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White House Physicist Sought Aid of Rightwing Thinktank to Challenge Climate Science

A member of the Trump administration’s National Security Council has sought help from advisers of a conservative thinktank to challenge the reality of a human-induced climate crisis, a trove of his emails show.

William Happer, a physicist appointed by the White House to counter the federal government’s own climate science, reached out to the Heartland Institute, one of the most prominent groups to dispute that burning fossil fuels is causing dangerous global heating, in March.

In the messages, part of a group of emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Happer and the Heartland adviser Hal Doiron discuss Happer’s scientific arguments in a paper attempting to knock down the concept of climate emergency, as well as ideas to make the work “more useful to a wider readership”. Happer writes he had already discussed the work with another Heartland adviser, Thomas Wysmuller.

The emails from 2018 and 2019, received by the Environmental Defense Fund and provided to the Associated Press, also show Happer’s dismay that Jim Bridenstine, the Nasa administrator, had come round to accepting the science of climate breakdown.

In May 2018, an exchange between Happer and Heartland’s Wysmuller called Bridenstine’s change of heart “a puzzle” and copied in the Nasa administrator to urge him to “systematically sidestep” established science on temperature increases and sea level rise that the duo call “nonsense”.

This was followed by a February 2019 email in which Happer relays a complaint to James Morhard, Nasa’s deputy administrator, about climate crisis information on the space agency’s website. “I’m concerned that many children are being indoctrinated by this bad science,” said the email that Happer forwarded.

... “These people are endangering all of us by promoting anti-science in service of fossil fuel interests over the American interests,” Michael Mann, a Pennsylvania State University climate scientist, told the AP. 

Climate Change Poses Major Risks to Financial Markets, Regulator Warns

WASHINGTON — A top financial regulator is opening a public effort to highlight the risk that climate change poses to the nation’s financial markets, setting up a clash with a president who has mocked global warming and whose administration has sought to suppress climate science.

Rostin Behnam, who sits on the federal government’s five-member Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a powerful agency overseeing major financial markets including grain futures, oil trading and complex derivatives, said in an interview on Monday that the financial risks from climate change were comparable to those posed by the mortgage meltdown that triggered the 2008 financial crisis.

“If climate change causes more volatile frequent and extreme weather events, you’re going to have a scenario where these large providers of financial products — mortgages, home insurance, pensions — cannot shift risk away from their portfolios,” he said. “It’s abundantly clear that climate change poses financial risk to the stability of the financial system.”

... On Wednesday, Mr. Behnam plans to detail the formation of a panel of experts at the trading commission assigned to produce a report on how global warming could affect the financial sector, potentially impacting food costs, insurance markets, the mortgage industry and other economic pillars.

Because the report, expected late this year or early next, would be a product of the federal government, it would most likely put Mr. Behnam in direct conflict with the policies of the Trump administration. The report, which Mr. Behnam said he expected would focus in particular on potential harm to the nation’s agriculture sector, is likely to emerge at a moment when Mr. Trump will be making the case to farm states, which have already been hurt by his crop tariffs, to re-elect him in 2020.

... “We understand that climate change causes a big systemic risk,” said Stefano Giglio, a professor of finance at Yale University who has published studies with the National Bureau of Economic Research on the financial consequences of warming. “But right now, we don’t have enough information, and we don’t have the right financial products to insure this risk. The CFTC can help give that information and help lay out a global marker for what we need to do.”

The rest / Re: Economic Inequality
« on: June 14, 2019, 08:29:03 PM »
Climate Change Poses Major Risks to Financial Markets, Regulator Warns

WASHINGTON — A top financial regulator is opening a public effort to highlight the risk that climate change poses to the nation’s financial markets, setting up a clash with a president who has mocked global warming and whose administration has sought to suppress climate science.

Rostin Behnam, who sits on the federal government’s five-member Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a powerful agency overseeing major financial markets including grain futures, oil trading and complex derivatives, said in an interview on Monday that the financial risks from climate change were comparable to those posed by the mortgage meltdown that triggered the 2008 financial crisis.

“If climate change causes more volatile frequent and extreme weather events, you’re going to have a scenario where these large providers of financial products — mortgages, home insurance, pensions — cannot shift risk away from their portfolios,” he said. “It’s abundantly clear that climate change poses financial risk to the stability of the financial system.”

... On Wednesday, Mr. Behnam plans to detail the formation of a panel of experts at the trading commission assigned to produce a report on how global warming could affect the financial sector, potentially impacting food costs, insurance markets, the mortgage industry and other economic pillars.

Because the report, expected late this year or early next, would be a product of the federal government, it would most likely put Mr. Behnam in direct conflict with the policies of the Trump administration. The report, which Mr. Behnam said he expected would focus in particular on potential harm to the nation’s agriculture sector, is likely to emerge at a moment when Mr. Trump will be making the case to farm states, which have already been hurt by his crop tariffs, to re-elect him in 2020.

... “We understand that climate change causes a big systemic risk,” said Stefano Giglio, a professor of finance at Yale University who has published studies with the National Bureau of Economic Research on the financial consequences of warming. “But right now, we don’t have enough information, and we don’t have the right financial products to insure this risk. The CFTC can help give that information and help lay out a global marker for what we need to do.”

The rest / Re: Wildlife
« on: June 14, 2019, 08:19:40 PM »
NOAA: 260 Dolphins Dead on Gulf Coast, Triple Usual Number

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists say it's too early to know the cause. But they're investigating whether lingering effects from the 2010 oil spill and salinity changes from high rivers and a Louisiana spillway opening contributed.

NOAA says on its website that a number of the dolphins stranded from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle had sores consistent with freshwater exposure, but those are common in the spring.

A Mississippi scientist says the spillway opening is at least partly to blame for 126 deaths across Mississippi's coastline. Moby Solangi calls it worse than the BP spill. He says 91 dead dolphins were found in Mississippi during all of 2010.

Policy and solutions / Re: Trains, Trams, Subways and Buses
« on: June 14, 2019, 08:16:42 PM »
German railways to stop using glyphosate on tracks

German state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn is to stop using glyphosate (RoundUp) on its tracks and is looking for substitutes to replace the controversial weedkiller, one of its board members said in an interview Friday.

The rail operator is Germany's largest user of glyphosate and buys nearly 65 tonnes of the herbicide per year to stop weeds from propagating on its tracks.

"We want to set up a research project to find effective ways to operate our 33,000 kilometres (20,500 miles) of network without glyphosate to be environmentally friendly," infrastructure chief Ronald Pofalla told the weekly business magazine WirtschaftsWoche.

The World Health Organization classifies glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic".

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: June 14, 2019, 01:50:20 PM »
More chemicals in our vegetables ...

Bayer to Invest $5.6 Billion in New Weed Killing Methods

German chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer says it plans to invest some 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) over the next decade in developing "additional methods to combat weeds."

Friday's announcement came as Bayer is engaged in legal battles in the U.S. in which plaintiffs claim that subsidiary Monsanto's Roundup weed killer caused cancer. Rulings in three cases have gone against it.

Consequences / Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« on: June 14, 2019, 01:33:44 PM »
Or the plankton & zooplankton overheated, the fish scattered - same net result ...

... microplastics don't help, either.

Consequences / Re: Effects on Arctic Wildlife
« on: June 14, 2019, 04:36:24 AM »
Tons of Dead Seals Are Washing Up In the Arctic and Nobody Knows Why

A mysterious string of seal deaths along an Alaskan coastline has triggered a federal investigation.

The carcasses of at least 60 ice seals—bearded, ringed, and spotted seals—have been discovered near the Arctic’s Bering and Chukchi seas on Alaska’s western coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced in a press release on Wednesday.

The agency received multiple reports of dead seals on Monday in Norton Sound, a Bering Sea inlet and subsistence hunting area for Indigenous communities. A hunter from the local city of Kotlik found 18 carcasses along 11 miles of shoreline, and “dozens” more across the bay on Stuart Island, NOAA said.

Further north, a biologist with the National Park Service encountered six dead seals along the Chukchi shoreline between Kotzebue Airport and Sadie Creek, NOAA added. Members of the public also reported 30 carcasses up the coast between Kivalina and Point Hope.

...  NOAA likened these symptoms to an event that killed 233 seals between 2011 and 2016 in northern Alaska. At least 657 dead and live seals presented with hair loss and lesions that were ultimately blamed on an “abnormality of the molt.” The agency declared it an Unusual Mortality Event, defined as “a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population; and demands immediate response.”


Alaskans find more dead seals along warming Arctic Sea

Ice in the Bering and Chukchi seas has been far scarcer than normal, and sea-surface temperatures have been far higher than usual, according to scientists and agency reports. But the cause of the seal die-off is as yet unknown, said Julie Speegle, an Alaska spokeswoman for NOAA Fisheries.

Sea-surface temperatures along the coastlines of the Bering Sea and the southern Chukchi Sea were as much as 4.5 degrees Celsius (8.1 Fahrenheit) above normal last month and remained well above normal as of this week, according to NOAA data.

