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Hellacious Forecasts for Florence

Models are now predicting that Florence will threaten the U.S. East Coast as a major hurricane next week. We are still one week out. And should take any prediction at this time with a grain of salt. However, this is a concerning trend which we should continue to monitor.

Climate change factors discussed RE increasing U.S. East Coast hurricane risks include much warmer than normal sea surface temperatures, lifting of deflecting troughs to the north, and fixed Jet Stream ridge patterns that, when they prevail across the U.S. East, enhance the potential for land-falling storms.

(This is one of five video blogs covering climate change and clean energy posted today on my YouTube Channel. I will post a daily highlight of the feed here. In addition, I will post an in-depth climate change related blog here on a weekly basis as a new format. Warmest regards to all! — R)

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137 Comments

  1. Jean Swan

     /  September 7, 2018

    ‘Excellent..Thanks Robert.I start my day w you blog..Videos are great as well as the comment section!!

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. cushngtree

     /  September 7, 2018

    Will appreciate the weekly piece, am glad you’re doing both forums

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  3. Fantastic Robert, your hard work is always much appreciated

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  4. kassy

     /  September 7, 2018

    Two pieces on the PETM

    History suggests impacts of global warming are being underestimated

    Beginning 56 million years ago, during the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum — a period between the Palaeocene and Eocene epochs, lasting 10,000 to 20,000 years — temperatures rose between 5 and 8 degrees Celsius.

    Using the analysis of ancient sediment cores, scientists analyzed the effects of this dramatic rise in temperature on hydrologic cycles.

    Previous studies have charted the rise in temperature during Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM. Castelltort and his colleagues analyzed evidence of shifting river dynamics in the Spanish Pyrenees during the same time period.

    The analysis of pebbles in ancient sediment cores allowed researchers to estimate the flow velocity and discharge in the river system. At the beginning the of the PETM, river channels deposited fertile alluvium in the floodplain at the foothills of the Pyrenees. The deposits encouraged the growth of rich vegetation.

    As temperature rose during the PETM, the system’s dynamics shifted dramatically. Rising temperatures increased the severity and frequency of flooding by a factor of 14. The sudden change caused fertile alluvium to be carried directly to the ocean, bypassing the floodplain.

    As a result of the change in sediment deposition patterns, vegetation disappeared from the Pyrenees foothills. The region was transformed into an arid expanse of gravel.

    “We face effects that we do not understand, which can perhaps be explained by local factors, but also by global factors that are not yet incorporated into current climate models,” Castelltort said.

    see:
    https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2018/09/06/History-suggests-impacts-of-global-warming-are-being-underestimated/9871536238447/

    While in the seas:

    Shining light on ancient global warming

    The impact of global warming on shallow marine life approximately 56 million years ago is the subject of a significant, new article. Researchers have now addressed the effects of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) — a relatively brief period of global climate change, spanning 200,000 years — on marine invertebrates, including snails, clams and other mollusks.

    Which begs the question: What implications do these results hold for the present and future response of shallow marine biota to ongoing global change? Ivany chooses her words carefully, explaining that the carbon dioxide release during the PETM occurred over thousands of years. Compare that to putting the same amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from only a few hundred years of human activity.”

    Whatever happened during the PETM was a “best-case scenario” for marine invertebrates, Ivany explains. “With everything happening so much faster now, it is more likely organisms will go extinct,” she adds. “When the environment changes, you must move, evolve or die. If it changes faster than you can move or evolve, you’re toast.”

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180905142055.htm

    Liked by 3 people

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  5. kassy

     /  September 7, 2018

    We could shift to sustainability and save $26 trillion. Why aren’t we doing it?

    The costs of the status quo keep rising; the costs of sustainable alternatives keep declining.

    https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/9/5/17816808/sustainability-26-trillion-global-commission-economy-climate

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  6. wharf rat

     /  September 7, 2018

    How climate change affects young Californians

    By Youth Radio reporters
    Sep. 6, 2018 Updated: Sep. 6, 2018 7:39 p.m.

    As the Global Climate Action Summit starts in San Francisco this week focused on solutions to climate change, young people in California reflect on their own experiences with a changing climate. The following is a collection of essays coming to you through Youth Radio.

    https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/article/How-climate-change-affects-young-Californians-13210410.php

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  7. wharf rat

     /  September 7, 2018

    We’re getting a lot of traffic thru town; it seems a road 100 miles east of us is closed.

    DELTA FIRE SPREADS TO MORE THAN 24,000 ACRES, I-5 TO REMAIN CLOSED
    LAKEHEAD, Calif. — Portions of Interstate-5 will remain closed from Dunsmuir to Redding until Sunday, Sept. 9 after the Delta Fire’s passage ravaged the roadway, according to CalTrans.

    The agency says that that guard rails, signs and areas of the center median were damaged by the fire. Meanwhile, crews continue to need full access to the highway as areas of the fire are still burning close to the roadway,
    http://www.kdrv.com/content/news/Wildfire-Closes-Interstate-5-Between-Redding-and-Dunsmuir-492541481.html

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  8. utoutback

     /  September 8, 2018

    Thanks for keeping this up. The weekly will allow a continuation of the very valuable comments section. I come here often to see what your commenters have culled from various
    media sites. Nothing else like it.

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply
  9. wharf rat

     /  September 8, 2018

    “Mangkhut” could be deadly for those unprepared; storm could strengthen to category 5

    Guam – Government authorities are warning that Tropical Storm Mangkhut could be deadly for those who don’t prepare properly.

    The storm is expected to strengthen into a category 4 typhoon with the possibility of turning into a category 5 typhoon

    https://pacificnewscenter.com/mangkhut-could-be-deadly-for-those-unprepared-storm-could-strengthen-to-category-5/

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  10. Paul in WI

     /  September 8, 2018

    Ancient farmers spared us from glaciers but profoundly changed Earth’s climate

    New evidence shows that ancient farming practices led to a rise in the atmospheric emission of the heat-trapping gases carbon dioxide and methane — a rise that has continued since, unlike the trend at any other time in Earth’s geologic history.

    Here’s an excerpt from the article in Science Daily:

    A study published in the journal Scientific Reports provides new evidence that ancient farming practices led to a rise in the atmospheric emission of the heat-trapping gases carbon dioxide and methane — a rise that has continued since, unlike the trend at any other time in Earth’s geologic history.

    It also shows that without this human influence, by the start of the Industrial Revolution, the planet would have likely been headed for another ice age.

    “Had it not been for early agriculture, Earth’s climate would be significantly cooler today,” says lead author, Stephen Vavrus, a senior scientist in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Climatic Research in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. “The ancient roots of farming produced enough carbon dioxide and methane to influence the environment.”

    The findings are based on a sophisticated climate model that compared our current geologic time period, called the Holocene, to a similar period 800,000 years ago. They show the earlier period, called MIS19, was already 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.3 C) cooler globally than the equivalent time in the Holocene, around the year 1850. This effect would have been more pronounced in the Arctic, where the model shows temperatures were 9-to-11 degrees Fahrenheit colder.

    Using climate reconstructions based on ice core data, the model also showed that while MIS19 and the Holocene began with similar carbon dioxide and methane concentrations, MIS19 saw an overall steady drop in both greenhouse gases while the Holocene reversed direction 5,000 years ago, hitting peak concentrations of both gases by 1850. The researchers deliberately cut the model off at the start of the Industrial Revolution, when sources of greenhouse gas emissions became much more numerous.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180906141507.htm

    Liked by 3 people

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    • Makes sense, the desertification of the Middle East (Egypt etc) was a Southward shift from North Africa which had been a fertile area, but became denuded of trees. Early man as shown by the Australian Aborigines and other current cultures used firestick hunting to flush out game and clear land for primitive agriculture – like with the Amazon and other rainforest areas, this led to a Southern migration and concurrent desertification and increasing drought

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  11. Paul in WI

     /  September 10, 2018

    Here’s an article in Forbes by a nuclear power advocate:

    The World Is Not Prepared For Global Warming

    He makes the case that increasing renewable energy alone is not enough to transition the world away from fossil fuels and that nuclear power needs to be expanded. I’m not sure that I completely agree but he seems to make a strong case.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2018/08/15/the-world-is-not-prepared-for-global-warming/#2802aed0762f

    The article also included a neat chart that plots Earth surface temperatures over the last 140 years while identifying the non-El Nino years.

    The temperatures in the chart almost appear to follow an exponential increase.

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. Paul in WI

     /  September 10, 2018

    Another article from Science Daily: Most land-based ecosystems worldwide risk ‘major transformation’ due to climate change

    From the article:

    Without dramatic reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, most of the planet’s land-based ecosystems — from its forests and grasslands to the deserts and tundra — are at high risk of “major transformation” due to climate change, according to a new study from an international research team.

    The researchers used fossil records of global vegetation change that occurred during a period of post-glacial warming to project the magnitude of ecosystem transformations likely in the future under various greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.

    They found that under a “business as usual” emissions scenario, in which little is done to rein in heat-trapping greenhouse-gas emissions, vegetation changes across the planet’s wild landscapes will likely be more far-reaching and disruptive than earlier studies suggested.

    The changes would threaten global biodiversity and derail vital services that nature provides to humanity, such as water security, carbon storage and recreation, according to study co-author Jonathan Overpeck, dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan.

    “If we allow climate change to go unchecked, the vegetation of this planet is going to look completely different than it does today, and that means a huge risk to the diversity of the planet,” said Overpeck, who conceived the idea for the study with corresponding author Stephen T. Jackson of the U.S. Geological Survey.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180830143207.htm

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  13. Paul in WI

     /  September 10, 2018

    Here’s an article I found in Bloomberg Businessweek: Miami Will Be Underwater Soon. Its Drinking Water Could Go First

    Here’s an excerpt from the article:

    From ground level, greater Miami looks like any American megacity—a mostly dry expanse of buildings, roads, and lawns, sprinkled with the occasional canal or ornamental lake. But from above, the proportions of water and land are reversed. The glimmering metropolis between Biscayne Bay and the Everglades reveals itself to be a thin lattice of earth and concrete laid across a puddle that never stops forming. Water seeps up through the gravel under construction sites, nibbles at the edges of fresh subdivisions, and shimmers through the cracks and in-between places of the city above it.

    Miami-Dade is built on the Biscayne Aquifer, 4,000 square miles of unusually shallow and porous limestone whose tiny air pockets are filled with rainwater and rivers running from the swamp to the ocean. The aquifer and the infrastructure that draws from it, cleans its water, and keeps it from overrunning the city combine to form a giant but fragile machine. Without this abundant source of fresh water, made cheap by its proximity to the surface, this hot, remote city could become uninhabitable.

    Climate change is slowly pulling that machine apart. Barring a stupendous reversal in greenhouse gas emissions, the rising Atlantic will cover much of Miami by the end of this century. The economic effects will be devastating: Zillow Inc. estimates that six feet of sea-level rise would put a quarter of Miami’s homes underwater, rendering $200 billion of real estate worthless. But global warming poses a more immediate danger: The permeability that makes the aquifer so easily accessible also makes it vulnerable. “It’s very easy to contaminate our aquifer,” says Rachel Silverstein, executive director of Miami Waterkeeper, a local environmental protection group. And the consequences could be sweeping. “Drinking water supply is always an existential question.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-08-29/miami-s-other-water-problem

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  14. kassy

     /  September 10, 2018

    A 28-Year-Old Engineer Has Built a Robot That Could Save The World 2 Trillion Gallons of Lost Drinking Water

    When You Wu was growing up in China, officials would shut off water to his community for half a day each week in the name of conservation. The experience contributed to Wu’s interest in water scarcity, which he chose to study more in-depth after moving to the United States 10 years ago.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, now 28, has developed a robot to find leaks in water pipes.

    As the robot moves with the water through a pipe, its “hands” touch the pipe and feel the suction forces caused by leaks, Wu told Business Insider.

    The robot is designed to inspect pipes without interrupting the water service, and it can be put into pipes in hydrants and in three-way junctions. From there, an analytics system creates a map that tells pipe operators where the leaks are, how large they are, and what the probability of catastrophic failure is.

    for details:
    https://www.sciencealert.com/mit-graduate-developed-leak-detecting-robot-to-save-drinking-water

    A robot to help with the water supply. Could be useful in may places.

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. wharf rat

     /  September 11, 2018

    Tesla Model 3 Sales Soar

    Tesla has finally executed on its vision of bringing a truly mass market car to the US, with solid results in July and August pointing to a record third quarter. In August, Tesla’s Model 3 became a top 5 best selling car in the US by units, behind popular cars from Toyota and Honda that start at less than $25,000, compared to Tesla’s current starting price of $49,000. (Note: The car category does not include SUVs and trucks.)

    The high average selling price of the Model 3 and the record deliveries have resulted in Tesla’s Model 3 being the #1 best-selling car in the US by revenue in both July and August.

    https://climatecrocks.com/2018/09/09/tesla-model-3-sales-soar/

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  16. wharf rat

     /  September 11, 2018

    The road to “fixing the problem” runs thru The Republic of Awesome. I’m really gonna miss Jerry. I’d like one more chance to vote for him for president.

    Gov. Brown’s new climate goal: less than zero global warming emissions
    https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/California-to-go-100-percent-clean-energy-by-2045-13218236.php

    David R. Baker Sep. 10, 2018 Updated: Sep. 10, 2018 8:04 p.m.

