Thursday, July 19, 2012

"86 Degree Cool Front" (7 consecutive days above 90 brewing)

83 F. high on Wednesday in the Twin Cities, the first cooler-than-average day since June 25.

21 days/row above 85 F. in the Twin Cities, second most on record.
84 F. average high for July 18.
98 F. high temperature on July 18, 2011.
90+ F. highs expected from Friday thru Thursday of next week.
35+ days above 90 F. this year seems more likely than ever by late September in the Twin Cities.

.83" rain fell at Twin Cities International Airport in the 24 hour period ending 7 pm yesterday.

2.42" rain has fallen so far in July, .12" more than average, to date.

Shocking: Another Hot Surge. I don't see 100-degree heat, but all the models are suggesting low to mid 90s Friday and Saturday, in fact we may exceed 90 F. every day next week, except for next Friday. Bottom line: 7 days/row above 90 next week - we could easily see 35 days above 90 by late September at the rate we're going. Average is 13. Graph above: Iowa State.

This Thing Isn't Over Just Yet. The NOAA map above shows the projected maximum heat index next Tuesday, from 100-105 F. in the Twin Cities, closer to 110-115 at Sioux Falls, a big area from South Dakota to St. Louis to the Carolinas sweltering under a 105-110 F. heat index. Click here to see the 3-7 Day Heat Index Outlook, courtesy of NOAA.

Sweltering Bulls-Eye. NOAA's CPC shows the center of the heat wave over the Midwest through most of next week. There are some signs that the worst of the heat/drought may shift into the Central Plains by the first week of August. Map above: Ham Weather.

106 F. at St. Louis Wednesday, marking the 8th day this summer of 105+; record is 10 days back in 1934.

1,500. Average number of Americans who perish from the heat every year in the USA. That's more than die in floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards combined. In many of these deaths, heat is a force-multiplier, compounding and aggravating other heart or respiratory conditions that ultimately result in death. Details from NOAA below.

"Throughout the Midwest, farmers are seeing signs of damaged crops. In the 18 states that produce most of our corn, only 31% of the crops were rated good or excellent this week, that’s down from 40% last week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This same time last year, 66% of corn crops were rated good or excellent." - from a CNN article focused on the growing drought; details below. AP Photo: Nati Harnik.

"The American Thoracic Society -- the professional association of lung doctors -- said climate change is especially dangerous for children and senior citizens because their lungs are more vulnerable to respiratory diseases caused by smog." - from a Huffington Post story focused on the potential health hazards of climate change below.

5 million tons. The average U.S. family releases 50 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, annually.

9 billion tons of carbon is released into the atmosphere, globally, every year - as CO2. Source: PBS NOVA.

70% "In a poll taken July 12-16, 70 percent of respondents said they think the climate is changing, compared with 65 percent in a similar poll in March. Those saying it’s not taking place fell to 15 percent from 22 percent, according to data set to be released this week by the UT Energy Poll." - details from Bloomberg Businessweek below.

"...They tell me that the warmest twelve-month periods in the original 48 states since 1895 have all been in the last 17 years. The warmest in 117 years was from July of 2011 to June of this year. The bleeding hearts say this is a bad thing. I see it as an opportunity. The hotter it is, the more swimming pools and air-conditioners are needed. The more that are needed, the more workers are required to build and install them. That's right. Global Warming is a job creator." - from a very tongue-in-cheek Op-Ed at; details below.

"Climate change solutions will create more wealth than any other sector over the next decade." - Virgin CEO Richard Branson, in an hour-long NOVA TV documentary "Power Surge".

121.3 F. high temperature on July 17 at Marrakesh, Morocco - hottest (reliable) temperature ever recorded. Details from Weather Underground.