Bearded, spotted and ringed seals use sea ice as platforms for food foraging, for resting and for raising their young. Alaska's bearded and ringed seals are currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The reports of dead seals, which started in May and come from village residents and a National Park Service biologist, coincide with mounting discoveries of dead gray whales along the West Coast from California to Alaska.


Coincidentally, the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (including submarines) recently sailed to Alaska and is conducting War Games in the area.

Arctic sea ice / Re: What's new in the Arctic ?
« on: June 14, 2019, 04:16:23 AM »
Melting Arctic Ice Opens a New Fiber Optic Cable Route

Helsinki-based Cinia, which owns and operates about 15,000 kilometers of fiber optic cable, and MegaFon, a Russian telecommunications operator, signed a memorandum of understanding to lay a fiber optic cable across the Arctic Ocean. The cable, if built, would not only reduce latency between users in Europe, Asia, and North America, but provide some much-needed geographical diversity to the world’s undersea cable infrastructure.

... Ari-Jussi Knaapila, the CEO of Cinia, estimates that the planned Arctic cable, which would stretch from London to Alaska, would shorten the physical cable distance between Europe and the western coast of North America by 20 to 30 percent. Additional cable will extend the route down to China and Japan, for a planned total of 10,000 kilometers of new cable.

... Stringing a cable across the Arctic Ocean is not a new idea, though other proposed projects, including the semi-built Arctic Fibre project, have never been completed. In the past, the navigational season in the Arctic was too short to easily build undersea cables. Now, melting sea ice due to climate change is expanding that window and making it more feasibl

Consequences / Re: Pathogens and their impacts
« on: June 14, 2019, 02:48:42 AM »
Salmonella Resistant to Antibiotics of Last Resort Found in US

Researchers from North Carolina State University have found a gene that gives Salmonella resistance to antibiotics of last resort in a sample taken from a human patient in the U.S. The find is the first evidence that the gene mcr-3.1 has made its way into the U.S. from Asia. ... The sample came from a person who had traveled to China two weeks prior to becoming ill with a Salmonella infection.

... "Public health officials have known about this gene for some time," says Siddhartha Thakur, professor and director of global health at NC State and corresponding author of the research. "In 2015, they saw that mcr-3.1 had moved from a chromosome to a plasmid in China, which paves the way for the gene to be transmitted between organisms. For example, E. coli and Salmonella are in the same family, so once the gene is on a plasmid, that plasmid could move between the bacteria and they could transmit this gene to each other. Once mcr-3.1 jumped to the plasmid, it spread to 30 different countries, although not—as far as we knew—to the U.S."

Daniel F. Monte et al, Multidrug- and colistin-resistant Salmonella enterica 4,[5],12:i:- sequence type 34 carrying the mcr-3.1 gene on the IncHI2 plasmid recovered from a human, Journal of Medical Microbiology (2019)

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 14, 2019, 12:15:25 AM »
Conversely; it could be a means of tightening the screws on China, which gets a good fraction of its oil from the Gulf. Blaming Iran is a twofer.

If one had a Machiavellian mind it would seem to have Bolton and Stephen Miller's fingerprints on it. Israel or the Saudi Prince could provide plausible deniability.


Admiral James Greer: Now, understand, commander, that torpedo did not self-destruct. You heard it hit the hull. And I... [shows him his CIA identification] ...was never here.

Hunt for Red October- 1990

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: June 13, 2019, 11:17:31 PM »
Europe's Seas to Lose Almost a Third of Life Due to Climate Change: Report

Ensemble projections of global ocean animal biomass with climate change.

Europe's waters are expected to lose 30% of their already vulnerable ocean life to further warming, says a new study. Combined with overfishing, that loss can threaten livelihood and food security in coastal nations.

With warmer oceans pushing fish toward the cooler poles and larger species suffering the biggest decline, the new report, "Global ensemble projections reveal trophic amplification of ocean biomass declines with climate change," aims to provide the clearest picture yet of how climate breakdown risks the structure and function of our oceans' ecosystems.

While warmer global temperatures have already caused a significant loss and redistribution of the world's sea life, the impacts in Europe will be the most keenly felt, according to one of the report's 35 authors, Boris Worm from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.

... In Europe we typically don't feel as vulnerable to climate change as, say, people in Bangladesh or in sub-Saharan Africa. But this report shows that Europe is actually among the most vulnerable in terms of climate impacts on marine ecosystems and declines in marine animal biomass. ... Europe is not shielded in any way from the impacts of climate change on our oceans; we're actually at the forefront of climate change. We can't buy our way out of this.

Trophic amplification of marine biomass declines.

Projected biomass trends in relation to global air temperature changes.

Global ensemble projections reveal trophic amplification of ocean biomass declines with climate change, PNAS, 2019

Consequences / Re: Heatwaves
« on: June 13, 2019, 10:59:40 PM »
Lithuania Temperatures Hit Record Highs Amid Baltic Heatwave

Lithuanian temperatures have hit record June highs, meteorologists said Thursday, as a heatwave forced school closures and threatened to reduce harvests in the drought-hit Baltic region.

Kaisiadorys in central Lithuania was the hottest place at 35.7 degrees Celsius (96.2 degrees Fahrenheit) on Wednesday, the highest-ever temperature recorded for June in the country, weather forecaster Paulius Starkus told AFP.

Scientists say the extreme weather is in part a result of climate change.

"Lithuania used to have heatwaves but now they occur more often and are more intense due to climate change," Vilnius University climatologist Donatas Valiukas told AFP.

Fellow Baltic state Latvia is also experiencing unusual heat for June, with temperatures over 32 degrees Celsius.

In recent days, Latvia's western region of Kurzeme saw thunderstorms with hail damaging buildings, smashing greenhouses and tearing power lines.

Fellow Baltic state Estonia had a heatwave last week and is now experiencing rainy and windy weather.

Poland has also been experiencing high temperatures this month, which has resulted in increased air-conditioner use. The power transmission system operator PSE said that on Wednesday there was record electricity demand for a summer morning at nearly 24.10 gigawatts (GW).


Indian Heat-Wave Hits Rural Economy Hard

Farmers can apply for compensation in case of crop failure, but India's notorious bureaucracy makes the application process difficult and time-consuming.

Consequences / Re: Decline in insect populations
« on: June 13, 2019, 10:35:27 PM »
Migratory Hoverflies 'Key' as Many Insects Decline

Migratory hoverflies are "key" to pollination and controlling crop pests amid the decline of many other insect species, new research shows.

University of Exeter scientists studied the movements of migratory hoverflies and were surprised to find up to four billion migrate to and from Britain each year.

The study shows these numbers have been relatively stable over the last decade, and such abundance means migratory hoverflies pollinate many billions of flowers and produce larvae that eat up to ten trillion aphids.

"They are widely considered to be the second most important pollinators, after bees.

"They are especially important pollinators of wildflowers, soft fruits and brassica crops, and their larvae prey on various species of aphids—which are the key crop pest in Europe.

"This dual role makes them uniquely beneficial to humans."

... "As well as their vital pollinating and aphid-eating roles, migrating hoverflies provide food for a range of predators including birds."

Seasonally Beneficial Migration Distance & Directions

Open Access: Karl R. Wotton,, Mass seasonal migrations of hoverflies provide extensive pollination and crop protection services, Current Biology (2019).

... We estimate that the contribution to pest aphid control is likely to be in excess of 1 million cereal aphids ha−1 of arable cropland, which is about 20% of typical aphid population densities in fields early in the season when hoverflies first appear.

In addition, species such as E. balteatus visit flowers in very high numbers, rivaling managed honeybees in numerical abundance during the summer (up to 4 billion migrant hoverflies in southern Britain during May–September versus ∼5 billion managed honeybees at peak abundance for the whole of Britain.

Second, long-range migrants have the potential to successfully transport viable pollen between conspecific flowering plants over large spatial scales, which will lead to impacts on gene flow and population genetic structure

Consequences / Re: Pathogens and their impacts
« on: June 13, 2019, 10:17:10 PM »
Ebola Spreads in Uganda—2 Deaths, 27 in Contact—as WHO Calls Emergency Meeting

Local and international health officials are scrambling to smother a flare-up of Ebola in Uganda, which spread this week from a massive, months-long outbreak in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. The outbreak has sickened 2,084 and killed 1,405 since last August.

Uganda announced its first case stemming from the outbreak on Tuesday, June 11. The case was in a 5-year-old Congolese boy who traveled across the border with family a few days earlier. The Ugandan Health Ministry reported shortly after that the boy succumbed to his infection the morning of June 12. Two of his family members also tested positive by that time: the boy’s 50-year-old grandmother and his 3-year-old brother.

Today, June 13, the Ministry announced that the grandmother had also passed. In an urgent meeting over the situation, officials from Uganda and the DRC mutually decided to send the remaining family back to the DRC. That includes the 3-year-old boy with a confirmed case, as well as the mother, father, a 6-month-old sibling, and their maid. Health officials noted that the latter four family members are all considered “suspected cases.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 13, 2019, 10:14:07 PM »
Mike Pompeo Blames Iran for Oil Tanker Attacks in Gulf of Oman; Presents No Evidence for His Claim

What Impact Could Oil Tanker Attacks Have On Global Economy?

