Russian wildfire smoke reaches Canada, U.S.; Death Valley hits 128°F

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:29 PM GMT on July 12, 2012

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The U.S. isn't the only country suffering from a severe wildfire season. Russian firefighters have been battling huge blazes in Siberia for months. Central Russia experienced record warm temperatures 11 - 12°F (6 - 7°C) above average during June, feeding fires that have burned more area in 2012 than in 2010--the year of the unprecedented heat wave that killed over 55,000 people. Smoke from this summer's Russian fires rose high into the atmosphere last week, and got caught in the jet stream. As University of Washington professor Dr. Cliff Mass explained in this blog, the strong winds of the jet stream carried the smoke to western North America this week, where sinking air associated with a strong area of high pressure brought the smoke to the surface. On Wednesday, CBC reported that the smoke had settled over Vancouver, British Columbia, reducing visibility and increasing air pollution. Meteorologist Eric Taylor of the B.C. Ministry of Environment said he had never seen ozone pollution levels as high in B.C.'s central Interior as occurred over the past few days. The smoke has created colorful sunsets from Oregon to British Columbia, but a low pressure system is expected to flush most of the smoke out by Friday.


Figure 1. Thick smoke from forest fires burning in Siberia on July 5, 2012 (left) and July 9, 2012 (right.) Image credit: NASA.


Figure 2. The view from West Vancouver, British Columbia on Wednesday was obscured by thick smoke from forest fires burning in Siberia. Image credit: ThemeGreen's Webcam.

Colorado's most destructive wildfire in its history finally contained
It's been another severe year for wildfires in the U.S., with the National Interagency Fire Center reporting 4800 square miles of burned acreage thus far in 2012, an area about 87% of the size of Connecticut. This is pretty close to the 10-year average for this point in the year, and ranks as the fourth highest of the past ten years. However, with summer not yet half over, and more than 2/3 of the Western U.S. experiencing moderate to extreme drought, the Western U.S. fire season still has plenty of time to add significant acreage to its burn total. The hardest-hit state at present is Idaho, where one-third of the country's large fires (twelve) are burning. The worst fires of 2012 so far have been in Colorado, which had its hottest and driest June since record keeping began in 1895. Colorado's most destructive wildfire in its history, the 29-square mile Waldo Canyon fire, was finally 100% contained on Wednesday, aided by a week of relatively cool and wet weather. The fire killed two people and destroyed nearly 350 houses when it burned into northwestern Colorado Springs. Colorado's second most destructive and second largest fire in recorded history was the High Park Fire, fifteen miles northwest of Fort Collins. The fire was 100% contained on June 30. According to the Denver Post, the High Park Fire burned in an area where 70% of the trees that have been killed by mountain pine beetles; the insects have devastated forests in western North America in recent years. So did pine beetle damage contribute to this year's devastating Colorado fires? Using Landsat satellite data, a team of scientists led by University of Wisconsin forest ecologist Phil Townsend have discovered that pine beetle damage appears not to have a significant impact in the risk of large fires, and may reduce fire risk in some instances (Video 1.)


Video 1. Wildfire and Pine Beetles: NASA explains how recent devastation of forests in the Rocky Mountains by the mountain pine beetle may be affecting wildfire odds.

Links to follow
Our climate change blogger, Dr. Ricky Rood, has a post on mountain pine beetles and climate change.

I have a post on how climate change is expected to increase Western U.S. fires.

Welcome to the Rest of Our Lives, an 8-minute video put together by climate change videographer Peter SInclair, provides a dramatic look at the extreme weather that has hit the U.S. in June and July.

Our climate change blogger, Dr. Ricky Rood, is in Boulder, Colorado this summer, and had this to say in his June 27 post on the wildfires in Colorado: "The past few days have been relentless. Denver has seen temperatures above 100°F for 5 straight days, and it was 105° today. At the weather station closest to where I live, the thunderstorm that started today’s fire stopped the temperature rise at 97.5 F. The dew point was in the high 30s. The ground temperature in the garden was about 110°. Tonight it all smells of smoke again. It is hard to sleep when the house is 88 degrees and the air smells of smoke. You constantly think of fire."

Death Valley hits 128°: 10th hottest temperature in U.S. history
The high temperature in Death Valley, California hit 128°F (53.3°C) on Wednesday, the hottest temperature measured in the U.S. since July 18, 2009, when Death Valley recorded another 128° reading. Yesterday's 128° was the 10th hottest temperature in U.S. history. The only hotter temperatures were all measured at Death Valley, the most recent one being the 129° measured on July 6, 2007. The all-time high for Death Valley is the 134° reading of July 10, 1913. The forecast for Death Valley calls for a slow cool-down over the next few days, with highs reaching "only" 105° on Monday. That's the date of the start of the grueling Badwater Ultramarathon. Covering 135 miles (217km) non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA, it is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet. Lace up your running shoes (not!)

