Toasted — California’s 2017 Foreshadowing of the Monster Fires to Come

Part One: The Story of How Global Warming Turned California into Toast.

The Thomas Fire as seen by a webcam located atop Santa Ynez Peak, a 4300′ mountain 17 miles northwest of downtown Santa Barbara on December 10th.


I want you to indulge me for a minute. I want you to put on your scientist hats with me and engage in a bit of an experiment.

Take a bagel. Cut it in half. Dip about 1/3 of it in water for a couple of seconds. Then put the bagel in the toaster oven for about 5-10 minutes. Remove and see the results.

What you’ll find is that the part of the bagel that hasn’t been dipped in water is, well, toast. The dipped part — significantly less so. If you continued to toast the bagel, eventually the heat from the oven will cause the undipped side to burn. Take even more time and the heat would overcome the moisture on the dipped side and cause it to burn as well.

Here was the result of my at-home experiment after about 10 minutes in the oven at 425 degrees. Can you guess which half was dipped in water?

The more heat, the faster both sides of the bagel burn. But the drier side always first. The wetter side always second.

It’s a simple fact that moisture — whether loaded into bagels or soaking into vegetation and the ground — adds more resiliency and resistance to fire. And this year, given the massive amount of moisture that fell across all of California during the winter and spring of 2016-2017 we didn’t really expect summer and fall to be all that bad of a fire season.

That famous Pineapple Express kept delivering storm after storm after storm. Dams were strained to bursting and over-spill. Roads were washed out. Water rescues were performed. And when all was said and done, California had experienced its wettest water-year in all of the last 122. Given such an obscene amount of water flooding the state, we certainly didn’t expect what happened next. All that moisture soaking into lands, soils, trees, vegetation told us a story. It told us a story that we thought we knew.

Accuweather’s California flood forecast from January 9, 2017 is easy to forget given the record fires we see today. But the temperature and moisture extremes experienced are an aspect of a warming climate. These floods inflicted more than 1.5 billion in damages. Source: Accuweather/Wikipedia.

What we didn’t count on was the oven-like heat that followed. Nor the simple fact that resiliency, no matter how strong at first, is not limitless.

Environmentally speaking, heat is the primary factor in fire hazard so long as fuels are present. Drought is also a factor, though a somewhat less certain one because eventually most fuels are consumed if drought sets in for long enough. As with the bagel, enough heat will eventually blast through any moisture loading so long as that moisture is not recharged to great risk of consuming and conflagrating the fuels that soaked up the moisture in the first place.

At its most basic level, this is why global warming promotes fire hazard. If you bake the forests, grasses and shrubs enough, they will burn.

If there is one thing we know about climate change and weather it is that it promotes extremes. Particularly extreme swings between cooler+wet and record hot+dry as the water cycle is thrown through the atmospheric equivalent of a hyperloop. And the level of extremity California experienced from winter to summer ran a six month race from wettest to hottest. For following the early year deluge, 2017 rapidly rocketed into the hottest summer in California history. Temperatures in many places regularly soared to well above the scorching 100 degree mark. Records for all-time hottest days fell like trees before the wild hurricane.

Large sections of the west, including California, experienced their hottest summer on record. Image source: NOAA.

And given so much excessive heat, it didn’t take long for the fires to arise even following a record wet winter.

We won’t go through all the exhaustive numbers of that grim tally of burning. But we will say that more than ten thousand homes and buildings burned. That many souls perished in the blazes. That billions in damages were inflicted. At times, ash and embers rained down across California as if from a volcanic eruption. The skies — marred by great pillars of smoke erupting from a blasted Earth. To say it was merely the worst fire year California has ever experienced would be to do the nightmare of it all an illiterate, unfeeling, lack-compassion injustice.

The summer fires that came with the heat burned mostly the north. The rains, that were so strong in winter took a bad turn once the heat blazed through the lands enough to dry out all that new forest and grass regrowth. Here we were witnessing, before our very eyes, the kind of new conditions 1.1 degrees Celsius worth of global warming was capable of producing.

Firefighter battling the Thomas Fire, which is just 500 acres away from being the largest in California history. Image source: Campus Safety.

Because of that warming, we know now that fire season never really ends any more in California. A point that was driven viciously home as summer proceeded into fall and the fires still raged in October. By December, the heat and dryness had not relented. Not enough at least. The normally wet month had been transformed. And the carry over of that damage done by the furnaces of summer had prepped the land for more burning.

Howling winds from the longest burst of fire fanning winds ever seen for California fed into a new fire. A fire that is now within 500 acres of becoming the largest fire ever to burn in California history. In December. During what should be a wet, cool month. But one that is hotter and drier and fire blasted.


But if we don’t turn back from the warming that caused this, the worst is yet to come.


Hat tip to Wharf Rat

Leave a comment


  1. wharf rat

     /  December 22, 2017

    Thanks Robert.

    BTW, Santa Barbara was one of the last places to come out of the drought.

    California storms: Why is Santa Barbara still mired in drought?
    Mar 4, 2017

    • Thanks for the context. Working on more climate finger printing in part two. Also intentionally left a couple of gaps in this one for the purpose of developing a conversation prior. This was more broad brush. 😉

      • wharf rat

         /  December 23, 2017

        “Working on more climate finger printing in part two. ”
        Thank you, Santa.

  2. Genomik

     /  December 22, 2017

    I live in San Francisco and have had many friends affected by the fires. Perhaps because the Napa Fires were so close I witnessed how important a part wind plays. Take your bagel for example. Wind will dehydrate anything with water in it and if you put a match to the bagel the wind would trigger flames and spread it as well.

    I’d always heard about late summer red flag warning but since I live in a concrete jungle the winds were not obvious to me about how dangerous they are.

    I did hear some firefighters say things like any fire is made worse by winds. They fight the fires when winds are low and back away when the winds come up. High winds make aerial planes and copters difficult as well. Now I see a possible outcome of climate change is extreme winds. If they happen anywhere, even a city, and fire starts it might just be unstoppable.

    California has major climate challenges, I might even go so far as to say climate change has hit us worse than any other place by many measures. We’ve been hit every year for maybe 7 years and it just seems to be getting worse.

  3. Genomik

     /  December 22, 2017

    The local news and gov water departments in San Francisco Bay Area are maddening. We went thru the worst drought in recent history culminating in extreme drought. Then we dodged a bullet with record setting Rain.

    Thus far nearing Christmas we are again back in a drought pattern. I heard it’s the 4th driest fall on record (probably only beat by the previous drought). So they lowered the level in a local dam that feeds San Jose expecting rain to fill it up. It’s not.

    So the spokesperson for the dam said something like “don’t worry, the drought broke. We received a lot of rain so don’t worry”. The newscaster was agreeing with them nodding their head as to agree.

    From my perspective that Rain event last year that broke the drought may not happen for another 5 years. Who knows what’s up next here! The intelligent thing to do would be to say “while the drought broke last year we don’t know the future and the recent past has been erratic so users should still try to conserve water as much as possible”.

    So while we are here spreading the alarm the news and gov says “no problem”. I’m not willing to say fake news on this. I am willing to say newscasters are too afraid to take a stand on this issue as it’s gotten politically divisive. Perhaps if they say climate change the far right will try to get them fired. Ohhh the hardships of being a journalist in 2018

    • Jim

       /  December 23, 2017


      For what it’s worth the same thing happens in Phoenix where I live. The Colorado river levels are so low, that it is very likely water will be curtailed to Arizona and Nevada. Yet in our water bill we received assurances that we have enough ground water to last 100 years.

      It admirable that city leaders thought ahead to recharge aquifers, but the interaction of increasing heat, growing population and likeliness of Colorado River water being cut do not bode well for the future.

      Most thinking people get it. The news media largely avoids the issue – part of the “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” mentality on the entire issue of climate change.

      • Robert in New Orleans

         /  December 25, 2017

        I find it hard to fathom that Bill Gates wants to build a “Smart City” outside of Phoenix, Arizona. Does he not have a scientific advisor warning him about the extremely difficult future that Arizona faces? There is Nothing smart about building in Arizona especially the Phoenix area if you want your investment to thrive for a long term, Mr Gates is either being misled by his associates or he is in clinical denial. In my opinion Arizona’s future can be measured in decades with an exponential temperature curve driven by global warming.

        • eleggua

           /  December 26, 2017

          Others find it hard to fathom, too.

          ‘Bill Gates buys Arizona land — hilarity, or tragedy, ensues ‘
          November 9, 2017

          “….Unless BillG plans to turn the land into a preserve, he might want to know a few things that the locals didn’t tell him. (And to put my cards on the table, I am a fourth-generation Arizonan, former columnist for the Phoenix newspaper, and continue to write, pro bono, a blog on Arizona history and issues).

          First, Arizona doesn’t have enough water to continue these kind of developments, no matter what the mouthpieces of the Real Estate Industrial Complex say. At nearly 7 million people, the state is way past population overshoot. Colorado River water is oversubscribed — too many straws in the river — and climate change is affecting the mountain snow that replenishes it. The same is true of other renewable sources such as the Salt River Project. Groundwater pumping continues despite decades-long efforts to reduce it, depleting limited and stressed aquifers. The water situation is complex, but also deliberately opaque.

          Second, climate change poses a clear and present danger to Arizona now. Summers are significantly hotter and lasting longer than a few decades ago. Massive wildfires are common, another new phenomenon. Whether Phoenix will even be inhabitable by mid-century is an open question. Already, it is a man-made environment totally dependent on electricity to power air conditioning and gasoline delivered by vulnerable pipelines. Environmental challenges are enormous beyond global warming. Phoenix has some of the dirtiest air in the country……”

  4. Genomik

     /  December 23, 2017

    Here’s something funny and insightful. It’s comedienne Samantha Bee on talking to evangelists.

    “This time, instead of challenging their entire worldviews, Harken tried a different tactic. “Let me throw this out there, and we’ll let it land. We won’t even have to discuss it,” Harkin said. “What if climate scientists are actually doing God’s work?” The room was stunned into silence. You could practically see the exact moment the walls of distrust started to come down.”

    This resonates with me, not because I’m evangelical but because maybe God did create nature and I think God would/should be pissed if we destroy God Work. In other words saving the earth seems very Christian. I’ll have to pay more attention to this as my conversation w evangelicals mostly go nowhere fast.

    There is a 6 min video in this.

    • Jim

       /  December 23, 2017

      Samantha Bee is closer to the truth. However Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO claimed “bankers were doing god’s work”. That statement was made in 2009, as the world was trying to climb out of the financial disaster caused by bankers and their greed.

      • Just a different God – the one that you worship by loving money above all else

      • My sister’s husband taught Jr High school science.He is mostly a human caused global warming denier.He will say”How do YOU know erosion is not the problem JEAN?(said very sarcastically) He also used to be a Lutheran minister(not Evangelical).So what do I say about erosion?.I think the height of the island can be measured as proof?

        • eleggua

           /  December 23, 2017

          “taught Jr High school science”

          No disrepect intended here; in the context of understanding the complexities of climate change, those aren’t lofty credentials. Not that a Jr. HS science teacher can’t get it, but it’s not a job that requires an amazing amount of scientific knowledge.

          “said very sarcastically”

          Why bother having a discussion with someone that insults your intelligence?

        • Andy_in_SD

           /  December 23, 2017

          Why is the burden of proof on you? He is the “science” person.

        • Whachamacallit

           /  December 24, 2017

          How does he explain the increase in erosion, assuming this is talking about sea level rise? The mechanical energy for erosion would definitely increase with a rise in sea level. Is he just saying that the currents are moving faster?

        • eleggua

           /  December 24, 2017

          The bigger question, is this guy worth talking to about climate change or anything else?
          Doesn’t sound like he has much respect for Jean.
          Blow him off; not worth the time.

        • eleggua

           /  December 24, 2017

          “…not worth the time.”

          On re-evaluation, he may not be worth the time but his students are.
          He’s in a position of educating young people; he needs to get his facts straight, especially on this subject.

          Have you ever shown him this blog, Jean? That’s a start; ask him to do some reading so he capable of having a valid discussion with you, and point him this way.

  5. Andy_in_SD

     /  December 23, 2017

    Hey Robert,

    Good piece (I like bagels). Another piece of the puzzle above is the feast / famine cycle of rain and it’s effect on desert areas such as California. So much of it tied to the simple resilience of plant seeds, and their ability to sit there and wait for water, for long periods of time.

    Last winter, yes, gobs of rain. That rain was rocket fuel for plant growth, grasses, shrubs etc… And yes, stuff grew. I watched the hill behind my house and knew pretty quickly I would be clearing brush this summer. And I did. I have 2 fire breaks on this hill that leads up to my house. Dried grasses, pine needles, all of it cleared so that hill is not a giant sparkler.

    So all over Southern California planet growth went nuts, then died & dried. Then it burns.

    So another knock on effect of the feast / famine cycle for rain we are now observing is this rapid creation of combustible fuel. As we remove / burn off / have pest kill the trees they are replaced with grasses and shrubs which are high speed flash fire food.

    • generativity

       /  December 23, 2017

      Hopefully mosaic burns leave some oaks alive, and hopefully the drought and fires clear sudden oak death fungus from the area. Love those sinuous ole oaks

    • eleggua

       /  December 23, 2017

      Make bagels, not war.

    • Yes, the area around Santa Rosa was really overgrown, too. I drove up Crane Canyon Road, after the fires, and several things seemed apparent:

      It was really overgrown. Lots of combustible stuff all over the place. Grass and weeds head high, in many locations.

      There was a lot of eucalyptus and other highly combustible non-native species. People have planted eucalyptus and conifers as windbreaks in Sonoma county – why not? Fire danger was minimal, anyway. Why not plant combustible species?

      The eucalyptus was huge, and generally did not burn itself, although the trunks were scorched. These California trees are huge, since this invasive species has no pests in California. What apparently burned was the loose bark underneath the eucalyptus and the forest around them.

      The drought / deluge cycle is killing us. We’re going to have to toughen up, and do what you have done – clear firebreaks, install external sprinkler systems, and build fire resistance into our houses.

      • Oh, I misspoke, and ran two sentences together. You cleared fire breaks, but external sprinkler systems and building fire resistance into our houses are just things I think would be a good idea.

    • Robert E Prue

       /  December 25, 2017

      We have those wet-dry spells here in Kansas. Get a lot of rain, stuff grows. Next long dry spell, stuff burns. I’m thinking this cycle is becoming more extreme,

  6. redskylite

     /  December 23, 2017

    Thanks for highlighting the effects and consequences of warming so effectively in this post and for your last post on the alarming Tasman Sea anomaly, which I felt has been under reported. People are getting far to used to the unusual and “global weirding”. lately.

    New research reported today, consolidates earlier research, and if we live in these reported global hot-spots, we had better hope our descendants can afford decent air conditioning and can cocoon themselves during heatwave seasons of the future. A dramatic change in lifestyle for so many populations, and quite frankly mass migration to more temperate climes seems fraught with danger and resistance on our modern day planet.

    ” A new global study projects that in coming decades the effects of high humidity in many areas will dramatically increase. At times, they may surpass humans’ ability to work or, in some cases, even survive. Health and economies would suffer, especially in regions where people work outside and have little access to air conditioning. Potentially affected regions include large swaths of the already muggy southeastern United States, the Amazon, western and central Africa, southern areas of the Mideast and Arabian peninsula, northern India and eastern China.”

  7. Colorado Bob

     /  December 23, 2017

    This just came out from the folks at CSU , which has one of the best forestry programs in the country – And is yet another piece of the the puzzle. As the forests decline the water shed shrinks.

    CSU study finds link between climate change, reduced forest resilience

    The study examined nearly 1,500 sites in five states — Colorado, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho and Montana — and found a link between Earth’s changing climate and significant decreases in post-fire tree regeneration, according to a Colorado State University press release. Regeneration is an important factor for forest health.

    Researchers measured more than 63,000 seedlings in a region where 52 wildfires have burned during the past 30 years. They found decreases in regeneration after early 21st century wildfires, when conditions were hotter and drier than in previous years.

  8. Colorado Bob

     /  December 23, 2017

    Other signs of drought trying to set in:

    • The water year in Southern California (Oct. 1 –Sep. 30) is off to one of its driest starts in more than a century of recordkeeping. From October 1 through December 21, downtown Los Angeles received just 0.12” of rain and San Diego a mere 0.09”. In both cities, just three other years have been drier. Precipitation has also been scant in Northern California this month, although San Francisco’s 3.40” for the water year to date is only its 32nd driest in records back to 1849-50. Even so, “the odds of an above-normal rainfall season are slim,” tweeted Jan Null (Golden Gate Weather Services).

    • A huge swath of the U.S. from California to New York received less than half of its average precipitation in the 30-day period ending on Thursday.

  9. Colorado Bob

     /  December 23, 2017

    Yukon to apply ‘ice Band-Aid’ to river after it fails to freeze second year in a row, minister says
    The Yukon River usually freezes over within a few weeks after the summer ferry stops operating, allowing crossings to be made initially on foot, by snowmobile and eventually in a vehicle.

    • Andy_in_SD

       /  December 23, 2017

      Ice bridges failing to form is a really bad thing.

      Anyone else who has lived in the Arctic knows this one. Yikes!

  10. eleggua

     /  December 23, 2017

    Thomas fire now officially the largest ever recorded in California.

    ‘Thomas fire becomes largest wildfire on record in California’
    12.22.2017 7:30pm

    “The Thomas fire on Friday became California’s largest wildfire on record, burning 273,400 acres during its destructive march across Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

    The fire eclipsed the 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego County, which burned 273,246 acres.

    The milestone reaffirmed 2017 as the most destructive fire season ever in the state. In October, a series of fires in wine country burned more than 10,000 homes and killed more than 40 people.

    Those blazes, along with the Thomas fire, were fueled by dry conditions and intense winds.

    Despite its size, the Thomas fire has been less destructive than either the wine-country fires or the Cedar fire, which destroyed 2,820 structures and killed 15 people.

    The Thomas fire has claimed just over 1,000 structures since it started on Dec. 4, and San Diego fire engineer Cory Iverson died fighting the blaze last week…..

    …The fire consumed tens of thousands of acres a day in its first week but is now nibbling up vegetation at a relatively slow pace — 288 acres on Wednesday, 770 on Thursday….

    Any new growth on the Thomas fire will probably be due to controlled burns by firefighters.

    “The main fire itself will not have any growth,” said Capt. Brandon Vaccaro of the California City Fire Department. “Any growth that we see or is reflected in the acreage will be based on the control burns.”

    Firefighters set the speed of the burn, he said, using bulldozers, fire engines and hand tools. A train of personnel moves along, setting the fire to ensure no fire jumps the control line or gets out of hand, Vaccaro said.

    The improving conditions allowed officials to lift many evacuation orders on Thursday.

    Cal Fire’s list of the worst fires in California history dates back to the 1930s (in fact, the Matilija fire of 1932 was Number 6 on the list and also burned through Ventura County).

    That list, however, does not include what some consider to be California’s largest known wildfire — the 1889 Santiago Canyon fire, which scorched parts of Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties.”

    • eleggua

       /  December 23, 2017

      Here’s some info on the Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889.

      There’s more detail and analysis in a paper, “Large, high-intensity fire events in southern California shrublands: debunking the fine-grain age-patch mosaic model”,
      that’s only available as a PDF; it’s linked in the Refs on the wikip page for anyone interested in reading it.

      Some parallels with the Thomas fire, including weather conditions and other large fires nearby at the same time.

      “…a massive wildfire in California, which burned large parts of Orange County, Riverside County, and San Diego County during the last week of September, 1889. It was possibly the single largest wildfire in the recorded history of California,[1][2] burning at least 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) of land.

      …Conditions leading up to this 1889 fire event included a much longer and more severe annual drought than usual, with rains largely ceasing in March and less than 1 cm of precipitation being recorded for the 5½ months prior (records from the National Archives). This was coupled with multiple katabatic wind events (known as “northers” or Santa Anas) that month, one of which occurred about 10 days prior and likely added to the dryness of fuels. Temperatures during the week prior remained high and were coupled with several severe fires in San Diego County in which “at least 10,000 acres (40 km2) have burned over, a dwelling house consumed and other property destroyed”.

