Something to keep in mind…
we live in a strange world
where we think we can buy and build
our way out of a crisis
that has been created
by buying and building
Golden Camera Awards Speech, Germany
WILL THE WARMING ARCTIC WAKE US UP ?
Through the long and dark Arctic winter, the mother Polar Bear sat quietly in her den. She had given birth to her cubs, and was waiting for them to grow strong enough to follow her out to the ice pack. … Last year we saw that the polar ice cap had really shrunk in size due to meltdown from global warming. … This meant that the polar bears had to swim many miles – sometimes hundreds of miles – to find the floating ice where they can hunt. … Swimming hundreds of miles, when you are famished and have hungry babies in tow is really very hard and many bears are dying through drowning and starvation.
Reindeer and caribou are the same species, but the vast, wild herds in northern Canada and Alaska are referred to as caribou. It is these herds that are faring the worst, according to scientists monitoring their numbers. Some herds have shrunk by more than 90% – “such drastic declines that recovery isn’t in sight” … “We see increased drought in some areas due to climate warming, and the warming itself leads to a change of vegetation.”
So, what IS happening?
The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the world. Consequently, the temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator is lessening. The decreased temperature differential makes the jet stream both slower and wavier. A wavier jet stream transports more heat and moisture into the Arctic. And at the same time this allows cold air from the Arctic to move further southwards.
[When the temperature] differential is large then the jet stream speeds up, and like a river flowing down a steep hill, it ploughs through any obstacles – such as areas of high pressure that might be in its way. If the temperature differential reduces because of a warming Arctic then the jet stream weakens and, again, like a river on a flat bed, it will meander every time it comes across an obstacle. This results is weather patterns tending to become stuck over areas for weeks on end.
[Not only that,] a lot more water vapor is being transported northward by big swings in the jet stream. That’s important because water vapor is a greenhouse gas just like carbon dioxide and methane. It traps heat in the atmosphere. That vapor also condenses as droplets we know as clouds, which themselves trap more heat. The vapor is a big part of the amplification story—a big reason the Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else.
Additionally, the warmer ocean waters are causing the jet stream to speed up over oceanic hot spots. Sea temperatures were 20F warmer in the mid Pacific in March causing winds over the oceans to be stronger.
Image created by Sam Carana with nullschool.net image for Arctic-news.blogspot.com
On March 15, 2019, the jet stream reached speeds as high as 386 km/h or 240 mph at the green circle. These stronger winds then collide at high speed with the air in front of them. This collision occurs with an even greater force, due to low temperatures over North America and due to the lower overall speed at which the jet stream circumnavigates Earth. All this makes that air gets strongly pushed aside toward the Arctic and the Equator.
On March 30, 2019, strong winds pushed warm air into Bering Strait, resulting in temperatures as high as 2.5°C or 36.4°F, as the image above illustrates.
Arctic sea ice fell to record lows and methane levels peaked.
HOT AIR NEWS ROUNDUP
There are two new climate reports out this week
This report on the rapid warming of Canada is the report that all the alarming news articles are referring to. Do go look at the graphs…
State of the Climate in 2018 shows accelerating climate change impacts
These key climate change indicators are becoming more pronounced. Carbon dioxide levels, which were at 357.0 parts per million when the statement was first published in 1994, keep rising – to 405.5 parts per million in 2017. For 2018 and 2019, greenhouse gas concentrations are expected to increase further. … above average sea surface temperatures – partly because of a weak strength El Niño in the Pacific – is expected to lead to above-normal land temperature, particularly in tropical latitudes.
This new report on the state of the Arctic covers all aspects of warming. It is filled with beautiful and comprehensive graphics. Check it out…
Global Linkages- A graphic look at the changing Arctic
UN Environment Programme 3-2019
is a set of maps and graphics, accompanied by short narratives to synthesize and illustrate the most critical, connected environmental challenges with Arctic and global relevance and focusing on issues which call for common solutions.
