Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Weekend Break from the Muggies - Hot Front Brewing for 4th of July - Warming Pushing Tropical Diseases Toward Arctic

.08" rain fell at KMSP on Wednesday.
2.26" June rainfall, to date.
1.89" normal June rainfall, to date.

85 F. high temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.
79 F. average high on June 14.
74 F. high on June 14, 2016.

June 15, 1989: Scattered frost develops across Minnesota, with the coldest reading of 29 at Isabella.

An Opportunity for Storm-Resistant Infrastructure

A recent fusillade of storms, hail & high water was a vivid reminder that we need to keep the lights on, no matter what Mother Nature throws at us. Every threat is an opportunity for disruption and reinvention. As we talk about infrastructure, why wouldn't we try to make everything we do more storm-resilient, flood-proof and drought-tolerant?

I'm still waiting for 3M (or grad students in a garage) to invent and market hail-proof film I can stick on my car. Hail-resistant singles? Basements that don't flood? Road surfaces, pipes and culverts that can better handle 21st century downpours? Crops less susceptible to drought (and standing water)? Someone is going to invent this stuff - it should be cooked up right here at home.

We get a welcome break from raging storms into Friday morning, but showers and T-storms return late Friday into the weekend as a surge of Canadian air pushes  south. A cooling trend is all but inevitable; we may not climb out of the 60s on Sunday. Sorry, I'm just the reluctant messenger.

The mercury mellows next week; a few of the models are now hinting at STINKING HOT weather by the 4th. That would be nice.

2012 Duluth flood aftermath file photo: Bob King, Duluth News Tribune.

Dangerous Levels of Heat Brewing for Desert Southwest. Here's a clip from USA TODAY: "...Many desert locations, including Phoenix, could climb as high as 115 to 120 degrees Sunday through Wednesday, the weather service said. That could rival the all-time high temperature of 122 degrees set at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in 1990. Notorious hot spot Death Valley, home to the world's all-time hottest temperature of 134 degrees, will soar to 123 degrees by Sunday. Nights won't provide much relief: the low temperature will drop to only the low 90s. Heat will also scorch the central valley of California, where cities such as Bakersfield, Fresno and Sacramento will see highs over 100 degrees..."

Cool, Cyclonic Swirl. From space storms look like comma clouds, and the afternoon visible image showed a strong storm spinning up over south central Canada. This system will pull cooler air into the northern Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes in waves; a cool break for many northern towns into early next week. The image also shows the thunderheads that mutated into severe storms across eastern Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. Imagery Aeris AMP.

Thursday Severe Weather Threat. NOAA SPC generally does a very good job outlining which areas in the USA are most vulnerable to damaging storms. They don't catch every single severe storm 12-24 hours in advance, but that's an unrealistic expectation. They do catch the larger trends and send up a flare on the really big (tornado) days, well in advance. A few storms today may turn severe from Wichita and  Tulsa to Little Rock, Nashville and Huntsville.

Green Splatter. I know, the forecast weather map looks like an environmentalist's daydream with green everywhere you look. Of course green denotes rain; heavier storms show up as yellow and red stains on NOAA's 12 KM NAM future radar product. Scattered T-storms are likely east of the Mississippi River; a few over the Mid South will turn severe later today. Meanwhile heavier, steadier rain pushes into the Pacific Northwest (where it must still feel like April at times). Cooler air drains into the Upper Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes in the coming days, taking the edge off heat and humidity - for now. Loop:

Break from the Muggies. Today and Friday will still feel like primetime summertime, but over the weekend we'll start to feel a cool northwest breeze. In fact there's a good chance temperatures won't climb out of the 60s Sunday across much of Minnesota. A/C optional early next week, but summer warmth returns within a week. Twin Cities ECMWF guidance: WeatherBell.