    Gov. Jerry Brown has repeatedly ratcheted up California’s global warming goals, setting ever-higher targets for the use of renewable power and demanding deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

    But on Monday, Brown announced a climate goal so ambitious that many experts don’t know how to reach it.

    As diplomats descended on San Francisco for a global climate conference, Brown signed an executive order calling for the state to slash its overall emissions to zero by 2045 and then go negative. Starting in 2046, California would pull more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, year-by-year, than it put in.

    The governor also signed a bill, SB100, that calls for 100 percent of the state’s electricity to come from carbon-free sources by 2045.

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  17. kassy

     /  September 12, 2018

    NEW YORK, Sept 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The United States is on course to meet its targets to cut geenhouse gas emissions, because cities and states are taking on the climate change fight abandoned by President Donald Trump, according to report released on Wednesday.

    for details see:

    http://news.trust.org/item/20180912072940-0hn98/

    so that was the good news….

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  18. kassy

     /  September 12, 2018

    Europe’s renewable energy directive poised to harm global forests
    September 12, 2018, Princeton University

    Europe’s decision to promote the use of wood as a “renewable fuel” will likely greatly increase Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and cause severe harm to the world’s forests, according to a new paper published in Nature Communications.

    European officials on final language for a renewable energy directive earlier this summer that will almost double Europe’s use of renewable energy by 2030. Against the advice of 800 scientists, the directive now treats wood as a low-carbon fuel, meaning that whole trees or large portions of trees can be cut down deliberately to burn. Such uses go beyond papermaking wastes and other wood wastes, which have long been used for bioenergy, but not to this magnitude.

    The paper, co-authored by eight scientists from the United States and Europe, estimates that this bioenergy provision in the Renewable Energy Directive will lead to vast new cutting of the world’s forests. This is because additional wood equal to all of Europe’s existing wood harvests will be needed just to supply 5 percent of Europe’s energy.

    The paper also estimates that using wood for energy will likely result in 10 to 15 percent in emissions from Europe’s energy use by 2050. This could occur by turning a 5 percent decrease in emissions required under the directive using solar energy or wind energy into a 5 to 10 increase by using wood.

    Europe’s increased wood demand will require additional cutting in forests around the world, but the researchers explain the global impact is likely to be even greater by encouraging other countries to do the same. Already, tropical forest countries like Brazil and Indonesia have announced they, too, will try to reduce the effect of climate change by increasing their use of wood for bioenergy.

    and much more on:

    https://phys.org/news/2018-09-europe-renewable-energy-poised-global.html

    Lets hope the gains from solar/wind are too alluring.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • mlp in nc

       /  September 13, 2018

      This is no joke. Vast swaths are even now being cut out of our rural NC forests. It’s terrible, horrible insanity. Carbon needs to go into the soil to replenish it, not be put in the atmosphere.

      Liked by 1 person

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  19. wharf rat

     /  September 12, 2018

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  20. mlp in nc

     /  September 13, 2018

    More on how air pollution and smoke are bad for you. (For DT)
    Carbon nanodots do an ultrafine job with in vitro lung tissue. Sep 11, 2018. Am Institute of Physics. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180911114545.htm.

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  21. wili

     /  September 17, 2018

    New Jersey approves new home solar initiative. Program eliminates up front costs and creates a net-zero monthly electric bill.

    NJ Brings No Cost Solar to Homeowners
    https://thesolarinstitute.org/nj-brings-no-cost-solar-homeowners/

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  22. Kiwi Griff

     /  September 17, 2018

    This is how the world ends: will we soon see category 6 hurricanes?
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/15/hurricane-category-6-this-is-how-world-ends-book-climate-change

    There is no such thing as a category 6 hurricane or tropical storm – yet. But a combination of warmer oceans and more water in the atmosphere could make the devastation of 2017 pale in comparison

    There is no such thing as a category 6 hurricane or tropical storm – yet. The highest level – the top of the scale for the most powerful, most devastating hurricane or tropical storm capable of destroying entire cities like New Orleans or New York – is a category 5 storm.

    Meteorologists and scientists never imagined that there would be a need for a category 6 storm, with winds that exceed 200 miles per hour on a sustained basis, sweeping away everything in its path. Until now, such a storm wasn’t possible, so there was no need for a new category above category 5.
    Hurricane season may be even worse in 2018 after a harrowing 2017

    Right now, however, there is anywhere from 5 to 8% more water vapor circulating throughout the atmosphere than there was a generation ago. This, combined with warmer temperatures that are driving water up from the deep ocean in places where hurricanes typically form, has created the potential for superstorms that we haven’t seen before – and aren’t really prepared for.

    This combination of warmer oceans and more water in the earth’s atmosphere – whipsawed by sustained periods of drier and wetter conditions in regions of the world that create superstorms – is now starting to create storms with conditions that look precisely what a category 6 hurricane would look like.

    No one in America has ever experienced the wrath and fury of a category 6 hurricane, which now genuinely seems possible and realistic. We’ve been lucky. Unofficial category 6 hurricanes have appeared in other parts of the world, and we’re seeing much stronger storms on a regular basis. It’s only a matter of time before one hits the US

    Tropical cyclones are also moving poleward over time.
    Places like NZ that dont build to the standards needed to cope with the full force of these Tropical cyclones are going to get hit sooner or later.
    When that happens we can expect extreme destruction.

    Thanks for the post Robert.
    Many of us use your forum to spread news far further than our sources can reach alone.
    Or come here to read what we all contribute from around the globe.

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  23. kassy

     /  September 18, 2018

    Investigation: Beauty spot oil well releases hundreds tonnes of methane into the atmosphere

    A small oil well on the world heritage coast in Dorset is legally allowed to emit hundreds of tonnes of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, annually direct into the atmosphere.
    And it is apparently not alone. According to the Environment Agency, “many” existing conventional oil-producing sites in England are also venting gases produced during extraction.

    The Environment Agency has estimated that the Dorset well, operated by Perenco from the cliff-top at Kimmeridge Bay, released nearly 300 tonnes of methane in 2017.

    Over its life, the well could have emitted the equivalent of more than a million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

    This appears to contradict assurances that the onshore industry takes great care to avoid venting gases and it raises questions about the strength of UK oil and gas regulations.

    Methane venting at Kimmeridge has been investigated by Stuart Lane, a campaigner and researcher in Dorset, following a tip-off. He said:

    “I was told by a reliable source that the Kimmeridge well was cold venting methane.

    “After some back and forth with the Environment Agency, it became clear that not only was the well cold venting methane, it was doing so by design.

    “Unlike accounts that I was aware of in the United States and Australia, where methane is leaking from poorly managed fracking wells, the Kimmeridge well is not leaking. It isn’t attempting to capture the gas that accompanies the oil upon extraction. Neither does the site combust it and flare it off as carbon dioxide.”

    Mr Lane said:

    “The regulatory system appears to be permitting gross levels of pollution that fly in that face of legally binding climate change commitments including the 2008 Climate Change Act.

    “It is clear the mitigation options have been investigated but the most obvious and simplest approach in my opinion would be to close any well that is not designed to avoid methane emissions.

    and more on:
    https://drillordrop.com/2018/09/17/investigation-beauty-spot-oil-well-releases-hundreds-tonnes-of-methane-into-the-atmosphere/

    Lets call them potential quick gains…

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  24. kassy

     /  September 18, 2018

    Coal ash spill reported outside Wilmington, NC as Florence’s record rain totals mount

    Duke Energy was instructed to clean up its North Carolina coal ash ponds two years ago, a task that was not completed by the time Florence emerged as a threat to the region.

    As the AP reported:

    “Unfortunately, Duke Energy has spent years lobbying and litigating and still has not removed the coal ash from its dangerous riverfront pits in the coastal area, some of which are in the floodplain,” said Frank Holleman, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center who has battled the company in court.

    https://thinkprogress.org/coal-ash-spill-wilmington-florence-e7cbb2cdf492/

    Liked by 2 people

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  25. kassy

     /  September 18, 2018

    States Begged EPA to Stop Cross-State Coal Plant Pollution. Wheeler Just Refused

    Delaware and Maryland have been pleading for years with the Environmental Protection Agency to help address the smog pollution they say is blowing across their borders from coal-fired power plants in other states and making their residents sick.

    The Trump EPA just said no.

    The 111-page notice of denial from the agency shows that Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, is following in the fossil fuel-friendly policy direction set by his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, while being more cautious to spell out the agency’s legal reasoning.

    for details:
    https://insideclimatenews.org/news/17092018/coal-plant-smog-pollution-epa-ruling-state-border-health-maryland-delaware-andrew-wheeler

    Liked by 2 people

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  26. wili

     /  September 19, 2018

    Thawing Permafrost May Release More CO2 Than Previously Thought

    Quote

    Over long, geologic time scales, carbonic acid weathering is an important control on atmospheric CO2 levels and climate, but under the right conditions, weathering by sulfuric acid can release substantial CO2.

    Ph.D. candidate Scott Zolkos and his supervisor, U of A biologist Suzanne Tank, found that these conditions are prevalent in the western Canadian Arctic.

    “We found that rapidly thawing permafrost on the Peel Plateau in the Northwest Territories is greatly enhancing mineral weathering,” explained Zolkos, the lead author on the study. “Because weathering is largely driven by sulfuric acid in this region, intensifying permafrost thaw could be an additional source of CO2 to the atmosphere.”

    The researchers worked with scientists from the Northwest Territories Geoscience Office to examine long-term records of river chemistry from the Peel River.

    They found that weathering driven by sulfuric acid has intensified with regional permafrost thaw in recent decades, and likely increased the amount of CO2 released into the surrounding water and air.

    Scott Zolkos et al. Mineral Weathering and the Permafrost Carbon-Climate Feedback, Geophysical Research Letters (2018).

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    • wili

       /  September 19, 2018

      This kinda compliments a previous study

      Thawing Permafrost Produces More Methane Than Expected

      Quote

      … What they found: without oxygen, equal amounts of methane and CO2 are produced. But since methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas, it is more significant. Because methane production couldn’t be measured, it was assumed that in the absence of oxygen only very small amounts of it can be formed. “It takes an extremely long time until stable methane-producing microorganisms develop in thawing permafrost,” explains Knoblauch. “That’s why it was so difficult to demonstrate methane production until now.”

      “By combining process-based and molecular-microbiological methods, our study shows for the first time that the methane-forming microorganisms in the thawing permafrost have significant influence on the greenhouse gas budget,” adds co-author Susanne Liebner from the Helmholtz Center Potsdam – GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences

      Knoblauch C, Beer C, Liebner S, Grigoriev M N, Pfeiffer E-M (2018): Methane production as key to the greenhouse gas budget of thawing permafrost; Nature Climate Change

      (Thanks to vox at asif for these)

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  27. mlp in nc

     /  September 20, 2018

    Unprecedented ice loss in Russian ice cap. Sep19, 2018. U. of Colorado at Boulder
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180919144910.htm

    In the last few years, the Vavilov Ice Cap in the Russian High Arctic has dramatically accelerated, sliding as much as 82 feet a day in 2015, according to a new multi-national, multi-institute study. That dwarfs the ice’s previous average speed of about 2 inches per day and has challenged scientists’ assumptions about the stability of the cold ice caps dotting Earth’s high latitudes.

    Glaciers and ice caps like Vavilov cover nearly 300,000 square miles of Earth’s surface and hold about a foot of potential sea-level rise. Scientists have never seen such acceleration in this kind of ice cap before, and the authors of the new paper wrote that their finding raises the possibility that other, currently stable ice caps may be more vulnerable than expected.

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  28. mlp in nc

     /  September 20, 2018

    Moderate warming could melt East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Sep 19, 2018. U. Queensland
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180919133041.htm

    Parts of the world’s largest ice sheet would melt if Antarctic warming of just 2°C is sustained for millennia, according to international research.

    Dr Welsh said marine sediment layers indicated the ice sheet had retreated during warming in the late Pleistocene period, when temperatures were like those predicted for this century.

    “Antarctica is around twice the size of Australia, with ice sheets several kilometres thick and containing around half of the world’s fresh water,” he said. “The East Antarctic Ice Sheet covers about two thirds of the area, and because its base is largely above sea level it was generally thought to be less sensitive to warming climates than the adjacent West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

    “However, some areas — like the Wilkes Land Subglacial Basin, directly south of Australia — are below sea level and contain enough ice to raise global sea levels by several metres.
    “The evidence we have suggests that with the predicted 2°C warming in Antarctica — if sustained over a couple of millennia — the sheet would start melting in these locations.”

    Dr Welsh, from UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, said the team chemically analysed layers of sediment deposited on the Southern Ocean floor by glaciers. “We found that the most extreme changes in the ice sheet occurred during two interglacial periods 125,000 and 400,000 years ago, when global sea levels were several metres higher than they are today,” he said.

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  29. Abel Adamski

     /  September 21, 2018

    Cats and canaries, new discoveries throw the CO2 concentration timeline out of kilter.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/08/record-shattering-27-million-year-old-ice-core-reveals-start-ice-ages
    Record-shattering 2.7-million-year-old ice core reveals start of the ice ages
    Scientists announced today that a core drilled in Antarctica has yielded 2.7-million-year-old ice, an astonishing find 1.7 million years older than the previous record-holder. Bubbles in the ice contain greenhouse gases from Earth’s atmosphere at a time when the planet’s cycles of glacial advance and retreat were just beginning, potentially offering clues to what triggered the ice ages. That information alone makes the value of the sample “incredible,” says David Shuster, a geochemist at the University of California, Berkeley, who is unaffiliated with the research. “This is the only sample of ancient Earth’s atmosphere that we have access to.”