Jeff Masters

Going down, (Glaswegian)
on a hot and humid July evening
Going down,
Workday Sunrise (HarveyCreek)
Going out to the car to head to work, I saw this great sunrise and had to take the time to capture it. This is a panoramic rendition.
Workday Sunrise

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Quoting Patrap:


Some may have jumped the ol El Nino Gun, as its in Neutral AT present.

I do admit, I don't follow the Nino charts,indicators nor PDO as well.

I trend to the actual Cyclones as a play by Frame kinda guy.

skyepony and a few others keep me up to speed with it usually.

How's ya thumb mate. Did ya stick it in ice to reduce the swelling and to help numb the pain?
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Unfortunately Pat, I'm warning you don't live by my Motto, If your dumb you better be tough.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3113
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wow...
Fabio
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Nobody own for me to talk to tonight.I'm off.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17592
Quoting spathy:
Just a question.
What is the history of fire suppression in Colorado where the Pine beetles are a problem?
Are the beetles taking advantage of aging forests that are largely in existence because of outdated fire suppression rules that have only recently changed?

Pine beetles are taking advantage of having two broods per year instead of one. That's because the climate is warmer.
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Quoting AussieStorm:


mmmmmm where is El Nino??


Some may have jumped the ol El Nino Gun, as its in Neutral AT present.

I do admit, I don't follow the Nino charts,indicators nor PDO as well.

I trend to the actual Cyclones as a play by Frame kinda guy.

skyepony and a few others keep me up to speed with it usually.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

It went away.

Neutral season??
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Quoting AussieStorm:


mmmmmm where is El Nino??


That question magnifies with this. The 30 day SOI has gone positive and has surpassed the -8 El Nino threshold.

Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14746
Quoting AussieStorm:


mmmmmm where is El Nino??

It went away.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32687
Quoting MTWX:


Yeah, I was out fishing in the mountains. locked the doors and, while slamming the old door on my truck, I realized my keys were on the passanger seat... Tried to catch it in time... well the door closed completely as intended, but my thumb was in there too!

If I wouldn't have had that spare key on me, I would have had to cut my thumb off and smash my window to get out of there!! (I was about 40 miles from the nearest house, and had no cell service)



I carry a plastic key with metal spline in it in my wallet. Just in case. Plus I carry a Center-punch in the ol pocket whenever I cross the 24 Mile Causeway bridge.

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mmmmmm where is El Nino??
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772. MTWX
Quoting Patrap:


Had the dog, my German Shepherd on leash with soft cast on right hand, was locking all doors from right front side of Jeep, when the Dog saw a squirrel,pulled hard, and I slammed the door, but my left hand and one finger didnt clear in time.

I almost sat down and cried, but got my walk in.

So...


"He who is in hurry, may find great pain in finga'"..


Yeah, I was out fishing in the mountains. locked the doors and, while slamming the old door on my truck, I realized my keys were on the passanger seat... Tried to catch it in time... well the door closed completely as intended, but my thumb was in there too!

If I wouldn't have had that spare key on me, I would have had to cut my thumb off and smash my window to get out of there!! (I was about 40 miles from the nearest house, and had no cell service)

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Quoting redwagon:

Or why don't people just shop at Whole Foods, and get all their family and friends shopping with them, and let the marketplace destroy GMOs? Instant results instead of years and years of replacing congressmen and women.


Because that is expensive? You think people have the money to right now to increase their food bill?
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Emilia no longer has an eye.

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Global tropics are in a groove, the Atlantic is gonna pop Via the GOM or Caribbean soon nuff.

ALL NOAA Floaters


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Nasty slice about 1 full inch, inside finger, thru the last digit,and a Black and blueness that would make a fine wine color.

Still numb above it, so if it dosent come back, I may have cut a nerve I think. Will get it checked out at VA if I think it needs attention.

I made a sound when it happened that most likely scared the wee-wee outta some walkers and joggers as well.

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Quoting spathy:


Hi Wash :O)

Ack!
Dont burst my dead season fantasy.
I have read enough posts on here to be beguiled into complacent bliss!

There is no place like El Nino....
Repeat and click heels! LOL at my own river in Egypt safe place!
Lol.Hey spathy.I don't think we'll see no more than 15 named storms personally.
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Some showers for Hawaii....

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Quoting MTWX:


Thumbs don't work to well either! Lucky for me I had a spare key in my wallet to get my hand out of the door!


Had the dog, my German Shepherd on leash with soft cast on right hand, was locking all doors from right front side of Jeep, when the Dog saw a squirrel,pulled hard, and I slammed the door, but my left hand and one finger didnt clear in time.

I almost sat down and cried, but got my walk in.

So...


"He who is in hurry, may find great pain in finga'"..
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759. MTWX
Quoting Patrap:
Dunno about the "Great Minds" thingee.

U should see me finger.

LOL

: )


Notice I didn't use the word "great" lol!
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756. MTWX
Quoting Patrap:
Be advised..

Ones finger next to the pinky, left hand will NOT stop a Jeep Cherokee door from closing.


