Assessing the Global Climate in January 2019, January 2019 was third warmest on record for the globe — @NOAA

From NOAA:

The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for January 2019 tied with 2007 as the third highest for the month of January in the NOAA global temperature record, which dates back to 1880.

This monthly summary, developed by scientists at NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business, academia and the public to support informed decision-making.

January 2019 Temperature

  • The January temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.58°F above the 20th century average of 53.6°F. This value tied with 2007 as the third highest for January in the 140-year record. Januaries 2016 (+1.91°F) and 2017 (+1.64°F) were warmer.
  • The 10 warmest January global land and ocean surface temperatures have all occurred since 2002.
  • Record-warm January surface temperatures were present across much of Australia and its adjacent Southern Ocean waters, southern Brazil, the ocean off the south coast of South Africa, and across parts of Africa, Asia, and the southeastern Pacific Ocean. No land or ocean areas had record-cold January temperatures.
  • The January globally averaged land surface temperature was 2.72°F above the 20th century average of 37.0°F. This was the fourth highest January land global temperature in the 1880–2019 record, trailing behind 2007 (warmest), 2016 (tied second warmest), and 2017 (tied second warmest).
  • The most notable warmer-than-normal land temperatures were present across much of Australia and across parts of northeastern and southwestern Asia, where temperatures were 7.2°F above average or higher. The most notable cool temperature departures from average during January were observed across much of northern North America, with temperatures 1.8°F below average or less.
  • On a continental level, Oceania had its warmest January since continental records began in 1910, while South America and Asia had their fifth warmest January on record. Meanwhile, North America’s January 2019 temperature was the coldest January since 2011.
  • The January globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.17°F above the 20th century monthly average of 60.5°F – the third highest global ocean temperature for January in the 1880–2019 record. The record January global ocean temperature was set in 2016. The year 2017 was the second warmest on record.
  • Sea Ice and Snow Cover

  • The January average Arctic sea ice extent was the sixth smallest in the 41-year record at 332,000 square miles (6.0 percent) below the 1981–2010 average, according to analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center using data from NOAA and NASA. Sea ice coverage was below average in Baffin Bay, as well as the Barents, Okhotsk, and Bering Seas.
  • Antarctic sea ice extent during January was 450,000 square miles (23.4 percent) below the 1981–2010 average, the second smallest January extent on record. Only the Antarctic sea ice extent in January 2017 was smaller.
  • According to data from NOAA and analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during January was 140,000 square miles above the 1981–2010 average. This ranked near the median value in the 53-year period of record. The North American and Eurasian snow cover extents were each slightly above average.
  • For a more complete summary of climate conditions and events, see our January 2019 Global Climate Report.

    Paper: Mechanisms of a coniferous woodland persistence under drought and heat

    Piñon pine (Juniperus_occidentalis). Photo credit: Wikimedia

    Click here to read the paper. Here’s the abstract:

    Predictions of warmer droughts causing increasing forest mortality are becoming abundant, yet fewer studies have investigated the mechanisms of forest persistence. To examine the resistance of forests to warmer droughts, we used a five-year precipitation reduction (~45% removal), heat (+4°C above ambient) and combined drought and heat experiment in an isolated stand of mature Pinus edulis-Juniperus monosperma. Despite severe experimental drought and heating, no trees died, and we observed only minor evidence of hydraulic failure or carbon starvation. Two mechanisms promoting survival were supported. First, access to bedrock water, or ‘hydraulic refugia’ aided trees in their resistance to the experimental conditions. Second, the isolation of this stand amongst a landscape of dead trees precluded ingress by Ips confusus, frequently the ultimate biotic mortality agent of piñon. These combined abiotic and biotic landscape-scale processes can moderate the impacts of future droughts on tree mortality by enabling tree avoidance of hydraulic failure, carbon starvation, and exposure to attacking abiotic agents.