GFS Still Hinting at a Heat Wave. The configuration of the jet stream 2 weeks out looks a little different every day, in fact every run, but the broad outline of a nearly stationary ridge of high pressure over the southeastern USA remains fairly constant. If this verifies it would suggest a hot, sticky end to June and a potentially steamy 4th of July holiday weekend, especially Plains to the east coast.

Steps To Lower Your Weather Risk. The older I get the more respect I have for Mother Nature. My low-grade paranoia, a healthy fear of extreme weather, manifests itself in various ways. Not driving into flooded roads. NOAA is right: "turn around, don't drown." Avoiding unnecessary travel on the coldest, snowiest nights of winter. Staying hydrated on the hottest days of summer (beer doesn't count). And heading indoors after hearing the first rumble of thunder. NOAA data from 2006-2013 shows 37 percent of U.S. lightning fatalities were on or near water (beaches and boats). A whopping 81 percent of those 261 lightning deaths were male. True, more men work outside. And rumor has it we're more stubborn.

The Most Tornado-Prone County in the USA is in Colorado? I was a bit surprised too - I would have thought Oklahoma or Texas but a story at set me straight: "It may come as a surprise to many, but Colorado is the home of the county with the most tornadoes across the entire nation.  Weld County experiences an average of roughly four tornado segments — or a tornado that at least travels in one county — each year. That adds up to 262 such events. Adams County isn't far behind. The county racked up 173 tornado segments. When correcting for counties or locations with population that may be affected by the tornadoes, Colorado again owns a few of the top counties on the list..."

Remembering the Deadly F4 Tornado That Ravaged Worcester. The massive tornado that swept across Massachusetts in 1953 was one of the most violent ever reported in New England. A story at has more details: "...Worcester had been through floods and hurricanes before, but nothing like the extreme, targeted destruction wrought in 1953, according to Robyn Conroy, a librarian at the Worcester Historical Museum. “People would be in one area of the city and there was no sign of damage,” Conroy told “A few miles in another direction, total destruction.” When all was accounted for, the June 9 twister left 94 people dead, nearly 1,300 injured, and 4,000 buildings damaged or destroyed. Around 10,000 were left homeless. At the time, the devastating event — which hit the Worcester near its historic population peak — was the costliest tornado in U.S. history..."

Photo credit: "This picture from Burncoat Street in Worcester shows the pile of debris left the day after the tornado." Boston Globe file photo.

July Hand-Waving Experiment. More of a suggestion, a trend than an actual forecast, NOAA's Climate Forecast System (CFS version 2) shows a warm bias for the eastern 2/3ds of America next month, but cooler than normal conditions west of the Rockies. Gazing at the current pattern that's not hard to believe. Source: WeatherBell.

Does the White House Back Better Hurricane Forecasting? The Signs Point Both Ways. So says an article at NBC San Diego: "As hurricane season begins, and scientists predict the Atlantic Ocean could see another above-normal year, the White House is sending contradictory messages about whether it supports funding for better weather forecasting. On the one hand, President Donald Trump in April signed a bipartisan Congressional bill that protects improvements to hurricane forecasting and tsunami warnings from budget cuts. On the other, the president's proposed budget for 2018 fiscal year, released in May, would slash funding for those very programs, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its National Weather Service. NOAA accounts for much of the 16 percent reduction to the Commerce Department, of which it is a part..."

8 Tips for Shooting an Award-Winning Tornado Photo. National Geographic photographer Jim Reed has some good advice at PetaPixel: "I’ve been photographing extreme weather for 25 years. After publishing tips on how to photograph lightning here back in March, I was asked to share any tips I have in capturing an award-winning tornado image. So, here I go…

Note to reader: Storm chasing and extreme weather photography, as discussed in this article, can be very dangerous. Any person should approach these activities with caution and appropriate supervision and training.

