Summer is coming fast, and I got held up with last-minute edits on the recent Arctic council/SWIPA video – so I had to boogie to get this pulled together. Had Dr. Jason Box add some footage and voice overs.

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And boy, that footage. This year, we are supporting a ground-breaking new Green Technology for Arctic Exploration – the WindSled.

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One of the frustrations of arctic travel is the need for carbon intensive energy at every stage of getting in and out. One possible solution for scientists making measurements on the ice is a wind powered moving base station that can make traverses of the ice sheet with minimal carbon footprint.

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I was already working on this video when Scott Adam’s laughably unfunny attempt to have Dilbert do climate science appeared, and set the denia-sphere atwitter.

Some will still prefer the cartoon version of science, but fortunately, there are real experts to set the record straight, and I talk to them regularly.

I promised Mr Adams that a video was coming to help him out.
Here ’tis.

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Below, compare model projections from 40 years ago, via archival footage, with actual observations from today.  Eye Opening. Read the rest of this entry »

Old enough to remember when conservatives advocated “states rights”.

Oh, wait. That’s only when they want to stop black people from voting.
It’s a slave-owner thing. Got it.

Nowadays, when states want to acknowledge science and fact – the administration has a problem. Fortunately, aroused voters, and mega-uprisings like the March for Science,  are helping science-savvy politicians push back.  (Above, 1 minute from California Governor Jerry Brown’s State of the State in January)

New York Times:

LOS ANGELES — The environmental ministers of Canada and Mexico went to San Francisco last month to sign a global pact — drafted largely by California — to lower planet-warming greenhouse pollution. Gov. Jerry Brown flies to China next month to meet with climate leaders there on a campaign to curb global warming. And a battery of state lawyers is preparing to battle any attempt by Washington to weaken California’s automobile pollution emission standards.

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As President Trump moves to reverse the Obama administration’s policies on climate change, California is emerging as the nation’s de facto negotiator with the world on the environment. The state is pushing back on everything from White House efforts to roll back pollution rules on tailpipes and smokestacks, to plans to withdraw or weaken the United States’ commitments under the Paris climate change accord.

In the process, California is not only fighting to protect its legacy of sweeping environmental protection, but also holding itself out as a model to other states — and to nations — on how to fight climate change.

“I want to do everything we can to keep America on track, keep the world on track, and lead in all the ways California has,” said Mr. Brown, who has embraced this fight as he enters what is likely to be the final stretch of a 40-year career in California government. “We’re are looking to do everything we can to advance our program, regardless of whatever happens in Washington.”

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When Florida’s governor Rick Scott banned state employees from using the phrase “climate change”, I reported it (above) months before the Miami Herald and Washington Post.

Now, under Trump, climate censors have been empowered, bigly.  Consider helping with a donation to Dark Snow Project here.

Washington Post:

On Thursday, a group of scientists, including three working for the U.S. Geological Survey, published a paper that highlighted the link between sea-level rise and global climate change, arguing that previously studies may have underestimated the risk flooding poses to coastal communities.

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However, three of the study’s authors say the Department of Interior, under which USGS is housed, deleted a line from the news release on the study that discussed the role climate change played in raising Earth’s oceans.

“While we were approving the news release, they had an issue with one or two of the lines,” said Sean Vitousek, a research assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “It had to do with climate change and sea-level rise.”

“We did end up removing a line,” he added.

Vitousek and five co-authors wrote the study, which was published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. Three of the authors worked for USGS and the other three worked for universities.

That deleted line, they said, read: “Global climate change drives sea-level rise, increasing the frequency of coastal flooding.”

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Nuclear proponents keep talking about “new” nuclear, technologies that will finally meet acceptable standards of safety, while providing insurance against weaponization and nuclear proliferation.

Nobody’s actually building that tech yet – meanwhile, the realization has set in among even the most enthusiastic proponents, that, while the zero carbon energy from nuclear is a desirable commodity, cost overruns and mismanagement have finally overwhelmed subsidies and other advantages,  and the competition from Renewables is simply overwhelming.

Economic Times of India:

Forget the Bush-Manmohan Singh vision of a nuclear power renaissance. Recent developments — cheap solar power plus the bankruptcy of Westinghouse — call for a total overhaul of nuclear plans that now look obsolete, dangerous and ultra-costly.

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I say this as one who solidly supported the Bush-Manmohan deal in 2005. That deal lifted sanctions against India, and provided access to imported uranium and nuclear technology. In return, the US, France, Japan and Russia were to build six nucl ..
six nuclear plants each in India, reviving their flagging equipment industries.

In 2005, the nuclear industry expected a boom following global concerns on greenhouse gases. Nuclear power then was costlier than coal-based power but much cheaper than solar. With many nations going big on nuclear, scale economies plus third-generation technology promised to make nuclear power as cheap as thermal power, minus the carbon.

Then came the Fukushima disaster in Japan. This highlighted the nuclear power risks. It led to the closure of old nuclear plants and cancellation of new ones across the world. The disappearance of mass orders killed scale economies for equipment, while new safety concerns led to expensive re-design.

