Sunday, July 15, 2012

Make It Stop (3rd 100 degree day of 2012; another heat spike next weekend?)

90 F. high on Sunday in the Twin Cities. Patchy PM clouds kept us a few degrees cooler than predicted.

84 F. average high for July 15.

77 F. high on July 15, 2011.

Heat Advisory in effect today. Highs should top 100, a dew point around 65 will make it feel like 105 by 4 pm.

102 F. today's record high in the Twin Cities, set in 1926. We may come very close.

20 days at or above 90 F. so far this year in the Twin Cities.

45,076 warm weather records, nationwide, so far in 2012. Source: NOAA NCDC.

4 days. The last time MSP experienced four 100-degree highs was 1988. Today should be the 3rd day above 100 in 2012. Details below.

A Good Shot At 100+. We should top 90 by 11 am or noon. Assuming the sun stays out, with strong southwest winds gusting to 25, there's a better than even chance we'll top 100 by 5 pm. Today's record of 102 F. (1926) may be tied or broken. Winds shift to the northeast Tuesday, allowing enough Canadian air to push south to drop temperatures into the 80s. Not much of a cool front, but the best we'll do this week. Graphic above courtesy of Iowa State.

Heatwave Of 2012. I keep waiting for the heat to taper off - we'll all have to wait a little longer. The 500 mb (18,000) foot wind forecast for next Sunday (UCAR) shows a persistent heat-pump high pressure bubble stalled over the Central Plains, pushing another "hot prod" into Iowa and Minnesota. The heat may peak again next Saturday or Sunday, followed by some relief the last week of July. Maybe that's just wishful thinking at this point.

128 F. high last Wednesday at Death Valley, California; 10th hottest temperature ever observed in the USA. Source: NOAA.

  Warmer Atmosphere: Fewer (But Stronger) Thunderstorms? "A Tel Aviv University researcher has predicted that for every one degree Celsius of warming, there will be approximately a 10 percent increase in lightning activity." - from an article at; details below.

  "Those massive fire seasons were the culmination of a trend: between 1986 and 2003, western forests saw a nearly fourfold increase in the number of wildfires, and those fires burned six times the amount of land and lasted five times as long when compared with the previous 16 years." - from a story at Climate Central; details below.

"It was luxuries like air conditioning that brought down the Roman Empire. With air conditioning their windows were shut; they couldn't hear the barbarians coming." - Garrison Keillor. Photo:

110th Anniversary Of Air Conditioning. One of the more important inventions of the 20th century? Tomorrow is a big day, as we pay respects to a man by the name of Carrier for making many of us (infinitely) more comfortable during the blazing days of summer. Here's an excerpt of a press release: "On July 17, 1902, Carrier, a young research engineer just a year out of Cornell University, finalized the design to stabilize the humidity in the air so the dimensions of the paper at the Sackett & Wilhelms Lithography and Printing Company in Brooklyn, N.Y., would remain constant throughout the printing process. Since then this innovation has been applied to everything from malls to manufacturing facilities, buses to businesses and houses to hospitals – all looking to establish a comfortable environment. “In the early 1900s, air conditioning was primarily an industrial application that enabled countless industries to thrive with candy-making companies, textile mills and theaters some of the most enthusiastic early adopters,” said Geraud Darnis, president & CEO, UTC Climate, Controls & Security."

Hot Bias Continues. The ECMWF (European) model continues to suggest temperatures well above average for the next 7-10 days as a heat-pump high pressure remains stalled over the Plains, pushing more waves of desert heat northward. After "cooling" into the 80s Tuesday and Wednesday we may hit 90 by Thursday, mid to upper 90s possible by next weekend, even a slight chance of 100-degree highs again by next Sunday. Good grief.

Extended Outlook? More Of The Same. The 6-10 day NOAA CPC outlook (upper left) and 8-14 day temperature outlook (upper right) shows a continuation of well-above average temperatures from the Midwest into the Northern Plains through the 27th of July. 30-35 days above 90? At the rate we're going it may be more than 35 days, but I suspect we still won't top 1988, when the mercury hit or surpassed 90 F. a total of 44 days. Maps above: Ham Weather.

