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This week’s video, “If There’s Global Warming, How Come it’s So Cold”, is making the rounds.

I got a call from National Journal this morning wanting to know more about the vid, how it was made, and what my “position” was at Greenman Studio.

I explained that my current position was standing in the kitchen with a dishrag and a coffee cup.

Reena Flores in the National Journal:

Somewhere in Michigan, a lake is frozen.

And Dr. Jeff Masters, the Weather Underground‘s king of climate nerds, stands atop the ice trying to explain to climate deniers: Yes, it’s cold this winter. No, that doesn’t mean global warming is a liberal conspiracy.

“If There’s Global Warming … Why Is It So Cold?” is a video for the Yale Forum‘s “This Is Not Cool” series, and it does an excellent job breaking down why what may seem like an average cold snap might actually be an alarming symptom of global warming.

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Damn This Traffic Jam

January 30, 2014

‘I used to think that I was cool,
runnin’ around on fossil fuel,

’till I saw what I was doin’
was driving down the road to ruin”

In the age of weather extremes and terrorism, we’ll have to figure out better ways to move people around than sprawled freeways. Just sayin’.

Business Insider:

The stories coming out of Atlanta are crazy — people are abandoning their vehicles on the road, a baby was born in a car stuck in traffic, and 800 kids are stranded in schools as snow completely paralyzes the city.

The scene resembles the giant traffic jam depicted on “The Walking Dead” after Atlanta is taken over by zombies.

One to two inches of snow fell on Atlanta Tuesday, bringing traffic in the area to a near standstill. Atlanta’s mayor has told people to stay off the icy roads, but thousands of people are still stuck. The dangerous road conditions have already caused hundreds of accidents.

The roads are so bad that schools in the area have suspended bus service. Parents are having a hard time getting to schools to pick up their kids, so hundreds of students might have to stay overnight.

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File this under “No Surprises”.

ODwyers:

Steve Lombardo, PA/crisis chair at Burson-Marsteller in Washington since April, is moving to Koch Industries next month for the chief communications/marketing officer slot.

burstonThe 53-year-old sees an opportunity to showcase how the $115B Wichita-based conglomerate works to improve the lives of people around the world, according to Politico.
Prior to B-M, Lombardo helmed Edelman’s StrategyOne research operation, ran his own shop for an eight-year span and served as vice chairman of Blue Worldwide, Edelman’s advertising unit.

Lombardo has been involved in Republican politics, recently serving as senior research and communications director for Mitt Romney presidential run.

KI is the firm of conservative activists Charles and David Koch. Their empire includes Georgia-Pacific, Koch Pipeline/Fertilizer, Molex (electronic components), Flint Hills Resources, INVISTA (chemicals), Matador Cattle and Odessa Power.

Dave Robertson is COO.

Lombardo and Edelman colleague Jackie Cooper wrote about the “Republican Brand Problem” in O’Dwyer’s in December 2012.

Rachel Maddow via Sourcewatch:

“Who’s Burson-Marsteller? Well, let me put it this way — when Blackwater killed those 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, they called Burson-Marsteller. When there was a nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island, Bobcock & Wilcox, who built that plant, called Burson-Marsteller.
“[After the] Bhopal chemical disaster that killed thousands of people in India, Union Carbide called Burson-Marsteller. Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu — Burson-Marsteller. The government of Saudi Arabia, three days after 9/11 — Burson-Marsteller.
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Rev. Mitch Hescox in Patheos:

President Obama got it exactly right last night at the beginning of his State of the Union address when he said it is the hard-working citizens of our great nation that make the state of our Union strong, and that the United States is the best positioned country in the world to succeed in the 21st Century.

This is in spite of divisions within our great nation that continue to hold us back from achieving our full potential.

Social scientist Robert Putnam, of “bowling alone” fame, and his colleagues have done extensive research on the current attitudes and values of Americans.  They have confirmed what many of us know in our gut: the greatest thing that divides us today is politics or political ideology – not religion, not race, the two main things that divided us in our fairly recent past.  As Putnam said in a 2010 interview about his book, American Grace, “the underlying division [in America today] is not actually mostly about religion. It’s mostly about politics.”

And as a Pew poll just found, at the heart of this divide is protecting the environment: 65% of Democrats consider it a top priority, but only 28% of Republicans do – a yawning gulch of 37 points.

Huffington Post:

Gallup headlined on 28 January 2014,“Democrats and Republicans Differ on Top Priorities,” and reported that the biggest difference between supporters of the two Parties concerned “The environment,” where 71% of Democrats said it’s important to them, versus only 32% of Republicans who did: a whopping difference of 39%, between the two Parties, considered that issue to be important. The second-biggest difference was on “The distribution of income and wealth”: 72% of Democrats, versus only 38% of Republicans – a 34% difference. Third came “Poverty and homelessness”: 82% of Democrats, versus 53% of Republicans – a 29% difference. Fourth came “Education”: 91% of Democrats, versus 70% of Republicans – a 21% difference.
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I did one of these years ago, during the “Snowmageddon” events of 2009, and have been meaning to update. The current situation lends itself perfectly.

I continued the tradition of interviewing Jeff Masters at Dunham Lake, near his pastoral southeastern Michigan home, and by serendipity, caught up with Jennifer Francis at the nearby  University of Michigan School of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences. for a quick update/interview.

Update:

Case in Point.

Global Temps in 2013

January 29, 2014

earthonfire

RealClimate:

The global temperature data for 2013 are now published.2010 and 2005 remain the warmest years since records began in the 19thCentury.1998 ranks third in two records, and in the analysis of Cowtan & Way, which interpolates the data-poor region in the Arctic with a better method, 2013 is warmer than 1998 (even though 1998 was a record El Nino year, and 2013 was neutral).

The end of January, when the temperature measurements of the previous year are in, is always the time to take a look at the global temperature trend. (And, as the Guardian noted aptly, also the time where the “climate science denialists feverishly yell […] that global warming stopped in 1998.”) Here is the ranking of the warmest years in the four available data sets of the global near-surface temperatures (1):

temps

New this year: for the first time there is a careful analysis of geographical data gaps – especially in the Arctic there’s a gaping hole – and their interpolation for the HadCRUT4 data. Thus there are now two surface temperature data sets with global coverage (the GISTEMP data from NASA have always filled gaps by interpolation). In these two data series 2007 is ranked 3rd. Their direct comparison looks like this:

Figure 1 Global temperature (annual values) in the data from NASA GISS (orange) and from Cowtan & Way (blue), i.e. HadCRUT4 with interpolated data gaps. – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/01/global-temperature-2013/#sthash.02esfhhG.dpuf

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