    Described at the Goldschmidt Conference in Paris by Yuzhen Yan, a graduate student at Princeton University, the ice revealed atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels that did not exceed 300 parts per million, well below today’s levels. Some models of ancient climate predict that such relatively low levels would be needed to tip Earth into a series of ice ages. But some proxies gleaned from the fossils of animals that lived in shallow oceans had indicated higher CO2 levels. If the new result holds up, says Yige Zhang, a paleoclimatologist at Texas A&M University in College Station, the proxies will need to be recalibrated. “We have some work to do.”

    In 2010, the team drilled their first hole at the Allan Hills, in a place where the ice was shallow and thought to be ascending a hill, with a chance of being stuck against bedrock. They drilled horizontally, toward the hill, in the hopes that the ice would get older as they drilled farther. They ran out of time after 128 meters, before they reached bedrock, but the unfinished core yielded some chunks of ice that were 1 million years old. It was the first sample older than 800,000 years, from a crucial time when glacial periods were switching from occurring every 40,000 years or so to every 100,000 years.

    In 2015, the team returned to try again. The environment was harsh, with constant wind shearing their clutch of tents. “Cold is one thing,” says Princeton geochemist John Higgins, “but windy cold is just another beast.” Yet they were able to drill the remaining 20 meters to bedrock, and found the ice that, along with several other new cores, yielded the ancient samples.
    Now, the Princeton team wants to go back to the blue ice and drill some more, Brook says—not only to fill in the climate cycles of the last 2.7 million years with a multitude of snapshots, but also to go even deeper in time, before the ice ages, when CO2 levels were higher. There’s evidence that Antarctica has hosted at least some ice for 30 million years. It’s plausible, Brook says, that the next attempt could come back with ice 5 million years old—a time when temperatures are thought to resemble what Earth is heading toward with human-driven warming.

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  30. wharf rat

     /  September 21, 2018

    Hurricane Florence and Arctic sea ice

    Yet another destructive hurricane has hit the US, following a highly unusual path, smashing precipitation records all around. Dr Jennifer Francis breaks it down in this excellent video from The Real News Network (please, share):

    http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2018/09/hurricane-florence-and-arctic-sea-ice.html

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  31. Andy_in_SD

     /  September 22, 2018

    This is an internal graph from 1960 created by Exxon. Their folks had calculated what carbon emissions would do.

    NOTE: This was calculated and graphed by Exxon.

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  32. kassy

     /  September 22, 2018

    Electric car batteries’ ‘second life’ could be a clean energy game-changer

    that millions of used EV batteries will eventually be flooding the market — batteries that may have as much as 70 percent of their original power capacity, even though it can no longer meet the strict requirements for powering its car.
    No wonder every major car company in the world is exploring how much value their EV battery has in its “second life.” After all, BNEF projects that over the next three decades, companies will spend some $550 billion “in home, industrial and grid-scale battery storage.”

    for details see
    https://thinkprogress.org/how-used-electric-car-batteries-will-turbocharge-the-renewables-revolution-4baf33d4b15f/

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  33. kassy

     /  September 25, 2018

    Climate change kills Antarctica’s ancient moss beds

    Emerging from the ice for a brief growing season every Antarctic summer, the lush green mosses of East Antarctica are finally succumbing to climate change.
    That is according to a study of the small, ancient and hardy plants – carried out over more than a decade.
    This revealed that vegetation in East Antarctica is changing rapidly in response to a drying climate.

    ….

    East Antarctica has not yet experienced much climate warming, so the scientists did not expect to see much change in the vegetation there.
    “But we were really surprised when we saw how fast it was changing,” Prof Robinson said.
    “After a pilot study in 2000, we set up monitoring in 2003. When we returned in 2008, all these green moss beds had turned dark red, indicating they were severely stressed. It was a dramatic change.
    “They change from green to red to grey if they get really stressed.
    “The red pigments are the sunscreen and drought stress protective pigments they produce to protect themselves – antioxidant and UV screening compounds.
    “Grey means they are dying.”

    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45629395

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  34. kassy

     /  September 25, 2018

    This one might be interesting to share

    U.S. is second biggest loser from climate change economically, bombshell study finds
    Study blows up “total myth” that climate action benefits other countries more.

    One of the biggest myths about global warming pushed by the President Trump is that climate action benefits other countries much more than us.
    But a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change makes clear that, in fact, the reverse is true: There is only one country in the world, India, that benefits more than the United States when carbon pollution is reduced.

    The study, “Country-level social cost of carbon,” takes the novel approach of calculating the social cost of carbon (SCC) — “the measure of the economic harm from carbon dioxide emissions” — for each individual country.

    This country-level SCC is an estimate of the marginal damage expected to occur in a given country as a consequence of one more metric ton of emissions of carbon dioxide, CO2 — the primary human-generated greenhouse gas — being released anywhere in the world.

    The study found that India suffered the most from additional carbon pollution followed by the United States — and thus have the most to gain economically from climate action, whether at home or internationally.

    for more details see
    https://thinkprogress.org/u-s-is-second-biggest-loser-from-climate-change-economically-bombshell-study-finds-677ae19f3787/

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  35. kassy

     /  September 26, 2018

    ‘Whitewash’: US oil and gas lobbyists try to discredit Australian seismic research

    Some of the world’s biggest energy companies are lining up to defend their widely used offshore exploration technique from the conclusions of a small group of Australian scientists, who say the seismic surveys can kill zooplankton and harm invertebrates.
    The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC) have been writing to authorities in the United States claiming the work of Associate Prof Robert McCauley, of Curtin University in Western Australia, and his colleagues is “seriously flawed

    ….

    Some of the world’s biggest energy companies are lining up to defend their widely used offshore exploration technique from the conclusions of a small group of Australian scientists, who say the seismic surveys can kill zooplankton and harm invertebrates.
    The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC) have been writing to authorities in the United States claiming the work of Associate Prof Robert McCauley, of Curtin University in Western Australia, and his colleagues is “seriously flawed

    McCauley says the reviews were a “whole load of whitewash”. He had only agreed his study needed replicating, a point made in his original research paper. “For them to say that I agreed with ‘shortcomings’ is rubbish,” he said.
    “We knew it was going to cause a stir. There are a lot of experiments under way to look further at this issue and those are being done where they won’t be able to be discredited,” he said.
    McCauley’s colleague, Associate Prof Jayson Semmens, of the institute of marine and Antarctic studies, said it was “absolutely not” the case that he had admitted to “shortcomings”.
    “I’m guessing there is some confusion there. We have not hidden behind our science and we have spoken about it at conferences and at meetings.
    “In terms of us agreeing there are all these issues … well … that’s not correct, because in that case we would not be publishing them. There’s no perfect experiment, but we are very confident in what we’ve done.”

    and more on
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/25/whitewash-us-oil-and-gas-lobbyists-try-to-discredit-australian-seismic-research

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  36. Kiwi Griff

     /  September 27, 2018

    A rare, out of season tropical cyclone has formed in the Southwest Pacific – and an expert has issued a warning for New Zealand.

    Tropical Cyclone Liua is growing in strength ner the southern Soloman Islands, although Fiji MetService says it is likely to remain Category 1.

    NIWA has revealed this is the first tropical cyclone to form in September in the Southwest Pacific since 1950 – or in 68 years.

    Weather Watch head forecaster Philip Duncan says it could be an ominous sign for summer.

    “Often we see tropical storms still forming after a cyclone season has officially ended as sea surface temperatures after summer can take several weeks to cool down,” he says.

    “However we have literally just passed the point where sea temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere should be at their coolest.

    “To see a cyclone form so early in the season may be an indicator of bigger storms to come this summer.”

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/09/weather-cyclone-liua-forms-in-pacific-leftovers-could-reach-nz.html

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  37. mlp in nc

     /  September 27, 2018

    NASA pic of NC rivers dumping debris into the ocean after Florence. Robert has pretty much covered what that debris might be.
    https://www.iflscience.com/environment/after-hurricane-florence-debris-flooding-rivers-can-be-seen-from-space/

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  38. kassy

     /  September 29, 2018

    Trump administration sees a 7-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100

    Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous seven degrees by the end of this century.

    ….

    Using the no-action scenario “is a textbook example of how to lie with statistics,” said MIT Sloan School of Management professor John Sterman. “First, the administration proposes vehicle efficiency policies that would do almost nothing [to fight climate change]. Then [the administration] makes their impact seem even smaller by comparing their proposals to what would happen if the entire world does nothing.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/trump-administration-sees-a-7-degree-rise-in-global-temperatures-by-2100/2018/09/27/b9c6fada-bb45-11e8-bdc0-90f81cc58c5d_story.html?utm_term=.5b82c6cadc26

    Another take on this story on
    https://www.wired.com/story/trumps-auto-emissions-plan-is-full-of-faulty-logic/

    I always wonder why the people making this up hate their (grand) children so much…

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  39. wharf rat

     /  September 29, 2018

    “I always wonder why the people making this up hate their (grand) children so much…”

    This could prove very helpful in the Childrens’ Trust climate suit.

    On July 30, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of the 21 youth plaintiffs in Juliana v. United States, the constitutional climate lawsuit filed against the federal government. The Court denied the Trump administration’s application for stay, preserving the U.S. District Court’s trial start date of October 29, 2018. The Court also denied the government’s “premature” request to review the case before the district court hears all of the facts that support the youth’s claims at trial.

    https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/us/federal-lawsuit/

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    • kassy

       /  September 30, 2018

      One would hope so. It is my understanding that there will be all sorts of litigation on numbers used for new laws or breaking down-not enforcing old laws because the government does not get to pick just numbers.

      They will probably lose quite a few but is all a big waste of our time.

      Like

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  40. wharf rat

     /  September 30, 2018

    California defies Trump on climate change with new car emissions rules
    Updated September 28, 2018 02:48 PM

    Defying the Trump administration on climate change, California’s air-pollution agency ruled Friday that automakers must comply with the state’s strict rules on greenhouse gases if they want to continue selling cars here.

    The California Air Resources Board approved a regulation that will significantly curtail carbon spewed by new cars sold in the state, beginning in 2021.

    The board’s vote is likely to intensify the state’s conflict with the Trump administration over greenhouse gases from cars, a fight that’s been brewing since shortly after President Donald Trump took office….

    https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/environment/article219131785.html

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  41. mlp in nc

     /  October 4, 2018

    A warmer spring leads to less plant growth in summer. Oct 3, 2018. Vienna University of Technology. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181003134507.htm

    Climate change influences plant growth, with springtime growth beginning earlier each year. Up to now, it was thought that this phenomenon was slowing climate change, as scientists believed this process led to more carbon being absorbed from the atmosphere for photosynthesis and more biomass production. However, as evaluations of satellite data undertaken at TU Wien have now shown, this is not the case. On the contrary, in many regions, an early spring actually leads to less plant growth.

    There may be a range of reasons for this: greater plant growth in the spring may increase transpiration and the demand for water which in turn decreases soil moisture content and results in insufficient water being available to plants later in the year. It is possible that certain plants also have a predetermined growth period that is not extended by the earlier onset of growth.

    Previous climate models did take into account plant growth, but they underestimated the role of this adverse effect. The models must therefore be improved. “Unfortunately, this changes climate forecasts for the worse,” says Forkel. “We have to assume that the consequences of global warming will be even more dramatic than previously calculated.”

    Journal Reference:
    Wolfgang Buermann, Matthias Forkel, Michael O’Sullivan, Stephen Sitch, Pierre Friedlingstein, Vanessa Haverd, Atul K. Jain, Etsushi Kato, Markus Kautz, Sebastian Lienert, Danica Lombardozzi, Julia E. M. S. Nabel, Hanqin Tian, Andrew J. Wiltshire, Dan Zhu, William K. Smith, Andrew D. Richardson. Widespread seasonal compensation effects of spring warming on northern plant productivity. Nature, 2018; 562 (7725): 110 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0555-7

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    • mlp in nc

       /  October 4, 2018

      And a related article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0582-4

      Letter | Published: 03 October 2018 Nature (2018)
      Effects of climate warming on photosynthesis in boreal tree species depend on soil moisture
      Peter B. Reich, Kerrie M. Sendall, Artur Stefanski, Roy L. Rich, Sarah E. Hobbie & Rebecca A. Montgomery .

      Abstract
      Climate warming will influence photosynthesis via thermal effects and by altering soil moisture1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11. Both effects may be important for the vast areas of global forests that fluctuate between periods when cool temperatures limit photosynthesis and periods when soil moisture may be limiting to carbon gain4,5,6,9,10,11. Here we show that the effects of climate warming flip from positive to negative as southern boreal forests transition from rainy to modestly dry periods during the growing season. In a three-year open-air warming experiment with juveniles of 11 temperate and boreal tree species, an increase of 3.4 °C in temperature increased light-saturated net photosynthesis and leaf diffusive conductance on average on the one-third of days with the wettest soils. In all 11 species, leaf diffusive conductance and, as a result, light-saturated net photosynthesis decreased during dry spells, and did so more sharply in warmed plants than in plants at ambient temperatures. Consequently, across the 11 species, warming reduced light-saturated net photosynthesis on the two-thirds of days with driest soils. Thus, low soil moisture may reduce, or even reverse, the potential benefits of climate warming on photosynthesis in mesic, seasonally cold environments, both during drought and in regularly occurring, modestly dry periods during the growing season.

