July 8 News: Wildfires — In Alaska — Force Evacuations Of People And Sled Dogs

Alaskan sled dog evacuees take refuge in fairgrounds due to an out-of-control wildfire. (Credit: Jeff Richardson/News-Miner)

Adding to the more than 1 million acres of Alaska burned this year, another wildfire near Fairbanks prompted evacuations of more than 1,000 and threatened homes. [Anchorage Daily News]

A wildfire sparked by an Army artillery exercise burned close to the communities of Two Rivers and Pleasant Valley on Sunday, forcing an evacuation of hundreds of people and animals in the heart of Alaska’s Interior dog mushing country.

The Stuart Creek 2 fire, which started on June 19 but flared up last week, had burned 40,249 acres northeast of Fairbanks largely on Fort Wainwright land as of Sunday morning and was zero percent contained, said Michelle Weston, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center.

At 1 p.m. Sunday, the head of the firefighting team in charge and the Fairbanks North Star Borough asked residents and businesses between Chena Hot Springs Road Mileposts 18 and 34 to evacuate, Weston said.

By Sunday afternoon, 843 residents and 434 structures had been evacuated, along with scores of sled dogs and livestock, Weston said. The Tanana Valley Fairgrounds had taken in dog teams, a horse, chickens, turkeys and a “big pig” as of Sunday night, according to an incident command Twitter feed.

“Warm dry weather is hurting firefighting efforts” in Alaska.

The train derailment and crude oil-fueled explosion in Quebec on Saturday killed at least five people, with 40 still missing, according to police. [New York Times]

The Marshall Islands are grappling with both rising sea levels and devastating drought. [Climate News Network]

As oil and gas emissions become the primary source of volatile organic compounds in Colorado, public health officials are looking at new rules to protect residents. [Denver Post]

A new report showed that Australia is five times more likely to face heat waves because of global warming. [Guardian]

After the deadly wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona, fire experts are pushing for more direct action on preventing future fires with controlled burns. [USA Today]

Scientists investigate more deeply the connection between pine beetle kills and forest wildfires in Colorado. [Rocky Mountain Investigative News Network]

As Nigeria faces threats from increasing floods, droughts, and heat waves, the government is beginning to more directly address the idea of climate adaptation. [Reuters]

Soaring temperatures are doing a number on U.S. infrastructure, buckling pavement and warping railways. [NPR Science Friday]

Louisiana Highway 1, an essential highway for the fossil fuel industry, is threatened by rising seas and eroding lands and requires hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure investments. [Huffington Post]

The Primary Industries Minister of New Zealand has proposed cutting climate research by $10 million. [New Zealand Herald]

Vienna is trying out electric buses that use the overhead power lines of older trains to recharge on the go. [New York Times]

Germany produced a record amount of power from solar energy on Sunday: 23.9 gigawatts nationwide. [CleanTechnica]

The Solar Impulse aircraft touched down in New York City’s JFK airport, completing a multi-leg journey across the U.S. [AP]

The bike share system in New York City may open the city, reduce pollution, and cut congestion, but it also proves one thing: “If you build something, New Yorkers will find a way to lean on it.” [New York Times]

10 Responses to July 8 News: Wildfires — In Alaska — Force Evacuations Of People And Sled Dogs

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Updated my post from #101 with some more recent study paper. Though it turns out the data is not yet conclusive enough to tell how “El Nino/ENSO” will behave under projected climate change. But because oscillation is such a big part the jet stream might contribute through various teleconnections.

    El Niño and Southern Oscillation (ENSO): A Review (May 2012)

    The tropical eastern Pacific SST trend may be also caused by the Atlantic warming (Kucharski et al., 2011) through the mechanisms of the Walker circulation across equatorial South America or inter-basin SST gradient and ocean dynamics…

    Neither climate models and observations nor proxies provide a conclusive answer on whether ENSO is going to become stronger or weaker as the tropics warm up in response to increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs). Climate change simulations coordinated by the CMIP3 simulate a wide range of responses from weaker to stronger. Whether ENSO has changed due to recent observed warming is also controversial according to the observational record (e.g.,Trenberth and Hoar,1997; Harrison and Larkin,1997; Rajagopalan et al.,1997). For these reasons, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report(AR4) concluded that there is no consistent indication of discernible changes in ENSO amplitude in response to increasing GHGs (Meehl et al.,2007; Guilyardiet al., 2009).

  2. For some Real Science on the reasons why climate change is now pretty solidly behind most all of the wacky weather, perfectly well-presented in the clearest of terms, see this ABC Australia world-class video:

    See it if you are science-literate, think about it, and encourage the less literate amongst your family, friends and colleagues, to view it….

