If you're dreaming of a white Christmas in the eastern and central U.S., you can probably keep dreaming. As EcoWatch reported last week, the unseasonably warm weather has set a number of December records.
#Christmas week could be one of the warmest on record in parts of the East. https://t.co/olJgO2jOCZ https://t.co/2pCopyKIQ4— The Weather Channel (@The Weather Channel)1450270167.0
Many cities in the eastern and central U.S. will see temperatures 10-20 degrees above average this week. If you live in the Eastern or Central U.S., Friday could be “one of the warmest Christmas Days of your lifetime,” The Weather Channel reported Sunday.
"Several cities in the East will likely see their warmest Christmas Eve or Christmas Day on record, adding to the more than 2,600 daily record high temperatures that have been tied or broken across the Lower 48 in the first 19 days of the month. This mild forecast means the prospect for a white Christmas is highly unlikely for many east of the Rockies."
We could potentially see the warmest #Christmas in living memory in the East: https://t.co/dkv3yWkkNT? #travel https://t.co/4VTW4uM0IQ— The Weather Channel (@The Weather Channel)1450701300.0
"Due to the warming effects of the strong El Niño climate pattern, many places that often have a good chance of seeing snow Christmas Day will miss out this year," explained AccuWeather. "El Niño has helped to strengthen a west-to-east jet stream that delivers mild Pacific air across the U.S."
"There's just not going to be enough cold air to support accumulating snow," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Anderson said. "Even if small amounts do fall [in the eastern U.S.] leading up to the holiday, it won't stick around, added AccuWeather. "The warm ground would cause melting very quickly."
El Nino will dash the hopes of many who are hoping for a white Christmas: https://t.co/vsi8MqJTlo https://t.co/Vr6bZ521jQ— AccuWeather.com (@AccuWeather.com)1450218010.0
Bloomberg's Tom Randall explained why "Frosty didn't stand a chance:"
This has been by far the hottest year on record, and it’s ending with an exclamation point. Holiday shoppers in New York’s Rockefeller Center have been checking off their lists in weather that’s an eerie 20 degrees warmer than normal. Meanwhile, another stack of global temperature records has fallen.
Last month was the hottest November in 136 years of data, according to U.S. figures released on Thursday, making it the ninth record-breaking month of 2015. This year has been so far off the charts, it’s certain to go down as the hottest year on record even if December turns out to be unusually cool (it won’t).
El Niño is largely responsible for this year’s extremes, but make no mistake: This is what global warming looks like. Before this year, 13 of the 14 hottest years fell in the 21st century. The thermometer creep is relentless.
It's not just the U.S. feeling the heat, either. From the UK to Australia, El Niño exacerbated by climate change is driving record warmth. Adelaide, Australia, where it's currently summer, set a record for December with four days in a row of temperatures more than 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
This year's El Niño is already one of the top three strongest on record and could yet become the strongest, according to the the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said last month that the impacts of El Niño are only exacerbated by climate change, putting the world in "uncharted territory."
While many Americans dream of a white Christmas, it's not actually as prevalent as you might think. Only 25 to 30 percent of the 48 contiguous states is typically snow-covered by Christmas, according to AccuWeather.
ICYMI What’s your historical probability of a #WhiteChristmas? Check out this map: https://t.co/Cg14vJMwYZ https://t.co/Saf51SpgIw— NOAA NCEI Climate (@NOAA NCEI Climate)1450109110.0
The National Center for Environmental Information, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, analyzed the historical probability of a white Christmas (defined as greater than one inch of snow on the ground). They said that "Most of Idaho, Minnesota, Maine, Upstate New York, the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and, of course, the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada Mountains all have a high probability of seeing a white Christmas. And, Aspen, Colorado, is just one of about a dozen locations boasting a 100 percent historical probability of seeing a white Christmas."
This year, however, two-thirds of the U.S. is probably out of luck for a white Christmas.
Is it really December? For much of the U.S., it feels more like April. Tweet us your unseasonable weather photos. https://t.co/FerU0sqZT8— Your Take (@Your Take)1450396067.0
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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Green groups applauded Sen. Jeff Merkley on Wednesday for introducing a pioneering pair of bills that aim to "protect the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos" by preventing banks and international financial institutions from financing fossil fuels.