Friday, June 30, 2017

Fine Weekend - Heat Wave Brewing - Rising Temperatures Will Bring More Heat-Related Deaths

.08" rain fell at MSP International Airport on Friday.

80 F. maximum temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.
83 F. average MSP metro high on June 30.
79 F. high on June 30, 2016.

July 1, 1964: Tyler picks up over 6 inches of rain in 24 hours.

Enjoy Our Comfortable Front - Heat Wave Brewing

Let's be honest: a warmer climate sounds pretty good - in February. But as temperatures continue to rise summer heat may become more prevalent, intense and debilitating for much of the USA.

America's 45 largest cities experienced an average of 1,360 summer heat deaths from 1975 to 2010. Based on the rate of warming, The National Resources Defense Council predicts the annual death toll from severe heat may rise to 13,860 by the mid-2040s. More details here.

To be clear, climate change doesn't trigger heat waves or floods. It just make them worse, it turns up the dial.

The reason I'm leading with heat is because we'll see 90s late next week, again the following week. In fact models are suggesting a chance of 100-degree heat across parts of the Upper Midwest roughly July 12-15. Circle your calendar. And make a date with your favorite lake.

Holiday weekend weather looks surprisingly good; a stray T-shower up north later today, but generally dry Sunday, Monday and Tuesday as highs rise thru the 80s. A lonely T- storm may sprout over southwest Minnesota on the 4th, but no all-day washouts to spoil your plans.

We've Seen Worse. It probably won't be a postcard-perfect Tuesday, but temperatures should be lake-worthy by afternoon (within a few degrees of 80F) with a slight risk of a pop-up T-storm, especially over southern and southwestern Minnesota.

Steamy 4th for Much of America. There are no more blue states as of next Tuesday - only red states. Enjoy. Map credit: AerisWeather AMP.

4th of July Heat Index. NOAA models show a heat index approaching 110F from southern Arizona and south Texas, as well as southern Georgia. Much of the south will enjoy a sauna-like holiday; with relatively comfortable conditions over the Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes and New England.

Heat Spreads North Next Week. By next Thursday the heat index may be approaching 105F as far north as Des Moines and Peoria, close to 100F from Pierre and the Twin Cities to Chicago. Looks like much of America will have an opportunity to gripe about the dew point and heat index.

Soggy Saturday For The East Coast. Showers and T-storms will be widespread from the Tennessee Valley to the East Coast, including New England today. A few showers and thundershowers may sprout across northern Minnesota later today - NAM guidance produces a swarm of showers and T-storms by Sunday from the Texas Panhandle to Missouri. Loop:

Warming Up. The weekend looks relatively comfortable with highs in the 70s, but heat and humidity slowly builds next week; ECMWF guidance for the Twin Cities suggesting that next Thursday and Sunday, July 9, will bring 90s, with a potential heat index close to 100F. Graphic: WeatherBell.

Sizzling July - With a Few Exceptions. Gazing out 2 weeks over the horizon (I don't recommend it) and the heat wave continues for much of America, with the exception of the Great Lakes and New England, where cool frontal passages will take the edge off the worst of the heat.

June 28 Tornado in Pierce County, Wisconsin. The Twin Cities National Weather Service has a preliminary report on Wednesday's tornado touchdown: "An EF-1 tornado occurred in Pierce County Wisconsin near the Twin Cities metro area on June 28, 2017. Tree trunks were uprooted and snapped, homes had significant roof damage, and a truck slid out of a garage and was flipped onto its side..."

NOAA: Minor Damage From Two "Minor" Tornadoes in Southeast Minnesota Wednesday. Call me crazy but any tornado is a pretty big deal. Details from WXOW-TV in La Crosse: "Preliminary reports from the National Weather Service show that the two tornadoes in Olmsted County Wednesday evening caused only minor damage. The reports indicated that the first tornado, west-southwest of Viola, Minnesota, was only on the ground briefly at 6:22 p.m.. It was rated an EF-0, which is classified as a weak tornado. No damage was found or reported with this tornado according to the NWS..."

Photo credit: Tony Jostock.