"As of Tuesday, 61% of land in the lower 48 states was experiencing drought conditions -- stretching from Nevada to South Carolina -- the highest percentage in the 12-year record of the U.S. Drought Monitor....Villwock says the drought is already larger in scope than in 1988, and he fears it will intensify to become worse. Many areas in the southern Midwest are reporting the poorest conditions for June since 1988." - from a CNN article below.

ECMWF: No Significant Relief In Sight. The NAM has been nailing the short-range forecast (GFS is totally out to lunch), but the European ECMWF has been doing a (much) better job with Days 4-7. The latest run is hinting at 80s Thursday and Friday, followed by another surge of late-week heat. By Saturday highs may reach the mid-90s, some relief possible next Sunday as winds turn around to the northwest.

1 Week's Worth Of Records. All those red dots are record highs, yellow dots are record warm nighttime lows - you can see the record heat sweeping into the west, impacting much of the USA. For an interactive map from Ham Weather click here; data from NOAA.

Weather Records. So far in 2012 NCDC reports over 45,000 warm weather records, over 6,000 cold weather records.
Last 2 Weeks - Percentage Of Normal Rainfall. I can't remember seeing this much of a rainfall extreme in the span of 2 weeks. Portions of Texas (near Houston) have seen 6 times more rain than normal in the last 14 days - while no rain has fallen over California (not that unusual for July). But across much of the Corn Belt rainfall has ranged from 0 to 10% of normal since July 1. Map above: NOAA.

Drought Stretches Across America, Threatens Crops. Details from "A dry and mild spring led Don Villwock, like all of Indiana's corn and soybean farmers, to plant two weeks early this year. He was hopeful for a bountiful Labor Day harvest. But the rain didn't fall and June brought blistering heat. Now, as punishing drought grips the Midwest, Villwock, 61, walks his hard-hit 4,000 acres in southwest Indiana in utter dismay. Where there should have been tall, dark green, leafy plants, there now stand corn stalks that are waist high or, at best, chest high. They are pale in color and spindly. Fragile. Tired." (map above: U.S. Department of Agriculture).

Drought Threatens To Darken Obama's Reelection Plans. Here's an excerpt from The Christian Science Monitor: "A massive drought parching some of America’s most productive farm regions is pushing food prices up to the point where wilting corn plants could influence the presidential election. More than 1,000 US counties – many of them in the grain capitals of the Midwest – have applied for federal disaster relief, meaning they’ve had drought conditions for more than eight weeks. Moreover, 61 percent of the US is now considered drought-stricken, the highest percentage in the 12-year history of the US Drought Monitor. Drought or no drought, the US will still produce about a third of the world’s corn and will see its third-largest corn crop ever. Moreover, a drought prognosis by Iowa State University agri-economist Chad Hart suggests that parts of the country – including Georgia and portions of Texas – are likely to see relief as the summer progresses, even as some part of the Midwest may see dry conditions worsen."

2012 Drought Could Stall Mississippi River Barge Traffic. has the story; here's an excerpt: "The ongoing drought has river levels along the Mississippi River plunging to very low levels this summer and could stall barge traffic in some areas into the autumn if rainfall does not come soon. It was just last year when levels along the Mississippi River and many of its tributaries were close to record high levels. What a difference a year makes. Falling river levels are not uncommon during the summer months in the central and eastern United States. However, the building drought over much of the middle of the nation currently has the mighty Mississippi running well below normal and levels in many areas are likely to fall through much of the summer, unless widespread rain comes."

Photo credit above: "As levels continue to drop along a long stretch of the Mississippi River in the coming weeks, the risk of grounding incidents will increase." ( image)

Simmering First Half Of July. During the first 2 weeks of July temperatures across much of Minnesota averaged 4-8 F. warmer than average, as much as 12 F. warmer than normal near Madison, Wisconsin. Source: NOAA.