      …In addition to the Santiago Canyon Fire, there were several other significant fires fanned by the same gale force Santa Ana winds in San Diego and San Bernardino counties. The Santiago Canyon Fire was the largest and has been estimated as being greater than 308,000 acres (125,000 ha).
      Another wildfire in San Diego County at the time has been estimated to have been greater than 60,000 acres.
      The Orange County fire burned through areas of chaparral and coastal sage scrub, as well as a number of farm fields in the Santa Ana Valley, where farmers attempted to control the fire by plowing ahead of it.

      A detailed analysis of the fire can be found in Keeley and Zedler.

      …Daily Courier reported on the events of the Santiago Canyon Fire and other nearby wildfires in Southern California:

      “Fires in Three Counties. During the past three or four days destructive fires have been raging in San Bernardino, Orange and San Diego severely. Mr. Warren Wilson, who arrived from San Diego yesterday, says it is a positive fact that two or three thousand sheep were burned near Santa Ana, while great quantities of grain in the bag, fencing, hay, etc., have been destroyed. So far, no human lives are reported lost. A fatality seems to follow this ill-omened year of 1889. Fire and flood and earthquake shocks have marked this year for their own. It is a year of disasters, widespread destruction of life and property – and, well, a year of horrors.”

      • Historically, the largest fires have been associated with these sorts of severe conditions.

        But our corporate news media has conditioned us to focus on the immediate cause of the fires, not the ultimate cause. The immediate cause is often some poor individual doing something stupid that normally would not trigger a huge fire. So knowing the immediate cause if it leads to an individual is often not very useful information.

        A corporate policy, though, is something we can do something about, including regulating utilities again, like they used to be.

        In the case of power lines, tree maintenance, and public utilities like PG&E we can force the public utilities to maintain their electrical lines and the tree limbs around them.

      • That fire must be viewed in the context of the ability to meaningfully combat the spread and get it under control, in the 19th Century, very limited capability to handle a very large conflagration

        • eleggua

           /  December 26, 2017

          ^That, but moreso the areas burned in 1889 weren’t developed at the time. There wasn’t even an effort to put it out.

          Partly why there’s no solid data; not much loss of insured property.

  11. The military pov is in political flux

    The Pentagon’s Delicate Dance On Climate Change

    But a new government report suggests the Pentagon isn’t taking all the necessary steps to address climate’s impact on readiness worldwide — and the delay may be rooted in a delicate dance by DoD officials to reconcile its security concerns with the White House’s firm opposition to mainstream climate research.

    Why? Lucian Niemeyer, former Air Force officer and current assistant defense secretary of for energy, installations, and environment, responded in the report that “the science attributing these events to climate change is not supported by previous GAO reports.”

    • eleggua

       /  December 28, 2017

      In an article earlier this month RobertScribbler wrote, “How nuts is it that Trump yesterday made the anti-factual determination, in bald defiance of a plethora of U.S. military leaders, that “climate change is not a national security threat?””

      This article was live linked in there.
      “Trump breaks with military leaders, removes climate change from list of national security threats
      For more than a decade, military officials have argued climate change poses a critical threat.”
      Dec 18, 2017

  12. wharf rat

     /  December 23, 2017

    U.S. Handled Puerto Rico Hurricane Aftermath Badly, Says Refugee Group

    An international human rights group, Refugees International, has issued a scathing report on the U.S. response in Puerto Rico to Hurricane Maria. The group says “poor coordination and logistics on the ground” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Puerto Rican government “seriously undermined the effectiveness of the aid delivery process.”

  13. wili

     /  December 23, 2017

    You can drop the “within 500 acres” in the last paragraph now, apparently:

    “Thomas fire becomes largest wildfire on record in California.”

    “The Thomas fire on Friday became California’s largest wildfire on record, burning 273,400 acres during its destructive march across Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

    The fire eclipsed the 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego County, which burned 273,246 acres.”

    • It’s mostly contained or out now, though. Further growth of the fire now is mostly due to backfires being set to stop it.

      Here is NASA Worldview, with the fires and thermal anomalies data products turned on. You can use the big time arrows on the lower left to scroll through the progress of the fire since December 5th. Looks like they’ve pretty much stopped it.

      It turns out, it is possible, even easy, to create animated gifs of these maps, using the little movie camera icon located close to the time arrows. I’ll try to do that, then post it on google drive or Youtube. Maybe another Scribbler knows more about how to do this?

      • eleggua

         /  December 23, 2017

        Click the ‘play’ arrow.,MODIS_Aqua_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor(hidden),MODIS_Terra_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor,MODIS_Fires_Aqua,VIIRS_SNPP_Fires_375m_Night,VIIRS_SNPP_Fires_375m_Day,MODIS_Fires_All,MODIS_Fires_Terra,Reference_Labels,Reference_Features,Coastlines&t=2017-12-17&z=3&v=-114.6893429125463,32.2357516205056,-108.71091712008601,34.82541625832874&ab=on&as=2017-12-04&ae=2017-12-23&av=2&al=true

        • eleggua

           /  December 24, 2017

          The link broke. Easy to make the gif, though.
          Go the the bottom left corner of page you linked, Leland, and to the right of the date there click on the icon that looks sort of like a film camera.

          That opens up a box above the time range bar. Choose the desired “Frames Per Second” by sliding the blue dot.

          After choosing the Frames rate, click on the icon to the right of the Frame slider, the file icon with a film camera inside it.

          That opens a window on top of the map; it’s easy to enlarge the window to encompass the area you want shown in the gif; grab the boxes in the corners and sides with your cursor and pull the borders of the window to enclose what you want in the frame.

          When that’s set, click on the big orange download arrow that’s appeared in the middle of that window. That starts the gif creation process.

          When the gif is ready, the animation will begin; at the bottom left corner of the animation window, click the download button. Then it can be saved to your desktop or wherever.

          Now, the question that I have:
          how to embed that gif into a post here? Anyone know the correct tag for that?

        • Wow. Lot of work, man. Thanks!

      • eleggua

         /  December 24, 2017

        “Maybe another Scribbler knows more about how to do this?”

        Hmmm…did you mean, how to create the gif or how to post to Google Drive or YouTube?
        No idea how to do either; must create an account there first, obviously.

        Easiest place to create a gif, no sign-up necessary:

  14. eleggua

     /  December 23, 2017

    Tropical Storm Vinta aka Tembin “wiped out” a village in the Philippines yesterday.

    ‘‘Vinta’ buries Lanao village’
    December 24, 2017

    “Tropical Storm Vinta wiped out an entire village in Lanao del Norte and left a grim trail of death and devastation in most of the areas it pounded two days before Christmas.

    At least 133 people were reported killed on Saturday as rescuers pulled dozens of bodies from a swollen river, police said….

    Vinta (international name: Tembin) started lashing Mindanao on Friday, triggering flash floods and mudslides that erased a remote village from the map.

    “The river rose and most of the homes were swept away. The village is no longer there,” Tubod police officer Gerry Parami told Agence France Presse by telephone….

    Elsewhere, boulders brought down by flash floods buried around 40 houses in the town of Piagapo, killing at least 10 people, civil defense officer Saripada Pacasum of Lanao del Sur province said.

    …Sen. Grace Poe also urged rescuers to be careful, saying disaster preparation and mitigation should be “at the center” of every program of local government units (LGUs) amid the realities of climate change…..”

    • eleggua

       /  December 24, 2017

      “Sen. Grace Poe also urged rescuers to be careful, saying disaster preparation and mitigation should be “at the center” of every program of local government units (LGUs) amid the realities of climate change”

      Grace Poe is right on. She’s emblamatic of the sort of politicians that will dominate elections worldwide in the next decade: genuinely concerned and working for the well-being of people and the environment. She finished 3rd in the 2016 Presidential election with 21% of the vote; Trump, er, Duterte won with 39%. She first ran for political office in 2013, winning her current Senate seat, so finishing a not-distant 3rd less than 3 years later bodes well.

      She’s definitely someone to pay attention to and to support, if possible.

      “Independent presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe urged the next set of lawmakers in the 17th Congress to immediately ratify the climate change agreement approved in Paris and affirmed by 196 participants in the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP) 21.

      With the Philippines among the world’s most vulnerable to natural disasters and extreme weather events, Poe made the pitch for the landmark universal climate deal which would only take effect globally if at least 55 countries accounting for at least 55 percent of total global greenhouse gas (GHC) emissions ratifies the treaty.

      “We should sign the Paris Agreement immediately which contains provisions on disaster survival training and geo-hazard mapping for that would help people know which places are vulnerable to natural calamities,” Poe told reporters in a press conference here Thursday….

      No matter how prepared we are, every time there is a strong typhoon coming, we have to enforce relocation of people living in those areas. I seriously think we need to enforce hazard mapping and the national government should have the political will to help our fellowmen,” the senator stressed.”

      ‘Poe seeks permanent disaster agency to meet calamities’
      July 12, 2017

      “After a series of powerful earthquakes hit the country, Senator Grace Poe said it was high time for the country to have a permanent disaster mitigation agency.

      “Climate change is a reality and is upon us,” Poe said in a statement on Tuesday.
      “Given the frequency of these extreme weather situations the Philippines has experienced, for us to just sit here and think that this is not going to happen again would be shortsightedness,” she said.

      A separate, full-time, Cabinet-level disaster resilience and emergency management agency will be needed to replace the NDRRMC, Poe said.
      This permanent agency will serve as the focal agency for integrated disaster resilience, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and emergency management, she said.

      The senator noted that ‘Typhoon Yolanda,’ which devastated the Visayas in 2013, had brought a new normal to disasters hitting the country.
      Recent disasters “all point to the need for a strong and independent regulator and monitoring body that will ensure the accountability of duty-bearers in the performance of disaster risk reduction and management duties,” she added.”

      October 5, 2013

      “Sen. Grace Poe has filed a resolution asking the Senate to inquire into the actual state of the Philippine environment to ensure its proper management and protection.

      Poe said many poor Filipinos are relying on the country’s natural resources to make both ends meet, and it is crucial to protect them in pursuit of inclusive economic growth.
      “We want to determine the current state of our environment and identify the necessary measures toward its protection,” Poe stressed.

      Poe’s Senate Resolution No. 235 urges the Senate committees on environment and natural resources and climate change to conduct the said inquiry, in aid of legislation, to ensure a timely blueprint for the protection of the country’s natural resources.

      The resolution cited the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) report stating that the Philippines has the second-lowest forest cover in Southeast Asia which has dwindled in the past 100 years from 30 million hectares to 7.2 million, or 24 percent of the country’s land area.

      The country’s biodiversity is among the most threatened in the world, with only two percent of its coral reefs in excellent condition, the DENR report further said.
      “With the continued threats to the country’s environment, it is imperative to act swiftly to ensure proper management of our natural resources,” Poe emphasized.”

      • eleggua

         /  December 24, 2017

        The bits on wikip re: her politics are lengthy. If interested, here’s the link.

        She’s pro-people, first and foremost.

        Check out her bio, too; abandoned in the water font of a local church, the day of her birth. Priest there called her “Grace” as in “by the grace of god”. Christened by Cardinal Sin (he used to joke about the name, too), adopted by a popular acting couple, educated in the States, moved back to the Phillipines in 2005 after her father’s death (action star, he was known as ‘Da King of Filipino Film’; ran for Prez there in 2004, died later that year).
        There’re claims that she’s the illegimate offspring of Ferdinand Marcos’ son, Bongbong, and that Jaime Sin helped arrange the adoption to cover it up. Interesting, that, in light of her stance on political dynasties.

        “Poe is against the country’s shift to federalism unless an anti-political dynasty law is passed. She sees a federal Philippines without an anti-dynasty law as a nation that would perpetuate political dynasties and prolong their existence.

        Poe is vehemently against political dynasties, as she sees it as a source of corruption, which has been proven by various cases connected to families of a political status.”

  15. wili

     /  December 24, 2017

    More on Atmospheric Rivers (of Moisture) wrt CA:

    “An AR [Atmosperic River] isn’t really a singular storm per se, it’s more like opening a narrow, long superhighway from the atmosphere to an indiscriminate point on the map on which extreme amounts of water travel.

    Most of that is carried in the form of water vapor, but there’s so much water — on average 25 Mississippi Rivers’ worth in each AR — that when a storm system taps into one and makes landfall under the right conditions, the results can be devastating.”

    “California is spending billions to protect the millions at risk of a megaflood, but thanks to climate change, it’s too little too late.”

  16. wharf rat

     /  December 24, 2017

    Puerto Rico exposes the true nature of Trump administration’s energy agenda

    “Four months after Hurricane Maria tore through the Caribbean and devastated the power grid in both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, thousands of U.S. citizens remain without electricity.” Trump’s “Army Corps of Engineers just announced that Puerto Rico likely won’t see its power fully restored until May — a full eight months after the disaster first hit. The islands are currently suffering through the longest blackout in American history, which has forced hospitals to go without power and sparked a public health crisis.”
    Trump Rates Administration Response in Puerto Rico a ’10’
    Updated Oct. 19,

  17. eleggua

     /  December 24, 2017

    Mike Farb #unhackthevote

    It’s worth a look at this work. Not conspiracy theory nonsense; grounded, professional research. His home page is linked on the twit page.

    • eleggua

       /  December 24, 2017

      “We found that in the seven months between April 4, 2016 and the election the total number of registration records increased by nearly 460,000 voter registrations. Looking at these records by party and by county, we found something striking. In that short period of time there was an apparent decrease in Democratics by 0.7% overall. Up to nearly 3% in some counties.

      We became curious about exactly what was causing this statewide change in apparent political affiliation. Were people actually making changes to their political party after the deadline for the primary, when such changes would make no difference at all?

      To answer this question we began looking at the records of individual voters. How many were added? How many were removed? How many showed a change in party? As long as we were checking, we looked for other changes, again tracking specific voters.

      Changes to the Data
      The increase in records between the April 4 data set and the November 7 data set was caused by the addition nearly 550,000 new voter IDs, the removal of over 93,000 voter IDs, and approximately 2000 additional duplicate voter IDs. Duplicate voter IDs you ask? Yes. We will get to that later……”

    • eleggua

       /  December 24, 2017

      “Our team examined six snapshots of the Pennsylvania State Voter Registration database taken between April 4, 2016 and July 31, 2017. These are available for public purchase here.

      Each data set has over 8.5 million voter registration records. Each voter’s record contains 153 data fields. That’s over 50 Million records, and nearly 8 BILLION pieces of data.

      Rather than importing this data into a database and running simple statistical queries, we uploaded it onto a high speed cloud computer and wrote scripts to look for duplicate and anomalous data within each data set, and also to look for changes in voter data between data sets.

      At first we didn’t know what to look for, so we just probed the data. We counted the voters in each county, for each data set, by party. Then we started noticing odd things. Duplicate records. Voter records changing in ways that didn’t make any sense at all.

      We wrote more scripts, based on what we found. Scripts to look for duplicate and anomalous data within each data set. Looking for changes in voter data between data sets. We rubbed our eyes and went back to double-check the raw data. And yep, it was THAT weird. We pulled out over a million lines of data for closer examination. The more we looked the less it made sense.

      This took months of work – writing code, improving script efficiency, moving data to the cloud and back, and analyzing what we found.

      What we found was shocking….”

    • eleggua

       /  December 24, 2017

      ‘DHS tells states about Russian hacking during 2016 election’
      September 22, 2017

      “The Department of Homeland Security contacted election officials in 21 states Friday to notify them that they had been targeted by Russian government hackers during the 2016 election campaign.

      Three months ago, DHS officials said that people connected to the Russian government tried to hack voter registration files or public election sites in 21 states, but Friday was the first time that government officials contacted individual state election officials to let them know their systems had been targeted.

      …He said it was important that the states shore up their systems now “rather than a few weeks before” the 2018 midterm elections.

      …DHS left it to individual states to decide whether to make public whether they had been targeted.

      n only a handful of states, including Illinois, did hackers actually penetrate computer systems, according to U.S. officials, and there is no evidence that hackers tampered with any voting machines.

      In Arizona, the Russian hackers did not compromise the state voter registration system or even any county system. They did, however, steal the username and password of a single election official in Gila County, state officials said.

      …State elections officials in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington were told Friday they were targeted, according to officials and a tally by the Associated Press.

      “What this boils down to is that someone tried the door knob and it was locked,” said Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission….”

  18. eleggua

     /  December 24, 2017

    ‘7 Years Before Russia Hacked the Election, Someone Did the Same Thing to Climate Scientists
    “Why does this story sound so darned familiar?”’

    Rebecca Leber and AJ Vicens Mother Jones January/February 2018 Issue

    “One Saturday morning in June, two days after the president had announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris climate agreement, Michael Mann was tweeting about Donald Trump.

    Mann, a Penn State professor who is one of the world’s most prominent climate scientists, was thinking about the daily barrage of revelations surrounding Russia’s efforts to help Trump win the previous year’s election. The hacked Democratic documents posted on WikiLeaks. The media craze over private emails that had been ripped out of context. Smear campaigns circulating on social media…..

    Seven years earlier, Trump was riffing on a very different set of hacked emails. The real estate mogul had called into Fox News after a blizzard to declare that climate change was a hoax. Trump claimed that “one of the leaders of global warming” had recently admitted in a private email that years of scientific research were nothing but “a con.”

    Trump was referring to the 2009 Climategate scandal, in which emails from climate scientists were hacked and disseminated across the internet. Climate change deniers claimed the messages showed scientists engaging in misconduct and fabricating a warming pattern that didn’t really exist. Multiple investigations ultimately exonerated the researchers, but not before a media firestorm undercut public confidence in the science—just as world leaders were meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, to attempt to rein in greenhouse gas emissions.

    In hindsight, the Climategate hack, clearly timed to disrupt the Copenhagen negotiations, looks like a precursor to the hack that helped shape the outcome of the 2016 election. That’s how John Podesta, the Clinton campaign chairman whose stolen emails were posted on WikiLeaks in the final weeks of the campaign, sees it. The parallels go beyond the hacks themselves. “I think it was the intentionality of influencing the public debate,” he says……….”

  19. eleggua

     /  December 24, 2017

    If you haven’t read Bill Gibson’s phenomenal phreaking page-turner, “Neuromancer”, now is the time. The book’s influence on “hackers” worldwide is enormous; it’s a bible for many, an inspiration.

    Gibson coined the word “cyberspace” in a short-story published a couple of years before Neuromancer.

    “All I knew about the word “cyberspace” when I coined it, was that it seemed like an effective buzzword. It seemed evocative and essentially meaningless. It was suggestive of something, but had no real semantic meaning, even for me, as I saw it emerge on the page.”

    “Before the Internet was commonplace, William Gibson showed us the Matrix – a world within the world, the representation of every byte of data in cyberspace. Henry Dorsett Case was the sharpest data-thief in the Matrix, until an ex-employer crippled his nervous system. Now a new employer has recruited him for a last-chance run against an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence.”

    • eleggua

       /  December 24, 2017

      ‘William Gibson: the man who saw tomorrow ‘
      28 Jul 2014

      “Prescience can be tedious for science-fiction writers. Being proven right about a piece of technology or a trend distracts from the main aim of the work: to show us how we live now. William Gibson knows this as well as anyone. Since the late 70s, the American-born novelist has been pulling at the loose threads of our culture to imagine what will come out. He has been right about a great deal, but mainly about the shape of the internet and how it filters down to the lowest strata of society.

      Neuromancer,” says novelist and blogger Cory Doctorow, “remains a vividly imagined allegory for the world of the 1980s, when the first seeds of massive, globalised wealth-disparity were planted, and when the inchoate rumblings of technological rebellion were first felt. A generation later, we’re living in a future that is both nothing like the Gibson future and instantly recognisable as its less stylish, less romantic cousin. Instead of zaibatsus [large conglomerates] run by faceless salarymen, we have doctrinaire thrusting young neocons and neoliberals who want to treat everything from schools to hospitals as businesses.”

      …our world has enough of a Gibsonian hue for the writer to have acquired the mantle of a prophet. “The Ed Snowden moment is very Gibsonian,” adds Doctorow. “Snowden could be Case’s back-office support, an ex-spook trapped behind Putin’s iron curtain, offering intermittent but vital support to people trapped in the system’s relentless gear grinding.”