June: Warmer Than Average Again. After a 20 month straight run of warmer-than-normal May was slightly cooler, statewide, but June resumes the trend of warmer than the long-term averages, according to Dr. Mark Seeley at Minnesota WeatherTalk: "After having one of the warmest starts to June in Minnesota history, cooler than normal conditions prevailed during the second half of the month. As a result most climate observers are reporting a mean monthly temperature that is near normal or just 1 to 2 degrees warmer than normal. A few locations in the far north ended up the month with a mean temperature that was cooler than normal (Kabetogama and Tower for example). Among Minnesota's observer network 46 new daily high maximum temperature records were tied or broken during the first half of the month, while 35 daily warm minimum temperature records were tied or broken. Only 7 record low minimum temperatures were tied or set..."

These NASA Images Show Siberia Burning Up. Climate Central has details: "Siberian wildfire season is off and running with multiple blazes searing the boreal forest and tundra. It's the latest example of the vast shifts happening to the forests that cover Siberia and the rest of the northern tier of the world as climate change alters the landscape. Those forests are burning at a rate unheard of in at least 10,000 years due largely to rising temperatures. They contain vast reserves of carbon stored in trees and soil and when they burn, they send that carbon into the atmosphere. That creates a dangerous cycle of more severe wildfires and ever rising temperatures..."

Photo credit: "A satellite image captured on June 23, 2017 shows the extent of wildfires burning across Siberia." Credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Arizona Wildfire Forces Thousands of People From Their Homes. The Washington Post has the latest: "A wildfire burning Wednesday through a dense Arizona forest has forced thousands of people from their homes, closed a major road and created a huge plume of smoke over the same area devastated by a blaze that killed 19 firefighters four years ago. The fire is burning in communities around Prescott, a mountain city about 100 miles (160.9 kilometers) north of Phoenix that draws a mix of desert dwellers escaping the heat, retirees and visitors to its famed Old West-themed Whiskey Row. The fire has charred 32 square miles (83 square kilometers) while being fanned by winds ranging to 35 mph (56 kph) winds. More than 500 firefighters were battling the blaze. A firefighter suffered a minor injury..."

Real-time wildfire map above:
Siberian wildfire season is off and running with multiple blazes searing the boreal forest and tundra. It’s the latest example of the vast shifts happening to the forests that cover Siberia and the rest of the northern tier of the world as climate change alters the landscape.
Those forests are burning at a rate unheard of in at least 10,000 years due largely to rising temperatures. They contain vast reserves of carbon stored in trees and soil and when they burn, they send that carbon into the atmosphere. That creates a dangerous cycle of more severe wildfires and ever rising temperatures.

Iranian City Soars to Record 129 Degrees - Near Hottest on Earth in Modern Measurements. Capital Weather Gang has details: "A city in southwest Iran posted the country’s hottest temperature ever recorded Thursday afternoon, and may have tied the world record for the most extreme high temperature. Etienne Kapikian, a forecaster at French meteorological agency MeteoFrance, posted to Twitter that the city of Ahvaz soared to “53.7°C” (128.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Kapikian said the temperature is a “new absolute national record of reliable Iranian heat” and that it was the hottest temperature ever recorded in June over mainland Asia. Iran’s previous hottest temperature was 127.4. Weather Underground’s website indicates the temperature in Ahvaz climbed even higher, hitting 129.2 degrees at both 4:51 and 5 p.m. local time..."

Map credit: "GFS weather model analysis of maximum temperatures in the Middle East Thursday afternoon." (

The Ozone Hole is Slowly Healing - But This Chemical Could Delay Its Recovery by Decades. The Washington Post reports: "While the famous Antarctic “ozone hole” is finally beginning to heal, 30 years after it was first discovered, scientists have just identified a new threat to its recovery. A study, just out Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that a common industrial chemical called dichloromethane — which has the power to destroy ozone — has doubled in the atmosphere over the past 10 years. And if its concentrations keep growing, scientists say, it could delay the Antarctic ozone layer’s return to normal by up to 30 years. “We’ve known that dichloromethane has been increasing in the atmosphere — however, there’s not been a concerted effort to assess what the impact of those increases could be for the ozone layer, and in particular for ozone recovery,” said the new study’s lead author Ryan Hossaini, an atmospheric chemist and research fellow at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom..."

