December 3, 2016
Now reclassified from “Kids/Humor” to “Dystopian/Horror”.
Did Alec Baldwin work on his SNL chops here?
Climate deniers are in a bit of a bind. They’ve been riding the bogus “global warming stopped” meme for a decade and a half, as the video above explains.
Problem is, with the recent huge El Nino event, global temperatures have taken another “stair step” upwards – resulting in 3 record setting years in a row. (2014, 2015, with ’16 all but a lock)
Kevin Trenberth actually predicted this pattern almost 3 years when I interviewed him via Skype. (you can hear that starting at 8:50 or so here)
So the Anti-Science crowd is desperate to get back to that “no warming” nonsense, to salvage what they can of their rapidly fraying Trumped-up street cred.
What they’ve decided on, is to focus on the normal, expected El Nino pattern, which is a large spike in global temp, as heat pours out of the Pacific, followed by a downward spike as we slide into the complimentary “La Nina” event – and claim that a normal artifact of a global cycle signals a new period of “global cooling”.
But in the past week, particularly egregious claims emerged that have been perpetuated by outlets with large audiences.
These two dubious and deceptive assertions must be dismantled:
1) The global land temperature has just experienced its biggest drop on record.
2) Record cold is predicted for most of the U.S. next week.
The Earth’s temperature has not crashed at a record pace
The misleading claim that global land temperatures have plunged by a record margin was first reported by David Rose of the Daily Mail last week, and it was amplified today in a piece by James Delingpole at Breitbart News.
“Global average temperatures over land have plummeted by more than 1C since the middle of this year — their biggest and steepest fall on record,” Rose’s article begins. Yet it’s easy to explain why this assertion is not only misleading but also pointless.
First, Rose’s claim relies on the satellite record of Earth’s temperature estimated from space, which only dates to 1978. The surface-temperature record, which directly measures the planet’s temperature using thermometers and dates to the late 1800s, exhibits a drop but not a record drop.
Federal and international agencies have said that 2016 will likely be the hottest year on record, eclipsing the record set last year. In its report, The Daily Mail cited a recent decline in temperatures over land since the weather phenomenon known as El Niño ended this year, and said that El Niño, and not climate change, was responsible for the record heat.
But scientists said that while the recent El Niño did contribute to the record warmth, climate change played a major role, too.
“Nobody said the record temperatures were exclusively the result of climate change,” said Mike Halpert, the deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.
Deke Arndt, the chief of the climate monitoring branch at the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, said that the long-term warming trend was quite clear, and that the impact of El Niño was in addition to what were already higher temperatures. “You can have both climate change and a goose from El Niño,” he said.
December 2, 2016
Among the cities setting records, Atlanta, Dallas, St. Louis and even Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, crushed their previous fall records from 1931 – a Dust Bowl year.
Salt Lake City set a record warm fall for the second year in a row. The top three warmest falls in that city have now occurred in the last five years.
Despite colder weather in November, America’s northernmost town, Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow), about 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle, also had their record warmest fall.
One of America’s southernmost cities, Brownsville, Texas, also easily soared past their previous record warmest fall from 2004.
Three prominent heat waves contributed to this record-setting fall.
An early-September heat wave sent temperatures soaring well into the 90s in the Northeast. Philadelphia set an all-time September hottest daily low temperature on Sept. 9, only dropping to 80 degrees.
Then, a mid-October heat wave made it feel more like August in a broad swath of the East, South and Plains. With a high of 101 degrees on Oct. 17, Dodge City, Kansas, smashed its previous record latest-in-season 100-degree high by over three weeks.
Finally, a late October into early November warm spell put an exclamation point on the warm fall. Over a dozen larger cities tied or set all-time November record highs. Louisville, Kentucky, did it two days in a row, reaching 85 degrees both on Nov. 1 and 2.
When looking at monthly records tied or set, that ratio was just shy of 47 warm records for every cold record.
December 2, 2016
Above, if you have not seen this video on the workings of Rep. Lamar Smith’s House “Science” Committee, by all means do so now, and share with anyone that cares about the future.
Then consider a donation to the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund.
You can tell if you are doing good work by the enemies you attract.
And it looks like Yale Climate Connections, an organization for whom I produce the monthly “This is Not Cool” video series, has gotten under the skin of Lamar Smith’s House “Science” Committee.
First, let me say, I do not speak for Yale Climate Connections, I am a contractor for them and nothing more, I have no influence or stake in their management or editorial decisions – but generally they are reporting the mainstream science of climate change in a moderate and sensible tone.
Hence, I guess, the outrage of the “Science” Committee.