Hot Weather Tips. NOAA has a very good link focused on ways of beating the heat and avoiding heat-related ailments. Here's an excerpt:
  • DO - Slow down, and reduce strenuous activity. Mow the lawn or garden in the early morning or late evening instead of midday.
  • DO - Dress in lightweight, nonrestrictive, light-colored clothing.
  • DO - Drink plenty of water or other nonalcoholic fluids.
  • DO - Eat light, easy-to-digest foods.
  • DO - Seek out shade if you have to be outdoors for extended periods. Spend more time in air-conditioned places.
  • DO - Check on elderly neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure they are okay.
  • DO - When outside, take frequent dips in the ocean or pool, or mist yourself with a water bottle. When inside, take frequent cool baths or showers and use cold compresses to cool off.
  • DO - Apply high-SPF sunscreen frequently when outdoors.
  • DO - Seek immediate medical attention if you experience symptoms of heat illness. (See chart below for symptoms, likely conditions and treatment.)

Stubborn Heat. The massive high pressure bubble perpetually stalled over the Central Plains shows no signs of budging until (maybe) the end of next week. NOAA has issued Heat Advisories from North Dakota to Little Rock, Excessive Heat Warnings posted for Kansas City and southern Illinois and Indiana.

One Week: 832 Warm Weather Records. What's impressive isn't just the scope of record highs, but the trends at night - we're seeing far more (warm) nighttime low records nationwide. Map: Ham Weather.

Relatively Comfortable Thursday - Heating Up Again By The Weekend. The ECMWF (European) model isn't hinting at 100-degree heat, but 90+ temperatures seem likely from Friday of this week through at least Thursday of next week.

Widespread Drought Threatens U.S. Crops. This is a very good overview of the drought from The Los Angeles Times; here's an excerpt: "Many cornstalks at the 1,200-acre Laird farm in Waltonville, Ill., had wilted into brown, desiccated rows by the time the governor arrived Monday to survey drought damage. Jim Laird, 71, has been raising corn, soybeans and cattle in southern Illinois all his life, and has never seen a drought this bad. This month, his family chopped down part of the spoiled corn crop to supplement the hay they feed their 150 head of cattle — hay that has become costly because of the drought....The drought gripping the Midwest and about 80% of the country is the most widespread since 1956, stoking massive wildfires and decimating the nation's breadbasket crops, according to a report released Monday by the National Drought Mitigation Center. Drought conditions led the Department of Agriculture recently to declare natural disasters in more than 1,000 counties in 26 states."

Photo credit above: "People walk past longnose gars and a catfish on a sand bar at the Platte River near the Louisville state recreation area in Neb., Tuesday, July 17, 2012. Low water flow due to lack of precipitation has exposed large areas of the river bed." (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Midwest Drought Forces Nebraska Farms To Halt Irrigation. A shortage of water is compounding the drought-related headaches for farmers in Nebraska; Huffington Post and Reuters have more details:

* Farms told to stop using surface water for irrigation

* Surface water used in only 10 pct of irrigation systems

* Nebraska corn 70 pct silking, when water need is higher

* Crop conditions drop due to worsening drought (Updates with Kansas restrictions)

"More than 1,100 farmers in Nebraska have been ordered by the state's Department of Natural Resources to halt irrigation of their crops because the rivers from which they draw water have dropped due to a worsening drought.

The orders come as the central United States is enduring the worst drought in a quarter century, which has parched corn and soybean crops and sent prices of both commodities to near-record highs

Photo credit above: "The exposed bottom of the Mississippi River is baked and cracked by extreme heat and lack of rain Tuesday, July 17, 2012 near St. Louis. The nation's widest drought in decades is spreading, with more than half of the continental United States now in some stage of drought and most of the rest enduring abnormally dry conditions." (AP Photo/Robert Ray)

How The Drought Could Hit Your Wallet. has more on the implications for higher prices for the food we put on our table, here's an excerpt: "With more than half the country in some state of drought, farmers are feeling the impact on their livelihood and consumers could expect to feel a hit in their wallet when they go to the supermarket soon, experts say. The U.S. is facing the largest drought since the 1950s, the National Climatic Data Center reported Monday, saying that about 55% of the country was in at least moderate short-term drought in June for the first time since December 1956, when 58% of the country was in a moderate to extreme drought. The hot, dry weather in June, which ranked as the third-driest month nationally in at least 118 years, according to the center, made the problem worse. That has left farmers on the edge of their seat worrying about how much damage their harvests will sustain and how much of their livelihood they may stand to lose this year."