Policy and solutions / Re: Becoming Vegan.
« on: June 13, 2019, 06:39:57 PM »
Tyson Foods Unveils Plant-Based Nuggets as It Moves Into Meat Alternatives

Tyson’s new Raised & Rooted nuggets will first hit supermarket shelves later this summer and its burgers are expected to be available this autumn.

The nation’s largest meatpacker divested from Beyond Meat prior to the latter’s initial public offering because it wanted to develop its own plant-based products.

Tyson’s new brand will compete with Beyond Meat, one of the first companies along with Impossible Foods to make a completely plant-based burger that tastes exactly like a beef hamburger. Tyson CEO Noel White says alternative protein could be a billion-dollar business for the company.

Tyson was an investor in Beyond Meat until the company recently sold its 6.5 percent stake back in April. That stake was reportedly worth about $79 million.


It's not just for Tuesdays anymore!


What increasing or decreasing meat does to you over time

... In two large prospective cohorts of US women and men, we found an increase in red meat consumption over eight years was directly associated with risk of death during the subsequent eight years, and was independent of initial red meat intake and concurrent changes in lifestyle factors. This association with mortality was observed with increased consumption of processed and unprocessed meat, but was stronger for processed meat.

A decrease in total red meat consumption and a simultaneous increase in the consumption of nuts, fish, poultry without skin, dairy, eggs, whole grains, or vegetables over eight years was associated with a lower risk of death in the subsequent eight years.

They say that the research suggests that a change in protein source or eating healthy plant based foods such as vegetables or whole grains can improve longevity. And these findings were also relevant in shorter term (four years) and longer term (12 years) studies they they did as well.

Increasing total red meat intake (both processed and unprocessed) by 3.5 servings a week or more over an eight year period was associated with a 10 percent higher risk of death in the next eight years.

Increasing processed red meat intake, such as bacon, hot dogs, sausages and salami, by 3.5 servings a week or more was associated with a 13 percent higher risk of death.

Antarctica / Re: What's new in Antarctica ?
« on: June 13, 2019, 06:19:17 PM »
Warming Waters in Western Tropical Pacific May Affect West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Warming waters in the western tropical Pacific Ocean have significantly increased thunderstorms and rainfall, which may affect the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and global sea-level rise, according to a Rutgers University-New Brunswick study.

Since the mid-1990s, West Antarctica—a massive ice sheet that sits on land—has been melting and contributing to global sea-level rise. That melting has accelerated this century. Wind and weather patterns play a crucial role in governing the melting: Winds push warm ocean water toward the ice sheet and melt it from below, at the same time as winds bring warm air over the ice sheet surface and melt it from above.

The study, in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, found that the South Pacific Convergence Zone, a region of the western tropical Pacific, is a major driver of weather variability across West Antarctica.

Rutgers researchers studied how warming ocean temperatures in the western tropical Pacific influence weather patterns around West Antarctica. This century, the Antarctic Peninsula and interior West Antarctica have been cooling while the Ross Ice Shelf has been warming—a reversal of what happened in the second half of the 20th century. From the 1950s to the 1990s, the Antarctic Peninsula and interior West Antarctica were the most rapidly warming regions on the planet, and the Ross Ice Shelf was cooling.

The temperature trends flipped at the start of this century. Coinciding with the flip in West Antarctic temperature trends, ocean temperatures in the western tropical Pacific began warming rapidly. Using a climate model, the researchers found that warming ocean temperatures in the western tropical Pacific have resulted in a significant increase in thunderstorm activity, rainfall and convection in the South Pacific Convergence Zone. Convection in the atmosphere is when heat and moisture move up or down.

A rainfall increase in the zone results in cold southerly winds over the Antarctic Peninsula and warm northerly winds over the Ross Ice Shelf, consistent with the recent cooling and warming in those respective regions. So the West Antarctic climate, although isolated from much of the planet, is profoundly influenced by the tropics. The findings may help scientists interpret the past West Antarctic climate as recorded in ice cores.

Kyle R. Clem et al, Role of the South Pacific Convergence Zone in West Antarctic Decadal Climate Variability, Geophysical Research Letters (2019).

Arctic sea ice / Re: What's new in models?
« on: June 13, 2019, 06:13:39 PM »
NOAA Upgrades the U.S. Global Weather Forecast Model

NOAA's flagship weather model—the Global Forecast System (GFS)—is undergoing a significant upgrade today to include a new dynamical core called the Finite-Volume Cubed-Sphere (FV3). This upgrade will drive global numerical weather prediction into the future with improved forecasts of severe weather, winter storms, and tropical cyclone intensity and track.

NOAA research scientists originally developed the FV3 as a tool to predict long-range weather patterns at time frames ranging from multiple decades to interannual, seasonal and subseasonal. In recent years, creators of the FV3 at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory expanded it to also become the engine for NOAA's next-generation operational GFS.

The scientific and performance evaluation shows that the upgraded FV3-based GFS provides results equal to or better than the current global model in many measures. This upgrade establishes the foundation to further advancements in the future as we improve observation quality control, data assimilation, and the model physics.

"We are excited about the advancements enabled by the new GFS dynamical core and its prospects for the future," said Louis W. Uccellini, Ph.D., director, NOAA's National Weather Service. "Switching out the dynamical core will have significant impact on our ability to make more accurate 1-2 day forecasts and increase the level of accuracy for our 3-7 day forecasts. However, our job doesn't end there—we also have to improve the physics as well as the data assimilation system used to ingest data and initialize the model."

Operating a new and sophisticated weather model requires robust computing capacity. In January 2018, NOAA augmented its weather and climate supercomputing systems to increase performance by nearly 50 percent and added 60 percent more storage capacity to collect and process weather, water and climate observations. This increased capacity enabled the parallel testing of the FV3-based GFS throughout the year.

The retiring version of the model will no longer be used in operations but will continue to run in parallel through September 2019 to provide model users with data access and additional time to compare performance.


New Engine Is Driving NOAA’s Flagship Weather Forecast Model

Science / Re: Carbon Cycle
« on: June 13, 2019, 05:59:00 PM »
Solving the Mystery of Why Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide was Lower During Ice Ages

Since scientists first determined that atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) was significantly lower during ice age periods than warm phases, they have sought to discover why, theorizing that it may be a function of ocean circulation, sea ice, iron-laden dust or temperature.

A new study published this week in Science Advances provides compelling evidence for a solution—the combination of sea water temperature variation and iron from dust off Southern Hemisphere continents.

"Many of the past studies that analyzed ocean temperatures made the assumption that ocean temperatures cooled at the same rate over the entire globe—about 2.5 degrees (Celsius)," said Andreas Schmittner, a climate scientist at Oregon State University and co-author on the study. "When they ran their models, temperature thus accounted for only a small amount of atmospheric CO2 decrease.

"We now know that the oceans cooled much more in some regions, as much as five degrees (C) in the mid-latitudes. Since cold water has a higher degree of CO2 solubility, it had the potential to soak up a lot more carbon from the atmosphere than past studies accounted for—and it realized more of that potential.

Schmittner and his colleagues estimate that colder ocean temperatures would account for about half of the decrease in CO2 during the last glacial maximum—or height of the last ice age. Another third or so, they say, was likely caused by an increase in iron-laden dust coming off the continents and "fertilizing" the surface of the Southern Ocean. An increase in iron would boost phytoplankton production, absorbing more carbon and depositing it deep in the ocean.

Schmittner said the remaining amount of reduced carbon may be attributable to variations in nutrient availability and/or ocean alkalinity.

"The increase in iron likely resulted from ice scouring the landscape in Patagonia, Australia and New Zealand, pulling iron out of the rocks and soil," Schmittner said. "Since it was very cold and dry, the iron would have been picked up by the wind and deposited in the ocean.

"Our three-dimensional model of the global ocean agrees well with observations from ocean sediments from the last glacial maximum, giving us a high degree of confidence in the results."

Fig. 1 Schematic of ocean carbon decomposition.: (A) The concentration of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in the ocean interior is determined by surface (“preformed”) carbon (Cpref) transported passively by ocean circulation and regenerated carbon (Creg = Csoft + Ccaco3) that has accumulated in a water parcel since it was last at the surface. Typically, the efficiency of the biological pump is measured as the total amount of Creg in the ocean, which is dominated by Csoft. (B) However, biology (shown in green) also affects surface DIC by limited outgassing of upwelling regenerated carbon at high latitudes, which increases Cpref over its equilibrium value (Csat) to create a positive disequilibrium (Cdis,bio). Likewise, carbon removal from the surface through photosynthesis and slow ingassing creates a negative Cdis,bio in low-latitude oligotrophic regions of the ocean. Physical processes (black) such as surface heat fluxes (red) similarly lead to disequilibrium (Cdis,phy). North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) is relatively well equilibrated with the atmosphere because of its long surface exposure before sinking, whereas Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) and Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) exhibit larger disequilibria due to short surface exposure before sinking.

