Climate change does not always mean changing climate. Sometimes it means a shift to a new, relatively unchanging pattern. It is not at this point scientifically proven to be the case, but it looks like parts of North America have been experiencing unusually cool temperatures both during the winter and summer, as the rest of the world heats up. Given the importance of the US (as a big powerful influential country) and, thus, the importance of the US Congress (one of the main branches of government that supposedly runs the US), this is a problem.
From Prince Ea:
Peter Sinclair has an amazing new video at Climate Denial Crock of the Week:
Click through to read the very informative post. (And more videos.)
From the Yale Climate Connections, a brief interview with Michael Mann.
Global warming can cause record winter storms. It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s no snow job. When the oceans warm, more water evaporates into the air.
MANN: “And what that means is there’s more precipitation. Water is cycling more vigorously through the atmosphere, and that gives us more extreme weather.”
That’s Michael Mann, a professor of meteorology at Penn State University. He says in summer, an unusually warm ocean can strengthen storms like Hurricane Irene.. but in winter, the evaporation from a warm ocean collides with cold arctic air and turns to snow.
As seawater evaporates, it also releases additional energy into the atmosphere. This extra energy then fuels storms, making them more intense.
This past winter, a large area of the North Atlantic was much warmer than usual — which Mann says contributed to the record Nor’easters that buried parts of New England in snow.
MANN: “So climate change is actually providing more energy to intensify these nor’easters, and it’s providing more moisture so that they can convert that moisture into record snowfalls.”
2014 was the warmest year on record for the global ocean surface. So New England, get your shovels ready for more extreme snow in coming years.
The President speaks about making progress on climate change. And other things. Really good interview.
Richard Alley takes a page (unintentionally, I’m sure) from my playbook for debating creationists: You wanna tell us global warming isn’t real? Then go back to North Korea where you are obviously from, you Anti-American commie non-patriot!
Well, he doesn’t say it exactly that way, but you can hear it for yourself. The point is, if you deny the basic physics of climate change science, you might as well tell us that our system of national defense and apple pie are all made up too!
“You can believe the United States Navy or you can believe the Senator with the snowball.”
“You can believe the Pope or you can believe the Senator with the snowball.”
“We can believe [great American corporations] or we can believe the Senator with the snowball.”
“You can believe every single major American scientific society, or you can believe the Senator with the snowball.”
Remember earlier this year when Senator James Inhofe stood on the floor of the United States Senate and displayed a list of supposed climate scientists who question the reality of global warming? That list was produced by the Heartland Institute, who now use the list and it’s infamy to raise money. One of the “climate scientists” on that list was Willie Soon. We’ve talked about Willie Soon before (see: Science Denialists Make Fake Journal, Get Shut Down, Willie Soon Gate, and Willie Soon, will he soon be fired?) and he is now been exposed by the New York Times for ethical violations. I understand that he has testified before Congress before. I wonder if his testimony can now be re-examined.
Anyway, just thought you’d like to know. And that you might enjoy the above meme.
Oh, and there has been some interest in who is on the list. This is the list of “those who can not be challenged!”… Continue reading
Apple Computer had earmarked $850 million towards the construction of a solar energy plant in Monterey County to cover all of the electrical power it requires for all of its facilities in California. CEO Tim Cook is quoted as saying “We know at Apple that climate change is real. Our view is that the time for talk is past and the time for action is now.”
(I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. But I digress.)
Anyway, even when the President is not a Republican, Rush still runs the Republican party. He is now in charge of both the Senate and the House, because if you are a Senator or a House rep, and a Republican, you do what Rush says or you are out.
Similarly, Rush Limbaugh is the gatekeeper for the Republican Party’s process of putting up candidate for president.
Not long ago, Mitt Romney seemed to be indicating that he was thinking about running for President. Shortly after that, he indicated that he thought Anthropogenic Global Warming was for real and important. Then Rush said this:
Rush Limbaugh Ends Mitt Romney’s Presidential Aspirations over Global Warming
Then, Romney said this:
‘After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee.”
And so, in this manner Rush Limbaugh has fired Mitt Romney.
I hate the expression, “Grow a pair.” But, really, Republicans, do grow a pair when you get a chance. This is embarrassing.
Peter Sinclair has the whole story and more, here: One Week after Acknowledging Climate – Romney Out of Race
Who is Willie Soon?”
(ADDED: Since there have been so many wonderful questions about the controversial research and related issues, let me point you to this post, which is essentially a link farm to myriad resources for you to read and enjoy.)
According to DeSmogBlog, Willie Wei Hock “Soon is a prominent climate change skeptic who has received much of his research funding from the oil and gas industry.” He thinks the sun causes the climate change we’ve been observing over the last few decades: Continue reading
Prior to the middle of the 20th century there are few really large blizzards recorded for New England. Then they start happening, then they start to increase in frequency. At this point, expect about one every other years, but also, expect that number to increase over time because of global warming.
