Watch out for the bugs

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:56 AM GMT on December 10, 2011

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I'm wrapping up my stay in San Francisco for the annual Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the world's largest gathering of Earth Scientists. Over eighteen thousand scientists from all over the world, including most of the world's top climate scientists, were in town this week to exchange ideas to advance the cause of Earth Science. It's been a great opportunity to learn about climate change topics I don't know much about, and I attended a fascinating (and somewhat unnerving) lecture on how global warming is expected to affect insects, titled "The Impact of Global Warming on global crop yields due to changes in pest pressure". Global warming is expected to bring a variety of impacts to agriculture, both positive and negative. Extra CO2 in the atmosphere will tend to increase crop yields, but crop losses due to insect pests are expected to double by 2100, according to a insect pest/crop model designed by David Battisti of the University of Washington. These losses will occur in addition to the expected 35 - 40% decrease in crop yields due to higher temperatures by the end of the century.



When temperature increases, the metabolic rate of insects goes up, requiring that they eat more to survive. In the mid-latitudes, the predicted 2 - 4°C temperature increase by 2100 will require insects to eat double what they do now, in order to survive. The increase in temperature is also expected to enable insect populations to rise by 20%. However, insect populations will fall by 20% in the tropics, where insects have evolved to tolerate a much narrower range of temperatures. Let's look at the world's three most important crops: rice, wheat, and corn. In the four largest rice producing countries--China, India, Bangladesh, and Thailand--Insects currently cause a loss of 10- 20% of the crop, and this is expected to double to 20 - 30% by 2100. These nations have 40% of the world's population, and make 60% of the world's rice. For corn, the world's four largest producers--the U.S., China, France, and Argentina--are expected to see insect pest losses double from 6% to 12%. The story is similar for wheat; pest losses are expected to double from 10% to 20% by 2100. The total increased damage to global agriculture is predicted to be $30 - $50 billion per year by 2100. This will likely contribute greatly to food costs and potential food shortages. The model made a number of simplifications that could greatly change this outcome, though. The model assumed that there would be no change to the number of insects that survive winter, and this number is likely to increase in a warmer climate. Precipitation was not changed to reflect what is expected to happen in a changed climate, and this will cause increases in crop yields in some areas, and decreases in others. Farmers are likely to change growing practices and utilize new pesticides to combat the expected increase in pests, and this was not considered, either. It is interesting to note that during the great natural global warming event of 55 million years ago--the Palecene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM)--fossil records of plant leaves show greatly increased levels of damage from insects, supporting the idea that a warmer climate will drive an explosion in the insect population.

Jeff Masters

Locust Clouds over Paamul (cleo85)
A several miles wide swarm of Locus is moving from Cancun south-west ward over Yucatans Jungle.Paamul, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Locust Clouds over Paamul

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Quoting SunriseSteeda:
How odd... it is 3am on December 10th, and I have been awakened by a... thunderstorm!

Well, I was hoping the cloudy skies would clear here in Sydney so I could see the Lunar Eclipse but they haven't so no eclipse for me :(
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Starting to look a little more subtropical to me...

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Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #5
TROPICAL DEPRESSION 24
21:00 PM JST December 10 2011
===============================

SUBJECT: Tropical Depression In South China Sea

At 12:00 PM UTC, Tropical Depression (1004 hPa) located at 11.5N 115.6E has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The depression is reported as moving west slowly.

Dvorak intensity: T2.0

Forecast and Intensity
=======================

24 HRS: 11.1N 114.0E - 35 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm)
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Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #4
TROPICAL DEPRESSION 24
18:00 PM JST December 10 2011
===============================

SUBJECT: Tropical Depression In South China Sea

At 9:00 AM UTC, Tropical Depression (1004 hPa) located at 11.6N 115.8E has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The depression is reported as moving west slowly.

Dvorak intensity: T2.0

Forecast and Intensity
=======================

24 HRS: 11.2N 114.3E - 35 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm)
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I just finished my report on TD12E:

Tropical Depression Twelve-E

October 12 - October 13

A tropical depression that formed during the second week of October quickly moved inland over southeastern Mexico, producing severe flooding and casualties across portions of that country as well as much of Central America.