Warmest First 10 Days Of July. Here's an excerpt from the latest installment of Dr. Mark Seeley's excellent WeatherTalk blog, with some jaw-dropping statistics: "For the Twin Cities, and perhaps a few other climate stations, the first ten days of July 2012 have been the warmest in history based on mean temperature values. Seven of the first ten days brought daytime temperatures of 90 F or greater (two days were over 100 F), and on five nights the temperature remained above the 70 degrees F mark. These values produced a mean temperature of 82.7 degrees F, or 9 degrees F warmer than normal. The following is a list of the top ten warmest first ten days of July in the Twin Cities area going back to 1871:"

1. 82.7 F in 2012
2. 82.4 F in 1948
3. 82.2 F in 1936
4. 81.2 F in 1989
5. 81.2 F in 1949
6. 80.8 F in 1937
7. 80.0 F in 1974
8. 79.2 F in 2002
9. 79.1 F in 2011
10. 79.0 F in 1988

* click here for latest U.S. Drought Monitor for Minnesota, courtesy of NOAA and USDA.

Drought: Natural Disaster Declarations In 26 U.S. States. Details from The Guardian; here's an excerpt: "America declared a natural disaster in more than 1,000 drought-stricken counties in 26 states on Thursday. It was the largest declaration of a national disaster and was intended to speed relief to about a third of the country's farmers and ranchers who are suffering in drought conditions. The declaration from the US department of agriculture includes most of the south-west, which has been scorched by wildfires, parts of the Midwestern corn belt, and the south-east.It was intended to free up funds for farmers whose crops have withered in extreme heatwave conditions linked by scientists to climate change."

Photo credit above: "A tractor ploughs a corn field near Hondo, Texas. Natural disaster has been declared in many areas across the southern United States." Photograph: Eric Gay/AP

Is This The New Normal? The story from Huffington Post - here's an excerpt: "I'm not the only one who is pondering the extreme weather we've been having in the U.S. this summer. Pick up any newspaper or read pretty much any news magazine and there's discussion of the extreme heat waves we've been having in the continental U.S. At my Colorado field site, the snow melted a month earlier than normal, and the marmots I study emerged earlier than ever. That is the ones that survived. You see, marmots hibernate, and to successfully hibernate, they need a good "blanket." Snow provides the "blanket," and there wasn't much snow last winter (it was an exceptionally warm and dry winter), so we had what probably could be described as extra mortality from a winter drought. In addition, it hardly rained at all in May and June, and the vegetation is much less verdant than I've ever seen it. These tinder-dry forests and meadows exploded into firestorms in the Colorado Front Range, but locally we were lucky. And now it seems we've finally got some seasonal precipitation that should forestall a summer drought. And this is important because we know that summer droughts are really bad for marmots. Fingers crossed."

No Significant Rain For The Corn Belt. The 5-Day rainfall prediction shows significant rain over the eastern seabord, some 1-3" amounts from Florida and Alabama to Kentucky. A little rain may fall over the Ohio Valley, little or no rain expected over the Central Plains, where drought conditions will go from bad to worse. Map: NOAA HPC.

I think it’s huge that we got a judge to acknowledge that the atmosphere is a public trust asset and the air is a public trust asset,” Abrams said. “It’s the first time we’ve had verbiage like this come out of one of these cases.” - excerpt of an article from The Climate Post and National Geographic below.

Bizbeat: Climate Change Brings Insurance Worries. Being a farmer just got tougher - it seems we careen from one extreme to the next, flood to drought, back to flooding. I have enormous respect for farmers, and the risks they take to put food on our table. Here's in interesting article from on the liability challenges surrounding farming in a new (more extreme) climate: "If this summer is any indication, climate change will cost us all. From drought-ravaged farmers filing crop insurance claims to homeowners dealing with storm damage, the fickle weather is proving expensive. Insurers nationwide are already facing claims of almost $2 billion from fires, hail and thunderstorms that hit parts of the U.S. last month Moreover, the extreme conditions are calling into question many of the assumptions about risk and forcing insurers to adjust going forward. “Mother Nature has always been unpredictable but when you start factoring in climate change, it throws the actuarial numbers out the window,’’ says Martha Lester-Mittenzwei, insurance and risk management instructor at Madison College."

Photo credit above: "Corn leaves curl under a withering sun in a field along Highway 14 near Arena on Thursday. Farmers have struggled to maintain crops amid record heat and droughts this summer."