    Mark Kowal

  3. prokaryotes says:

    Tropical Storm Chantal: a Likely Harbinger of an Active Atlantic Hurricane Season

  4. prokaryotes says:

    Chantal: an uncommon early-season Cape Verde-type tropical storm
    Formation of a tropical storm east of the Lesser Antilles Islands in early July from an African tropical wave is an uncommon occurrence. Since Atlantic hurricane records began in 1851, there have been only thirteen tropical depressions or tropical storms that have formed July 15 or earlier that have passed through the Lesser Antilles, an average of one early-season tropical cyclone every thirteen years. Note that two of these storms, Dennis and Emily, occurred during the notorious Hurricane Season of 2005.

  5. prokaryotes says:

    According to Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray, leaders of Colorado State’s seasonal hurricane forecasting team,

    “Most years do not have named storm formations in June and July in the tropical Atlantic (south of 23.5°N); however, if tropical formations do occur, it indicates that a very active hurricane season is likely. For example, the seven years with the most named storm days in the deep tropics in June and July (since 1949) are 1966, 1969, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2005, and 2008. All seven of these seasons were very active. When storms form in the deep tropics in the early part of the hurricane season, it indicates that conditions are already very favorable for TC development. In general, the start of the hurricane season is restricted by thermodynamics (warm SSTs, unstable lapse rates), and therefore deep tropical activity early in the hurricane season implies that the thermodynamics are already quite favorable for tropical cyclone (TC) development.”

    Two of this season’s three storms have formed in the deep tropics–Tropical Storm Barry, which formed in the Gulf of Mexico’s Bay of Campeche at a latitude of 19.6°N, and now Tropical Storm Chantal, which formed at a latitude of 9.8°N. With recent runs of the GFS model predicting formation of yet another tropical storm southwest of the Cape Verde Islands early next week, it appears that the Atlantic is primed for an active hurricane season in 2013.

  6. prokaryotes says:

    At the weekend, Christopher Booker at the Daily Telegraph made another attempt (see previous) to downplay the obvious decreases in Arctic sea ice by (mis-)quoting a statement from Arctic oceanographer Ken Drinkwater and colleagues:

    Quote from Daily Mail =
    Panic over Arctic ice – what else can the warmists get wrong?

    Ken Drinkwater, one of a team of scientists at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen who have been observing the Arctic for decades, dismisses the idea that the ice is melting because of any rise in global temperatures. “The warming,” he says, “is primarily due to currents.

    Quote end

    This was added to by Andrew Neil as well, despite the best estimates of sea ice history showing nothing of the sort:

    In the comments yesterday, Ken responded directly to this to make the context far more plain (slighty edited):

    The article by Christopher Booker … is a misrepresentation of my views. He does not state where he obtained his information but it might have been from [this press release] in which I was discussing the increase in the abundance of Atlantic cod in the Barents Sea and its relationship to sea temperatures from studies we had conducted, or in Drinkwater et al., (2011, Progress in Oceanography 90, 47-61). In both articles, my comments focussed upon the Barents Sea and not the Arctic Basin. Our studies did indicate that much of the heat entering the Barents Sea in recent years was advected in by the inflow of warm Atlantic Waters and although direct warming through air-sea heat exchanges no doubt occurred, it appeared not be the dominate process at the time of our studies. This increase in heat led to the melting of the sea ice. I did NOT dismiss “the idea that the ice is melting because of any rise in global temperatures” as Mr. Booker claims. One of the reasons that more heat is being transported into the Barents Sea is because of the general rise in temperatures within the Atlantic waters. Increased melting of sea ice did occur in the 1920s and 1930s in the Barents Sea (Ifft, Monthly Weather Review, November, 1922, p. 589) and over the Arctic Basin (Ahlmann, 1949, Rapports et Proces-Verbaux des Revions du Conseil International pour l’Exploration de la Mer 125, 9-16 ) but it was much less so than in recent years. I did NOT state that ice melted more in the 1920s and 1930s than in recent years as Mr. Booker claims. Mr. Booker has a duty as a journalist to ensure [that] his facts [are] correct.

    We will await the corrections with bated breath…

  7. prokaryotes says:

    Typo above Daily Mail = Daily Telegraph.

  8. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Giving Booker, Rose, Delingpole, Bolt, Monckhausen, Nova or any other denialist troll any attention is in my opinion a waste of time. They must be ignored, for now, and set aside for the day that justice will be dealt. Part of denialism’s poisonous effect is the time wasted on pointless attention paid to execrable buffoons.