Was tracking the current sea ice melt at the indispensable Arctic Sea Ice blog. There are a lot of graphs there and elsewhere, but watching this satellite sequence give some indication of how the recent, and current, – emergent cyclones have caused the ice to break up spread out, and melt in warmer (by arctic standards) water.

Arctic Sea Ice Blog:

Commenter dabize has sent me the latest ‘declouded’ version of the False-Colour Composite images Environment Canada makes of the LANCE-MODISsatellite images. They give us an excellent view of week to week changes that are blocked by cloudy conditions in the Arctic.

Changes in the ice pack really stand out, but also keep an eye on the Canadian Archipelago and Northwest Passage, where in situ melting is jaw-dropping this year..

I’ve been collecting material including some surprising expert insights,  for the annual sea ice video, which will be the next project. We are now seeing new minimums drop by the hour, and the melt season has at least another week to go, in all likelihood.

See below for last year’s Sea Ice wrap-up.

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The set-up.
In a new sleazy low, the National Review website published a post comparing climate scientist Mike Mann to pedophile Jerry Sandusky.

Video above reviews the sad history of the climate denial machine’s ugly attacks on Mann and his now richly affirmed paleotemperature studies.

See here for my last summary of the current story.

In response to the latest in vile and disgusting attacks on climate science and scientists, Paleo-Climate expert Mike Mann today served the once-long-ago-useful-now-ridiculous National Review with the letter demanding a retraction and apology.  The letter can be viewed below, or on Mike’s Facebook page, where you may choose to spread it around.

Today this post appeared on Mann’s Facebook page:

People have been asking for my reaction to the recent response by the National Review. Here is a statement from my lawyer John B. Williams of Cozen O’Connor:

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The response of the National Review is telling with respect to the issues it did not address. It did not address, or even acknowledge, the fact that Dr. Mann’s research has been extensively reviewed by a number of independent parties, including the National Science Foundation, with never a suggestion of any fraud or research misconduct. It did not address, or even acknowledge, the fact that Dr. Mann’s conclusions have been replicated by no fewer than twelve independent studies. It did not deny the fact that it was aware that Dr. Mann has been repeatedly exonerated of any fraudulent conduct. It did not deny the fact that it knew its allegations of fraud were false. Rather, the National Review’s defense seems to be that it did not really mean what it said last month when it accused Dr. Mann of fraud. Beyond this, the response is little more than an invective filled personal attack on Dr. Mann. And further, this attack is coupled with the transparent threat that the National Review intends to undertake burdensome and abusive litigation tactics should Dr. Mann have the temerity to attempt to defend himself in court.
*********

We intend to file a lawsuit.

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The legal dismemberment of the Denial machine has begun. In a conversation thursday with a very senior scientist, I was updated on a number of actions slowly encircling the Denial industry.  Think,  –  Tobacco lawsuits on stereo steroids, with extra secret sauce.

Below, more video of Mike Mann’s defense, under oath, of the Hockey Stick paper:

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Representative Todd Akin on Rape:

“It seems to me first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,..If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down…”.

Representative Akin on Climate:

While scientists understand that increased levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases work to trap heat, those gases are not the only variables when it comes to Earth’s temperature trends.  For example, the sun itself has variable output, which affects temperature cycles.  Currently, scientists are somewhat puzzled by a current-extended minimum in solar activity.  Such a long-term lack of solar output in the early 18th century, referred to as the Maunder Minimum, is thought to have contributed to the last mini-ice age.  Of course, factors such as solar variability – that could cause a mini-ice age – would probably not afford a man-made solution.

Rep. Akin is now apologizing and back pedaling furiously for his comments on raping women. As word gets out of the collapse of arctic sea ice, will he apologize for supporting the rape of Planet Earth?

I touched on this story shortly after it came to my attention this summer. There is an ongoing effort to get around administrative oversight and outflank the opposition to the transport of tar sands goo across the US, and out to the world market. Closing the spigot on this gigantic carbon source just got more difficult.

Hopefully Matt Pierce and Neela Bannerjee’s article will bring this more national attention.