Flooding Threat Not Over Yet For Houston Area. While much of America withers, the rain just won't stop for much of east Texas, in stark contrast to last summer's historic drought. Here's an excerpt from The Houston Chronicle: "Yet another day of widespread rainfall across the Houston area produced the city's most significant flooding in more than two years, prompting rescues from flooded homes and vehicles. The worst flooding was northwest of Houston, where more than 15 inches of rain have fallen during the last five days, driving Cypress Creek well above its flood stage and even higher than during Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. "It's going to get worse before it gets better," said Francisco Sanchez, a Harris County spokesman, as Cypress Creek was still rising Friday afternoon."

Photo credit above: "Janet and Jerry Turner watch and wait to have water removed from their flooded home on Pine Belt on Saturday, July 14, 2012 in Cypress." (Melissa Phillip / Houston Chronicle)

Monsoon Flooding In Phoenix. Tropical moisture surging northward into Arizona sparked serious flash flooding yesterday; details via Facebook: "Watch for high water over roadways!! Turn around, don't drown! (US 60 & Val Vista - csty of ADOT)."

Disastrous Flood Response Ignites Russian Rage Online. NPR has the story; here's an excerpt: "Russians are slowly beginning to recover from the devastating flooding that soaked the southwestern region of Krasnodar. The floods, which struck in the early morning hours on July 7, reportedly killed more than 150 people. It wasn't long before outrage flowed. Masha Lipman, a researcher with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Moscow, says the government had advance notice of the disaster, but didn't pass along the message. "The flood hit at night and the government had been alerted to the risk of the flood around maybe 10 p.m.," she tells NPR's David Greene."

Photo credit above: Sergey Ponomarev/AP. "An Emergency Ministry soldier helps to repair religious icons in a church hit by flood water in the town of Nizhnebakansky, about 750 miles south of Moscow, on Tuesday."

Japanese Ordered To Evacuate Flood-Hit Island. This is a remarkable video clip, courtesy of; here's an excerpt: "Almost a quarter of a million people have been ordered to leave their homes in southwest Japan as heavy rain pounds the area for the third day, leaving at least 20 people dead, officials and reports say. The Japan Meteorological Agency warned of more landslides and floods on the main southern island of Kyushu as rainfall of up to 11 centimetres per hour was recorded early on Saturday. The agency warned that rainfall of up to 80 millimetres per hour could hit parts of northern Kyushu later in the day."
Wales Weather: Met Office Raises Alert On Rain And Floods. The forecast for the London Olympics looks wet, at least for the first week of the games; hopefully things will improve over time. An update on the flood risk from the BBC: "There is now a "be prepared" warning for the eastern part of mid Wales, and people are advised to take extra care. Rain is also expected to affect the rest of Wales, with persistent rain in the north and local heavy thundery downpours in the south. The advice comes after weeks of wet weather which saw severe flood damage in villages around Ceredigion in June. Earlier this week, the Prince of Wales met victims of the flooding and emergency services involved in the rescue operation."
* satellite image above courtesy of
Watching The Tropics. NOAA is keeping an eye on an area of disturbed weather between the Bahamas and the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Hurricane Hunters Fly Into The Eye Of The Storm For Science - And TV. Here's an excerpt of an interesting article at "To gather information on violent storms, the National Hurricane Center relies on tools like sensors and satellites. And some badass Air Force Reserve pilots. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flies directly into the world’s worst storms to collect meteorological data. And like any dangerous job involving weather and vehicles, they now have a reality show: Hurricane Hunters recently premiered on the Weather Channel. “What I do is sort of crazy to the rest of the aviation world. Pilots are trained to avoid weather—we’re actually flying into the most extreme storms,” says Sean Cross, a pilot featured on the show who has flown for more than 11 years with the 53rd."

Minnesota: 5th Best State To Live In The USA? Thank you CNBC, for sharing our dirty little secret: clean air, abundant lakes, smart locals with an amazing work ethic and a kind word. Yes, I'm waving the flag, but there's nowhere else on Earth I'd rather live (and I've been around the block, trust me). Here's an excerpt:

2012 Quality of Life Points: 250 out of 350
2011 Quality of Life Rank: 8

"Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and all that natural beauty contributes to the quality of life. But there is more to the state than that. The home of the Mayo Clinic is one of America’s healthiest states. The crime rate is among the lowest in the country. Air quality is among the best, too. From the cosmopolitan Twin Cities to the remote beauty of the North Woods, Minnesota has it all."