Paul Beckwith has a three-part video discussing the above UN Environmental Report: Global Linkages: A graphic Look at the Changing Artic…
Two-Way Connections Between Arctic & World, Record Northern Temps
Paul Beckwith 3-26-19
The report contains many excellent graphics that I chat about, namely the:
• Cryosphere, permafrost,
• Short-lived climate pollutants, persistent organic pollutants,
• Ocean acidification, plastics, mercury, and
• Biodiversity, including migration and invasive species.
Golden camera award for Greta
International News 3-30-19
“The student from Sweden has us upset,” said laudator Michael “Bully” Herbig at the gala in the disused Tempelhof Airport. Thunberg is a “real phenomenon”. With hate and malice they will not stop her. There were standing ovations for Thunberg from the spectators in the hall. She dedicated the prize to those who protected the Hambach Forest and left the fossil energy in the ground.
U.S. disaster aid won’t cover crops drowned by Midwest floods
Farmers will have to destroy any grains that were contaminated by floodwater, … Don Rief said the flood damaged more than 60,000 bushels of his grain, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. … In this case, floods inundated fields quickly after multiple levees failed [and] … The frozen ground was unable to soak up the water.
Yes, incrementalism and innovation are not enough to solve our problems…
The Green New Deal and the case against incremental climate policy
“The resolution acknowledges climate change as a threat to national security and says the government should promote innovation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Zack Colman reports in Politico, “but it does not set any targets for future carbon cuts and calls for keeping the door open to all types of energy production.” … So, no carbon cuts, no reductions in fossil fuels, but instead … “innovation.” And what might that mean? Lamar Alexander offered a glimpse in “One Republican’s Response to Climate Change.” His response? More research. (Seriously.)
Very interesting article…
‘Fake news’: UN aviation body blocks online climate critics
Climate Home News 3-27-19
A number of campaigners and researchers complain they have been barred from following the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) account, after posting messages about aviation emissions.
Australia to Cease Contributing to UN Climate Change Fund
News Max 4-2-19
Following Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s remark that the country isn’t “bound to go and tip money into that big climate fund,” referring to the UN’s Green Climate Fund, the government’s budget proposal noted that the country made its “final” contribution in December.
NAACP Reveals Tactics Fossil Fuel Industry Uses to Manipulate Communities of Color
The fossil fuel industry regularly deploys manipulative and dishonest tactics when engaging with communities of color, often working to co-opt the respect and authority of minority-led groups to serve corporate goals. That is according to a new report, … which outlines the top 10 manipulation tactics that the group’s members and partners routinely observe.
‘This must change’: Canada has failed to effectively curtail climate change, environment watchdog says
National Post 4-2-19
Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand says Canada is not doing enough to combat climate change. … Gelfand’s rebuke came a day after Environment Canada scientists sounded an alarm that Canada is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world, causing irreversible changes to our climate.
Guns, Climate Denial and Conspiracies: Al Jazeera Captures Australian Far Right Political Figures Meeting Koch Industries
Sitting in the offices of Koch Industries in Washington D.C., far-right Australian politician Steve Dickson shows his hand in a request for their cash. … “This lefty attitude that just thinks solar and wind are going to change the world for the better … it’s sending us all broke,” Dickson, the Queensland leader of the political party One Nation, told Koch Industries director of federal affairs Catherine Haggett. … The exchange with the petrochemical giants, from September 2018, is part of a blockbuster hidden-camera investigative series released by Al Jazeera.
Revealed: Trudeau government welcomed oil lobby help for US pipeline push – Canadian government viewed Trump’s election as “positive news” for Keystone XL and energy industry
The Guardian 2-9-19
Meetings conducted by senior government officials with TransCanada and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) reveal an one-sided approach … The Liberal government has strongly backed the export of Alberta tar sands via the Keystone XL pipeline, which was initially rejected by the Obama administration on climate grounds but approved by Trump in March 2017.