Open Access: S. Khatiwala et al. Air-sea disequilibrium enhances ocean carbon storage during glacial periods, Science Advances (2019).


Related Subject @,888.msg29131.html#msg29131
h/t AbruptSLR

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: June 13, 2019, 05:37:14 PM »
South Australia's Droughts are Getting Worse

Despite Adelaide experiencing its wettest day in more than two years this month, a new study by UniSA shows droughts are becoming longer and more severe in South Australia.

The analysis shows a clear pattern of increasing drought across much of South Australia, notably over the State's most heavily inhabited areas and major catchments.

"We looked at data from 1960 to 2010 from every high-quality weather station in the State and there is a clear pattern, with drought increasing in the south of the State and over the Murray-Darling Basin, which is the food bowl of Australia," Prof Beecham says.

The study, published in a Royal Meteorological Society journal, also indicates there has been significant long-term reductions in rainfall at the most problematic time of year, which is through autumn and winter.

"This is when water systems should be recharging and flows should be building up again," Prof Beecham says. "When it is dry during this time, as it was earlier this year, it is a problem for the State's water supplies, as winter rain is soaked up by the dry environment and less ends up in reservoirs."

... "Much of the drought intensification can be linked to changes in two key climatic indices, known as Niño 3.4 and the dipole mode index," Prof Beecham says.

"As a result of changes to temperature and pressure over the Indian and Pacific oceans, South Australia's rainfall patterns are changing."

M. Rashid, S. Beekham, Characterization of meteorological droughts across South Australia, Royal Meteorological Society Journal, 03 February 2019

Consequences / Re: General Drought Stuff
« on: June 13, 2019, 05:30:53 PM »
South Australia's Droughts are Getting Worse

Despite Adelaide experiencing its wettest day in more than two years this month, a new study by UniSA shows droughts are becoming longer and more severe in South Australia.

The analysis shows a clear pattern of increasing drought across much of South Australia, notably over the State's most heavily inhabited areas and major catchments.

"We looked at data from 1960 to 2010 from every high-quality weather station in the State and there is a clear pattern, with drought increasing in the south of the State and over the Murray-Darling Basin, which is the food bowl of Australia," Prof Beecham says.

The study, published in a Royal Meteorological Society journal, also indicates there has been significant long-term reductions in rainfall at the most problematic time of year, which is through autumn and winter.

"This is when water systems should be recharging and flows should be building up again," Prof Beecham says. "When it is dry during this time, as it was earlier this year, it is a problem for the State's water supplies, as winter rain is soaked up by the dry environment and less ends up in reservoirs."

... "Much of the drought intensification can be linked to changes in two key climatic indices, known as Niño 3.4 and the dipole mode index," Prof Beecham says.

"As a result of changes to temperature and pressure over the Indian and Pacific oceans, South Australia's rainfall patterns are changing."

M. Rashid, S. Beekham, Characterization of meteorological droughts across South Australia, Royal Meteorological Society Journal, 03 February 2019

Consequences / Re: Decline in insect populations
« on: June 13, 2019, 01:31:50 AM »
Brazil's Bolsonaro Green-Lights 150+ Pesticides This Year

With the ruralist lobby now in control of key sectors of the federal government, Brazil is rapidly approving new pesticides for use, some of which critics say are either unnecessary or excessively toxic. During the first 100 days of the Jair Bolsonaro administration, the Agriculture Ministry authorized the registration of 152 pesticides, putting Brazil on course to authorize more pesticides this year than in any previous year. Brazil is already the world's largest user of pesticides.

The number of pesticides authorized each year has risen rapidly, from 139 in 2015 under the Dilma Rousseff administration, to 450 in 2018 under the Michel Temer government (see graph). An even higher number is expected to enter the Brazilian market this year, as the Agriculture Ministry considers registration of roughly another 1,300 pesticides. Most of these requests are coming from foreign multinational companies, mainly based in the U.S., Germany and China, which is increasingly becoming an important supplier.

Despite the rapid rise in authorizations, Bolsonaro's agriculture minister, Tereza Cristina, said "there is no general liberation" of new pesticide registrations. According to her ministry, the products will merely give farmers a greater choice of existing pesticides, and access to new chemicals and there is no reason to be concerned: "The use [of pesticides] is completely safe, provided they are applied as instructed, within a context of good farming practice and with the use of individual protective equipment," said the government.


Brazil’s Pesticide Industry Is Creating Massive PFOS Contamination

WHILE MUCH OF the world struggles to clean up contamination from the toxic industrial compound PFOS, Brazil is still adding to the massive environmental mess with its large-scale production, use, and export of sulfluramid, a pesticide that degrades into PFOS (Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid).

Linked to low birth weight, weakened immune response, liver effects, high cholesterol, thyroid dysfunction, cancer, and other health problems, PFOS is no longer made or used in most countries. The chemical, which was phased out in the U.S. by 2015, was originally developed by 3M and was a critical component of Scotchgard and firefighting foam. In the 182 countries that are party to the Stockholm Convention, an international treaty (unsigned by the U.S.) that governs persistent pollutants, the use of PFOS has been severely restricted since 2009.

But the Stockholm Convention carved out several loopholes for PFOS, including one for its use in killing leaf-cutting ants. Sulfluramid is made from PFOS and breaks down into that and several other chemicals within weeks. Brazil, the only country governed by the treaty that has permission to produce the pesticide, has been able to export it without notifying the convention because the treaty restricts PFOS, but makes no mention of sulfluramid, which is now used widely in Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia, and Venezuela, among other countries.

Policy and solutions / Re: US Military Basing and Climate Change
« on: June 13, 2019, 01:12:36 AM »
The US Military Emits More Carbon than Sweden

Even as it begins to grapple with climate change, the Defense Department remains the world’s single largest consumer of oil.

... the Department of Defense is the U.S. government’s largest fossil fuel consumer, accounting for between 77% and 80% of all federal government energy consumption since 2001.

Calculating the Defense Department’s greenhouse gas emissions isn’t easy. The Defense Logistics Agency tracks fuel purchases, but the Pentagon does not consistently report DOD fossil fuel consumption to Congress in its annual budget requests.,%20Climate%20Change%20and%20the%20Costs%20of%20War%20Final.pdf

... Military weapons and equipment use so much fuel that the relevant measure for defense planners is frequently gallons per mile.

Aircraft are particularly thirsty. For example, the B-2 stealth bomber, which holds more than 25,600 gallons of jet fuel, burns 4.28 gallons per mile and emits more than 250 metric tons of greenhouse gas over a 6,000 nautical mile range. The KC-135R aerial refueling tanker consumes about 4.9 gallons per mile.

A single mission consumes enormous quantities of fuel. In January 2017, two B-2B bombers and 15 aerial refueling tankers traveled more than 12,000 miles from Whiteman Air Force Base to bomb ISIS targets in Libya, killing about 80 suspected ISIS militants. Not counting the tankers’ emissions, the B-2s emitted about 1,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases.

... The Department of Energy publishes data on DOD energy production and fuel consumption, including for vehicles and equipment. Using fuel consumption data, ... from 2001 through 2017, the DOD, including all service branches, emitted 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases. That is the rough equivalent of driving of 255 million passenger vehicles over a year.

Of that total, the estimated war-related emissions between 2001 and 2017, including “overseas contingency operations” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria, generated over 400 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent — roughly equivalent to the greenhouse emissions of almost 85 million cars in one year.

... Since 1979, the United States has placed a high priority on protecting access to the Persian Gulf. About one-fourth of military operational fuel use is for the U.S. Central Command, which covers the Persian Gulf region.

Trump is not the only one...

Hungary scientists 'alarmed' at planned government takeover

Hungary's top scientific body warned Wednesday that a planned takeover of research institutes by Prime Minister Viktor Orban "threatens" academic freedom and provides an "alarming" blueprint for other EU governments to follow.

Last week Orban's government tabled a bill in parliament that would give it control of a vast network of research institutes currently run by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA).

The move is "against European principles of research funding and threatens academic freedom," Laszlo Lovasz, MTA president, told reporters in Budapest.

"An unbalanced role for government priorities and control in science may soon become an alarming example that could be followed by other EU governments wanting to exert influence over researchers," he added.

Lovasz said the reforms have alarmed "the vast majority of Hungarian scientists," arguing that the shake-up is partly because MTA experts have criticised government policies in recent years.

Under the legislation, which could be voted on as soon as next week, a new institution with board members appointed by Orban would allocate funding for research.

This body would also use the MTA's properties and part of its administration.

... Orban's critics say that since coming to power in 2010 he has tightened his power over most key institutions in Hungary, including public media, the judiciary and the education sector.

Consequences / Re: Hurricane Season 2019
« on: June 13, 2019, 12:40:31 AM »
Cyclone Vayu Poised to Hit India as Year's Second Major Storm


The India Meteorological Department said on Wednesday that Cyclone Vayu was due to hit the Gujarat coast early on Thursday with winds gusting up to 170km an hour.