Above, 5 minute clip from a longer interview with Beth Wallace of the National Wildlife Federation, conducted a few weeks ago in Ann Arbor, MI.

LATimes:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A major rival to the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline project is vastly boosting its U.S. pipeline system, but it’s avoiding the same scrutiny that federal regulators, environmentalists and landowners are giving Keystone owner TransCanada Corp.

Enbridge Inc. is proceeding largely unencumbered with plans to spend $8.8 billion in the U.S. to transport greater volumes of petroleum to the Gulf Coast and other markets than TransCanada would with its Keystone XL pipeline project from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast.

Rather than building a single new pipeline, Enbridge is replacing smaller, existing pipeline with bigger pipes, adding pumping capacity and installing new supply lines alongside existing ones.

The Calgary, Alberta, energy pipeline and storage company is forging ahead even though it has been bedeviled recently by high-profile oil spills.

TransCanada’s Keystone XL plan, and its additional 830,000 barrels a day, snagged on the so-called presidential permit process, in which the State Department conducts environmental and other reviews of infrastructure projects that cross American borders.

But Enbridge, which runs the longest pipeline system in Canada and the U.S., can proceed without new presidential permits — and the rigorous review they bring — because the company already has permits from the initial construction years ago and because the physical work will take place in the United States.

A friend writes:

As reported on Cryosphere Today based on NSIDC data, sea ice area today is 2.92 million square kilometres. The record area set on September 7th 2011 was 2.917439 million square kilometres and we are looking at this record broken perhaps (monday, august 20). I know the extent is often and widely bandied about, but that figure is deceptive, because it doesn’t account for the open water between ice-floes.

Sea Ice is crashing to a new record low area, and we are still some 3 weeks, or more, away from the bottom.  This is an important development.

I’m traveling on monday,  but best info sources will be Cryosphere Today, Neven’s Sea Ice Blog, and of course, NSIDC.

EcoWatch:

Even if there wasn’t a problem with water contamination, deforestation, and noise and air pollution from fracking, the pro-drilling agenda would still be hit hard with an insurmountable roadblock—access to abundant water.

On June 28, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission suspended 37 separately approved water withdrawals for fracking due to localized streamflow levels dropping throughout the Susquehanna Basin in Pennsylvania and New York.

In Kansas, oil and gas drillers are running out of options due to the tenth driest July on record. Companies with dwindling access to water resources are resorting to paying farmers for what water they have left, or more, drilling their own water wells, digging ponds next to streams or trucking in water from places as far way as Pennsylvania, according to CNN Money.

Jeff Gordon, the CEO of Texas Coastal Energy Co. said, “That can cripple a drilling company, as lack of water can basically suspend operations.”

Fracking isn’t the only dirty energy industry that relies on water for its operations. On Aug. 12, Unit 2 of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Connecticut—which provides half of Connecticut’s power and 12 percent of New England’s—was shut down because the seawater used to cool the plant was too warm, according to the Hartford Courant.

In its 37-year history of operation, Unit 2 of the Millstone Power Station has never shut down due to excessively warm water. The power station, which draws its water from Long Island Sound, must cool its reactors with water no warmer than 75 degrees F, but following the hottest July on record, the water has been averaging 1.7 degrees F above the limit, according to the Hartford Courant.

According to a River Network report in June, electricity production by coalnuclear and natural gas power plants is the fastest-growing use of freshwater in the U.S., accounting for more than half of all fresh, surface water withdrawals from rivers. This is more than any other economic sector, including agriculture, and occurs in an era when all other use sectors are reducing water withdrawals.

According to the report, more than a quarter of the water withdrawn by fossil-fuel power plants to cool their generators goes up in steam—the remainder carries pollutants and excess heat into rivers and waterways, causing fish kills and algae blooms.

Put in perspective, for every gallon of water used in an average household, five times more water (40,000 gallons each month) is used to provide that home with electricity via hydropower turbines and fossil fuel power plants.

