Sunday, July 15, 2012

Monday Heat Spike (third day of 100-degree heat this summer)

91 F. high Saturday in the Twin Cities.

84 F. average high for July 14.

74 F. high last year, on July 14, 2011.

20. Today will be the 20th day this year at or above 90 F. in the metro. Average for an entire summer is 13. The record: 44 in 1988. I still think we'll wind up with 30-35 days above 90 this summer

Heat Spike Details:

Today: 95 F. (dew point: 66 F.) Winds: south 10-15 mph.
Monday: 102 F. (dew point: 65 F.) Winds: south/southwest 15-30 mph.
Tuesday: 97 F. (dew point: 70). Winds: east/northeast 8-13. Chance of a few cooling T-storms.

Hot Front. The NAM model has been doing the best job with the short-range, 1-3 day forecast temperatures. Expect mid-90s today; Monday still looks like the hottest day with highs in the 100-103 F. range. A wind shift to the east/northeast and more clouds and late-day T-storms may keep us "only" in the mid to upper 90s Tuesday, before more significant relief the middle of next week.

"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.

Giant Solar Storm Barreling Toward Our Planet No Big Deal, Say Space Weather Forecaster (Video). Yeah - so don't sweat the heat index ok? Details from The Christian Science Monitor: "A solar storm was due to arrive Saturday morning and last through Sunday, slamming into Earth's magnetic field. Scientists said it will be a minor event, and they have notified power grid operators, airlines and other potentially affected parties. "We don't see any ill effects to any systems," said forecaster Joe Kunches at the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado. There's a bright side to stormy space weather: It tends to spawn colorful northern lights as the charged particles bombard Earth's outer magnetic field. Shimmering auroras may be visible at the United States-Canada border and northern Europe this weekend, Kunches said."

Photo credit above: "This image provided by NASA shows a solar flare, lower center, erupting from the sun on Thursday. Space weather scientists said there should be little impact here on Earth." NASA/AP

18 days/row of 90+ heat at Fort Wayne, a record for consecutive 90-degree days.

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.

1,016 counties in 26 states declared disaster areas, due to severe drought conditions.
40% of America's corn crop described as in "good" condition, according to the USDA.
78% of America's corn-producing counties are in drought. USDA.
Now is when corn farmers most need rain, during the 10-12 day tassling phase.
$2 billion in insurance claims from June fires, floods and severe thunderstorms. Details from below.

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."

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."

Shelf Cloud. WeatherNation TV meteorologist snapped this photo of a shelf cloud, marking the leading edge of severe straight-line winds, in Urbana, Iowa early Saturday.

Ominous Wedge. Thanks to Jeremy Valerius for sharing this terrific shot of Friday night's squall line; the leading edge of rain and hail-cooled air whipping up a pronounced shelf cloud. When you see a cloud formation like this you know you're probably dealing with strong, potentially severe, straight-line winds.

"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:

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).

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)

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

5-Day Rainfall Forecast. Soaking, 2-3"+ rains are predicted for Tennessee and Kentucky this week, but the heaviest rains will probably pass just south/east of the corn belt. The Central Plains stay dry, along with the far western USA.  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)."

Florida Funnel. Here are more details, via Facebook, from the Tampa NWS office: "Funnel cloud in Cape Coral at 2:45 pm edt (Friday). Please let us know if it touched ground and caused any damage."
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
NASA MODIS Image Of The Day: "Emilia". Here's a good overview of Pacific Hurricane Emilia from "The fifth named storm of the 2012 Pacific hurricane season, Emilia quickly became the strongest storm of that season to date, peaking as a Category 4 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane Wind Scale on July 10, 2012. On that day, Hurricane Emilia packed maximum one minute sustained wind speeds of 140 mph and a barometric pressure of 945 mbar. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of Hurricane Emilia on July 11, at 2120 UTC (11:20 a.m. EDT)."
Hurricane Fabio. A minimal Category 1 hurricane, Fabio poses no threat to land. Just our pride.
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."

Another Look At "Cold Fusion." Remember the cold fusion scandal back in the 80s? Turns out there may be something to this new and revolutionary way of generating electricity anyway. Details from; here's an excerpt and link to a 60 Minutes video clip: "There’s an announcement on the CNBC web site of an upcoming program that will feature cold fusion. There will be a program on Scientific Breakthroughs on Tuesday, July 17th at 9:00 p.m. ET. Here is the description:
Cold Fusion Is Hot Again

A report on cold fusion – nuclear energy like that which powers the sun, but made at room temperatures on a tabletop, which in 1989, was presented as a revolutionary new source of energy that promised to be cheap, limitless and clean but was quickly dismissed as junk science. Today, scientists believe that cold fusion, now most often called low temperature fusion or a nuclear effect, could lead to monumental breakthroughs in energy production.
"Now CNBC is a cable financial network, and 60 Minutes is a CBS show, so there must be some kind of partnership between the two companies. The explanation of ’60 Minutes on CNBC’ is, “CNBC brings you the latest on these classic stories with updates and never before seen footage of these award winning business news stories