The warm waters of the Arabian Sea will continue to allow Vayu to gradually strengthen before making possible landfall, potentially making the cyclone the equivalent strength of a Category 2 hurricane.

... One unusual knock-on effect from the approaching storm will be the increasing temperatures for southeastern Pakistan.

The counter-clockwise circulation will mean an easterly flow over the region, allowing much hotter and drier air to move over the area. Temperatures for Karachi could reach as high as 40C in coming days, 11 degrees above its normal average.

... Gujarat is home to large refineries and sea ports that lie near the storm’s path, officials said.

India's Sikka Ports and Terminals Ltd, which handles crude oil and refined products for Reliance Industries Ltd, closed berthing of vessels at its western Indian port on Wednesday due to a cyclone warning, according to a port notice and a shipping industry source.

India's biggest oil refinery, owned by Reliance Industries, is also based in Gujarat. A Reliance executive on Tuesday said the cyclone is expected to weaken by the time it reaches the Jamnagar-based refinery.

Sikka ports also handle oil and refined products cargo for Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd, a subsidiary of Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd.

Consequences / Re: Heatwaves
« on: June 12, 2019, 06:55:58 AM »
120 Degrees in the Shade?! Record-Breaking, 'Dangerous' Heat Wave Bakes Western U.S.

Folks in the western U.S. are sweltering under an unusually intense June heat wave, with temperatures soaring to near-record highs from Oregon to Arizona.

Heat warnings and/or advisories were in effect Tuesday for a number of major metro areas in the West, including Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento and San Francisco.

On Monday, normally mild San Francisco soared to a brutal high of 100 degrees, the first time that city has ever hit the century mark in June. (... 102° at 4:57 PM PDT.) The heat warped tracks on the city's transit lines, the Weather Channel said, and led to tens of thousands of power outages. A number of records were demolished in the Bay Area as well, such as 107 degrees in King City and 105 degrees in Salinas.

Monday was also only the seventh time on record the city reached 100 degrees, AccuWeather said.  More record heat was forecast for Tuesday, where the average high is in the upper 60s.

Monday's low temp of 72° in San Francisco broke the city's monthly maximum low temp record, previously 70° [set on 6/24/1976 & 6/6/1883]. It was also the 3rd all-time warmest night on record, behind the all-time maximum low of 75° [set on 9/2/2017 & 9/8/1904]

An excessive-heat warning was even in effect in typically hellish Death Valley, California, where a high of 120 degrees was forecast for Wednesday.

... One expert, UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain tweeted Monday that "our recent work suggests that we're reached the point where a majority (perhaps even a vast majority) of unprecedented extreme heat events globally have a detectable human fingerprint."


India Staring at Longest Heatwave in 3 Decades

The Capital, Delhi, which sweltered on its hottest June day in history on Monday (48 degrees Celsius) recorded a maximum temperature of 45.4 degrees Celcius at Palam in spite of a spell of light rain in the morning.  Dholpur in nearby Rajasthan was worse at 51°C. It was the fourth time that the temperature crossed 50°C in June in the state, according to Indian Meteorological Department.

With a heatwave spell stretching 32 days, 2019 has already seen the second-longest spell of scorching temperature ever recorded. If the mercury doesn’t dramatically drop in the next two days, 2019 will become the year with the longest heatwave spell in recorded history — with three weeks to go in June.

... The blazing heatwave is in line with predictions made by a number of scientific studies based on IMD data that show that the intensity of heatwaves is rising. DS Pai, a scientist at IMD, Pune, said their study of long-term heatwave data of 35 metrological sub-divisions showed a threefold increase in heatwaves every year since 1991. “Our observation indicates that the increase was steeper in the last two decades,” he said. ... “With climate change, the frequency and intensity of heat waves in India will increase,” [/iS Krishnan, a senior scientist at IITM, said.

... In major cities across northern India, the demand for power and water surged even as many sources of water – such as rivers and reservoirs – ran dry. The peak power demand in Delhi broke all records of this season on Monday and touched a high of 6,686 MW, reported the discoms. In the hinterlands, where there are often no secondary sources of water such as tanks and pipes, the situation is worse.

In Sonbhadra district on the eastern tip of Uttar Pradesh, for example, the scorching sun has forced many villagers to dig pits in the riverbed and wait for groundwater to ooze out. As the temperatures rise, the pits will go dry and villagers will have to trek kilometres for a pot of water. Hand pumps often don’t work in these regions because in many pockets, the water level has dipped below 300 feet.

The sweltering heat has driven tens of thousands of people into hill stations (mountain park hotels) that are ill-equipped to handle a rush of such magnitude. Uttarakhand’s Nainital has seen an average of 15,000 to 20,000 tourists arrive daily in a city with a capacity of just 8,000 rooms. Mussoorie, which has 2,000 rooms, has seen 190,030 tourists flood the town since May.

As many as 15,000 vehicles have entered Manali and Shimla on weekends this month, translating to roughly 60,000 people — about a third of the population of these towns. The tourist influx is repeatedly choking all approach roads to the small Himalayan hill stations (mountain park hotels) and causing massive traffic snarls in the mountains. Moreover, the hills have received no respite from the blistering sun — Monday’s maximum temperature for Mussoorie was six degrees above normal at 30.5 degrees Celsius while Dharamsala recording a maximum of 33.8 degrees Celsius.


Indian Villages Lie Empty as Drought Forces Thousands to Flee

Hundreds of Indian villages have been evacuated as a historic drought forces families to abandon their homes in search of water.

The country has seen extremely high temperatures in recent weeks. On Monday the capital, Delhi, saw its highest ever June temperature of 48C. In Rajasthan, the city of Churu recently experienced highs of 50.8C, making it the hottest place on the planet.

Further south, less than 250 miles from the country’s commercial capital, Mumbai, village after village lies deserted. Estimates suggest up to 90% of the area’s population has fled, leaving the sick and elderly to fend for themselves in the face of a water crisis that shows no sign of abating.

... Wells and handpumps have run dry in the 45C heatwave. The drought, which officials say is worse than the 1972 famine that affected 25 million people across the state, began early in December. By the end of May, Hatkarwadi had been deserted with only 10-15 families remaining out of a population of more than 2,000.

With 80% of districts in neighbouring Karnataka and 72% in Maharashtra hit by drought and crop failure, the 8 million farmers in these two states are struggling to survive.


Parts of India: Heat wave causes vegetable prices to rise 40% in one week

The heatwave sweeping through large parts of India has made vegetable prices skyrocket with some areas seeing a 25-40% rise in bills in the past 10 days. Traders said prices are likely to remain volatile until monsoon rain covers the main growing areas in the country. In April, wholesale prices of food rose 3.4%, but fruits and vegetable prices were up 14%.

Kailash Tajne, president of the Vashi Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), said that vegetables were selling for 30-40% more than usual price since the past 10 days.

Consequences / Re: Heatwaves
« on: June 11, 2019, 08:44:51 PM »
Four Passengers Die in 'Unbearable' Heat on Indian Train

Four people died in 'unbearable' heat while travelling by train in northern India, which has been in the grip of a heatwave for two weeks, officials and passengers said Tuesday. 

The four died Monday while travelling from Agra—the city of the Taj Mahal—to Coimbatore in the country's south.

"Heat seems to be a factor," Indian Railways spokesman Ajit Kumar Singh told AFP, "it is really unfortunate".

"When the train was approaching Jhansi, we got a call from the on-board staff that one of the passengers is unconscious," Singh said.

"We rushed medical staff to the station but they found that three of the passengers were already dead."

A fourth person died later in hospital.

Temperatures have hovered around 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) in Jhansi, in northern Uttar Pradesh state, in recent days.

Singh said the Kerala Express train had no technical problems, but the tourists were not in air-conditioned coaches.

A passenger who was a part of the group that boarded in Agra said the train was stiflingly hot.

"Shortly after we left Agra, the heat became unbearable and some people started complaining of breathing problems and uneasiness," the passenger was quoted as saying by News18 television.

"Before we could get some help, they collapsed."

W.African Farm 'Bootcamp' Gets Green Entrepreneurs Into Shape

... In Benin, a poor country next to oil giant Nigeria, some 80 percent of its 11 million people depend on agriculture, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Most are subsistence farmers eking out a living growing crops on small plots where a lack of infrastructure and flooding that can wipe out harvests and seed stocks are key challenges, the FAO warns.

But the "agro-bootcamps"—the name is borrowed from the intensive training of the US army—take place close to the suburbs of the city and are aimed at a different market.

They are part of a wider movement to encourage self-sufficiency on the continent, which has some two-thirds of the world's remaining uncultivated arable land—but spends $64.5 billion a year importing food, according to the African Development Bank.

... "Our belief is that to solve the employment problem in our countries, young people must create their businesses with awareness of ecology of the climate," said coordinator Tanguy Gnikobou.

... Participants farm in ways farmers did before the massive movement of people to the cities.

"Initially, it was an alternative to conventional farming, to return to ancestral methods with the respect of the environment," said Kochoni.

"Then it became a way of life, and a philosophy."

