Accuweather:

Amanda became the strongest May eastern Pacific hurricane on record Sunday morning a peak winds approached that of a Category 5 hurricane.

Amanda’s maximum sustained winds increased to near 155 mph and its central pressure dropped to 932 millibars by 11 a.m. PDT Sunday, meaning Amanda was very powerful Category 4 hurricane.

Although Amanda has weakened some from its peak strength, sustained winds remain at Category 4 strength as the storm moves slowly northward over the eastern Pacific.

Adolph from 2001 originally held the distinction of strongest May hurricane in the basin. At the peak of Adolph’s intensity, the central pressure bottomed out at 940 millibars and winds were nearly 145 mph.

Below, reposting part 1 of my recent interview with Kevin Trenberth – at about 4:30 begins to discuss hurricanes in eastern pacific, but good contextual info on anomalous warmth as El Nino builds.

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Maher on Sajak

May 25, 2014

The real debate in atmospheric science is, of course, not whether man-caused climate change is happening, but exactly how that change is playing out – affecting atmospheric circulation, and thereby, our weather.

I’ve covered this debate from early on by interviewing proponents of two seemingly opposing viewpoints, one, made famous by Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers, is that changes in Arctic ice cover may be breaking down the temperature gradient between north and south, and thereby affecting the flow of the northern hemisphere jet stream – causing weather to get “stuck”, like this past winter’s “Ridiculously Resillient Ridge”, which brought warmth and rain to the arctic while pouring frigid arctic air onto eastern north America.

Conversely, Dr. Kevin Trenberth maintains the heat flux in polar regions is not large enough to drive changes on the scale which we are observing. The answer, he feels, is in the tropics.

Tim Palmer of Oxford University, writing in the new issue of Science, adds a new puzzle piece that might help square the circle.

Science (paywalled):

Given this overall decreasing tendency in cold winters, it seems impossible to argue that the record-breaking snowy winter in the Midwest could be connected to climate change. However, there is a plausible link. To understand this link we must consider the atmospheric circulation patterns that were associated with this winter and ask whether there is evidence that climate change might have increased the likelihood of these patterns. Large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns are controlled by the position of the jet stream. The Northern Hemisphere jet stream flows from west to east at mid- latitudes; it deviates from a line of latitude through a series of ripples called Rossby waves. Regions above which the jet stream is flowing from the north are likely to expe- rience cold weather. Conversely, in regions above which it flows from the south, the weather is likely to be relatively warm. The larger the amplitude of the Rossby waves, the more anomalous the weather is likely to be at the surface.

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glacier1

Human beings, like it or not, process facts and reality not as data, but as story. Climate deniers have been good at the over-simplification and pounding repetition it takes to make a story stick.

Making the facts of climate change a compelling story is one of the greatest challenges of human history.

Cassandra Willyard in Last Word on Nothing:

The most recent report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) doesn’t pull any punches. The globe continues to warm, ice continues to melt at an alarming pace, and the seas continue to rise. Climate change isn’t some distant dilemma. It’s already happening. The science is solid, and the problem is urgent. “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” said IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri at a news conference in March.

Yet most Americans don’t seem to be all that concerned. According to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, only 40% cited climate change as a major threat to the US. And even fewer — roughly a third – listed global warming as a top priority for Congress and the White House.

So what gives? Why aren’t people getting the message? Are we* — the science journalists –delivering it wrong? Perhaps we need more stories, and better storytellers.

“Why don’t you do something about climate change?” I asked my husband, Soren Wheeler. He’s the senior producer of Radiolab, a crazy popular science program that tells some of the most compelling stories on the airwaves.

“Because,” he said, “climate change is the anti-story.”

Naturally, I asked him to explain. Here is an edited version of the conversation that ensued over burgers and beers**.

 —

CW: You told me climate change is the anti-story. What did you mean by that?

SW: Are you sure I said exactly that?

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Amazing the great music you can discover playing in a gas station.

Also amazing how the greatest renewable success story can be from the most unlikely place in the world.

Electric Reliability Council of Texas:

“Energy produced in Texas using renewable resources grew by 12 percent in 2013, while capacity increased by about 2 percent [according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)…Generators participating in the state’s renewable energy credit trading program reported producing 38.1 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable generation in 2013, compared to33.9 million in 2012 — a 12 percent overall increase.

At more than 36.9 million MWh in total generation, wind power represented nearly 97 percent of the total. Energy produced from wind generation was up by 13 percent compared to 2012. Solar energy production was up by about a third from last year, based on information from commercial solar resources and aggregators…With more than 10,000 MW of renewable capacity on-line by 2009, the state actually achieved the 10,000 MW goal set by the Texas Legislature more than 15 years ahead of its 2025 target…

Does someone at the New York Times read this blog? If they don’t, then they probably should, so they can catch up.
A casual reader might be surprised how much reach these videos have.

In any case, we know you saw it here first.

New York Times:

But El Niño has the potential to do more than offer a one-time jolt to climate activists. It could unleash a new wave of warming that could shape the debate for a decade, or longer. In this chain of events, a strong El Niño causes a shift in a longer cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which favors more frequent and intense El Niños during its “warm” or “positive” phase. The oscillation has been “negative” or “cool” since the historic El Niño of 1998.

Climate scientists don’t fully understand the exact mechanics of this phenomenon. “But the suspicion is certainly that it is related to El Niño events,” Mr. Trenberth said. “The switch to the current negative phase was probably triggered by the 97-98 El Niño.” The question is whether this fall’s El Niño “might kick the P.D.O. into a positive phase.” If it does, a result would be faster warming, at least doubling the rate of surface temperature increases.

