Pro Forma qualifiers notwithstanding (‘we can’t attribute any particular event yadda yadda…) – this current storm, crashing on top of the east coast media establishment – has inevitably pushed the media conversation to a new level of climate discussion.

And not just the usual suspects..

Charleston Gazzette:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Charleston church group recently heard a slide lecture on billion-dollar weather damage and mass human suffering caused by global warming, worsened by air pollution. The grim show came from the Climate Reality Project headed by former Vice President Al Gore, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his warnings.

The lecture is apt today as Hurricane Sandy, the “Frankenstorm,” ravages the populous East Coast. Hurricanes, caused by ocean heat, have become stronger, deadlier, more costly. Sandy spans nearly 2,000 miles across its cloud swirl, almost the distance from Charleston to California.

More Frankenstorms and other weather horrors can be expected, the Gore group says. It warns:

* Tornados have become worse menaces, obliterating some cities such as Joplin, Mo.

* Floods and mudslides from monster rains ravage Third World cities. Mississippi Valley floods also have become more destructive.

* Droughts are turning some agriculture regions into worthless desert, bankrupting farmers and elevating food prices.

* Wildfires have consumed vast sections of western forest and suburban neighborhoods.

* Tropical diseases and parasites keep moving northward.

Newark Star-Ledger:

No one talks much about climate change anymore. But let’s get real: This hurricane is exactly the sort of event that scientists have warned us about.

The climate-deniers will tell you that a hurricane like Sandy might have hit us anyway, and that storms of this magnitude occurred long before the industrial revolution. All true.

But when we see a never-ending series of gigantic, record-breaking weather events across the globe, any sane person has to concede that something is terribly amiss.

Nine of the 10 hottest years since record-keeping began have occurred since 2000. The glaciers are melting. And there has been a measurable increase in freak weather — from the record floods in China and Bangladesh that left millions homeless last summer, to the freakish Halloween storm that buried New Jersey last year.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney concedes the problem and says mankind is contributing to it. But his cynicism on this issue is breathtaking. Because at the same time, he is campaigning hard in coal country, stirring up resentment against regulations imposed by the Obama administration. And he promises to reverse the singular climate achievement of the Obama years, the doubling of auto efficiency standards to 54.5 mpg by the year 2025.

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October 29 lecture by GeoScientist Christian Shorey at the Colorado School of Mines, describing the most current knowns and unknowns about Sandy in the context of climate change. 15 minutes long, good summary for anyone that needs an instant cliffnotes primer.

Where we Are Now

October 30, 2012

This photo by Ana Adjelic is, for me, the most iconic yet of the current disaster, and the larger context of waters literally rising around the climate denialist dream world.

“Attention Shoppers, pay no attention to that water outside the window…blue light special in aisle 13…”

NYTimes: Huge Damage

October 30, 2012


NYTimes:

Power remained out for roughly six million people, including a large swath of Manhattan. Early risers stepped out into debris-littered streets that remained mostly deserted as residents awaited dawn to shed light on the extent of the damage. Bridges remained closed and seven subway tunnels under the East River remained flooded.

The storm was the most destructive in the 108-year history of New York City’s subway system, said Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, in an early morning statement. “We are assessing the extent of the damage and beginning the process of recovery,” he said, but did not provide a timetable for restoring transit service to a paralyzed city.

At least 16 deaths — including seven in the New York region — were tied to the storm, which toppled trees and sparked fires in several areas, The Associated Press reported.

Finishing up a video right now. More later.

Visualizing CO2

October 30, 2012

I was waiting to post this till after the storm, but its a visual metaphor for the amount of CO2 emitted by New York City, and given the current situation, makes an interesting juxtaposition.

Description:

In 2010 (the latest year for which we had data) New York City added 54 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (equivalent) to the atmosphere, but that number means little to most people because few of us have a sense of scale for atmospheric pollution.

Carbon Visuals and the Environmental Defense Fund wanted to make those emissions feel a bit more real – the total emissions and the rate of emission. Designed to engage the ‘person on the street’, this version is exploratory and still work in progress.

54,349,650 million tons a year = 148,903 tons a day = 6,204 tons an hour = 1.72 tons a second

At standard pressure and 59 °F a metric ton of carbon dioxide gas would fill a sphere 33 feet across (density of CO₂ = 1.87 kg/m³). If this is how New York’s emissions actually emerged we would see one of these spheres emerge every 0.58 seconds.

Emissions in 2010 were 12% less than 2005 emissions. The City of New York is on track to reduce emissions by 30% by 2017 – an ambitious target.

For a set of stills from this movie, see:http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonquilt/sets/72157631827283027/

For more information see:
http://www.carbonvisuals.com/work/new-yorks-carbon-emissions-in-real-time

It’s like a drunk.