Related to:
Hurricane in Spain?

So i was just planning some field trips and checking what weather is headed towards Holland on Ventusky...and this popped up seemingly out of nowhere at Coruña, northern Spain.
Around 19:00 tonight wind gusts reach 150 km/h.
Category 2 strength is 155 km/h.....those people are lucky it is not turning inland but spinning off towards France/Wales.
Not far away i measured winds at 172 km/h ...

Storm Miguel Kills Three After Overturning Rescue Ship Off French Coast

A rescue boat has overturned in the Atlantic off the west coast of France leaving three crew dead, amid winds of up to 129 km/h (80 mph).

They were part of a crew of seven who had gone to the aid of another boat which had got into difficulty as Storm Miguel struck the area.

Winds of up to 147km/h hit northern Spain earlier, swirling around the Bay of Biscay and moving on to France.

... The strongest winds were recorded in the north-western Spanish region of Asturias late on Thursday while earlier there was damage to some buildings in Galicia.

As the storm hit land on the Ile d'Yeu in western France on Friday, forecasters recorded wind speeds of 129km/h.

... Alerts were also in place further north, with warnings of heavy rain and wind speeds of up to 100 km/h in the western half of the Netherlands.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: June 09, 2019, 12:34:12 PM »
What was described in the article was a 2.8 mm reduction over each growing season (4 months) over each year of a 25 year period (1990-2015). Half of Australia's rain comes during the growing season.

25 x 2.8 = 70 mm = 28% of 250 mm
(25 cm = 10 inches over 4 months)

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: June 09, 2019, 11:50:33 AM »
Before-and-After Satellite Images Show Tornado and Flood Damage in Central US

Consequences / Re: Heatwaves
« on: June 09, 2019, 10:54:26 AM »
Heatstroke Kills Monkeys as India Suffers in Searing Temperatures

A troop of monkeys died from suspected heatstroke in India as scorching temperatures that have lasted more than a week take a mounting toll on humans and animals, media reports said Saturday.   

The monkeys died in Joshi Baba forest range in Madhya Pradesh state where the thermometer reached 46 Celsius (114 Fahrenheit).

District forest officer P. N. Mishra said the primates were believed to have fought with a rival troop over access to a water source.

"This is rare and strange as herbivores don't indulge in such conflicts," Mishra told NDTV network.

Tigers have also been reported to be moving out of forest reserves into villages in search of water, causing alerts.

Temperatures touched 50.3 degrees Celsius in the Rajasthan town of Churu last week, just shy of India's record of 51 degrees.

... Deadly dust storms swept across Uttar Pradesh Thursday night, resulting in at least 26 deaths and injuring more than 50 others.

More dangerous heat is expected in Jacobabad and surrounding locations into the new week as temperatures may climb back above 50 C (122 F).


India Heat Wave Triggers Clashes Over Water

Police were tasked with guarding water tankers and water sources in Madhya Pradesh state in central India, the Times of India reported on Saturday, following clashes over water in the state and other parts of the country.

At least six people were stabbed by a man near Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, on Friday. There was a fight with a man from a neighboring village who was filling barrels of water from a tanker, according to a report on NDTV. A man died in a similar fight on the same day in southern Tamil Nadu state. Two men were seriously injured in a fight over water in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday and a tanker truck driver was beaten up in the same state a day earlier.


Man Killed in Fight Over Water as India Grapples with Heatwave

... The 33 year old was allegedly beaten to death after confronting a man and his sons as they were reportedly drawing large amounts of water from a public tap in the city of Thanjavur, in Tamil Nadu, police said on Friday. 

White House Tried to Stop Climate Science Testimony, Documents Show

White House Blocked Intelligence Agency’s Written Testimony Calling Climate Change ‘Possibly Catastrophic


White House officials barred a State Department intelligence agency from submitting written testimony this week to the House Intelligence Committee warning that human-caused climate change is “possibly catastrophic.”

The move came after State officials refused to excise the document’s references to federal scientific findings on climate change.... The reasoning, according to a June 4 email seen by The New York Times, was that the science did not match the Trump administration’s views.

The effort to edit, and ultimately suppress, the prepared testimony by the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research comes as the Trump administration is debating how best to challenge the fact that burning fossil fuels is warming the planet and could pose serious risks unless the world makes deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade. Senior military and intelligence officials have continued to warn climate change could undermine America’s national security — a position President Trump rejects.

Officials from the White House’s Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, and National Security Council all raised objections to parts of the testimony that Rod Schoonover, who works in the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues, prepared to present on the bureau’s behalf for a hearing Wednesday.

The document lays out in stark detail the implications of what the administration faces in light of rising carbon emissions that the world has not curbed.

“Absent extensive mitigating factors or events, we see few plausible future scenarios where significant — possibly catastrophic — harm does not arise from the compounded effects of climate change,” the document said.

The Bureau of Intelligence and Research’s 12-page prepared testimony, obtained by The Washington Post on Friday, includes a detailed description of how rising greenhouse gas emissions are raising global temperatures and acidifying the world’s oceans. It warns that these changes are contributing to the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

“Climate-linked events are disruptive to humans and societies when they harm people directly or substantially weaken the social, political, economic, environmental, or infrastructure systems that support people,” the statement reads. Noting that while some populations may benefit from climate change, it said “the balance of documented evidence to date suggests that net negative effects will overwhelm the positive benefits from climate change for most of the world.”

The document sounds the alarms on several fronts, outlining two dozen ways that “climate-linked stresses” could affect human society. It identifies nine tipping points that could transform the Earth’s system, including “rapid melting in West Antarctic or Greenland ice masses” along with “rapid die-offs of many critically important species, such as coral or insects” and a “massive release of carbon” from methane that is now frozen in the earth. It warns that because scientists have not been able to calculate the likelihood of these thresholds being reached, “crossing them is possible over any future timeframe.”

“The Earth’s climate is unequivocally undergoing a long-term warming trend, as established by decades of scientific measurements and multiple, independent lines of evidence,” he said, adding later: “Climate change effects could undermine important international systems on which the U.S. is critically dependent, such as trade routes, food and energy supplies, the global economy and domestic stability abroad.”

The prepared testimony also notes that 18 of the past 20 years have ranked as the warmest on record, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, “and the last five years have been the warmest five.”

The White House proposed eliminating all of these scientific references.

... Francesco Femia, chief executive of the Council on Strategic Risks and co-founder of the Center for Climate and Security, questioned why the White House would not have allowed an intelligence official to offer a written statement that would be entered into the permanent record.

“This is an intentional failure of the White House to perform a core duty: inform the American public of the threats we face. It’s dangerous and unacceptable,” Femia said in an email Friday. “Any attempt to suppress information on the security risks of climate change threatens to leave the American public vulnerable and unsafe.”

... Norman J. Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative policy group, said that it was common for the White House to vet agency testimony to Congress to ensure it did not contradict administration policy.

But, he said, “I have never heard of basic facts being deleted from or blocked from testimony.” Mr. Ornstein said withholding the analyst’s written testimony was significant. A verbal presentation could be interpreted as an individual’s position, he said, but “the written testimony is a more formal expression of a department.”

On almost every page of Dr. Schoonover’s testimony, the National Security Council offered comments and criticisms, according to a document that tracks changes.

Two people familiar with the document said the notes were from William Happer, a physicist and White House adviser on the council who denies the established scientific consensus on global warming.

“This is not objective testimony at all,” one comment read. “It includes lots of climate alarm propaganda that is not science at all. I am embarrassed to have this go out on behalf of the executive branch of the Federal Government.”

Another comment objects to the phrase “tipping point” to describe when the planet reaches a threshold of irreversible climate change. “‘Tipping points’ is a propaganda slogan for the scientifically illiterate,” the comment reads. “They were a favorite of Al Gore’s science adviser, James Hansen.”

Dr. Schoonover’s testimony noted that his analysis drew from peer-reviewed scientific journals and work produced by top United States government scientists. That, too, came under attack from the National Security Council, which said that “a consensus of peer reviewed literature has nothing to do with the truth.”

Consequences / Re: Floods
« on: June 09, 2019, 03:35:32 AM »
Mississippi Seeks Seafood Disaster Declaration Amid Spillway Complaints

Mississippi's governor wants the federal government to declare a fisheries disaster as freshwater from a Mississippi River spillway gushes into what's normally a partly salty estuary, killing countless oysters and crabs.   

...  Gov. Phil Bryant announced Friday that he had made the request, releasing a May 31 letter to U.S Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Bryant says 70% of the Mississippi Sound's already imperiled oyster population is estimated to be dead, with the crab catch down by 35%. He also noted that shrimp season would normally be getting underway in June.

"The large releases of freshwater from the actions of the spillway inundate the saltwater of the Mississippi Sound and greatly disrupts the unique ecosystem, and subsequently, all sea life of this region," the Republican Bryant wrote to Ross

... This year's months-long flood along the Mississippi led the Corps to open the spillway for an unprecedented second time, after already opening and closing it once before. Salinity levels in the sound are normally about 18-22 parts per thousand, about half the saltiness in deeper parts of the Gulf of Mexico. But Friday, the highest salinity level of any reporting station in the sound was 7.6 parts per thousand.