I made a graph based on information provided in a post at Jeff Master’s Wunderblog.
Peter Sinclair has a post at Climate Denial Crock of the Week on Rick Perry’s apparent shift towards thinking climate change is for real. We recently saw a vote in the Senate that has most Senators admitting it is real, though very few Republicans admitted it is human caused. But a few did. One of the most conservative and traditional entities on the planet, The Vatican, is now telling us that not addressing climate change is immoral. Expect at least some US priests and bishops refusing communion to climate change deniers! (Maybe.) The National Hockey League recognizes global warming as a threat to their sport. Pipelines to transport fossil Carbon-based fuels are seen as less and less viable every day. Even utility bosses now routinely see renewable, clean, energy sources as a big part of the future, and the American Petroleum Institute sees anthropogenic global warming as a major threat to our future, which they acknowledge must be addressed by shifting away from … petroleum!
A while ago the National Hockey League issued a report expressing concern over global warming. With open air, inexpensive and easy to produce “ice” (the term of art for where you play hockey) being an essential gateway drug for the sport, anthropogenic global warming represents a real threat. I wrote about that here.
Today, the Minneapolis Department of Parks and Recreation closed outdoor skating and hockey rinks in the city because of warm weather, and this winter we’ve had the usual (recently elevated?) number of cars and people crashing through lake ice.
Regionally, there have been one or two (or more?) annual ice fishing contests permanently cancelled because they were being cancelled due to warm weather frequently enough that it was no longer worth supporting the effort.
Keystone XL is effectively obsolete.
James Lenfesty, a retired editori al writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, has an Op Ed in that paper suggesting that by the time Keystone XL pipeline is built it would be obsolete. He acknowledges that by out dated reckoning the pipeline might have been a good idea, but not by modern standards.
… zero carbon emissions is what the times require, for carbon emissions are dangerously altering the global climate and the chemistry and temperature of oceans and lakes, endangering almost every living thing.
Which is why I, a 70-year-old grandfather, along with thousands of other citizens, have pledged that if the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline is approved, we will peacefully contest every foot of its construction across the heart of America.
He also discusses oil trains and carbon taxes. Go check it out.
Pipelines like Keystone XL would mainly carry costly crudeOne of the costs of that crude is the side effects of mining and fracking. And, a new cost is being added to fracking; liability for earthquakes caused by it.
In a case expected to set a precedent for future earthquake claims in Oklahoma, the state Supreme Court will consider whether two oil companies can be held liable in state court for injuries a Prague woman suffered during the 2011 earthquake.
An attorney for one of the companies has said the lawsuit, if successful, would cause energy companies to abandon wastewater disposal wells across the state.
“These wells will become economic and legal-liability pariahs,” attorney Robert Gum told a Lincoln County judge during an October hearing in the case. Gum represents New Dominion LLC, a Tulsa-based oil and gas company, in the lawsuit.
Not all pipeline spills are oil
Here’s an update on a North Dakota salt water pipeline spill:
More than 4 million gallons of a mixture of fresh water, brine and oil have been pumped from the area affected by the largest saltwater spill of North Dakota’s current energy boom, according to a report issued Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency.
…brine, is an unwanted byproduct of oil and natural gas production that is much saltier than sea water and may also contain petroleum and residue from hydraulic fracturing operations. Some previous saltwater spills have taken years to clean up….
The mixture of fresh water… is being transported to a well site to be injected underground. Saltwater is usually pumped underground for permanent storage …
…The latest spill is almost three times larger than one that fouled a portion of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in July. Another million-gallon saltwater spill in 2006, near Alexander, is still being cleaned up nearly a decade later.
Democratic state lawmakers have promised to file legislation that would mandate additional monitoring and safeguards for pipelines that carry briny oilfield wastewater…
Keystone XL Debate Does Not End
Meanwhile, in the US Senate, the current Keystone XL pipeline debate has continued, moving a likely vote to next week. The reason is that several Democrats who actually support the pipeline wanted to continue the debate, joining the majority of Democrats who also want to see the debate continue. This may reflect a strategy to be to get as many pro-Carbon fuel advocates on record as being on the wrong side of an issue many expect to turn over during the next two years. This is largely done through the amendment process, which requires Senators (if the amendments come to a vote) to put their position on record. This record, in turn, can make or break later election bids. From The Hill:
“We don’t want Sen. McConnell especially after all the hop-de-do about an open process, open amendments, to shut it down at his whim. We are not ready to do that yet, there are more amendments pending,” [Democrat Chuck] Schumer said….
Schumer wouldn’t say how many more amendment votes Democrats would like to see. Over 150 amendments have been filed to the Keystone bill.