Graphic credit: "This false-color image shows ozone concentrations above Antarctica on Oct. 2, 2015." (Credits: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center).

Drones, Big Data, Climate: Your Insurance Nightmare. If you're not just a little bit paranoid you're probably not paying attention. Here's an excerpt of a post at INTHEBLACK that caught my eye: "...Using such case studies, Lloyd’s has been modelling the solar flare situation. Its worst-case scenario says consequences could include economic losses of almost US$3 trillion, 40 million people impacted and a recovery time of up to two years. The situation is so serious that in May 2017 the US Senate unanimously passed the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act to support the research of space weather and the development of new technology to monitor solar flares. It’s not just space weather that can cause serious business pain..."

Solar Moves in a Curious Direction Since Trump Quit Paris Deal: Up. Bloomberg reports: "In the month since President Donald Trump vowed to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, shares of U.S. solar companies have taken a curious turn. They’ve gone sharply up. Sunrun Inc. and Vivint Solar Inc., the two largest independent U.S. rooftop panel installers, have embarked on their biggest rallies of the year since the president’s June 1 announcement. Sunrun is up 42 percent, closing Thursday at $7.27. Vivint has risen 86 percent, to $5.75. And SunPower Corp., the second-largest American panel manufacturer, has gained 19 percent, to $9.49. The rally—which comes as oil and energy stocks at large have dipped—appears to have nothing to do with Paris. Rather, analysts say it’s fueled by the dynamics that typically drive clean-energy installations: state policies and equipment prices..."

World's Largest Wind Turbine Will Be Taller Than Empire State Building. EcoWatch has the awe-inspiring details: "When it comes to the latest wind turbine technologies, size matters. A group of six institutions and universities is designing an offshore wind turbine that will stand 500 meters in height. That's taller than the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building. The research team, led by researchers at the University of Virginia, believes that its wind turbine concept will produce 50 megawatts of peak power, or about 10 times more powerful than conventional wind turbines..."

Image credit: SUMR.

A Bonkers Private "Jet" Brings Electric Flight to the Rich. A story at made me do a double-take: "If you’re just coming around to the idea of battery powered cars, prepare for the next onslaught, because the future of flight is electric too. And just as with ground vehicles, nothing pushes along new tech like some sex appeal. Tesla did that for cars, with sleek looks and ludicrous acceleration. Now, Eviation Aircraft wants to do the same for the sky. At last week's Paris Air Show, the Israeli company unveiled a prototype electric light aircraft, a private jet without the jet engines..."

Photo credit: Eviation Aircraft Ltd.
The Aurora project features 16 separate solar power plants in Minnesota that together will provide electricity to Xcel Energy under a long-term contract. Aurora, which cost $290 million, is owned by Enel Green Power North America and can produce 100 megawatts of power, enough for more than 17,000 homes. A megawatt is 1 million watts.

The Tiny Satellites Ushering In The New Space Revolution. It turns out smaller is better and cheaper for imaging our home from low-earth orbit. Here's a clip from Bloomberg: "...What made the launch a record were the 88 shoebox-size “Dove” satellites built by Planet Labs Inc., a startup in San Francisco. For the past few years, Planet has been sending batches of its Doves into orbit, each carrying a high-powered telescope and camera programmed to photograph a different swath of Earth. The 88 launched from Sriharikota would join 61 others to become the largest fleet ever put in orbit. Images beamed back by the 61 have been used far and wide: Hedge funds scour Walmart parking lots to measure traffic flows during back-to-school seasons. Farmers assess crop health and estimate optimal harvest times. Activists track Amazonian deforestation and Syrian refugee camps. Spies monitor military buildups and trafficking operations. With all 149 satellites in place, Planet will be able to photograph every inch of Earth’s surface every day—something even the U.S. government can’t do..."

