Warmest period on record forecast for next 5 years on Earth

University of East Anglia Read ScienceDaily summary here

The forecast for the global average surface temperature for the five-year period to 2023 is predicted to be near or above 1.0 degree C above pre-industrial levels, says the United Kingdom’s Met Office. If the observations for the next five years track the forecast, that would make the decade from 2014 to 2023 the warmest run of years since records began.

Records for annual global average temperature extend back to 1850.

Professor Adam Scaife, Head of Long-Range Prediction at the Met Office said: “2015 was the first year that global annual average surface temperatures reached 1.0 °C above pre-industrial levels and the following three years have all remained close to this level. The global average temperature between now and 2023 is predicted to remain high, potentially making the decade from 2014 the warmest in more than 150 years of records.”

Averaged over the five-year period 2019-2023, forecast patterns suggest enhanced warming is likely over much of the globe, especially over land and at high northern latitudes, particularly the Arctic region….

Hurricanes are strengthening faster in the Atlantic, and climate change is a big reason why, scientists say

A startling study says that devastating storms that intensify rapidly are becoming more common;
the 5 most destructive Atlantic storms of the past 2 years all went through rapid intensification

By Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis Read full Washington Post article here

A group of top hurricane experts, including several federal researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, published striking new research Thursday suggesting that hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean have grown considerably worse, and climate change is part of the reason why.

The study focused on rapid intensification, in which hurricanes may grow from a weak tropical storm or Category 1 status to Category 4 or 5 in a brief period. They found that the trend has been seen repeatedly in the Atlantic in recent years. It happened before Hurricane Harvey struck Texas and before Hurricane Michael pummeled the Gulf Coast with little warning last fall. Hurricane Michael, for example, transformed from a Category 1 into a raging Category 4 in the span of 24 hours….

…. “Rapid intensification is a nightmare for hurricane forecasters especially for storms nearing land,” added Ryan Maue, a meteorologist with Weather.us. “As the climate warms, some ocean regions may disproportionately see more intense and rapidly intensifying storms.” …

Bhatia et al. Recent increases in tropical cyclone intensification rates
Nature Communications Volume 10, Article number: 635 (Feb 2019)

2018 4th warmest year; last 5 years warmest on record collectively

NOAA/NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Read ScienceDaily summary here

Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest since 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Global temperatures in 2018 were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. Globally, 2018’s temperatures rank behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015. The past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record.

“2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt.

Microplastic contamination found in common source of groundwater

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Read ScienceDaily Summary here

Samuel V. Panno, Walton R. Kelly, John Scott, Wei Zheng, Rachael E. McNeish, Nancy Holm, Timothy J. Hoellein, Elizabeth L. Baranski. Microplastic Contamination in Karst Groundwater SystemsGroundwater, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/gwat.12862

Microplastics contaminate the world’s surface waters, yet scientists have only just begun to explore their presence in groundwater systems. A new study is the first to report microplastics in fractured limestone aquifers — a groundwater source that accounts for 25 percent of the global drinking water supply. …

…The researchers identified a variety of household and personal health contaminants along with the microplastics, a hint that the fibers may have originated from household septic systems.

“Imagine how many thousands of polyester fibers find their way into a septic system from just doing a load of laundry,” Scott said. “Then consider the potential for those fluids to leak into the groundwater supply, especially in these types of aquifers where surface water interacts so readily with groundwater.”…

Extreme rainfall events are connected around the world

Imperial College London Read full ScienceDaily summary here

Niklas Boers, Bedartha Goswami, Aljoscha Rheinwalt, Bodo Bookhagen, Brian Hoskins, Jürgen Kurths. Complex networks reveal global pattern of extreme-rainfall teleconnectionsNature, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0872-x

An analysis of satellite data has revealed global patterns of extreme rainfall, which could lead to better forecasts and more accurate climate models…

For extreme rainfall events in Northern India (red diamond), the red lines show local weather patterns, and the blue lines show global patterns linking extreme rainfall events represented by the blue shapes. In particular, the blue shapes over Europe indicate that extreme rainfall in Northern India can be predicted from preceding events in Europe.Credit: Boers et al. 2019

The research, led by a team at Imperial College London and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, could help better predict when and where extreme rainfall events will occur around the world. The insights can be used to test and improve global climate models, leading to better predictions.

The study additionally provides a ‘baseline’ for climate change studies. By knowing how the atmosphere behaves to create patterns of extreme rainfall events, scientists will be able to gain new insights into changes that may be caused by global warming….