A 500 Mile Electric Car? has the story - here's an excerpt: "Despite their green credentials, electric cars still come up short against their petrol-powered cousins when it comes to range -- how far they go before the battery needs recharging. But a new "range-extended" electric vehicle (EV) equipped with the latest fuel cell technology is promising to close the gap going 500 miles (800 kilometers) without refueling, say its developers. Bringing together the expertise of three Danish companies, the Modular Energy Carrier concept (MECc) utilizes bio-methanol -- a biofuel which can be harvested from a range of sources including natural gas -- to improve the competitiveness of EVs."

That's Not My Phone. That's My Tracker. If you weren't already paranoid you will be after reading this article from The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "THE device in your purse or jeans that you think is a cellphone — guess again. It is a tracking device that happens to make calls. Let’s stop calling them phones. They are trackers. Most doubts about the principal function of these devices were erased when it was recently disclosed that cellphone carriers responded 1.3 million times last year to law enforcement requests for call data. That’s not even a complete count, because T-Mobile, one of the largest carriers, refused to reveal its numbers. It appears that millions of cellphone users have been swept up in government surveillance of their calls and where they made them from. Many police agencies don’t obtain search warrants when requesting location data from carriers."
Sticky Sunday. A deck of PM clouds kept MSP a few degrees cooler than expected, with a high of only 90 F. The sun came out sooner in St. Cloud, where the high climbed to 93, as hot as Redwood Falls. Unless I missed something (very possible) the low in Duluth was NOT - 1 F.

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

TODAY: Heat Advisory. Hot sun. DP: 65. Winds: SW 20+ Feels like 105+ by late afternoon. High: 102

MONDAY NIGHT: Warm and sultry. Low: 78 (not dropping below 80 in the downtowns).

TUESDAY: More clouds, some relief. Chance of thunder by Tuesday night. Dew point: 65. High: 89

WEDNESDAY: Isolated T-storm early. More tolerable with a mix of clouds and sun. DP: 61. Low: 68. High: 86

THURSDAY: Muggy, stray T-storm possible. Dew point: 63. Low: 70. High: near 90

FRIDAY: Steamy sun, hot and sticky again. Dew point: 67. Low: 73. High: 94

SATURDAY: Near-record heat. Sunny. Dew point: 68. Low: 75. High: 97

SUNDAY: Triple digit heat possible over southern MN. Make it stop. Murky sun. Low: 77. High: 98

Fun with Triple Digits

We can't change the weather (yet), but many of us have the luxury of cooling the air within our homes and offices.

Tomorrow marks the 110th anniversary of air conditioning. On July 17, 1902 Dr. Willis H. Carrier invented modern air conditioning at a Brooklyn, N.Y. printing plant - to help keep ink impressions on paper during the hot, humid summers. This miraculous invention was limited to industry at first; Carrier (yes, that Carrier) filed 80 patents; as costs came down more homes were able to afford A/C.
How the pioneers survived torrid days like today without it is baffling.

Heat Advisories may be upgraded to Heat Warnings later, as the mercury approaches an all-time record of 102 F, set in 1926. A dew point of 66 will make it feel like 105-108. Stay hydrated; check in on older friends & neighbors.

Winds shift to the northeast Tuesday, "cooling" us off into the upper 80s. Some cool front. A few isolated midweek T-storms won't help the growing drought much; most farms going without rain all week.

The pattern is remarkably persistent; sizzling heat returns late week. We may be flirting with 100 F by next weekend. 4 days above 100? That hasn't happened since 1988.

Climate Stories...