Tip 1: Study Your Subject and Risks

Adopting a ‘safety first’ policy is critical when storm chasing. To start, I recommend reading The Basics of Tornadoes on the Storm Prediction Center website. In my experience, storm chasing risks fall somewhere between climbing Mount Everest and shopping at Wal-Mart on Black Friday. Veteran storm chaser Chuck Doswell has an excellent article titled “Storm Chasing with Safety, Courtesy and Responsibility....”

Pockets of Drought. Moderate to severe drought lingers from the Dakotas into far northern Minnesota, as well as much of Florida and southern Georgia, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor.

Dust Bowl-ification of U.S. Southwest Leads to 8-Fold Jump in Valley Fever Cases. Some harrowing research highlighted at ThinkProgress: "The infection rate of Valley Fever in the Southwest United States has gone up a stunning 800 percent from 2000 to 2011, as dust storms have more than doubled. New research directly links the rise in Valley Fever to the rise in dust storms, which in turn is driven by climate change. Valley Fever, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls “a fungal lung infection that can be devastating,” is caused by inhaling soil-dwelling fungus. When the soil dries out and turns to dust, the wind can make the fungus airborne. “Dust storms are found to better correlated with the disease than any other known controlling factor,“ a new study led by NOAA scientists concluded...."

Map credit: "Dust storms spike with Valley fever cases. The largest number of dust storms from 1988 to 2011 are concentrated in the SW states reporting the highest numbers of fever cases."

The Dying Salton Sea. How much is natural vs. driven by a rapidly changing climate? Here's an excerpt from USA TODAY: "California’s largest lake is drying up. The Salton Sea has been shrinking for years, and fish and birds have been dying. The dry lakebed already spews toxic dust into the air, threatening a region with hundreds of thousands of people. And the crisis is about to get much worse. The water flowing into the Salton Sea will be cut dramatically at the end of this year, causing the lake to shrink faster than ever and sending more dust blowing through low-income, largely Latino farming communities..."

Earth is Not in the Midst of a Sixth Mass Extinction. A matter of debate and perspective; here's an excerpt from The Atlantic: "...So things don’t look so good, no matter where we look. Yes, the victims in the animal world include scary apex predators that pose obvious threats to humans, like lions, whose numbers have dropped from 1 million at the time of Jesus to 450,000 in the 1940s to 20,000 today—a decline of 98 percent. But also included have been unexpected victims, like butterflies and moths, which have declined in abundance by 35 percent since the 1970s. Like all extinction events, so far this one has been phased and complex, spanning tens of thousands of years and starting when our kind left Africa. Other mass extinctions buried deep in earth’s history have similarly played out over tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of years..." (File image: NASA / Reuters).

NASA Data Suggest Future May Be Rainier Than Expected. Details from NASA: "...Su's team found that most of the climate models underestimated the rate of increase in precipitation for each degree of surface warming that has occurred in recent decades. The models that came closest to matching observations of clouds in the present-day climate showed a greater precipitation increase for the future than the other models. Su said that by tracing the underestimation problem back to the models' deficiencies in representing tropical high clouds and the atmospheric general circulation, "This study provides a pathway for improving predictions of future precipitation change..."

A Bipartisan Plan for Flood Insurance. The Op-Ed refers to "an era of severe flooding." I wonder what on Earth might be sparking that. Six U.S. Senators agree on a plan to fix the troubled federal program; The Wall Street Journal reports: "Powerful floods devastate communities across America every year. After these catastrophic natural disasters, too many Americans find themselves facing a man-made calamity: a National Flood Insurance Program that overcharges and underdelivers for policyholders and for taxpayers. The Sept. 30 expiration of the law authorizing the NFIP represents an opportunity to address the waste, abuse and mismanagement plaguing the system. As members of the Senate Banking and Appropriations committees, which oversee flood insurance and provide federal disaster response, we plan to offer bipartisan landmark legislation to tackle systemic problems with flood insurance and to reframe our entire disaster paradigm. Today, more homeowners are abandoning national flood insurance policies because their premiums continue to rise, despite the emergency relief measures Congress approved in 2014..."