      …Gibson has written many times of his belief that all cultural change is essentially technologically driven. As the progress of technology speeds up, it becomes more incumbent on authors to examine its effects.

      …”Gibson does texture and function in a way that I’m constantly trying to imitate,” (Ned Beauman) says. “Like many great writers, he has a specific imaginative territory that he keeps going back to, but that territory happens to be where a lot of us now find ourselves living. Not only in terms of Google Glass and Uber, which are comparatively trivial, but in terms of the gap between rich and poor, the impunity of globalised commerce, the declining relevance of the west. It’s a crime that he’s not regarded as one of our most important novelists.”?”

  20. eleggua

     /  December 25, 2017

    Happy Holidaze!!!

    • eleggua

       /  December 26, 2017

      ‘Scientists Think Santa’s Carbon Footprint Should Earn Him Some Coal in His Stocking’

  21. wharf rat

     /  December 25, 2017

    Thinking About Investing in Bitcoin?
    Take a Look at How It’s Ruining the Planet in Real Time.Friends don’t let friends buy bitcoin.

    In a report last week, the cryptocurrency website Digiconomics said that worldwide bitcoin mining was using more electricity than Serbia. The country. Writing for Grist, Eric Holthaus calculated that by July 2019, the Bitcoin peer-to-peer network—remember BitTorrent? Like that—would require more electricity than all of the United States. And by November of 2020, it’d use more electricity than the entire world does today.

    That’s bad. It means Bitcoin emits the equivalent of 17.7 million tons of carbon dioxide every year, a big middle finger to Earth’s climate and anyone who enjoys things like coastlines, forests, and not dying of mosquito-borne diseases. Refracted through a different metaphor, the Bitcoin P2P network is essentially a distributed superintelligence utterly dedicated to generating bitcoins, so of course it wants to convert all the energy (and therefore matter) in the universe into bitcoin. That is literally its job. And if it has to recruit greedy nerds by paying them phantom value, well, OK. Unleash the hypnocurrency!

  22. wili

     /  December 25, 2017

    In Victory for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Court Finds That Approval of Dakota Access Pipeline Violated the Law.

    The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a significant victory today in its fight to protect the Tribe’s drinking water and ancestral lands from the Dakota Access pipeline.

    A federal judge ruled that the federal permits authorizing the pipeline to cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock reservation, which were hastily issued by the Trump administration just days after the inauguration, violated the law in certain critical respects.

    In a 91-page decision, Judge James Boasberg wrote, “the Court agrees that [the Corps] did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial.”

    The Court did not determine whether pipeline operations should be shut off and has requested additional briefing on the subject and a status conference next week. …

  23. Shawn Redmond

     /  December 25, 2017
  24. kassy

     /  December 25, 2017

    Welcome to our special X-Mas edition of “Spot the hypocrites”.

    Do you see them? 🙂

    Hundreds of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists were barred from attending an industry conference this month.
    The Washington Post reported Friday that the Interior Department, which oversees the USGS, capped the number of scientists who were allowed to attend the annual American Geophysical Union meeting at 199 and expenditures for the event at $399,000.
    Consequently, 178 USGS scientists attended the conference — 60 percent fewer than last year, the Post reported. What’s more, 30 abstracts that were intended to be presented at the conference were withdrawn.

    A spokeswoman for the Interior Department told the Post that the decision to reduce the number of researchers who could attend the conference hinged on a desire to save taxpayer money.


    Despite saying in 2016 that if elected president, “I’m not going to have time to go play golf,” Trump has often sought refuge at several properties he owns. According to NBC News, he has visited one of his properties, most of which are golf resorts, on 109 days this year — nearly one-third of his presidency so far.
    And these visits come with a cost. Trump has used tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize numerous trips to his properties in 2017. The big price tag covers travel on Air Force One, cargo planes and expenses for White House aides and the fleet of security that accompany him.
    One trip to the so-called “Winter White House” may cost taxpayers $3.6 million or more, although exact estimates are difficult to make. An estimate by the website puts the total cost to taxpayers this year at more than $42 million. Local governments have to pitch in, too. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office estimates that it costs roughly $60,000 per day in overtime pay for officers when Trump is at Mar-a-Lago.

  25. wharf rat

     /  December 25, 2017

    No coal for Coachella Valley this Christmas

    California still gets a small percentage of its electricity from three out-of-state coal plants— one in New Mexico, one on Oregon and one in Utah. For the last 24 years, some of that highly polluting coal-fired electricity has powered parts of the Coachella Valley.

    But this Christmas, there’ll be a little less coal in California’s stocking.

    New Mexico’s San Juan coal plant shut down one of its four generating units last week

  26. Robert in New Orleans

     /  December 25, 2017

    Merry Christmas from New Orleans.

  27. Robert in New Orleans

     /  December 25, 2017

    And Happy Hanukkah

  28. wharf rat

     /  December 26, 2017

    Proof of Climate Change Found in the Arabian Sea per New Study
    Climate change in Lapland: The impact of global warming in the land of Santa Claus

    Environmental changes in the far north are having disastrous effects on the region’s indigenous people and tourism industry

  29. eleggua

     /  December 26, 2017

    Into the white.

    ‘Record-setting Christmas storm buries Pennsylvania’s fourth largest city under more than 4 feet of snow’
    December 26 , 2017

    “…With snow falling at a rate of up to three inches per hour, the National Weather Service reported Erie, Pa., picked up 53 inches in a 30-hour period ending Tuesday morning.

    Erie officials have declared a state of emergency and are pleading with motorists to stay off city streets and nearby highways, including Interstates 90 and 79…

    An additional one foot to two feet of snow could fall across Erie through Wednesday.

    So far, Erie has received 93 inches of snow in December, making it the snowiest month in the city’s history. The city averages about 100 inches of snow in an entire season….”

    • Witchee

       /  December 27, 2017

      Lake Erie *used* to freeze. When it did, the clouds would clear and the snow would, if not stop, then at least be limited to the kind of snow storms other places get. Now, the Lake does not freeze. Now, the Lake Effect snow can go on all winter long, as long as the cold wind blows over the relatively warm water. This is true all along the lakeshore, most especially from Erie PA to Buffalo NY.

      • eleggua

         /  December 28, 2017

        Thanks for pointing that out; wasn’t aware of the Lake-effect snow.

        ‘Global Warming Is Probably Boosting Lake-Effect Snows’
        By Eric Holthaus Nov. 19 2014

        “In the aftermath of a massive lake-effect snowfall event in western New York state on Tuesday, it’s worth asking: Is climate change playing a role here? Because, I mean, come on. Seventy—seven zero—inches, people. And another huge round is forecast for Thursday, by the way. Buffalo deserves answers.

        The short answer is: yes. Global warming is probably juicing lake-effect snows, and we’ve had the data to prove it for quite some time.

        …Lake Erie is warming (along with the rest of the planet) by a steady but measurable amount. Since 1960 that trend has been about a half of a degree Fahrenheit per decade. More important than this, though, Lake Erie has been losing its ability to freeze over in the winter, with a decline of about one sub-freezing day per year in recent decades.

        In places such as Syracuse (downwind of Lake Ontario) and Buffalo, for the time being, that’s translated into more total snow each year. But it won’t always be this way. Several decades from now, the warming part of global warming will catch up, and total snowfall should begin a permanent decline. But for now, extreme snowfall events are winning out.

        During our lifetimes, that means big lake-effect snowfall events like Tuesday’s are becoming more common, at least as a fraction of total snowfall. A 2003 study that used oxygen isotopes to distinguish local lake-effect snow from snow formed outside the region showed a sharp increase in lake-effect events over the last few decades……”

      • 12volt dan

         /  December 29, 2017

        yes ,we get those east of Georgian Bay where I am and it can be trying at times. no snow yesterday, -37C but bright and sunny all day

        • eleggua

           /  December 29, 2017

          Heather Sargeant Uploaded on Nov 24, 2017
          Migration of the climatic conditions around Georgian Bay

        • eleggua

           /  December 29, 2017

          You probably already know about ‘Georgian Bay Forever’, likely even involved.

          “Georgian Bay Forever is a charity dedicated to scientific research and public education on Georgian Bay’s aquatic ecosystem.
          We believe that water is a common heritage and a fundamental human right essential to life. It should be preserved and made accessible to all, today and in the future. We value the concepts of transparency, integrity, creativity, trust, and sharing. Everything we undertake is done with respect for the members of the varied communities we serve.”

          ‘Georgian Bay is at a turning point’

          “…we are at a turning point.

          A point where we must face the threats affecting Georgian Bay head on. The threats of climate change, invasive species, pollution and the slow decline of our wetlands are real. It is paramount that we work together to ensure that the water of Georgian Bay is as pristine in ten years, a hundred years or even a thousand years, as it is right now!

          …Two year’s ago, GBF retained the services of AECOM to assess and recommend contemporary, climate resilient flexible structural options to mitigate plausible future extreme water levels of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.

          The Final Report of the study shows not only that we need to do something – but that we have viable options that can regulate water levels for the long term. With more rain falling in very short amounts of time, extensive flooding causing billions in damages and sewage runoff to enter our waters becoming the norm, doing something to mitigate the high-highs and low-lows, is not only critical but should be mandatory and an immediate priority.
          Our Low Water Blues study, released in 2014, clearly showed the disastrous effect, to the tune of $18+ billion in lost revenue, of sustained low waters, and now we clearly have seen the economic cost of high waters.

          Climate change and extreme weather is arguably the biggest and most challenging threat to Georgian Bay and the Great Lakes. Although David Sweetnam, Executive Director, has been and continues to present the results to representatives on both sides of the border, there is still much work to be done.”

      • Glad for info re snow in Erie.I was born in Erie w great childhood memories of snow and sledding.My Uncle was a tug boat captain and always had the winter off..They must keep ships going all year now..

    • Robert E Prue

       /  December 30, 2017

      I was born in Pennsylvania. Erie PA.was my mother’s stomping grounds when she was younger. She was really impressed on hearing about the five feet of snow. Two or three feet isn’t that unusual, lake effect snow gone wild!

      • eleggua

         /  December 30, 2017

        “Bands of lake effect snow streaming off the Great Lakes on Dec. 26, 2017”

      • eleggua

         /  December 30, 2017

        “Average lake effect snow totals across the region, 9.30.2016 – 1.7.2017”

  30. eleggua

     /  December 26, 2017

    Tesla deliveries, by quarter.

    • eleggua

       /  December 28, 2017

      “….another graph with an upwardly arcing curve.”

      ^^^^ One of those inclining graphs is positive, though.

  31. eleggua

     /  December 26, 2017

  32. eleggua

     /  December 26, 2017

    ‘A Historic Gift of Pristine Land to Inspire Tech’s Elite
    A new preserve in California will save 24,000 acres of land from development.’
    December 22, 2017

    “Good news for the environment comes from California today, and from a part of the state very near the hillsides that have suffered the economic and environmental devastation of the recent wildfires. A renowned tract of undeveloped California coastal land totaling more than 24,000 acres, or about 38 square miles, has been purchased by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) for permanent preservation, thanks to a $165 million donation by a wealthy tech-industry couple. The donation, the largest single gift TNC has ever received, is significant in its immediate effects, and it has the potential to matter even more through the longer-term example it aspires to set.

    The tract includes hills and canyons, grasslands and brush, 2,000 acres of coastal live-oak stands containing perhaps 1 million trees, a creek, parts of the Santa Ynez mountain range—and a full eight miles of the bluffs and beaches that make up the coastline around Point Conception, west of Santa Barbara. The benefactors are Jack and Laura Dangermond, who founded and still run the Esri mapping company in the small southern California town of Redlands where they both grew up……

    Jack Dangermond told me that his friend E.O. Wilson, the famed biologist, had advanced the idea that “we are innately all ‘bio-philiacs’”—that people are drawn to nature even in unconscious ways. “It’s why people keep a little philodendron in their apartment, or have an aquarium, or dogs. People want to feel some connection to nature and the natural living world.” The innate importance of preserving parts of the natural matched the Dangermonds’ own sensibility. Jack grew up in a gardening culture—his father, an immigrant from Holland, was a gardener and ran a small nursery business, and Jack’s original training was in landscape architecture—and he and Laura have made the property around their modest home in California essentially one big arboretum. But they argue that preservation has a larger consequence.

    “These natural areas, particularly pristine and intact areas like this one, are so very important, and they are disappearing like crazy,” Jack told me. The Dangermonds’ Esri company specializes in mapping software that, among other functions, allows long-term analysis of geographical trends. “We did a study with Clark University, forecasting out 50 years, and making maps with our software about natural areas in that time. And in 50 years, the areas that remain will become very fragmented. If any normal person would see that, they would get very disturbed, but the process is well underway. These models make it clear that the fundamental fabric of nature is being altered, and these areas are going to disappear.”…..”

    • Paul in WI

       /  December 30, 2017

      Thanks much for this Eleggua. In a year with a lot of bad news on the nature front, this helps. Also, as a member of The Nature Conservancy, this has special significance. In addition, I worked for a couple of months on Vandenberg Air Force Base as a contractor a few years ago and got to know this area. As the article states, it is beautiful country. I visited Jalama Beach (adjacent to the new nature preserve and Vandenberg AFB) on one of my days off when I was out there and little did I know that driving on the road to the beach that much of the land I was passing through would become the new nature preserve.

  33. eleggua

     /  December 26, 2017

    ‘Can Non-Billionaires Make a Difference in Conservation? An Example From Europe’

    ‘It’s time … to reinvent agriculture’ (video is subtitled in English)

    “The Luzernhof is a small revolution. For an ecological, fair and social agriculture. And against monocultures, factory farming and industrial agriculture. Every day 20 farms disappear in Germany, at the same time buy extra-economic investors millions of hectares of arable land. This is bad news for our health and for our nature. Because a healthy society depends on healthy food from a sustainable agriculture.

    In order to make our agriculture sustainable, arable land should not become a speculative commodity. It needs people who are farming with enthusiasm, dedication and expertise. It needs people who are honest and careful with animals, plants and soil. But it also takes you as a member. As co-owners. As citizens. As people who have the courage to participate.”

  34. wili

     /  December 27, 2017

    The attorney who won a $200 billion settlement from tobacco companies in the 90s has set his sights on an even bigger target.

    [Steve] Berman is best known, though, for suing big tobacco in the 1990s. At the end of that fight, he helped negotiate a $206 billion settlement from cigarette makers like Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, and Brown & Williamson for causing cancer. It remains the largest legal settlement of its kind in history.

    But Berman is now working on a lawsuit that could be even bigger: He is suing five of the world’s most powerful oil companies for causing climate change. He represents Oakland and San Francisco in a lawsuit filed last September demanding that Exxon, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and BP pay billions for sea walls and other defenses against ocean rise. …

  35. wili

     /  December 27, 2017

    The scientific consensus on climate change has shifted to greater drama (than as stated in AR5) in the past year:

    Title: “Climate Change Is Happening Faster Than Expected, and It’s More Extreme”

    Extract: “In the past year, the scientific consensus shifted toward a grimmer and less uncertain picture of the risks posed by climate change.

    The Royal Society published a compendium of how the science has advanced, warning that it seems likelier that we’ve been underestimating the risks of warming than overestimating them.

    The most ominous of its chapters addressed the risks of surprises like “tipping points” or “compound extremes”—sucker punches, combination punches, and even knockout punches. “The more the climate changes, the greater the potential for these,” it said.

    “Uncertainty is not our friend here,” said Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann.”

  36. eleggua

     /  December 27, 2017

    More points for the Tesla team.

    ‘Tesla’s enormous battery in Australia is responding to outages in record time’

    “…in the last three weeks alone, the Hornsdale Power Reserve has smoothed out at least two major energy outages, responding even more quickly than the coal-fired backups that were supposed to provide emergency power.

    Tesla’s battery last week kicked in just 0.14 seconds after one of Australia’s biggest plants, the Loy Yang facility in the neighboring state of Victoria, suffered a sudden, unexplained drop in output, according to the International Business Times. The week before that, another failure at Loy Yang prompted the Hornsdale battery to respond in as little as four seconds — or less, according to some estimates — beating other plants to the punch. State officials have called the response time “a record,” according to local media.

    The effectiveness of Tesla’s battery is being closely watched in a region that is in the grips of an energy crisis. The price of electricity is soaring in Australia, particularly in the state of South Australia, where a 2016 outage led 1.7 million residents to lose power in a blackout. Storms and heat waves have caused additional outages, and many Australians are bracing for more with the onset of summer in the Southern Hemisphere….

    In March, Musk, who is known for setting high goals and only sometimes meeting them, vowed on Twitter to deliver a battery system for South Australia’s struggling grid within 100 days or it would be free. By early July, the state had signed a deal with California-based Tesla and the French-based energy company Neoen to produce the battery. And by Dec. 1, South Australia announced it had switched on the Hornsdale battery.

    Fed by wind turbines at the nearby Hornsdale wind farm, the battery stores excess energy that is produced when the demand for electricity isn’t peaking. It can power up to 30,000 homes, though only for short periods — meaning that the battery must still be supported by traditional power plants in the event of a long outage.

    Nonetheless, the Hornsdale reserve has already shown that it can provide what’s known as “contingency” service — keeping the grid stable in a crisis and easing what otherwise would be a significant power failure.

    And, more important, the project is the biggest proof of concept yet that batteries such as Tesla’s can help mitigate one of renewable energy’s most persistent problems: how to use it when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.”

    • Interestingly the LNP (Conservative Government) that has been so anti this battery and renewables is claiming credit for the reducing electricity costs, which is due to the greatly increased amount of renewable energy and THIS battery Both of which they fought against.

      How the Battery has reduced the cost is due to the National Electricity market structure. During peak periods which may only be for several minutes the bid price for electricity can peak well over $1,000 per KWh. This averages out to a higher average electricity cost.
      The Battery kills that by providing the needed power cheaper.
      It doesn’t have to be base power to reduce electricity power costs

  37. eleggua

     /  December 27, 2017

    “…..Before the Gulf of Mexico oil spill hobbled the company, BP had been seen as a leader on environmental issues among traditional oil and gas companies. It said in 1997 that greenhouse gases resulting from the burning of fossil fuels played a role in global warming, and began making investments to offset their impact.

    Under John Browne, chief executive from 1995 to 2007, BP invested around $8 billion in renewable energy early in the 2000s, including solar power, though with mixed results at best. Under pressure to pay damages and fines from the Gulf of Mexico spill — which have cost it $64 billion so far — BP has been focusing until recently on improving its oil and gas operations.

    Though BP still has a large wind-power business in the United States as well as biofuels installations mainly in Brazil, its solar investments, some of which dated back to the 1980s, were problematic and have largely been closed down, according to the company. In an interview, Dev Sanyal, chief executive of BP’s alternative energy business, said the company had chosen an ill-fated part of the solar business: manufacturing equipment like solar panels, an area now dominated by Asian companies that are better able to compete on price.

    Lightsource, Mr. Sanyal said, takes a very different approach, focusing on developing and managing solar installations, rather than making the equipment or inventing the technology. The company “is completely agnostic as to what panels it installs,” he said. He added that the attraction of Lightsource, which is privately owned, was that it could be a vehicle for BP to take advantage of what he forecast as 10 percent to 15 percent annual growth in solar power in the coming years……”

  38. eleggua

     /  December 27, 2017

    A loss of 9.5% of forest land in Brazil. Not sure how much of that <10% in Brazil relects as a percentage of the Amazon forests' total but even if it's half that, it's way too much.
    Imagine losing 5% of your lung capacity. Think you'd notice the loss, walking down the street, riding a bike, climbing a hill? You'd feel it and it wouldn't feel good.

    "…While the Brazilian government earlier this year hailed a modest achievement in its signature environmental fight — containing the deforestation of the Amazon — it has been embarrassed by other trend lines. The country’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 9 percent last year, compared with 2015, marking the highest output since 2008….

    Additionally, mapping data compiled by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics released earlier this month showed the country lost 9.5 percent of its forest land between 2000 and 2014…..

