Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Water, Watergate, and Warmth in TrumpWorld: U.S. Mid-Atlantic Record Wet, Russian Arctic Record Heat, and Some Pretty Sunset Pictures

Sunset view from the Watergate Hotel rooftop bar looking upriver of the Potomac River, Washington, D.C., 7:58 p.m. May 14, 2019


The pictures in this entry are from yesterday when I left work and, rather than going to the gym as I had planned, I walked across the National Mall to the Watergate complex and stopped at the Top of the Gate bar atop the Watergate Hotel, where I had a couple of drinks (for a ridiculously high price) before walking home up New Hampshire Ave -- stopping at DIK bar where Brett was working.

The Washington Monument as seen from 15th Street ("unit block SW"), Washington, D.C., 6:58 p.m. May 14, 2019

Of note, the approximately 130-year old Mulberry tree near the base of the Monument partially toppled over -- because of the wet soil, wind, and/or overweight tourists in MAGA baseball caps climbing all over it.

Picture sent out in a NPS tweet, May 14, 2019


I did this because the weather was so lovely yesterday evening: Gusty-breezy, variably cloudy (although it cleared up by sunset), and refreshingly cool with temps only around 58F (and a wind that made it feel cold enough that a fleece hoodie was advisable).

As it is, the heat and humidity of summer are quickly approaching -- whether or not we remain in as wet a pattern as we have been.

A graceful tree (and two smaller ones) growing along the Potomac River near the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge (with the Arlington Memorial Bridge visible in the image), Washington, D.C.., 7:33 p.m. May 14, 2019.


About that, here is a Capital Weather Gang (CWG) entry noting that the 365-day period ending has, in fact, been the wettest officially on record for D.C. (presently as measured at KDCA).

Here is the key excerpt:

Washingtonians have just slogged through the soggiest one-year stretch recorded in the city. After a sopping-wet weekend with about an inch and a half of rain, Washington has received 71.05 inches of rain (and melted snow) in the past 365 days.

Baltimore and Dulles also completed their wettest 365-day periods Sunday, tallying 75.96 and 73.10 inches.

It's the wettest 365-day period in Washington since record-keeping began in 1871, Jason Elliott, a hydrologist at the National Weather Service office serving the region, confirmed.

He said the excess rain increases the risk of flooding, but “on the plus side, everything’s really nice and green."

This amount of rain is more than any of the 10 rainiest cities in the U.S. receive in an average year, including New Orleans and Miami.

Here is a table from that entry:

As you can see, because it is a running 365-day total, during this extended wet period, it is easy to continually set new records -- hence the bunching up of seven of the top ten wettest 365-day periods in the past five weeks.

I was actually going to repost that entry in full, but I think I will instead post one that I think better emphasizes the climate change issue and brings me to the topic of this entry.

Wider view from the Watergate Hotel rooftop bar looking upriver with some of the skyscrapers of Rosslyn visible, Washington, D.C., 7:58 p.m. May 14, 2019.

Yes, my flip-open cellphone camera sucks.


I would like to repost in full a CWG entry from yesterday on the record-breaking heat this past weekend in portions of the Russian Arctic (in the fatefully appropriately-named Russian city of Arkhangelsk) not far from the Arctic Ocean and the Finnish border -- and the not-coincidental relentless rise in atmospheric CO2 levels (415 ppm). 

I admit upfront that this is not all due to the existence of Donald Trump or the GOP inverted Marxist and ethno-racial-panicked cult that enables him.

Yours truly at the Watergate Hotel "Top of the Gate" rooftop bar, Washington, D.C., 7:59 p.m. May 14, 2019


It reached 84F (29C) at Arkhangelsk -- and 87F (31C) in the rural area of Koynas east of the city. Meanwhile, the Mauna Loa observatory CO2 reading reached at all-time high of 415.26 ppm.

At this point the cult-like GOP and its deranged demigod and would-be dictator are too busy "winning" and "owning the libs" to pay any attention to anthropogenic climate change (i.e., "global warming").