Photo credit above: "Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack talks about the drought during the press briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 18, 2012." (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

How Droughts Will Reshape The United States. How will an increase in drought (frequency and intensity) impact the USA? Here's an excerpt of timely article at The Washington Post:

"2) Current droughts may be hurting U.S. corn yields, but they’re not yet causing a global food crisis. The United States is the world’s largest exporter of corn and a key supplier of soybeans. And right now, U.S. corn and soy production appear to be wilting under the heat—the Department of Agriculture has cut its corn-production estimate by 12 percent. If output ends up falling, that would raise the price for corn, for biofuels, as well as for beef (since corn is used to feed livestock).
More broadly, however, analysts still don’t think we’re facing a situation like 2007 and 2008, when skyrocketing food prices triggered riots in dozens of countries from Haiti to Egypt. That’s because global wheat and rice supplies are holding fairly steady, at least for now.

3) Climate change may already be making some U.S. droughts more likely. Given that the United States experienced even more severe droughts in the 1930s and 1950s, when carbon emissions were lower than they are today, one might assume that modern U.S. droughts have little to do with global warming."

* latest interactive U.S. Drought Monitor from NOAA here.

Drought Worsens Over Plains - Mid Atlantic Soaking. NOAA's latest QPF (5-day rainfall outlook) prints out some 2-4" amounts from Mobile to Richmond, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, but not a drop of rain from Nebraska southward to much of Texas.

One Week's Worth Of Storm Reports. Over 2,000 storm observations have been reported in the last 7 days, including 3 tornadoes in the Red River Valley. Map above courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.

Thursday Severe Threat. A nagging frontal boundary creates the convergence necessary for more strong/severe storms from St. Louis to Indianapolis, Louisville and Pittsburgh later today, according to NOAA SPC.

Shelf Cloud Time Lapse. Thanks to the Tampa office of the National Weather Service for capturing a wild T-storm shelf cloud that raced across the Riverview neighborhood early Wednesday. The webcam was on a 1,600 foot tower. Kudos to WeatherNation TV meteorologist Rob Koch for passing this along.

"Ask Paul." Weather-related Q&A:


"How come these big rain events always seem to cut off just north of my neighborhood or happen south of the Minnesota River? I live near 98th and Penn in Bloomington and I swear so often, when these big rain events move into the Twin Cities area, the southern cut-off to the rain seems to be just north of me, somewhere around 494 to say, around 86th street or the northern cut-off is the river. I am pretty sure there is no real reason, but I get frustrated when I hear the weather guys talk about the heavy rain "we" had today, and I get no rain or, like this morning, at best a minute or two of medium rain. Then I take a look at the radar and the whole TC area is getting heavy rain. Unless it is some huge drawn-out rain event like the 8-9" we got a month or so ago over those couple of days, it really does seem to always go north, or, sometimes, south of the Minnesota River.

As I said earlier, I am sure it is just luck of the draw, but it really seems like my house is sitting in some sort of an "arid black hole" that the rains fear to enter.

If you have any specific reason why this happens, I would be interested in hearing it. Otherwise thanks for letting me vent. :)

Craig Brown

Hi Craig - I feel your pain. Vent away, but I can assure you that there is no meteorological conspiracy in play. It falls under the heading of fickle summer convection. It's frustrating: town A can pick up 2" of rain, while 5 miles down the road the sun is out and locals are wondering what all the fuss is about! The metro is warmer and drier than the outlying suburbs, which may inhibit the smallest showers - but has little effect when a massive squall line of severe storms roar across town. I haven't seen any convincing research that small geographic effects, like living near a river valley, will make much of a statistical difference in how much summer rain ultimately falls. Rain "shadows" form downwind of mountain peaks out west, but we don't have the geography (or large enough lakes nearby) to fundamentally nudge Mother Nature in one direction or another. Hang in there - it will (eventually) rain, but I don't see widespread/soaking rains looking out the next week or so.