A sustained period of faster warming won’t convert skeptics into climate change activists. But the accompanying wave of headlines might energize climate change activists and refocus attention on climate change heading into the 2016 presidential election. Those headlines could include landslides in Southern California, or widespread floods across the South.

The timing could provide an uncomfortable backdrop for Republican presidential hopefuls who are skeptical of climate change, like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who recently said he did not believe human activity was causing climate change. Democrats, eager to cast Republicans as anti-science or to appeal to voters in the endangered coastal city of Miami, might be likelier to re-emphasize climate change if polls show an increase in the public’s belief in global warming, which Mr. Krosnick anticipates will happen if global temperatures rise to record levels.

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monterey

Oil companies have been salivating at the possibility of turning central California into a sewer of toxic air, poisoned water, dried up wells, squalid boomtowns, overcrowded man camps, bursting jails and sex slavery.  It’s their vision of the future for most of America.

Looks like maybe not. At least, not yet.

LATimes:

Federal energy authorities have slashed by 96% the estimated amount of recoverable oil buried in California’s vast Monterey Shale deposits, deflating its potential as a national “black gold mine” of petroleum.

Just 600 million barrels of oil can be extracted with existing technology, far below the 13.7 billion barrels once thought recoverable from the jumbled layers of subterranean rock spread across much of Central California, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.

The new estimate, expected to be released publicly next month, is a blow to the nation’s oil future and to projections that an oil boom would bring as many as 2.8 million new jobs to California and boost tax revenue by $24.6 billion annually.

Federal energy authorities have slashed by 96% the estimated amount of recoverable oil buried in California’s vast Monterey Shale deposits, deflating its potential as a national “black gold mine” of petroleum.

Just 600 million barrels of oil can be extracted with existing technology, far below the 13.7 billion barrels once thought recoverable from the jumbled layers of subterranean rock spread across much of Central California, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.

 

The new estimate, expected to be released publicly next month, is a blow to the nation’s oil future and to projections that an oil boom would bring as many as 2.8 million new jobs to California and boost tax revenue by $24.6 billion annually.

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Bill Mckibben in Rolling Stone:

This is an invitation, an invitation to come to New York City. An invitation to anyone who’d like to prove to themselves, and to their children, that they give a damn about the biggest crisis our civilization has ever faced.

My guess is people will come by the tens of thousands, and it will be the largest demonstration yet of human resolve in the face of climate change. Sure, some of it will be exciting – who doesn’t like the chance to march and sing and carry a clever sign through the canyons of Manhattan? But this is dead-serious business, a signal moment in the gathering fight of human beings to do something about global warming before it’s too late to do anything but watch. You’ll tell your grandchildren, assuming we win. So circle September 20th and 21st on your calendar, and then I’ll explain.

mckib

Since Ban Ki-moon runs the United Nations, he’s altogether aware that we’re making no progress as a planet on slowing climate change. He presided over the collapse of global-climate talks at Copenhagen in 2009, and he knows the prospects are not much better for the “next Copenhagen” in Paris in December 2015. In order to spur those talks along, he’s invited the world’s leaders to New York in late September for a climate summit.

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Readers have probably heard by now that game show host Pat Sajak is the newest authority to weigh in for climate denial. (hey,  when you’re on the denial side, you go with what you got)
This fits well with the denialist meme of the “thousands of scientists” (see classic crock video above) who supposedly deny the mainstream science. On closer examination, we find that vanishingly few of the supposed scientists are in fact scientists, and of those, fewer still have any expertise, study, or published work in the field.  I’ll give Sajak the benefit of the doubt and presume that he has a college degree, which makes him, like Heartland Institute’s James Taylor, “a trained scientist”, on the strength of some undergrad 101 courses.

In denierville, if you are a chiropractor, you’re also a climate scientist. Podiatrist? Climate scientist. Veteranarian? Climate scientist. Like I said, you go with what you got.

Greenpeace blog:

SHOWTIME’s Years of Living Dangerously series just aired a segment featuring James Taylor, a lawyer who has been paid to confuse the public over the reality of climate change, its causes, and its impact on humanity. The Heartland Institute, where James Taylor works, is know for alienating its corporate supporters by comparing people like you and me–assuming you recognize the reality of climate change–to the Unabomber, Charles Manson, and Osama bin Laden.

I wish I was joking, but I’m not.

The joke was on James Taylor, last night. Taylor made an easily disprovable boast to America Ferrera, claiming, “I’m a scientist by training as well,” apparently in addition to his law degree.


sajak1

Mere hours after I posted this morning on the stirrings of a giant, the faith community concerned about climate change, CNN broadcast the remarkable conversation above, with an evangelical minister, as well as a Catholic Priest, condemning the selfishness and ignorance of climate denial.

Concurrently, Pope Francis, sounding a bit like Dr. Michael Mann, had powerful words on the perils of climate denial.

ClimateProgress:

Pope Francis made the religious case for tackling climate change on Wednesday, calling on his fellow Christians to become “Custodians of Creation” and issuing a dire warning about the potentially catastrophic effects of global climate change.

Speaking to a massive crowd in Rome, the first Argentinian pope delivered a short address in which he argued that respect for the “beauty of nature and the grandeur of the cosmos” is a Christian value, noting that failure to care for the planet risks apocalyptic consequences.

“Safeguard Creation,” he said. “Because if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us! Never forget this!”

The pope centered his environmentalist theology around the biblical creation story in the book of Genesis, where God is said to have created the world, declared it “good,” and charged humanity with its care. Francis also made reference to his namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi, who was a famous lover of animals, and appeared to tie the ongoing environmental crisis to economic concerns — namely, instances where a wealthy minority exploits the planet at the expense of the poor.

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