Saudi Aramco revealed as world’s most profitable company
The Saudi state-run oil giant has been keeping its revenues quiet for many years, but their financial secrets were revealed on Monday as the rating agencies published reports on the company’s performance ahead of its debut on the international bond market. … According to Fitch Ratings, Aramco generated a whopping $224 billion last year,
Climate change activists are a worry for Saudi Arabia’s national oil company
Shell’s latest annual report mentions climate change 69 times—but Aramco is much more opaque and, until now, less accountable to outside investors. … Aramco’s prospectus notes that “increasing attention on climate change risks may result in an increased possibility of litigation … Such legal actions, Aramco adds, may result in the company being expected to pay damages or compensation for “alleged past and future damages resulting from climate change.”
Many records were set in 2018…
UN Report: Extreme Weather Displaced 2 Million People in 2018
2018 saw record sea level rise and high land and ocean temperatures, the report found. … The report found that flooding was the climate-related disaster that impacted the largest number of people in 2018 —more than 35 million. Hurricanes Florence and Michael in the U.S. cost around $49 billion in damages and killed more than 100 people. Super typhoon Mangkhut killed at least 134 people and impacted 2.4 million, mostly in the Philippines.
Mozambique floods cover more ground than NYC, Chicago, D.C., and Boston — combined
Cyclone Idai’s official death toll in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi reached 761 on Monday … Post-flood satellite images of Mozambique show that Cyclone Idai submerged about 835 square miles of homes and fields — an area larger than New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Boston combined. Aid workers in Mozambique describe the floodwaters as “inland oceans extending for miles and miles.” … Mozambique received nearly a year’s worth of rainfall in the days following Cyclone Idai, consistent with findings that rainstorms are becoming stronger and more common as Earth’s atmosphere warms up.
Northwest Territories set record temperature…
For first time since records began, NWT hits 20C in March
Cabin Radio 3-20-19
“The dataset at Yohin Lake goes all the way back to 1959. Other datasets go back to the early 1900s and nothing in the data is above 20C in March. This hasn’t happened for at least a good 100 years, so it’s pretty rare,”
Great article and weather maps…
Western Arctic Warm Wave Is Smashing Early-Spring Records
Category 6 3-26-19
A tenacious weather pattern that led to the loss of great chunks of Bering Sea ice in February is now pushing ever-warmer air well into the Arctic. The result is a phenomenally strong and prolonged “warm wave” that’s vanquishing monthly temperature records across northwest Alaska. … The immediate culprit is the atmospheric pattern that’s brought very strong winter storms into the northwest Pacific Ocean. Ahead of the North Pacific storms, recurrent bouts of shrieking southerly winds have spread mild air far to the north across the Bering Sea and adjacent parts of Russia and Alaska.
Rivers Continue Rising Across Minnesota
CBS Minnasota 4-1-19
“I’ve never seen it this high. The view is so different. Everything you normally see (in the park) is just gone. It’s just so crazy for it to just disappear,” … “We just came down here out of curiosity … I didn’t realize it was quite to this elevation. I remember taking the Old Cedar Ave Bridge when I was a kid.
Flooding poses potential risk for 1 million private wells
Major flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and several smaller waterways has inundated states in the middle of America, from the Canadian border south to Kentucky. The National Weather Service has warned that with snowmelt in northern states only beginning, the threat of additional flooding persists well into spring. … The high water and swift current carries raw sewage from overburdened treatment plants, animal waste and pesticides from farm fields, and spilled fuel.
ADAPTION AND RESILIENCE
EU parliament approves ban on single use plastics
PHYS ORG 3-27-19
European lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Wednesday for an EU-wide ban on single-use plastic products such as the straws, cutlery and cotton buds that are clogging the world’s oceans.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer halts action on Line 5 tunnel
Michigan Environmental Watch 3-28-19
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday ordered state agencies to halt action on a proposed tunnel to encase the controversial Line 5 pipeline in a tunnel. … It’s not binding. It’s not final. And it’s certainly not without cause to challenge,
Stopping Human-Caused Air Pollution Would Prevent 5.6 Million Air Pollution Deaths Per Year: New Study
Category 6 3-27-19
The researchers found that the top three nations for human-caused air pollution deaths were China (2.2 million per year), India (1.1 million per year), and the U.S. (230,000 per year). In the U.S., 84% of these deaths were attributed to the burning of fossil fuels. Globally, a premature air pollution death was found to occur on average 26.5 years earlier than it otherwise might have.