Photo credit: "Flood waters rising in Boise, Idaho, April 6." Photo: Associated Press.

American Cities Face Growing Flood Risk. What is going to ultimately get the public's attention with climate volatility and weather disruption? I would argue that it will come down to frequency and intensity of flooding, inland flooding and coastal flooding as seas continue to rise. Here's an excerpt from Truthdig: "Sea level rise—driven by global warming and climate change—will bring new flood risks to America’s coastal cities. Paradoxically, those conurbations already at risk of catastrophic floods driven by hurricanes can expect a greater number of “moderate” floods. And those cities that have little or no history of severe flooding can expect a greater level of risk from historically unprecedented inundation, according to a new study in the journal Environmental Research Letters. This is another step in what might be called prepare-for-the-future studies. Coastal flooding already costs cities on both east and west coasts an estimated $27bn a year. Researchers have been doing the arithmetic and so far forecast that – globally at least – sea level rise is going to cost $1 trillion by 2050, and $100 trillion by 2100..."

Photo credit: "A hurricane dumped 15 inches of rain on Charleston, S.C., two years ago. This was the result." North Charleston - Wikimedia Commons.

President Trump Chats on Phone with Tangier Mayor. Delmarva Now has details: "...According to Eskridge, the president also addressed the issue of sea-level rise as it affects Tangier. "He said not to worry about sea-level rise," Eskridge said. "He said, 'Your island has been there for hundreds of years, and I believe your island will be there for hundreds more.' " The island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay is a Republican stronghold — about 87 percent of residents voted for Trump in the November 2016 election. Still, erosion is among the islanders' main concerns, Eskridge said in an interview last November with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The island, population about 450, is losing up to 16 feet of land a year, scientists say. Islanders have been advocating for years for construction of a seawall to protect their home; a smaller project — a jetty to protect the harbor's west entrance — is in the works and should come about in the near future..."

This Is How Big Oil Will Die? A story at Medium caught my eye: "...Let’s bring this back to today: Big Oil is perhaps the most feared and respected industry in history. Oil is warming the planet — cars and trucks contribute about 15% of global fossil fuels emissions — yet this fact barely dents its use. Oil fuels the most politically volatile regions in the world, yet we’ve decided to send military aid to unstable and untrustworthy dictators, because their oil is critical to our own security. For the last century, oil has dominated our economics and our politics. Oil is power. Yet I argue here that technology is about to undo a century of political and economic dominance by oil. Big Oil will be cut down in the next decade by a combination of smartphone apps, long-life batteries, and simpler gearing. And as is always the case with new technology, the undoing will occur far faster than anyone thought possible..."

Photo credit: WHMP /

World Coal Production Just Had Its Biggest Drop on Record. Bloomberg Markets reports: "It’s the end of an era for coal. Production of the fossil fuel dropped by a record amount in 2016, according to BP Plc’s annual review of global energy trends. China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, burned the least coal in six years and use dropped in the U.S to a level last seen in the 1970s, the company’s data show. Coal, the most polluting fuel that was once the world’s fastest growing energy source, has been a target of countries and companies alike as the world begins to work toward the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Consumption is falling as the world’s biggest energy companies promote cleaner-burning natural gas, China’s economy evolves to focus more on services than heavy manufacturing and renewable energy like wind and solar becomes cheaper..."

Total Eclipse: Oil Giant Sees Its Future in Electricity. Here's a clip from The Wall Street Journal: "...Total, like its peers Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, was built to service the world’s massive demand for crude oil. Betting that demand will peak in the next few decades, Mr. Pouyanné wants to turn his company into one of the world’s biggest suppliers of electricity, or what he often calls “the energy of the 21st century.” More than any other oil major, Total sees electricity as a hedge against oil’s eventual decline and is assembling a new business around it. Last summer, it paid $1 billion for a French maker of industrial batteries. It bought a small utility that supplies gas and renewable power to households in Belgium and owns a majority stake in SunPower Corp. , a California company that makes high-efficiency solar panels for governments, businesses and households..."