Creating a sustainable relationship with the world’s freshwater resources is the most vital environmental issue facing us today. While scientists continue to work on creative uses of wastewater to stretch our resources farther—such as substitution, regeneration and reduction—a prevailing shift in attitude that values water over profits will ultimately be required to ensure the world’s population will have access to safe drinking water.

 

Much as climate deniers hate  the implications of  21st century technology, and despite the best efforts of the Fox news/talk radio disinformation machine – time does have a way of moving forward, and change happens. From the Description:

Bob Lutz stops by the garage with his latest exciting venture, Via’s extended range electric truck. With a 4.3-liter GM-sourced V6, it takes four hours to charge at 220, gets roughly 100 mpg with a full range of 300 miles – and you can run your power tools off it!

Check out the Official Jay Leno’s Garage Site for more:
http://www.jaylenosgarage.com

Right. It’s expensive, but so were flat screen TVs 8 years ago.  The fuel savings make it a winner for fleet sales, which is what it will take to scale production and bring costs down. An idea whose time has come.

Sorry, Fox.

Here are two nicely complementary videos, one from the US, one from the UK, that go into some detail on how grids balance conventional and renewable energy.
We hear the question “what do you do when the wind stops blowing/sun stops shining” from deniers hoping to capitalize on the average person’s ignorance of how the system works. Wind and Solar are “intermittent” power sources, but what many folks don’t understand is that that large traditional, fossil and nuclear plants are intermittent as well, often unpredictably so.

This recent item from the New York Times illustrates a whole new wild card that will make large thermal, especially nuclear, plants even more unpredictable in the future..

NYTimes: 

A reactor at the Millstone nuclear plant in Waterford, Conn., has shut down because of something that its 1960s designers never anticipated: the water in Long Island Sound was too warm to cool it.

Under the reactor’s safety rules, the cooling water can be no higher than 75 degrees. On Sunday afternoon, the water’s temperature soared to 76.7 degrees, prompting the operator, Dominion Power, to order the shutdown of the 880-megawatt reactor.

“Temperatures this summer are the warmest we’ve had since operations began here at Millstone,’’ said a spokesman for Dominion, Ken Holt. The plant’s first reactor, now retired, began operation in 1970.

The plant’s third reactor was still running on Monday, but engineers were watching temperature trends carefully out of concern that it, too, might have to shut down.

A spokeswoman for the regional grid control center, ISO-New England, said the shutdown had not impaired the functioning of the grid because generation has been more than sufficient. But in periods when industrial demand for electricity has been stronger, a reactor shutdown has sometimes forced grid operators to scramble.

Both videos give an inside look into how grid operators work, and how they are planning for the increasing mix of energy options that are coming in the future.

Second video, highly recommended, below:

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Real Men Love Wind

August 16, 2012

The Weather Channel has a new series, “Turbine Cowboys”, on Wind turbine technicians, done sort of along the lines of “Ice Road Truckers” and “The Deadliest Catch”.
Turns out manly men love wind turbines, and working on them. High testosterone cliff hangers with a hard rock score.

More clips at the link.

“CO2 helps crops”  Will pass that along to midwest farmers.

It’s in the Bible.

Paul Ryan Good.

Al Gore:

Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s new running mate, has a history of anti-climate science statements and votes, according to Brad Johnson:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick, is a virulent denier of climate science, with a voting record to match.

A favorite of the Koch brothers, Ryan has accused scientists of engaging in conspiracy to “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” He has implied that snow invalidates global warming.

Ryan has voted to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting greenhouse pollution, to eliminate White House climate advisers, to block the U.S. Department of Agriculture from preparing for climate disasters like the drought devastating his home state, and to eliminate the Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E).

He has also said there is “growing disagreement among scientists about climate change and its causes.”

In addition to his opposition to meaningful action to reduce global warming pollution, Paul Ryan’s budget called for “drastic cuts in federal spending on energy research and development and for the outright elimination of subsidies and tax breaks for wind, solar power and other alternative energy technologies.”

Solving the climate crisis requires political leadership that recognizes the serious reality of global warming and fights for policies that move us toward a clean energy economy, not backward.