Sunday, July 21, 2013

Weather, Energy, & Climate News

New York City's Electric Usage Sets All-Time Record 
Friday's intense heat and humidity led to New York City setting an all-time peak electric usage record.
Electric usage in New York City and neighboring Westchester County topped out at 13,322 Megawatts (MW) at 5 p.m. EDT Friday, according to Con Edison.
Friday's high of 96 degrees fell short of challenging the day's record of 102 degrees from 1977. However, Friday's low of 83 degrees broke the day's long-standing warmest low temperature record of 81 degrees from 1878. Read more at AccuWeather.  
See also: Another brutally hot day bakes NY; relief on way  
at The Buffalo News

Water Stress Threatens Future Energy Production
When we flip on a light, we rarely think about water.  But electricity generation is the biggest user of water in the United States.  Thermoelectric power plants alone use more than 200 billion gallons of water a day – about 49 percent of the nation’s total water withdrawals.
Large quantities of water are needed as well for the production, refining and transport of the fuels that light and heat our homes and buildings, and run our buses and cars.  Every gallon of gasoline at the pump takes about 13 gallons of water to make. Read more at National Geographic.

‘Drunken’ Weather Pattern Leads to Deadly Heat
The heat wave that has built across the eastern U.S. — roasting cities from Memphis to Washington to Boston in a stifling blanket of heat and humidity — has had one strange characteristic that meteorologists cannot yet explain in a long-term climate context. Rather than moving west to east, as typical weather patterns do in the Northern Hemisphere, weather systems across the country have moved in the opposite direction, like a drunken driver on a dark stretch of highway, drifting from east to west during the past two weeks. Read more at Climate Central. 

Climate-Related Power Outages Aren't Just a Coastal ProblemEerie images of flooded, pitch-black lower Manhattan following Superstorm Sandy made it clear just how stark an effect climate change and extreme weather can have on our everyday access to electricity.
A report from the U.S. Department of Energy released on last week shows that New York City and other coastal regions aren't the only ones at risk. And it's not just a question of the future. No American region, it turns out, has been exempt from the possibility of mass power outages. The report focuses on three major causes: rising temperatures; wider-spread, more severe droughts; and more devastating flooding, storms, and sea level rises.
DOE also created a map of energy and power-related disruptions over the past decade that experts have attributed to large-scale, long-term disruptions in climate and weather patterns. Read more at The Atlantic Cities 

Stanford climate scientist addresses misconceptions about climate change
The notion that we'll avoid serious damage to the world's climate if we limit the warming of the atmosphere to a 2-degree-Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in temperature is untrue, says Stanford climate scientist Chris Field.
Read more at Stanford News 

Interactive Map Links Climate Change and Wildfires in Western States
A new interactive tool produced by Climate Central illustrates how rising temperatures and reduced snowpack in the western U.S. have corresponded with an increase in wildfires in recent decades.
Based on federal wildfire data from 1970 to 2012, the graphic shows how large fires in some western states—including Arizona, Colorado and Idaho—have doubled or even tripled in four decades, a period when the average spring and summer temperatures in 11 states increased by more than 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Read more at EcoWatch.

What Does John Boehner Have to Lose by Debating Climate Change? 
Any Guesses? Read more at MapLight  

Snow and Arctic sea ice extent plummet suddenly as globe bakes
NOAA and NASA both ranked June 2013 among the top five warmest (NOAA fifth warmest, NASA second warmest) Junes on record globally (dating back to the late 1800s).  But, more remarkable, was the incredible snow melt that preceded the toasty month and the sudden loss of Arctic sea ice that followed.
The amazing decline in Northern Hemisphere snow cover during May is a story few have told, but is certainly worth noting. Read more at Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog.

The Haunting Melody of Global Warming
University of Minnesota undergrad Daniel Crawford did something very clever: He took surface air temperature data and converted them into musical notes, one for each year from 1880 to 2012, and played them on his cello. The result is, in a word, haunting:
Read more at Slate.

McCarthy sworn in at EPA after Senate vote
Gina McCarthy was sworn in Friday as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The swearing in took place a day after the Senate confirmed McCarthy in a 59-40 vote. 
The private ceremony took pace at the EPA’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, bringing to a close a four-month wait since President Obama nominated her for the post. Read more at The Hill.

EPA Climate Change Website

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