Photo credit: "A refinery in La Mède, France operated by oil giant Total." Photo: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg News.

U.S. Cities Don't Need the Paris Accord to Fight Climate Change. Fortune Magazine has the Op-Ed, here's an excerpt: "...Cities can incorporate alternative fuel vehicles into municipal fleets. Within Texas, they have made widely varying progress along this line. Whereas Dallas Area Rapid Transit has converted most of its buses to use cleaner compressed natural gas, Houston’s fleet is dominated by diesel buses, although it unveiled its first electric bus late last year. By comparison, in China, the city of Shenzhen has more than 10 million residents and will feature an entirely electric bus fleet by the end of this year. This is one area where American cities can and should improve dramatically. Cities can also reduce emissions by helping residents pay for rooftop solar installations or other energy efficiency improvements, and expanding bike lanes to make zero-carbon commuting more viable. It is promising that U.S. cities are stepping up to the plate, but city leaders need to carefully plan the policies they enact..."

San Diego Commits To 100% Clean Energy. Yale Climate Connections has a video and story: "San Diego recently became one of the largest cities in the country to commit to the goal of 100 percent clean electricity city-wide. It’s just one part of a climate action plan that aims to cut the entire city’s global warming pollution over the next 18 years to half its 2010 levels. The plan also sets targets to electrify all city vehicles, divert waste from landfills, reduce water use, and increase the use of bikes and mass transit. It’s a big goal. Hooven: “The fun part of announcing it is over. Now we just need to put our heads down and get to work.” That’s Cody Hooven, chief sustainability officer for the city..."

The Electric, Driverless Revolution Is About to Hit The High Seas. Driverless cars, pilot-optional airplanes, now container ships that don't require...people? Here's a clip from Bloomberg Technology: "It’s not just in Google laboratories that the revolution in electric, driverless transportation is gathering pace: a Norwegian shipping company is aiming to be able to deliver cargoes by sea on unmanned vessels from 2020. The fully electric, zero emissions YARA Birkeland will set sail next year in Europe, Oslo-based Yara International ASA said a statement Saturday. By 2019 it will be able to work by remote control and at the start of the next decade it will be able to deliver on a fully automated basis. The container ship, being built by Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, will transport fertilizer..."

Image credit: YARA Birkeland. Source: YARA.

Battery Storage and Rooftop Solar Could Mean New Life Post-Grid for Consumers. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "...Before people invented the fridge, we produced food, we consumed food immediately,” says Wang, director of the Centre for Clean Energy Technology at the University of Technology, Sydney. “With the development of appropriate electricity storage technology, the electricity is like our food – you can store it and whenever you need that electricity, you can use that immediately.” Batteries as a means to store electricity are nothing new. But with solar photovoltaic units now found on 16.5% of Australian residential roofs, battery storage has stepped into the big league. What was once viewed as an add-on to solar photovoltaic is now driving a revolution in the energy sector and turning the concept of a national electricity grid upside down..."

File photo credit: Electrek.

Copper Demand for Electric Cars to Rise Nine-Fold by 2027: ICA. Reuters has details: "The growing number of electric vehicles hitting roads is set to fuel a nine-fold increase in copper demand from the sector over the coming decade, according to an industry report on Tuesday. Electric or hybrid cars and buses are expected to reach 27 million by 2027, up from 3 million this year, according to a report by consultancy IDTechEx, commissioned by the International Copper Association (ICA). "Demand for electric vehicles is forecast to increase significantly over the next ten years as technology improves, the price gap with petrol cars is closed and more electric chargers are deployed," IDTechEx Senior Technology Analyst Franco Gonzalez said in the report. "Our research predicts this increase will raise copper demand for electric cars and buses from 185,000 tonnes in 2017 to 1.74 million tonnes in 2027," Gonzalez said..."