Robocalypse Now? Central Bankers Argue Whether Automation Will Kill Jobs. The short answer appears to be - yes. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...Generally speaking, economic growth is a good thing,” Ben S. Bernanke, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, said at the forum. “But, as recent political developments have brought home, growth is not always enough.” In the past, technical advances caused temporary disruptions but ultimately improved living standards, creating new categories of employment along the way. Farm machinery displaced farmworkers but eventually they found better paying jobs, and today their great-grandchildren may design video games. But artificial intelligence threatens broad categories of jobs previously seen as safe from automation, such as legal assistants, corporate auditors and investment managers. Large groups of people could become obsolete, suffering the same fate as plow horses after the invention of the tractor..."

Photo credit: "Employees of the German online retailer Zalando preparing customer orders for shipping in Erfurt, Germany. Zalando has invested heavily in hubs like the one in Erfurt and increased automation." Phil Hatcher-Moore for The New York Times.

Humans vs. Robots: How to Thrive in an Automated Workplace. Robots and AI will replace repetitive jobs, but new jobs, new opportunities will arise as a result, argues the author at Fortune: "Are robots going to take our jobs? Will artificial intelligence make it even easier? How will automation really affect the global workforce and economy?As these technologies have developed with increasing speed, it's not unnatural—no pun intended—to wonder about their impact on the lives of regular people (not to mention the companies they work for). Will automation free our time for leisurely pursuits? Or will we get even busier? And if we're so good at creating technology that does the work for us, will society create new support mechanisms to address that reality?..."

Steve Jobs is a Rorschach Test: To Be a Good Leader, You Don't Have To Be a Jerk. Food for thought from Quartz: "...When asked about Jobs’ biggest shortcomings, his biographer Walter Isaacson offered: “He could’ve been kinder.” It wouldn’t have cost him anything. He might’ve even gained some loyalty from it. And it’s not a coincidence that the Jobs who came back to Apple in 1997 was kinder—I’ve heard this over and over from his close collaborators. He evolved. Although he still wasn’t warm and fuzzy, he was less cruel. Mistake 2: confusing outward prickliness with inner selfishness. I’ve found that whether you’re a giver or a taker on the inside is completely separate from how agreeable you are on the outside. There’s little question that Jobs was disagreeable: He was critical and skeptical...."

Couples Who Argue While Sleep-Deprived Risk Seriously Damaging Their Health. Not to mention their relationship. Here's an excerpt from Quartz: "All couples have disagreements, and most of us know it’s easier to fall into fractious bickering when we’re tired. But there’s a genuine health benefit to avoiding touchy subjects when both people in a partnership are sleep-deprived, according to new research. Researchers from the the Ohio State University Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research tested couples for stress-related inflammatory responses, which have been linked to higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and arthritis. They found that having less sleep didn’t automatically mean that people woke up and came into the lab with increased inflammation markers. The responses were triggered if they engaged in a stressful conversation with their partner..."

Strange "Sea Pickles" Keep Washing Ashore in the Pacific Northwest - and Scientists Are Baffled. Yes, but are they edible? Here's a clip from The Washington Post: "There are strange sea creatures known as “sea pickles” invading the Pacific Northwest. These gelatinous and somewhat translucent organisms, called pyrosomes, have been seen congregating, sometimes by the thousands, close to shore from Northern California up to southeast Alaska — clogging fishing nets and washing up on beaches, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Experts say that this year, the critters are appearing in very high numbers outside the normal range of the species. Most recently, NBC Bay Area reported that the sea dwellers have been causing a stir in Monterey Bay, frustrating fishermen trying to catch salmon and shrimp..."

Photo credit: "Pyrosomes aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Oregon in May." (Hilarie Sorensen/NOAA Fisheries via Reuters).

10 Creatures That Can Ruin Your Day at the Beach. Our lakes are looking even better. Let's start with jellyfish, courtesy of The Washington Post: "...The oceans contain thousands of types of jellyfish, ranging from one-millimeter specks to giants with tentacles more than 100 feet long. Stings are common: According to a 2008 National Science Foundation report, about 500,000 people are stung in the Chesapeake Bay every year and another 200,000 in Florida. Avoid ’em: Keep an eye out for jellyfish in the water, and definitely don’t pick up that colorful, balloonlike thing on the sand — it could be a venomous jellyfish cousin called a Portuguese man-of-war. If you’re stung, rinse with seawater and remove spines with tweezers or the edge of a credit card. Contrary to that “Friends” episode, urinating on a jellyfish sting can make it worse..."

