Climate Impact Report – 01/13

Quick Facts

Storm Izzy

will pack hefty snow amounts, significant icing, heavy rain and gusty winds all throughout the Eastern Seaboard

air pollution

Wildfires and rising temperatures are exposing more and more Americans to air pollution of smoke and smog

record warm

Gulf of Maine waters spiked to record warm levels in fall 2021

Key Facts Of The Day 1/13

Storms and Flooding

  • This coming MLK weekend Winter Storm Izzy will pack hefty snow amounts, significant icing, heavy rain and gusty winds all throughout the Eastern Seaboard and across inland areas.

    • Winter storm warnings, watches, and weather advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service for parts of the Midwest. Additional watches and warnings will likely be issued farther south and east along the path of this storm as the forecast comes into focus.

    • The heaviest snow – at least 6 inches – is expected in a band from central and eastern North Dakota and northeastern South Dakota across western Minnesota, Iowa and far northern Missouri.

    • Locally heavy snow amounts are also possible from southern Missouri and northern Arkansas into Kentucky.

    • In addition to snow, accumulations of sleet or ice are possible from parts of northern Georgia into northern South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. In some of these areas, accumulations could be enough to not only slick roads, but also down trees and knock out power.

    • Strong winds beginning Saturday night over the Southeast could heighten the threat of downing trees and power lines laden with ice and snow accumulations.

    • The winter storm that has the potential to bring snow or a mix of snow, sleet and rain to the New Jersey region this weekend.

    • Should the storm manage to drift 50 miles or so off the coast while heading northward, I-95 cities from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston could be buried in snow with little or no rain and ice mixing in


  • As of Friday, there are currently 0 large active wildfires. As of Friday, 165 wildfires have burned 1,729 acres across the country.

  • Previous research has shown that microbes, fungi, and bacteria live in the smoke of wildfires.

    • Scientists are now studying the health risks of bacterial or fungal infections from wildfire smoke.

  • Wildfires impact our health and the environment, and climate change is the main driver.

    • Wildfires are now burning six times as many acres compared to the last several decades, with the fire season lasting nearly three months longer than they did in the 1970s.

    • Climate change is making wildfire situations worse with the combination of higher temperatures and limited precipitation leads to drier forests and vegetation.

    • When fires are larger and more frequent, greenhouse gases can’t be removed from the atmosphere if trees don’t grow back in time before burning in the next fire.

    • The air quality from smoke leads to respiratory concerns, and carcinogens can contaminate both the air and water sources.

  • Wildfires and rising temperatures are exposing more and more Americans to air pollution of smoke and smog.

    • Ground-level ozone is the main ingredient in smog, and reaches its highest levels on hot, sunny days.

    • Over the short term, they can make it harder to breathe, and aggravate existing heart disease or lung conditions like asthma.

    • Simultaneous exposure to both types of air pollution may compound the damage.

    • One driver of the increase in temperatures and wildfires is climate change.

Extreme Heat

  • December 2021 was Georgia’s second hottest December on record with temperatures averaging 56.6 degrees.

    • On Georgia’s blueberry and peach farms, growers are concerned that the warmth could leave them vulnerable to damage from a late-season freeze, or that the lack of cold could prevent plants from growing healthy fruit.

  • Gulf of Maine waters spiked to record warm levels in fall 2021.

    • The gulf has seen an onslaught of marine heat waves and is warming faster than 96% of the world’s oceans.

    • The gulf experienced marine heat wave conditions for most of 2021, with only brief breaks in March, April and the end of July.

    • Heat wave conditions returned in August and remained through the rest of the year.

    • In the past year, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute received reports of unusual animals in the area including blue crabs, black sea bass and a smooth hammerhead shark.

    • Offshore marine species, such as river herring and striped bass, are also sticking around longer instead of migrating.

  • BYU researchers developed drought-resistant quinoa as nations face food challenges.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration this week announced a plan for addressing extreme heat that includes recommendations on how to monitor deaths caused by heat waves and the possible establishment of temperature limits for residential units.

  • Drought conditions persist despite record-setting snow and deluge of rain out West.

    • The Sierra Nevada saw nearly 18 feet of snow in just one month and still California is in desperate need of more precipitation to replenish water levels now at a crisis point.

    • Much of California remains under moderate-to-extreme drought conditions.

  • Warm, dry Santa Ana winds return to Southern California as drought drags on.

    • Peak Santa Ana wind season typically runs from October through January, and without enough rain, fire season can drag on.

  • Oregon’s snowpack increased, but drought conditions persist.

    • Nearly 96% of the state is still in a drought category due to weather conditions the state has experienced over recent years.

  • Pasadena received more rain in December than the entire previous ‘water year,’ but drought conditions persists.

  • Maui County, Hawaii drought alleviates after one of the wettest Decembers in half a century.

    • Current conditions show no areas of “exceptional,” “extreme,” “severe” or even “moderate” drought in Maui County and the rest of the state.

    • A month ago, Maui County was riddled with all five levels of drought, ranging from “abnormally dry,” the least intense, to “exceptional,” the most intense.

New Reports And Data

  • A January 2022 study found that the thaw of permafrost is set to damage buildings and roads, leading to tens of billions of euros in additional costs in the near future.

  • A January 2022 report  found that winters in the U.S. are getting ‘extraordinarily warm’ due to climate change.

  • A January 2022 study found that predator species may buffer the negative impacts of climate change by mitigating against the loss of biodiversity.


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