The depression appears to have developed from the interaction of a tropical wave and a preexisting disturbance within the eastern Pacific Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The poorly-defined tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa late on September 30 and produced very little in the way of cloudiness or showers, possibly in response to the subsident airmass in which it was embedded. As the wave interacted with an upper-level trough over the central Atlantic, convection increased but remained disorganized. While moving across the central Caribbean Sea on October 7, the wave came under a region of enhanced diffluence associated with the mid-oceanic trough as well as an upper low over the eastern Gulf of Mexico that had likely branched off from this feature. This caused an abrupt increase in shower activity about 250 miles southeast of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic near 1800 UTC that day. Convection continued to burst over the following two days as the wave moved steadily westward, but strong southwesterly shear associated with the aforementioned trough effectively kept the convection confined to the east of the tropical wave axis. A distinct mid-level circulation formed late on October 8 to the south of Jamaica, likely in response to the persistent convection. The wave entered the eastern Pacific early on October 11, enhancing shower activity associated with a preexisting low pressure area that had formed within the ITCZ as early as October 6.

Convection within this feature became more concentrated near 1800 UTC October 11, and scatterometer data suggests that the low possessed a well-defined surface circulation during this time. The system became a tropical depression near 0600 UTC October 12, centered about 175 miles southeast of Salina Cruz, Mexico. The tropical cyclone moved inland to the east of Salina Cruz about twelve hours later, near 1800 UTC. The surface circulation dissipated six hours later.
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How odd... it is 3am on December 10th, and I have been awakened by a... thunderstorm!
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Sounds like Oklahoma winter weather. Not to worry, you'll get some rain. Been raining in OK and Texas. Drought has abated quite a bit on this side of Red River and some areas of Texas are looking better.

Must be daytime over there in the trenches. Thanks - Was nice of you to drop in and post even if you didn't find Grothar or some of your other friends out and about. Nighttime here, so I'll say good night. Take care.
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I'm off. I'll check back in sometime. Hope everyone is well and that you have a great Christmas/Haunakah/Sol Invictus and New Year.
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Thanks barefoot. Weather here is chilly and dry. Even at dawn the humidity is only 30%. No frost. No fog or mist of any kind in the morning. A typical day here has been around 21 at dawn and 58 or so early afternoon. Most of this month has been like that. The air is very dry, crackly and lots of static electricity. Dewpoints have usually been below zero.

Usually there are light rains or snows here in the winter but there has been no precipitation this month which is a bit unusual. Normally storms from the far west, like the Mediterranean come this way in the winter. They are dry storms after crossing the Iranian deserts but usually we get some light rain or snow here wrung out by the mountains. But not been happening. In fact the pressure has not fallen below 30.00" this month.
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Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
What happened to Grothar? He sent me a nice note Thanksgiving Day and we had some nice chats.
Grothar posted in my blog yesterday. I think it was yesterday. Sounds like maybe he will put up another blog or at least change his blog title.

Hope everything's going okay for you over there in the trenches, so to speak.

On topic, late this summer, a Cicada flew right smack into my face. That was exciting.
:)
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Quoting Xyrus2000:


I don't see what's weird about this. The biggest danger from cesium-137 is inhalation and/or consumption, and in enough quantities to matter. And by matter I mean cause issues before something else gets you.

The 50 million number catches eyes, but the thing is cesium-137 is not natural. The only reason there is any cesium-137 in our environment at all is from nuclear testing (or Chernobyl if you live in the Europe/Russia area). The normal levels of of cesium-137 is practically non-existent, so ANY release of cesium-137 is going to be thousands or millions times more than background levels. It'd be like burying a gold coin in your backyard and claiming that the gold content of your backyard had gone up 50 million percent. While technically true, it doesn't really provide any useful information.

I think you meant to say something else, but Chernobyl is a land locked area, so ocean contamination was minimal. The most heavily affected areas were around the reactor (parts of Belarus, Russia, etc.).


That's a good point about the rarity of cesium-137 in the environment. In fact, how rare is it? Parts per trillion? Less than 1 part per trillion?

One thing though. Cesium is in the same group of elements as potassium and sodium which are both used biologically. I don't know how easily cesium is taken up by organisms but if organisms concentrate it in their tissue it could be more of a problem than low environmental levels would suggest.
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feature in SW Pacific seems to come down some
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
Quoting sunlinepr:
Scientists Assess Radioactivity in the Ocean from Japan Nuclear Power Facility


This is weird.... the study concludes:

Their study finds that the levels of radioactivity, while high, are not a direct threat to humans or marine life, but cautions that the effect of accumulated radionuclides in marine sediments is poorly known.