IBM's Watson Will Analyze Wimbledon to Suggest the Best Matches. Soon we'll all be working for Watson. Engadget has more detail: "IBM's Watson can apparently do everything. From manufacturing and medical treatment planning to portrait drawing and filing your taxes, there seems to be no limit to what the Jeopardy-winning AI can do. And next week, Watson will be offering its services to the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Those attending the event will be able to access a Watson-driven digital assistant named Fred via a mobile app. Fred will be able to help them navigate the courts, find food stands and vendors as well as figure out who is playing at any given time..."

File photo credit: IBM and Fortune.

Virtual Reality Tornado Experience Raises Awareness of Wind Perils. Is this how we'll get our (virtual/personalized) weather reports in the very near future? Check out an article at Business Insurance: "Munich Reinsurance America Inc. has released a tornado virtual reality experience tool to highlight the risks posed by tornadoes and the importance of embracing resiliency in building construction to help reduce future property losses. Property damage from convective storms in the United States has been steadily increasing over the past 40 years, exceeding more than $22 billion in economic losses, including $15.3 billion in insured losses, in 2016, according to the Princeton, New Jersey-based reinsurer. “Within the United States, on occasion we do have the very severe coastal hurricane events like Sandy, like Matthew last year, but year in and year out, the United States consistently has very high levels of insured loss due to severe thunderstorm events, which includes tornado, hail and high winds,” said Mark Bove, senior research meteorologist at Munich Re US..."

This Is Why They Hate Us. Just 'sayin...

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.” – George Washington Carver

TODAY: Mild sun much of the day. PM T-storm up north. Winds: NW 7-12. High: 77

SATURDAY NIGHT: Risk of a shower or T-shower. Low: 61

SUNDAY: Plenty of sun, nice for a holiday. Winds: N 5-10. High: near 80

MONDAY: Plenty of sun, lake-worthy. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 61. High: 82

4TH OF JULY: Partly sunny, stray storm SW Minnesota. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 65. High: 85

WEDNESDAY: Hazy sun, uncomfortably sticky. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 69. High: 88

THURSDAY: Hot sun, definitely feels like July. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 72. High: 92

FRIDAY: Early T-storm, then partial clearing. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 69. High: 87

Climate Stories...

Major Correction to Satellite Data Shows 140% Faster Warming Since 1998. More bad news for professional climate skeptics. Carbon Brief explains: "A new paper published in the Journal of Climate reveals that the lower part of the Earth’s atmosphere has warmed much faster since 1979 than scientists relying on satellite data had previously thought. Researchers from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), based in California, have released a substantially revised version of their lower tropospheric temperature record. After correcting for problems caused by the decaying orbit of satellites, as well as other factors, they have produced a new record showing 36% faster warming since 1979 and nearly 140% faster (e.g. 2.4 times faster) warming since 1998. This is in comparison to the previous version 3 of the lower tropospheric temperature (TLT) data published in 2009..."

Graphic credit: "Produced by Carbon Brief using data from RSS."

Heat Deaths in U.S. Cities Could Jump 10-Fold if Climate Change Isn't Slowed. Here's an excerpt from Healthday News and Bismarck Tribune: "America's exit from the Paris climate change agreement will lead to more punishing summer heat waves and thousands of additional heat-related deaths each year in major U.S. cities, a new report claims. Conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the report projected that all 51 of the country's urban areas with more than 1 million people will experience more dangerously hot summer days both in the middle and late parts of this century. In 45 of the largest cities, excess deaths on dangerously hot days could increase 10-fold, from an average of about 1,360 each summer between 1975 and 2010 to 13,860 by the mid-2040s, the report concluded..."

Photo credit: Tom Wang, Bismarck Tribune.

Global Warming Tipped Scales in Europe's Heat Wave. Climate Central delves into the realm of attribution, linking extreme events to a warmer climate: "...To evaluate the role of global warming in the recent heat wave, the researchers used both historical temperature observations and climate models to see how the oddds of such an event have changed over time and to  compare the odds in a climate with and without warming, respectively. They found that the likelihood of such a heat wave had at least doubled across the region and was up to 10 times more  likely in the worst-hit places, Spain and Portugal. What was once a rare heat event can now happen every 10 to 30 years, as is more  likely to happen earlier in the summer..."