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  42. mlp in nc

     /  October 4, 2018

    In the STGT (seems too good to be true) category: A non-toxic molecule that can store heat (as from the sun) for up to 18 years. The heat is then and the original molecule sent for reuse. Commercial use projected in 10 years.

    Emissions-free energy system saves heat from the summer sun for winter. Oct3, 2018
    Chalmers University of Technology.https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181003090348.htm

    Liked by 1 person

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    • kassy

       /  October 4, 2018

      The chemistry it uses is pretty normal:
      The molecule, made from carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, has the unique property that when it is hit by sunlight, it is transformed into an energy-rich isomer — a molecule which consists of the same atoms, but bound together in a different way.
      This isomer can then be stored for use when that energy is later needed — for example, at night or in winter.

      So this sounds good to me. Thanks for posting!

      Liked by 1 person

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  43. mlp in nc

     /  October 4, 2018

    Lots of news in Science Daily today. Here is the first really new construction technique since, oh, the time of the Pharoahs. Now if it’s really practical . . .

    Smart technology for synchronized 3D printing of concrete. Oct 2, 2018. Source:
    Nanyang Technological University. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181002102856.htm
    Summary:
    Scientists have developed a technology where two robots can work in unison to 3D-print a concrete structure.

    Like

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  44. Abel Adamski

     /  October 4, 2018

    And another one of value
    Increase Solar cell efficiency by shaping the light spectrum, upscaling infrared to usable visible spectrum
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150727180231.htm

    Liked by 1 person

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  45. kassy

     /  October 4, 2018

    The following is slightly OT but it is about ravens so…

    The Tower of London ravens have learned to swear at kids and steal peoples Pringles (whole tube)…and they wash them when they don´t like the taste. 🙂

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/03/tower-london-ravens-swearing-schoolchildren-have-learned-naughty/

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Jeremy in Wales

       /  October 5, 2018

      Bendigeidfran (Blessed Crow) or Bran the Blessed was a king and a giant of Welsh mythology (Mabinogi). The following is a brief summary from Wikipedia:

      The Irish king Matholwch sails to Harlech to speak with Bran the Blessed high king of the Island of the Mighty and to ask for the hand of his sister Branwen in marriage, thus forging an alliance between the two islands. Bendigeidfran agrees to Matholwch’s request, but the celebrations are cut short when Efnisien, a half-brother to the children of Llŷr, brutally mutilates Matholwch’s horses, angry that his permission was not sought in regard to the marriage.[1] Matholwch is deeply offended until Bran offers him compensation in the form of a magic cauldron that can restore the dead to life. Pleased with the gift, Matholwch and Branwen sail back to Ireland to reign.

      Once in Matholwch’s kingdom, Branwen gives birth to a son, Gwern, but Efnysien’s insult continues to rankle among the Irish and, eventually, Branwen is mistreated, banished to the kitchen[1] and beaten every day. She tames a starling and sends it across the Irish Sea with a message to her brother Bendigeidfran, who sails from Wales to Ireland to rescue her with his brother, Manawydan and a huge host of warriors, mustered from the 154 cantrefs of Britain. The Irish offer to make peace and build a house big enough to entertain Bendigeidfrân but hang a hundred bags inside, supposedly containing flour but actually containing armed warriors. Efnysien, suspecting treachery, reconnoiters the hall and kills the warriors by crushing their skulls. Later, at the feast, Efnysien, again feeling insulted, murders Gwern by burning him alive, and, as a result, a vicious battle breaks out. Seeing that the Irish are using the cauldron to revive their dead, he hides among the Irish corpses and is thrown into the cauldron by the unwitting enemy. He destroys the cauldron from within, sacrificing himself in the process.

      Only seven men survive the conflict, among them Manawydan, Taliesin and Pryderi fab Pwyll, prince of Dyfed, Branwen having herself died of a broken heart.[3] The survivors are told by a mortally wounded Bran to cut off his head and to return it to Britain.[3] For seven years the seven survivors stay in Harlech, where they are entertained by Bran’s head, which continues to speak. They later move on to Gwales (often identified with Grassholm Island off Dyfed) where they live for eighty years without perceiving the passing of time. Eventually, Heilyn fab Gwyn opens the door of the hall facing Cornwall and the sorrow of what had befallen them returns. As instructed they take the now silent head to the Gwynfryn, the “White Hill” (thought to be the location where the Tower of London now stands), where they bury it facing France so as to ward off invasion. The imagery of the talking head is widely considered to derive from the ancient Celtic “cult of the head”; the head was considered the home of the soul.[1]

      So Bran’s head is buried under the Tower of London and hence the Ravens have to be kept at the Tower and occassionaly have their wings clipped to ensure they remain. If they do not Britain will be invaded (that did not work out too well, Vikings, Normans, French (Brittany)).

      Personally think Bran is most likely connected with Llangollen and Castell Dinas Bran.

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  46. Jeremy in Wales

     /  October 5, 2018

    Looks like some major cracks in ice shelves propergrated over the Antartic winter and so we may have major calving of the Brunt Ice Shelf and the Pine Island Glacier in next few months. Just hope Halley BAS base safe.

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  47. kassy

     /  October 5, 2018

    Test your arctic knowledge (i really helps).

    https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=0a4eb46199b7

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  48. kassy

     /  October 6, 2018

    A good piece on recent science on wind power:

    No, Wind Farms Are Not Causing Global Warming

    Despite what you may have reader, wind farms are not causing the planet to heat up. The current claims that they do stem from a misreading of a scientific study, which does not show anything of the kind.
    The study in question was conducted by Lee Miller and David Keith at Harvard University. The pair simulated what would happen if the US’s entire electricity demand was supplied solely by wind turbines. This is not a plausible scenario, because the electricity grid is easier to run if it has a mix of sources rather than just one, but let’s set that aside: it’s a “what if” question, designed solely to examine how the turbines affect the surrounding environment.
    Miller and Keith estimate that this many wind turbines would heat up the surface area over the continental US by 0.24°C. The study was published in the journal Joule.

    At first glance, 0.24°C seems like quite a lot – particularly when you consider that we are being told that we must do everything possible to limit global warming to 2°C or even 1.5°C. But that is where the misreadings come in.
    For starters, that warming is only occurring over the US – a rather small fraction of the Earth’s surface. It would take much more energy to warm the entire planet’s surface by 0.24°C.

    But that is almost beside the point, because the wind turbines are not generating extra heat. Instead, they are moving the existing heat around. Normally, the air just above the ground cools at night, but the rotating turbine blades draw down warmer air from higher up. So things get warmer just under the turbines at night while they’re on, but they also get cooler elsewhere. The planet as a whole does not warm at all.

    continues on
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelmarshalleurope/2018/10/05/no-wind-farms-are-not-causing-global-warming/#24778ce9f8ce

    Liked by 1 person

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  49. kassy

     /  October 8, 2018

    Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe’

    It’s the final call, say scientists, the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures.

    Their dramatic report on keeping that rise under 1.5 degrees C states that the world is now completely off track, heading instead towards 3C.

    Keeping to the preferred target of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels will mean “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.

    It will be hugely expensive – but the window of opportunity remains open.
    After three years of research and a week of haggling between scientists and government officials at a meeting in South Korea, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a special report on the impact of global warming of 1.5C.

    there are some key messages that come through loud and clear.

    “The first is that limiting warming to 1.5C brings a lot of benefits compared with limiting it to 2 degrees. It really reduces the impacts of climate change in very important ways,” said Prof Jim Skea, who is a co-chair of the IPCC.

    “The second is the unprecedented nature of the changes that are required if we are to limit warming to 1.5C – changes to energy systems, changes to the way we manage land, changes to the way we move around with transportation.”

    and more

    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45775309

    Not really news but in the news.

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  50. wharf rat

     /  October 8, 2018

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  51. Abel Adamski

     /  October 10, 2018

    The Magic Au22
    The bacterium that uses Gold, Sunlight and CO2 to produce Acetate – a chemical feedstock
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181009140014.htm
    This bacterium gets paid in gold
    Harvesting solar fuels through a bacterium’s unusual appetite for gold
    Scientists have placed light-absorbing gold nanoclusters inside a bacterium, creating a biohybrid system that produces a higher yield of chemical products, such as biofuels, than previously demonstrated. The biohybrid captures sunlight and carbon dioxide to make chemicals useful not only on Earth but also in the exotic environment of space.

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  52. kassy

     /  October 11, 2018

    Also google DMI 80 North for a graph of the weather up there. WordPress refuses to post the link as it is.

    Like

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  53. mlp in nc

     /  October 11, 2018

    Changes in polar jet circulation bring more dust from Sahara Desert to the Arctic. Oct. 10, 2018. NYU Abu Dhabi. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181010105615.htm

    Researchers at NYU Abu Dhabi, along with other global scientists, have identified a new mechanism by which warm dust travels from the Sahara Desert to the Arctic Circle, which has been proven to affect rising temperatures and ice melt in Greenland.

    A meandering polar jet was discovered as responsible for both the emission and transport of dust from Northwest Africa to the Arctic. The emission has been linked to an intense Saharan cyclone that formed in early April 2011, which was caused by the intrusion of an upper-level trough emanating from the polar jet.

    The study has found that atmospheric circulation of this nature enables the transport of dust, as well as warm and moist air masses from subtropics and mid-latitudes to the Arctic, where approximately half of the warming is now being attributed to increased moisture and heat fluxes transported to the region.

    The warm and moist air masses accompanying the Saharan dust caused a rise in surface temperature of 10 degrees Celsius for more than three consecutive days upon reaching southeastern Greenland. Subsequent temperature observations detected increased melting within the ice across this same area.

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  54. mlp in nc

     /  October 11, 2018

    Another update on the spiking hourly methane in Barrow. (CH4, in situ data, hourly, current year). It’s really striking. It’s been going on since July, and instead of decreasing seems to be increasing with recently the biggest spike yet. To see how abnormal it is, just compare to last year.
    Is it real or a measurement error, since the methane flask measurements have to be explained too?. Or is it just too insignificant overall to worry about?
    I checked twelve other stations in the Arctic. All of them have flask, discrete data, but none comparable hourly, in situ data. Only Tiksi, Russia shows recent high excursions, and they are pretty striking, too. (Go to ‘Site Selection” upper right screen)
    https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/dv/iadv/graph.php?code=BRW&program=ccgg&type=ts

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  55. kassy

     /  October 12, 2018

    Also

    Rapid, widespread changes may be coming to Antarctica’s Dry Valleys

    Led by Andrew Fountain, a geology professor in PSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a team of researchers used an airborne laser scanner, or lidar, to measure the surface elevations of glaciers, soils and ice-covered lakes in Antarctica’s largest exposed land region. The team then compared the elevations to similar measurements made in 2001 by a different project.

    “Millions of cubic meters of buried ice have melted in the last decade,” said Joseph Levy, the paper’s lead author and an assistant professor of geology at Colgate University. “It’s unprecedented change over the historic period of Antarctica and perhaps since the end of the last ice age. If it keeps up, it could remove the last ice deposits from some valleys in about five hundred years.”
    Levy said they believe the culprit is meltwater. When soils thaw and become wet from melting the buried ice below, their insulating capacity is reduced and they conduct much more heat.
    “The valleys have been considered almost timeless, yet here we see some changes that would be considered rapid even in more temperate climates,” Fountain said.
    These rapid changes over the past 14 years come at a time when the Antarctic climate may be turning a corner. While the Dry Valleys region was cooling locally during the 1990s and early 2000s, warmer summers followed. A major melt episode in the Antarctic summer of 2001-2002 set the stage for widespread melting in this polar desert landscape

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181009135822.htm

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  56. kassy

     /  October 12, 2018

    Hm three links in one response put it in moderation. Trying a repost since it has been sort of a long week already.

    background
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Victorian_Holocausts

    research
    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/wsu-wvc101018.php

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  57. wharf rat

     /  October 12, 2018

    How a Fortnite squad of scientists is hoping to defeat climate change
    By Robin George Andrews

    https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/10/17914098/fortnite-climate-change-fight-scientists-global-warming-video-games

    Fortnite is the world’s most popular video game, with hundreds of millions of players worldwide. (In August, a record 78.3 million played the game.) The premise is a lot like the Japanese movie Battle Royale: 100 people land on an island, only one person or team can win, and victory is obtained by murdering everyone else. To make things more exciting, a toxic storm slowly begins to compress the map so that the players are forced into the same areas. As in The Hunger Games, special caches, including crates and llamas, are dropped to encourage players to go to the same areas. It is fast-paced, fantastical, and utterly ludicrous — and, perhaps, a great platform to talk about climate change.

    It could be said that too many scientists discuss climate change as an abstract issue that most ordinary people struggle to connect with. The result is that while around three-quarters of Americans believe climate change is real, just over half of the public think it’s mostly driven by human activity. Around 28 percent of Americans don’t believe climate change will personally affect them. Getting any real climate change legislation through Congress will require engaged voters, and most people aren’t there yet.