BUT:

Concentrations of cesium-137, a radioactive isotope with a 30-year half-life, at the plants' discharge points to the ocean peaked at more than 50 million times normal/previous levels.

Concentrations 18 miles offshore were higher than those measured in the ocean after the Chernobyl accident 25 years ago.


I don't see what's weird about this. The biggest danger from cesium-137 is inhalation and/or consumption, and in enough quantities to matter. And by matter I mean cause issues before something else gets you.

The 50 million number catches eyes, but the thing is cesium-137 is not natural. The only reason there is any cesium-137 in our environment at all is from nuclear testing (or Chernobyl if you live in the Europe/Russia area). The normal levels of of cesium-137 is practically non-existent, so ANY release of cesium-137 is going to be thousands or millions times more than background levels. It'd be like burying a gold coin in your backyard and claiming that the gold content of your backyard had gone up 50 million percent. While technically true, it doesn't really provide any useful information.

I think you meant to say something else, but Chernobyl is a land locked area, so ocean contamination was minimal. The most heavily affected areas were around the reactor (parts of Belarus, Russia, etc.).
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Ugh! Bugs!!! First off we now have drought resistant mosquitoes in Texas!!!! And secondly, how does one exterminate WU bugs? Sigh, maybe all is not lost, it is finally showing my time zone again. So I shall choose to see the positive in things in that that's progress.  :-)

As far as crops go there seems to be a lot left unknown. I'm almost positive Texas and our neighbors didn't put out much or any productive crops this year due to this Mother of all droughts. And I hope this drought comes to an end soon. 

It's hard to remember that in 2010 parts of Texas were flooded from storms that went into Mexico and there was record vegetation growth. Alas that in turn caused record wildfires this past summer when that all died in the drought. And we in the eastern part of the state haven't received heavy rains in a couple of years. Even odder that we are so dry.

I was glad to read in an earlier post that there may be a chance of El Nino by next hurricane season or at the very least no one can say for sure that this La Nina will still be here months away. I'm all for whatever gets this pressure dome off Texas!  Obviously we need rain. But just the evaporation rates from the excessive ( even for TX ) heat were crazy this summer!

And lastly, we, TX, do get the lion's share of our precip from tropical systems. Something I learned this year. Having said that I wouldn't mind an El Nino may seem counter productive to getting that rain but not entirely. Apparently ENSO has no effect on the number of storms that hit TX. When I can link again I will post some of that. And I think DRM wrote something about TX and El Nino? I could be mistaken. Somebody did.  Lol. Anyway, so I'm going to keep a positive  weather attitude for now.  :-)
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Weakened a bit. 942 at noon,960 at 0000Z according to OPC
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
Bugs. Before I joined up I took some time off backpacking and at this hostel (hostile?) in Indonesia I saw this giant centipede, almost a foot long crawling across the floor! I whacked it in the middle with a broom handle and BOTH ENDS RAN AWAY IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS!

-shudder-


lol. today i was busy outside throwing a brick 20 feet in the air knocking down a squirrel nes tthat has been in a holly tree for years, uninhabited xDl entertaining too lol
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
Bugs. Before I joined up I took some time off backpacking and at this hostel (hostile?) in Indonesia I saw this giant centipede, almost a foot long crawling across the floor! I whacked it in the middle with a broom handle and BOTH ENDS RAN AWAY IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS!

-shudder-
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That's good to know bappit. Don't have time to go through them all. Just looking around a little bit. Disappointing that chat is dead tonight.
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Check the recent blogs. He is out and about.
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What happened to Grothar? He sent me a nice note Thanksgiving Day and we had some nice chats.
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it aint double, i dont think
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
What about the ANTS?
More(or less) ants would effect their possible behavior before low pressure arrives. This needs to be watched and incorporated into the ANT model.
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Quoting SPLbeater:
there was a halo around the moon when i got home a few mins ago. Central NC here, anything special?