    Most susceptible to their lobbying, environmentalists say, is President Michel Temer, who spent much of the past year trading favors with lawmakers in a successful bid to convince Congress to spare him from standing trial on corruption charges.

    “In practice, Temer has removed Brazil from the Paris agreement, just like President Trump did, with the difference that he doesn’t have the courage to assume that position publicly,” said Marina Silva, who was Brazil’s environment minister from 2003 to 2008. During that period, the country was celebrated abroad for its aggressive efforts to curb rampant Amazon deforestation.

    “There’s a firm effort to dismantle the government apparatus created over the past decades to support policies that were consistent with the reduction of greenhouse gases,” Ms. Silva said….."

    • Happy new year to all of you.
      The loss was mostly of Cerrado biome, about 2/3 of it (the 1/3 left was half Amazon Rainforest, half Caatinga biome, with a small bit of Atlantic Rainforest, Pantanal and Pampas). That´s actually worst than if it was of Amazon Rainforest, because:
      1. Cerrado is less extensive than the Amazon Rainforest, and while not only Brasilian (the only biome unique to Brasil is the Caatinga), it has less area outside Brasil than the Amazon.
      2. Cerrado savanna´s have more endemic species than the Amazon Rainforest.
      3. Some of the most important river basins of South America (La Prata, São Francisco, Tocantins/Araguaia) start at the Cerrado Biome, and it´s destruction is severily diminishing those waters, which are vital to huge urban populations.

      BTW, just for correct atribution, 2000-2014 as far as Brasil´s presidents go is:
      years – President´s nickname (Party – afilliation):
      2000 – 2002 FHC (PSDB- Center-right-cronie-capitalism),
      2003-2011 – Lula (PT – Center-left-cronie-capitalism),
      2011- August 2016 – Dilma (PT Center-left-cronielcapitalism),
      August 2016-2017-2018 Temer (PMDB – don´t even bother about left/right, just Cronie capitalism).

      So, Temer is not to be blamed about forest loss between 2000-2014.

      He is to blame about Medida Provisória 795 (the Trillion Law Proposal), giving generous (1 trillion reais each 3 years, or 1 trillion dollars each 9 years) subsidies to the petrol industry (including isention of all importing taxes for equipments, so even the flawed excuse that this would help Brasil´s economy is moot) until 2040 (a measure that Temer sponsered against both his Environmental Minister and his Economic Minister, but that $##* has already been approved in the Congress and Senate. Huge lobby, specially by BP, seems to have spoken louder than any popular protests).

      Other controversial and deletereous measures, like the reduction of Jamaxim Forest and extinction of the Renca, ended being cancelled.
      Gisele Bundchen´s (yes, the model. you guy´s probably known her as Tom Brady´s wife, but here, Tom Brady is the guy described as Gisele Bundchen´s husband) personal phone-calls to President Temer seem to have been a crucial factor on those good flip-flops and I loathe the $% reporter that published President´s Temer personal phone number. That made Temer change the number, after a few million phone calls. That means that Gisele Bundchen doesn´t have the President´s phone number no more… no, she isn´t a family friend or something like this, there´s no straight story about how did she get the number in the first place. And it´s a stupid world where a beautiful woman´s phonecall can change the mind of a president, but we live on it and it was being used for good, and it isn´t no more.

      In the fighting deforestation front, Sarney Filho´s argument that Dilma had destroyed it is true. The environmental policies of the Lady who claimed that the environment is a menace to sustainable development ( ) were abismally bad… just because her party PT says it´s a leftie, that doesn´t mean it´s an environmental example (though yes, Lula´s environmental policies were good, Dilma $##@ things mostly on her own).

      Actually, if I´d rate the environmental policies of the presidents I´ve been alive to witness in Brasil: FHC was better than Lula that was better than Sarney (the father, not the guy who´s the Environment Minister now) that was better than Itamar that was better than Temer that is still doing better than Dilma who had a better theory but a worst pratice than the @#$$@## that passed as environmental policy during the Militar Dictatorship (like state sponsered devastation of the Amazon).

      The measure cited in the NT Times about fines, actually, seems to me to be a good one. Missing from the article is that fundamental detail that before this, there were NO CONSEQUENCES for not paying those fines (and less than 1% of them have been paid in the last 80 years). Now, those with fines can not borrow money from the government (or its banks) no longer, and the money paid on those fines will necessarily go to environmental protection (another change). The plan included huge discounts for those who´d pay the fines without litigation, which is disapointing, but considering that some fines from 80 years ago (and their interest) are being paid now, a value that, even with the discount, is greater than what would be given to environmental agencies normally… yeah, the measure was a good call in my book.

      BTW… that soy argument in the end is a quagmire. Pantanal is one of the rare biomes where cattle ranching actually aids conservation (extensive cattle ranching doesn´t deforest in the Pantanal, and cattle “substitutes” for lost megafauna of the Pleistocene era, allowing the reproduction of plants that needed that megafauna to disperse their seeds), but soy monoculture breaks that balance (for it to work, deforestation and often water diversion/pollution is necessary). Traditional cattle ranching kept the Pantanal as the most well-preserved Biome in Brasil thus far, but the money premium of soy farming is changing the scale, faster and faster in the last decade. Most environmentalists shy of allying with cattle farmers, though, equating every cattle rancher with the one´s in Amazon (or thinking that factory farms are an universal reality). So the forces that could help conserve the Pantanal are now fighting amongst themselves, while the destructive ones are in power and laughing right now.

  39. Some good news

    To Lower the Global Warming Effect, Researchers Used Sea Water and scrap metal
    The team of researchers at York has currently discovered a way to safely trap the gas as dawsonite which is a mineral composed of sodium aluminum carbonate hydroxide, chemical formula NaAlCO3(OH)2. It crystallizes in the orthorhombic crystal system.

    Professor Michael North, from the University’s Department of Chemistry, said that they were planning to use environmentally friendly tools when looking for methods of trapping the gas to produce a result that could be highly scalable to capture millions of tonnes of unwanted carbon dioxide.

    Then after some analysis, they decided to look at waste materials, such as scrap metals, to see if this could be done without using chemical agents as a catalyst.

    According to professor North, Tens of millions of tonnes of waste aluminum are not recycled each year, so they planned to use it to improve our environment

    “The aluminum in this process can also be replaced by iron, another product that goes to waste in the millions of tonnes. “Using two of the most abundant metals in the Earth’s crust means this process is highly sustainable,” professor North added.

    Now, the team is working on a further process to maximize its energy efficiency and allow the hydrogen by-product to be amassed and utilized, before aiming to build toward full-scale production.

    Hydrogen as byproduct. Fuel cells and batteries and electric motors.

    Electric Trucks Begin Reporting for Duty, Quietly and Without All the Fumes

    Some Hydrogen fuel cell ones in there
    Plus another article same site on microgrids – some using fuelcells

    • eleggua

       /  December 28, 2017

      Very good ones, Frank; thanks for sharing.

      Really cool stuff in this one:
      ‘Electric Trucks Begin Reporting for Duty, Quietly and Without All the Fumes’

      “There’s no need for oil changes ”

      That’s another big polluter, engine oil. Gasoline byproduct goes up; engine oil drips down.
      The atmosphere and soil both take hits from ICE rigs.
      “The ability of Vigna unguiculata and Zea mays to thrive in soils supplemented with varying concentrations of used engine oil ranging from 150-250 mL in a green house as well as extracts derived from these soils in Petri dishes in the laboratory was investigated….
      The growth inhibition in the seedlings increased with the increase in the concentration of the used oil pollutants. There were gross reductions in the number of leaves obtained in the seedlings of both V. unguiculata and Z. mays from the polluted soils. Treatments with extracts derived from used oil polluted soils resulted in the inhibitions of the radicle and plumule growths in both species at all the extract concentrations. It could be inferred from the results that used engine oils have inhibitory effects on the growth and early seedling performance of Vigna unguiculata and Zea mays.”

      Vigna unguiculata = cowpeas
      Zea mays = maize aka corn

      • eleggua

         /  December 28, 2017

        ‘‘Electric Trucks Begin Reporting for Duty, Quietly and Without All the Fumes’’

        “….Daimler claims its eCanter model will save more than $1,000 in operating costs approximately every 6,200 miles.
        Still, it’s early days in electric trucking. The three eCanter trucks Daimler will deliver to UPS in the new year are part of a limited run of 150 trucks in the United States, Japan and Europe, Allen says.”

        Here’s the eCanter.

        (The cab is tiny, though.)

      • eleggua

         /  December 28, 2017

        Electric box truck eCanter, inside and out.

        “Lower running costs compared to an equivalent diesel model mean that any additional expense can be repaid in less than three years. The new eCanter uses a permanent synchronous electric motor with an impressive output of 185 kW and torque of 380 Nm. Power is transferred to the rear axle by a standard single-speed transmission. The vehicle premiered at the IAA has a battery capacity of 70 kWh. Depending on the body, load and usage, a range of more than 100 km without stationary recharging is possible. The batteries are spread over five units, one centrally in the frame right behind the cab and two more on each side of the frame. They are water-cooled lithium-ion batteries that provide a long service life, high efficiency, especially at high ambient temperatures, and compact construction of the battery units.

        The eCanter’s exceptional weight balance is worth highlighting. The chassis load capacity of the 7.49 t vehicle is 4.63 t including the body and load. Individual battery packs with three to six sets of batteries of 14 kWh each are planned for the upcoming small-scale production run. This allows the eCanter to be adapted to customer requirements with regards to range, price and weight. The concept is based on the results of customer tests that show that for some operators, payload is more important than range, while others are happy to sacrifice payload for longer range, i.e. more batteries.

        Equally adaptable are the charging options: up to 80 percent capacity within an hour with direct current at a quick charging station, or 100 percent in seven hours with alternating current. In the future, rapid charging with 170 kW will be possible, meaning 80 percent battery capacity in only half an hour. A standard Combo 2 plug (known as Combined Charging System) is used for charging.

        The results of a year-long fleet test with the second generation electric Canter have shown that around 1000 euros per 10 000 km can be saved with this vehicle compared to a diesel version. “

  40. wharf rat

     /  December 27, 2017

    I think it’s time to turn this job over to Elon Musk.

    Parts of Puerto Rico Won’t Have Power for 8 Months. What’s the Holdup?

  41. wili

     /  December 27, 2017

    The Gordon Goodman Memorial Lecture 2017.

    Mitigation on Methadone: the trouble with negative emissions

    With sixteen of the seventeen warmest years on record having occurred since 2000; with oceans both warming and acidifying; and with unequivocal scientific evidence that burning fossil fuels is the principal cause; – what can we do to rapidly reduce emissions?

    This presentation will revisit the scale of the climate challenge, arguing that whilst the science of climate change has progressed, we obstinately refuse to acknowledge the rate at which our emissions from energy need to be reduced. The Paris Agreement exemplifies this duality – relying as it does on highly speculative negative emission technologies to balance incremental tweaks to a ‘business-as-usual’ model with rapidly dwindling carbon budgets for 2°C. Similarly, the eloquent rhetoric of green growth continues to eclipse analysis demonstrating the need for radical social as well as technical change.

    Taking these issues head on, this seminar will outline a quantitative framing of mitigation, based on IPCC carbon budgets, before finishing with more qualitative examples of what a genuine low-carbon future may contain.

  42. wili

     /  December 27, 2017

    The Gordon Goodman Memorial Lecture 2017.

    Mitigation on Methadone: the trouble with negative emissions
    With sixteen of the seventeen warmest years on record having occurred since 2000; with oceans both warming and acidifying; and with unequivocal scientific evidence that burning fossil fuels is the principal cause; – what can we do to rapidly reduce emissions?

    This presentation will revisit the scale of the climate challenge, arguing that whilst the science of climate change has progressed, we obstinately refuse to acknowledge the rate at which our emissions from energy need to be reduced. The Paris Agreement exemplifies this duality – relying as it does on highly speculative negative emission technologies to balance incremental tweaks to a ‘business-as-usual’ model with rapidly dwindling carbon budgets for 2°C. Similarly, the eloquent rhetoric of green growth continues to eclipse analysis demonstrating the need for radical social as well as technical change.

    Taking these issues head on, this seminar will outline a quantitative framing of mitigation, based on IPCC carbon budgets, before finishing with more qualitative examples of what a genuine low-carbon future may contain.

  43. Mblanc

     /  December 28, 2017

    I saw this rapper in a Scientific American article and (stick with me!), and I thought you good people might enjoy it too.

    This is the source article.

    • eleggua

       /  December 28, 2017

      From wikip bit on Baba, and another Baba bit.

      “Born in the remote community of Riondel, British Columbia, in a log cabin built by his parents, Brinkman is the eldest of three children of Joyce Murray, a Member of the Parliament of Canada, and Dirk Brinkman, Sr., who is notable for having founded the world’s only private company responsible for planting more than one billion trees…

      Brinkman spent his early summers in remote tree planting camps, and began planting trees himself at the age of 15. He worked for his parents’ business, Brinkman & Associates Reforestation, for twelve seasons in British Columbia and Alberta, personally planting more than one million trees. During this period he also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Simon Fraser University and a Master of Arts degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Victoria, Canada. He studied human evolution and primatology with the orangutan researcher Biruté Galdikas and wrote his thesis comparing modern Hip hop freestyle battling with The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.

      Brinkman is married to cognitive neuroscientist and television host Dr. Heather Berlin. ”

      He knows his hiphop history, that’s evident. Aappropriately riffs on a bit from a Black Sheep track from ’91 at about the 37minute point in here.

      Good on him; thanks for this one, Mblanc.

      • Mblanc

         /  December 28, 2017

        Initially I thought it was going to be some painful attempt by an earnest Prof, trying to get down with the kids! Turns out I was wrong…

        He has nailed the angst of living in a world with no carbon price perfectly.

        • kassy

           /  December 29, 2017

          I did not watch this a couple of days ago because rap is not really my music but science rap works for me. 🙂

          Thanks for posting!

  44. redskylite

     /  December 28, 2017

    Not exactly a solution for a massive population, but interesting possibilities for smaller wealthier Pacific communities; not so sure about lots of self governing communities making their own laws, but who knows where the Islanders on low-lying lands may be heading. – Stuff of SF novels.

    “Rising sea levels have Pacific island nations thinking about alternative ways to house their people, and there’s a global movement that says it has an answer.

    The movement is called ‘sea steading’, a man-made floating community that sets its own laws and is self-sustaining, and the first one could be built on our Pacific doorstep in French Polynesia.

    It’s a way of coping with rising sea levels, an issue for Pacific islands like Kiribati, and one the Prime Minister referenced recently when she said New Zealand may have to take climate refugees.

    It all sounds a bit like Kevin Costner’s Waterworld, but the sea-steading community has a more optimistic vision.

    Founded in Silicon Valley, one of its early funders was billionaire – and New Zealand citizen – Peter Thiel.

    In 2017, the Sea Steading Institute signed a memorandum of understanding with the French Polynesian government to build the first floating community.”

    • Genomik

       /  January 1, 2018

      Small world, my friend Joe Quirk has become the president of the Seasteading Foundation. I wish him and all folks working on it great luck.

  45. Vic

     /  December 28, 2017

    Here’s an article from 2015 that describes a novel CSP powered electrolysis reaction that can convert atmospheric CO2 into carbon nanofibers and oxygen.

    And here’s a recent peer reviewed paper on the process where amongst other things, they calculate it could produce $100,000 worth of carbon nanofiber at a cost of $660.

    “They calculate that given an area less than 10 percent of the size of the Sahara Desert, the method could remove enough carbon dioxide to make global atmospheric levels return to preindustrial levels within 10 years, even if we keep emitting the greenhouse gas at a high rate during that period.
    Of course, this would require a huge increase in demand for carbon nanofibers. Licht believes the material’s properties, especially the fact that it is so lightweight and also very strong, will spur greater and greater use as the cost comes down, and he thinks his new process can help with that. Imagine that carbon fibre composites eventually replace steel, aluminium, and even concrete as a building material, he says. “At that point, there could be sufficient use of this that it’s actually acting as a significant repository of carbon.” ”


    • Good pick up Vic
      I bookmarked that article at the time, but on a computer that died.
      Also there is one that produces a mono-atomic film, i.e graphene

      Get those into mass production

    • Sorry to be a wet blanket, but nanofibers have serious health consequences (they act like asbestos fibers in the body). Here is a potential to save the world and destroy it at the same time.

      • paul

         /  December 29, 2017

        Each new technological solution simply provides more problems somewhere down the line.
        Real solutions are simple but unpopular as they are difficult for a progress-obsessed people to comprehend.

      • Vic

         /  December 29, 2017

        I see what you mean mlp. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

        Although it does beg the question how an increasingly dizzying array of carbon fiber based consumer products are being released onto the market of late.

        Looks like we could be needing some pretty heavy duty breathing protection where we’re headed…

        • And you will have heard the life expectancy of Americans is falling. (One does better in Morocco). I notice the blame is being put on opiods. If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I can get you a really good deal on.

      • I must try to find some early articles I bookmarked re research especially in France re Carbon Nanotubes and lung damage especially in children , DT was also across it, I am sure I posted here. Found in exhaust pipes of most cars – that black film.
        Also copious production in forest fires, in fact any combustion process.
        Interestingly spiders exposed to carbon Nanotubes actually spun far stronger webs which incorporated the Nano Tubes.

        However the process above can also be specced to produce graphene

        • eleggua

           /  December 30, 2017

          “research especially in France re Carbon Nanotubes and lung damage especially in children”

          ‘For the First Time Researchers Detect Carbon Nanotubes in Human Lungs’
          Oct. 22 2015

          “….A study published earlier this month in EBioMedicine analyzed the particles from polluted air that ended up in the “lower airways” of 69 Parisian asthmatic children (64 airway fluid samples and five lung cell samples). The researchers found nanotubes in every human sample and also found them in dust and car exhaust around Paris, using high-resolution microscopy and X-ray spectroscopy for their analyses. “We show that inhaled [particulate matter] mostly consist of CNTs,” they wrote. “These results strongly suggest that humans are routinely exposed to CNTs.” The study does not establish a source, nor does it suggest a causal link between nanotubes and childhood asthma…..”

        • eleggua

           /  December 30, 2017

          Here’s the paper. No nanotubes, please.

          ‘Anthropogenic Carbon Nanotubes Found in the Airways of Parisian Children

          “Compelling evidence shows that fine particulate matters (PMs) from air pollution penetrate lower airways and are associated with adverse health effects even within concentrations below those recommended by the WHO. A paper reported a dose-dependent link between carbon content in alveolar macrophages (assessed only by optical microscopy) and the decline in lung function. However, to the best of our knowledge, PM had never been accurately characterized inside human lung cells and the most responsible components of the particulate mix are still unknown. On another hand carbon nanotubes (CNTs) from natural and anthropogenic sources might be an important component of PM in both indoor and outdoor air.

          We used high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy to characterize PM present in broncho-alveolar lavage-fluids (n = 64) and inside lung cells (n = 5 patients) of asthmatic children. We show that inhaled PM mostly consist of CNTs. These CNTs are present in all examined samples and they are similar to those we found in dusts and vehicle exhausts collected in Paris, as well as to those previously characterized in ambient air in the USA, in spider webs in India, and in ice core. These results strongly suggest that humans are routinely exposed to CNTs.”

        • Genomik

           /  January 2, 2018

          Saw a legit research paper where they looked at Mexico City and pollution, especially engine exhaust. All the small molecules of metals and pollutants get into the bloodstream and may cause Alzhiemers or Autism.

          Solution is more solar and electric. That addresses manyof the problems associated here. As far as CNT thats sort of different but the goal there should be to keep CNT from falling into environment

  46. There’s always something new…
    Apparently a new (or old) feedback loop has emerged.

    • eleggua

       /  December 28, 2017

      That’s could be balanced by the introduction of specific mycelia. Obviously, humans will have to make that introduction.


        On its own, plastic can take up to a thousand years to break down, if it ever does.
        Mycelium on bark
        Photo: Mycelium is the furry, weblike substance that grows off fungi.

        But international research is showing fungi can decompose tough plastics, in much the same way as it clears dead wood from a forest floor.