Thumbs don't work to well either! Lucky for me I had a spare key in my wallet to get my hand out of the door!
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Quoting Patrap:
Be advised..

Ones finger next to the pinky, left hand will NOT stop a Jeep Cherokee door from closing.

Thanks for that!
It's good to know that you seem to have tried it, just to make sure.

OUCH, man!
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Dunno about the "Great Minds" thingee.

U should see me finger.

LOL

: )
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751. MTWX
738 and 740

Guess our minds think alike Patrap!! LOL!

Same info, different sources...
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Be advised..

Ones finger next to the pinky, left hand will NOT stop a Jeep Cherokee door from closing.
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Quoting bluheelrtx:

Here in the northwest of Harris County (under that pink blob), the water is still running across the flat land as well as the creeks, bayous, and ditches.


I went to Houston about 14 years ago. The terrain there is extremely flat, nearly as flat as Louisiana (where I live). It doesn't take much rain to cause standing water on roadways, and in some cases, actual flooding. That's why Allison wrecked you guys so hard.
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Fukushima vs. Chernobyl: How Have Animals Fared? By RACHEL NUWER July 12, 2012

Contaminated areas of Chernobyl and Fukushima are unlikely to be hospitable habitats for years to come. In Chernobyl, for example, the amount of americium-241, a highly radiotoxic isotope if ingested, is actually increasing as its parent nuclide, plutonium, decays. Radioactive materials like cesium are brought back to the surface soil each year by plant growth and pollination.

And some plutonium isotopes have half-lives of 24,000 years. “These radioactive materials are going to be around for quite a while,” Dr. Mousseau said. “We’re looking at hundreds of years before many of the forested areas get better.”- The New York Times


Link
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Quoting redwagon:

So don't hand-wring all day about how to end GMOs if you don't want solutions offered to you. You're either serious about ending them or you aren't.


First of all, I think you've confused me with someone else... I haven't posted anything on GMO's this day, or any other.

Second, what a great "solution"! Got any more bright ideas like that?

Oh wait... here's one: Let's make everyone who is unemployed use some of their unemployment check to buy all kinds of goods & services they neither need nor want. That would sure help fix the current economic meltdown real fast! /sarcasm
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X1.4 Solar Flare + CME (7/12/2012)

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by ve3en1

A major and long duration eruption reaching X1.4 around Sunspot 1520 peaked at 16:52 UTC Thursday afternoon. Type II and IV Sweep Frequency Events were recorded. This event was also responsible for a Strong R3 Radio Blackout on the sunlit side of Earth. A Coronal Mass Ejection was also produced and looks to be Earth directed.

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Link GOM Loop
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Quoting 1900hurricane:
We've been kinda wet the past few days.

Here in the northwest of Harris County (under that pink blob), the water is still running across the flat land as well as the creeks, bayous, and ditches.
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Quoting MTWX:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Was a CME associated with this flare? If so, we may have some problems.


Forecasted CME Track

That looks intense.
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740. MTWX
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Was a CME associated with this flare? If so, we may have some problems.


Forecasted CME Track
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http://www.solarham.net/


SUMMARY: 10cm Radio Burst

Begin Time: 2012 Jul 12 1614 UTC

Maximum Time: 2012 Jul 12 1653 UTC

End Time: 2012 Jul 12 1705 UTC

Duration: 51 minutes

Peak Flux: 800 sfu

Description: A 10cm radio burst indicates that the electromagnetic burst associated with a solar flare at the 10cm wavelength was double or greater than the initial 10cm radio background. This can be indicative of significant radio noise in association with a solar flare. This noise is generally short-lived but can cause interference for sensitive receivers including radar, GPS, and satellite communications.



LASCO

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EP, 06, 2012071300, , BEST, 0, 137N, 1086W, 50, 998, TS, 50, NEQ, 20, 0, 0, 20, 1009, 200, 20, 0, 0, E, 0, , 0, 0, FABIO, M,
EP, 05, 2012071300, , BEST, 0, 153N, 1230W, 80, 976, HU, 64, NEQ, 25, 25, 20, 25, 1007, 200, 20, 0, 0, E, 0, , 0, 0, EMILIA, D,
13/0000 UTC 13.6N 108.5W T3.0/3.0 FABIO -- East Pacific
13/0000 UTC 15.3N 123.0W T4.0/5.0 EMILIA -- East Pacific
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736. MTWX
Quoting KoritheMan:


The steering flow would probably take it into LA/MS. There is an upper low hanging off north coast of the Yucatan, but the position of the low relative to the Florida spin is such that any such shear would be easterly, a diffluent situation conducive for intensification.


Both features are easily identifiable here.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Was a CME associated with this flare? If so, we may have some problems.



H.A.A.R.P?
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Quoting PalmBeacher1228:
Heading down to the Fla Keys Sunday anyone got any predictions on the weather??..... Will these systems be an issue??


I would think not.
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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.