Climate Variability and Climate Change: The New Climate Dice
An excerpt from what should be a very incendiary academic paper by Hansen, J
, et al: Thus there is no need to equivocate about the summer heat waves in Texas in 2011 and Moscow
in 2010, which exceeded 3σ – it is nearly certain that they would not have occurred in the
absence of global warming. If global warming is not slowed from its current pace, by midcentury 3σ events will be the new norm and 5σ events will be common.
Carbon dioxide emissions increased
by the largest amount on record
in 2010, exceeding
the worst case scenario outlined by the IPCC four years ago.
Hedging the Apocalypse:
Dornith Doherty’s documentary images of seed-saving facilities.
A series of emails released through a Freedom of Information Act request shine light on collusion between the United States government and TransCanada
, a corporation building a controversial pipeline from the Canadian Athabasca oil sands
into its southern neighbor. The controversy extends beyond the currently poor safety record
for delivering oil between the two countries, and beyond the environmental and health consequences
of the oil extraction process for locals and the cost of climate changes
it will contribute to, all the way to legal wrangling between Canadian media and Saudi Arabia
over the "death panels"-like term "ethical oil"
, based upon a conservative group's advertising
that argues that the purchase of Canadian-sourced oil is a morally superior act, because of oppression of women and human rights violations by the Saudi kingdom.
The experiment behind a previous post
has been written up in Scientific American
. The authors conclusion "At the moment, it actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate, but it's a very important first step..." [more inside]
The Age of Dissolution.
"Walking the Ganga river, from holy bacterial stews to crystalline glaciers: Shiva, eclipses, and the IPCC." [Via]
The chief of the world's leading physics lab at CERN in Geneva has prohibited scientists from drawing conclusions from a major experiment
. The CLOUD ("Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets") experiment examines the role that energetic particles from deep space play in cloud formation. Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director General of CERN, said in an interview
: "I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them. That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate. One has to make clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters." [more inside]
Naomi Klein, David Suzuki, Wendell Berry and others invite you
to come to Washington DC and get arrested in an ongoing protest that aims to stop the Keystone XL oil pipeline from being constructed.
the past 12 years have seen the warmest 10 years on record, temperatures have remained fairly steady, even while CO2 emissions grew by nearly a third. Temperatures should have been increasing during this period, rather 1998 was tied with 2010 for hottest on record. Now a study suggests why
(pdf): sulfur emissions from Asian coal plants (China mostly) are so high they mimic the effects of a volcano which can cause short term cooling by reflecting light back into space. Insidiously, the long-term warming caused by CO2 (coal) has been masked by short-term cooling of sulfur (coal).
Dr. Frank C. Baxter
has a star
on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He played Dr. Research in the Bell Labs Science Series
, beginning in 1956 with Our Mr. Sun
. [more inside]
When a TV meteorologist
says "temperatures will be ten degrees above normal", the word "normal" has a specific meaning. Every 10 years NOAA re-calculates the "normal" temps for the USA based on the prior 30-year averages. The new normals have just been released
, based on the 30 year period 1980-2010. Hotter is the new normal.
With hotter weather comes more extreme weather. Extreme Weather and Climate Change
, 3-part series from Scientific America
.. and map of extreme weather events 1995-present
Forum for the Future
, a UK-based non-profit, has produced a series of short videos depicting possible future scenarios for sustainable urban mobility. Titled "Megacities on the move," the series explores "how we will live and travel in the cities of 2040". The four scenarios are (links to Vimeo): Planned-opolis
, and Sprawl-ville
. [more inside]
You probably haven't heard of Gina Rinehart
. However, she's Australia's richest person
and will quite possibly be the world's richest person
in a few short years. Her currently limited political activity appears primarily directed
at maintaining profitability
, avoiding taxes
and stopping a price on carbon pollution
, first observed by Galileo, normally follow an 11-year cycle. We are into a few years into (recorded) cycle number 24 but according to NASA it's looking rather underpowered
. Nobody is certain exactly what the consequences will be, but one distinct possibility is a cold period
; a previous low in solar activity, the Maunder minimum
, is correlated with a brief Little Ice Age
. Nobody really knows how this unusual solar weather pattern might interact with human-caused climate change. Previously
, albeit somewhat controversially.
