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California Emergency as Huge Yosemite Fire ‘Rim Fire’ Doubles in Size

37.8N 119.5W

August 26th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Fires VIIRSSuomi-NPP

USA – August 24th, 2013

Night Image – Fire Front

Firefighters in California are struggling to gain control of a huge wildfire which has reached the edge of Yosemite National Park. The Rim Fire covers nearly 225 sq miles (582 sq km) and threatens a major reservoir serving San Francisco.

The detail image shows the extent of the fire front. The image acquired during the day of the 24 August can be compared with the image taken at night on the same day.

The fire is just 7% contained after burning for more than a week, officials say, up from 2% containment on Friday. Strong winds have fanned the flames closer to nearby towns raising the risk of flying debris sparking more fires.

More than 5,000 homes are endangered by the blaze, which began on 17 August from still unknown causes in the Stanislaus National Forest.

Falling Water Levels in the Salton Sea, USA – June 19th, 2013

33.2N 115.7W

June 19th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes MODISTerra

USA – June 17th, 2013

The Salton Sea is a victim of climate change and reduced quantities of water. The Salton Sea is (still) the largest lake of California. Lately, however, the water levels in the Sea have dropped with as much as 3 feet a year. Many fear that if nothing is done about it, there will be nothing left of the lake in a few decades.

This will cause new problems. Palm Springs, 35 miles north, fears dust storms of pesticide polluted salt particles. Environmentalists fear for the millions of migratory birds for whom this is the last remaining wetland in California. So far all initiatives to save the sea have failed. The Salton Sea is a perfect example of the choices that are made when the water runs out – the big cities and massive agricultural lands are priviledged (click here for more information).

Climate Change Scenarios for California, USA – May 23rd, 2013

37.7N 122.4W

May 23rd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day

USA – May 22nd, 2013

This image focuses on the San Francisco Bay region of the US state of California. Climate model simulations used to investigate possible changes in regional climate over California have predicted that by the end of the twenty-first century, temperatures in the state will increase by 2°C to 6°C (about 3.5 °F to 11°F). While there is greater warming in summer than in winter, all simulations indicate that hot daytime and nighttime temperatures (heat waves) will increase in frequency, magnitude, and duration.

Projected precipitation is marked by considerable variability: in the southern half of California, the models show a decline in annual precipitation. Sea level rise predictions range from 77 cm to 140 cm (30 to 55 in) over historical levels by 2100. The rise of mean sea level would provoke an increase in extreme events, as gaged by exceedances above a relatively high or rare historical threshold. Such events are becoming much more frequent and have longer durations than has been seen historically (click here for more information).

Coastal California and Climate Change

37.7N 122.4W

April 21st, 2013 Category: Climate Change

USA – April 21st, 2013

A mechanism exists whereby global greenhouse warming could, by intensifying the alongshore wind stress on the ocean surface, lead to acceleration of coastal upwelling. Evidence from several different regions suggests that the major coastal upwelling systems of the world have been growing in upwelling intensity as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the earth’s atmosphere. Thus the cool foggy summer conditions that typify the coastlands of California and other similar upwelling regions might, under global warming, become even more pronounced. Effects of enhanced upwelling on the marine ecosystem are uncertain but potentially dramatic (click here for more information).

Climate Change and Fires in Great Central Valley, California, USA

37.7N 121.7W

April 18th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Fires

USA – April 17th, 2013

Although the Great Central Valley of California appears quite peaceful from above, a look at the full image reveals several fires, marked by red squares. Scientists have attributed an increase in fires in this region to factors such as extended drought, forest die-offs from insect infestation and human encroachment, while insisting that the main culprit is climate change.