Ahead of Monday’s vote, McConnell laughed at Democrats for wanting more amendments, arguing they have had more opportunities to add measures to the underlying bill than Republicans had all of last year.
We shall see. He who laughs last votes first.
Years ago before there was a lot of paleo climate data, there were some rather simplistic graphs of ancient climate used to make basic points like “around this time it was warmer than around this other time when it was cooler. Maybe. One of those graphs depicts the now debunked “Medieval Warm Period.” (We now call this the Medieval Climate Anomaly, which included both warm zones and cool zones, was on average, globally, kind of warm, but not as warm as today.)
One of those graphs is shown here, but I’ve carefully labeled it so it will not be misunderstood:
This graph was shown on the Senate Floor by James Inhofe, the famous climate science denier from Oklahoma. This graph has been long discredited. Senator Inhofe should be censured for this.
You should know that this graph has a long and interesting history … Continue reading
Ridley has made a remarkable claim that leaves some of us wondering what his next move should be, and what it will, in fact, be. Continue reading
The USGS has estimated the potential contribution of melting ALL of the glacial ice around the world to sea level rise. This is very rough, because many different factors affect sea level, including ocean temperature, gravity, and current. But this gives a rough idea. If the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses continues apace, we could actually see the eventual melt of all of this ice. If we stop releasing these greenhouse gasses in a reasonable time, it is unlikely that these very large numbers will be achieved. But it is important to realize the potential, to understand that the amount of available ice to melt into the sea is so large that that factor in and of itself will not come to our rescue.
I made a map, which is also very approximate, indicating about where the sea will reach in much of North America, and posted it here.
Midwest Agriculture and Economic Risks of Climate Change
A study in Iowa suggests that increased high temperatures will have a negative effect on crops. From the Des Moines Register:
The report’s grim assessment for the state, designed to look at the business risks from climate change, is similarly gloomy for other Midwest states and their largest cities, including Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Minneapolis.
Agriculture will be particularly hurt by climate change, it said, with corn, soybeans and wheat yields slashed as much as 85 percent by the next century in the leading farm states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. Livestock also is expected to experience reduced productivity and other challenges.
Climate Scientist Michael Mann, author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, gave a talk at Trinity College a couple of days ago on climate change and ethics. Just so you know, the Hockey Stick is a graph Mann and colleagues produced during the late 20th century showing how rapid recent global warming stands in stark contrast to previous centuries of climate change. The research itself has been repeatedly reconfirmed, refined, replicated, and verified, so it is for real. See, for example, this post by Stefan Rahmstorf.
Anyway, here’s the interview: Continue reading
Brazil already has an iffy electrical grid, apparently, but very hot conditions are pushing it over the edge. Also, they had a small problem related to a nuclear plant (nothing nuclear, don’t worry). From Reuters:
ONS said it orchestrated 2,200 megawatts of controlled outages in eight states as the hottest day of the year in Sao Paulo, where the temperature hit 36.5 Celsius (97.7 Fahrenheit), and other southeastern cities led to surging demand from air conditioners and other power-hungry appliances.
Eletronuclear, a unit of state-run power company Eletrobras , said nuclear reactor Angra I powered down automatically at 2:49 p.m. local time (1649 GMT) due to a drop in frequency on the national grid. The company said there were no risks to workers or the environment due to the stoppage.
For the first time, ambient temperature in this part of Australia has been measured at just below 50 degrees above zero C. That is 122 degrees F. Hot.
This is near Shark Bay, which is already hot. So hot, normally, that the bay has a very high evaporation rate, causing the water to be very saline, too saline for snails to live, and thus, this is one of the only places in the world where you can find stromalites. This is also where the dolphins showed up one day to play with the humans, and continued to do this regularly. It became an important dolphin study site for that. Oh, and there are sharks. But I digress. The climate news from the area:
“It looks like we might get some 49s but with the observational network pretty sparse out there, it’s probably unlikely that we’ll actually observe a 50,” Mr Hicks said
Current modelling suggests the heat will linger in the region, extending the area of potential 50-degree condition to the Pilbara by Friday.
“The longer the air sits over the land, the more it heats up,” Mr Hicks said. “It just sits there and just bakes … Those poor buggers living out there tend to swelter for quite a few days in a row.”
Australia has recorded just three days of 50-degree heat since instruments were standardised nationally with the bureau’s formation in 1910. The most recent was on February 20, 1998, when the mercury hit 50.5 degrees in the Pilbara town of Mardie.
The bureau sparked international interest two years ago when it updated its weather charts to add temperature coding for both 50-52 degrees and 52-54 degrees.
Heat records are expected to continue to tumble as global warming pushes up background conditions, climate experts say.
But there is some good news.
A possible category-one cyclone forming off the Kimberley coast will help break up that region’s extreme heat if it pushes moisture and clouds into the Pilbara, Mr Duke said.