Forecasts For Ecosystems (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.)
By NOAA’s definition “Ecological forecasting” predicts changes in ecosystems and ecosystem components in response to an environmental driver such as climate variability, extreme weather conditions, pollution, or habitat change. It also provides information about how people, economies, and communities may be affected.
The easy bit is that forecast and predictions allow us, humans, to make decisions, adopt measures and take the coat before getting out.
The real problem comes from getting the information into the ecosystems so they do not get fooled flowering and growing leafs just before a blast of polar air comes in their way. How can we make forecasts for ecosystems?
The last blast of cold air coming over Spain left most of the harvest for almond completely ruined. Trees were already flowering under a warmer than normal period of mild conditions when a sudden strong drop in temperature broke the process.
Just where I live in Ourense Spain, the 18th of Feb 2016 I took the following images from some trees within the outskirts of the city.
On the left we can see how trees were already growing leafs (green colour) when a previous drop in temp interrupted the process provoking damage (from red to brown colour). On the right side we can see trees already flowering under a contrast of temperatures moving from steadily warm to sudden drops.
More to come
A new cold wave is expected for this weekend from 25thFeb 2016.
Late-week storm to unleash rain and chilly winds in Spain, Portugal and France.
Accuweather. By Eric Leister, Meteorologist February 25, 2016; 4:40 PM ET
A moisture-laden storm from the Atlantic Ocean will bring a variety of disruptive weather to the Iberian Peninsula and South of France Friday into Saturday.
The storm will arrive with a band of rain sweeping from west to east across Portugal and Spain during Friday and Friday evening.
The steadiest rain with pockets of heavier downpours will reach Santiago de Compostela, Porto and Lisbon in the morning before spreading to Seville, Cordoba and Madrid in the afternoon and then Murica and Barcelona at night.
The forecast by Accuweather is much milder than the one given by the Spanish Meteorological Agency which has already issued several warnings for snow at such low altitude levels as 400m, altogether with rain, wind and cold conditions.
Such warnings are a combination of cold temperatures, precipitation and strong winds from the Polar Jet Stream coming over the Peninsula.
One step beyond the news
Each time a weather event occurs makes the news. But in order to make the news has to be different, new.
Apart form the timing, it does not seem to be the case in many weather events occurring this winter, and I would say in the recent years. Same patterns seem to be repeating in the Pacific and Atlantic basins. What is intriguing is the zonification for the distribution of those. In North America the division is by longitude. In Europe, this year so far there was snow in low latitudes like Canary Islands meanwhile Sweden had to reduce the number of stages in the World rally event due to lack of snow. Even UK and Germany have enjoyed milder conditions than Spain, showing a division in latitude but no correlation with a distribution following latitudes. This weekend, 26thFeb2016, such circumstance is being happening again where UK will have milder weather conditions than Spain with no warnings being activated there.
The reason behind such contrasts can be assessed in different ways. We can claim that it is result of a weak Polar Jet Stream allowing polar masses of air breaking into low latitudes. We can also blame it to trans-longitudinal movements of polar masses of air coming from the West into the East which trigger pronounced Rossby Waves and the development of strong fronts and troughs bringing cold weather. One way or another, my assessment is that we have seen one after another displacements of cold air from the Arctic due convective forcing from warmer masses of air getting into high latitudes and altitudes.
It has happened before:
It is happening again:
And based on my previous assessments over the configuration of the Polar Jet Stream, Polar vortex, Pacific and Atlantic circulation combined altogether across the Arctic, I presume that these events of masses of air crossing latitudes will be prolonged in time through spring.
The nature of the problem
I have defended in other discussions that there is much attention over how variations in atmospheric dynamics might have an impact over the ecosystems. And yet, there is a big lack of understanding over the implications coming from the reaction triggered in those ecosystems under the pressure of anomalous conditions over the synergies existent with the climatic stability of the whole system. We have to remember that ecosystems are the result of the interaction between biotic and none biotic components. So unstable conditions in any of both sides affect the stability of the whole system.
From the field of Aerobiology studying the biological content of the atmosphere all the way across all other disciplines, we are looking at how thermodynamics affect biological systems but we are not getting into which mechanisms are getting activated in the biological system towards taming the weather.
The global system is a battle between thermodynamic interactions pushing towards entropy (system’s disorder) and the biological system trying to contain and organise the energy being introduced in such chaos.
I am not going to discuss here how human activities are helping one of both sides. You just have to think if those activities are helping to contain the constant entering energy in our system in a stable state or if it is getting released wildly (more discussion here).
In any case, even if we would try to warn ecosystem about what it is coming for them to be prepared, I don´t think we have the “language skills” for it. Sort of speaking.
