This artist’s concept shows what the weather might look like on cool star-like bodies known as brown dwarfs. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Western Ontario/Stony Brook U
Full image and caption
Swirling, stormy clouds may be ever-present on cool celestial orbs called brown dwarfs. New observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope suggest that most brown dwarfs are roiling with one or more planet-size storms akin to Jupiter’s “Great Red Spot.”
“As the brown dwarfs spin on their axis, the alternation of what we think are cloud-free and cloudy regions produces a periodic brightness variation that we can observe,” said Stanimir Metchev of the University of Western Ontario, Canada. “These are signs of patchiness in the cloud cover.”
Downed power line in North York:
Clean up crews are working around the clock to restore power to hundreds of thousands of customers across the Greater Toronto Area who have been told it could be Christmas before they get electricity at home.
In Toronto, approximately 227,000 customers were without power as of 8:15 a.m. The outage appeared to be concentrated along the Highway 401 corridor from Etobicoke to Scarborough, Toronto Hydro said Sunday night.
Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines called the storm “catastrophic” early Sunday. On Monday morning, Haines continued to stress the severity of the situation.
“We are very much in the midst of the longer-term planning,” he said in an early-morning interview with CP24, explaining that branches and trees continue to fall around the city, taking power lines with them. “Outages continue to happen. Things we fixed are becoming unfixed.”
Haines warned people the power might not be back in time for Christmas.
“Christmas is a very aggressive schedule,” he said. “People should prepare for the worst.”
North of the city, as of 2:15 a.m., about 48,000 customers are still impacted by the storm in Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Thornhill, Markham, Aurora and other parts of York Region according to PowerStream.
In Durham Region, 12,000 customers remained without power as of 10 a.m. Veridian said the outages are concentrated in heavily treed areas such as Pickering, Ajax, Bowmanville, Newcastle and Port Hope.
In Mississauga, roughly 750 customers remained without power overnight, down from 20,000 at the height of the storm, according to the Enersource Twitter feed.
“We are going in the right direction,” the company’s tweet said. “It’s slow going but our crews are committed.”
Read more: cp24.com
Stay safe & warm, Toronto!
I was able to conduct interviews with former IPCC authors Mike Mann and Stefan Rahmstorf last month, just after the most recent report summary was released. Good basic intro for anyone that needs to be briefed quickly.
I live nowhere near the flood areas, but my sisters and their families live in Boulder and Colorado Springs. Last night my sister in Boulder was trapped for a few hours because streets on the north and south of her house turned into rivers. Her house still stands, thankfully. The Broadway bridge over Boulder Creek is usually about 15 feet from the water, yesterday the water was within inches of the bridge.
The Twitter hashtag #COFloods is a good resource for news and images on this significant weather event.
So far, about 172 people are unaccounted for in Boulder County. There are 4 confirmed fatalities. Residents were being rescued by helicopter all day today in the little mountain community of Jamestown, CO.
The weather is expected to dry out and we’ll get a more detailed picture of the damage. Initial reports aren’t looking good.
— CDOT (@ColoradoDOT) September 14, 2013
— CBSDenver (@CBSDenver) September 14, 2013
This flood has been reported in media as a “100-year flood,” though scientists are trying to change that. Meteorologists actually define this as a flood that has a .1% chance of happening on any given day. Very long odds, indeed.
Boulder is home to many scientists, so no doubt this weather event will be scrutinized and studied, as it should. With weather records going back hundreds of years and many many records being shattered regularly, climate science surely is something we as a species cannot ignore.
With those thoughts, here’s a cute picture taken from the floods.
— Charlie Vogel (@teleskiguy) September 13, 2013
We can’t do anything about the oppressive heat wave that’s cooking states across the nation’s Southwest.
We can, though, wish everyone the best and point to the always-important tips and guidance for how to stay safe when temperatures soar well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Those include:
— Stay inside if you have air conditioning. Go to a library, store or cooling center if you don’t.
— Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
— Slow down. This isn’t a time to be outside exercising.
And we can also point you to sites that are tracking the news from Death Valley, Calif., where it’s possible that some time this weekend the all-time record high of 134 degrees will be threatened:
— There’s this National Weather Service page that’s being updated with readings. As of 5:10 a.m. local time Saturday (8:10 a.m. ET), the temperature was 98 degrees.
— And The Atlantic Wire has created a little graphic that it’s updating with the same information.
Surf forecasting has come a long way. This is a clear and well-written analysis of the storm that created the recent run of XXL surf in Tahiti.
The numbers are in: 2012, the year of a surreal March heat wave, a severe drought in the Corn Belt and a huge storm that caused broad devastation in the Middle Atlantic States, turns out to have been the hottest year ever recorded in the contiguous United States.
How hot was it? The temperature differences between years are usually measured in fractions of a degree, but last year’s 55.3 degree average demolished the previous record, set in 1998, by a full degree Fahrenheit.
If that does not sound sufficiently impressive, consider that 34,008 daily high records were set at weather stations across the country, compared with only 6,664 record lows, according to a count maintained by the Weather Channel meteorologist Guy Walton, using federal temperature records.
That ratio, which was roughly in balance as recently as the 1970s, has been out of whack for decades as the country has warmed, but never by as much as it was last year.
From the New Yorker, James Surowiecki writes:
There is no dearth of promising ideas out there, such as building a seawall beyond the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (the Dutch engineering firm Arcadis has proposed a movable barrier, like the Rotterdam one), burying power lines in vulnerable areas, and elevating buildings and subway entrances. The question is whether we can find the political will to invest in such ideas. Although New York politicians like the City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn, and Governor Andrew Cuomo have called for major new investment in disaster prevention, reports from Washington suggest that Congress will be more willing to spend money on relief than on preparedness. That’s what history would lead you to expect: for the most part, the U.S. has shown a marked bias toward relieving victims of disaster, while underinvesting in prevention. A study by the economist Andrew Healy and the political scientist Neil Malhotra showed that, between 1985 and 2004, the government spent annually, on average, fifteen times as much on disaster relief as on preparedness.
We need to update and expand our nation’s infrastructure for two reasons- to save lives, and to save money. Like, lots of money:
Meaningful disaster-prevention measures will certainly be expensive: estimates for a New York seawall range from ten to twenty billion dollars. That may seem unreasonable at a time when Washington is obsessed with cutting the federal deficit. Yet inaction can be even more expensive—after Katrina, the government had to spend more than a hundred billion dollars on relief and reconstruction—and there are good reasons to believe that disaster-control measures could save money in the long run. The A.S.C.E. estimates that federal spending on levees pays for itself six times over, and studies of other flood-control measures in the developed world find benefit-to-cost ratios of three or four to one. The value for money is even higher in poor countries, where floods obliterate weak infrastructures. And a 2005 independent study of disaster-mitigation grants made by fema found that every dollar in grants ended up saving taxpayers $3.65 in avoided costs.
Whenever I read a story like this, I’m reminded of Japan. Japan was able to become an international power by going abroad and studying how other nations operated, and then copied what worked. If the United States is to remain competitive, then we need to start looking at what other nations are doing, and adapt it to suit our needs.
An unscientific survey of the social networking literature on Sandy reveals an illuminating tweet (you read that correctly) from Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. On Oct. 29, Foley thumbed thusly: “Would this kind of storm happen without climate change? Yes. Fueled by many factors. Is storm stronger because of climate change? Yes.” Eric Pooley, senior vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund (and former deputy editor of Bloomberg Businessweek), offers a baseball analogy: “We can’t say that steroids caused any one home run by Barry Bonds, but steroids sure helped him hit more and hit them farther. Now we have weather on steroids.”