I might actually be true that he got fired because his boss was a jerk. And, maybe, his wife left him because, well, his mother was right – she was a tramp.

And when social services took his kids away, — that was an over-reaching, busybody bureaucracy.
When the power company turned his lights off, that had to be a mistake, because he’s darn sure he mailed the check. That cop that stopped him for speeding was just running a speed trap to meet his quota, and the judge that sentenced him to 30 days was just trying to look tough with elections coming up.

When the bank foreclosed on his home, it really was their fault, for talking him into that loan.

Those other guys at the shelter, what a bunch of losers.  How do people end up like that?

How much longer can we avoid this conversation?

Graham Readfern:

A 30-YEAR-OLD man has just become the first New Yorker to be killed by the destructive force of the super-charged storm Sandy which, as I type, is moving across the eastern side of the United States.

The New York Times reported how the man died when a tree fell on his house in Queens. The former-Hurricane Sandy has already claimed more than 60 lives in Caribbean countries.

There are something like 50 million Americans currently in the storm’s path. It seems inevitable that more people will lose their lives in the coming hours.

Whatever transpires we no doubt all hope that the number of fatalities is low. But neither good fortune nor any god will decide. The death toll will be what it is, and families will grieve.

It seems insensitive to mention the billions of dollars of damage the storm will cause. It might, to some, seem insensitive to mention human-caused climate change at a time like this.

But given that neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama had the courage, the foresight or the necessary leadership qualities to be able to mention the issue in their official debates, I’d say their insensitivity is far greater than any which a freelance journo and blogger across the Pacific may be able to muster.

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Paul Douglas’ Monday evening Sandy Update:

Hurricane Sandy Headlines:

…SANDY MOVING MORE QUICKLY TOWARD SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY…

…LANDFALL EXPECTED EARLY THIS EVENING…

SUMMARY OF 200 PM EDT…1800 UTC…INFORMATION
———————————————-
LOCATION…38.3N 73.1W
ABOUT 110 MI…180 KM SE OF ATLANTIC CITY NEW JERSEY
ABOUT 175 MI…285 KM SSE OF NEW YORK CITY
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…90 MPH…150 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…NW OR 305 DEGREES AT 28 MPH…44 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…940 MB…27.76 INCHES

I realize there was (a lot) of skepticism, cynicism and name-calling with this storm. “Meteorologists are hyping the weather again!” Americans were understandably hesitant about taking Sandy seriously, in spite of repeated warnings. As I tell my staff at The Media Logic Group, it’s good to be skeptical, but perpetual cynicism in the face of overwhelming evidence isn’t good – in fact it can be dangerous. The prevailing wisdom for many coastal residents was: “I’ll believe it when I see it, and if it gets bad…we can always leave at the last minute!” Maybe not. Because at the last minute roads and bridges may be inundated, barrier islands cut off. You’ll have no choice but to ride out the storm. Emergency management and 911? In spite of best efforts they may not be able to reach your location in time.

Synopsis. Sandy’s 90-100 mph. winds will reach coastal New Jersey this evening. Winds in New York and Long Island will gust to 90 mph, with a second, even stronger, more damaging storm surge late this evening, coinciding with high tide and a full moon. Astronomical forces have conspired to turn this from a 1 in 50 year storm to a 1 in 100 year storm surge for many coastal locations.

Monster-Storm. As expected the heaviest rains and reports of inland flooding are taking place from south Jersey, the Delaware Valley and southern Pennsylvania south to D.C., Baltimore, the Delmarva Peninsula (Bethany Beach and Rehoboth) and Virginia’s Tidewater into OBX. Rainfall amounts may exceed 2-4” over southern New England, but inland flooding will be worse over the Mid-Atlantic than over most of New England.

Impact Of First Storm Surge. This photo, courtesy of WeatherNation TV, was taken in Atlantic City around midday when an 8 foot surge was reported. A second surge is likely, coinciding with landfall and high tide this evening.

Maximum Surge. Still reeling from a 6-12 foot surge late morning and midday, a second, slightly higher surge if forecast for late evening from northern New Jersey and “The New York Bight”, northeastward to Groton, CT. Based on a track across southern New Jersey, sustained wind speed/direction and underwater topography (Continental Slope) a 10 foot plus storm surge is anticipated in western Long Island Sound, impacting Long Island, Greenwich, CT, and portions of Queens and Brooklyn. Map: NOAA.

The second, most damaging storm surge takes place close to landfall and high tide tonight, between 8 pm and midnight at many locations. This will be the height of the storm, in terms of wave-power and inundation of low-lying areas – as bad as it gets.

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