In regards to the weather column in today's paper, I salute you for "toughing it out" without air conditioning.

My husband and I have made the conscious decision to live without ac in our home.  See my article, "Assuming good health, it's hip to be hot," in the Opinion Exchange section, July 6, 2012 in your paper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  Also see the follow-up letter to the editor by Jay Thacker in the July 10 edition.

Your decision to live without air conditioning shows your mature and intelligent recognition that what we choose to do today has lasting effects tomorrow and beyond.  Keep up the good work! 
Shirley Erstad

Thanks Shirley - I'm no martyr, but the longer I go without A/C the more I feel I really don't need it. We open up all our windows, crank up the fans, sit outside in the shade until the house cools down. I still like the idea of geothermal, which doesn't require significant energy derived from fossil fuels. It's one of the few true green no-brainers out there today.

Shelf Cloud. Thanks to Kim Coy-Kinney who snapped this shot near Cynthiana, Kentucky Wednesday evening. Photo via WeatherNation TV's Facebook page.

Enlightening. Here's another impressive pic, courtesy of Charlie Gouin in Rhode Island, via FB.

What Happened To The Falls? No, this doesn't look anything like the classic postcard-worthy waterfalls at Yosemite. Details from Yosemite National Park, via Facebook: "On today's date last year, following a very heavy winter snowpack, the Merced River was flowing at a high of 1,850 cubic feet per second (cfs). Today's high flow (following a very dry winter) was 70 cfs!"

Ken Jennings Shocker: Mt. Everest Is Not The Highest Point On Earth. Say what? Yes, my goal with the blog is to include stories that make me do a double-take, hoping some percentage of dear readers also find a few of these stories vaguely interesting. Here's an except from a shocker from Conde Naste Traveler: "If there’s one thing everyone knows about mountains—and given the state of geography education today, that may be a pretty accurate estimate—it’s that Mount Everest, in the Himalayas, is the Earth’s highest point. But what if it wasn’t? What if Everest, with its famous 29,029-foot peak, was actually dwarfed by a mountain you’ve probably never even heard of, an Ecuadorian volcano called Chimborazo?"

OnStar Now Helps Owners Rent Out Their Cars. This is pretty nifty, almost makes me want to run out and purchase an OnStar subscription. Details from "Want to make some money off that OnStar-equipped Cadillac of yours, that sits unused all day? Thanks to a new partnership between GM and RelayRides, you can now rent it out! RelayRides is a web-based car-sharing service, but unlike similar groups such as car2go and Zipcar, it doesn’t have any vehicles of its own. Instead, members make their own cars available, at times when they don’t need them themselves. The group screens potential renters and provides liability insurance for each rental, while members receive 60 percent of what renters pay to use their car."

Almost Comfortable. Yes, it felt pretty good out there yesterday - the round of heavy storms that rumbled across the metro during the morning knocked down the temperature, and clouds much of the afternoon kept us 5-10 degrees cooler than we would have been had the sun come out. Highs ranged from 72 at Duluth and Grand Marais to 82 St. Cloud, 83 Twin Cities, and 90 at Rochester.

Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:

TODAY: Some sun, sticky. Dew point: 65. Winds: East 5-10. High: 86

THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy - humid. Low: 70

FRIDAY: Hot sun. Ugh. Dew point: 63. Winds: S 7-12. High: 92

SATURDAY: Unsettled with intervals of sun; slight chance of a few T-storms. Dew point: 66. Winds: SW 8-13. Low: 72. High: 94

SUNDAY: Sunnier, a bit hotter. Dew point: 70 Winds: S 10-15. Low: 73. High: 95

MONDAY: Steamy sun, feels like 100-105 again by late afternoon. Low: 75. High: 96

TUESDAY: Tropical, few heavy T-storms possible. Low: 74. High: 93

WEDNESDAY: Last sizzling day? Still sweaty with a few storms. Low: 73. High: 92

Go Jump in a Lake


That's what my 1 year old Spaniel, Leo, replied when I asked him about the effects of heat & humidity.

