and is making in-roads in America. [Gas2]
A new study from Switzerland says that half the carbon emissions from the average town come from just 21 percent of the households. [MoJo]
Australia’s Labor Party implemented a carbon tax in 2011, but recent shakeups in the government — like Kevin Rudd’s defeat of Julia Gillard to run the Labor Party — and an impending September election could put the legislation at risk. [Washington Post]
Toyota is diving deeper into its exploration of hydrogen fuel cell technology, and by 2015 will be producing a new, hydrogen-fueled $50,000 sedan. [LA Times]
Those tiny plastic microbeads (a petroleum product) in exfoliating body washes are ending up in the Great Lakes, where they’re getting lodged in the stomachs of fish and birds. [Grist]