Above, Jim White of the University of Colorado puts climate change in real, on-the-ground perspective.

Below, Washpost notes the creeping realization that, for life in low lying areas,  the climate clock is ticking.

Backstory: media still unable to distinguish actual authorities from self-described “experts”.

Washington Post:

 The dangers of climate change were revealed to Willo Kelly in a government conference room in the summer of 2011. By the end of the century, state officials said, the ocean would be 39 inches higher and her home on the Outer Banks would be swamped.

The state had detailed maps to illustrate this claim and was developing aWeb site where people could check by street address to see if their property was doomed. There was no talk of salvation, no plan to hold back the tide. The 39-inch forecast was “a death sentence,” Kelly said, “for ever trying to sell your house.”

So Kelly, a lobbyist for Realtors and home builders on the Outer Banks, resolved to prove the forecast wrong. And thus began one of the nation’s most notorious battles over climate change.

Coastal residents joined forces with climate skeptics to attack the science of global warming and persuade North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature to deep-six the 39-inch projection, which had been advanced under the outgoing Democratic governor. Now, the state is working on a new forecast that will look only 30 years out and therefore show the seas rising by no more than eight inches.

Environmentalists are appalled, and North Carolina has been lampooned as a hotbed of greedy developers trying to “outlaw” the rising tide. Some climate-change experts are sympathetic, however, calling the rebellion an understandable reaction to sea-level forecasts that are rapidly becoming both widely available and alarmingly precise.

Reassuring us that he’s a “conservationist”, Hank Paulson, who recently wrote a high profile piece in the New York Times warning business about climate change, says he supports the Keystone Pipeline.

More of the Paulson media blitz below.

Is this the position you take to portray yourself as “thoughtful”?

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Hank Paulson commenting on the release of the new “Risky Business” report on business and climate change.

Barry Ritholtz at Bloomberg View:

Despite the best efforts of the extremists, there are still some Republicans who believe in science. Many of these folks (regardless of their faith) do not think that the Bible was the literal word of God, and that humans were given a brain for a reason, namely, to think, to reason, to make judgments based on scientific evidence.

Paulson goes even further, drawing parallels between the recent financial crisis and a brewing environmental one in the near future:

For too many years, we failed to rein in the excesses building up in the nation’s financial markets. When the credit bubble burst in 2008, the damage was devastating. Millions suffered. Many still do.

We’re making the same mistake today with climate change. We’re staring down a climate bubble that poses enormous risks to both our environment and economy. The warning signs are clear and growing more urgent as the risks go unchecked.

This is a crisis we can’t afford to ignore. I feel as if I’m watching as we fly in slow motion on a collision course toward a giant mountain. We can see the crash coming, and yet we’re sitting on our hands rather than altering course.

The politics of global warming are not where my interest lay. (See “Profit From Global Warning or Get Left Behind.”) I am far more interested in your cognitive biases and how they manifest themselves in your investment portfolios.

Evidence of portfolio changes related to climate change abound. This morning, an Bloomberg article titled “Hedge Funds Bet on Sugar as Dryness Threatens Crops” discussed some of the wagers institutional investors have been making:
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How low are they going? This low.

The blogger who won’t even tell us his real name, even though it is now open source, Steven Goddard, has been cited as an authority on climate.
Kind of like citing Orly Taitz as an authority on Kenyan Birth certificates. Did I mention “Goddard” is a birther, too? (not unusual in denierville – see below)

Media Matters:

Fox News is reviving accusations that NASA’s peer-reviewed adjustments to temperature data are an attempt to “fak[e]” global warming, a claim that even a climate “skeptic” threw cold water on.

Tony Heller, a birthed who criticizes climate science under the pseudonym “Steven Goddard,” wrote a blog post that claimed “NASA cooled 1934 and warmed 1998, to make 1998 the hottest year in US history instead of 1934.” After the Drudge Report promoted a report of this allegation by the conservative British newspaper The Telegraph, conservative media from Breitbart to The Washington Times claimed the data was “fabricated” or “faked.” On June 24, Fox & Friends picked it up, claiming that “the U.S. has actually been cooling since the 1930s” but scientists had “faked the numbers”.

However, the libertarian magazine Reason noted that even climate “skeptic” blogger Anthony Watts said that Goddard made “major errors in his analysis” and criticized the implication that “numbers are being plucked out of thin air in a nefarious way.”

batboyI profiled Anthony a few years back for his own craziness in regard to alleged plots to distort the temp records.
Can we all agree that, if your denialist nuttery is such that even Anthony Watts can’t back you – you, my friend, are a denialist nut.

