Extreme temperatures in the Northwest! A Good Example of Climate Instability!

On June 29th, Portland Oregon recorded 116 degrees! On June 30th, it hit 121 degrees in British Columbia!

At the same time Oregon and British Columbia were broiling under the sun, extremely high temperatures were also being recorded on the East Coast of the United States. Boston and New York City were in the low 100’s.

Portland is known for cool weather and plenty of rain. Unfortunately this heat spell has caused many heat related deaths.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/portland-soared-116-degrees-hotter-dallas-miami-la-have-ever-n1272617

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/death-toll-northwest-heat-wave-expected-keep-rising-n1273016

May need to add a few more degrees to our thermometers!

What is climate instability?

Instability is defined as “A tendency to unpredictable behavior or erratic changes” and climate is defined as “The weather conditions prevailing over a given area in general or over a long period”

The temperatures and resulting havoc extreme fluctuations in the weather are creating is unprecedented and may only be a glimpse of what the future may bring. Of all the major cities in the United States, only Las Vegas Nevada and Phoenix Arizona have recorded higher temperatures than what Portland and British Columbia have experienced.

How does this happen?

Meteorologists say that the blame is based on an extremely undulating jetstream. While this type of fluctuation in the jet stream happens frequently, extreme temperatures like this in the northwest are unheard of.

Read more about the jetstream at the weather.gov site

https://www.weather.gov/jetstream/jet

It’s Complicated…

What could be the cause of such fluctuation in the jet stream? One reason might be the increasingly warming oceans. The jetstream does circumnavigate the globe and bring along with it the cyclonic and anti-cyclonic events that pick up energy over the oceans.

It’s easy to correlate that the increase in carbon dioxide emisions, fluctuations in temperatures, location of the jet stream and power of the storms that we have been seeing globally is all part of climate change that we have been so warned of by scientists for decades. The Paris climate accord agreed to by 196 nations in 2015 was an acknowledgment of the need for action and a blueprint on how to move forward. (UNFCCC.INT)

Unfortunately the United States under the administration of Donald Trump withdrew from the accord. President Joe Biden has since rejoined the effort. A link to the Paris Agreement is provided below.

https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement

There has been numerous studies linking Climate change to warming oceans and impacts to the jetstream . The fact that it the Arctic and Antarctic regions are warming is also contributing to warming oceans and fluctuating jet streams.

The worldwide meteorological changes are so complicated that it tends to confuse most people. It’s hard to fathom how increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, melting polar icecaps, greenhouse gases, warming temperatures, warming oceans, fluctuating jet streams are all tied to one another. And it’s even harder to try to study one part of that equation and come out with a understanding of the situation that we are facing today.

In the United States, a 2018 study by the US Global Change Research Project listed findings for twelve areas that climate change will impact our lives.

  1. Communities – Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.
  2. Economy – Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century.
  3. Interconnected Impacts – Climate change affects the natural, built, and social systems we rely on individually and through their connections to one another. These interconnected systems are increasingly vulnerable to cascading impacts that are often difficult to predict, threatening essential services within and beyond the Nation’s borders.
  4. Actions to Reduce Risks – Communities, governments, and businesses are working to reduce risks from and costs associated with climate change by taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions and implement adaptation strategies. While mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades.
  5. Water – The quality and quantity of water available for use by people and ecosystems across the country are being affected by climate change, increasing risks and costs to agriculture, energy production, industry, recreation, and the environment.
  6. Health – Impacts from climate change on extreme weather and climate-related events, air quality, and the transmission of disease through insects and pests, food, and water increasingly threaten the health and well-being of the American people, particularly populations that are already vulnerable.
  7. Indigenous Peoples – Climate change increasingly threatens Indigenous communities’ livelihoods, economies, health, and cultural identities by disrupting interconnected social, physical, and ecological systems.
  8. Ecosystems and Services – Ecosystems and the benefits they provide to society are being altered by climate change, and these impacts are projected to continue. Without substantial and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, transformative impacts on some ecosystems will occur; some coral reef and sea ice ecosystems are already experiencing such transformational changes.
  9. Agriculture – Rising temperatures, extreme heat, drought, wildfire on rangelands, and heavy downpours are expected to increasingly disrupt agricultural productivity in the United States. Expected increases in challenges to livestock health, declines in crop yields and quality, and changes in extreme events in the United States and abroad threaten rural livelihoods, sustainable food security, and price stability.
  10. Infrastructure – Our Nation’s aging and deteriorating infrastructure is further stressed by increases in heavy precipitation events, coastal flooding, heat, wildfires, and other extreme events, as well as changes to average precipitation and temperature. Without adaptation, climate change will continue to degrade infrastructure performance over the rest of the century, with the potential for cascading impacts that threaten our economy, national security, essential services, and health and well-being.
  11. Oceans and Coasts – Coastal communities and the ecosystems that support them are increasingly threatened by the impacts of climate change. Without significant reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions and regional adaptation measures, many coastal regions will be transformed by the latter part of this century, with impacts affecting other regions and sectors. Even in a future with lower greenhouse gas emissions, many communities are expected to suffer financial impacts as chronic high-tide flooding leads to higher costs and lower property values.
  12. Tourism and Recreation – Outdoor recreation, tourist economies, and quality of life are reliant on benefits provided by our natural environment that will be degraded by the impacts of climate change in many ways.

None of the impacts sound like something we want to see happen. Or see happen more as we are getting a glimpse of these types of impacts continuously.

Read the whole report at the following link:

https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/

Opinion

While there is certainly a lot to read about climate change, it is my opinion that something is going on that we as human beings have little or no control of. The problem being there are too many parts to the puzzle. Governmental entities must bear the brunt of leading the way. The problem is that these various governments (city/county/state) each have a different way of understanding and and typically only the most progressive one do anything at all. Only with public pressure on these governments to try to do better will any change begin. Take a stance and work with your local government and help make them understand that there is an urgency of action needed in order to bring about true change.

About rsingram

Environmental Specialist, Disaster Reservist, Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control, Para-Archeologist
This entry was posted in British Columbia, Carbon Dioxide, Climate Change, Jet Stream, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Extreme temperatures in the Northwest! A Good Example of Climate Instability!

  1. Climate instability is making here to stay! People would have to act now.

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