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” - Ben Franklin

  Climate Change May Lead To Fewer - But More Violent - Thunderstorms. An interesting story from; here's an excerpt: "Researchers are working to identify exactly how a changing climate will impact specific elements of weather, such as clouds, rainfall, and lightning. A Tel Aviv University researcher has predicted that for every one degree Celsius of warming, there will be approximately a 10 percent increase in lightning activity. This could have negative consequences in the form of flash floods, wild fires, or damage to power lines and other infrastructure, says Prof. Colin Price, Head of the Department of Geophysics, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Tel Aviv University. In an ongoing project to determine the impact of climate change on the world’s lightning and thunderstorm patterns, he and his colleagues have run computer climate models and studied real-life examples of climate change, such as the El Nino cycle in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, to determine how changing weather conditions impact storms."

U.S. Thunderstorm Insured Loss Trends: 1980-2011. Graph above courtesy of Munich Re.

Climate Change Fuels The Perfect Firestorm. The story from Climate Central; here's a clip: "The last time I chased wildfires across Colorado was in 2003, while serving as a seasonal wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service. I was part of a crew of 20, bouncing through the Rocky Mountains in a battered school bus to put out fires with names like Crazy Woman and the Bluebird. It was a war fought with rakes, spades, axes, and chainsaws, in which I extinguished more flames with shovelfuls of dirt than I did with water. The year before, Colorado had lost 133 homes and more than 138,000 acres to the Hayman fire, at the time the most destructive in state history. Climate change wasn’t even on the radar of most firefighters I worked with back then, and when the topic did come up, there was a healthy amount of skepticism. This year, it’s hard to find a wildland firefighter who isn’t convinced the warming of the West is making his job more difficult and dangerous."

Photo credit: "Trees on a ridge in Colorado Springs go up in flames as the Waldo Canyon fire burns in late June." Credit: Michael Kodas.

Climate Change And How The West Was Lost. The trends out west are ominous - heat and drought is bad enough, but conditions are converging to dramatically increase the potential for fire. Climate Central has the story; here's an excerpt: "For many people, global warming is merely a threat they hear about on TV, a headline they read in the paper, or news from a summit in a foreign city where bureaucrats bicker over parts per million. But where I live, it is a sound, a drone, real and seasonal, embedded in the same mix as the buzz of spring’s calliope hummingbirds, the bugle of bull elk in fall, and the silence of deep winter. The trained ear cannot only pick it from the cacophony of nature, but also read in it signals of events: an early spring, a drought, a drought elsewhere, and, over decades, a slow and inexorable crescendo. But then I live in an odd place. Geography and happenstance made Missoula, Montana, one of a handful of centers for fighting wildfire in the West. Lately, that has become significant on a number of fronts, all recorded with this sound: the distinctive drone of P-2V Neptunes, the lumbering Korean War vintage slurry bombers based at the airport just a few miles across the ridge from my house."

Photo credit above: "A P-2V Neptune fire tanker drops borate fire retardant on a rugged mountainside." Credit: arbyreed/flickr.

Change Is Here. Climate Change. The story from Huffington Post; here's an excerpt: "DEAR Barack Obama and Mitt Romney--if I may be so familiar, as you are with me in your fund-raising emails. You are campaigning for our nation's highest office in a year of record-breaking heat waves, droughts, floods, and monster storms. More than half the contiguous U.S. is under drought conditions. In June wildfires destroyed 1.3 million acres across the country. More than 40,000 daily heat records were broken-by July. Climate scientists tell us that the signals are loud and clear: We are experiencing global warming-NOW. Our climate is changing, more and more rapidly--because of greenhouse gas pollution. We have compromised the thin crust of atmosphere that protects our lives on this planet.

The weather is sending us a clear message: Danger. Danger. Danger."

Bill Bye Talks About Climate Change And Wildfires; Defends Himself After CNN Reporter Calls Him "Kooky" (Video). Detals from Huffington Post; here's the intro: "It seems Bill Nye won't ever be able to escape his playful, comedic past. In a interview with CNN, the "Science Guy" suggested climate change was to blame for the recent wildfires. But one reporter questioned his credibility on the topic, suggesting some may view him as "the kooky guy that doesn't know what he's talking about." Though Nye isn't a climatologist, he says graphs and recent events pretty much speak for themselves. "We have record-high temperatures; we have enormous fires in Colorado; we have tornadoes in Michigan, Brooklyn; we had a 30-degree temperature drop in Maryland and Virginia...," he said during the interview."

