Looks like about 4.6 million square Km.

2007’s record low average for the month of September was 4.28 million square kilometers.
The bottom is still weeks away, most likely.

I’ll be watching the Arctic Sea Ice Blog, among others, for updates.

NSIDC now has useful ice volume as well.

Joe Romm also has a post today with additional graphs and info.


From The Pew Center on Global Climate Change:

Figure 1 shows the year of the worst 6-12 month drought for various areas in Texas. For 55.8 percent of the state, the current drought is the worst on record. No other drought was as bad in so many places. The previous standard for a one year drought, 1925, can now only be considered the worst ever in 14.6 percent of the state.

For July, the statewide Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), which is a measure of dryness that takes both temperature and moisture into account, recorded its lowest ever reading. This surpassed the worst July readings for 1918, 1925 and 1956, the droughts of record in Texas.

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Here’s the Nature podcast interview with Jasper Kirkby, author of the new study that has denialists all atwitter (again) over cosmic rays.

Briefly, the theory is that cosmic rays hit the atmosphere, and when colliding with gas molecules create tiny cloud seeding particles, (“cloud condensation nuclei”) and thus, so the theory goes, could increase cloud cover.

Low clouds, in particular, reflect sunlight, and exert a cooling influence.

Therefore, so the theory goes, when the sun is in an active state, solar magnetic fields are strong, shielding the earth from cosmic rays, not as many clouds form, making it warmer – even warmer than it would be from the more active sun.

In periods such as the Maunder Minimum, a period of very few sunspots from 1645 to 1715, solar activity would have been low, thus, – ->lower magnetic fields –> letting in more cosmic rays —> producing more clouds
—> cooling the planet.

Voila. The Little Ice Age.

Recently, experiments were undertaken by Dr. Kirkby (interviewed above) at the European Atom smasher facility, – CERN – to learn more about the particle interactions that might validate this theory. The publication of his recent paper on the results has been bouncing around in the denialosphere as yet another “final nail in the coffin of man-caused global warming”.

Dr. Kirkby’s take, as you hear in the interview — not so much.

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PBS News Hour on Tar Sands

August 31, 2011

A proposed oil pipeline will stretch from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Texas. Jeffrey Brown discusses the debate surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline with two experts.

Summary and debate on the current situation.

Transcript here.

Raw video: Flood damage in Fleischmanns, NY.

AP: In the wake of Hurricane Irene, there are signs of the storm’s brutal force all around Fleischmanns, New York. Irene has been blamed for at least 40 deaths in 11 states, including one in Fleischmanns. 

More photos below from Buzzfeed.

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Two things going on here.

1. The Right Wing is kind of sensitive about that racism thing.

2. The denialist media takes every opportunity to distort, obfuscate, completely miss, (or, in this case, all of the above) a point.

We got another reminder the other day after a short, off hand remark by Al Gore became the topic of spittle flecked outrage on Fox News and other alternative reality venues.  In discussing the current polarized atmosphere around the topic of climate change, Gore made the comparison to the way a younger generation in the 60s challenged the existing conventions of southern racism – and went on to urge people to challenge errors, lies  and manufactured misconceptions around climate.

The relevant clip above is only 3 minutes long, and it came towards the end of an hour long (very worthwhile) interview that can be seen in its entirety here. 

It’s hard to believe that your average Fox talking head would have the time or inclination to actually sit through something as wonky as that. But, somewhere in the bowels of Fox News, we’re told, there is a “brain room”, where, presumably, gray matter is kept under lock and key, and only accessible to those with the highest clearance. That must be the place where boring “ideas” and “facts” are scrutinized and, occasionally, doled out in tiny, carefully contextualized and scripted bits to the empty talking heads that populate the Fox’s intellectual wasteland.  Watch the manufactured outrage here.

One reason the min-tempest struck home is that I just saw “The Help” – a summer movie based on the bestselling novel (and produced by Participant, the same group that produced “An Inconvenient Truth”) – which convincingly re-creates the atmosphere of institutionalized segragation and unconscious racism in 1963 Jackson, Mississippi.

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Thanks to Scott Mandia for tipping me on this one. You can click the images to get larger ones.

John Nielsen-Gammon, writing on the Houston Chronicle blog:

In my recent blog entry Texas Drought: A Fingerprint, I illustrated how unusual this year’s precipitation has been compared to previous years.  Now, with just a few days left in August, I’d like to show you just how unusual the combination of summer temperatures and summer rainfall has been.

Here is a plot of Texas average summer (June-August) temperature versus Texas summer precipitation.  Records go back to 1895.  (In the first graph above..PS) ..I’ve left off 2011.

Can you spot the outlier?  The year 2011 continues the recent trend of being much warmer than the historical precipitation-temperature relationship would indicate, although with no previous points so dry it’s hard to say exactly what history would say about a summer such as this one.  Except that this summer is way beyond the previous envelope of summer temperature and precipitation.

The fact that wind turbines are surviving in the hostile waters of the North Sea, the gusty, sun-snow and thunder-pounded Texas panhandle, and riding out earthquakes and tsunamis unscathed, pretty much answers any questions about their durability.

Nevertheless, it’s great to see this helpful fun-fact from Maddowblog:

And then came word that Hurricane Irene’s path would take it right up the coast. What do wind farms do in a hurricane? We’ve all seen that one clip of the wind turbine that spins out of control and destroys itself. I know that was an anomaly, but still, how do they keep those things from buzzing to the moon when a hurricane hits?

I’m thinking, for example, of that off-shore wind farm planned for off Cape Cod.

The answer is that either by automatic means or through manual preventive measures, the blades of the turbine feather.


Not having any experience in propeller-based fields I struggled to think of what properties Farah Fawcett/Scott Baio 80s hairstyles had that would help wind turbines survive high winds. Wrong kind of feather.

The answer is that the blades twist in their sockets so they don’t catch the wind anymore. Combined with a braking sytem, they endure the wind until it returns to a more productive speed.

A quote we seem to be hearing more and more often these days….yet another “most”, “biggest”, or “worst ever”.

As I wrote several days ago, Irene’s rains have become the real problem, creating devastating inland flooding. Scott Mandia explains in his radio interview in another post today.  The comparison that comes to mind is 1998, when Hurricane Mitch made landfall in the Honduras as “only” a category 1 storm, but one of massive size, that dumped huge amounts of precipitation – deadly in a poorly equipped Central America, where ultimately 20,000 thousand people were killed  in floods or mudslides, or simply disappeared.

More at Joe Romm’s Climate Progress:

Some folks in the media and denier-sphere have tried to downplay the severity of Hurricane Irene.  That’s probably because they don’t live in my home town of Middletown, New York, one of the many Hudson Valley & Catskills towns devastated by Irene.  Where I grew up, this was the storm of the century.

The Climate Science Rapid Response team, one of the reality based community’s most effective responses to anti-science quackery in the media, has been ably represented by John Abraham in some high profile venues over the last few months. Now we’re fortunate that the media has found out about another of CSRRT’s lucid luminaries, Meteorologist and co-founder Scott Mandia.