File image: Shutterstock.

Cable News Wars: Inside the Unprecedented Battle for Viewers in Trump Era. Variety explains the new level of stress and insanity at CNN, Fox News and MSNBC: "...In this fraught atmosphere, it’s no surprise that combined viewing of the Big Three cable-news networks — Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC — is up 33% through the first week of June compared with the same period last year, according to data from Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser. In this endless cycle of breaking political headlines, television news is facing its biggest moment of opportunity since Fox News Channel and MSNBC came on the scene 21 years ago. The competitive fervor among the Big Three to turn these added eyeballs into regular viewers is further stoked by the fact that the longtime market leader — Fox News — is vulnerable after a year of turmoil on both sides of the camera. Staffs are being pushed to the brink..."

Image credit: Alex Fine for Variety.

The Secret Origin of the iPhone. The Verge has a fascinating story; here's a clip: "... But if there’s anything I’ve learned in my efforts to pull the iPhone apart, literally and figuratively, it’s that there are rarely concrete beginnings to any particular products or technologies — they evolve from varying previous ideas and concepts and inventions and are prodded and iterated into newness by restless minds and profit motives. Even when the company’s executives were under oath in a federal trial, they couldn’t name just one starting place. “There were many things that led to the development of the iPhone at Apple,” Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in 2012. “First, Apple had been known for years for being the creator of the Mac, the computer, and it was great, but it had small market share,” he said. “And then we had a big hit called the iPod. It was the iPod hardware and the iTunes software. And this really changed everybody’s view of Apple, both inside and outside the company. And people started asking, Well, if you can have a big hit with the iPod, what else can you do? And people were suggesting every idea, make a camera, make a car, crazy stuff.” And make a phone, of course..."

Illustration credit:

Sweet! Baker Makes Internet Trolls Eat Their Words - Literally. I couldn't resist a story at NPR: "The social media world is heavily populated by trolls — you know, those people who write nasty, mean comments online. Sometimes it can be tempting to respond back, but what if there's a better alternative? Like sending them a cake.... with their words written on it. New York City baker Kat Thek does just that. She's the founder of Troll Cakes, a bakery and detective agency. The process is simple. First, customers go to the Troll Cakes site to submit the comment and address of the troll in question. Thek will then bake a cake, write the comment on it using frosting or fondant letters, wrap it up in festive confetti, and send it to the perpetrator..." (Image credit: Troll Cakes).

Sweden's Museum of Failure Highlights Products That Have Flopped. If you're not failing it might mean that you're not really trying. Here's an excerpt from The Washington Post: "Green Heinz ketchup? Fat-free Pringles? Colgate frozen lasagna? You don’t need to be an expert to know these products weren’t successful. Which is why these creations, with dozens of others, feature in the new Museum of Failure, a wacky parade of rejected products from years gone by set up in the Swedish town of Helsingborg. It’s the brainchild of 43-year-old curator and clinical psychologist Samuel West. The idea came to him while on vacation, and he quickly purchased the Internet domain name. West later realized he had accidentally misspelled “museum” — a sure sign the project would succeed..."

Photo credit: "Samuel West, curator of the Museum of Failure, holds a bottle of Heinz ‘Green Sauce’ ketchup at the Museum of Failure in Helsingborg, Sweden. West has put together a collection of failed products that also includes Fat-Free Pringles potato chips and a frozen lasagna by toothpaste maker Colgate." (James Brooks/AP).

TODAY: Sunny, storm-free! Winds: W 10-15. High: 86

THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Low: 64

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, late-day thunder possible. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 85

SATURDAY: Unsettled and humid, few T-storms likely. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 66. High: 81

SUNDAY: Touch of October. Windy and cool, few showers. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 60. High: 69

MONDAY: More sun, late-day shower risk. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 58. High: 74

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy, stray shower. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 56. High: 71

WEDNESDAY: More sun, closer to average. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 58. High: 77

Climate Stories...