    One reason scientists struggle to connect is because of their limited understanding of how to reach the public. Most scientists think that outreach is limited to a handful of options: public talks, social media, or blogging, says Katharine Hayhoe, a renowned climatologist and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. But all those options require a public that already wants to engage in climate change discussion, which means they’re not the best way to reach the apathetic. Hayhoe has tried to branch out: knitting projects with patterns that display rising temperatures, for instance.

    Then, unexpectedly, Fortnite entered her life.

    Hayhoe had just recorded a webinar on climate change that proved to be particularly popular. A few days later, her son, Gavin, was playing Fortnite, and he uploaded a video to the streaming service Twitch. “The climate science webinar I uploaded to YouTube last week has 1k views,” a subsequent tweet from Hayhoe reads. “The Fortnite FPP video my eleven-year-old uploaded yesterday has 10k views.”

    Gavin’s best Fortnite video got 18,000 views, he says, and he’s not even on the high end: some Fortnite streamers have over 16 million subscribers on YouTube. Hayhoe sensed an opportunity to make climate communication more fun for a much broader audience — crucially, an audience that wasn’t already invested in climate change.

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  58. kassy

     /  October 14, 2018

    Storm Leslie: Portugal hit by hurricane-force winds

    Hurricane-force winds have brought down hundreds of trees and left more than 15,000 homes without power in Portugal.
    The remnants of Hurricane Leslie swept into the centre and north of the country overnight on Saturday.

    There have been no reports of deaths or injuries, but officials have warned people not to venture outdoors, and a number of flights have been cancelled.
    The storm, one of the most powerful to ever hit the country, is now heading over northern Spain.

    Winds gusting up to 176km/h (109mph) were recorded after the storm struck the mainland.

    ….

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45853847

    This is the third ever landfall of a tropical storm in Europe. Earlier stroms were Chloe hitting France in 1967 and in 2005 Vince hit Spain.

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  59. mlp in nc

     /  October 17, 2018

    Antarctic ice shelf ‘sings’ as winds whip across its surface. Oc 16, 2018. Am Geophys. U.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181016150654.htm
    Winds blowing across snow dunes on Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf cause the massive ice slab’s surface to vibrate, producing a near-constant set of seismic ‘tones’ scientists could potentially use to monitor changes in the ice shelf from afar, according to new research.

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  60. mlp in nc

     /  October 17, 2018

    The news is not getting any better than the title to this installment. The scientists, at least, are doing their duty to warn.

    Mammals cannot evolve fast enough to escape current extinction crisis. Oct 15, 2018.
    Aarhus University.https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181015154435.htm
    Summary:
    The sixth mass extinction is underway, this time caused by humans. A team of researchers have calculated that species are dying out so quickly that nature’s built-in defense mechanism, evolution, cannot keep up. If current conservation efforts are not improved, so many mammal species will become extinct during the next five decades that nature will need 3-5 million years to recover to current biodiversity levels. And that’s a best-case scenario.

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  61. mlp in nc

     /  October 17, 2018

    Scientists find missing piece in glacier melt predictions. Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181015100508.htm
    Summary:
    A new method for observing water within ice has revealed stored meltwater that may explain the complex flow behavior of some Greenland glaciers, an important component for predicting sea-level rise in a changing climate.
    . . . The study reveals a significant amount of meltwater produced from the local area surrounding the radar is being intercepted and stored within the ice in a region extending between 15 to 148 feet below the surface during the summer, then released or refrozen during winter.

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  62. mlp in nc

     /  October 17, 2018

    Predicting an El Niño or La Niña year 17 months in advance. Pohang U. of Science & Technology (POSTECH) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181015084633.htm
    Summary:
    El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) leads to extreme climatic variations called El Niño and La Niña that cause dangerous weather conditions in many regions throughout the world. Currently, a reliable forecast of the ENSO phases can be made about a year beforehand. This study details a novel method that allows for the accurate forecast of its phases up to 17 months in advance.
    . . . an abnormal rise in sea surface temperatures in a large body of warm water, called the Atlantic Warm Pool — comprising the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the western tropical North Atlantic — triggers La Niña about 17 months later.

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  63. kassy

     /  October 18, 2018

    On October the 17th the Arctic Sea Ice Extent dropped a little over 8000 km2… That normally does not happen in this month since it is refreeze time.

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  64. mlp in nc

     /  October 19, 2018

    Re Robert’s video on the persistent rains in Texas.
    Came across the Carnian Pluvial Episode, or Raibl Event. Two million years of rains with a period of global warming (LIP, the usual suspect).

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  65. kassy

     /  October 22, 2018

    Startling climate change impact on China glacier (Baishui Glacier)

    Third Pole glaciers are vital to billions of people from Vietnam to Afghanistan.
    Asia’s 10 largest rivers – including the Yangtze, Yellow, Mekong, and Ganges – are fed by seasonal melting.

    Baishui is about as close to the equator as Tampa, Florida. And the impacts of climate change already are dramatic.
    The glacier has lost 60 percent of its mass and shrunk 250 metres since 1982, according to a 2018 report in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
    Scientists found in 2015 that 82 percent of glaciers surveyed in China had retreated. They warned that the effects of glacier melting on water resources are gradually becoming “increasingly serious” for China.

    https://www.9news.com.au/2018/10/22/15/50/baishui-glacier-china-climate-change

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  66. kassy

     /  October 22, 2018

    The nitrogen question

    Pollutants, key atmospheric components and vital fertilisers: nitrogen compounds are all of these, as Emma Davies finds out
    Nitrogen oxides (NO and NO2; NOx) have a bad press, particularly in the wake of the vehicle emissions scandal. But they are just a small part of a highly complex nitrogen cycle, which controls a vast range of atmospheric processes, many of which are linked to climate change and adverse human health effects. From agricultural ammonia emissions to cars belching NOx, the cycle has been studied in a fragmented way but there are now calls to unite researchers to help deliver what policy-makers need to know.
    Although many aspects of the cycle are well understood, night-time chemistry has been somewhat neglected. The Earth’s atmospheric chemistry changes dramatically as the air cools and the sun’s photochemistry fades away. Because longer-lived chemicals created in the hours of darkness fall down to the surface the following day, understanding night-time mechanisms could help with policies to cut damaging levels of nitrogen-based pollutants that cause adverse health effects, from heart disease to respiratory illness.

    *Traditional lab studies did not work well because they did not correctly mimic the conditions at night

    Such lab studies in giant, sealed chambers help to unravel mechanisms but they are not perfect. A lot of the nitrogen-based chemicals are quite ‘sticky’ and can be lost to the walls. In the past, when measurement techniques were not as sensitive, experiments were often done at high concentrations. ‘What has now become apparent is that those high concentrations very much change the chemistry, because the lifetimes of reactive species are much shorter, which means that they don’t necessarily undergo the same reactions as they would in the atmosphere,’ says Edwards.
    What helps is the fact that instrumentation is far more sensitive than it was 10 years ago, with techniques such as chemical ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry really helping to study highly functionalised organic nitrogen compounds. Meanwhile scientists are also able to define the limitations of these chamber studies. These days, teams are likely to use the same instruments in the chamber and the field to allow direct comparisons. ‘I think that the interaction between chamber and field studies represents the new frontier in developing a mechanistic understanding for some of these systems,’ says Brown.

    https://www.chemistryworld.com/features/the-atmospheric-nitrogen-question/3009452.article

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  67. wharf rat

     /  October 22, 2018

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  68. kassy

     /  October 23, 2018

    Ocean heat content (OHC) set a new record in the first half of 2018, with more warmth in the oceans than at any time since OHC records began in 1940.

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/state-of-the-climate-new-record-ocean-heat-content-and-growing-a-el-nino

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  69. wharf rat

     /  October 24, 2018

    Super Typhoon Yutu Impacts: Shelters Filled as Northern Mariana Islands Pounded by Category 5 Winds

    https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2018-10-24-typhoon-yutu-impacts-northern-mariana-islands

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  70. wharf rat

     /  October 26, 2018

    Tesla reports surprise profit, stock surges
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/tesla-reports-surprise-profit-stock-surges-202032710.html

    Tesla reported its third-ever profit in its eight years as a public company.

    The electric car-maker blew past expectations for revenue and earnings, reporting adjusted EPS of $2.90 per share on revenue of $6.82 billion. This exceeded average analyst expectations of losses of 15 cents per share on revenue of $6.32 billion. The company brought in an adjusted $516 million for the quarter.

    The period ending September 30 “was a truly historic quarter for Tesla,” the company said in a statement. “Model 3 was the best-selling car in the US in terms of revenue and the 5th best-selling car in terms of volume.”

    =
    From insideevs.com:

    Tesla Q3 Conference Call: Ride Real-Time With Us On Profit Wave
    https://insideevs.com/tesla-q3-2018-financial-call/

    Profit secured.

    The Tesla 2018 Q3 earnings report is in, and as CEO Elon Musk had predicted, the company recorded a profit. And, at $2.90 a share, not a tiny one either. So now, with Tesla bulls ebullient and bears barely able to lift the goal posts they seem to so often be moving, we turn our attention to the quarterly financial call with analysts. Like last time, we will listen live and fill you in on the most notable bits, crossing our fingers for information about what to expect from the company with regards to progress and products.

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  71. kassy

     /  October 26, 2018

    Why Canadian Tar Sands Oil May Be Doomed

    At current prices, Canadian tar sands oil producers are losing money on every barrel of oil they dig out. Despite signs earlier this year the industry would “turn profitable in 2018,” a much more likely scenario at this point is a fourth straight year of losses.

    American refineries certainly enjoy buying Canadian crude at such low prices. How low are the prices? As the Financial Post reported in mid-October, Western Canadian Select (WCS) was $19 a barrel — approximately $50 a barrel cheaper than a barrel of the American oil standard known as Western Texas Intermediate (WTI).
    Without a competing market in sight, American buyers likely will continue receiving huge discounts on Canadian oil. As Sandy Fielden, director of oil and products research at Morningstar, told Reuters in 2016: “If Canada can’t get their oil to another market besides the U.S. [market], you’ll always be a price taker, not a price maker.”
    Even under these economic conditions, one company, Teck Resources, is proposing to build a new tar sands mining operation. Projections estimate the cost to produce a barrel of oil at this operation will be around $85 a barrel. That’s quite the mismatch with what a barrel of Canadian crude oil is fetching these days, and doesn’t bode well for a sustainable business model.
    Another complicating factor is that even at such low prices, American refineries only want and need so much tar sands oil, which is a heavy, lower-quality oil.

    The remaining companies apparently have to rely on government bailouts. The first bailout signaling trouble for the industry was when the Canadian government bought the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project from Texas-based Kinder Morgan for CAN $4.5 billion. A federal court ruled that the pipeline didn’t get the proper approvals, which means it is now in legal limbo and may not be built — but Kinder Morgan still gets its $4.5 billion. A big win for Kinder Morgan, perhaps less so for the people of Canada.

    etc

    https://www.desmogblog.com/2018/10/25/canadian-tar-sands-oil-financial-losses

    Dear Canadians talk to your government…

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  72. wharf rat

     /  October 29, 2018

    Mysterious source of greenhouse gas methane in ocean explained

    According to WHOI geochemist Dan Repeta, the answer may lie in the complex ways that bacteria break down dissolved organic matter, a cocktail of substances excreted into seawater by living organisms.

    In a paper released in the November 14, 2016 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, Repeta and colleagues at the University of Hawaii found that much of the ocean’s dissolved organic matter is made up of novel polysaccharides — long chains of sugar molecules created by photosynthetic bacteria in the upper ocean. Bacteria begin to slowly break these polysaccharides, tearing out pairs of carbon and phosphorus atoms (called C-P bonds) from their molecular structure. In the process, the microbes create methane, ethylene, and propylene gasses as byproducts. Most of the methane escapes back into the atmosphere.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161117145241.htm

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  73. kassy

     /  October 29, 2018

    Nice article, thanks!

    Hypoxia events on the US west coast.

    Coastal Pacific Oxygen Levels Now Plummet Once A Year

    Scientists say West Coast waters now have a hypoxia season, or dead-zone season, just like the wildfire season.
    Hypoxia is a condition in which the ocean water close to the seafloor has such low levels of dissolved oxygen that the organisms living down there die.
    Crabber David Bailey, who skippers the Morningstar II, is rattled by the news. He remembers a hypoxia event out of Newport, Oregon, about a decade ago. He says it shows up “like a flip of a switch.”
    “It shows up like a flip of a switch,” he says.
    “If there are crabs in the pot, they’re dead. Straight up,” Bailey says. And if you re-bait the pots, “when you go out the next time, they’re blanks, they’re absolutely empty. The crabs have left the area.”

    The hypoxia season hits Oregon, Washington and California waters in the summer and can last from a few of days to a couple of months. Some years it only affects a few square miles of ocean; other years it’s thousands of square miles.

    ….

    The question now is: Why is this happening?
    “One of the more fundamental reasons is that the ocean is warmer now and warmer water holds less oxygen,” says Chan. “And then the second part is that a warmer surface ocean, it acts as an insulating blanket.”
    So that blanket stops colder low-oxygen water from rising up and mixing with oxygen in the surf.
    Scientists say climate change is behind this.