Photo credit: "Fire and smoke is seen on the IC8 motorway during a forest fire near Pedrogao Grande, in central Portugal on June 18, 2017." Credit: REUTERS/Miguel Vidal.

Winter's Not Coming: Game of Thrones' Jon Snow Worried Over Lack of It. The Guardian has the story: "His character Jon Snow may fret about the arrival of winter, but Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington has said he was instead confronted by “terrifying” evidence of global warming while filming the HBO show. Harington said it was a “very sad irony” to film in locations with diminishing ice for scenes where the arrival of winter, and the frosty undead from beyond the Wall, is feared by his character. “We went to Iceland to find snow, because winter is here,” the actor told Time. “We got there and we were lucky to get the snow we did, because in our world, winter is definitely not here. It’s this weird parallel, the opposite parallel..."

Photo credit: "Kit Harington – AKA Jon Snow – has described ‘terrifying’ evidence of global warming." Photograph: HBO/2015 Home Box Office.

Companies Pressed to Disclose More on Climate Change Risks. The Wall Street Journal reports: "A panel of top financial institutions and companies has launched guidelines to push for more disclosure about the impact of climate change—highlighting rising concern about the potential investment risks posed by global warming. The task force, which was commissioned by a group of global regulators known as the Financial Stability Board and led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said companies should disclose in financial filings how they are planning for risks and opportunities related to climate change. It also called for companies to develop specific metrics and targets to measure performance in that area. The task force included executives from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Unilever , mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. and other large companies..."

Nuclear Power and Climate Change. Here's a response to a recent Op-Ed in the New York Times from Carol Browner, former administrator of the EPA, and a member of Nuclear Matters, a national coalition: "...Trying to fight climate change without our existing nuclear fleet is akin to trying to fight a fire with a steadily decreasing supply of water: It just won't work. We need to recognize this and take steps to preserve the critical carbon-free power we get from our nuclear plants..."

Photo credit: "The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Middletown, Pa. Exelon has said it will shut down the last reactor there by 2019 unless it receives financial assistance." Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.

Climate Change in the U.S. Could the Rich and Hurt the Poor. The Washington Post explains the implications of a warmer, wetter, more volatile climate: "...Researchers have long warned that unmitigated climate change could cause severe financial hardship to the United States in coming decades. But a new study published Thursday in the journal Science details how global warming could disproportionately affect poor areas of the country, contributing to widening economic inequality among Americans. “The poor regions will get poorer and the richer regions will benefit,” said study co-author Solomon Hsiang, a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. “What we’re seeing here is that climate change will have a very large impact on the quality of life and economic opportunity in the coming decades for ourselves and our children...”

What Can We Learn From Dystopian Fiction About Climate Change? has an interesting post.

Could Climate Change Spark a "Permanent Recession"? TIME weighs in with perspective on new research looking into how climate volatility and weather disruption might disrupt America's GDP in the decades to come: "Climate change will wreak havoc on the U.S. economy, leading to as much as a 3% decline in national GDP by the end of the 21st century if left unaddressed — and losses will be far higher in some of the country's poorest areas, according to a new study. Researchers behind the study, published in the journal Science, evaluated a number of factors that will contribute to economic decline as average global temperatures continue to rise, including increased energy costs, coastal damage, mortality rates and damage to agriculture. The study authors did not assess some other factors that carry economic costs, like damage to biodiversity, because such losses can be difficult to quantify..."

The American South Will Bear the Worst of Climate Change's Costs. Northern tier states will fare better, but no state will avoid the impact of increasing climate volatility and weather disruption. It turns out many red states will be getting even redder (hotter) in the years to come. Here's an excerpt from a summary of new research at The Atlantic: "...Across the country’s southern half—and especially in states that border the Gulf of Mexico—climate change could impose the equivalent of a 20-percent tax on county-level income, according to the study. Harvests will dwindle, summer energy costs will soar, rising seas will erase real-estate holdings, and heatwaves will set off epidemics of cardiac and pulmonary disease. The loss of human life dwarfs all the other economic costs of climate change. Almost every county between El Paso, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina, could see their mortality rate rise by more than 20 people out of every 100,000. By comparison, car accidents killed about 11 Americans out of every 100,000 in 2015. But in the South and Southwest, other damages stack up..."