        To be specific, it’s fungi’s “mycelium” that’s doing the work here — a furry, web-like substance that grows off the fungus and “vomits” enzymes onto materials to decompose them.

        Mycelium has the potential to clean up overflowing landfills, in a time when less than 5 per cent of the world’s plastic is recycled.

        And that’s not all it has to offer: mycelium is a tough substance that’s flame repellent and water retardant.

        Queensland mycologist Dr. Sandra Tuszynska suggests it could one day replace plastics, bricks and even metals.

        • eleggua

           /  December 30, 2017

          Paul Stamets: “…neutralizing petroleum-based hydrocarbons using mushroom mycelium…”

        • eleggua

           /  December 30, 2017

          ‘Crusading mycologist Paul Stamets says fungi can clean up everything from oil spills to nuclear meltdowns.’
          May 31, 2013

          “…He points to a clutch of plump oyster mushrooms halfway up an alder trunk. “These could clean up oil spills all over the planet,” he says. He ducks beneath a rotting log, where a rare, beehive-like Agarikon dangles. “This could provide a defense against weaponized smallpox.” He plucks a tiny, gray Mycena alcalina from the soil and holds it under our noses. “Smell that? It seems to be outgassing chlorine.” To Stamets, that suggests it can break down toxic chlorine-based polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs….

          If his data were less persuasive, he might be dismissed as an eccentric myco-utopian. Stamets has no regular academic or institutional affiliation; his research is funded mostly by the profits from his private company, Fungi Perfecti, which sells gourmet and medicinal mushrooms (along with growing kits, mushroom-derived supplements and mushroom-related books and knickknacks) by mail order and at health food stores…..

          “It helps that he’s brilliant,” says Eric Rasmussen, a former Defense Department scientist and disaster expert collaborating with Stamets to decontaminate the zone around Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor with mushrooms. Rasmussen compares Stamets to visionary entrepreneur-scientists like Thomas Edison or “some of the truly fine amateur naturalists or astronomers of the 17th and 18th centuries — people who were experts in their fields, but had other ways to occupy their days.”….

          However poetically expressed, Stamets’ notion that mushrooms bridge human and environmental immune systems is grounded in solid biology. On the evolutionary tree, the animal and fungal kingdoms sprout from the same branch, splitting from each other long after plants diverged. And fungi knit together the lives of plants, animals and the Earth itself in some very concrete ways.

          There are an estimated 1.5 million species of fungi, comprising yeasts and molds along with mushroom-producing macrofungi. All these organisms share certain basic traits with animals: They inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, as we do, and they are susceptible to many of the same germs. Like us, they get their energy by consuming other life forms rather than by photosynthesis.

          ….in 1996 he was approached by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, operated by the Battelle Memorial Institute, known for technological solutions to energy and environmental issues. Although initial interest was in Stamets’ wastewater work, excitement grew when he mentioned his foray into oil-spill remediation.

          Stamets and the Battelle team began lab work to maximize the mushroom’s petroleum-eating efficacy. From his research on psilocybes, he knew that different strains of a single mushroom species can have wildly varying levels of chemical activity. So the team grew a few dozen strains of oyster mushroom, testing each for oil-digesting ability in petri dishes in the lab.

          The strains that consumed oil fastest were selected for further trials, and in 1998, the team used the top performers in an experiment sponsored by the Washington State Department of Transportation at a maintenance yard in Bellingham. Soil at the site was contaminated with diesel fuel at up to 20,000 parts per million, similar to concentrations on Alaskan beaches after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. That spring, WSDOT scooped out four piles of dirt. Stamets’ team added layers of myceliated wood chips to one pile and covered it with a shade cloth. Two of the piles were treated only with bacterial cultures or chemical fertilizers. One pile was left as a control.

          Four weeks later, the myceliated sample was light brown, sweet-smelling and bursting with mushrooms — some more than 12 inches in diameter. Insects came to eat the fungi, and their larvae attracted birds, which likely deposited seeds. After nine weeks, the pile was covered with flourishing plants. Aromatic hydrocarbons had dropped to less than 200 ppm, suitable for freeway landscaping.

          “The other piles,” Stamets recalls, “remained dead, dark and stinky.”

          The mushrooms had won…..”

        • From the Good News link from the ABC I provided lower lower down

          First embryo gene repair holds promise of wiping inherited diseases out of family’s bloodline

          In a first, researchers have safely repaired a disease-causing gene in human embryos, targeting a heart defect best known for killing young athletes — a big step towards one day preventing a list of inherited diseases.
          Key points:

          Embryos cured themselves of a heart-weakening disease and affects about 1 in 500 people
          Scientists displaying cautious optimism of research in its early stages

          In a surprising discovery, a research team led by Oregon Health and & Science University (OHSU) reported embryos can help fix themselves if scientists jump-start the process early enough.

          It is laboratory research only — nowhere near ready to be tried in a pregnancy — but it suggests scientists might alter DNA in a way that protects not just one baby from a disease that runs in the family, but his or her offspring as well.

          Researchers then injected sperm from a patient with the heart condition along with those molecular scissors into healthy donated eggs at the same time.

          The scissors cut the defective DNA in the sperm.

          Normally cells will repair a CRISPR-induced cut in DNA by essentially gluing the ends back together, or scientists can try delivering the missing DNA in a repair package, like a computer’s cut-and-paste program.

          Instead, the newly forming embryos made their own perfect fix without that outside help, according to OHSU senior researcher Shoukhrat Mitalipov.

          We all inherit two copies of each gene — one from dad and one from mum — and those embryos just copied the healthy one from the donated egg.

          “The embryos are really looking for the blueprint,” said Mr Mitalipov, who directs OHSU’s Centre for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy.

          “We’re finding embryos will repair themselves if you have another healthy copy.”

          Nature is awesome.
          Valid concerns re application of the technology, however that does not detract from the inherent “natural” design process for want of a better term

  47. Robert in New Orleans

     /  December 28, 2017

    “Climate Gentrification” ?!?!
    Really good article:
    Homes at higher elevations in Miami are gaining value at a faster clip than those closer to sea level. It’s an accelerating trend, and it has residents and real estate agents — in Miami and other coastal communities — asking whether “climate gentrification” has arrived.

    • eleggua

       /  December 28, 2017


      “Ali, who previously spent 24 years in various roles at the Environmental Protection Agency, said it’s fairly easy to predict who the winners will be as climate gentrification takes hold — led both by one-time events such as hurricanes and the more gradual process of sea-level rise. The answer, of course, is wealthier people.”

    • Jacque in southern Utah

       /  December 29, 2017

      “In a working paper posted this month on Social Science Research Network, an online repository of academic research, professors from the University of Colorado at Boulder and Pennsylvania State University found that homes exposed to sea-level rise sell at a 7 percent discount compared with equivalent but unexposed properties.
      “This discount has grown over time,” the authors wrote, “and is driven by sophisticated buyers and communities worried about global warming.”
      It’s too soon to know how Irma affected the market, says Aaron Terrazas, a senior economist at Zillow. But there’s anecdotal evidence that it’s taking a toll on property values: A company that assesses flood risks is booming, and workshops for municipal leaders to deal with the impact are drawing sold-out crowds…The region’s frothy home values, Slap [flood assessment company] said, have persisted because of what he calls “a dirty little secret” among real estate agents, who are aware of the flood risks but face no requirement to disclose them to buyers.
      Slap said the increase in his business shows that buyers are starting to become more aware of the problem—and as that happens, housing values will fall. And he said it’s only a matter of time before real estate agents are required by law to reveal those flood risks, noting that the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to that effect in 2017. The Senate has yet to take it up.”

      “But it’s not hurricanes that have Kipnis [ Miami Beach house owner trying to sell] worried about the local real estate market. Rather, it’s the seemingly endless construction—elevating roads, installing new stormwater drains, and other projects—designed to lessen the impact of sea-level rise. And then there are the property taxes required to pay for all that work: Miami Beach’s plans are set to cost as much as $500 million.”

      “…a regular gathering of South Florida elected officials in Fort Lauderdale in December to talk about the effects of climate change. Unlike previous years, he said, the event this time was “totally sold-out…. mayors and city managers shared their anxiety about what rising seas mean for their cities’ property values. Those worries range from the mundane—finding more money to update infrastructure damaged by storms—to the existential: How long will banks keep issuing 30-year mortgages?”

    • Apneaman

       /  December 31, 2017

      What about when the underground utilities get repeatably flooded out with all that salty & corrosive sea water?

      How’s all the brilliant planning and measures been working out for South Florida to date?

      Why Did Miami Beach’s Multimillion-Dollar Anti-Flood Pumps Fail?

      Sooner rather than later there will be a real estate rush to the exits. Like everything else AGW related, ‘faster than previously expected’.

      Enjoy the view from the top. It’ll be worth as much as all that phony QE pumped asset prices. All time high my ass.

  48. Greg

     /  December 28, 2017

    Shenzhen, China shows the world how it’s done, and completes, before self deadline, electrification of all public transit with massive fleet of 16,000+ electric buses.

    • eleggua

       /  December 29, 2017

      Here’s the actual article.

      ‘Shenzhen shows the world how it’s done, electrifies all public transit with massive fleet of 16,000+ electric buses’
      Dec. 28th 2017

      “…this week it announced that it completely electrified its fleet with more than 16,000 electric buses.

      Shenzhen already had the world’s biggest electric bus fleet for a while and it has been expecting to reach its full electric fleet update in 2018, but it ended reaching its goal ahead of time.

      They now have 16,359 electric buses in operation around the city of 12 million people.

      In order to achieve this goal, they invested hundreds of millions more than their usual fleet update to purchase a variety of different electric buses and charging stations.

      The city has built 8,000 charge points at 510 bus charging stations in order to be able to charge roughly half the fleet at any given time.

      They estimate that the fleet is saving 345,000 tons of fuel per year and it is reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 1.35 million tons.

      But electric buses are not the megacity’s only electric vehicle effort, they have also put in place regulation to rapidly update their taxi fleet to electric vehicles.

      Out of 12,518 taxis in operation in Shenzhen, reportedly 62.5 percent of them run on electricity and they plan to bring that number to 100 percent on an aggressive timeline…..”

      • Greg

         /  December 29, 2017

        Thanks. Missed the link.

        • eleggua

           /  December 30, 2017

          You’re welcome, Greg. Thank you for bringing it to my/our attention!

          China: too much is always better….

  49. eleggua

     /  December 29, 2017

    “Inhofe’s Snowball: The Sequel” starring Agent Orange.

    ‘Trump: US could use some ‘good old Global Warming’ to heat up cold states’

  50. Re Titanic cartoon: Because the sea level is declining at an incredible rate due to the rapid onset of an ice age, and the other end of the boat is falling faster because it is heavier.

  51. wharf rat

     /  December 29, 2017

    93 Days Later, Puerto Rico Can’t Get Supplies to Turn on the Power
    The goal was power by Christmas. Now it’s been pushed to March, because even the Army can’t get what it needs.

    “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in charge of restoring electricity, but it claims it is hampered by a lack of supplies. “Puerto Rico is competing for supplies with Texas and Florida, whose electrical grids were similarly ravaged by hurricanes,” said Army Corps spokesman Luciano Riviera.

    Only 9,100 transmission posts out of the 52,000 needed have arrived so far, Rivera said. The most recent shipment came last week, he said, adding that 8,100 posts are scheduled to arrive every two weeks starting next week. ”

    • wharf rat

       /  December 29, 2017

      • eleggua

         /  December 30, 2017

        “This is true. Hospitals in both Puerto Rico and the mainland United States have reported shortages of intravenous fluids and bags since Maria tore through the island — where several medical manufacturing plants are located — in September 2017. According to a Food and Drug Administration analysis released in November 2017, medical manufacturing is a significant part of the island’s economy:

        Prior to the devastation brought by Hurricane Maria, the medical product manufacturing sector provided, on average, approximately $800 million in local wages over a 12-month period, according to our analysis. This manufacturing industry is a key part of the island’s manufacturing base and is supported by a highly skilled workforce.

        Among the manufacturers affected was Baxter International, the largest IV bag supplier in the United States; the company says on its website that it ships more than a million units of IV solutions a day. The FDA responded by allowing Baxter and other companies to get priority access to the island territory’s electrical grid.

        On 28 December 2017, the FDA sent us the following statement:

        The FDA has been working very closely with industry and local and federal officials to help address the shortage situation for IV saline and other products as a result of Hurricane Maria. This remains a key area of focus for the agency and we expect that the shortage of IV fluids will improve in early 2018 based on the information we are receiving from the manufacturers. In the meantime, we are continuing all of our efforts to increase supplies while concerns remain.”

      • eleggua

         /  December 30, 2017

        ‘Hospitals running low on IV bags made in Puerto Rico’
        Saturday, December 30, 2017

        “…“I would describe the status as deteriorating,” said Dr. O’Neil Britton, chief medical officer and senior vice president at Massachusetts General Hospital. “We’re managing the situation, but the outlook remains very concerning.”

        MGH began seeing a decrease in its supply of “mini bags” in October — small IV bags used to dilute drugs like antibiotics so they can be administered slowly….

        ….To try to conserve supplies, nurses are diluting the antibiotics manually, known as an “IV push” but that is a time-consuming process.

        Doctors are also taking a closer look at who needs fluid antibiotics rather than the oral variety.

        “We’re converting people to pills as fast as possible,” Britton said. “We’ve introduced checklists to our areas where clinicians are working hard and asking whether the patient needs IV fluids.”

        State health officials are encouraging facilities to develop mitigation strategies.

        “The intravenous (IV) fluid products manufacturing industry has a significant presence in Puerto Rico; this industry is experiencing disruption as a result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria,” Kerin Melisky, director of the state’s Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality, wrote in a memo Thursday. “IV fluids or specifically small-volume parenteral solutions, which are solutions with a volume of 100 milliliters or less that are intended for intermittent intravenous administration, are at a critical shortage.”

        Boston hospitals have been reporting this issue for several months, with no clear way of knowing exactly how long it’ll last. In October, Tufts Medical Center Executive Director of Pharmacy Ross Thompson told the Herald, “I don’t know that you’ll be able to talk to a hospital that hasn’t been affected.”

        He added, “We don’t have any clarity around how long we’ll be in this state.””

  52. Interesting in multiple contexts
    Microsoft “AI For Earth” Project Will Democratize Access To Climate Change Data

    Information is power. Until recently, information about the condition of the earth’s environment has been accessible only to a limited number of people — climate scientists, researchers, and government officials among them. On December 11 — the two-year anniversary of the Paris climate accords — Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer of Microsoft, announced his company will invest $50 million over the next 5 years to democratize access to the data available about the environment available from the thousands of land, sea, and atmospheric sensors in place around the world using AI or artificial intelligence.

    One of my concerns is the US and maybe some other major countries will use this as an excuse to cut research funding, in which case countries that do increasingly fund research may well be hesitant in making the results of that public, rather use it for their own economic and military benefit.

    But then maybe I am too cynical

    • kassy

       /  December 29, 2017

      There is not that much benefit in keeping that data for your own country since we all agreed we are in this together and we will have to solve it together soon.

      Also i don’t think the US needs a new excuse to cut research funding. Trumps horde is gutting all institutions it can including those doing climate science.

      It’s a good thing so many cities, states & people are doing their own thing. At this time we need action more then science anyway (although new science is of course always welcome).

    • The other factor generally missed is that the sensors that will be connected are but part of the AGW/Climate change research story. So much of the science is biological, oceanic biology, Climate Zones. the little critturs (microbes, bacteria, virii, fungi, amoeba etc) – there are no sensors to provide that data

  53. Sticking with the site for now.
    Very much food for thought
    Driverless Cars Could Make Transportation Free, But Who Will Pay?

    The Atlantic digs in further. Need to go somewhere? OK, but where and to do what? With that in mind, it writes: “Picture a not-too-distant future where a trip across town is available to anyone who will spend 15 minutes in McDonald’s on the way. Not a fast-food fan? Then for you, it’s Starbucks, a bookstore, the game parlor. Rides with a child stop at the Disney store, while teenage girls are routed via next decade’s version of Zara and H&M. Unlike today’s UberPool, with its roundabout routes and multiple passenger pickups, ‘UberFree’ features tailor-made routes and thoughtfully targeted stops.”

    Destination-sponsored mobility is attractive, but at what price will it come? Considering how our Internet is dictated by a handful of corporations, how our US politics are dictated by corporations and their representatives, it makes us wonder.

    The EV market is developing with China rapidly becoming a major player
    The NIO ES8 has been in the news lately. The new electric SUV from the Chinese startup (with billions in backing) certainly looks enticing, and Bloomberg has even called it competition to the Tesla Model X. Strong words, but are they founded on reality?
    Quick Specs:
    70 kWh liquid-cooled battery
    range: 355 km (220 miles) NEDC or 500 km (310 miles) at 60 km/h (37 mph)
    weight: 2,460 kg (5423.37 lb)
    0–100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.4 seconds
    Two 240 kW motors (480 kW total)
    Top speed of 180 km/h (111.84 mph)
    Braking 100–0 km/h can be done in just 33.8 m (110.89 ft)
    All-wheel drive
    But where NIO really distances itself from its local competition is that it tackles a few key features other carmakers have yet to offer coherently. The ES8 will have battery swapping, something Tesla has determined isn’t worth pursuing on a mass scale. Most importantly, NIO says it will build a fast charging network, 1,100 stations in China by 2020. And if potential clients are still worried, NIO even thought of charging vans that will come to get them back on the road as far out as over 100 km (62 miles) and within 10 minutes.


    I don’t know if I like the new Corporate world that is coming

    Being able to pay using mobile payments, sharing contact details, receiving quick express delivery, and using shared bikes all seem great, but at the same time, having a smart TV that plays adverts before allowing you to access any menu and having adverts appear on desktops of computers might indicate a future where you might own a vehicle but not control its functionality.

    This is not just a Chinese idea, this concept has been put forward by Intel. So, this idea is coming of age and is in the minds of automakers and internet companies.

    • Shawn Redmond

       /  December 29, 2017

      Innovation and demand or not, we make products for the sole reason that they create profit, however inherently useless, insane, stupid, harmful and destructive they may be. We produce bread toasters with a laser printer in it that is able to print a picture of our face on our slice of bread. We produce beer for dogs and wine for cats, why not, as long as there is demand. And this demand is financed by what? Today, the bottom 40% – more than 120 million Americans – has a negative net worth. In the UK, in 2016, more than 16 million people had less than £100 of savings on their bank account – this is one out of every four families (see here and here). Many have, basically, nothing. In the UK, medical doctors now regularly prescribe food to patients to tackle hunger and malnutrition, as for every five people, one is living in poverty, among them nearly 4 million children, almost 2 million pensioners and many millions of working adults. Doctors regularly see rickets now, a disease which no longer occurred in the UK for decades, as it is caused by malnutrition and vitamin deficiency (see here). The ‘negative worth’ of millions of Americans did nothing to avert the US from spending $ 250 million a day for the last 16 years in their ‘war on terror’ (see here). And if you are poor and sick, you can also forget about it. The drug Sovaldi that is being used to treat Hepatitis C comes to $ 900 in India and to $ 84.000 in the USA. That is only one example. In the meantime, Bloomberg reports that in 2017, the richest people on earth became $1 trillion richer, that is more than four times last year’s gain (see here). The 23 percent increase on the Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 500 richest people, compares with an almost 20 percent increase for both the MSCI World Index and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
      —————————————————————————————————————————As for the famous global inequality, David Woodward points out that even during the most equitable period of the past few decades, only 5% of new income from annual global growth went to the poorest 60% of humanity. At this rate of “trickle-down, it will take more than 100 years to get everyone above $1.25 per day and 207 years to get everyone above $5 per day. And in order to get there we will have to grow the global economy to 175 times its present size (see here). A global minimum, proposed by Branco Milanovic of $ 5.500 per year, would require even more than this by far (see here). The United Nations estimates that it would cost $30 billion a year to eradicate world hunger. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos alone added $34.2 billion to his fortune in 2017. Today, just as any other day, unless it gets worse, which it will, 200 species – plants, birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles and insects (for all we know) will vanish forever. Whatever you think about progress, it is an undeniable fact that this human onslaught is unprecedented in its comprehensiveness. Are you sure it is ‘intelligence’ that we need to “solve”?

