- At a whopping 8,776 square miles (22,730 sq km): The Gulf of Mexico has yielded the largest 'dead zone' ever recorded in the area.
- Portland's air pollution exceeded levels in Beijing with heat records tumbling as Thursday was one of the hottest days has ever seen!
- Dangerous day ahead for parts of Europe as temperatures edge slowly toward 50 deg C (122 deg F) destroying crops and causing wildfires
- It's a super typhoon and is the strongest tropical cyclone on the planet this year as tropical Noru takes aim for southern Japan
- Europe cut in half by crippling Jet Stream bringing severe wind storms in the North and a dangerous heatwave in the South
- Southern, eastern Europe and the Balkans plunged into a dangerous heatwave from southern Spain to Hungary as temps rise above 40 deg C!
|At a whopping 8,776 square miles (22,730 sq km): The Gulf of Mexico has yielded the largest 'dead zone' ever recorded in the area. |
Posted: 04 Aug 2017 01:51 AM PDT
A recent expedition to the Gulf of Mexico has yielded the largest 'dead zone' ever recorded in the area.
Measuring 8,776 square miles, this massive patch of oxygen depleted water is wreaking havoc on the Gulf's marine life - a consequence of unchecked agricultural runoff pouring down from the Mississippi River.
Dead zones appear in the Gulf every summer, and the typical size is around 5,800 square miles.
Back in 2002, scientists detected an unusually large dead zone stretching for 8,497 square miles, but this new one, detected just last week, is now the largest ever recorded.
At a whopping 8,776 square miles (22,730 sq km), it's 4.6 times larger than the target size set by the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force.
In the words of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, this finding shows that "nutrient pollution, primarily from agriculture and developed land runoff in the Mississippi River watershed is continuing to affect the nation's coastal resources and habitats in the Gulf."
Hypoxia is a fancy term for low oxygen, and it's primarily a problem for estuaries and coastal waters. These dead zones have dissolved oxygen concentrations of less than two to three parts per million, and they're triggered by a variety of factors.
In the case of the Gulf of Mexico, excess nutrients stream down the Mississippi river, stimulating massive algal growths that eventually decompose - a process that depletes the oxygen required to support marine life.
Sources of these nutrients include fertilisers from agriculture, golf courses, and suburban lawns, erosion of soil packed with nutrients, and sewage discharge from treatment plants.
Dead zones can cause a loss of fish habitat, or force fish to migrate to other areas to survive.
They can also cause reproductive issues among marine animals.
Studies suggest that dead zones in the Gulf are leading to fewer large shrimp, for instance.
There are over 400 hypoxic zones in the world, but the Gulf of Mexico dead zone is the largest in the US, and one of the largest globally.
The latest measurements in the Gulf were made by a team of scientists led by Louisiana State University and Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON).
Data was recorded aboard the RV Pelican from July 21 to 31.
Sadly, the size of the dead zone didn't come as a surprise.
"We expected one of the largest zones ever recorded because the Mississippi River discharge levels, and the May data indicated a high delivery of nutrients during this critical month which stimulates the mid-summer dead zone," said LSU scientist Nancy Rabalais in a statement.
These findings suggest that efforts to reduce nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River basin aren't working.
The Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast, an initiative to help farmers apply fertilisers at optimum times, is either ineffective or being ignored.
Dead zones obviously affect the fishing industry, but as for farmers, not so much.
It's not immediately clear how voluntary measures to rectify the situation are actually going to shrink the Gulf Zone's dead zone to an annual average of 1,900 square miles, a goal set by the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force.
Perhaps this year's record-setting dead zone will finally get a serious conversation started.
Below the Big Wobble's report of the United Dead Zone Of North America, two years ago!
|Portland's air pollution exceeded levels in Beijing with heat records tumbling as Thursday was one of the hottest days has ever seen! |
Posted: 04 Aug 2017 02:10 AM PDT
Thursday was one of the hottest days Portland has ever seen.
A high of 105 degrees at the Portland International Airport landed Thursday in the top 10 hottest days on record for the city, just 2 degrees shy of the city's all-time high of 107.
The last time Portland hit 105 was in 2009.
And Portland is on track to set another record: the longest streak of days with temperatures above 90 degrees.
The current record is 10 days, set in 2009.
As of Thursday, four consecutive days have been above 90 degrees, said Amanda Bowen, a National Weather Service meteorologist.
But the weather service predicts the streak will continue into next week, with highs in the mid- to low 90s predicted until next Thursday.
"Looking forward, we have a pretty high potential of having 10 days in a row," Bowen said.
"We may actually break the record that was set in 2009."
An excessive heat warning remains in effect through Friday night.
But the weather service predicts the mercury will fall slightly Friday, which is expected to have a high near 96 degrees.
Still, it's a slight reprieve from the triple-digit temperatures that scorched Portland on Wednesday and Thursday.
Thursday's high blew through the previous daily record for Aug. 3 of 99 degrees, set in 1952. Wednesday set another daily record with its 103-degree heat, shattering the previous Aug. 2 record high of 96, set in 1986.
Portland's triple-digit temps were among the hottest in the nation Thursday.
Parts of California, Nevada and Washington also hit triple digits, but much of the country had highs in the 80s and 90s instead, according to the National Weather Service.
As hot as it was, though, a thick layer of smoke hanging over the Portland area kept temperatures a few degrees lower than they might have been otherwise, the weather service said.
The smoke certainly had its downsides.
The haze, a product of several Northwest wildfires, caused poor air quality in northwest Oregon and Washington.
Portland's air quality was among the worst in the country this week, according to the Portland Air Quality Index, a national standard used to measure the health effect of pollutants.
The city's air pollution exceeded levels in Beijing.
