Record Heat Waves Hit the Pacific Northwest and Southeast Europe
By Bob Henson
During the first three days of August, some locations in the Pacific Northwest have approached their hottest temperatures ever recorded—and parts of southeast Europe have seen all-time highs. More brutally hot days lie ahead, as residents endure a multi-day heat wave that ranks among the worst on record for both regions (even as the central and eastern U.S. enjoys an unusually mild first week of August).
Western Oregon has been the epicenter of this week's exceptional Northwest heat. On Thursday, Portland, soared to 105°F. Only five days in Portland's history have been hotter, most recently 106°F on July 28 and 29, 2009. Medford hit 112°F on Wednesday, a temperature last seen in August 1981 and not far from Medford's all-time high of 115°F. "Last time we saw heat like this, postage stamps were 20 cents," noted the NWS office in Medford. The state capitol of Salem came just a degree short of its all-time high on Wednesday, hitting 107°F.
Plenty of daily record highs also fell by the wayside from central California to western Washington, though the heat wasn't quite so impressive on either side of Oregon. Seattle hit 94°F on Thursday, breaking the daily record of 91°F set in 1939. The pace of record-setting will gradually lessen over the next several days, as low-level flow near the Pacific Coast takes on more of an onshore component. On the down side, mid-level moisture will increase, which sets the stage for an increase in "dry" thunderstorms that could trigger wildfires. The fire weather outlook issued Thursday afternoon by the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center highlights a dry-thunderstorm risk across most of the Pacific Northwest from Saturday through Wednesday.
MODIS image of smoke over the Northwest U.S. and British Columbia on Wednesday morning, August 2.NASA
Where There's Smoke, There's Not Quite As Much Heat
Temperatures might have been even more torrid this week over the Pacific Northwest had it not been for thick smoke pouring across the region from wildfires, especially those in southern British Columbia. Visibility plummeted to as low as 3 miles on Wednesday afternoon in Seattle and Thursday morning in Portland. In a blog post titled SMOKEZILLA Versus the Heat Wave, Cliff Mass (University of Washington) noted that the dense smoke cut back solar radiation in the Seattle area by 11 percent to 14 percent on Wednesday. Highs on Wednesday came in 3°F to 5°F cooler than predicted in both Seattle and Portland, noted Mass. "SMOKEZILLA clearly took the edge off the heat-wave monster," he concluded.
The Air Quality Index, accounting for both ozone and particulate pollution, as of 6:00 pm PDT August 3. The index was in the "unhealthy" range across most of the highly populated areas in western Oregon and Washington, and in the "very unhealthy" range just east of Seattle. AirNow
Residents in western Oregon and Washington paid for their slightly-less-hot weather in the form of unhealthy air quality (see Figure 2). The embedded tweet below shows a NASA model's depiction of carbon monoxide (CO) from biomass burning over the next few days. CO serves as a useful tracer of the extent of smoke being pumped into the atmosphere by wildfires. Of course, this model can't anticipate where any new fires will develop, but those would only exacerbate the situation.
🔥Wildfire smoke is expected to continue into the foreseeable future across the Pacific NW & British Columbia. Credi… https://t.co/ZEfkQOynSJ— NWS Boise (@NWS Boise)1501772409.0
All-Time Record Heat Envelops Southeast Europe
An already-hot summer has kicked into overdrive over a large swath of southeast Europe, where one of the worst droughts in decades has taken hold this summer. Temperatures again soared above 100°F on Thursday across large sections of drought-ravaged Italy. On Tuesday, the iconic city of Florence set an all-time high of 41.3°C (106.3°F), topping its record of 41.1°C (106.0°F) from 2003, according to Italy's Servizio Meteorologico. All-time records were also set on Tuesday in Perugia, L'Aquila, and Potenza, and on Wednesday in Campobasso.
Croatia's second-largest city, Split, had the hottest day in its weather history on Wednesday. Split's high of 42.3°C (108.1°F) handily broke the previous all-time high of 40.0°C (104°F) set on July 18, 2015. Croatia's meteorological service, Crometeo, reported 10 other all-time highs set across the nation on Wednesday.
The heat wave may continue full blast across southeast Europe into the weekend, before ramping down only gradually next week.
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- Offshore Wind Power Is Ready to Boom. Here's What That Means for ... ›
- American Skyscrapers Kill an Estimated 600 Million Migratory Birds ... ›
Kentucky is coping with historic flooding after a weekend of record-breaking rainfall, enduring water rescues, evacuations and emergency declarations.
<div id="0f31c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4290ab3e7ec4e142f8bce774bab39f03"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1366307788155219969" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Just got back from my office... downtown Beattyville Kentucky is not a pretty sight. @KySportsRadio… https://t.co/6nXwyMKtRb</div> — Tom Jones (@Tom Jones)<a href="https://twitter.com/8atticus/statuses/1366307788155219969">1614588136.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b41a2da6bf23cc19a5f38c2dc6c5f9fc"><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/dekalbtnfire/photos/a.924258171004562/3713119618785056/"></div></div>
Spring is coming. And soon, tree swallows will start building nests. But as the climate changes, the birds are nesting earlier in the spring.
- Spring Is Arriving Earlier Across the U.S. - EcoWatch ›
- Climate Change Leading to Fatal Bird Conflicts - EcoWatch ›
- The Unsettling Reason Why We're Seeing More Snowy Owls ... ›
Citigroup will strive to reach net-zero greenhouse gas pollution across its lending portfolio by 2050 and in its own operations by 2030, the investment group announced Monday.
- 20 Attorneys General Launch Climate Fraud Investigation of Exxon ... ›
- Exxon Plans to Increase Its Climate Pollution - EcoWatch ›
- Exxon to Slash 14,000 Jobs Worldwide as Oil Demand Drops ... ›