    Deep Pacific waters 50 miles off the coast have always been hypoxic. And it’s hardly surprising. The water down there take decades to slowly flow thousands of miles from Japan to the west coast — all the while separated from oxygen in the air.
    But in 2002, fishers started to notice hypoxic waters moving closer-in — to just a couple of miles off the coast.
    Back then, Francis Chan had just finished his Ph.D and was looking for a research subject. State fish and wildlife biologists started to call him to say crabbers were calling them, saying their crabs were dead. The crabbers also noticed strange behavior, like octopuses climbing up ropes.

    https://www.npr.org/2018/10/28/658953894/coastal-pacific-oxygen-levels-now-plummet-once-a-year

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  74. kassy

     /  October 29, 2018

    Adapting to climate change has it´s limits. As is probably well known a lot of the Netherlands is below seas level so we are pretty good on water management.

    One of the things we did was creating overflow areas for rivers for years were there would be a lot of water running down the rivers.

    Then this summer hit and it hardly rained here and the same stuck weather pattern meant it hardly rained in Germany and Switzerland.

    The drought lowered the ground water table by 1 meter and we need a normal year worth of rain to make up the shortfall. The problem is especially large for the higher areas of the country.

    I wonder how long this pattern will persist. I see no reason why it would not be the same pattern next year but i might be wrong.

    Waterschap Rijn en IJssel voorziet dat er volgend voorjaar opnieuw droogteproblemen zijn. Door droogte vallen watergangen droog, mogen landbouwers niet sproeien en komen natuur en waterkwaliteit in gevaar.
    De nieuwe droogte zal het gevolg zijn van de extreem lage grondwaterstand van dit jaar, aldus het waterschap maandag. Die stand gaat zich niet genoeg herstellen, tenzij het maandenlang elke dag behoorlijk gaat regenen.

    https://www.nu.nl/binnenland/5540897/waterschap-voorziet-nieuwe-problemen-met-droogte-in-2019.html

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  75. mlp in nc

     /  October 30, 2018

    Bitcoin can push global warming above 2 degrees C in a couple decades
    It alone could produce enough emissions to raise global temperatures as soon as 2033.
    Date: Oct 29, 2018. U. Hawaii at Manoa
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181029130951.htm

    A team of UH Manoa researchers analyzed information such as the power efficiency of computers used by Bitcoin mining, the geographic location of the miners who likely computed the Bitcoin, and the CO2 emissions of producing electricity in those countries. Based on the data, the researchers estimated that the use of bitcoins in the year 2017 emitted 69 million metric tons of CO2.

    Researchers also studied how other technologies have been adopted by society, and created scenarios to estimate the cumulative emissions of Bitcoin should it grow at the rate that other technologies have been incorporated.

    The team found that if Bitcoin is incorporated, even at the slowest rate at which other technologies have been incorporated, its cumulative emissions will be enough to warm the planet above 2°C in just 22 years. If incorporated at the average rate of other technologies, it is closer to 16 years.

    “Currently, the emissions from transportation, housing and food are considered the main contributors to ongoing climate change. This research illustrates that Bitcoin should be added to this list,” said Katie Taladay, a UH Manoa master’s student and coauthor of the paper.

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  76. John S

     /  October 31, 2018

    Climate change claims its first mammal extinction

    The Bramble Cay melomys was not, frankly, a particularly prepossessing creature, as one might gather from the little native rodent’s other name, the mosaic-tailed rat.

    In life, it had none of the iconic appeal of those more charismatic species that bring popular support to environmental causes. Only by the manner of its extinction is the melomys distinguished: science believes it to be the first mammal species whose demise can be attributed directly to climate change.

    The melomys was previously the only mammal endemic to the Great Barrier Reef. Its entire population was confined to the single Torres Strait island for which it was named, a cay inhabited by no people or introduced predators, about four hectares in area and less than three metres above sea level at its highest point.

    The last of the melomys are thought to have died somewhere between 2007 and 2009, although it was not until 2014 that the Queensland government released a report conceding that despite a determined effort by scientists, using traps, cameras and old-fashioned foot searches, there were none left.

    That report confirmed sea level rise, coupled with increasingly frequent and intense storms and higher storm surges, as the probable cause. The species was washed away while no one was looking.

    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2018/10/27/climate-change-claims-its-first-mammal-extinction/15405588007059

    This is a long read article, there is a reference to “fair dinkum power” – as noted, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s coded slogan for more coal-fired electricity. Fair dinkum is an Australian colloquialism for honesty/truthfulness/integrity.

    btw the Australian PM is chosen by the party holding power, not the public. Malcom Turnbull has recently been replaced for failure to appease the hard right, despite compromising on every policy for their favour. They have always hated his moderate stance on issues. Rupert Murdoch was in the country at the time of the internal coup and is suspected of triggering the leadership spill.

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  77. kassy

     /  November 1, 2018

    How likely is Australia to vote in the other party (parties)?

    More not so good news…

    Earth’s oceans have absorbed 60 percent more heat than previously thought

    For each year during the past quarter century, the world’s oceans have absorbed an amount of heat energy that is 150 times the energy humans produce as electricity annually, according to a study led by researchers at Princeton and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California-San Diego. The strong ocean warming the researchers found suggests that Earth is more sensitive to fossil-fuel emissions than previously thought.

    First author Laure Resplandy, an assistant professor of geosciences and the Princeton Environmental Institute, said that her and her co-authors’ estimate is more than 60 percent higher than the figure in the 2014 Fifth Assessment Report on climate change from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    Previous estimates relied on millions of spot measurements of ocean temperature, which were interpolated to calculate total heat content. Gaps in coverage, however, make this approach uncertain. A network of robotic sensors known as Argo now makes comprehensive measurements of ocean temperature and salinity across the globe, but the network only has complete data going back to 2007 and only measures the upper half of the ocean. Several reassessments of heat content have been made in recent years using the ocean-temperature data—including the recent Argo data—which has led to upward revisions of the IPCC estimate.
    Resplandy and her co-authors used Scripps’ high-precision measurements of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the air to determine how much heat the oceans have stored during the time span they studied. They measured ocean heat by looking at the combined amount of O2 and CO2 in air, a quantity they call “atmospheric potential oxygen” or APO. The method depends on the fact that oxygen and carbon dioxide are both less soluble in warmer water.

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-10-earth-oceans-absorbed-percent-previously.html

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    • John S

       /  November 2, 2018

      Highly likely the incumbent conservatives will be totally smashed on current polling. Certainly a wipeout if election were to be held today. Election due for Senate by May 2019, for House of Reps by Nov 2019. Unless there is some bizarre event we should have a change of gov next year.

      The conservatives are a coalition (aka The Coalition) of conservatives and a country/farmers party, the Liberal-National Party (LNP), and are similar to US Republicans (many even get sponsored study tours of Republicans think tanks and marketing strategies).
      The progressive/social democrats are the Australian Labour Party (ALP), still with strong ties to labour unions that restrict their flexibility condemning coal mining which is a large employer. Short term madness!

      While the ALP is the likely winner of next election there is a general disillusionment with both major parties and a rise of independent candidates and smaller fringe parties.

      Meanwhile amongst an excess of destructive policies the LNP are desperately trying to get legislation passed before the next election to lock in goverment subsidy for new coal fired power plants. That just got lot harder for them as they lost outright majority in parliment with resignation of Malcom Turnbull after his leadership defeat and subsequent election of an independent candidate in his old electorate (19% swing against the gov and 1st time Liberals have lost the seat since federation! Ha!)

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  78. mlp in nc

     /  November 1, 2018

    Some very bad follow up on the Zika thread of a couple of years ago, raising all sorts of when, where, why, how issues. This will not be pretty.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181101133830.htm
    Zika circulates among wild animals in the Americas, making eradication nearly impossible.
    University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
    Summary:
    Researchers report that wild monkeys in the Americas are transmitting the Zika virus to humans via mosquitoes, making complete eradication of the virus in the Americas very unlikely.

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  79. kassy

     /  November 2, 2018

    Where Did the Rhine Go? Drought-Hit Cargo River Sparks Economic Fears

    Plummeting water levels in the drought-hit Rhine River are disrupting shipping and squeezing European supplies of important industrial commodities from coal to motor fuel.
    Switzerland tapped its emergency stockpiles of diesel this week after some stretches of the river receded to knee-high levels and fuel barges could not reach the country. The shortage of deliveries sent prices at the pump soaring — a reaction more commonly associated with war in the Middle East than dry weather in Germany.

    In Cologne, the biggest city on the Rhine, the average water level is normally more than 9 feet but has fallen below 28 inches in parts. The lowest level in recorded history in 1929 was 24 inches, a level officials think could be surpassed soon if rains do not arrive. Ferry services have been halted at many points along the river.
    S&P Global Platts, which provides oil and commodities coverage, says barges are struggling to enter the upper Rhine beyond Kaub, a major shipping chokepoint between Koblenz and Mainz. Traders have struggled to find alternative means of transport at short notice. “Though rail cars and trucks are often considered an alternative to barge shipments along the Rhine, possible capacities appear to have been reached,” S&P said in a statement.

    https://www.ozy.com/fast-forward/where-did-the-rhine-go-drought-hit-cargo-river-sparks-economic-fears/90247

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  80. mlp in nc

     /  November 2, 2018

    Nice article on Cat 6 today about jet stream resonance and planetary waves.

    Climate Change Likely to Increase Frequency of Extreme Summer Weather From “Stuck” Jet Stream Patterns.
    https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/Climate-Change-Likely-Increase-Frequency-Extreme-Summer-Weather-Stuck-Jet-Stream-Patterns

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  81. kassy

     /  November 5, 2018

    I would never have guessed people still do this but at least it makes for a possible wuick gain for the scottish government.

    Up to 14,000 Scottish homes still use coal as main heating source, report finds

    A home heated by coal emits up to five times more carbon than one heated using a modern heat pump.

    https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/2018/11/05/up-to-14000-scottish-homes-still-use-coal-as-main-heating-source-report-finds/

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    • Jeremy in Wales

       /  November 13, 2018

      Kassy, probably older people living in older houses not connected to gas grid. Back boiler to enclosed fire can provide heating to central heating radiators. Heat pumps are more suitable to underfloor heating as radiators operate at higher tempertures.
      If you are on a fixed income you do not have access to capital to invest for the long term or do not think you will be present for the long term.

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  82. kassy

     /  November 5, 2018

    5 Horrors Of Climate Change (Normal People Don’t Know About)

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  83. kassy

     /  November 5, 2018

    A fun article if you are into spoiling parties. I will just post the points see the article for the fun details:

    5 Horrors Of Climate Change (Normal People Don’t Know About)

    http://www.cracked.com/article_26005_5-horrors-climate-change-normal-people-dont-know-about.html

    You Could Develop A Severe Allergy To Beef And Pork (i knew this)
    We’re Experiencing A Jellyfish Uprising (i knew this)
    Suicide Rates Will Increase (knew about the violence link but not suicide. interestingly they are probably linked)
    There Will Be More Space Junk (I knew this but i fail to see how it actually relates to climate change)
    It’s Going To Be Harder For Couples To Conceive (knew this too)

    So i failed that test with flying colors. 🙂

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  84. wharf rat

     /  November 9, 2018

    We could really use some rain.

    California Camp Fire forces evacuation of schools, hospital –
    A Northern California fire is growing at a rate of about 80 football fields per minute
    By Emanuella Grinberg, Eliott C. McLaughlin and Christina Zdanowicz, CNN
    A state of emergency has been declared for Butte County due to the effects of the Camp Fire, which began around 6:30 a.m. Thursday and quickly spread, said the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire. By 2:00 p.m. local time, it had grown to 18,000 acres, according to Cal Fire.
    Updated 1:27 AM ET, Fri November 9, 2018
    https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/08/us/california-camp-fire-hospital-evacuation/index.html

    BREAKING NEWS: Some Schools, Colleges Closed Today Due to smoke

    59 mins ago – Due to the heavy smoke continuing today from the 20,000 acre ‘Camp Fire’ in Butte County, certain schools across Sonoma County will be closed today. This from Steve Herrington, superintendent of schools for Sonoma County, and Diane Kitamura of the Santa Rosa City School …

    http://www.ksro.com/2018/11/09/breaking-news-some-schools-colleges-closed-today-due-to-smoke-from-butte-countys-camp-fire/

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  85. wharf rat

     /  November 10, 2018

    Camp Fire is most destructive wildfire in California history: 9 dead, 6713 structures incinerated
    https://www.sfchronicle.com/california-wildfires/article/At-least-five-dead-as-Camp-Fire-lays-waste-to-13378522.php

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  86. FYI Svalbard hot spot just measured +17.3 C. (Earth Nullschool)
    6/29/18 +10.1C
    12/21/17 +10.6C
    11/16/17 +13.5C
    11/16/16 +8.2C

    Liked by 2 people

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  87. kassy

     /  November 14, 2018

    Heatwaves can damage the sperm of insects and make them almost sterile, according to new research.

    Scientists exposed beetles to experimental heatwaves in the laboratory, which resulted in reduced male fertility.

    The effects could be passed down to the beetles’ offspring.

    Researchers studied beetles because their 400,000 species represent about a quarter of all known animal species. A massive decline in insects could have significant consequences for the environment.