MIT Develops New Glasses-Free 3-D TV Technology. Wait, I won't have to wear those dorky glasses in the future when I'm watching Fox News in 3-D? Something to look forward to. Details from "Though 3D movies have been around for a while, the experience of visiting a cinema to catch the latest blockbuster is dampened by unwieldy glasses and the limitation of only one fixed perspective being offered to all. The illusion of depth is present, but this is far removed from the hologram-like, multiple-perspective experience which would truly wow movie-goers. MIT's Media Lab’s Camera Culture group proposes a new approach to 3D images that promises glasses-free multiple-perspective 3D. Perhaps best of all though, MIT's technique uses inexpensive existing LCD technology, clearing the way for the tech to be implemented into TV's."

Your Phone May Soon Knew Where You're Going Before You Do. As my smartphone quickly becomes smarter than I am, I'm hoping it will automatically answer my calls, texts and e-mails. I'll just kick back and read a "book" while it's doing everything for me, including mapping out the rest of my day. has another intriguing story; here's an excerpt: "Phones obviously already know where we are and where we have been, thanks to GPS and other clever positioning technologies. Now, thanks to an algorithm developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham, your smartphone may soon be able to make accurate educated guesses as to where you’re going to be in 24 hours time. And here’s the dirty trick responsible for the algorithm’s future-telling powers: it spies on your friends and connects the dots where necessary."

The Forecast Calls For Hiccups. I sympathize - and there's not much you can do when your body goes temporarily haywire. Details from  "Kalee Dionne, the morning meteorologist at Birmingham CBS-affiliate WIAT, was struck with a case of the hiccups during her weather report this morning. “Sorry, I have the hiccups,” Dionne cautioned viewers at the beginning of her forecast. Dionne got through to the end of the report before asking, “Does anyone know a cure for hiccups?” Video inside… "

World's Largest Cocktail. And where on Earth would you find the world's largest cocktail. No, not Vegas - California! Details from The California State Fair, via Facebook: "Nicora did it! He broke the world record for largest cocktail! Come get your margarita at the fair, either on the rocks straight from the tank or blended from any margarita booth at the fair. How many margaritas do you think this tank holds?"
Warm-Up Act. Yesterday was just the warmed-over appetizer: the main course comes tomorrow when the mercury should top 100 F. for the third time this summer. With a slight dip in dew point (mid 60s) and bright sun Saturday highs ranged from 88 at Hibbing to 91 Twin Cities, 93 at St. Cloud. Hot enough. Rochester saw .58" rain early in the day.

Movie Night At Big Island. In spite of lightning nearby a few brave boaters turned out for a screening of "Anchorman" at Big Island, on Lake Minnetonka. Photo courtesy of Chris Anthony, who's barge held up the screen - no small feat!

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

TODAY: Hot sunshine. Dew point: 66. Winds: S 10-15. High: 95

SUNDAY NIGHT: Clear and muggy - uncomfortably warm. Low: 80

MONDAY: Hottest day in sight. Sunny and sizzling. Record high: 102 (1926). Dew point: 65. S 20-30. High: 102

TUESDAY: Steamy, late thunderstorms Dew point: 70. High: 97

WEDNESDAY: Some relief - lingering T-shower possible. Low: 72. High: 88

THURSDAY: Intervals of sun, breathing easier. Low: 68. High: 86

FRIDAY: Hazy sun, more humid. Dew point: 67. Low: 70. High: 91

SATURDAY: Oppressive again. Very hot with late T-storms. Dew point: 71. Low: 76. High: 96

Another Heat Spike

I find it ironic that Barry Bonds will be remembered for a "weather on steroids" analogy. I'd like my weather SUPER-SIZED please! A 1-in-100 year flood in Houston (following the worst drought ever last summer). The west is burning (literally) while scorching, desert-heat sweeps into the Plains and Midwest.

A friend in Phoenix says its a "dry heat". So is my oven, but I still wouldn't stick my head inside.
Mid-90s will be bad enough today, but many of the ingredients are falling into place for the third 100-degree high of the summer tomorrow: bright sun, south/southwest wind, a dip in dew point and drying topsoil. The sun's energy can go into heating up the air vs. evaporation.

100-105 F. heat Monday; temperatures Tuesday may approach 100 over southern Minnesota; a few models hinting at a few cooling T-storms as (slightly) cooler air approaches. Any midweek relief will be tepid - another surge of heat arrives late week. A 95+ Saturday gives way to a cooler front next Sunday.

Any rainy relief for farmers worried about the worst drought since '88? The heat has pushed frontal boundaries into Manitoba. That's where it's raining. It's too hot to coax many puddles out of this sky.

Climate Stories...

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

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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