  56. kassy

     /  December 29, 2017

    A new climate proxy: arctic driftwood

    Driftwood reveals ancient Arctic currents and sea-ice levels

    Arctic driftwood up to 12,000 years old is giving scientists a better understanding of how ocean currents and sea ice in the far north have changed through the Holocene. In a new study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, scientists at the University of Oxford in England studied more than 900 pieces of driftwood collected from Arctic shorelines since the 1950s to investigate how shifting Arctic Ocean currents help melt or fortify sea ice.

    The trees from which the driftwood samples came grew in different parts of the Arctic throughout the Holocene, which began about 11,700 years ago. Picked up from the forest floor by wind or rain, tree branches and other pieces of wood can find their way into rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean. The wood can then be incorporated into sea ice as it freezes and float — as passengers in the ice — along with ocean currents. When the ice melts, the wood is then washed ashore on Arctic beaches, where the lack of vegetation and seasonally limited sunlight slow its decay, making Arctic driftwood ideal for radiocarbon dating.

    All of the specimens considered in the new study had previously been radiocarbon dated by other teams, but the Oxford researchers, geologists Georgia Hole and Marc Macias-Fauria, are the first to use the wood as a proxy for past sea-ice coverage and ocean currents. Using driftwood as a proxy can provide better resolution than ocean sediment cores, says Hole, lead author of the new study. “When you look at ocean cores, you are seeing resolution at 1,000 years. We can see changes in climate on a scale of 200 to 500 years.”

    continues on:

  57. utoutback

     /  December 29, 2017

    With alternative energy sources, battery backup and combined software, AI & machine learning, green microgrids are right around the corner. This is the answer for remote communities islands and more (even just your home and immediate neighborhood).

  58. eleggua

     /  December 29, 2017

    Now we know why Musk is gungho on Mars: the climate.

    ‘It feels colder in parts of Canada than on Mars’
    December 29, 2017

  59. wharf rat

     /  December 30, 2017

  60. eleggua

     /  December 30, 2017

    ‘Snowfall Is Getting Weird In Alaska’

    “….It’s no secret that snowfall in Alaska is changing. Many parts of the state have seen record-low snowfall in recent winters, while other places, mostly along the southern coast, have received a boost. Earlier this month, Alaska’s Thompson Pass reported one of the highest rates of snowfall ever recorded on the planet (10 inches per hour).

    ….a team of researchers at Dartmouth, the University of Maine, and the University of New Hampshire scaled Denali National Park’s Mt. Hunter and drilled deep into the glacial peak, collecting ice cores that are nearly 700 feet long and preserve 1,200-years worth of regional climactic history.

    By analyzing the distinct icy layers laid down by seasonal precipitation, the researchers learned that snowfall on the mountain from 1950 to 2013 is the highest it’s been over the entire record. The change isn’t subtle. Rates of snowfall over Mt. Hunter have roughly doubled since the mid-19th century, according to the paper published this week in Nature Scientific Reports.

    “Over the last thirty years the average snowfall is about 18 feet per year,” lead study author Dominic Winski told Earther. “During pre-industrial times, our best guess was that it was a little less than [nine feet].”

    A sudden uptick in snowfall coinciding with the onset of the Industrial Revolution certainly raises the question of climate change’s involvement. After all, Central Alaska has been warming much faster than the planet as a whole—two to three degree Celsius since 1950—and a warmer atmosphere is capable of holding more water and dumping more rain (or snow). ….

    The researchers call out other studies suggesting that rising sea surface temperatures in the western Pacific and Indian Ocean could be strengthening the Aleutian Low via “teleconnections,” basically—anomalies that propagate throughout the upper atmosphere. The authors note that in their own dataset, higher rates of snowfall accumulation on Mt. Hunter correlate with warmer periods in the Western Pacific.

    It’s worth emphasizing that this is basically the first data point to support a hypothesis right now. But at least one outside expert, National Snow and Ice Data Center director Mark Serreze, found the study interesting, if not too surprising. “There is natural climate variability and forced change, and the two are intertwined,” he told Earther…..

    The ecological impacts are likewise, for now, a question mark. Although Winski did note one sobering fact: All the extra snowfall hasn’t been enough to offset rapid glacial melt occurring due to hotter summers.

    “In spite of all this extra snowfall, glaciers have still been losing mass at significant rates,” he said.”

  61. eleggua

     /  December 30, 2017

    “You’re So Cold (I’m Turning Blue)”

  62. Some good and interesting news from 2017
    Scientists make old cells young again
    NASA and Uber join forces to develop flying taxis
    Muslim hackers unite to wipe ISIS off the internet
    Rats are acting as “bomb detectors” to protect elephants from landmines
    Prison inmates give their food to hungry kids
    Vomiting fungi could solve global plastic problem
    Scientists remove diseased genes from human embryo
    Facebook uses artificial intelligence to prevent suicide
    A woman finds her father after 45 years thanks to a Lateline episode
    Coral “gardening” helping to restore Great Barrier Reef
    A regional Australian company is producing bee-friendly insecticide
    New hope in the fight against Alzheimer’s

  63. When someone said Cold, well that is AGW, weather extremes

    It is so cold in the United States right now that sharks are dying and turtles are cold-stunned

    Sharks are washing up on a beach in Massachusetts frozen completely solid amid a record-breaking cold snap in the United States.

    The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy said it had found three dead thresher sharks stranded on the shore of the Cape Cod Bay in Brewster, south of Boston, in the last three days.

    The first two were “likely stranded due to cold shock” it said. The third was frozen solid.
    “This shark was too frozen to attempt a necropsy … a true sharkcicle,” it said.

    Thresher sharks are found all over the world and generally stay far away from the shore, in warmer waters.

    “These sharks were most likely moving to the south with the warmer water and got caught in the hook of Cape Cod,” the group said.

    Worth noting Current Arctic Sea ice, the cold is obviously fleeing the Arctic

  64. Shawn Redmond

     /  December 30, 2017

    Together as a society we choose to embrace an agro-ecology ethic that governs our relationship with our food and the natural world or we face the coming climate anarchy including mass famine, needless societal and economic collapse, horrendous suffering and depredation, and then death. EcoInternet is committed to re-localizing, de-toxifying, and making global food systems ecologically sustainable. Critically this will require reducing human populations and greater equity.

    The following is the second comment below the article. Sums up nicely my experience.

    I am a small scale, organic (without the paperwork to prove it – due to unreasonable cost) produce market-gardener. While I recognize a lot of what is said in your note, there are a few realities that should be mentioned.

    First, the idea of combining forests and agriculture is very hard to do in a North American context. The reason is simple – LIGHT. Please name me three vegetables that grow in the shade of a mature forest. Mushrooms and…, and…

    Second, while we are thinking about light, gardening at a northern latitude is difficult – where I live, the quality of light is only suitable for vegetable growth in the time period between the equinoxes. The climate can warm, but sunshine (day length and intensity) will never change. A warmer climate will not provide much of an opportunity to grow more food, and as correctly pointed out – may have a lot of outcomes that will result in less food being grown. As a result, in northern latitudes a local diet in winter will be comprised heavily of ‘storage’ vegetables (potatoes, turnip, squash, carrots, beets) plus what ever might be effectively preserved – which requires far more effort than many people are willing to invest in their food. So a northern local winter diet is quite un-appealing – this is a tough issue to solve.

    Vegetarian-ism is fine, but in a northern context, it is difficult to ignore the role of meat. On my farm, I used to compost residual vegetable matter to build the soil. It takes a lot of effort and skill to do this well. Instead of composting, I now use animals – specifically pigs. They will eat just about anything left over in the garden and produce organic fertilizer in the process. They have a habit of digging, and are the best roto-tiller that you can imagine – without using any fossil fuels. There is a very beneficial role for small scale animal use in the right settings, ignoring this, and mandating a vegetarian diet in all circumstances is foolish.

    In a similar approach, I raise black soldier flies, in self contained rearing houses on the property too. The larvae (fondly called maggots) will eat just about any organic waste as well. I feed them garden residuals plus any waste I can get my hands on from local restaurants (ie table scraps). They are a great alternative to composting – they make organic fertilizer as well, and if you harvest the maggots at just the right point, they are very useful. The maggots can be frozen (humane, chemical free way to kill them), and dried. Dried maggots run through a hammer mill and combined with a bit of appropriate vegetable matter can be pulverized into a very high quality fish food or chicken feed. This allows sustainable production of other appealing animal products. I prefer to eat chicken over maggots , thank you very much haha. Point is, we can use natural processes to our benefit, but some do involve animals (and insects).

    But a garden is not a natural thing. It has plants, but they do not occur the way they might in nature. In a garden, nature is suppressed and wild interactions (such as a rabbit nibbling on the lettuce) is discouraged (the rabbit gets chased off in a hurry). Some bugs are helpful (bees) while others are not (turnip maggot). We support the bugs we like (bee hives), and come up with creative solutions to minimize the bugs we don’t like. This is not natural either. The very plants themselves do not occur in natural settings very often. When was the last time you came across a broccoli growing in the forest – it does not happen. So don’t fool yourself into thinking that even the very best of our practices are ideal – they are not.

    I support the idea of practicing the very best agriculture that is possible, to minimize our impacts – but I’m not fooled into thinking any food production system is going to solve our problems – it won’t. It will only provide a ‘less harm solution’.

  65. Shawn Redmond

     /  December 30, 2017

    Climate change is an existential risk that could abruptly
    end human civilisation because of a catastrophic “failure of imagination” by global leaders to understand and act on the science and evidence before them.
    At the London School of Economics in 2008, Queen Elizabeth questioned: “Why did no one foresee the timing, extent and severity of the Global Financial Crisis?” The British Academy answered a year later: “A psychology of denial gripped the nancial and corporate world… [it was] the failure of the collective imagination of many bright people… to understand the risks to the system as a whole” (Stewart 2009).
    A “failure of imagination” has also been identi ed as one of the reasons for the breakdown in US intelligence around the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
    A similar failure is occurring with climate change today. 4
    The problem is widespread at the senior levels of
    government and global corporations. A 2016 report, Thinking the Unthinkable, based on interviews with top leaders around the world, found that: “A proliferation of ‘unthinkable’ events… has revealed a new fragility at the highest levels of corporate and public service leaderships. Their ability to spot, identify and handle unexpected, non-normative events is… perilously inadequate at critical moments… Remarkably, there remains
    a deep reluctance, or what might be called ‘executive myopia’, to see and contemplate even the possibility that ‘unthinkables’ might happen, let alone how to handle them.” (Gowing and Langdon 2016)
    Such failures are manifested in two ways in climate policy. At the political, bureaucratic and business level in underplaying the high-end risks and in failing to recognise that the existential risk of climate change is totally different from other risk categories. And at the research level in underestimating the rate of climate change impact and costs, along with an under-emphasis on, and poor communication of, those high-end risks.

    • generativity

       /  December 30, 2017

      Another recent example is US intelligence failing to recognize the extent and risks of Russian social media and election hacking:

      “Russian Election Hacking Efforts, Wider Than Previously Known, Draw Little Scrutiny” – The New York Times

      Here’s eye-opening research on extent of voter registration database manipulation in Pennsylvania:

      Also note PA was the first state to get a “full” vulnerability audit by Dept of Homeland Security of its election system in Oct 2016. Who knows whether DHS discovered the fresh abnormalities in the database??

      “Marian Schneider got one of the full-scale, in-person [DHS] assessments last year as deputy secretary for elections and administration at Pennsylvania’s Department of State. It was the only state to do so before the 2016 elections.
      “It is actually pretty extensive,” said Schneider, now head of Verified Voting, an election-integrity advocacy group. The state had to fill out a questionnaire. It had to sign a legal agreement that required lawyers some time to process. DHS sent four experts to do the probing.”

    • eleggua

       /  December 30, 2017

      “a catastrophic “failure of imagination” by global leaders ”

      There’s an oxymoron lurking in ^there^.

  66. eleggua

     /  December 30, 2017 Executive Director May Boeve on 2017 positives.

  67. A little unexpected good news for the Pacific Northwest Ocean.

    World War I-era maps help track history of kelp forests in Pacific Northwest

    So, the USDA sent surveyors — including George Rigg, an ecologist from the University of Washington — to map the kelp beds along the coast of California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Rigg set out in a yacht with a 40-horsepower motor and mapped the coastline around Puget Sound in 1911-12. More than 100 years later, scientists at the University of Chicago used these maps to track historical changes in the kelp forests of the Pacific Northwest.

    As it turned out, the original maps from the kelp surveys ended up at the University of Chicago Library, where Cathy Pfister, PhD, professor in the department of ecology and evolution, discovered them. She worked with the library’s preservation staff to digitize the maps, and compared them to modern surveys conducted by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources over the past 26 years.

    What they found is a relatively rare positive story when it comes to ecological studies in a time of accelerating climate change. The abundance of most modern kelp beds along the Washington coast has remained constant over the last century despite a seawater temperature increase of 0.72 degrees Celsius. The few exceptions are kelp beds closest to Puget Sound, Seattle and Tacoma.

    “Kelp are a robust and resilient structure. You can see that in the data, as long as they have access to good water quality and waves flush through them, then they persist,” Pfister said.

  68. Paul in WI

     /  December 30, 2017

    Another example of the fossil-fuel industry-backed Trump administration pushing for fossil fuel energy dominance at the expense of environmental protection: U.S. to Roll Back Safety Rules Created After Deepwater Horizon Spill

  69. Leland Palmer
    Just FYI. Here is a bit on the ocean hot spots near Svalbard from Sam Carana on Nov. 24.
    “Stronger winds, higher temperatures and the presence of more open water in the Arctic have all contributed to stronger rainfall in the Arctic. It looks like the rain did cause a freshwater lid to form at the surface of the Arctic Ocean, acting as an insulator and preventing transfer of ocean heat to the atmosphere. This also contributed to a colder atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean, i.e. colder than it would otherwise have been. At the same time, since less heat could escape from the Arctic Ocean to the atmosphere, this freshwater lid has resulted in warmer water, as is evident from the huge anomalies at the locations near Svalbard. The forecast below that Arctic will be 7.2°C or 12.96°F warmer than in 1979-2000 on December 3, 2017, illustrates just how warm the Arctic Ocean currently is.

    There would have been less sea ice, had it not been for the rain resulting in this freshwater lid. Much of the freshwater lid did turn into sea ice in September 2017, as air temperatures came down below 0°Cs, and this sea ice similarly acted as an insulator, preventing transfer of heat from the Arctic Ocean to the atmosphere. Importantly, while much of the additional freshwater at the surface did turn into sea ice in 2017, this is only a temporary phenomenon, as no ice will form once the surface of the water will stay above 0°C, which looks imminent as temperatures keep rising.

  70. An interesting article with once again multiple ramifications (See Microsofts goal re climate science)
    AI is learning from our encounters with nature — and that’s a concern
    The idea seems wonderful — a phone app that allows you to take a photo of a plant or animal and receive immediate species identification and other information about it.

    A “Shazam for nature”, so to speak.

    We are building huge repositories of data related to our natural environments, making this idea a reality.

    But there are ethical concerns that should be addressed: about how data is collected and shared, who has the right to share it and how we use public data for machine learning.

    And there’s a bigger concern — whether such apps change what it means to be human.

    There is a phrase that encapsulates that paradox, to know the cost of everything without any concept of the value


  71. Peter Ward Our Future In a World Without Ice Caps

    Under a Green Sky

    • wili

       /  December 31, 2017

      Thanks for this. It was clearly from a few years ago, as at minute 29 or so he says CO2 levels were 390 ppm.

  72. wili

     /  December 31, 2017

    Neven of asif on the year-end Arctic sea ice extent:

    “Wow, the year will end below 12 million km2 for the first time on record”,1837.msg137513.html#msg137513

  73. wili

     /  December 31, 2017

    A new report says that the wider the gap between rich and poor, the more the environment suffers.

    To solve climate change, solve income inequality

    Many people who live in low-income communities, for example, cannot afford to retrofit their homes to make them more energy efficient, meaning they use more power than necessary, generating more pollution.

  74. wili

     /  January 1, 2018

    Robert, and others…you might…just…want to have a look at this:

    • wili

       /  January 1, 2018


      Michael E. Mann: Wow–model developing this into one of the stronger Nor’easters I’ve ever seen.
      Do we expect stronger Nor’easters [with global] warming? Some tentative evidence that we do via @AMetSoc #JournalOfClimate:

      • wili

         /  January 1, 2018

        And from the Twitter of Guy Walton: Quick look at Atlantic [Sea Surface Temperatures] show where the system can get its deepening energy from. Some of the warmest anomalies on the planet are off the Atlantic Seaboard.

        • Shawn Redmond

           /  January 1, 2018

          Here in Nova Scotia we had a good wind storm on Christmas day. Lots of trees down and power outages. This one could get very interesting.

  75. Shawn Redmond

     /  January 1, 2018

    Just found something to digest while I wait for the storm!
    This study considers the relationship between a global systemic banking, monetary and solvency crisis and its implications for the real-time flow of goods and services in the globalised economy. It outlines how contagion in the financial system could set off semi-autonomous contagion in supply- chains globally, even where buyers and sellers are linked by solvency, sound money and bank intermediation. The cross-contagion between the financial system and trade/production networks is mutually reinforcing.
    It is argued that in order to understand systemic risk in the globalised economy, account must be taken of how growing complexity (interconnectedness, interdependence and the speed of processes), the de-localisation of production and concentration within key pillars of the globalised economy have magnified global vulnerability and opened up the possibility of a rapid and large- scale collapse. ‘Collapse’ in this sense means the irreversible loss of socio-economic complexity which fundamentally transforms the nature of the economy. These crucial issues have not been recognised by policy-makers nor are they reflected in economic thinking or modelling.
    As the globalised economy has become more complex and ever faster (for example, Just-in-Time logistics), the ability of the real economy to pick up and globally transmit supply-chain failure, and then contagion, has become greater and potentially more devastating in its impacts. In a more complex and interdependent economy, fewer failures are required to transmit cascading failure through socio-economic systems. In addition, we have normalised massive increases in the complex conditionality that underpins modern societies and our welfare. Thus we have problems seeing, never mind planning for such eventualities, while the risk of them occurring has increased significantly. The most powerful primary cause of such an event would be a large-scale financial shock initially centring on some of the most complex and trade central parts of the globalised economy.
    The argument that a large-scale and globalised financial-banking-monetary crisis is likely arises from two sources. Firstly, from the outcome and management of credit over-expansion and global imbalances and the growing stresses in the Eurozone and global banking system. Secondly, from the manifest risk that we are at a peak in global oil production, and that affordable, real-time production will begin to decline in the next few years. In the latter case, the credit backing of fractional reserve banks, monetary systems and financial assets are fundamentally incompatible with energy constraints. It is argued that in the coming years there are multiple routes to a large- scale breakdown in the global financial system, comprising systemic banking collapses, monetary system failure, credit and financial asset vaporization. This breakdown, however and whenever it comes, is likely to be fast and disorderly and could overwhelm society’s ability to respond.
    We consider one scenario to give a practical dimension to understanding supply-chain contagion: a break-up of the Euro and an intertwined systemic banking crisis. Simple argument and modelling will point to the likelihood of a food security crisis within days in the directly affected countries and an initially exponential spread of production failures across the world beginning within a week. This will reinforce and spread financial system contagion. It is also argued that the longer the crisis goes on, the greater the likelihood of its irreversibility. This could be in as little as three weeks.
    This study draws upon simple ideas drawn from ecology, systems dynamics, and the study of complex networks to frame the discussion of the globalised economy. Real-life events such as United Kingdom fuel blockades (2000) and the Japanese Tsunami (2011) are used to shed light on modern trade vulnerability.

  76. Shawn Redmond

     /  January 1, 2018

    This was submitted for review July 2016, accepted in May 2017 and published in July. It is not good news!