We can prepare for anything to come, but, is the health state of our ecosystems in good shape to cope with instability?
This blog original idea has always been to bring forward discussions over topics which I believe deserve the appropriate attention.
Many times two particular postures come in place on debating climatic variability and anthropogenic forcing. One is about the fragility of nature and the other the limited power of anthropogenic action in comparison with the forces of nature.
The beauty of nature can be found in the surface of the Sun, Venus, Mars and the Moon. There is nothing which can be said about which expression of nature is healthier. We can only look at which is the most suitable for us to survive.
There are forces beyond our comprehension acting in any expression of nature. Gravity, planetary alignment, Atomic radiation from stars like our Sun, cosmic radiation from out space, rotation and translation and inner sources of energy like Earth’s core dynamics, magnetic shielding or tectonic pulses makes our environment full of variability and diversity. The state which allowed the development, growth and expansion of humans was defined by the characteristic balance between those forces and biological systems. So biological systems are the line of defence against changes in this balance which allow conditions suitable for our comfort. The state of this line of defence is what is coming into debate in the actual times. Not only to perform against changes but also to recover from them.
If the capacity that human activity has grown into for transforming the biological environment in our planet reach the point of limiting the capacity for this system to perform against those forces, the conditions we have enjoyed until now will change.
Can the specie adapt to those changes? It depends. Humans have demonstrated that they can adapt to any condition around the planet. The question is, how many resources will be required? How further will the consumption of resources transform the biological environment? And for how long consumption and transformation can be a line of action to adapt?
In another side of things, it is a common practise to look at past climatic events to predict future changes. The line of thought applied is always considering that the health state of our ecosystems now and then are the same. One question remains. Can we compare the capacity of our ecosystems to face and recover from fluctuations between past and present climatic times?
If I believe for real what I foresee as possible, don´t expect 30 years waiting to be in deep trouble. Signals from the Equator are coming to the North and signals from the Arctic are going to lower and lower latitudes.
That will redistribute biotopes and they are whom absorb climatic variations through evapotranspiration rates, which are specific for each biotope genetically. (see category Biological Productivity)
I believe everything relies on diversity. If we want to accept the concept of variability in our climate we can not rely on Specialised holdings and intensive practices. Even GMOs are made to deliver in a defined scenario, not to cope with changes. (see category GMOs)
Heat is thermal energy. It can be transferred from one place to another by conduction, convection and radiation. Conduction and convection involve particles, radiation involves electromagnetic waves. Heat can only be transferred between “existent” molecules. Without them, like in out-space, there is not temperature or heat transference. Our atmosphere contains heat because it contains molecular compounds absorbing and transferring heat.
The case of GHGs is that they are among the most thermal conductive molecular compounds found in the atmosphere.
It is like cooking dry food. You need a substance to transfer the heat to cook aliments. Oil is good but water gets the heat inside the food cause its heat properties. There is no diffusion of heat in a vacuum or thermal flask.
Therefore it is important to understand the type and concentration of atmospheric gases since they are the ones holding the heat that we measure as temperature.
Since October 2013 I have been studying the behaviour of the Polar Jet Stream and the weather events associated as well as the implications derived into atmospheric dynamics and environmental synergies.
Many of the atmospheric configurations and weather and climate events we see these days are very similar with the progression followed since 2013. Please take a look at posts addressing those events from previous publications in this blog or look at the categories in the top menu. Also at research-gate. Feedback is always welcomed (d.fdezsevilla(at)gmail.com).