Map credit: New York Times. Kopp, Hsiang, et al. / Science.

Climate Change is Already Hitting Home. It's not something that's 30 years down the road - we're already seeing symptoms of a warmer, wetter world, including more extreme rainfall events, worldwide. Here's an excerpt of a post from Popular Science and Peter Sinclair at Climate Denial Crock of the Week: "...According to a recent Yale survey, 7 in 10 Americans believe global warming is real and ­happening. And 6 in 10 believe it is affecting U.S. weather. But only 1 in 3 say they’ve personally felt its effects. That disconnect stuck with Heidi Cullen. “You’re never going to think of it as an issue that’s urgent unless you recognize the fact that you’re already being impacted,” says Cullen, chief scientist for the nonprofit Climate Central. Now in its ninth year, Climate Central is part research hub and part journalism outfit—an unusual hybrid that tries to connect climate change to people’s lives. The organization’s latest project, World Weather ­Attribution, identifies direct links between extreme weather events and global warming. Cullen and her team created the program after realizing that while the tools for attributing such events have evolved, the results were coming out too late to influence the conversation..."

Researchers published a landmark study in Science on Thursday that analyzes what climate change will mean for the economies of all 3,144 counties in the U.S. The analysis is the first of its kind, but the results show what’s becoming a common refrain when it comes to the impact of climate change: Rising temperatures will cause the poorest to suffer the most, even in the wealthiest nation in the world.
Union County is just one of a host of poor counties in the South that will be hit disproportionately hard by the impacts of climate change. In contrast, more wealthy counties in the northern third of the country are likely to be insulated from the effects of climate change and could even make economic gains because of new agricultural land opening up and fewer deaths due to cold weather. The findings have broad implications for county planning and the need for a strong, coordinated response to address climate change at the national level.
Researchers published a landmark study in Science on Thursday that analyzes what climate change will mean for the economies of all 3,144 counties in the U.S. The analysis is the first of its kind, but the results show what’s becoming a common refrain when it comes to the impact of climate change: Rising temperatures will cause the poorest to suffer the most, even in the wealthiest nation in the world.
Union County is just one of a host of poor counties in the South that will be hit disproportionately hard by the impacts of climate change. In contrast, more wealthy counties in the northern third of the country are likely to be insulated from the effects of climate change and could even make economic gains because of new agricultural land opening up and fewer deaths due to cold weather. The findings have broad implications for county planning and the need for a strong, coordinated response to address climate change at the national level.
A Giant Iceberg Is About to Break Off From Antarctica. Details at Fortune: "A massive iceberg is “hours, days, or weeks” away from separating from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf, scientists based in the United Kingdom said Wednesday. “When it calves, the Larsen C Ice Shelf will lose more than 10% of its area to leave the ice front at its most retreated position ever recorded," the scientists wrote. "This event will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula." The iceberg that forms from the predicted separation could end up being roughly the size of Delaware, making it one of the largest icebergs that scientists have ever observed. The event could trigger a collapse of the entire Larsen C ice shelf, a catastrophe that could raise worldwide sea levels by four inches, researchers estimate..."

Image credit: Project Midas. "Comparison of speeds between Sentinel-1 image mosaics in early and late June 2017. The early mosaic combines displacements on the inner shelf measured between 6th and 12th June with similar ones on the outer shelf measured between 3rd and 15th June. The recent mosaic combines inner shelf displacements up to 24th June with outer shelf displacements only 3 days later highlighting a significant acceleration over those three days."