With temperatures soaring, we are now in the dryest point yet of the season here in Oregon and Gov. Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency in response to the wildfire activity across the state. With fires blazing and the hot, dry and windy conditions Oregon now has multiple red flag warnings, putting the Beaver State in "critical fire danger situation".
With the state of emergency, this enables the Oregon National Guard to mobilize resources on an as-needed basis to help assist firefighters.
Just some of the fires we know of so far: Just south of the Oregon border near Klamath Falls, the Modoc July Complex is nearly 74,000 acres and burning.
Southeast of Bly, The Devils Lake is burning at reported at 1,200 acres.
A level 1 evacuation notice has been issued to some residents of Middle Fishhole Creek Road.
Just 9 miles northeast of Prospect is the Blanket Creek Fire at 1,369 acres with 7 percent contained. In the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, the Chetco Bar Fire is currently at 2,907 acres in the Rogue-River Siskiyou National Forest.
|Dangerous day ahead for parts of Europe as temperatures edge slowly toward 50 deg C (122 deg F) destroying crops and causing wildfires |
Posted: 04 Aug 2017 01:03 AM PDT
With temperatures set to hit 46 deg C (115 deg F) in parts of Italy today wildfires have turned deadly.
A heatwave that has left Italy sweltering in record temperatures sparked wildfires Thursday which claimed the life of one elderly woman and forced the closure of a major highway.
The 79-year-old woman was found dead in a field next to her home in Sant'Omero in the central region of Abruzzo, having apparently been overcome by flames that engulfed two hectares of surrounding farmland.
A section of the Via Aurelia coastal motorway that runs northwards from Rome to the Riviera had to be closed for several hours because of a major fire near Grosseto in Tuscany.
The region's celebrated landscape is usually baked to a rich golden colour by the end of the summer: this year it resembles burnt toast with August barely underway.
With peak temperatures topping 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in much of the country, a total of 26 major towns and cities were on the health ministry's maximum heat alert.
Admissions to hospital emergency units have spiked 15 percent in recent days and forecasters see no respite coming before early next week.
High humidity in the north and hot winds from Africa in the south are making the perceived temperatures seem even hotter for Italians longing for the beach.
The heatwave has come on the back of a prolonged drought that is set to cost Italy's large agricultural sector billions with 11 regions facing critical water shortages.
Olive yields in parts of the country are forecast to be 50 percent lower than normal this autumn and the scarcity of water has cut sheep's milk production by 30 percent in others, with knock-on effects for the production of one of Italy's most popular cheeses, pecorino.
Temperatures in Southern Spain are expected to hit mid 40's deg C as well well as extreme temperatures in southern France, Italy and the Balkans with Eastern Europe, Hungary and Romania also suffering dangerous temperatures at the height of the tourist season.
|It's a super typhoon and is the strongest tropical cyclone on the planet this year as tropical Noru takes aim for southern Japan |
Posted: 03 Aug 2017 11:04 AM PDT
Credits: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
On Aug. 3 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured a visible-light image of Noru tracking through the Northwestern Pacific Ocean.
The image showed the eye had become filled with high clouds. Microwave data clearly showed the eye was present, so forecasters understood the clouds were high clouds and the entire eye had not filled in throughout.
Typhoon Noru will approach southern Japan this weekend before turning northward and threatening South Korea early next week.
While the exact track remains unclear, impacts to southern Japan, the northern Ryukyu Islands and South Korea appear likely, according to Accu weather.
Noru has already been on a long journey across the West Pacific.
Noru formed on July 20, then reached super typhoon status and became the strongest tropical cyclone on the planet so far this year on July 30.
Despite weakening from its peak strength, residents and visitors to southern Japan and South Korea should be on high alert for impacts from Noru as early as Friday night.
|Europe cut in half by crippling Jet Stream bringing severe wind storms in the North and a dangerous heatwave in the South |
Posted: 03 Aug 2017 10:11 AM PDT
A great divide has opened up along north and south of Europe with the north battered by sever wind storms brought down from the Arctic by the Jet Stream
Northern Europe is under the cosh, with the UK, Ireland, Denmark Holland and Germany witnessing much cooler than normal weather and massive wind storms.
Following a bout of dangerous weather on Thursday, a generally active weather pattern is expected to continue in Germany into the weekend.
Severe weather warnings were issued for parts of southern Germany experiencing extreme heat on Thursday, including Stuttgart and Munich.
Temperatures in these cities reached 28 C (82 F) and 30 C (86 F), respectively.
This warm and humid air ahead of a cold front helped to produce the dangerous thunderstorms as temperatures rose well above normal levels.
Under the Jet Stream, southern and eastern Europe has been hit with a severe heatwave with temperatures well over 40 deg C.
|Southern, eastern Europe and the Balkans plunged into a dangerous heatwave from southern Spain to Hungary as temps rise above 40 deg C! |
Posted: 03 Aug 2017 04:29 AM PDT
A huge swathe of southern Europe, eastern Europe and the Balkans, stretching all the way from southern Spain to Hungary has been hit with a menacing dangerous heatwave with temperatures creeping above 40 deg Celsius or around 105 deg F.
The temperatures are to stay through the week with locals and tourists alike being told to keep hydrated and to stay out of the sun.
According to Severe Weather Europe; follow up on the current intense heat wave across the Mediterranean, parts of central Europe and the Balkan peninsula.
Today, another extremely hot day is expected as temperatures are locally already well above 35 °C and expected to rise into upper 30s and into low 40s range during peak time hours this afternoon. Max afternoon temperatures yesterday reached up to 40 °C in SE France, central Italy and S Spain again while extremely hot and near record-breaking values were observed along the eastern Adriatic coast with over 42 °C in the city of Split, Croatia!