In sign of the times, ‘underwater homeowners’ mobilize on climate change
Boston Globe 4-2-19
Cortada repurposes ‘‘for sale’’ signs, painting partially submerged numbers that announce exactly how many feet above sea level each property is, for people to plant in their front yards. A growing number of members have signed on at underwaterhoa.org since Cortada launched the idea in December. … ‘‘I would love to see this go all the way up the East Coast, to go nationally,’’ she said. ‘‘We all need to lurch forward with this, and lurch forward thinking consciously about this.’’
Scotland’s Green Energy Strides Are Leaving Us in the Dust
Scotland is also doing groundbreaking research and development on wave and tidal energy, which has the advantage of being steady (unlike wind and solar). A small demonstration project is already powering 2600 homes in Scotland, and there are near-term plans to expand it.
Billionaires back Canadian company to build first ‘negative emissions’ plant
Finacial Post 3-21-19
Privately held, billionaire-backed Carbon Engineering Ltd. has raised enough money to design its first “negative emissions” facility to suck carbon out of the atmosphere. … A commercial negative-emissions plant by Carbon Engineering would occupy 30 acres of land and scrub one megaton of CO2 from the atmosphere per year, which Oldham said is equivalent to planting 40 million trees.
WILDLIFE & THE ENVIRONMENT
How climate change will put billions more at risk of mosquito-borne diseases
And, according to the study, these tropical mosquitoes are poised to expand their ranges, exposing a billion additional people to the diseases they carry in the next 50 years. … Given estimates for future temperatures around the globe, the researchers created a model to determine which areas may become suitable for mosquitoes to transmit viruses.
Climate Change Threat to Dolphins’ Survival
The UZH researchers show in their study for the first time that marine heatwaves not only affect organisms at lower levels of the food chain, but also might have considerable long-term consequences for the animals at the top, such as dolphins. “Marine heatwaves are likely to occur more frequently in the future due to climate change,”
Restore natural forests to meet global climate goals
Science Daily 4-2-19
International plans to restore forests to combat global warming are flawed and will fall far short of meeting 1.5C climate targets, … The international community is striving to restore 350 million hectares of forest, an area slightly larger than the size of India, by 2030
PROTESTS • EXTINCTION REBELLION • RESISTANCE
A new group has joined the protests: The Momentum Group…
John McDonnell backs Momentum on Barclays protest: Campaign group to take direct action outside bank’s branches in protest at fossil fuel funding
The Guardian 3-30-19
Forty local Momentum groups across England and Wales, from Exeter to Redcar, will take action outside branches of Barclays on Saturday to raise awareness of the bank’s financing of fossil fuel companies.
Barclays funds climate breakdown. We are determined to make it stop
The Guardian 3-30-19
At the pinnacle of this system stands the fossil fuel industry. A report last year showed that just 100 companies have been responsible for over 70% of the world’s carbon emissions since 1988. The fossil fuel industry has wrecked the planet, … If we can pressure Barclays into stopping its fossil fuel finance, we will throw a spanner in the workings of a capitalist machine intent on extracting profit by any means, even at the expense of the planet.
Fridays For Future
Fridays the for Future: 25000 demonstrate in Berlin with Greta Thunberg
Most of the participants were not at my eye level, as they were not yet fully grown. That’s why most of the cardboard signs were right in front of me. Apart from the physical aspect, I felt like a dwarf with my generation in the face of the joy, determination and will of these children and young people taking responsibility and the future into their own hands.
Protesting climate change is useless if we don’t stop using fossil fuels now
LA TImes 4-2-19
To the editor: I’m impressed with Swedish student Greta Thunberg’s success in rallying 1.6 million young people to march against climate change. That’s a huge accomplishment. … I attended the march here in Los Angeles two weeks ago, where about 500 mostly high school kids and a few of us graybeards marched in the hot sun waving signs and chanting.