Another picture of me from the Watergate Hotel rooftop bar at sunset, Washington, D.C., 8:00 p.m. May 14, 2019


This week's installment of Trump-era "owing the libs" is a sudden reignition of the abortion wars -- only this time, it appears that the GOP really is in a position to overturn Roe v. Wade within about a year even as the usual slew of Red States devise clever ways to do an end-run around what is ostensibly a constitutional right. (Funny how the most ignorant Red State pols actually can be very creative when they want to be.)

The post-Roe v. Wade political culture will be interesting to ponder for how things play out -- and the extent to which it contributes to the further fraying and tribal fragmentation of the country fading cohesion.

But this entry is not about that topic or, indeed, any political matter.

Sunset view from the Watergate Hotel rooftop bar, Washington, D.C., 8:08 p.m. May 14, 2019

Oh, yes, I caught the exact moment -- at 8:24 p.m. -- when the strobe lights on the Hughes Memorial Tower switched to the nighttime red LED flashing ones. Most of the other transmission towers do the same thing (though not the one on River Road in Bethesda).


Let's just stick to climate change (a subject that is political in the United States only because people insist on "not believing it," as if it were a theology or ideology rather than simple statement of fact.

It was 84 degrees near the Arctic Ocean this weekend as carbon dioxide hit its highest level in human history

By Jason Samenow
Washington Post, CWG
May 14, 2019

Link here.

(I'm not including the inline text links. For those, see the CWG link above.)

Over the weekend, the climate system sounded simultaneous alarms. Near the entrance to the Arctic Ocean in northwest Russia, the temperature surged to 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 Celsius). Meanwhile, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eclipsed 415 parts per million for the first time in human history.

By themselves, these are just data points. But taken together with so many indicators of an altered atmosphere and rising temperatures, they blend into the unmistakable portrait of human-induced climate change.

Saturday's steamy 84-degree reading was posted in Arkhangelsk, Russia, where the average high temperature is around 54 this time of year. The city of 350,000 people sits next to the White Sea, which feeds into the Arctic Ocean's Barents Sea.

In Koynas, a rural area to the east of Arkhangelsk, it was even hotter on Sunday, soaring to 87 degrees (31 Celsius). Many locations in Russia, from the Kazakhstan border to the White Sea, set record-high temperatures over the weekend, some 30 to 40 degrees (around 20 Celsius) above average. The warmth also bled west into Finland, which hit 77 degrees (25 Celsius) Saturday, the country’s warmest temperature of the season so far.

The abnormally warm conditions in this region stemmed from a bulging zone of high pressure centered over western Russia. This particular heat wave, while a manifestation of the arrangement of weather systems and fluctuations in the jet stream, fits into what has been an unusually warm year across the Arctic and most of the mid-latitudes.

In Greenland, for example, the ice sheet's melt season began about a month early. In Alaska, several rivers saw winter ice break up on their earliest dates on record.

Across the Arctic overall, the extent of sea ice has hovered near a record low for weeks.

Data from the Japan Meteorological Agency show April was the second warmest on record for the entire planet.

These changes all have occurred against the backdrop of unremitting increases in carbon dioxide, which has now crossed another symbolic threshold.

Saturday's carbon dioxide measurement of 415 parts per million at Hawaii's Mauna Loa Observatory is the highest in at least 800,000 years and probably over 3 million years. Carbon dioxide levels have risen by nearly 50 percent since the Industrial Revolution.

The clip at which carbon dioxide has built up in the atmosphere has risen in recent years. Ralph Keeling, director of the program that monitors the gas at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, tweeted that its accumulation in the last year is "on the high end."

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that, along with the rise of several other such heat-trapping gases, is the primary cause of climate warming in recent decades, scientists have concluded.

Eighteen of the 19 warmest years on record for the planet have occurred since 2000, and we keep observing these highly unusual and often record-breaking high temperatures.

They won't stop soon, but cuts to greenhouse emissions would eventually slow them down.

Of note, this entry had well over 1,000 comments -- which is very high for a CWG entry, although as of now, I can't see any comments -- they appear to have disappeared.

OK, that's all for now. I will try to post another entry either later tonight or tomorrow. As usual, I'm backed up on planned entries.

Update before posting: I would have posted this entry around 7:30 p.m., but I ended up fucking up with a certain back command, thus losing the entire entry, and thus needing to recreate it. That's OK, though, because GOD is nothing but fucking love. Sideways.


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