Spotlight on green news & views: Polar vortex splits; mountain glaciers melt; Pruitt flies high

This is the 545th edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) usually appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Here is the February 7 Green Spotlight. More than 28,(380) environmentally oriented stories have been rescued to appear in this series since 2006. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.


Besame writes—Daily Bucket: Rogue Wolf Girl Looking for Hot California Lover: “A young female wolf from Oregon’s Rogue Pack was tracked entering eastern Siskiyou County California in late January. OR-54 probably is the daughter of the first wolf to enter California in a 100 years, OR-7, and likely is dispersing in search of a mate or another pack. She was trapped in Oregon in early October 2017 and outfitted with a radio collar to help key tabs on southern Oregon’s Rogue Pack and is the only member of that pack wearing a tracking collar. Around the time she was trapped, biologists also spotted OR-7 on a camera trap so as of last fall, he was still alive and well. In 2014, OR-7 fathered the first wolf pack in southwestern Oregon in more than six decades. He and his mate also had litters each of the next three springs. OR-7 will turn 9 years old this spring. The average life span of wolves in the wild is 6 years, fish and wildlife statistics show. […]  If I were a young wolf in Oregon, I’d want to GTFO too. Some ranchers don’t bother to follow livestock predation risk reduction practices and then are fired up when they lose cattle. They want the state to list wolves as “invasive species” (because yeah sure cattle are totally natural and have precedence due to their ecosystem importance). Wolves have been killed for the joy of being a mighty wolf hunter AKA poaching.”

The stratospheric polar vortex, which normally in winter is one cold vortex spinning around the pole has split in two. The light blue color shows areas of intense heating caused by atmospheric wave energy that spun up from the lower atmosphere. The map shows Northern Hemispheric circulation at 10mb in the high stratosphere for 12Feb18 10amEST. Powerful heating is driven by planetary wave number 2.

FishOutofWater writes—Polar vortex splits, record high heat into polar stratosphere, record low Arctic sea ice: “The most powerful episode of poleward heat transport into the stratosphere on record has split the stratospheric polar vortex in two. The polar vortex forms in the winter in the stratosphere when there is no UV energy to heat the ozone in the upper stratosphere. A zone of high winds, called the polar night jet, normally spins high above the Arctic. Normally there is one cyclonic vortex centered near the pole. Right now, there is a weak, warm anticyclone above the pole and there are two cold cyclonic vortices spinning over north America and Eurasia. There is intense compressional heating above the Labrador sea and central Eurasia caused by this planetary wave number 2 of unprecedented power. The image [below] shows what Northern Hemisphere planetary wave no. 2 looks like — warm over the Arctic and oceans — cold over the continents. This wave pattern is intensified by the presence of warm water and the loss of sea ice on the Atlantic side of the Arctic. […] The possible impact of the polar vortex split on the weather is complicated, but there has been consistency between models and consistency within models that cold air will be be displaced towards northern Eurasia for the next six weeks. Thus, northern and central Siberia, which are normally very cold this time of year will be even colder than normal.  Western Europe may also be colder than normal because cold easterly flow off of the continent will be enhanced by strong Siberian high pressure. Most of the continental U.S. will likely be cooler than normal in March while Alaska will be likely be warmer than normal.”