Snowpack in the northern Rocky Mountains
has declined over the past 30 years
more than at any other time in a least 1,000 years
(30-year decline is old news, 1000 year perspective is new). Snowmelt from the Rockies provide water for at least 70 million people. Snow is also melting weeks earlier in the American West
. Some consequences of earlier snowmelt (of less snow) are drier forests, more wildfires and less water for people in a West heating up and drying out.
Agreeing with the scientific community
when it comes to global warming
could lose you an election if you are a Republican hopeful.
Energy-related carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2010 were the highest in history, according to the latest estimates
by the International Energy Agency (IEA). After a dip in 2009 caused by the global financial crisis, emissions are estimated to have climbed to a record 30.6 Gigatonnes (Gt), a 5% jump from the previous record year in 2008, when levels reached 29.3 Gt. The likelihood
of exceeeding 450 ppm
CO2 and associated two degrees of warming has now receded
“certain styles of research were suggested to be prone to ‘groupthink, reduced creativity and the possibility of less-rigorous reviewing processes.’
Edward Wegman is a professor at George Mason and a distinguished statistician with a long career, a former winner of the ASA's Founders Award
. In 2006 he testified before Congress on climate science
, sharply criticizing the statistical methodology of Michael Mann's "hockey stick graph," which showed a sharp increase in global temperature in the last part of the 20th century. One section of Wegman's testimony concerned "social network analysis," and suggested that Mann's tightly-knit network of co-authors might have led to insufficiently aggressive peer review. USA Today reports that Wegman's testimony contained a substantial quantity of plagiarized material, and the peer-reviewed article derived from the testimony has been retracted by the journal that published it.
John Mashey has compiled an obsessively thorough catalogue of the plagiarized text
. (large .pdf.) [more inside]
In December 2010, a Koch Industries press release spoof
(Scribd; alt: screencap
) was posted on a website that mimicked the appearance of the official site for Koch Industries. The press release stated that Koch would no longer support research and advocacy initiatives that denied or questioned the human role in climate change. The press release was quickly identified as a hoax
, and both the fake press release and site disappeared quickly, yet the Koch company pursued the identities of those behind the stunt
, going as far as to file a lawsuit to expose the anonymous pranksters as part of a larger lawsuit. This past Monday, the lawsuit was thrown out of court
in Utah, with the judge citing that parody is not commercial speech, and thus a First Amendment issue. [more inside]
In the media landscape there are climate change deniers and believers, but rarely those speaking about climate change are actual climate scientists...
From the Power Episode of The Hungry Beast
a weekly, half-hour, TV show on ABC (Australia) television combining journalism, comedy and the reportage of weird. It asks questions others don’t, covers stories others won’t and brings them to your screen in ways that only this unique team of broadcasters can do.
Despite continuing inaction
and perverse subsidies
from the US Federal Government, one of their largest entities, the US Department of Defense, has done the analysis
both peak oil
and climate change to be a significant
threat. In partial response, they're pushing heavily
into alternative fuels
, with the Air Force aiming
to get fully half
of its domestic jet fuel from alternative sources by 2016.
Yale's 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI)
ranks 163 countries on 25 performance indicators tracked across ten policy categories covering both environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. These indicators provide a gauge at a national government scale of how close countries are to established environmental policy goals.
The Science of Why We Don't Believe In Science.
Or How To Win An Argument: Try Not To Rely on Facts. MotherJones investigates what recent research can tell us about how we reason (or don't).
John Baez (mathematical physicist and master popularizer, former operator of This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics, current promoter of the idea that physicists should start pitching in on saving the world
) interviews Eliezer Yudkowsky (singularitarian, author of "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality,"
promoter of the idea that human life faces a near-term existential threat from unfriendly artificial intelligence, and that people can live better lives by evading their cognitive biases) about the future, academia, rationality, altruism, expected utility, self-improvement by humans and machines, and the relative merit of battling climate change and developing friendly AIs that will forstall our otherwise inevitable doom. Part I
. Part II. Part III. [more inside]
Tim DeChristopher goes on trial
in a Salt Lake City District Court today [Case No. 2:09-CR-183
], facing a ten year sentence
and/or $750 000 fines. His crime? Intentionally
making false bids
on fossil fuel leases. His supporters
include Dr James Hansen and Bill McKibben
The Australian Government
to a price on carbon
from 1 July 2012
, prior to a likely full emissions trading scheme within three to five years. The Opposition
are outraged, predicting a people's revolt
. This should clearly define
the next election.