    #AnimasRiver: Sunnyside Gold wants @EPA out of the #GoldKingMine cleanup

    This image was taken during the peak outflow from the Gold King Mine spill at 10:57 a.m. Aug. 5. The waste-rock dump can be seen eroding on the right. Federal investigators placed blame for the blowout squarely on engineering errors made by the Environmental Protection Agency’s-contracted company in a 132-page report released Thursday [October 22, 2015]

    Good luck with that.

    From The Durango Herald (Jonathan Romeo):

    Is it a conflict of interest for the Environmental Protection Agency, responsible for the Gold King Mine spill, to lead the Superfund cleanup of mine pollution around Silverton? The last company to operate a mine in Silverton, which is also possibly on the hook for cleanup costs, seems to think so.

    Sunnyside Gold Corp. on Monday sent a letter to the acting inspector general for the EPA, Charles Sheehan, asking the EPA be investigated for its part in the Superfund site and ultimately be recused as the lead agency in the cleanup.

    “The conflict of interest is clear,” Kevin Roach, director of reclamation for Sunnyside Gold, wrote in an email to The Durango Herald. “EPA caused the Gold King spill, which led to the Superfund listing, and resulted in the EPA being a defendant in multiple lawsuits.”

    […]

    Roach said the “conflict” has made the EPA incapable of cleaning up the site in an “even-handed” manner.

    @COWaterTrust, Grand Valley Irrigators, and the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District ink water deal for fish and hydroelectric generation #ColoradoRiver #COriver

    Max Schmidt, general manager of the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District in Palisade. (Photo by Osha Gray Davidson)

    From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

    A deal announced Tuesday will help both endangered fish in the Colorado River and the aging Grand Valley Power Plant hydroelectric facility near Palisade.

    The Colorado Water Trust has reached a five-year deal with the Grand Valley Waters Users Association and the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District, the operators of the facility. Under the deal, water the nonprofit Colorado Water Trust will secure from upstream sources may be delivered to the nearly century-old plant during critical times of year, helping provide adequate water levels for fish in an important 15-mile stretch of the river just downstream of the plant.

    Andy Schultheiss, executive director of the Colorado Water Trust, said a major goal is to deliver more water to the fish in the spring to help counter a drop in river flows that results when irrigation diversions have begun but runoff from mountain snowpack is still minimal. He said that phenomenon has come to be known as the “April hole,” although it has actually begun to happen earlier in the year. Warming temperatures have accelerated the start of irrigation and runoff seasons in Colorado.

    Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program

    The agreement is designed to help humpback chub, Colorado pikeminnow and other native endangered fish in the river. It also will benefit the plant and its operators by enabling the plant to run at a higher capacity when it doesn’t get enough water from other sources, including its own water rights, to maximize power production.

    That should mean more revenue for the plant’s operators. In addition, the Colorado Water Trust has committed to contribute $425,000 to a $5.4 million rehabilitation project at the plant, which is nearly a century old. A Walton Family Foundation grant is making that contribution possible.

    Schultheiss said the trust benefits by getting the ability to deliver water from upstream to the fish, without the possibility of the water being diverted by other users before it gets there. He said what has frustrated conservationists trying to get more water to what’s known as the 15-Mile Reach is that it can’t be protected from other upstream users unless there’s a purpose for it.

    “It just so happens this plant is just upstream of the 15 Mile Reach so it’s perfectly located,” he said.

    He said the trust will likely contract for water from an upstream reservoir for the project.

    The upgrade work at the plant also will help protect the plant’s senior water rights, which benefit the fish. Those rights let the plant pull water from the Colorado River headwaters to the 15-Mile Reach without that water being available to holders of more junior upstream water rights.

    “Working in partnership with the Colorado Water Trust to rehabilitate the Grand Valley Power Plant and more effectively utilize the capacity in the system is a win-win proposition,” Max Schmidt of the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District said in a news release.

    Mark Harris of the Grand Valley Water Users Association said in the release, “In times of increased pressure on water supplies throughout the state, projects like this that further the interests of multiple sectors are sorely needed.”

    In the release, Tom Chart, director of the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, which is led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, applauded those involved for “crafting this one-of-a-kind agreement.”