Climate Change Pushing Tropical Diseases Toward Arctic. Here's an excerpt from National Geographic: "...It's no secret that climate change can spread illnesses such as West Nile virus, Zika, and malaria, as rising temperatures push disease-carrying mosquitoes into new places, from the highlands of Ethiopia to the United States. But warm temperatures and shifting weather patterns work in subtle ways, too. Changes in precipitation, wind, or heat are shifting the threat posed by other human illnesses, from cholera to a rare freshwater brain-eating amoeba to rodent-driven infections like hantavirus. And the importance of all these changes are only growing more significant. "Probably almost everybody is going to feel this at some point in their life," says Stanley Maloy, a microbiologist and dean of the College of Sciences at San Diego State University. "It may be transmission of a mosquito-borne disease in a place it didn't used to be. It may be a simple case of salmonella. But it's going to affect us all..."

Photo credit: "Bathers on the Baltic have recently been confronted with a new threat: dangerous disease that is normally only found in warm water." Priit Vesilind, National Geographic Creative.

Growing Concern Over Climate Change is Creating Interfaith Dialogue. Pacific Standard reports: "...In the U.S., dozens of seminaries—mostly Protestant—are integrating environmental education into their theological training. A younger and bigger generation of clergy is being urged to ramp up the urgency in their parishes for local and governmental climate action. But the hope and promise of Laudato Si could remain beyond human reach without even more aggressive and engaged faith leaders mobilizing the billions they represent in all corners of the globe to pressure their governmental leaders and to act on their own. "My students are excited and they want to take this on, but the challenges are so big," said Tim Van Meter, an associate professor of ecology and justice at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. "People are just tired. It seems inevitable that we will drive ourselves to collapse..."

POV: A Doctor's Prescription for Climate Change. Here's a snippet of an Op-Ed at The Palm Beach Post: "...Florida’s rise in the heat index is the highest of any state each year and will continue, according to a National Climate Assessment report by a team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member federal advisory committee. These heat waves are particularly dangerous to seniors, those with chronic medical conditions, outdoor laborers, and the poor. Doctors like me see increased cardiorespiratory problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) attacks. There will be more asthma attacks from reduced air quality and increased carbon pollution, and more heart attacks from already choked arteries made worse by heat stress, according to the Florida Department of Health. Newer or re-emerging infections such as Zika, chikungunya and dengue, spread by mosquitoes, will continue..."

How Retiring Nuclear Power Plants May Undercut U.S. Climate Goals. The expression that comes to mind is "pick your poison". Keep nuclear plants going and try to address concerns with radioactive fuel storage, or risk an uptick in CO2 emissions from burning more natural gas and coal? The New York Times reports: "Over the last decade, a glut of cheap natural gas from hydraulic fracturing has driven hundreds of dirtier coal plants in the United States out of business, a big reason carbon dioxide emissions fell 14 percent from 2005 to 2016. But more recently, that same gas boom has started pushing many of America's nuclear reactors into early retirement - a trend with adverse consequences for climate change. The United States' fleet of 99 nuclear reactors still supplies one-fifth of the country's electricity without generation any planet-warming greenhouse gases. When those reactors retire, wind and solar usually cannot expland fast enough to replace the lost power. Instead, coal and natural gas fill the void, causing emissions to rise..."

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.