- New theory proposal to assess possible changes in Atmospheric Circulation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on October 21, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-k3
- Why there is no need for the Polar Vortex to break in order to have a wobbling Jet Stream and polar weather? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on November 14, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-mt
- State of the Polar Vortex. Broken? From 29 Nov 2014 to 5th Jan 2015 (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla). Posted on November 29, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-o7
- Gathering data to make visible the invisible (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on December 22, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-pN
- Probability in the atmospheric circulation dictating the Weather (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on January 15, 2015. http://wp.me/p403AM-rm
- Meteorological Outlook Feb 2015 (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on February 7, 2015. http://wp.me/p403AM-sU
- Revisiting the theory of “Facing a decrease in the differential gradients of energy in atmospheric circulation” by Diego Fdez-Sevilla. Posted on February 10, 2015. http://wp.me/p403AM-to
- Drops of Weather. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)March 7, 2015
- Steering climate´s course (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)March 27, 2015
- Climate. Looking at the forest for the trees (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)April 9, 2015
- Matching Features Between Land Surface and Atmospheric Circulation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)April 23, 2015
- Domesticating Nature. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)May 7, 2015
- A roller-coaster of temperatures in South Europe. Spain (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) May 14, 2015
- Talking about climate (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)May 12, 2015
- News from an Ecosystem (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)May 20, 2015
- In climate it is becoming Less probable to not have a High probability. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)May 29, 2015
- Drinking from the source (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)June 5, 2015
- Communication takes more than just publishing thoughts. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)June 9, 2015
- Extreme climatic events, implications for projections of species distributions and ecosystem structure (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)June 18, 2015
- The scope of Environmental Science and scientific thought. From Thought-driven to Data-driven, from Critical Thinking to Data Management. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)June 26, 2015
- Atmospheric Circulation and Climate Drift. Are we there yet? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)July 2, 2015
- Lateral thinking. From Micro to Macro (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)July 4, 2015
- Something for the curious minds. Climate and Streamlines (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)July 17, 2015
- Solar Activity and Human Activity, Settling Their Environmental Liability. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)July 24, 2015
- Atmospheric composition and thermal conductivity? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)August 6, 2015
- Latitudinal barriers and typhoons (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)August 13, 2015
- The Earth is Ticking (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)August 20, 2015
- What if, the relevant bit lies hidden on identifying the pattern behind similarities instead of trying to match anomalies? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)September 3, 2015
- A Climate “Between Waters” (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla).September 8, 2015
- Sensing Atmospheric Dynamics (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)September 22, 2015
- InFormAtion. The “Act” of “Giving Form” to “Knowledge” (by Diego fdez-Sevilla)September 30, 2015
- Arctic Intake of Water Vapour (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)October 7, 2015
- SST Anomalies and Heat Waves. Are They Not All Just Heat Displacements? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)October 16, 2015
- Discussing Climatic Teleconnections. Follow Up On My Previous Research (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)October 21, 2015
- Follow-up on Arctic circulation 30 Oct 2015 ( by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) October 30, 2015
- There is Ice or Frost In Antarctica? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) November 5, 2015
- Starts Raining Drops of Winter at Mid-Latitudes. The new Autumn? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) November 10, 2015
- Press release. Ask NASA (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) November 12, 2015
- Following the Behaviour of the Jet Stream (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) November 19, 2015
- What Is Wrong With The Concept “Bio”? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) November 26, 2015
- Energy. Looking For Sources of Something We Waste. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) December 3, 2015
- SOILS. The Skeleton Holding The Muscle On Our Ecosystems (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) December 9, 2015
- Could It Be El Niño The New “Wolf” Coming? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) December 11, 2015
- Climate and weather December 2015. Another Polar Vortex another Heat Wave? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) December 18, 2015
- New insides on old concepts (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) December 23, 2015
- Atmospheric Dynamics And Shapes (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) January 13, 2016
- European weather. Old News, Same News? by Diego Fdez-Sevilla January 15, 2016
- Observational events on atmospheric dynamics. A follow-up assessment over the theory proposed over Energetic gradients by Diego Fdez-Sevilla. January 29, 2016
- North American Weather. Old News, Same News? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) January 20, 2016
- Observed Atmospheric Dynamics. A follow-up assessment over the theory proposed on Energetic gradients by Diego Fdez-Sevilla. January 29, 2016
- (updated 11-18 Feb2016) Polar Vortex, Old News, Same News? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) February 4, 2016
- Forecasting Past Events. Snow Coming to Spain (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) February 12, 2016
- Do You Believe in the Value of Your Work? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) February 23, 2016
- Forecasts For Ecosystems (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) February 25, 2016
- Seasonality Spring 2016. Continuous follow-up on my previous research assessing atmospheric dynamics. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) March 3, 2016
- Tangled in Words. Atmospheric Dynamics, Stefan Boltzmann Calculations and Energy Balance (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) March 10, 2016
- Pacific atmospheric dynamics with and without a positive ENSO (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) March 22, 2016
- Plant growth, CO2, Soil and Nutrients. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) March 31, 2016
- Atmospheric Dynamics, GHG’s, Thermal Conductivity and Polar Jet Stream (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) April 6, 2016
- Feedback. Have Your Say. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) April 14, 2016
- Plant an Idea and Then a Tree… But Which Ones? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) April 22, 2016
- (updated 28/April/2016) Severe weather warning 27 April 2016 USA (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) April 28, 2016
- Research Update May 2016 (by Diego Fdez-sevilla) May 6, 2016
- Scientifically Challenged (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) May 12, 2016
- Another roller-coaster of temperatures in South Europe. Spain (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) May 13, 2015 May 13, 2016
- Our Environment. One Vision and Many Thoughts. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) May 20, 2016
- Atmospheric Circulation and the Mixing Zone. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) May 26, 2016