Greta at the Golden Kamera awards in Berlin…
“We live in a strange world, where children must sacrifice their education in order to protest against the destruction of their future.”
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg)
Here is her full speech…
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XR makes the news again. Amazing pictures and videos. Do check them out…
The naked Commons protesters unmasked: Wildlife biologist, 24, Buddhist teacher and retired charity CEO, 68, are among the 20 semi-naked climate change demonstrators who stormed MPs’ Brexit debate
Daily Mall 4-2-19
Speaking after yesterday’s stunt, Ms Utterdahl said: ‘The reaction from people in the public was amazing. They were laughing and cheering it on. I heard people say “Good for them” and “This is incredible”.
• Group of Extinction Rebellion protesters stripped off in Parliament yesterday
• 12 of the group were arrested and are since said to have been released
More on the protest…
Semi-naked climate protesters disrupt Brexit debate
The Guardian 1-4-19
Semi-naked climate change protesters interrupted a House of Commons Brexit debate and glued their hands to the glass of the public gallery, spending almost 20 minutes with their buttocks facing the chamber.
New, more efficient way to reduce water use and improve plant growth
PHYS ORG 3-29-19
The researchers used a new, synthetic light-activated ion channel, engineered from plant and algal virus proteins, to speed up the opening and closing of the stomata – pores in the leaves of plants—through which carbon dioxide (CO2) enters for photosynthesis. … Alternative approaches, like the one we have used, circumvent the carbon-water trade-off and could be used to improve crop yield, particularly under water limiting conditions.
Another study on the melting of East Antarctica…
Polar Warning: Even Antarctica’s Coldest Region Is Starting to Melt
Yale Environment 360 3-28-19
no place on Earth is colder than East Antarctica. Home to the South Pole and making up two-thirds of the southernmost continent, the vast ice sheets of East Antarctica — formed over tens of millions of years — are nearly three miles thick in places. The temperature commonly hovers around -67 degrees Fahrenheit (-55 degrees Celsius); in 2010, some spots on East Antarctica’s polar plateau plunged to a record-breaking -144 degrees F.
Now, however, parts of the East Antarctic are melting.
The Transpolar Drift is faltering: Sea ice is now melting before it can leave the nursery
Science Daily 4-2-19
The dramatic loss of ice in the Arctic is influencing sea-ice transport across the Arctic Ocean. Today only 20 percent of the sea ice that forms in the shallow Russian marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean actually reaches the Central Arctic, where it joins the Transpolar Drift; the remaining 80 percent of the young ice melts before it has a chance to leave its ‘nursery.’
A slippery slope: How climate change is reshaping the Arctic landscape
PHYS ORG 4-2-19
[Researchers] recorded an astounding sixty-fold increase in the number retrogressive thaw slumps—landslides caused by the melting of the ice in the permafrost—on Banks Island over the past three decades. … The massive amount of sediment created by the slumps has choked some river valleys and affected more than 250 lakes on the island.
Paul Beckwith: “I declare a global climate change emergency to claw back up the rock face to attempt to regain system stability, or face an untenable calamity of biblical proportions.”
Kevin Hester: “There is no past analogue for the rapidity of what we are baring witness to. There has been a flood of articles … 2C is no longer attainable and that we are heading for dangerous climate change”
Guy McPherson: “The recent and near-future rises in temperature are occurring and will occur at least an order of magnitude faster than the worst of all prior Mass Extinctions. Habitat for human animals is disappearing throughout the world, and abrupt climate change has barely begun.”
Magi Amma: We need to turn on a dime at mach nine!
• 1 gigatonne equals one billion tons
• 1 gigatonne of carbon equals 3.67 gigatonnes of CO2
• 1 part per million of atmospheric CO2 is equivalent to 7.81 gigatonnes of CO2
• 1 part per million of atmospheric carbon is equivalent to 2.13 gigatonnes of carbon