    Heatwaves halved the amount of offspring males could produce, and a second heatwave almost sterilised males.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46194383

    Their heatwaves:
    Using a flour beetle model system, we find that heatwave conditions (5 to 7 °C above optimum for 5 days) damaged male, but not female, reproduction.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07273-z

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  88. kassy

     /  November 14, 2018

    Two shorts.

    First a promising new system. If we had charged dumping of CO2 in the nineties i bet this sort of stuff would be even more advanced now:

    Transforming carbon dioxide into industrial fuels

    A Fellow at the Rowland Institute at Harvard, Wang and colleagues have developed an improved system to use renewable electricity to reduce carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide — a key commodity used in a number of industrial processes. The system is described in a November 8 paper published in Joule, a newly launched sister journal of Cell press.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181108130533.htm

    And the…

    Unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs

    Summary:
    An international team of drought scientists show that while many dams and reservoirs are built, or expanded, to alleviate droughts and water shortages, they can paradoxically contribute to making them worse.

    The supply-demand cycle describes cases where increasing water supply leads to higher water demand, which can quickly offset the initial benefits of reservoirs.

    The reservoir effect describes cases where over-reliance on reservoirs increases the potential damage caused by drought and water shortage. The expansion of reservoirs often reduces incentives for preparedness and adaptive actions, thus increasing the negative impacts of water shortage. Moreover, extended periods of abundant water supply, supported by reservoirs, can generate higher dependence on water resources, which in turn increases social vulnerability and economic damage when water shortage eventually occurs.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181113141804.htm

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  89. Abel Adamski

     /  November 14, 2018

    A whole new view at Earths relatively recent climate

    An unusually large asteroid crater measuring 31km wide has been discovered under a continental ice sheet in Greenland. Roughly the size of Paris, it’s now among the 25 biggest asteroid craters on Earth.
    An iron-rich asteroid measuring nearly a kilometer wide struck Greenland’s ice-covered surface at some point between 3 million and 12,000 years ago, according to a new study published today in Science Advances.
    https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2018/11/a-massive-impact-crater-has-been-detected-beneath-greenlands-ice-sheet/

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  90. mlp in nc

     /  November 17, 2018

    Ants upend paleoclimate studies! Most models at risk! Is the fate of humanity hanging on the building prowess of our underappreciated neighbors? (not the real headlines!)
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181116110618.htm

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  91. kassy

     /  November 17, 2018

    A piece about the Paradise fire.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-46198498

    71 dead and a 1000 still missing…

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  92. eleggua

     /  November 18, 2018

    ‘Siberian forest fire extinguished with mine clearing missiles’ Jun 28, 2016

    A forest fire in the Irkutsk region of Russia was extinguished on Tuesday with the help of two UR-77 Meteorit mine clearing vehicles. The systems fire missiles which burn out oxygen upon detonation and therefore limit the capacity of fires to spread.

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  93. eleggua

     /  November 18, 2018

    ‘Finland has a problem with too few forest fires – to promote biodiversity, burned-down areas should be protected’
    Published: august 10, 2018

    https://smy.fi/en/artikkeli/finland-has-a-problem-with-too-few-forest-fires-to-promote-biodiversity-burned-down-areas-should-be-protected/

    While other countries grapple with destructive and deadly forest fires, the problem in Finland is the opposite. From nature’s point of view, the diversity of species and habitats suffers from too few fires.

    “Burned-down forest is one of the rarest habitats in Finland,” says Henrik Lindberg, renowned forest fire expert and researcher at the Häme University of Applied Sciences.

    In 2017, for example, forest fires damaged only 470 hectares in the land of 23 million hectares of forest. The last time that over a thousand hectares burned down was in 2006.

    How extensive should forest fires be, then, to have ecological significance? According to Lindberg, a few thousand hectares a year would suffice.

    “But if we compare the situation to one hundred or two hundred years ago, in peak years, the area of forest fires should come up to tens of thousands, or even more than 100,000 hectares,” he says. “However, at that time in the 1800s the number of fires was already heavily affected by human activity with slash-and-burn agriculture and the distilling of tar.”

    Even compared to the neighbouring country Sweden, the number of forest fires is surprisingly small in Finland. In Sweden, fires have destroyed more than 25,000 hectares of forests this summer. The difference between the two Nordic countries is not explained by vegetation or climate, but is believed to be based on differences in infrastructure and forest management.

    There is a dense forest road network of up to 120,000 kilometres in Finland, constructed for the use of forestry and cottage owners. The road network makes remote areas more accessible to firefighters, but it also slows down the spreading of fires.

    Another major factor preventing forest fires is the fragmented forest ownership in Finland. Owing to this, the average size of forest compartments is only 2 to 3 hectares, and forest management plans are based on the specific growing conditions of each of them. That means, for example, that a fire cannot spread as a fast-moving treetop fire when it reaches a clear-cut area or a thinned compartment. The spread of fire is also prevented by the numerous lakes, rivers and wetlands.

    Firefighting and fire prevention in Finland is organized as cooperation between rescue departments, voluntary fire brigades and aerial patrolling by volunteers. Citizens are warned of the forest fire risk in weather reports. The warning is based on an index of the Finnish Meteorological Institute which assesses the humidity of the organic surface layer of the soil.
    Burned-down areas are rarely protected

    A forest fire is not useful for nature if the burned-down area is not protected afterwards. The protected area should be sufficiently large, at least larger than the half a hectare that is the current average size of forest fires in Finland.

    “This summer, we have also had more extensive fires in Finland, including the hundred-hectare forest fire in Pyhäranta. The problem is, however, that fires mostly occur on private land,” says Lindberg.

    The protection of a forest fire site is therefore based on the voluntary decision of a landowner. “Fires occur without advance warning, so the owner cannot decide beforehand whether a particular area should be protected as a valuable natural habitat.”
    Henrik Lindberg is a renowned wildfire and prescribed burning expert and researcher at the Häme University of Applied Sciences……

    (longer article; more at the link above)

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  94. eleggua

     /  November 18, 2018

    Revisiting Mike Davis’ case for letting Malibu burn
    By Gustavo Arellano Nov 14, 2018
    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-arellano-malibu-burn-20181114-story.html

    During fire season, I always think about Mike Davis, author of one of the most — pardon the pun — incendiary essays in the annals of SoCal letters: “The Case for Letting Malibu Burn.” I return to this chapter from his book “Ecology of Fear” any time that the Santa Ana winds howl and thousands flee raging infernos — a ritual that used to happen every couple of years but now seems to happen every couple of months.

    “The Case for Letting Malibu Burn” is a powerhouse of history, science, Marxist analysis — and a certain amount of trolling. Its main point is that Southern Californians will never accept that fire is not only common here, but part of our ecology going back centuries. To spend millions saving homes in areas never meant for neighborhoods and power lines is not just folly, but a waste of public resources.

    This time around, as California burned from the north to the south, I checked in via email with Davis, now professor emeritus at UC Riverside. He’s best known for his literary double whammy against Los Angeles exceptionalism: 1990’s “City of Quartz” and 1998’s “Ecology of Fear.” Those books made the Los Angeles of “Chinatown” seem as sinister as Mayberry. Davis’ tales of racism, poverty, corruption and other sins — backed by copious footnotes — inspired a generation of radical historians and writers, including yours truly. He also riled an army of detractors who so hated his apocalyptic warnings that they ridiculed everything from his scholarship to his marriages to the fact that he was born in Fontana.

    But as the years go on, Davis’ bleak words read more like revelations than rants. Just as he argued, we build deeper into canyons and foothills, daring Mother Nature to give us her best shot — and then are shocked when she does.

    The Woolsey fire has already scorched more than 96,000 acres in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, destroying 435 structures in Malibu and other cities. It’s yet another “fire of the century” for the beach city.

    “Maybe 10 or 20 years ago, you stayed in your homes when there was a fire and you were able to protect them,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said during a news conference this weekend. “We’re entering a new normal. Things are not the way they were 10 years ago.”

    In other words, we now live in Mike Davis’ world. He has ascended to the pantheon of Golden State visionary authors like Helen Hunt Jackson, Upton Sinclair and Carey McWilliams who held up a mirror to us that we have ignored at our own peril.

    “The Case for Letting Malibu Burn” depicted Malibu and other wealthy cities built in the boonies as created not for “love of the great outdoors or frontier rusticity,” but rather as “thickets of privacy” against L.A.’s working classes and people of color.

    We enable this white flight into the mountains, he argued, by not just allowing development where there shouldn’t be any, but also subsidizing those affected by the inevitable wildfire in the form of cheap fire insurance and squadrons of first responders deployed around the clock at the hint of an ember.

    He went through a litany of Malibu blazes over the last century, concluding with the Old Topanga blaze of 1993 — which consumed about 18,000 acres but destroyed 323 structures. Throw in climate change, Davis noted in a version of his essay that appeared in the L.A. Weekly, and the catastrophe “marked a qualitative escalation in fire danger, if not the actual emergence of a new, post-suburban fire regime.”

    And, almost exactly 25 years later, here we are again.

    Davis’ work on Malibu’s flames has aged far better than the criticism of it. Chapman University urban studies fellow Joel Kotkin, for instance, said of “Ecology of Fear” back in the 1990s that it “basically mugs Los Angeles” and is “truly nauseating stuff.” Yet by 2007, Kotkin told the Economist, in an article about the fires that fall that wreaked havoc from San Diego to Santa Barbara, that “nature still has a lot of power” in the once-unspoiled areas where we build homes — which is what Davis contended all along.

    Then there’s former Malibu real estate agent Brady Westwater, who refashioned himself as a downtown L.A. booster. You couldn’t write about “Ecology of Fear” for years without mentioning Westwater, who hounded reporters with screeds and stats about Davis’ real and alleged errors until the press finally began to cite him as a legitimate critic.
    Enter the Fray: First takes on the news of the minute »

    In his own 1998 essay (whose titled described Davis as a “purposefully misleading liar”), Westwater predicted that “fire damage will decrease over the years” in Malibu because of better infrastructure and better-built homes. Of the Old Topanga disaster, he plainly declared: “That kind of fire can never happen again.”

    And yet here we are again.

    Davis remains persona non grata in Malibu, from Neptune’s Net to Pepperdine University. Malibuites took “The Case…” as a direct attack on their beliefs and ways of life.

    Davis takes no satisfaction in seeing his analysis come true all over again. But the author, who’s recovering from cancer, stands by what he wrote.

    “I’m infamous for suggesting that the broader public should not have to pay a cent to protect or rebuild mansions on sites that will inevitably burn every 20 or 25 years,” he told me. “My opinion hasn’t changed.”

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  95. eleggua

     /  November 18, 2018

    Southern California’s Uncanny, Inevitable Yuletide Fires
    By Mike Davis December 11, 2017
    https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/southern-californias-uncanny-inevitable-yuletide-fires

    While New Yorkers sweep leaves from their driveways and South Texans play in the snow this week, thousands of Southern Californians are still anxiously awaiting evacuation orders and watering their roofs to protect against flames. The Thomas fire, the colossus of the current fire swarm, started in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles, on Wednesday, and has now invaded Santa Barbara County, reinvigorated by the stronger winds and a new diet of century-old unburnt coastal sage and chaparral. One wing of the blaze is pushing through the mountains while another is descending on Highway 101 and the Pacific Ocean. Hundreds of firefighters are making a last-ditch stand to save the picturesque beach community of Carpinteria, while, eight miles to the north, evacuations have begun in Montecito, an enclave of old money and the location of the homes of celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres.

    With steep canyon topographies acting as bellows, the Santa Ana winds have propelled the Thomas fire forward at velocities that have stunned experts. In the first twenty-four hours, for instance, the conflagration consumed brush at the incredible rate of an acre per second. The herculean exertions of five thousand firefighters, including élite “hotshot” crews and prison inmates (the unsung heroes of fire season), are confined to areas along the circumference of the conflagration; otherwise, as weary fire officials constantly remind television viewers, nature alone is fully in charge. Regardless of how many engines and crews are deployed, no fire line in California history has ever stopped a major wind-driven fire from advancing. Traditional defensive measures, such as fire breaks, are useless in the face of blazes that can easily vault six- and eight-lane interstate highways, as they did in northern San Diego County a few days ago. The fact is that such infernos are only “contained” when the winds subside or the rains arrive.

    Like their “Diablo” cousins that incinerated central California’s wine country two months back, Southern California’s Santa Ana fires are deviously capricious, leaving one home intact in an incinerated block or, conversely, burning down a single house on an otherwise untouched street. We imagine a moving wall of flames when we think of wildfires, but the current fires are more like the Biblical “fiery rain” that Pentecostals talk about: sending firebrands aloft to ignite brush and homes as far as a half mile ahead of the notional fire front. Firefighters must stay alert to insure that such airborne incendiaries don’t ignite fires at their backs, cutting off their avenue of escape.

    The Santa Ana winds are generated by seasonal pressure differentials between cold, heavy air masses over the Colorado Plateau and warmer, lighter air in California. As they approach the coast, their interaction with marine weather becomes complex and nonlinear, leading in some cases to reversals in wind direction that send fires back over previously unburnt areas. During the 2007 Witch Creek fire, which destroyed thirteen hundred homes and forced the evacuation of a half million San Diego County residents, a friend’s avocado ranch, located thirty-five miles inland, miraculously survived the firestorm’s initial onslaught, as it avalanched downhill toward the ocean, only to be incinerated on its return trip. No doubt the Thomas fire, which is expected to burn through Christmas Eve, still has some tricks up its sleeve.