In a further sign of things to come, the Committee has now taken to tweeting out pathetic anti-science screeds from the White Supremacist/Climate denial website Breitbart.
The piece mentioned, is authored by James Delingpole, the same author commissioned on short notice to respond to my January video on Satellite temperature measurement.
It’s apparently an outline of new climate denial talking points that will be deployed as 2016 becomes the third year in a row to break a global temperature record.
I’ll handle the substance of the Breitbart piece either in a future post, video, or both.
For now, just a reminder that we are at the very beginning of a values clarification exercise that could result in a much more distinct picture of who we are as a nation, and as human beings.
Yale Climate Connections recently published an introspective take on this from one of the most highly respected and quietly gutsy climate scientists in the world, Ben Santer of Livermore Lab.
Statement of Purpose – Ben Santer PhD
I look at differences between expectations and reality. The expectations are from computer models of the climate system. Computer models can tell us about historical changes in climate – the changes we should have seen in response to things like human-caused increases in greenhouse gases. My job is to compare these expected changes in climate with actual observations. Read the rest of this entry »
December 1, 2016
Part of Katharine Hayhoe’s “Global Weirding” series.
December 1, 2016
Can Witch Burning be far behind?
As president-elect Donald Trump carries on with his transition to the White House, our country waits to see which parts of his campaign rhetoric were the swirly-twirly ideas of a callow populist, and which parts were substantial and considered enough to evolve into actual policy.
Among the big ideas many of us hope remain in the first category is Trump’s position on vaccinations. The president-elect has a long history of vaccine misinformation; he first began to express his beliefs that there might be a relationship between vaccines and autism nearly a decade ago—years after this association was scientifically discredited. He’s repeated these ideas over the years, and he never found it necessary to correct or refine his position during the election. As such, he’s left the door open for vaccine skeptics and more extreme anti-vaxxers to see his victory as one of their own.
This sort of excitement for Trump’s win appeared in a recent Facebook post by Jennifer Larson, CEO of the autism-focused Holland Center, in which she explained that she and other vaccination skeptics discussed their concerns with Trump at a donor event in August. According to her account, Trump assured them that he’s on their side.
Now that Trump won, we can all feel safe in sharing that Mr. Trump met with autism advocates in August. He gave us 45 minutes and was extremely educated on our issues. Mark stated ‘You can’t make America great with all these sick children and more coming’. Trump shook his head and agreed. He heard my son’s vaccine injury story. Andy told him about Thompson and gave him Vaxxed. Dr Gary ended the meeting by saying ‘Donald, you are the only one who can fix this’. He said ‘I will’. We left hopeful. Lots of work left to do.
Larson’s post was republished on the site Age of Autism. (While the link on the Age of Autism story doesn’t connect to an original source, Larson confirmed in an email that she posted this message on Facebook.)
The meeting Larson described was a donor event in Florida. Also in attendance was anti-vaxx advocate Andrew Wakefield, the disgraced doctor whose discredited research incorrectly suggested vaccines cause autism. As is common with such events, attendees were given a time to speak and the vaccination skeptics used it an opportunity to draw Trump’s attention to the documentary Vaxxed and allegations that the CDC has discovered, and denied, a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism, according to both Larson and Mark Blaxill, editor-at-large of the Age of Autism website. The interaction was first reported on by Zack Kopplin for Science magazine.
So why did Tom Price catch my attention more than other Trump cabinet picks? Yes, he detests Obamacare and is likely to be fully enthusiastic about gutting it, but pretty much anyone Trump picked would have been expected to hold that view. It’s pretty much par for the course for the Republican Party these days. I would have been more surprised if Trump had picked someone who was was relatively neutral on the Affordable Care Act. No, what caught my eye was that I learned that Tom Price is a member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), and that told me a lot about him, none of it good. For instance, in 2015 Charles Pierce referred to Price as “one of Georgia’s wingnut sawbones” (Price is an orthopedic surgeon), and noted an article by Stephanie Mencimer, The Tea Party’s Favorite Doctors, which included this description of the AAPS: Read the rest of this entry »
November 30, 2016
WHY WE CARE: Incorporated is a smart, psychological thriller set in the year 2074 where competing multinational corporations have unlimited power and unilateral control over employee lives. The story centers on Ben Larson (Teale), an ambitious executive who conceals his true identity to survive as a company man until a turn of events forces him to jeopardize his position at great peril. Enhanced by a sleek, inventive production design offering plausible near-future technology, the series tangles with such resonant themes as strictly enforced societal castes and privilege, eroding rights, and lost privacy imposed by digital tracking. It reads more like a cautionary tale than escapist sci-fi, which makes it all the more compelling.