Climate Impact Report – 12/08

Quick Facts

record high

temperatures broken in the first three days of December in Colorado


December temperatures were also found in Wyoming, Montana, Washington and North Dakota


large active wildfires that have burned 105,279 acres across AK, CA, KY, MT, NC, OK, and WV

Key Facts Of The Day 12/8

Storms and Flooding

  • As of Tuesday, flash floods and heavy rains from a severe kona low battered Hawaii for a second day.

    • It is rare for a kona low to stall directly over the Hawaiian islands.

    • The islands have largely been spared the landslides and catastrophic floods that officials had been concerned about.

    • Honolulu saw waist deep floods in urban areas that were caused in part by clogged drains.

    • One woman had to be rescued from her home on Oahu after the wall of her home collapsed.

    • Flash flood watches were issued from Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday morning for Niihau and Kauai.

    • Maui had the state’s highest recorded rainfall with 20 inches on Monday and Tuesday.

    • Monday was the wettest December day in Honolulu since the Weather Service began tracking rainfall in 1940.

    • Hawaiian Electric said that power would not be restored in downtown Honolulu until Wednesday morning.

  • Caltrans will be keeping three mountain passes connecting Nevada to California closed as a precaution ahead of this week’s forecasted storms.

    • The National Weather Service is forecasting snowfall from a storm system this week.

  • In a warmer climate, hurricanes will speed toward the Northeast coast more quickly and then slow down once they arrive, causing more damage and floods in vulnerable coastal communities.

    • Climate change will make Norfolk, Virginia and Boston, Massachusetts more at risk from tropical storms by the end of this century.


  • As of Friday, there are currently 13 large active wildfires that have burned 105,279 acres across AK, CA, KY, MT, NC, OK, and WV. As of Friday, 54,350 wildfires have burned 6,802,729 acres across the country.

    • As of Friday, the KNP Complex fire burned 88,307 acres and was 80% contained.

  • Wildfires produced a record amount of carbon emissions in parts of Siberia, the United States and Turkey this year.

    • The climate crisis fanned intense blazes that emitted 1.76 billion tons of carbon globally in 2021, which is equivalent to more than double Germany’s annual CO2 emissions.

    • In North America, fires in Canada, California and the US Pacific north-west emitted about 83 million tons of CO2, emitting huge smoke plumes that drifted across the Atlantic to reach Europe.

  • In Salem, Oregon, a new homeless shelter is opening with the first priority going to wildfire victims.

    • 24 families or individuals who were victims of a deadly wildfire two summers ago will move in.

    • After the wildfire victims needing homes move out, the Arches Inn will open to the rest of the houseless population.

  • California regulators failed to protect outdoor workers from wildfire smoke.

    • Farmworkers in California work outside even during wildfires that fill the air with toxic smoke.

    • California law requires employers to provide mask and safety guidance during those periods of dangerous air.

    • An investigation by KQED and The California Newsroom found that state officials rarely enforce those rules putting roughly 4 million outdoor workers at risk.

  • Inhaled microscopic particles from wildfire smoke work their way into the bloodstream and reach the brain, and may put people at risk for neurological problems ranging from premature aging and various forms of dementia to depression and even psychosis.

Extreme Heat

  • Colorado is abnormally warm right now with record high temperatures broken in the first three days of December.

    • It’s still unclear how much snow will end up falling in Colorado.

    • A potentially warmer, drier Colorado winter is also tied to La Niña, which is occurring for the second year in a row.

    • These weather conditions culminated in a “haboob” dust storm that wafted over the Denver area on Sunday.

    • If temperatures stay warm, precipitation is more likely to fall as rain, much of which would be lost as runoff.

  • Hottest-recorded December temperatures were also found in Wyoming, Montana, Washington and North Dakota.

  • Many city residents are vocalizing their concerns about heat islands in vulnerable communities.

    • One resident helped organize the Nature’s Cooling Systems project, leading community discussions in three Phoenix-area hot spots.

      • In Edison-Eastlake, pavements can reach upwards of 150 degrees in the summer.

      • In Mesa Care, residents spoke of after-school walking routes in need of shade.

      •  In Roesley Park, they cited high electric bills, vacant lots, and a simple lack of investment.

  • Unseasonably warm temperatures are forecasted in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    • The expected lack of rainfall means the region likely will remain in a severe drought.

New Reports And Data

  • A December 2021 study found that snowmelt could decrease over the continental U.S. and southern Canada but increase in Alaska and northern Canada resulting in larger flooding vulnerabilities.

  • A December 2021 study found that retreating glaciers in the Pacific mountains of western North America could produce around 6,150 kilometers of new Pacific salmon habitat by the year 2100.

  • A December 2021 study found a link between long-term exposure to air pollution and fatty liver disease.


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