Anthony Watts quoted in Reason:

Some segments of the Internet are abuzz with the claim by climate change skeptic Steven Goddard (Tony Heller) over at his Real Science blog that NASA/NOAA have been jiggering the numbers so that they can claim that warmest years in the continental United States occurred recently, not back in the 1930s. Folks, please watch out for confirmation bias.

Via email, I asked Anthony Watts, proprietor of WattsUpWithThat, what he thinks of Goddard’s claims. He responded…

…while it is true that NOAA does a tremendous amount of adjustment to the surface temperature record, the word “fabrication” implies that numbers are being plucked out of thin air in a nefarious way when it isn’t exactly the case.

“Goddard” is wrong is his assertions of fabrication, but the fact is that NCDC isn’t paying attention to small details, and the entire process from B91’s to CONUS creates an inflated warming signal. We published a preliminary paper two years ago on this which you can read here:  http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/29/press-release-2/

About half the warming in the USA is due to adjustments. We’ received a lot of criticism for that paper, and we’ve spent two years reworking it and dealing with those criticisms. Our results are unchanged and will be published soon.

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Too cool to ignore.

A multiple camera, 360 degree, night-sky time-lapse (One of the first of its kind!) by photographer Vincent Brady and musician Brandon McCoy.

Above, my video on the changes in atmospheric circulation that have exacerbated California’s drought, as well as leading, paradoxically, to brutal cold in Eastern North America.  Takeaway: the creeping realization that slow, incremental increases in global heat content can trigger abrupt changes in circulation patterns that we have built agriculture and civilization around.

Below, if you have not seen the SkyNews piece on the role of western Pacific warmth on this past winter’s “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge”, do take a look and consider the context of the current discussion.

Climate Central:

The pattern of a wavy jet stream was a recurring theme in U.S. weather forecasts this winter as a particularly jagged one essentially split the country in two. While there is a debate over whether climate change causes that pattern, new research shows that the waviness does exacerbate extreme weather.

The research, published in Nature Climate Change on Sunday, looked at planetary waves on a monthly timescale. Waves are essentially the ridges and troughs left as the jet stream, a fast-moving river of air, cuts it way across the middle of the northern hemisphere. The jet stream essentially helps drive weather patterns around the northern half of the globe by pushing around storm systems and sometimes impeding their progress.

James Screen, a climate scientist at the University of Exeter who co-authored the study, said he wanted to examine how planetary waves influenced persistent weather patterns, such as drought or extreme heat or cold.

In the U.S., Screen found that increased waviness made the western part of the country more susceptible to heat waves and the eastern part more likely to experience extreme cold. Droughts in the central part of the country as well in as Europe and central Asia, and wet spells in western Asia were also much more likely when waviness increased.He examined the timeframe from 1979-2010, looking for 40 months that exhibited the most extreme precipitation, and for 40 months that showed the most extreme temperature departures from the norm. And the data showed that more wavy waves overwhelmingly accompanied months with temperature or precipitation extremes. Only a small percentage of months with extreme weather corresponded with a more relaxed series of waves.

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Bloomberg View:

The Obama administration is getting a good deal of mileage out of the president’s commencement speech (last week) at the University of California, Irvine, during which he compared deniers of climate science in Congress to those who might have argued, during the race to the moon 50 years ago, that the nation’s celestial obsession was made of cheese.

It was a cheap laugh line, but the speech itself — which clearly resonated with the thousands of twenty-something voters assembled at Angel Stadium in Anaheim — underscored what a growing number of surveys and political strategists now make clear: Ignoring the issue of climate change is no longer a viable political strategy, and the GOP risks its fortunes in 2016 and beyond by keeping its collective head in the sand.

Consider just one analysis published earlier this month from left-leaning Public Policy Polling. It asked voters if they would “be willing to support a candidate for President in 2016 who did not believe that global warming was being caused by human activity?” Forty-six percent said no, while only 38 percent said yes.

This is in keeping with findings from the Pew Research Center, which suggest that even though many self-identifying Republicans feel the science is unsettled, a majority — 52 percent — nonetheless support addressing climate change with stricter limits on power-plant emissions. A full 67 percent of independent voters also said they support such limits — a sobering statistic if you’re a GOP candidate looking to run a deregulation platform.

Critics might be quick to dismiss some of these findings as products of left-leaning research organizations, but GOP pollsters also argue that Republicans deny and avoid the changing climate at their peril. This includes Alex Lundry, a vice president with conservative polling firmTarget Point Consulting, who recently acknowledged in the Daily Caller that “current headlines and recent polling confirm climate change’s importance to a broad, bipartisan array of voters.”