Fighting Climate Change Can Be a Lonely Battle in Oil Country, Especially for a Kid. These 21 young people show a lot more backbone, integrity and long-term vision than many elected officials at a local, state and national level. Here's an excerpt from InsideClimate News: "...The lawsuit, brought by Our Children's Trust in 2015, relies on a novel legal strategy that has yielded victories for climate activists seeking sweeping policy change in other countries. The stakes are so high for the United States that both the Obama and Trump administrations, and the fossil fuel industry, have repeatedly sought to have the case dismissed. But federal judges have so far upheld the plaintiffs' right to a hearing, which means the case could come to trial as early as November. Jayden, perhaps more than the other plaintiffs, has felt the impact of climate change. She has watched hurricanes batter her state and the rise of the sea hollow out a coastline already damaged by sinking land, wetlands destruction and oil industry dredging. After a storm hit her hometown of Rayne last August, she woke up in her bedroom ankle-deep in water, though her neighborhood had never flooded before. Her house, still damaged after the August storm, flooded again in early May..."

Climate Change Researchers Cancel Expedition Because of Climate Change. Oh, the irony. Here's a clip from a story at CBC News: "A team of scientists had to abandon an expedition through Hudson Bay because of hazardous ice conditions off the coast of Newfoundland caused by climate change. About 40 scientists from five Canadian universities were scheduled to use the icebreaker CCGS Amundsen for the first leg of a 133-day expedition across the Arctic. It's part of a $17-million, four-year project led by the University of Manitoba that looks at both the effects of climate change as well as public health in remote communities. Their trip began May 25 in Quebec City, but due to bad ice conditions off the coast of Newfoundland, the icebreaker was diverted from its course to help ferries and fishing boats navigate the Strait of Belle Isle, said David Barber, a climate change scientist at the University of Manitoba and leader of the Hudson Bay expedition called BaySys..."

Photo credit: "The CCGS Amundsen, an icebreaker with 40 scientists on board, was diverted from the first leg of a journey through the Arctic on Sunday to help search and rescue efforts off the coast of Newfoundland in the Strait of Belle Isle." (Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans).

The Larsen C Ice Shelf Collapse Hammers Home the Reality of Climate Change. Dr. John Abraham, climate scientists at the University of St. Thomas, writes for The Guardian: "Very soon, a large portion of an ice shelf in Antarctica will break off and collapse into the ocean. The name of the ice shelf is Larsen C; it is a major extension from of the West Antarctic ice sheet, and its health has implications for other ice in the region, and sea levels globally. How do we know a portion is going to collapse? Well, scientists have been watching a major rift (crack) that has grown in the past few years, carving out a section of floating ice nearly the size of Delaware. The speed of the crack has increased dramatically in the past few months, and it is nearly cracked through..."

Photo credit: "NASA handout photo dated 10/11/16 showing a rift in the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, as scientists have said that an iceberg a quarter the size of Wales is poised to break off from it." Photograph: NASA/John Sonntag/PA.

Engineers, Not Politicians, Can Solve Climate Change. An article at The Walrus got my attention: "...Politics will not save us. Put not your hope in politics. But keep hope close to your heart. While politicians try and fail to diminish carbon levels by a few percent, in certain circles, far away from parliaments, fossil fuels have already become, well, quaint. A few years ago, while the politicians weren’t looking, solar and wind power hit the knee of stunning exponential growth curves. Check out this graph put together by Auke Hoekstra, a researcher at Eindhoven University of Technology. This is one of the most remarkable charts I have ever seen. It says that practically every year since 2008, the International Energy Agency—a Paris-based organization that acts as a clean energy policy adviser to its twenty-nine member states—has wildly underestimated the growth of solar power, insisting that it is linear rather than exponential..."

Occidental Petroleum Wants To Be "Part of the Solution" on Climate Change. Fortune has details: "...One way Occidental is accomplishing those environmental goals is by using a technique called “enhanced oil recovery.” It involves reusing CO2 to extract more oil from tapped-out oil wells. This new process is considered environmentally friendly because while it increases oil production, while reducing carbon emissions.Hollub says Occidental is trying to “help to be part of the solution” and continues to finance research to uncover other innovations to preserve the environment. In an ironic twist to President Trump’s abandonment of the Paris accord, Hollub says Occidental is actually more determined to speed up its environmental goals..."

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