    The rates of subsea permafrost degradation and occurrence of gas-migration pathways are key factors controlling the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) methane (CH4) emissions, yet these factors still require assessment. It is thought that after inundation, permafrost-degradation rates would decrease over time and submerged thaw-lake taliks would freeze; therefore, no CH4 release would occur for millennia. Here we present results of the first comprehensive scientific re-drilling to show that subsea permafrost in the near-shore zone of the ESAS has a downward movement of the ice-bonded permafrost table of ∼14 cm year−1 over the past 31–32 years. Our data reveal polygonal thermokarst patterns on the seafloor and gas-migration associated with submerged taliks, ice scouring and pockmarks. Knowing the rate and mechanisms of subsea permafrost degradation is a prerequisite to meaningful predictions of near-future CH4 release in the Arctic.

  77. wili

     /  January 1, 2018

    “South Florida’s Real Estate Reckoning Could Be Closer Than You Think

    Hurricane Irma showed just how vulnerable South Florida—and some of the nation’s most expensive real estate—is to climate change.”

    • wili

       /  January 1, 2018

      Note also:

      Louisiana, Sinking Fast, Prepares to Empty Out Its Coastal Plain

      ” Louisiana is finalizing a plan to move thousands of people from areas threatened by the rising Gulf of Mexico, effectively declaring uninhabitable a coastal area larger than Delaware.

      …Rob Moore, a flood policy expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Chicago, said that if the state goes ahead with the plan, “then every coastal state in the country should be asking themselves, ‘If Louisiana can do this, why aren’t we?’”

      • wili

         /  January 1, 2018

        Parts of Hampton Roads surely can’t be far behind in this trend:

        “A new NASA-led study shows that land in the Hampton Roads, Virginia, metropolitan area is sinking at highly uneven rates, with a few trouble spots subsiding 7 to 10 times faster than the area average.”

        And the ‘area average’ is already higher there than anywhere else in the states, irrc.

  78. wili

     /  January 1, 2018

    A couple studies last year focused on the interactions between CC and Rossby Waves (thanks to aslr at asif for these):

    Michael E. Mann et al. (2017), “Influence of Anthropogenic Climate Change on Planetary Wave Resonance and Extreme Weather Events”, Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 45242, doi:10.1038/srep45242

    Abstract: “Persistent episodes of extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere summer have been shown to be associated with the presence of high-amplitude quasi-stationary atmospheric Rossby waves within a particular wavelength range (zonal wavenumber 6–8). The underlying mechanistic relationship involves the phenomenon of quasi-resonant amplification (QRA) of synoptic-scale waves with that wavenumber range becoming trapped within an effective mid-latitude atmospheric waveguide. Recent work suggests an increase in recent decades in the occurrence of QRA-favorable conditions and associated extreme weather, possibly linked to amplified Arctic warming and thus a climate change influence. Here, we isolate a specific fingerprint in the zonal mean surface temperature profile that is associated with QRA-favorable conditions. State-of-the-art (“CMIP5”) historical climate model simulations subject to anthropogenic forcing display an increase in the projection of this fingerprint that is mirrored in multiple observational surface temperature datasets. Both the models and observations suggest this signal has only recently emerged from the background noise of natural variability.”

    • wili

       /  January 1, 2018

      And, a bit more directly relevant to the main post above:

      Ivana Cvijanovic et al (2017), “Future loss of Arctic sea-ice cover could drive a substantial decrease in California’s rainfall”, Nature Communications 8, Article number: 1947, doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01907-4

      Abstract: “From 2012 to 2016, California experienced one of the worst droughts since the start of observational records. As in previous dry periods, precipitation-inducing winter storms were steered away from California by a persistent atmospheric ridging system in the North Pacific. Here we identify a new link between Arctic sea-ice loss and the North Pacific geopotential ridge development. In a two-step teleconnection, sea-ice changes lead to reorganization of tropical convection that in turn triggers an anticyclonic response over the North Pacific, resulting in significant drying over California. These findings suggest that the ability of climate models to accurately estimate future precipitation changes over California is also linked to the fidelity with which future sea-ice changes are simulated. We conclude that sea-ice loss of the magnitude expected in the next decades could substantially impact California’s precipitation, thus highlighting another mechanism by which human-caused climate change could exacerbate future California droughts.”

      Extract: “The “low Antarctic ice” simulations show that the proposed mechanism can be triggered by sea-ice changes in either hemisphere. Since Antarctic sea-ice loss involves northward propagation in both teleconnection steps (i.e., Antarctic sea-ice affecting the tropical Pacific, which in turn affects the North Pacific) and no high northern latitude changes, it provides additional support for our conjecture that the sea-ice changes can influence North Pacific geopotential height through tropical convection changes. More generally, any high-latitude perturbation (northern or southern hemispheric warming or cooling) that impacts the position of the tropical Pacific ITCZ, will have an impact on California’s rainfall.”

  79. wharf rat

     /  January 2, 2018

    Happy New Year, folks.

    The Real Dr Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Climate Science

    On its hundredth birthday in 1959, Edward Teller warned the oil industry about global warming

    “Ladies and gentlemen, I am to talk to you about energy in the future. I will start by telling you why I believe that the energy resources of the past must be supplemented. First of all, these energy resources will run short as we use more and more of the fossil fuels. But I would […] like to mention another reason why we probably have to look for additional fuel supplies. And this, strangely, is the question of contaminating the atmosphere. [….] Whenever you burn conventional fuel, you create carbon dioxide. [….] The carbon dioxide is invisible, it is transparent, you can’t smell it, it is not dangerous to health, so why should one worry about it?

    “Carbon dioxide has a strange property. It transmits visible light but it absorbs the infrared radiation which is emitted from the earth. Its presence in the atmosphere causes a greenhouse effect [….] It has been calculated that a temperature rise corresponding to a 10 per cent increase in carbon dioxide will be sufficient to melt the icecap and submerge New York. All the coastal cities would be covered, and since a considerable percentage of the human race lives in coastal regions, I think that this chemical contamination is more serious than most people tend to believe….”

  80. Vic

     /  January 2, 2018

    An uncertain future awaits these Great Barrier Reef coral spawn, currently on their way for semi? permanent storage at Taronga’s Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.

  81. wharf rat

     /  January 2, 2018

    America then…

    “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

    America now…

    We choose not to go to a carbon-free economy in this century, and not do the other things, not because that is EZ, but because it is EZ and we sell fossil carbon.
    Charles and David Koch

  82. kassy

     /  January 2, 2018

    Climate Change Is Causing the Seafloor to Sink

    If there’s one thing we’re learning about this global planetary experiment called climate change, it’s that there are unexpected consequences. Case in point: All of the water pouring off Earth’s melting ice sheets is making the oceans heavier, so much so that seafloors are literally sinking. And that could be messing with our measurements of global sea level rise.

    They found that the increased total ocean load from these largely human-driven changes caused the ocean floor to sink, on average, by about 0.1 mm/year between 1993-2014, or 2.1 mm over the entire period. That may not sound like much, especially when you consider sea levels have risen roughly 80 mm since the early ‘90s, but let me remind you that we’re talking about the entire goddamn ocean getting pressed down.

    Plus, when you add all those little changes up, the authors find that our satellites are underestimating the amount sea levels have risen due to added ocean water by about eight per cent. All in all, this has the effect of throwing off satellite sea level estimates by just four per cent, because roughly half of sea level rise comes from added water, and half from rising temperatures causing water to expand in place.

    There were some interesting spatial trends, too. In regions where most of the ice is melting—Greenland and the Arctic ocean—the seafloor is actually uplifting slightly as weight is taken off. In fact, since most of the disappearing ice is concentrated in the global north, pretty much the entire northern hemisphere is seeing a slight seafloor uplift effect, while subsidence is concentrated in the south, particularly the Southern Ocean.

    • Jim

       /  January 8, 2018

      Thanks for this Kassy! I wonder if this is eventually going to change earthquake behavior?

      And when scientists make corrections to the Sea Level Rise data base to compensate for the new knowledge, they’ll be accused by deniers of fudging the data.

  83. wharf rat

     /  January 2, 2018

    Mark Hamill Returns As Trumpster To Read Global Warming Tweet In Joker’s Voice

  84. PlazaRed

     /  January 2, 2018

    2nd of January 2018 here in southern Spain, clear skies and temps in Valencia running at +25/C, about 10 degrees or more over normal.
    Storms continue to lash northern Europe, they are up to their 5th named storm so far this winter.

    Meanwhile the end of year news said that the sale of electric vehicles last year was about 0.5%, or 5 in a 1000, the negative publicity plus the cost is against them, plus a lot of possibly false info, or false news, saying they use 3 times more CO2 to produce than ICE vehicles.
    I have yet to see my first non commercial, publicly owned electric vehicle in Spain.

    When happy new year to everybody from southern Europe.

  85. wili

     /  January 2, 2018

    More on the mega storm approach the US East Coast this week that was mentioned above. Is anyone here living on or near New England? Is anyone reading this thread anymore at all??

    “U.S. east coast storm this week could “bomb” into the strength of a Category 3 hurricane.

    A meteorological ‘bomb’ is set to go off along the East Coast, and dangerous cold will soon follow

    An unusually powerful storm is threatening the East Coast of the U.S. this week with heavy snow, high winds, and record-shattering cold not seen in some places since the early 20th Century — if at all.

    The storm will be the result of a combination of three strong pieces of atmospheric energy, known to meteorologists as shortwaves.

    Think of these shortwaves as protein bars for storm formation. This particular storm, which is already beginning to form off the coast of Florida, will devour enough of them to allow it to become so powerful that it will contain hurricane force winds by the time it moves off the Mid-Atlantic coast late Wednesday night.

    Because of the cold air in place ahead of the storm, winter storm watches and advisories for this event have been issued as far south as Florida, all the way northward to Massachusetts, which is nearly unheard of.

    Some computer models are projecting a minimum central air pressure of below 950 millibars at its peak, which would be nearly unheard of for this part of the world outside of a hurricane. For comparison, Hurricane Sandy had a minimum central pressure of about 946 millibars when it made its left hook into New Jersey in 2012.

    If the model projections prove correct, this could be one of the strongest winter storms on record, at least for this part of the North Atlantic Ocean. One key reason for the off the charts intensity is the contrast between the Arctic air mass currently in place across much of the U.S., and near-record warm Gulf Stream waters in the Atlantic.”

    ‘Storm of My Grandchildren’ much?!

  86. Kiwi Griff

     /  January 2, 2018

    Still here wili

    2017 most expensive for weather-related damage in nz.

    Big storm brewing for us down here in NZ.
    A sub-tropical storm with hurricane-strength winds is taking aim at New Zealand. The weather is expected to pack up today before the storm makes landfall tomorrow.

    The storm is on track to hit the top of the country tomorrow before sweeping down the country, affecting all the North Island and the north and east of the South Island.

    Heavy rain is expected to drench Northland and Auckland tomorrow before spreading across the island. Potentially destructive winds are expected to barrel across the North Island for days.

    Waves up to 7m high are expected to hammer North Island coastlines.

    Coastal areas are also at risk of flooding from the sub-tropical storm, which is bearing striking similarities to ex-Tropical Cyclone Ita that inundated parts of Auckland in 2014.

    MetService says heavy rain warnings are likely for Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty and the western ranges of Gisborne when the storm hits late Thursday.

    The country’s forecaster is warning the storm could bring severe weather to northern and central New Zealand. head analyst Philip Duncan said the storm would rapidly deepen and intensify before it made landfall tomorrow.

    Campers and trampers were warned to be aware of the deteriorating conditions.

    Duncan said models showed the storm was expected to peak early Friday. A wind map put the worst of the winds becoming hurricane force – 120 km/h – for a time at the centre, although such winds would stay mainly out at sea..

    Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
    Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
    I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’
    I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
    Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
    Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
    Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
    Where the executioner’s face is always well-hidden
    Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
    Where black is the color, where none is the number
    And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
    And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
    Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
    But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
    And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
    It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall
    Songwriters: Bob Dylan


    How ‘smart ice’ is helping to save lives on Canada’s thinning sea ice

    Warmer winters mean lethally unpredictable ice, leaving already isolated communities too frightened to venture out for food and fuel. A new ice sensor project could change all that

    Speed breeding technique sows seeds of new green revolution

    Pioneering new technology set to accelerate the global quest for crop improvement

    Using the technique, the team has achieved wheat generation from seed to seed in just 8 weeks. These results appear today in Nature Plants.

    This means that it is now possible to grow as many as 6 generations of wheat every year – a threefold increase on the shuttle-breeding techniques currently used by breeders and researchers.

    “People said you may be able to cycle plants fast, but they will look tiny and insignificant, and only set a few seed. In fact, the new technology creates plants that look better and are healthier than those using standard conditions. One colleague could not believe it when he first saw the results.”

    • Shawn Redmond

       /  January 3, 2018

      “The international team also prove that the speed breeding technique can be used for a range of important crops. They have achieved up to 6 generations per year for bread wheat, durum wheat, barley, pea, and chickpea; and four generations for canola (a form of rapeseed). This is a significant increase compared with widely used commercial breeding techniques.”

      One question: Where are they going to get the water for this growth?

      • From the article the process is being used in developing new strains by selective “breeding”.
        It uses greenhouses with artificial lighting, not a practical solution to cereal crop production

      • Water use might depend on whether crops are processed locally. If crops dehydrated at the facility say to 5% , then water could be harvested and re-cycled .. continually. The key to water use is seeing water as valuable.

  89. Greg

     /  January 3, 2018

    It’s snowing in the Gulf of Mexico. Hmmmmm…

  90. Paul in WI

     /  January 3, 2018

    Good article on InsideClimate News about the massive federal subsidies going to the fossil fuel industry:

    This article exposes the hypocrisy of the deniers’ common complaint that federal renewable energy programs amount to “choosing energy industry winners and losers”.

  91. Paul in WI

     /  January 3, 2018

    Another good article on InsideClimate news reviewing 2017 and about how it’s not yet too late to start reducing emissions, but that time is getting very short:

  92. Back to past articles re Fusion (and the comments)
    (5 years to Prototype they said), however the statement may well have been a response to a University of Washington press release
    UW fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal

    Meanwhile on the same page a Spanish version of the Laser powered one

    A new clean nuclear fusion reactor has been designed
    January 14, 2013, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
    A researcher at the Universidad politécnica de Madrid (UPM, Spain) has patented a nuclear fusion reactor by inertial confinement that, apart from be used to generate electric power in plants, can be applied to propel ships.

    This invention is the result of a work carried out by the Professor José Luis González Díez from the Higher Technical School of Naval Engineering of the UPM, who has contributed to solve the problem of contamination risk associated with the generation of nuclear fission power. It is a design of a fusion nuclear reactor by laser ignition of 1000 MWe that uses as fuel hydrogen isotopes that can be extracted from water allowing us a significant saving in fuel.

  93. kassy

     /  January 3, 2018

    New research clears up some confusion on methane numbers:

    Fire reductions ‘make methane numbers add up’

    Scientists think they can now better explain the recent surge in methane levels seen in the Earth’s atmosphere.

    Although only a trace component in the air, CH4 is a greenhouse gas and has been rising rapidly since about 2006.

    Tropical wetlands and fossil fuels are suspected as major sources – but the sums do not add up.

    Only if methane reductions stemming from fewer global fires are considered can the CH4 budget be made to balance, says a new Nasa-led study.

    John Worden from the US space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and colleagues report their work in the journal Nature Communications.

    Methane concentration in the atmosphere currently stands just above 1,850 parts per billion (1,850 molecules of CH4 for every billion molecules of air). But in the early 2000s, it hovered around 1,770ppb.

    Emissions from oil and gas production, such as losses from fracking operations; and microbial production in wet tropical environments, such as marshes and rice paddies, have been put forward as explanations for the subsequent rise.

    However, when their estimated contributions are added together, they exceed the observed changes in the atmosphere.

    Dr Worden’s team took another look at the problem by considering the impact of global fires. These are in rapid decline.

    Wildfires in particular have been going down as the amount of land under agricultural control has expanded.

    The area of the planet burned each year decreased by about 12% between the early 2000s and the more recent period of 2007 to 2014, according to satellite observations. And because fires will emit methane, if there are fewer fire events, this CH4 source must also be in reverse.

    Dr Worden’s team calculates that 17 teragrams per year of the methane increase in the atmosphere is due to fossil fuels, another 12 is coming from wetlands or rice farming, while fires are decreasing by about 4 teragrams per year.

    The three numbers combine to 25 teragrams a year – the same as the observed increase.

    Carbon dioxide is regarded as the main driver behind human-induced warming on Earth, and its rise in concentration continues unabated.

    Nonetheless, despite its trace amount in the air, methane is also viewed as a greenhouse gas of concern.

    CH4 is about 30 times better than CO2, over a century timescale, at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

    Complex computer models are used to try to project how Earth will warm given a certain mix of gases, and right now methane’s growth rate is close to a path that would take the world into a very challenging future, scientists say.

    Scientists Can Now Blame Individual Natural Disasters on Climate Change

    Extreme event attribution is one of the most rapidly expanding areas of climate science

  95. wharf rat

     /  January 3, 2018

    • Jim

       /  January 3, 2018

      Yes, no Trump is saying Bannon has lost his mind….
      Reminds me of a George Carlin line: “When you’re born into this world you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in the USA you get a front row seat”.

  96. Jim

     /  January 3, 2018

    Yes, *now* … not *no*

  97. Jim

     /  January 3, 2018

    Interesting article about Edward Teller warning the American Petroleum Institute in 1959 that CO2 was going to lead to melting ice. Bet that went over well at the API meeting….

  98. Who said China was not serious

    ‘They are sending a signal’: China halts production of 500 car models

    China is suspending the production of more than 500 car models that do not meet its fuel economy standards, several automakers confirmed Tuesday, the latest move by Beijing to reduce emissions in the world’s largest auto market and take the lead in battling climate change.
    The official Chinese news agency Xinhua said in a report Sunday that the suspension, effective Monday, would affect both domestic carmakers and foreign joint ventures like FAW-Volkswagen and Beijing Benz. No end date was given.
    Whatever the consequences, global automakers will have no choice but to meet the increasingly stringent government policies in China, said Michelle Krebs, an analyst at the AutoTrader Group.

    “The simple fact that China is the biggest market means automakers will be accommodating,” she said.

  99. Excellent article by the local meteorologist

    As Temperatures Dip, Some Questioning Validity Of Global Warming
    By Lauren Casey
    January 3, 2018 at 11:28 pm
    PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An arctic air mass has dominated nearly half of the country for more than a week. Today, the temperature in Philadelphia rose above the freezing mark for the first time in 8 days. Snow fell in Tallahasse, Savannah, and five inches of snow in Charleston, with a powerful Nor’easter on route to impact the Delaware Valley.
    The severity and persistence of this cold has some calling into question the validity of global warming. How could it be so cold if the planet is warming? To explain, let’s first discuss the difference between weather and climate.

  100. kassy

     /  January 4, 2018

    Back to toasting things. 🙂

    In 2015, the Paris climate agreement set a goal of limiting global warming to “well below 2 degrees Celsius” (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. But new evidence suggests this may not be enough to prevent the planet from becoming much drier world than it is now, with consequences for food security, biodiversity, and an increased risk of wildfires.

    Researchers at the University of East Anglia in the U.K. and the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, compared projections from 27 global climate models to draw a map of the areas where the levels of aridity — which estimates land surface dryness by combining precipitation and evaporation — are likely to increase over time.

    They found that over a quarter of the world’s land could become much drier under a 2 degrees Celsius scenario — an optimistic target that some top scientists say we’re not likely to meet anyway.

    The study, published in Nature Climate Change, observes that some 15 percent of the areas currently classified as semi-arid would become arid, and other more temperate parts of the world would follow a similar trend.

    Things would go much better, the researchers find, if we managed to stay within 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels. Manoj Joshi, one of the study authors from the University of East Anglia, said in a statement: “Our research predicts that aridification would emerge over about 20-30 percent of the world’s land surface by the time the global mean temperature change reaches 2 degrees Celsius. But two thirds of the affected regions could avoid significant aridification if warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

    more on:

  101. kassy

     /  January 4, 2018

    Surprising Evidence Of Rapid Changes In Arctic

    Scientists have found surprising evidence of rapid climate change in the Arctic: In the middle of the Arctic Ocean near the North Pole, they discovered that the levels of radium-228 have almost doubled over the last decade.