Study: Texas's Hellacious 2011 Summer Is A Prime Example Of Loaded Climate Dice. Details from; here's an excerpt: "Our record-busting summer 2011 continues to be an object of fascination to climate scientists all over the world. Alongside floods in Thailand, drought in Eastern Africa and the European heat wave, the driest, hottest year in recorded Texas history has provided a case study for gauging the influence of climate change on weather extremes. Researchers from Oregon State University, the University of Oxford and Exeter scrutinized last summer and -- with data from 2008 (the most complete set we have) and comparable La Niña years in the 1960s -- ran them through a set of computer models. When they threw the results on a scatter plot, the spread was dramatic: Texas was 20 times more likely to see heat extremes in 2008 than in years with similar oceanic conditions in the '60s. They found much the same for drought."

Photo credit: Brandon Thibodeaux

Protecting The Business: Why Conoco, Caterpillar, And Exxon Resort To Double-Talk On Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of a story from Huffington Post: "When Galileo promoted the idea that the earth revolves around the sun in the 1600s, the church rejected his claims as heresy and subjected him to a lifetime of house arrest. Understandably, such theories could contaminate the minds of good Christians, and would therefore be bad for business. Four hundred years later history is repeating itself, albeit with corporations (mostly those deeply invested in fossil fuels) as the ones seeking to discredit the scientific community in hopes of protecting their economic self-interests. In the recent study A Climate of Corporate Control, the Union of Concerned Scientists uncovered several S&P 500 companies that had "made statements in support of climate science and policy in some public venues, while spreading misinformation on climate science or hindering science-based policy elsewhere." In fact, of the 28 companies researched, 21 of them acted in direct contradiction to their stated positions on climate change, largely employing methods that skirted direct accountability (e.g. sizeable political contributions, lobbying expenditures and the funding of trade groups and think tanks). Of the most egregious offenders are companies such as Conoco Phillips, Caterpillar Inc., Exxon Mobil and Peabody Energy Corporation."

Global Carbon Emissions. Graph above courtesy of the U.S. Dept. of Energy and the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. The U.S. DOE estimates approximately 1 trillion tons of CO2 and methane have been released into the atmosphere, worldwide, in the last 50 years.
"The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center estimates that about 76 percent comes from the combustion of coal and oil, and another 20 percent from natural gas. The remaining amounts to round up to 100 percent come from cement production and gas flaring." - source here.

'Would gravity be overturned if we could see Sir Isaac Newton’s personal letters?' -- Scott Mandia

Poll: Most Believe In Climate Change. Details from; here's a snippet of the article: "A majority of Americans say they think climate change is real, according to a new poll on Friday. Six in 10 believe weather patterns around the world have been more unstable in the past three years, The Washington Post/Stanford University poll found. Almost as many people said it has been hotter on average in that time than ever during the same period. And as for what the two presidential candidates want to do about climate change, almost half of respondents say President Barack Obama wants to take a lot of government action on global warming, while just 11 percent say they believe that is one of Mitt Romney’s goals."

Photo credit above: "About two-thirds of those surveyed said the U.S. should be a leader on the issue." AP Photo

Temperature Climbing, Weather More Unstable, A Majority Says In Poll. Details from The Washington Post; here's an excerpt: "...Americans polled by The Post and Stanford do see climate change as occurring: Six in 10 say weather patterns around the world have been more unstable in the past three years than previously, a perception that’s changed little since 2006. Nearly as many also say average temperatures were higher during the past three years than before that. In terms of what can be done about it, about 55 percent say a “great deal” or “good amount” can be done to reduce future global warming. At the same time, 60 percent of those polled say it will be extremely or very difficult for people to stop it."

5-Mile-Long Landslide In Alaska National Park; Warming Eyed As Possible Culprit. has the story; here's an excerpt: "A massive landslide sent tons of rock and debris tumbling more than five miles down a glacier in Alaska, the National Park Service reported in an event that could be yet another sign of a warming world. Located in a remote area of Glacier Bay National Park, the slide was so big it registered on earthquake monitors as a magnitude 3.4 event. Officials noticed the monitor blip on June 11 but it wasn't until July 2 that a pilot passing over the site took photos that showed just how large it was, Glacier Bay National Park announced on its Facebook page."