Climate Change is Not The Only Cause of Greenland Ice Melt. Blame Sunnier Days. My first reaction: what's causing the sunnier days? Here's an excerpt from Newsweek: "Greenland’s ice sheet is melting faster than expected, and this has been accelerating over the past two decades. It is now the biggest single contributor to global sea level rise, accounting for 25 percent of the total. But besides warming climes, there is another culprit for the melt: sunnier days in fair Greenland. A paper published June 28 in the journal Science Advances shows that cloud cover has decreased by 14 percent from 1994 to 2009, at an average of just under 1 percent per year. That may not sound like much, but for ice, it’s a big deal. The researchers show that for every 1 percent drop in cloud cover, the amount of ice melt has increased by 27 gigatons. That’s a vast amount of water, approximately equivalent to the domestic water supply of the United States..."

File photo credit: John Sonntag, NASA.

Climate Scientists Just Debunked Deniers' Favorite Argument. Here's a clip from an explainer at The Guardian: "...In a new study, a team climate scientists led by Ben Santer sought to answer this question. They effectively disproved Christy’s assertion that the discrepancy was due to models being too sensitive to the increased greenhouse effect. Instead, the main culprit seems to be incorrect inputs used in the climate model simulations. The issue is that climate model simulations are run using specific scenarios. These scenarios assume specific changes in factors that influence global temperature and climate changes (known as “forcings”), like rising levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases and changes in solar and volcanic activity. Climate models don’t make “predictions;” rather, they make “projections” of how temperatures and other climatological factors will change in response to those forcing input scenarios. There’s also a random component known as “internal variability” due to factors like unpredictable ocean cycles..."

Graphic credit: "Remote Sensing Systems estimate of the temperature of the middle troposphere compared to the CMIP5 multi-model average (top frame), and the difference between the two over time (bottom frame)." Illustration: Santer et al. (2017), Nature Geoscience.

Crossing an Ideological Divide. Full disclosure: EEN President and former Methodist minister Mitch Hescox is my co-author for the book "Caring for Creation": The Evangelical's Guide to Climate Change and a Healthy Environment." Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The York Dispatch: "...So it was more than a tad refreshing to hear a local conservative weigh in this month in favor of acting on climate change. Mitchell Hescox, president of the York-based Evangelical Environmental Network, said in an essay he penned for the Dispatch that his organization is “part of a growing number of faith-based, bipartisan and conservative groups dedicated to caring for our children’s health by being good stewards of the earth.” He has no trouble reconciling science and religion: “Left unchecked, CO2 levels will continue to rise beyond the over 400 (parts per million) that God intended,” he writes. And he has no trouble reconciling science and political affiliation. Hescox calls on Christians of all political parties to be “good stewards of the earth...”

Three Years to Ward Off Potential "Climate Catastrophe"? I realize the situation is urgent - we don't know what we don't know, and tipping points are inevitable. I do get a little leary about some of the more strident gloom and doom headlines though, some people just shut down or avoid the topic when they see things like this. We don't have much time, but whether it's 3 years or 15 years - I don't pretend to know. Here's an excerpt from The Verge: "To save world from the climate change apocalypse, we need to start cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, a group of scientists claims. We have just three years to do this, or the planet will warm to levels that kick off irreversible, catastrophic climate changes. To help avoid the worst-case scenario, the scientists set six milestones to reduce carbon emissions across sectors, including energy, transportation, and infrastructure. The goals range from expanding renewables to reducing deforestation, to issuing “green bonds” to finance climate-mitigation efforts. This position paper appears in the journal Nature, just ahead of a meeting of world leaders in Hamburg, Germany..."

Pentagon, Trump Are At Odds on Climate Change - and Democrats Are Taking Advantage. The Miami Herald reports: "...Scientists estimate that rising sea levels threaten at least 128 U.S. military bases and installations, nine of which are major hubs for the U.S. Navy. Military installations on waterfront properties are facing hundreds of floods a year, and some could be mostly submerged by 2100, according to a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Military leaders have consistently warned that extreme weather patterns, drought and floods are aggravating social tensions, destabilizing regions and feeding the rise of extremist groups like al Qaida and the Islamic State. At his confirmation hearing, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis called climate change a “driver of instability” that requires a “whole-of-government response” to address..."

Photo credit: "Army National Guard vehicles travel through floodwaters Aug. 14, 2016, on LA-442, west of Tickfaw, La., as rescue operations continue after heavy rains inundated the region." Max Becherer AP.

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