Sorry. A dire lack of A/C is going to my overheated brain.

The hottest weather of summer usually comes 3 to 4 weeks after the Summer Solstice. Right about now. Ancient Greeks thought Sirius, the "Dog Star", the brightest star in the early morning sky, was adding heat to the atmosphere. Thus the term Dog Days.

More panting and howls of displeasure are imminent as yesterday's thundery front surges north once more. The hottest days appear to be Friday; again Sunday and Monday, when mid 90s may return. 100-degree heat is possible over southern Minnesota. A few rounds of T-storms may keep us a few degrees cooler Saturday, but dew points near 70 will make you want to go jump in a lake. My hunch: these sporadic, hit-or-miss storms won't be enough to pull us out of a deepening drought, the worst since 1956.

Breaking News! The European (ECMWF) model is hinting at 70s next Thursday; a genuine "cool front" is one week away.

But the drought will probably get (much) worse over the Central Plains. I don't expect a run on grocery stores, but we'll all be paying more for food in 2013. Count on it.

Climate Stories...

Record Heat Pushes U.S. Belief In Climate Change To 70% Bloomberg Businessweek has the details: "A record heat wave, drought and catastrophic wildfires are accomplishing what climate scientists could not: convincing a wide swath of Americans that global temperatures are rising. In the four months since March there has been a jump in U.S. citizens’ belief that climate change is taking place, especially among independent voters and those in southern states such as Texas, which is now in its second year of record drought, according to nationwide polls by the University of Texas. In a poll taken July 12-16, 70 percent of respondents said they think the climate is changing, compared with 65 percent in a similar poll in March. Those saying it’s not taking place fell to 15 percent from 22 percent, according to data set to be released this week by the UT Energy Poll."

Photo credit above: "Evyn Schaeffer, 4, of Scotia, cools off in a sprinkler at the Tri City BMX Track in Rotterdam, N.Y., as the mercury hit 98 degrees, one degree short of the record 99 set back in 1900, on Tuesday, July 17, 2012." (AP Photo/The Daily Gazette, Peter R. Barber)

Health Hazards Of Heat Waves, Wildfires And Other Extreme Weather. Yes, a warming atmosphere may be hazardous to your health in a variety of ways, as explained in this story from Huffington Post: "Like many Americans, I struggled to keep cool during the recent heat wave, but what really worried me was how my father would handle the spike in temperature. Medical experts say hot weather takes the heaviest toll on senior citizens, young children and people with heart and lung illnesses. Diabetics, the obese, and people using common medications also face a greater risk when the heat rises. In other words, tens of millions of people are vulnerable to extreme heat. Now that climate change is making potent heat waves more commonplace, these numbers will only continue to rise. NRDC recently released a report concluding that an additional 33,000 heat-related deaths will occur by 2050 as a result of climate change. The summer of 2012 has already delivered one record-breaking event after another, from wildfires to freak storms. This barrage of destruction has prompted more meteorologists and mainstream media outlets to finally make the connection between extreme weather and climate change."

Not So Fast On Blaming Global Warming. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from The Washington Post: "CAN YOU BLAME the scorching weather on climate change? Not really. Or at least not yet. In a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report released last week, researchers attempted to determine how much they could attribute six extreme weather events last year to human-caused global warming. Even now, months on, some experts worry that drawing conclusions is precipitous. Figuring out what caused a flood in Thailand or a drought in Texas is hard. Doing it quickly is harder."

Young Conservatives Seek Fixes For Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an encouraging story at "On the Facebook page for the group Young Evangelicals for Climate Change, there’s a classic satirical “LOLchart,” except in this case the numbers are real. A map of the United States is supposed to be colored blue wherever temperatures have been cooler than normal, and orange wherever they’ve been warmer than usual. It’s a useless distinction, because the entire map is orange — June capped the country’s warmest 12 months on record. This, of course, doesn’t itself prove that humans have provoked profound global climate change, and in the political football that often erupts over the subject, the skeptics tend to discount such maps, while believers note them with alarm."