Australia is copping another pounding from natural disasters.
After the floods across Brisbane (previously
) in South-east Queensland, North Queensland
is in the firing line for a Category 5
cyclone called Yasi
The official warning: THIS IMPACT IS LIKELY TO BE MORE LIFE THREATENING THAN ANY EXPERIENCED DURING RECENT GENERATIONS. [more inside]
discussing a hypothetical proposal
for a temperature based tax on carbon by Canadian economist Ross McKitrick.
“Nature doesn't remind us that we are small, but rather provides chilling, awesome evidence of our size and strength. We glance up to the snows of Mount Kilimanjaro and think of how quickly our coal generators have heated the earth. We fly over the denuded stretches of the Amazon and see how easily we have gashed the planet.” Alain de Botton considers how climate change is reshaping our relationship with the environment.
The world is well on track
to achieve 4 degrees of warming by 2100. In September 2009, a conference organised by
the Tyndall Centre
looked at this scenario
, with the papers recently published in a special issue
of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
. Pr. Anderson of the Tyndall Centre suggests that only 10 percent of humanity
may survive this conflagration.
The Nation recently interviewed public intellectuals including Noam Chomsky, Bill McKibben (previously
), and Dmity Orlov (previously
) to produce a series of videos centered around Peak Oil and a Changing Climate
. The first video, online now
, combines all of the people interviewed while the videos yet to be released will be longer sections featuring them one at a time. [more inside]
We've discussed the "once in a century" Amazon Drought of 2005-06
. Five years later and we are seeing another once in a century drought in the Amazon
. How serious are the effects of these droughts for global climate? The science appears to be mixed
. Helping monitor is the newly released Google Earth 6.0
, which can track individual trees within a section of the Amazonian forest, and 80 million other trees in 7 cities around the world
Sustainable Growth is an Oxymoron
Text of an outstanding talk that explains clearly why the idea of "sustainable growth" is impossible in the finite system that is the earth; how the compact energy-delivery system of fossil fuel is equivalent to mind-blowing amounts of free human labor, which cannot be sustained indefinitely; and why it's imperative for scientists to help humanity find ways to go back to "liv[ing] on the sun in real time." [more inside]
With half of the new GOP Congressmen
affirmed climate science deniers,and facing opposition
even within his own party, President Obama has acknowledged
that "cap and trade" legislation on US carbon emissions is dead. Regulation of emissions by the EPA
appears to be the only way forward
. Republicans are seeking to nobble that option
, while Karl Rove thinks that "climate is gone
" from the political landscape. Thankfully, according to John Shimkus
, God has promised no more climate change
, so we're all right then.
What I've always wanted- an atlas
of the world's vulnerability to climate change (downloadable pdf on page).
The Coalition of the Willing is a broad movement
that began with an animated short
about open source culture and the role it could play
against global warming. Today, on 10th October 2010, people at 7347 events in 188 countries are getting to work on the climate crisis at the 10/10/10 Work Party
. [via Appropedia] Previously
A handful of US scientists have made names for themselves by casting doubt on global warming research. In the past, the same people have also downplayed the dangers of passive smoking, acid rain and the ozone hole. In all cases, the tactics are the same: Spread doubt and claim it's too soon to take action.
Today we put up a mini-movie about 10:10 and climate change called 'No Pressure’. Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn't and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended. As a result of these concerns we've taken it off our website. We won't be making any attempt to censor or remove other versions currently in circulation
on the internet.
Global warming skeptic Bjørn Lomborg changes position
, saying global warming is "undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today" and "a challenge humanity must confront." He says in a new book forthcoming this year
that governments should levy a tax on carbon and spend billions annually on research for new technologies. I suppose it's hard to ignore when 10 of 10 key indicators
show the world is warming, and Lomberg is not the first prominent skeptic to change position. [more inside]
Investigative reporting continues
the credibility of the IPCC
reports on climate change, as well as vicious personal attacks
. These stories gain wide
coverage in the denialist echo chamber
, yet several months down the track, after thorough independent investigation
, they are found
to be false
. Weak retractions
are published in newspapers, but the damage is done.
How are heatwaves in Russia and flooding in Pakistan related? Both result from a
kink in the jet stream
that has frozen in place
. (Previous coverage of the disasters in Russia and Pakistan on the blue.)