That's especially bad for oysters and other plants and animals anchored to a particular spot. Mississippi's oyster industry has been in steep decline because of repeated freshwater inundations and other problems. ... a heavy dose of freshwater in late spring and early summer could be especially bad. That's when plants and animals in the shallows atop the continental shelf are normally bulking up at the beginning of a new growing season. Graham said that with normal summer winds from the south, the giant shield of freshwater could linger all summer in the Mississippi Sound. The only thing likely to break it up would be a tropical storm.

"You're really talking about a prolonged event that's happening at the wrong time for productivity on the shelf," Graham said. "There likely will be a cascading ecological effect that will continue through next spring or longer."

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: June 09, 2019, 03:11:49 AM »
Related to:,428.msg203131.html#msg203131

Blackouts: California Could Go Dark This Summer to Prevent Wildfires

PG&E Says It Will Shut Off Power to Sierra Foothill Communities at 9 p.m.

Amid forecasts of extreme fire danger Saturday evening, PG&E announced it is deliberately shutting off power to multiple communities in the Sierra foothills beginning at 9 p.m.

In a statement, PG&E said it would cut power in response to the second wave of dry and windy weather conditions across Northern California. Earlier in the day, officials had cut service to a smaller cluster of homes to the west of the Sacramento Valley; safety crews have begun inspection of infrastructure for damages and restoring power to certain areas, according to the PG&E spokesperson Karly Hernandez.

Among the communities that will be affected by the second round of planned blackouts: fire-ravaged Paradise, where a few thousand people have moved back home in recent months.

“PG&E continues to monitor extreme weather conditions in the Sierra Foothills,” the utility said. “This Public Safety Power Shutoff event will impact about 26,900 customers. Forecasts for the extreme weather conditions are expected to last through noon on Sunday.”

... Earlier Saturday, PG&E shut off power to roughly 1,700 customers in parts of Yolo, Solano and Napa counties. The utility, driven into bankruptcy by two horrific wildfire seasons, engineered those blackouts about 6:30 a.m.

Power will be restored gradually in certain areas as soon as it is deemed safe to do so, but customers should still be prepared to wait 24 to 48 hours in case repairs are needed or weather conditions change.


It's going to be a long summer. :-\

From your source, KK:

... "We cannot be certain that the present observed water level drop is caused by factors related to global climate change, or that it portends a long-term problem," the study states. But the ongoing decline in water levels make it "prudent to include lower lake levels in future management planning," the researchers note.[/size][/font][/color]

Science / Re: 2019 Mauna Loa CO2 levels
« on: June 07, 2019, 10:28:24 PM »

Cape Grim/Antarctic carbon dioxide equivalent (CO₂-e) calculated from the long-lived greenhouse gas radiative forcing data shown in the figure below with CO₂ data shown for reference, annual data through to 2018. Inset panel shows the monthly mean CO₂-e data for Cape Grim from 2015 through to March 2019, showing CO₂-e surpassing 500ppm in July 2018. Credit: CSIRO 

Southern Hemispheric radiative forcing relative to 1750 due to the long-lived greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and synthetic greenhouse gases), expressed as watts per square metre, from measurements in situ at Cape Grim, from the Cape Grim Air Archive, and Antarctic firn air. Credit: CSIRO

Antarctica / Re: What's new in Antarctica ?
« on: June 07, 2019, 08:09:55 PM »
That satellite will drop out of the sky just about the time that the glacier melts

Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: June 07, 2019, 08:01:52 PM »
Rapid Change in Coral Reefs Prompts Global Calls for a Rethink

Coral reef experts from around the world are calling for an urgent re-evaluation of our climate goals in the light of increasing evidence of unprecedented speed of change to these fragile ecosystems.Coral reefs, which have functioned relatively unchanged for some 24 million years, are now going through profound changes in their make-up.

Writing in a special feature of Functional Ecology, some of the world's leading coral reef experts are asking searching questions about the priorities for reef conservation and reef ecology in the face of these recent and rapid changes, which have far exceeded predictions.

The scientists address issues such as how we should actually define what comprises a functioning coral reef in the Anthropocene, an era where humans are the dominant force of planetary change.

Open Source: Gareth J. Williams et al, Rethinking coral reef functional futures, Functional Ecology (2019)

Great Lakes at Highest Water Levels Ever Recorded for Month of May

Waves crashing over sea walls.

Water flooding homes and businesses.

Docks and marinas underwater.

Fish swimming on what used to be dry land.

This is the scene around the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, as every one of the Great Lakes are at their highest levels ever recorded for the month of May.

The problem has been ongoing throughout the spring, but reached critical levels in May. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit said Lake Ontario rose an additional 18 inches last month alone, putting it 24 inches higher than it was at the same time last year. Lake Michigan-Huron rose 9 inches, Erie rose 6 inches and Superior rose 5 inches. Those lakes were all 9 to 13 inches higher than a year ago, and each of the Great Lakes was between 1 to 6 inches higher than ever recorded for the month of May.

Additionally, record high water levels are possible on all the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair this summer.

While the higher waters improve shipping channels and allow bigger boats to go through, they wreak havoc on businesses and property owners along the shoreline. Parts of Toronto and Detroit have flooded, as well as other communities in Michigan, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania.

The situation becomes even more dire when heavy winds push waters up onto the shoreline and into streets, businesses and homes. ... “That causes erosion, that causes the soil to slough away, so people can actually lose their property, inches and inches of their property, and over time that adds up,” Domske said.

... The high water levels on Lake Superior are manageable, but only if the forecasters are wrong about the lake's projected rise, Capt. Donald Kilpela Jr. said.

Right now, only a few docks in his small, Upper Peninsula home of Copper Harbor are submerged by the swollen lake. ... the Upper Peninsula community can weather the record-high Lake Superior water level, but only if the lake holds fast.

"It cannot go another inch higher," said Kilpela Jr., who operates The Isle Royale Queen IV ferry. "Then things get really compromised."

The lower Great Lakes are impacted even more because of water levels flowing down from the upper lakes, she added.

... A recent study also found the Great Lakes region was warming faster than the rest of the country, leading scientists to predict that flooding will only become worse in coming years.


How much extra water is in Lake Erie now at its record high? - 79 days of flow over Niagara Falls

Picture all the water that powerfully flows over the Niagara Falls at any one time.

It would take doubling that flow for nearly three months to bring Lake Erie back down to normal levels.

That’s one way to get a handle on just how much extra water is in Lake Erie. Another way is to picture the entire state of Ohio covered by a half-foot of water.

Antarctica / Re: What's new in Antarctica ?
« on: June 07, 2019, 07:00:49 PM »
Antarctic Glacier Named after GFZ Satellite Mission 'GRACE'

The British Antarctic Survey has now published a map in which seven glaciers were named after satellite missions whose data made a decisive contribution to the exploraiton of ice mass changes. In addition to GRACE, for example, Landsat, Envisat and Cryosat were also eponymous. The scientific evaluation of the GRACE mission was led by GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences and the US Space Agency NASA.

The newly named glaciers are located in Western Palmer Land, next to the George VI Ice Shelf. The name is based on a work by the British scientist Anna E. Hogg from 2017. The polar researcher had demonstrated the acceleration of ice movements in the British part of Antarctica using numerous satellite data. Until now, the glaciers she studied were only called by numbers, not names.

USA Lags Behind EU, Brazil and China in Banning Harmful Pesticides

Many pesticides that have been banned or are being phased out in the EU, Brazil and China, are still widely used in the USA, according to a study published in the open access journal Environmental Health.

Study author Nathan Donley at the Center for Biological Diversity, USA said: "The USA is generally regarded as being highly regulated and having protective pesticide safeguards in place. This study contradicts that narrative and finds that in fact, in the last couple of decades, nearly all pesticide cancellations in the USA have been done voluntarily by the pesticide industry for sagging sales and economic reasons. Without a change in the US Environmental Protection Agency's current reliance on voluntary mechanisms for cancellations, the USA will likely continue to lag behind its peers in banning harmful pesticides."

Donley identified pesticides that are approved for outdoor agricultural use in the USA and compared them to pesticides approved in the EU, China and Brazil. The researcher found that 72, 17 and 11 pesticides are approved for use in the USA which are banned or in the process of being phased out in the EU, Brazil and China, respectively. In addition, Donley identified 85, 13 and two pesticides as being approved in the USA but banned or in the process of being phased out in at least one of the three, two of the three, or all three other agricultural nations, respectively.

Of the 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides used in US agriculture in 2016, approximately 322 million pounds were pesticides banned in the EU, 40 million pounds were pesticides banned in China and nearly 26 million pounds were pesticides banned in Brazil. More than ten percent of total pesticide use in the USA was from pesticide ingredients either banned, not approved or of unknown status in all three of the other nations.

Nathan Donley, The USA lags behind other agricultural nations in banning harmful pesticides, Environmental Health (2019).