Photo credit above: "Jason Greer volunteers in the community garden at Redeemer Presbyterian Church. Greer says things like food co-ops and gardens are moving young people past the idea that caring for the earth is a "liberal" thing." Heidi Heilbrunn/staff.

Lloyd Garver: Hot Enough For You? Yep, anyone concerned about climate change is a tree-hugging, Al-Gore-Loving, pinko, commie, left-wing, tax-loving liberal. "It's just an excuse to expand government and kill the American Dream, Paul!"  I hear that a lot. Tell that to (soon to be broke) farmers in Nebraska, or 350 families in Colorado Springs who's homes burned down, or the thousands of people still without power out east in the aftermath of late June's freakish derecho. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at sturgisjournal that captures the hypocrisy (and proud, on-display ignorance) of the perpetual denialists: "Not everyone believes in global warming. They feel that those of us who do believe in it are "nutty left-wingers" or victims of "conspiratorial pseudo-science." I'm always for fairness and giving equal time to all viewpoints. So I present below the words of Harold K. Jefferson, president of the "It's Not The Heat, It's The Hype" Association. "Hot enough for you?" Americans have used that jovial and ironic greeting for decades. Yet for the last several years, Left Wing-nuts have been crying "Global Warming" every time the earth sets a few preposterous heat records or a couple of dozen glaciers melt. Keep in mind that those who believe in Global Warming are the same morons who believe in evolution and gravity."

Photo credit: Lloyd Garver,

Geoengineering Projects Around The World - Map. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "ETC Group has produced a world map of geoengineering that represents the first attempt to document the expanding scope of research and experimentation in the large-scale manipulation of Earth or climate systems."

A Gripe With Global Warming. Here's an excerpt of a story at NRDC, the Natural Resources Defense Council: "According to the National Weather Service and NRDC’s Killer Summer Heat Report,  heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year. An average of 400 deaths per year are directly related to heat, and an estimated 1,800 die from illnesses made worse by heat - including heat exhaustion, heat stroke, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease. Across the nation temperatures are rising along with the number of illnesses, emergency room visits, and deaths. The city of St. Louis is just one of many cities facing extreme temperatures this year. As of yesterday, there have been a total of 17 heat related deaths this summer alone. But there are some that believe global warming does not exist. The GOP is filled with climate change skeptics who claim that global warming is an environmentalist plot to justify higher taxes and limit your freedom. But studies show that Americans are embracing energy-saving initiatives, from using recycled bags at the grocery story to buying fuel-efficient cars."

Global Warming And The Higgs Boson. Here's an excerpt of a creative article from meteorologist Bob Ryan, at the WJLA-TV Weather Blog in Washington D.C. "OK I admit I picked this title to get your attention. But there is a bit of a parallel between the headlines of July 4 of the “discovery” of the Higgs boson, global warming, climate and environmental change and the way science works and how I hope how we learn. Indeed after the announcement of the discovery, Washington then had 4 100° days in a row and the temperature reached 105° July 7. A coincidence you say?? Of course."    

Can Adding Iron To Oceans Slow Global Warming? NPR tackles geoengineering in this piece that ran on All Things Considered; here's an excerpt: "A noted oceanographer once quipped that if you gave him a tanker half-filled with iron, he could give you an ice age. He was only half-joking. Adding iron to the ocean can cause blooms of algae, which have the potential to take huge amounts of carbon dioxide out of the air and by so doing, cool the planet. And a report in Nature magazine now offers some support for that idea. The premise of this experiment is that algae growing in the oceans around Antarctica can't grow fast because it's starved of an essential nutrient: iron. Victor Smetacek at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, says iron in the ocean is as precious as water is for plants on the land."

Photo credit above: Marina Montresor, SZN/Alfred Wegener Institute. "This algae, called Chaetoceros atlanticus, can bloom in the ocean when iron is added to the water. It captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and carries the carbon down underwater when it sinks."