Check again, should be a double Halo :)

Gnight>
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That means there are ice crystal clouds like cirrus. Thin ice crystal clouds can cause halos.
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there was a halo around the moon when i got home a few mins ago. Central NC here, anything special?
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
climate change, climate change, all you ever here about...
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
I am amazed at this post Doc. All I can ask since so much is already disclaimer-ed. What exactly did they use in the model coding to reach the conclusion provided with such deficiencies? I think we deserve more.

Just sayin, pretty provocative.

I know, I better run >

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If you like Mars exploration:

(Free download) New Tool for Touring Mars Using Detailed Images


ScienceDaily (Dec. 7, 2011)- An improved tool debuts Dec. 7 for viewing channels, dunes, boulders and other features revealed in the huge image files from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Link
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
Hi Vabeachhurricanes.

Quiet on a Friday night back there isn't it?
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ice surging
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Quiet morning. Have a meeting at 10, but thought I'd check what's doing in here.
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Scientists Assess Radioactivity in the Ocean from Japan Nuclear Power Facility


This is weird.... the study concludes:

Their study finds that the levels of radioactivity, while high, are not a direct threat to humans or marine life, but cautions that the effect of accumulated radionuclides in marine sediments is poorly known.


BUT:

Concentrations of cesium-137, a radioactive isotope with a 30-year half-life, at the plants' discharge points to the ocean peaked at more than 50 million times normal/previous levels.

Concentrations 18 miles offshore were higher than those measured in the ocean after the Chernobyl accident 25 years ago.
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
It is clear and cold, was in upper teens and now approaching freezing. We'll be in upper 40s today I think.
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Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
Hello all.


Well you are an unexpected surprise.
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Cool article sunlinepr and ColoradoBob. Starting to read it now.
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Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
How have things been going TropicalAnalystwx13?

Good? How are things over...well, wherever you are at. :P
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
This is post 2001 since the count starts at zero. Still pretty cool.
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How have things been going TropicalAnalystwx13?
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2010 Spike in Greenland Ice Loss Lifted Bedrock, GPS Reveals

ScienceDaily (Dec. 9, 2011) — An unusually hot melting season in 2010 accelerated ice loss in southern Greenland by 100 billion tons -- and large portions of the island's bedrock rose an additional quarter of an inch in response.

That's the finding from a network of nearly 50 GPS stations planted along the Greenland coast to measure the bedrock's natural response to the ever-diminishing weight of ice above it.


The 2010 Uplift Anomaly (green arrows), superimposed on a map showing the 2010 Melting Day Anomaly (shaded in red), which was produced by R. Simmon of the NASA Earth Observatory using data provided by M. Tedesco. (Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State University.)
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
Hello all.

:O
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
Hello all.
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165 mph Winds recorded? Link

Scotland Shut Down By Icy 165mph Blasts

10:00pm UK, Thursday December 08, 2011
A fierce storm with winds of up to 165mph has battered northern parts of Britain, with people warned to stay indoors, schools forced to close and flights and rail links cancelled.

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
Quoting yqt1001:


What's with that low that is in the upper right corner? It's way too far south and has too deep of convection for it to not be considered something tropical-ish in nature...

It has no model support though, but neither did most of the storms this year.

Its the thing the models were developing several days ago.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32802
Quoting sunlinepr:


UL Low.... We are going to get wet this weekend....


Ah. Thanks.
Member Since: November 19, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 1286
Quoting yqt1001:


What's with that low that is in the upper right corner? It's way too far south and has too deep of convection for it to not be considered something tropical-ish in nature...

It has no model support though, but neither did most of the storms this year.


UL Low.... We are going to get wet this weekend....
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
Talking about European economics.... EU meeting / voting was hot today....


Surreal moment: A treaty to save the Euro may end up splitting Europe

December 9, 2011 – EUROPE – European leaders, meeting until the early hours of Friday, agreed to sign an intergovernmental treaty that would require them to enforce stricter fiscal and financial discipline in their future budgets. But efforts to get unanimity among the 27 members of the European Union, as desired by Germany, failed as Britain refused to go along.

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
Quoting sunlinepr:


What's with that low that is in the upper right corner? It's way too far south and has too deep of convection for it to not be considered something tropical-ish in nature...

It has no model support though, but neither did most of the storms this year.
Member Since: November 19, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 1286
The bugs will probably outlast humans on the planet.
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
Happy two thousandth blog, Jeff!
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?
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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