Science / Re: Earthquakes and climate change
« on: June 07, 2019, 06:28:11 PM »
Solved: How Tides Can Trigger Earthquakes

Years ago, scientists realized that earthquakes along mid-ocean ridges—those underwater mountain ranges at the edges of the tectonic plates—are linked with the tides. But nobody could figure out why there's an uptick in tremors during low tides.

"Everyone was sort of stumped, because according to conventional theory, those earthquakes should occur at high tides,"
explained Christopher Scholz, a seismologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

In a study published today in Nature Communications, he and his colleagues have uncovered the mechanism for this seeming paradox, and it comes down to the magma below the mid-ocean ridges.

... In the end, it came down to a component that no one else had considered before: the volcano's magma chamber, a soft, pressurized pocket below the surface. The team realized that when the tide is low, there is less water sitting on top of the chamber, so it expands. As it puffs up, it strains the rocks around it, forcing the lower block to slide up the fault, and causing earthquakes in the process.

Furthermore, said Scholz, the tidal earthquakes in this region are "so sensitive that we can see details in the response that nobody could ever see before." When the team charted the earthquake rate versus the stress on the fault, they realized that even the tiniest stress could trigger an earthquake. The tidal data helped to calibrate this effect, but the triggering stress could be caused by anything—such as the seismic waves from another earthquake, or fracking wastewater pumped into the ground.

... "People in the hydrofracking business want to know, is there some safe pressure you can pump and make sure you don't produce any earthquakes?" ... "And the answer that we find is that there isn't any—it can happen at any level of stress."

Open Access: Christopher H. Scholz,, The mechanism of tidal triggering of earthquakes at mid-ocean ridges, Nature Communications 10, Article number: 2526 (2019)

The forum / Re: Suggestions
« on: June 07, 2019, 05:58:48 PM »
All things are relative; take dung beetles for instance...   :)

that's a dangerous statement because often abused by those who deny facts of life and eventual physics.

NOT all is relative, simply and outright wrong and the most favoured killer argument of the narrow minded or ego-trippers to justify their doings.

for example: if we burn fossil fuel and blow CO2 into the atmosphere the climate becomes warmer and the sea-level will raise and destroy habitable zones in quantity as well as arable land in quantity. nothing about that is relative but it's cause and effect based on laws of physics.

magnamentis, good sir

lighten up; get a sense of humor; the world is not ALL darkness.

.. NOT ALL is SERIOUS, un-fun science meant to kill humor, levity, and otherwise eliminate a respite for the broad minded who are trying to interject a spot of absurdity in an otherwise tragic situation.

For future reference, I realize that North American humor may lose something in translation, but my cartoon post applied to the 3 prior post on inappropriate language - and only those posts. No hidden meaning.

Remember, at the end of the game, both the king and the pawn end up in the same box. Life is short. Laugh when the opportunity arises. And I say this as a scientist with over 40 years of experience.

The forum / Re: Suggestions
« on: June 06, 2019, 11:31:22 PM »
All things are relative; take dung beetles for instance...   :)

The rest / Re: Pareidolia
« on: June 06, 2019, 01:32:09 PM »

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: June 06, 2019, 04:38:17 AM »
US to Label Nuclear Waste as Less Dangerous to Quicken Cleanup

The Department of Energy said on Wednesday that labeling some high-level waste as low level will save $40bn in cleanup costs across the nation’s entire nuclear weapons complex. The material that has languished for decades in the three states would be taken to low-level disposal facilities in Utah or Texas, the agency said.

... Critics said it’s a way for federal officials to walk away from their obligation to properly clean up a massive quantity of radioactive waste left from nuclear weapons production dating to the second world war and the cold war.

The new rules would allow the energy department to eventually abandon storage tanks containing more than 100m gallons (378m liters) of radioactive waste in the three states, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.


Years of Mismanagement, Delays at Nuclear Waste Sites Could Pose Risk, Report Says

JACKSON, S.C. - A scathing government report showed years of mismanagement of nuclear waste disposal could be creating a real risk to people living near decades-old nuclear waste sites. One of those sites sits miles from the Savannah River and is home to 35 million gallons of radioactive waste.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, cost estimates to clean up the legacy radioactive tank waste and contamination at the facilities increased $214 billion from 2011 through 2018. During that same period, DOE spent $45 billion on cleanup efforts.

DOE spent $170 billion on cleanup since 1989, but the most challenging work remains. Estimates now stand at $377 billion to clean up the waste, but that amount does not include cost to clean sites where no feasible remedy exists.

“It's not a pretty picture,” said David Trimble, director of GAO’s natural resources and environment team.

... “They don’t have a plan, they’re not following program management best practices, they’re not following project management practices, and they have no data to know how well they’re doing,” Trimble said.

Plan?! There ain't no plan!!! 


Under the Dome: Fears Pacific Nuclear 'Coffin' is Leaking

As nuclear explosions go, the US "Cactus" bomb test in May 1958 was relatively small—but it has left a lasting legacy for the Marshall Islands in a dome-shaped radioactive dump.

The dome—described by a UN chief Antonio Guterres as "a kind of coffin"—was built two decades after the blast in the Pacific ocean region.

The US military filled the bomb crater on Runit island with radioactive waste, capped it with concrete, and told displaced residents of the Pacific's remote Enewetak atoll they could safely return home.

But Runit's 45-centimetre (18-inch) thick concrete dome has now developed cracks.

And because the 115-metre wide crater was never lined, there are fears radioactive contaminants are leaching through the island's porous coral rock into the ocean. ...

"What's a little fallout, eh?" .... "Have a nice day!"


High Levels of Radiation Found in Giant Clams Near Nuclear Dump Site

Researchers have discovered high levels of radiation in giant clams near a U.S. nuclear dump site in the Marshall Islands, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The disclosure was made during a U.S. Department of Energy presentation to local residents last month. While reporters from the Times were not present at the event, they interviewed several people who were there and recounted the program.

... Scientists and residents alike have been warning for years that rising seas caused by climate change could cause the 111,000 cubic yards of nuclear waste buried underneath the dome to leak into surrounding waters.

Local residents who attended the recent presentation said Terry Hamilton, a scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy, told them the radiation in the clams was not from Runit Dome, but rather residue that was released at the time of the nuclear tests.

Local officials aren't buying that explanation, citing the fact that the dome rises and falls with the tide.

A 2013 study of the dome concluded that it was susceptible to rising tides and "the potential does exist for contaminated groundwater from Runit Dome to flow into the nearby, subsurface marine environment."

But the report also noted that the amount of radioactive fallout already present in the nearby ocean sediments was higher than that contained in the dome, indicating leakage from the dump wouldn't "necessarily lead to any significant change in the radiation dose delivered."

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: June 05, 2019, 06:07:56 PM »
1 Billion Acres At Risk For Catastrophic Wildfires, U.S. Forest Service Warns

The chief of the U.S. Forest Service is warning that a billion acres of land across America are at risk of catastrophic wildfires like last fall's deadly Camp Fire that destroyed most of Paradise, Calif.

... "When you look nationwide there's not any place that we're really at a fire season. Fire season is not an appropriate term anymore," Christiansen said in an interview with NPR at the agency's headquarters in Washington. ... "It's always fire season"

In line with a controversial Trump administration executive order pushing for "active forest management," the agency was directed to treat 3.5 million acres this year alone, though it's behind target because of weather and administrative holdups. Part of the administration policy has also included an attempt to ramp up commercial logging on federal lands, an objective that conservation groups say will not reduce fire risk, unlike clearing of the smaller diameter wood that the timber industry has so far found little market for.


Total column (CO) carbon monoxide forecast - Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service,3,2019060503&projection=classical_global&layer_name=composition_co_totalcolumn

Fire Activity - Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service,24,2019060500&projection=classical_global

Arctic sea ice / Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« on: June 05, 2019, 05:30:10 PM »
USS Harry S. Truman Conducts Flight Operations in Arctic Circle

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) conducts flight operations in Arctic Circle. For the first time in nearly 30 years, a U.S. aircraft carrier has entered the Arctic Circle. Accompanied by select ships from Carriers Strike Group Eight (CSG-8), Harry S. Truman traveled north to demonstrate the flexibility and toughness of U.S. naval forces through high end warfare training with regional allies and partners.

Three Russian Nuclear-Powered Subs Surface Through Arctic Ice in Drills

The Project 885 lead multirole nuclear-powered submarine and two Project 667BDRM strategic subs practiced surfacing in open water patches amid Arctic ice during drills in May, the press office of Russia’s Northern Fleet reported on Monday.

"The underwater nuclear-powered missile cruisers Tula, Novomoskovsk and Severodvinsk were involved in performing missions under the Arctic Ocean’s ice. The submariners practiced a whole range of under-ice sailing tasks, including the search for an open water patch in the designated area and surfacing through ice," the press office said in a statement.

During their underwater missions in the Arctic, the crews of the Northern Fleet’s nuclear-powered submarines also conducted practical research for employing weapons under the ice, the statement says.

The drills were held in May as part of the planned training of the Fleet’s forces during the winter training period, the press office said.

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