    The finding indicates that large-scale changes are happening along the coast–because the source of the radium is the land and shallow continental shelves surrounding the ocean. These coastal changes, in turn, could also be delivering more nutrients, carbon, and other chemicals into the Arctic Ocean and lead to dramatic impacts on Arctic food webs and animal populations.

    The research team, led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), suspects that melting sea ice has left more open water near the coast for winds to create waves. The wave action reaches down to the shallow shelves and stirs up sediments, releasing radium that is carried to the surface and away into the open ocean. The same mechanism would likely also mobilize and deliver more nutrients, carbon, and other chemicals into the Arctic Ocean, fueling the growth of plankton at the bottom of the food chain. That, in turn, could have significant impacts on fish and marine mammals and change the Arctic ecosystem.

    The study was published Jan. 3, 2018, in the journal Science Advances. The research team included Lauren Kipp, Matthew Charette, and Paul Henderson (WHOI), Willard Moore (University of South Carolina), and Ignatius Rigor (University of Washington).

    They concluded that the excess radium had to have come from sediments in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off Russia, the largest continental shelf on Earth. It is relatively shallow, with an average depth of 170 feet, but it extends 930 miles off shore and contains a vast reservoir of radium and other chemical compounds.

    Something had to have changed along the coast to explain the dramatic surge in radium in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. The scientists theorize that a warming Arctic environment has reduced sea ice cover, allowing for more wave action that stirs up sediments and mobilizes more radium.

    But there are other possible contributing factors that are causing changes over the shelf, the scientists say. More wave action can also cause more coastline erosion, adding more terrestrial sediment into the ocean. Warming temperatures can thaw permafrost, liberating more material into the ocean, and increasing river and groundwater runoff can carry more radium, nutrients, carbon, and other material into the Arctic.

    and more on:

  102. Genomik

     /  January 4, 2018

    We will see if this progresses. I have a feeling it will be tied up in courts and furthermore solar and wind are increasingly competitive. What if they open up these areas and few want to actually drill? If they start to ever build oil platforms off California I think the whole state would switch to electric that much faster.

    • kassy

       /  January 5, 2018

      It’s a rather long process so there is hope. The first leases will be Alaskan and it will be interesting to see how much they will fetch.

      Then there is this retarded vandalism too:
      “It would also remove the requirement that companies monitor their blowout control systems in real time, instead only mandating that companies possess the equipment necessary to do so. The draft rule says certain equipment need only be tested once during its lifespan instead of the current twice weekly.”

      I bet this does not help the States confidence in the drillers.


    We’ve Been Talking About Climate Change for a Hundred Years

    PM has been reporting on shifting weather patterns for more than a century. What has changed is the outlook we have on the possible consequences.


    Climate Change Is Suffocating Large Parts of the Ocean

    A new study says warming has reduced the oxygen levels in large swaths of the deep ocean, threatening marine life around the world.

    One day more than a decade ago, Eric Prince was studying the tracks of tagged fish when he noticed something odd. Blue marlin off the southeastern United States would dive a half-mile deep chasing prey. The same species off Costa Rica and Guatemala stayed near the surface, rarely dropping more than a few hundred feet.

    Prince, a billfish expert who has since retired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was stumped. He’d studied blue marlin off the Ivory Coast and Ghana, Jamaica and Brazil, and he’d never seen anything like it. Why wouldn’t these expert divers dive?

    The billfish, it turns out, were trying to avoid suffocation. The marlin near Guatemala and Costa Rica wouldn’t plunge into the murky depths because they were avoiding a deep, gigantic and expanding swath of water that contained too little oxygen. The discovery was among the first examples of the many ways sea life is already shifting in response to a new reality that hasn’t gotten much attention: Marine waters, even far out in the high seas, are losing oxygen thanks to climate change, upending where and how sea creatures live.

    The Nat Geo article is an easier read, but here is the actual paper
    Declining oxygen in the global ocean and coastal waters

    Beneath the waves, oxygen disappears

    As plastic waste pollutes the oceans and fish stocks decline, unseen below the surface another problem grows: deoxygenation. Breitburg et al. review the evidence for the downward trajectory of oxygen levels in increasing areas of the open ocean and coastal waters. Rising nutrient loads coupled with climate change—each resulting from human activities—are changing ocean biogeochemistry and increasing oxygen consumption. This results in destabilization of sediments and fundamental shifts in the availability of key nutrients. In the short term, some compensatory effects may result in improvements in local fisheries, such as in cases where stocks are squeezed between the surface and elevated oxygen minimum zones. In the longer term, these conditions are unsustainable and may result in ecosystem collapses, which ultimately will cause societal and economic harm.

    Science, this issue p. eaam7240

  105. The destruction continues
    Interior revokes climate change and mitigation policies
    Many regulations were axed because they are ‘burdens’ to energy development.

    Just before Christmas, the Interior Department quietly rescinded an array of policies designed to elevate climate change and conservation in decisions on managing public lands, waters and wildlife. Order 3360, signed by Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, explains that the policies were rescinded because they were “potential burdens” to energy development.

    The order echoes earlier mandates from President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to Interior’s 70,000 employees: Prioritize energy development and de-emphasize climate change and conservation. The order is another in a long string of examples of science and conservation taking a backseat to industry’s wishes at the Interior Department under Zinke.

    The sweeping order, which Bernhardt signed Dec. 22., affects a department that manages a fifth of the nation’s land, 19 percent of U.S. energy supplies and most of the water in the 12 Western states. It fulfills a high-profile executive order by Trump and a secretarial order from Zinke, both announced in March. Interior did not publicize the order but posted it on its website with other secretarial orders. The Interior Department refused to answer questions about order 3360 on Thursday. “Sorry, nobody is available for you,” Heather Swift, the department spokesperson, wrote in an email.

  106. Mean global ocean temperatures during the last glacial transition. Severinghaus et al.
    Nature 553, 39–44 (04 January 2018) doi:10.1038/nature25152 03 January 2018

    Little is known about the ocean temperature’s long-term response to climate perturbations owing to limited observations and a lack of robust reconstructions. Although most of the anthropogenic heat added to the climate system has been taken up by the ocean up until now, its role in a century and beyond is uncertain. Here, using noble gases trapped in ice cores, we show that the mean global ocean temperature increased by 2.57 ± 0.24 degrees Celsius over the last glacial transition (20,000 to 10,000 years ago). Our reconstruction provides unprecedented precision and temporal resolution for the integrated global ocean, in contrast to the depth-, region-, organism- and season-specific estimates provided by other methods. We find that the mean global ocean temperature is closely correlated with Antarctic temperature and has no lead or lag with atmospheric CO2, thereby confirming the important role of Southern Hemisphere climate in global climate trends. We also reveal an enigmatic 700-year warming during the early Younger Dryas period (about 12,000 years ago) that surpasses estimates of modern ocean heat uptake.

  107. wharf rat

     /  January 5, 2018

    The California Energy Commission has awarded nearly $3 million to car-sharing programs using EVs in disadvantaged communities.

    Stratosfuel will demonstrate a fuel cell car-sharing platform using the hydrogen-refueling network in Riverside and Ontario.

    Calstart will use battery EVs in a ride-hailing service targeting community college students who attend Fresno City College from surrounding rural areas.

    Envoy Technologies will use battery EVs to develop car-sharing programs for the Bay Area and Central Valley serving people who live in affordable multi-unit housing developments.

    The Energy Commission also established a new advisory group representing disadvantaged communities, which will provide advice on how state clean energy programs can effectively reach low-income households and hard-to-reach customers such as rural and tribal communities.

  108. wharf rat

     /  January 5, 2018

    California is closing in on its 2020 renewable energy mandate
    The latest report from the California Energy Commission shows that the state is already getting 30% of its power from renewable energy (excluding large hydro) with solar providing more than a third of this.

  109. Andy_in_SD

     /  January 6, 2018

    Hope all is well on your end Robert.

  110. Just for a bit of a smile
    Back to Tesla

    Watch This Tesla Model X Pull A Semi Truck Up A Snowy Hill

    A bit of slipping and sliding, but it succeeded in rescuing the semi

  111. One to read with – words fail me
    GOP Opposes Critical Thinking
    Party platform paints original ideas as a liberal conspiracy
    By Richard Whittaker, 1:17PM, Wed. Jun. 27, 2012

    It’s official: The Republican Party of Texas opposes critical thinking. That’s right, drones, and it’s part of their official platform.

    One of our eagle-eyed readers emailed us to point out this unbelievable passage in the RPT 2012 platform, as adopted at their recent statewide conference.

    “Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

    What this really means is that the GOP is doubling down on learn-by-rote fact recitation – of the kind spearheaded by the worst of the pro-testing advocates, and locally by IDEA Public Schools, which has committed to the anti-analytical direct learning model (aka “press button A, B or C.”)

    But what the hell is all that bunk about “undermining parental authority”? Could it be that the Texas GOP has shown its paternalistic streak a little too overtly? And, let’s face facts, that’s just policy-wonk speak for “honor thy father and mother.” Yup, the Texas GOP is officially enshrining blind obedience into its doctrine of political domination. And be careful that you don’t disturb a student’s fixed beliefs, like, say, that the Loch Ness Monster is real.

  112. Paul in WI

     /  January 6, 2018

    Good article I found on Truthout summarizing the scale of the task we have to reduce the atmospheric CO2 concentration to below 350 PPM and how it is still possible, but how it will get harder and harder to achieve without rapid emissions reductions: “Getting to 350: What It Will Take to Fix Global Warming”

    Also, here’s the link to the associated Hansen study referenced in the article: “Young People’s Burden: Requirement of Negative CO2 Emissions”

  113. Paul in WI

     /  January 7, 2018

    Here’s an article from InsideClimate News that I found very interesting and informative about the climate change deniers and how their message has evolved over time:

  114. Paul in WI

     /  January 7, 2018

    Vox has a new climate change cartoon/article about the need to rapidly reduce CO2 emissions: “Show this cartoon to anyone who doubts we need huge action on climate change”

    • Paul in WI

       /  January 7, 2018

      (I think that Vox’s cartoon is a bit pessimistic in that it ignores a lot of new renewable energy news and that the plan always was to strengthen the Paris Climate Deal over time. That said, it has some useful information.)

  115. Paul in WI

     /  January 7, 2018

    Here’s the latest sea level rise-related news – “The Bottom of the Ocean is Sinking”.

    An excerpt from the article on Live Science:

    “In recent decades, melting ice sheets and glaciers driven by climate change are swelling Earth’s oceans. And along with all that water comes an unexpected consequence — the weight of the additional liquid is pressing down on the seafloor, causing it to sink.

    Consequently, measurements and predictions of sea-level rise may have been incorrect since 1993, underestimating the growing volume of water in the oceans due to the receding bottom, according to a new study.”

  116. Paul in WI

     /  January 7, 2018

    Now for some rare good news: “New Study Showing Ozone Recovery Hailed as Model for Tackling Climate Crisis”

    Here’s an excerpt from the article:

    “Hailed as an example of how concerted global action can help solve a planetary crisis, a new study conducted by NASA scientists documented the first direct evidence that an international effort to ban chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) has led to the recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole.

    Published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters on Thursday, the study uses satellite observations to demonstrate that the decline in atmospheric chlorine that resulted from the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, enacted in 1989, has led to “about 20 percent less ozone depletion during the Antarctic winter than there was in 2005—the first year that measurements of chlorine and ozone during the Antarctic winter were made by NASA’s Aura satellite.”

    “We see very clearly that chlorine from CFCs is going down in the ozone hole, and that less ozone depletion is occurring because of it,” Susan Strahan, an atmospheric scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and one of the study’s lead authors, said in a statement.”

  117. Paul in WI

     /  January 8, 2018

    Good National Geographic article from this past summer about scientists collecting ice cores from melting glaciers to preserve climate data before it disappears:

    “Scientists Collect Ice Cores From Glaciers Before They Disappear”

    Here’s an excerpt from the article:

    “One extracted ice core can provide vast amounts of information, including air temperature history, atmospheric compositions, wind patterns, sea ice concentration, and ice sheet history, said glaciologist and National Geographic Explorer Erin Pettit.

    When multiple nearby ice cores are combined, scientists can then gain information on the history of patterns in the atmospheric circulation and detect important differences from region to region.

    “We can’t predict the future of a system we don’t understand to begin with,” Pettit said. “These ice cores tell us what kinds of responses the climate system had to various events in the past, which will help us understand the possible responses to the current forcing we are applying to the system.”

    Pending funding, Chappellaz said the Ice Memory project has plans to conduct drilling operations at a dozen other glaciers, including Mount Elbrouz, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mera Peak, and sites in the Swiss Alps and the Altai Mountains.”

    Someone needs to watch that the Trump administration doesn’t cut funding for this.

  118. wili

     /  January 8, 2018

    ‘Really awful’: 50-degree days possible for Sydney, Melbourne, as warming worsens

    (50 C = 122 F !)

  119. wili

     /  January 8, 2018

  120. wharf rat

     /  January 8, 2018

    Climate Change May Have Helped Spark Iran’s Protests

    One of Iran’s biggest economic challenges has been a cycle of extreme droughts that began in the 1990s
    This summer, Iran recorded one of the highest temperatures witnessed on Earth, at 128.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

  121. Paul in WI

     /  January 9, 2018

    A couple good articles on The Guardian’s web site about how warming ocean waters are affecting coral reefs and reef wildlife:

    “Great Barrier Reef: rising temperatures turning green sea turtles female”

    Here’s an excerpt from the article:

    “Rising temperatures are turning almost all green sea turtles in a Great Barrier Reef population female, new research has found.

    The scientific paper warned the skewed ratio could threaten the population’s future.

    Sea turtles are among species with temperature dependent sex-determination and the proportion of female hatchlings increases when nests are in warmer sands.

    Tuesday’s paper, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, California State University and Worldwide Fund for Nature Australia, is published in Current Biology. It examined two genetically distinct populations of turtles on the reef, finding the northern group of about 200,000 animals was overwhelmingly female.

    While the southern population was 65%-69% female, females in the northern group accounted for 99.1% of juveniles, 99.8% of subadults and 86.8% of adults.

    “Combining our results with temperature data show that the northern GBR green turtle rookeries have been producing primarily females for more than two decades and that the complete feminisation of this population is possible in the near future,” the paper said.

    The temperature at which the turtles will produce male or female hatchlings is heritable, the paper said, but tipped to produce 100% male or 100% female hatchlings within a range of just a few degrees.”

    “Coral reef bleaching ‘the new normal’ and a fatal threat to ecosystems”

    Here’s an excerpt from the article:

    “Repeated large-scale coral bleaching events are the new normal thanks to global warming, a team of international scientists has found.

    In a study published in the journal Science, the researchers revealed a “dramatic shortening” of the time between bleaching events was “threatening the future existence of these iconic ecosystems and the livelihoods of many millions of people”.

    The study examined 100 tropical reef locations across the world, analysing existing data on coral bleaching events as well as new field research conducted on the Great Barrier Reef after the longest and worst case of bleaching caused by climate change killed almost 25% of the coral.

    “Before the 1980s, mass bleaching of corals was unheard of, even during strong El Niño conditions,” said lead author Prof Terry Hughes, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. “Now repeated bouts of regional-scale bleaching and mass mortality of corals has become the new normal around the world as temperatures continue to rise.”

    The study found that time between bleaching events had diminished five-fold in the past 30 to 40 years, and was now too short to allow for a full recovery and was approaching unsustainable levels.”


    The big land grab is on , rob the public of their parks and resources for the benefit of the land grabbers and robber barons.

    Your Westerns present a false heroic picture of the hero against the greedy land grabber, nothing could be further from the truth.
    How long before public lands are a thing of the past and hunters and fishermen become poachers subject to criminal charges and even hikers and bush walkers are charged with trespass for daring to “Invade” private property.

    However the Feds no longer have responsibility for those lands or fire fighting or flood damage. Now the responsibility and at the cost of the state AND the landowner/lessee/user.
    If then feds or other outside resources are needed it is at a cost per service

  123. Genomik

     /  January 9, 2018

    Now that we had the worst fire season ever in California and the trees and shrubs are burned away the rainstorm we are getting now may cause tremendous damage by literally washing away the topsoil where these insane fires happened.

    “In the mountains above coastal Santa Barbara County, the vegetation is typically so deep and lush that it can soak up a half-inch of rainwater before it flows downhill.

    But that was before the Thomas fire swept through in December, burning those trees and brush to the ground. Now, the rain has no buffer, and that is cause for alarm.

    “It hits the dirt directly and it is instant runoff and carries that sediment,” Thomas D. Fayram, the deputy public works director for the county, told concerned residents at a community meeting several weeks ago.

    Southern California is about to get its first significant rainstorm in nearly a year this week, with more than 4 inches of rain expected in burn areas.”

  124. Hmmmmm

    Oprah for president? A far-fetched idea just got dramatically more real

    The entertainment entrepreneur’s electrifying speech at the Golden Globes produced an outpouring of reaction urging the celebrity to run in 2020

  125. wili

     /  January 9, 2018

    Auction prices for renewables hits new low prices, in Colorado this time:

    ” The median price bid for wind-plus-storage projects in Xcel’s all-source solicitation was $21/MWh … and the median bid for solar-plus storage was $36/MWh. Previously, the lowest known bid for similar solar resources was $45/MWh in Arizona.”

    (Thanks to num at asif for this)

  126. Greg

     /  January 9, 2018

    California Wildfires Part Deux, the floods:

  127. From a comment on the Gruniad (Guardian)
    In Tim Flannery’s “The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America & Its Peoples” He describes the continent of America as a ‘climate amplifier’…
    “If any nations have special cause to fear global climate change, it is surely those who call this great climatic amplifier home”
    It is worth a read.

    Tim Flannery America climate amplifier

    Even just reading the Contents and the few pages available makes for a fascinating read

    • Paul in WI

       /  January 9, 2018

      I read this book a while back and I agree that it’s a very good book. I learned a lot from it about the wildlife, climate, and human history of the continent. The book describes North America as a “climatic trumpet” in which the geography and topography of the continent tends to amplify climate shifts.

  128. Sheri

     /  January 9, 2018

    Happy New Year to all the Scribblers!
    Now, has anyone heard anything from Robert? I haven’t been able to read all the comments for this post as it is harder and harder to scroll down to the bottom of the page to read latest comments. This is an informative thread, so much to read.

    Best wishes to all, Sheri

    • Jacque in southern Utah

       /  January 9, 2018

      To zip to the very last comment entry, click on any comment, then hit END, then the “down” arrow. Then you can work your way back up to the last one you read before. Cheers!

  129. Shawn Redmond

     /  January 9, 2018

    Due to strong economic growth and higher-than-expected immigration, Germany is likely to miss its national emissions target for 2020 without any additional measures.
    Negotiators for Merkel’s conservative bloc and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) told Reuters the parties had agreed in exploratory talks on forming a government that the targeted cut in emissions could no longer be achieved by 2020.

    Or just maybe this has something to do with it!

    For the first time in more than 200 years a German cathedral has been deliberately torn down.
    Demolition teams moved in on Immerath Cathedral this morning to clear the land ready for the expansion of a giant open-cast coal mine.
    The 120 year old building was standing on top of deposits of one of Europe’s dirtiest fuels: brown coal, or ‘lignite’.
    Last minute legal appeals and direct action from Greenpeace activists failed to prevent the destruction of the cathedral from going ahead.
    A spokesperson for RWE, the giant energy company that owns the mine and the power plants it fuels, told reporters on the scene that steps were being taken to protect the climate – a claim campaigners responded to with anger given the enormous impact of the CO2 emissions from the company’s plants.
    Plants owned by RWE in various countries are responsible for almost a fifth of all CO2 emissions from coal in the EU and the harmful air pollution they cause are linked to more than 1700 premature deaths according to analysis by the Europe Beyond Coal campaign.

    6 killed in Southern California deluge as rivers of mud wipe out homes

    By Jason Hanna, Stella Chan and Paul P. Murphy, CNN

    Updated 2119 GMT (0519 HKT) January 9, 2018


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