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2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #42

Posted on 21 October 2017 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. 

Editor's Pick

New Fire Danger Threatens to Worsen Most Disastrous Wildfire Season in California History

Santa Rosa CA Wildfire 10-14-17 

A firefighter holds a water hose while fighting a wildfire Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Santa Rosa, Calif. Image credit: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez.

A record-breaking heat wave will build over Southern California over the weekend and peak on Tuesday, bringing triple-digit temperatures that could set marks for the hottest temperatures ever recorded so late in the year in the Los Angeles area. Accompanying the heat will be the notorious Santa Ana winds, which will bring a multi-day period of critical fire danger, Saturday through Tuesday.

According to NOAA, the hottest temperatures ever recorded after October 23 in Southern California (along with the Weather Underground forecast for Tuesday) were:

105°F Riverside, 10/28/1915 (WU forecast for Tuesday: 100°F)
101°F LAX Airport, 11/1/1966 (WU forecast for Tuesday: 96°F)
101°F Longbeach, 11/1/1966 (WU forecast for Tuesday: 100°F)
100°F Downtown Los Angeles, 11/1/1966 (WU forecast for Tuesday: 101°F)
100°F Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena, 10/26/2003 (WU forecast for Tuesday: 99°F)
100°F San Diego, 11/4/2010 (WU forecast for Tuesday: 91°F)
99°F Bakersfield, 10/27/1906 (WU forecast for Tuesday: 90°F)

The heat wave and Santa Ana winds will be caused by a large near-record-strength dome of high pressure expected to settle in over the Great Basin, a few hundred miles northeast of Los Angeles. The difference in pressure between this high-pressure system and lower pressure over Southern California will drive gusty northeast winds over Southern California. Since these winds will originate over desert areas, they will be hot and dry. As the air descends from the mountains to the coast, the air will get hotter and drier, due to adiabatic compression—the process whereby the pressure on a parcel of air increases as it descends, decreasing its volume, and thus increasing its temperature as work is done on it. 

New Fire Danger Threatens to Worsen Most Disastrous Wildfire Season in California History by Jeff Masters, Weather Underground, Oct 20, 2017 

Links posted on Facebook

Sun Oct 15, 2017

Mon Oct 16, 2017

Tue Oct 17, 2017

Wed Oct 18, 2017

Thu Oct 19, 2017

Fri Oct 20, 2017

Sat Oct 21, 2017

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Comments 1 to 5:

  1. I'm puzzled by the Chinese air pollution from factories.  The equipment to remove particulates and sulphur from the smoke stacks is off-the-shelf technology that America deployed decades ago to clean up her emissions.  Why don't they just buy a few units, reverse engineer them and deploy them to all polluting factories.  They even make money from the recovered sulphur.  As for cars, they lead the world in electric cars and in installation of wind turbines and solar panels so vehicle pollution should sort itself out over time.

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  2. William @1, I agree. Maybe the reasons for slow uptake of basic pollution controls on sulphates etc are political. I dont think China has quite as  rigorous set of environmental rules, and ability to sue in civil court like America from what I have read. People dont fit filter devices until there is some external pressure like this.

    A lot of the big industrial companies are state owned enterprises very close to government, so a lot of crony capitalism and favours.

    I dont have a specific source link, but this is impression from reading the over the years. I recall reading something that theres a huge push now to clean up smog,  because its at incredibly serious levels in their cities.

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  3. I don't understand it either.  Perhaps one factor is the Chinese coal is high in sulfur and other contaminants.

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  4. High sulphur coal is definitely part of the problem. This is both Chinese coal,  and particularly coal they import which has been low grade:

    Heres part of the problem relating to regulation and enforcement challenges.

    "Although the overall efforts to curb pollution are escalating, many facilities have tried to cut costs and evade strict emission limits by covertly shutting down their air pollution controls, often at night. There are no accurate estimates of how much these illicit emissions contributed to long-term pollution and the corresponding haze. However, websites of environmental regulation agencies at different levels of government indicate that virtually every pollution inspection by regulators in recent years detected dozens of such illegal emissions."

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  5. To change the topic somewhat. We know that CO2 has increased by 43% over pre-industrial measurements to 400ppm in 2013. The crucial question, it seems to me is, how much of that 43% increase is from anthropogenic causes and how much is natural? I would very much appreciate if someone coud answer that.

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    Moderator Response:

    [TD] 100%. See Human CO2 is a Tiny %. Please put further comments there. There are several more relevant posts, but due to me having just my phone right now, plus Elysian Space Dust, I am poorly situated to provide those right now. Comment there to ask for those if you want.


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