Tuesday, December 1, 2015

El Niño coming

This winter looks to be an odd one because of the arrival of another massive El Niño.  Here in Minnesota, we are getting our first snow and it already December—and they are predicting that it will be gone by this weekend.

The good news is that this weather system may in fact do something to fill all those empty reservoirs in California.  But generally speaking, this will, at best, be some temporary relief from the ongoing climate problems.  And as we see in the second article, this is going to cause all sorts of havoc to the real economy.

Potential El Niño Winter Impacts

Published: Nov 12th, 2015

With the current El Niño, which is a periodic warming of the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, there is some hope of such an extreme drought easing this winter – the time of year that El Niño has its biggest impact on weather in the U.S.

El Niño usually increases the probability of more precipitation in Southern California during the winter, but in Northern California, there's no reliable connection. However, the very strong El Niños of 1982-83 and 1997-98 managed to produce more precipitation than normal statewide, and the current El Niño is similar in strength. Even so, a single winter with above-normal precipitation will almost certainly not be enough to lift the entire state out of drought. According to the Climate Predication Center (CPC), parts of Northern California need more than 20” of rain for the drought to be eliminated. For an update in the El Niño intensity, consult the monthly NOAA diagnostic discussion. more

Unmitigated Climate Change to Shrink Global Economy

By Ben Gruber, November 21st, 2015

When the world heats up, economies around the globe will cool down. That's according to a new study which predicts that rising temperatures due to climate change will wreak havoc on economic output.

"Our best estimate is that the global economy as a whole will be 23 percent smaller in 2100 than if we would avoid climate change entirely," said co-author of the study Solomon Hsiang, an associate professor of public policy at the University of California Berkeley.

The study looked at the relationship between temperature and economic activity in 166 countries over a 50 year period. The findings indicate climate change will widen global inequality, perhaps dramatically, because warming is good for cold countries, which tend to be richer, and more harmful for hot countries, which tend to be poorer. In the researchers' benchmark estimate, climate change will reduce average income in the poorest 40 percent of countries by 75 percent in 2100.

"There is sort of an optimal temperature band where countries seem to do really well from an economic standpoint and on either side there are temperatures that are too cold and temperatures that are too hot," Hsiang said.

The magic number is 13 degrees Celsius or 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which is roughly the average temperature of the largest economies right now. But in 100 hundred years, if climate change goes unchecked, that could change dramatically.

"The guys that are at the top of the hill right now, places like the United States and China, they are going to start falling down the hill and performing poorly," said Hsiang.

Countries currently hotter than the optimal temperature zone, such as Brazil and most of Africa, will be even worse off than they are now, according to the report.

The study focused exclusively on the impact of temperature change. Other factors linked to climate change, such as the frequency and distribution of extreme weather events and sea level rise, aren't accounted for. That means the 23 percent drop in the global economy by 2100, could be just a starting figure.

The study is sure to interest world leaders at the upcoming U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris. more

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