How Republican candidates choose to engage on the topic, he continued, “will likely influence election outcomes in the near term, not just the distant future.”

As the Bloomberg piece mentions, even Tucker Carlson’s normally delusional Daily Caller sounds a cautionary note. (not that they’ve given up on climate denial themselves)
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Cargill Corporation is not a household name, except for those who may remember that it has been a leading funder for the Prairie Home Companion radio show.

The Ag Giant has politically been a regular supporter of Republican candidates. Now, Cargill’s chairman, Gregory Page, has participated in preparing a new report (titled “Risky Business”) from leading economic and risk modelers on the threat posed by climate change to the global economy.  The report argues that business should anticipate and prepare for climate change as they do for other threats to their business model.

Could it be Mr. Page is looking at some of the sobering information about the agricultural impacts of climate change?

Wall Street Journal:

Among Risky Business’s committee members is Gregory Page, executive chairman of Cargill Inc., the agribusiness giant that mostly donates to Republicans.

In an interview, Mr. Page said he agreed to serve on the Risky Business committee because the group isn’t focusing on potential solutions, which sharply divide Americans in general and could split this group in particular.

“It’s the effort of very good scientists to assess potential impacts and a range of outcomes,” he said.

The independent assessment of the risks to the U.S. economy was conducted by the Rhodium Group, an economic research firm that analyzes disruptive global trends, and Risk Management Solutions, the world’s largest catastrophe-modeling company for reinsurance and investment management firms.

To estimate the time frames and possible costs, the two companies used recent advances in climate modeling, econometric research and private-sector risk assessment looking at regions of the country, organized loosely around shared geologic characteristics and climate impacts. In some areas, they broke down data by counties.
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The Dark Snow camp on the Greenland sheet is now in place. I’ve gotten several messages via satellite phone from Dr. Jason Box, including this one:

We have had a pretty decent time so far. We selected a site with both snow and bare ice. It’s 6 nautical miles closer to the airport and thus will save multiples of 12 nautical miles on our flying cost. The down side is that it’s not beside a Danish climate station that will need to be visited 1 August.

We are running off solar most of the time. I’m quite proud of our solar.

We witnessed two amazing sites I’ve not seen here in my years. 1.) a water fountain on the horizon, spouting to 100 feet above the surface, think it is either a lot of water trying to fall down a small moulin cavitating or a river on the ice sheet taking a violent turn. The spout lasted at least 18 hours! 2.) a slush flow of ~15 feet wide scouring a path in slush as a stream widened. I had been worried about such low slope wet snow avalanches being a threat to the camp. This happened some 150 feet from the camp which is at least 6 feet above the level this happened so no real danger by selecting the camp on a high point.

Dr. Box will be back in Copenhagen in a week, and I’ll return to the ice with him later.


Video above will be the last full Dark Snow video update before I head to Greenland.  I’ll probably keep posting snippets as we get them, perhaps when Dr. Box gets back in town. Our most  “like to have” fundable, rentable gizmo would be something to help us communicate by internet from the ice.   I had a conversation last week with a well connected media veteran who might be able to help with the communications end if we have a good connection.

A thousand flowers blooming in the energy storage sector. This is one of them. Below, implications.

Roy Hales in The Eco Report:

Between 1 pm and 2 pm on Friday, June 6, Germany’s solar photovoltaic systems generated a record 24.24 GW. The real peak came three days later, when they provided 50.6% of the nation’s electricity. That shows this technologies potential. The current reality is solar contributed only 6% of the nation’s during the first five months of 2014. This will change. Increased Storage will unlock Germany’s Solar Potential.

Instead of relying on the grid, some solar users store energy and only feed the excess to the grid. They only draw upon the grid when their batteries are depleted.

Close to 7,000 battery systems were installed in 2013.

Tobias Rothacher, renewable energies expert at Germany Trade & Invest, expects to see more. Battery sales will increase as their price falls. Once battery-parity is achieved, possibly “within the next two years,” the majority of pv sales will probably be in conjunction with battery.

He explained, “Since the cost of electricity from PV is significantly lower than buying energy from the grid (~EUR 0.15 PV vs. ~EUR 0.30 utility), customers want to use as high a proportion of electricity from their PV systems as possible. If they were to feed the electricity into the grid, they would only receive a feed-in tariff of around EUR 0.13 – meaning that self-used energy from PV is worth twice as much as energy fed into the grid.

Rooftop solar solars with “PV-only” systems only obtain around 30-35% of their energy from solar and their excess ends up on the grid.

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