Photo credit above: via Glacier Bay National Park. "Rock and debris from a landslide lie along five miles of what had been an ice-white glacier inside Glacier Bay National Park."

As Country Breaks Heat Record, Studies Analyze Climate Connection. The story from National Geographic, here's an excerpt: "The same week the continental United States broke its record for the hottest six months in a calendar year, the United Nations announced 2011 was among the 15 warmest so far. Climate change may have increased the chances of the types of extreme weather seen in 2011, and may have been heavily influenced by a weather pattern called La Niña. The odds of such record U.S. heat being a random coincidence—while not 1 in 1,594,323, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center said in a new report—are perhaps on the order of 1 in 100,000. One NOAA scientist claims there is an 80 percent chance the record heat can be attributed to climate change. Meanwhile, Meteorologist David Epstein called the extremes “simply a reality of nature.”

Environmental Threats: Antarctica In Danger Of Climate Change, Ocean Acidification And More. Huffington Post has the story; here's an excerpt: "Antarctica and its surrounding waters are under pressure from a variety of forces that are already transforming the area, scientists warn. The most immediate threats are regional warming, ocean acidification and loss of sea ice, all linked to global levels of carbon dioxide. Sea ice cover, crucial to the survival of virtually every animal that lives on and near the continent, already has been reduced by warming, according to a new study published in the July 13 issue of the journal Science. Visits by tourists, researchers and other people also threaten to change Antarctica, as does the harvesting of animals like krill that are key to the Antarctic food chain."

War And Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of a thought-provoking piece in The Huffington Post: "...Social change of real value is slow-going indeed. How do we manifest responsibility to the planet? A serious consensus is building across the globe that doing so is crucial, that the weather extremes of recent years are no less than global warming in action, the result of centuries of unbridled, industrial-age irresponsibility toward the planet, and something fundamental has to change in how we live our lives and sustain ourselves, but our leadership, certainly in this country, seems incapable of addressing an issue of such complexity. President Obama, who campaigned as a new kind of leader, perpetuates, in the name of national security, assassination by drone. Meanwhile, every real issue of national security, including climate change, is ignored. Every problem we face either has an us-vs.-them solution or no solution at all -- indeed, no existence as a problem. A year ago, when wildfires ravaged the state of Arizona, the best John McCain could do was blame it on illegal immigrants. We're stuck in a paradigm of domination, but we can't fight our way out of the ecological disaster we've brought on ourselves. Perhaps, having brought the hell of war to the Middle East over the last two decades, we're symbolically reaping what we've sown."

Climate Change Will Make The World Endear Geoengineering. I'm not sure endear is the right word. Tinkering with the atmosphere to try to "fix" our climate problem? What can possibly go wrong? The story from; here's an excerpt: "The appropriate time for large scale deployment of geoengineering will be something like now, that the world experiences extreme weather events.  ‘Geoengineer the climate, engineer it to save us’ will be the prevalent spout from people because of hard to bear recurrent extremes of devastating magnitude. The losses and impact from weather extremes, of the past few weeks around the world, has prompted serious concerns. Rich and powerful nations are being hurt likewise small and developing nations. Similar weather occurrences have rocked some of the affected places previously, and made news but was seen as a snippet of future climate change."

U.S. Wastes More Energy than China, Europe. Some interesting statistics from The Los Angeles Times; here's the introduction to the story: "In the U.S. – land of the gas-guzzler SUV and 24/7 air conditioning – energy efficiency isn’t known as a strong suit. The country’s power management efforts are so poor that a new report ranks it near the bottom of the pack of major economies. On a list of a dozen countries, which together account for 63% of global energy consumption, the U.S.' efficiency efforts are ranked in lowly ninth place. With a score of 47 out of 100, the U.S. outpaces only Brazil, Canada and Russia, according to the report from the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, known as ACEEE."

Photo credit above: "Traffic piles up in Los Angeles. The U.S. ranks last in energy efficiency in the transportation sector, according to a new report from ACEEE." (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

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