Profiteers Of Climate Change In The Arctic. It's more than a little ironic - the same climate change many fossil fuel companies are telling us is not happening is making the Arctic more accessible to exploration and drilling. There's plenty of oil and gas under that thinning Arctic ice. The paradox: our fossil fuel addiction is creating the very conditions that's making it easier to recover even more black gold. The story from Photo: NOAA.

10 Reasons "Clean Coal" Is Offensive. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Huffington Post: "According to the Washington Examiner yesterday, President Obama's campaign team is going "on the offensive to promote [the President's] support for clean coal". I am not sure if the article is using "offensive" in the appropriate way when it comes to talking about clean coal. Clean coal is nothing more than a made up marketing phrase that author Jeff Goodell best described:
In its 2004 'Arctic Climate Impact Assessment', the Arctic Council found for the first time that the Arctic sea ice was melting dramatically. This trend has continued into the present, with researchers measuring the second-lowest level of ice cover since 1979 in September 2011. Climate activists and scientists warn that less ice leads to less reflection of the sun’s rays, which heats up the atmosphere even more. In turn, melting land ice accelerates the rise in sea levels. Yet this is a vicious circle that gives rise not only to fears, but also to hope. The United States Geological Survey estimates that 13 percent of all petroleum which can be extracted using conventional means and 30 percent of all natural gas is located in the Arctic, with 84 percent thereof in the sea, i.e. offshore. The increasing pace at which the ice has been melting in recent years will make it possible to access some large oil and gas fields for the first time.

Read more at: Reasons "Clean Coal" Is Offensive. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Huffington Post: "According to the Washington Examiner yesterday, President Obama's campaign team is going "on the offensive to promote [the President's] support for clean coal". I am not sure if the article is using "offensive" in the appropriate way when it comes to talking about clean coal. Clean coal is nothing more than a made up marketing phrase that author Jeff Goodell best described:
"Clean coal" is not an actual invention, a physical thing -- it is an advertising slogan. Like "fat-free donuts" or "interest-free loans."
It is PR spin not based in reality and President Obama and his campaign team are playing a part in trying to dupe the public again, much like they did in the 2008 election cycle. Coal is far from clean and no amount of spin or wordsmithing is going to change that."

D.C. Appeals Court Rejects Attacks On EPA's Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Finding. The latest from Scholars and Rogues; here's an excerpt: "On June 26, 2012, a three judge panel of the DC Court of Appeals ruled against 26 legal petitions by states and industry groups that had sought to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations. The Court’s Opinion (hereafter “the Opinion”) found that “the Endangerment Finding is consistent with the Massachusetts v. EPA and the text and structure of the CAA, and is adequately supported by the administrative record. [emphasis original]” The Opinion focused on three main arguments made by the petitioners. The first, discussed below, was that the EPA erred when it found that GHGs were a “reasonable threat to public health and welfare” as defined by the Clean Air Act (CAA in quotes from the Opinion)."

Parents Need To Act Against Climate Change For Their Kids' Sake. The Daily Beast has the story - here's a clip: "...Beyond the distress and discomfort, the record-breaking heat raises a puzzling question for anyone who cares about the future of our young people. The laws of physics and chemistry—the fact that carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for decades after being emitted—mean that man-made global warming is just getting started on this planet.  As a result, my Chiara and millions of other youth around the world are now fated to spend the rest of their lives coping with the hottest, most volatile climate in our civilization’s 10,000-year history. Think of them as Generation Hot."

The Greening Of Professional Sports. This is an encouraging trend; here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "THE White House is hosting a conference on the greening of sports on Thursday to recognize the sports industry’s growing embrace of energy efficiency, water conservation, recycling, healthier food and the role it plays in spreading the environmental message. All the major professional sports leagues in the United States will be represented at the event, as well as scores of teams, site managers, athletes and environmentalists. Through their nonpartisan leadership on the field, court or rink, professional and collegiate sports and their sponsors are showing their many fans practical, cost-effective solutions to some of our planet’s most dire ecological issues."

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