During the parliamentary debate on the Bush-Manmohan deal, the government claimed that nuclear power would cost no more than coal-based power, which was Rs 2.50/unit then. Today it is Rs 4/unit. Can foreign nuclear suppliers match this? No. Aniruddh Mohan of the Observer Research Foundation says the two new Russian reactors, Kudankulam 3 and 4, have a negotiated tariff of Rs 6.30/unit. He estimates tariffs will be Rs 9 for Westinghouse and Rs 12 for Areva. News reports say India seeks to cap the Areva tariff at Rs 7/unit. Read the rest of this entry »

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8 MW turbines. That’s a big machine, but not nearly the upper limit.
Offshore power coming of age is a real game changer. Big implications for more traditional power sources.

They are, of course, not American, we’ve given away that leadership.
Thanks climate deniers!

Guardian:

The planet’s biggest and most powerful wind turbines have begun generating electricity off the Liverpool coast, cementing Britain’s reputation as a world leader in the technology.

Danish company Dong Energy has just finished installing 32 turbines in Liverpool Bay that are taller than the Gherkin skyscraper, with blades longer than nine London buses. Dong Energy, the windfarm’s developer, believes these machines herald the future for offshore wind power: bigger, better and, most importantly, cheaper.

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Each of the 195m-tall turbines in the Burbo Bank extension has more than twice the power capacity of those in the neighbouring Burbo Bank windfarm completed a decade ago. “That shows you something about the scale-up of the industry, the scale-up of the technology,” said Benjamin Sykes, the country manager for Dong Energy UK.

The project is the first time the 8MW turbines have been commercially used anywhere in the world, which Sykes hailed as a “very important milestone” for the sector.

Subsidies, friendly regulation and a maritime past have helped the UK install more offshore wind power than any other country in the world. Collectively they now have a capacity of 5.3GW, generating enough electricity to power 4.3m homes. Eight further projects already under construction will add more than half that capacity again.

But ministers have made it clear that the industry must keep cutting costs if the technology, the only large renewable energy source backed by the Conservatives, is to continue earning taxpayer support.

While a recent study showed the cost of offshore wind has fallen a third since 2012, a key litmus test will be the results of a government auction this summer for £290m of renewable energy subsidies.

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Katharine Hayhoe is one of my favorite people in climate science. She’s so much nicer than I am, and that’s helped her become one of Time magazine’s “Top 100 Influential People”.  Above, one of her most recent interviews.

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I spoke to Dr. Hayhoe in 2012, when she had just barely become sort-of almost famous.  She told me this was still one of her favorite interviews, below.
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Poking around the Dark Snow Project Facebook page – came across this picture I had not seen before, taken by Mackenzie Skiles during the first Dark Snow expedition, in 2013.

That’s myself with Jason Box, at the apex of our stay in Greenland, we caught a break in the weather, and managed to Chopper-sprint up to a place called Saddle – the geographic center of the southern Greenland Ice Sheet – where not too many people go. In fact, Jason told us that he had set up the small weather station there 15 years previously, having traversed in via snow machine over a hundred kilometers or so from the nearest Science Station. So far as he knew, no one had ever gone there via chopper.

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I looked back into the archives to recap our arrival in Greenland that year – late June 2013.

Dark Snow Settles into Greenland Base:
houseThe Dark Snow project Science and media team has set up shop  in a small cabin on the outskirts of Sisimiut, on the coast of Greenland.

Scientists Jason Box and Marek Stibal, along with myself,  will be working pushing out communications, video, still pictures, and narrative over the next several days, while we wait for the remainder of the scientific team to arrive, and for our helicopter transportation situation to clarify.  Our originally contracted helicopter provider has been hamstrung by the Danish regulatory system for now, and we were able to fly this week by making a last minute arrangement.  Plans for the coming days are being re-evaluated on a daily, and even hourly basis.

Dr. Stibal will be heading home tomorrow, as his samples so far indicates that the glacier-based organisms he has been sampling may be at a more advanced growth stage when he returns in August.  Dr. Box is busy reviewing budget and planning items, and working with me to go thru the large amount of video and stills we have already acquired, as well as create more interviews and voice-over for an expanding number of interested media outlets.

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We’ve seen sunshine, rain, snow and fog, sometimes all within the same hour.
The only condition that has not changed radically in recent days has been the sun, which is always circling the arctic sky, and when the clouds part, dazzlingly bright.

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Sisimiut varies wildly between spectacular physical scenery,  incongruous and unexpected human dwellings clinging precariously to the outlying rocks, bustling traffic and  dreary public housing in the city center.  The temperatures have ranged from comfortably cool to biting cold, and today we had snow, that fell but did not stick. The wind comes and goes, but generally remains not far out of mind or ear. Enormous Ravens haunt the rocks around our tiny cottage, babbling as we come in and out, and occasionally bursting out of the shadows with ponderous Tolkeinesque flapping.

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