    Yuletide fire? Visitors often wonder whether Southern California actually has seasons. In fact, a remarkable landscape metamorphosis usually begins with the first rains of November. The parched brown hills surrounding our cities begin to turn green—by March, they’ll sometimes look like Connemara—and the clock hands on the fire-danger signs are dialled back from red (extreme danger) to blue (moderate) or green (low). But not this year. The year’s pattern of record-breaking high temperatures continued into the fall, without a moisture-laden cumulus cloud in sight. And the current level of fire danger is so high that the U.S. Forest Service has described them using the hyperbolic color purple, to signify “extreme.” In such conditions, one either prepares to run or prays to Eurus and Ehécatl, the respective Greek and Aztec wind gods.

    Who or what is causing these outbreaks? There are two schools of thought. Those who study historical fire patterns argue that the sources of ignition are irrelevant. The fundamental fire equation in California has three variables: the fuel mass, including the age and dryness of brush; the extent of residential and other development into chaparral and forest ecologies; and the intensity of the wind. Wildfire, in other words, “happens” with or without human assistance, although traditional Smokey-the-Bear-type fire prevention, which reduced the frequency of fires and thus preserved unnaturally large areas of old brush, made great firestorms more likely. Today this irony is fully understood by fire professionals, but their efforts to reduce fuel accumulation through controlled burns comes up against the ever-increasing presence of residential development in foothills and mountains. For one thing, homeowners have hungry lawyers who love to sue public agencies after a burn goes wild or simply generates too much unhealthy smoke.

    The other school of thought focusses on chronic sources of ignition. The Witch Creek fire, to take only one example, was caused by an arcing power line in the San Diego backcountry. San Diego Gas and Electric, while insisting that the blaze was an act of God, eventually paid out two billion dollars in damages to fire victims. (The utility’s attempt to shift part of that cost to ratepayers was recently defeated in court.) Poorly maintained power lines are prime suspects in some of this fall’s fire outbreaks as well. And there is the additional worry that terrorists, domestic or international, may someday become part of the fire cycle. A friend of mine, a world-renowned authority on wildfire, once told me about a nightmare he has during periods of high fire danger, in which a single, determined arsonist, with a map and a cigarette lighter, rides a motorcycle.

    News coverage of great conflagrations runs in the well-worn grooves of cliché and sensationalism. Needless to say, the hoi polloi in incinerated trailer parks or tract homes get no more traction in headlines than the forgotten and uncounted victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The destruction of celebrity property, on the other hand, is always on the front page, and last week it looked like a few burning super-mansions in Bel Air and the phony fire threat to the Getty (one of the most fireproof structures on Earth) would dominate the news. Then came the tragic story of racehorses at the San Luis Rey Downs training facility, in San Diego County, and most people instantly forgot about the plight of Rupert Murdoch’s Bel Air vineyard.

    At San Luis Rey, workers, together with the professional trainers, refused to flee the Lilac (or Bonsall) fire until the danger became acute and one trainer was set ablaze (he’s still in critical condition). Approximately fifty horses burned to death, but, thanks to the courage of their caretakers, many of them Mexican immigrants, hundreds more escaped. A photograph of these thoroughbreds desperately galloping to safety is currently among the most iconic of the myriad fire images on the Internet.

    There’s an even more uncanny aspect to the Lilac fire, which is that it was described in detail in a forgotten 1956 novel by the science-fiction author Ward Moore. Moore lived in Bonsall at some point in the late nineteen-forties or early fifties, amid a hundred or so chicken ranchers, horse breeders, avocado growers, and their employees. His novel “Cloud by Day” portrayed an intolerant little community organized by a hierarchy of bigotry—against Jews, radicals, Mexicans, and blacks, in ascending order—that is reluctantly forced to unite to survive an apocalyptic Santa Ana fire approaching from the east. The geography of his fictional inferno (he provides a map), and his strikingly precise description of its dynamics, prefigure the current fire in amazing detail. When I first pondered this example of fiction prophesizing an actual event, I thought that the coincidence must be fantastically improbable. But, the truth is, if you write a story about a fire and set it anywhere in Southern California, someday it will come true.

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  96. eleggua

     /  November 18, 2018

    The Last Man to Know Everything
    The Marxist-environmental historian Mike Davis has produced a rich corpus critical of capitalism.
    September 25, 2018
    https://bostonreview.net/class-inequality/troy-vettese-last-man-know-everything

    “…Over the last thirty years he has been a MacArthur and Getty fellow, an urban design commissioner in Pasadena, an advisor to gang truce activists, a university lecturer, Los Angeles’s most sought-after tour guide, a journalist, and an author of children’s science fiction. One hopes his latest book, Old Gods, New Enigmas: Marx’s Lost Theory—a disparate collection of four essays on working-class history, nationalism, and the environment—will not be his last; the man needs to write a memoir. The only way to make sense of the new book’s blunderbuss array of topics is to know Davis’s vast scholarly corpus. …

    The environmental turn that Davis made in Ecology of Fear would open up new fertile fields of inquiry, initiating the start of the second half of his scholarly career as a self-identified “Marxist-environmentalist.” This period has been as influential and creative as the first. In the mid-1990s, as he was working on Ecology of Fear, he was asked by Tom Hayden to pen a chapter on a collection on the Great Famine. His interest in the El Nino effect, which had a chapter to itself in Ecology of Fear, would shape how he approached the topic; in his research he stumbled upon the unnecessary mass starvations in much of the Global South in the 1870s and the 1890s. The result of this intellectual peregrination was the influential Late Victorian Holocausts (2000). He argued that during the late nineteenth century British control—both direct and indirect—over vast swathes of the world’s peasantry forced the conversion from subsistence farming to growing cash crops. This increased peasants’ vulnerability to poor harvests, especially if the El Nino effect aggravated droughts. New imperial infrastructure of railways and deep ports for steam ships could carry away cash crops to the metropole while being tied to the world market elevated the price of foodstuffs. The result was between 32 and 61 million deaths in Africa, China, Brazil, and South Asia. These natural disasters, inflicted by British capital, created a stunted “third world.” There would be no improvement in people’s living standards for decades, until national liberation…

    Davis’s third chapter abruptly switches gears from national to natural history. It offers a reading of Russian anarcho-communist Peter Kropotkin’s late nineteenth-century challenge to the prevailing Lyellian paradigm in geology and the strange afterlife of this scientific revolt. In 1874 Kropotkin presented a paper on the study of striated Siberian rocks to show that glaciers flowed like super-viscous fluid. The grander conclusion of the paper was that the climate could fluctuate dramatically. Once glaciers receded from Eurasia, he argued, they left behind marshes that dried into prairies but would eventually turn into deserts. Thirty years after his first paper on the subject, the radical presented another claim that climatic variability could occur very quickly in geological terms, fast enough to affect human history. He posited Central Asian civilization had once benefitted from a wetter climate, but declined as rates of precipitation fell. …

    The final chapter of Old Gods—“Who Will Build the Ark?”—is quintessential Davis. A debate with himself, it begins with an allusion to a noir classic (his favorite genre): Orson Welles’s The Lady from Shanghai (1947), in which the lawyer-murderer Bannister interrogates himself in the the witness stand. Davis alternates between pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the “imagination.” The former mood, based on a close reading of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, leads him to conclude that catastrophic global warming is too far along to be stopped. The latter, befitting a left-wing urban historian, is predicated on his hope for socialist cities: “Public affluence—represented by the great urban parks, free museums, libraries, and infinite positiliby for human interaction—represents an alternative route to a rich standard of life based on earth-friendly sociality.” …

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  97. eleggua

     /  November 18, 2018

    ‘Billion-dollar US energy firm opposes Trump plan to roll back mercury rules ‘
    Fri 16 Nov 2018
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/15/energy-company-takes-stance-against-trump-effort-to-rollback-mercury-rule

    “A leading US energy company is lobbying against the Trump administration’s move to roll back a major Obama-era environmental regulation, arguing that weakening a rule on mercury emissions would potentially kill jobs across the south and waste billions of dollars of investment.

    Exelon, one of the largest producers of electricity in the US, has also argued to the Environmental Protection Agency that compliance with the existing mercury rule, a 2012 regulation that limits how much of the toxic pollutant can be emitted from coal-fired power plants, has had “substantial” health and environmental benefits and has cost a small fraction of what was originally anticipated.

    The campaign by Exelon, a $34bn company that produces nuclear energy, and other electric power companies against weakening the rule stands in stark contrast to the arguments that have underpinned the Trump administration’s efforts to reverse Obama-era health and environmental rules. It also reveals deep divisions within the energy sector about the alleged benefits of rolling back such regulations….”

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  98. eleggua

     /  November 18, 2018

    November 26, 2018 Issue

    How Extreme Weather Is Shrinking the Planet
    With wildfires, heat waves, and rising sea levels, large tracts of the earth are at risk of becoming uninhabitable. But the fossil-fuel industry continues its assault on the facts.

    By Bill McKibben

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/11/26/how-extreme-weather-is-shrinking-the-planet

    “Thirty years ago, this magazine published “The End of Nature,” a long article about what we then called the greenhouse effect. I was in my twenties when I wrote it, and out on an intellectual limb: climate science was still young. But the data were persuasive, and freighted with sadness. We were spewing so much carbon into the atmosphere that nature was no longer a force beyond our influence—and humanity, with its capacity for industry and heedlessness, had come to affect every cubic metre of the planet’s air, every inch of its surface, every drop of its water. Scientists underlined this notion a decade later when they began referring to our era as the Anthropocene, the world made by man.

    I was frightened by my reporting, but, at the time, it seemed likely that we’d try as a society to prevent the worst from happening. In 1988, George H. W. Bush, running for President, promised that he would fight “the greenhouse effect with the White House effect.” He did not, nor did his successors, nor did their peers in seats of power around the world, and so in the intervening decades what was a theoretical threat has become a fierce daily reality. As this essay goes to press, California is ablaze. A big fire near Los Angeles forced the evacuation of Malibu, and an even larger fire, in the Sierra Nevada foothills, has become the most destructive in California’s history. After a summer of unprecedented high temperatures and a fall “rainy season” with less than half the usual precipitation, the northern firestorm turned a city called Paradise into an inferno within an hour, razing more than ten thousand buildings and killing at least sixty-three people; more than six hundred others are missing. The authorities brought in cadaver dogs, a lab to match evacuees’ DNA with swabs taken from the dead, and anthropologists from California State University at Chico to advise on how to identify bodies from charred bone fragments.

    For the past few years, a tide of optimistic thinking has held that conditions for human beings around the globe have been improving. Wars are scarcer, poverty and hunger are less severe, and there are better prospects for wide-scale literacy and education. But there are newer signs that human progress has begun to flag. In the face of our environmental deterioration, it’s now reasonable to ask whether the human game has begun to falter—perhaps even to play itself out. …”

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  99. kassy

     /  November 18, 2018

    To Slow Down Climate Change, We Need To Take On Capitalism

    ….

    It’s late, yes, but not too late. There are actions we can take now that will help the situation immensely. Because the other vast, undeniable truth that goes hand in hand with the reality of our changing climate — the crux and cause of the problem — is that we live under a global capitalist system, in which the market rules. And that system’s oversimple algorithm, which measures priceless things in terms of quarterly profit and shareholder value, is mindlessly chewing up the biosphere and the lives of everyone in it. It’s like the hypothetical superintelligent AI portrayed in certain science fiction stories, which, in trying to maximize something like strawberry production, turns the whole world into a strawberry patch — thereby killing off all humans in the process as impediments to the stated goal.

    This market that rules the world also systematically underprices things. Sellers compete to charge less than each other, eventually lowering their prices below what they paid to make their products in the first place. Those costs are ignored or hidden in various ways, but they are never unpaid; they are merely translated into other, more dangerous currencies. Cutting labor costs? That means hurting workers. Externalizing environmental costs? That means pollution damaging the biosphere, which ultimately is our extended body and our life-support system. The upshot is this: Neoliberal market capitalism, an experiment in power that since 1980 has been doubling down on the previous forms of capitalism, is wrecking people’s lives and creating a climate catastrophe.

    ….

    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/kimstanleyrobinson/climate-change-capitalism-kim-stanley-robinson

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  100. Josh

     /  November 19, 2018

    I just thought I’d share this here – this is a movement which has really expanded rapidly in the UK over the last few weeks. The Extinction Rebellion (https://rebellion.earth) is aiming to use non-violent civil disobedience to challenge government inaction on ecological and climate devastation. There were a number of related actions around the world as well on the same day. I was on Waterloo Bridge, which was blocked for about 5 hours, and I really hope this can let a sense of urgency come to the fore. Perhaps the time is right?

    —-

    Dozens arrested after climate protest blocks five London bridges

    Thousands of protesters occupied bridges across the Thames over extinction crisis in huge act of peaceful civil disobedience

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    Eighty-five people have been arrested as thousands of demonstrators occupied five bridges in central London to voice their concern over the looming climate crisis.

    Protesters, including families and pensioners, began massing on five of London’s main bridges from 10am on Saturday. An hour later, all the crossings had been blocked in one of the biggest acts of peaceful civil disobedience in the UK in decades. Some people locked themselves together, while others linked arms and sang songs.

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    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/17/thousands-gather-to-block-london-bridges-in-climate-rebellion

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