As we head into what may be yet another record summer, with 2015 trending toward record heat, I was up late watching a video created during the massive heat wave of 2012, one I called “Welcome to the Rest of Our Lives”. I think it captured a moment in time when an awful lot of of people started thinking seriously about the impacts of climate change.
Then there’s this:
A new study says 75% of extreme hot days and 18% of days with heavy rainfall worldwide can be explained by the warming we’ve seen over the industrial period.
In a future world with 2C warming above pre-industrial levels, almost all extreme hot days and 40% of heavy rainfall days will be down to rising temperatures, say the authors.
The new study, published today in Nature Climate Change, is the first to estimate how climate change has favoured some types of extreme event right across the globe.
And the message for policymakers is “striking”, says Prof Peter Stott, who leads the Met Office’s climate attribution team but who wasn’t involved in the study.
Global temperature today is about 0.85C above what it was before the industrial revolution, and most of the rise is driven by human activity. But rising greenhouse gases mean more than an increase in global average temperature. It means changes in extreme weather, too.
Prof Reto Knutti from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and co-author of the new study, tells Carbon Brief:
“Warmer temperatures overall create more hot days, and warmer air can hold and transport more moisture, which at some point must come down. These physical principles have been known for decades.”
If global warming can be brought under control as rapidly as many environmental activists would like, keeping global warming below three degrees Fahrenheit, the new study found that heat extremes might increase only 14-fold later this century, compared with their frequency in the preindustrial world.
But runaway emissions, causing the planet to warm by more than five degrees Fahrenheit, would lead to a 62-fold increase in heat extremes, the researchers found. Other studies have forecast levels of heat and humidity by late this century that could make it dangerous for people to work and play outside, possibly for weeks on end.
April 27, 2015
These groups have all be funded by “dark money” from the secretive Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund , which have in turn been funded by the oil billionaire Koch Brothers.
The circus has arrived to catch a free media ride on the official delegation meeting the head of the Catholic Church at the Vatican, including Ban Ki Moon from the United Nations and the economist Jeff Sachs.
Lord Monckton, a lifelong Catholic, has already attacked Pope Francis claiming his approaching encyclical is “a climate-Communist” text.Monckton made an extraordinary speech in which he warned the pope against making a statement against climate change by citeing the persecution of Galileo and “murder” of Giordano Bruno by the church.“That decision to enter into the realm of science resonates and does harm to Holy Mother Church to this day,” he argued. “So your Highness – do not do this again.”
April 27, 2015
I’ve pointed out the commonalities between racism and climate denial several times.
Here the Lexington (Kentucky!) Herald Leader compares Coal defenders to those that clung to Slavery in the Old South.
I hoped to strike a nerve — and apparently succeeded — when I wrote an April 14 editorial that began: “Mitch McConnell and others who are trying to obstruct climate protections will be regarded one day in the same way we think of 19th-century apologists for human slavery: How could economic interests blind them to the immorality of their position?”
Senate Majority Leader McConnell fired off a stinging response. He almost always does, which we appreciate; we like publishing lively exchanges of ideas and are glad he reads us.
The newspapers in Bowling Green and Paducah also took us to task.
“The Lexington Herald-Leader should be ashamed of itself for its efforts in a recent editorial to try to say that history would equate McConnell efforts to protect coal to 19th-century apologists for slavery,” a Bowling Green Daily News editorial said on April 22.
McConnell’s office e-mailed that editorial to media along with an April 19 column by Paducah Sun publisher Jim Paxton. Both pieces stressed that McConnell is just honoring the promise he made last year to voters.
As the Daily News wrote, “He is looking out for Kentuckians and those in other states who depend on coal for their livelihood.”
OK, take that sentence, substitute “slavery” for “coal.” The same thing could be said of the gentlemen who the antebellum South elected to Congress. They were just looking out for their constituents who depended on slavery for their livelihood.
Other parallels between anti-abolition and anti-EPA arguments are easy to find.
April 27, 2015
Lake Mead’s source, the Colorado River has been suffering from a severe 14-year drought. The 79-year-old reservoir, created with the construction of the Hoover Dam outside Las Vegas, is expected to reach a low water level of 1,080 feet today.The new record low will exceed the 1,080.19 feet reached in August last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Predictions are that by May 1 of this year, the water level in Lake Mead will dip to 1,075 feet, which is well below the record high level of 1,206 feet set in the 1980s,Long range forecast is not good for Lake Mead
The 1,450 mile long Colorado River meanders through several smaller reservoirs on its way to Lake Mead. But as the river continues to be affected by the current drought, it has lost 45 percent of its capacity, a worrisome amount to lose. Lake Mead supplies water for agriculture and about 40 million people in Nevada, southern California, Arizona and northern Mexico.The scarcity of snow from the mountains in the “upper basin” region that includes the states of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming has been the biggest factor in the lower water levels in the lake. At least 96 percent of Lake Mead’s water comes from melting snow.The water level in the lake is reaching a critical “trigger point,” and when lake levels drop to a certain point, the federal government will step in and begin rationing water deliveries to Nevada, Arizona and California. The Bureau of Reclamation has already done extensive studies and the forecast is not good. They believe the drought will not be ending anytime soon.
More from our historic set of interviews at last year’s American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. In a tiny basement room, we set up cameras and recorded dozens of the most significant researchers from around the planet on the Story of the Millennium.
John Cook gave Michael Mann the chance to expand on the most famous of the widely distorted “climate gate” emails, containing the grossly distorted phrases “Mike’s Nature trick”, and “Hide the decline”.
This and all the other videos are now part of John Cook’s Climate Change MOOC, (Massive Online Open Course), a treasure for anyone who wishes to better understand climate science, and be able to persuade and educate others on the facts. The course proceeds on the principle that better understanding the distortions of deniers actually is a good way for us to learn the facts, and “inoculate” others against similar disinformation.
How then should scientists respond to science denial? The answer lies in a branch of psychology dating back to the 1960s known as “inoculation theory”. Inoculation is an idea that changed history: stop a virus from spreading by exposing people to a weak form of the virus. This simple concept has saved millions of lives.
In the psychological domain, inoculation theory applies the concept of inoculation to knowledge. When we teach science, we typically restrict ourselves to just explaining the science. This is like giving people vitamins. We’re providing the information required for a healthier understanding. But vitamins don’t necessarily grant immunity against a virus.
There is a similar dynamic with misinformation. You might have a healthy understanding of the science. But if you encounter a myth that distorts the science, you’re confronted with a conflict between the science and the myth. If you don’t understand the technique used to distort the science, you have no way to resolve that conflict.
Half a century of research into inoculation theory has found that the way to neutralise misinformation is to expose people to a weak form of the misinformation. The way to achieve this is to explain the fallacy employed by the myth. Once people understand the techniques used to distort the science, they can reconcile the myth with the fact.
Below, my own more detailed explanation, which I produced with Mike’s input.
April 26, 2015
Under climate change, avalanches, with or without earthquakes, have become more frequent and more lethal on Mt. Everest.
A new video from Mount Everest base camp shows people fleeing from Saturday’s deadly avalanche that left at least 17 dead and 61 injured.
“The ground is shaking,” one man says as the avalanche approaches.
Nepal’s worst earthquake in 81 years — which has claimed at least 2,200 lives— triggered the avalanche.
The video was shot by German adventurer Jost Kobusch, according to ITV. He filmed the incoming wall of snow before diving into his tent for cover.
Climbing to the roof of the world is becoming less predictable and possibly more dangerous, scientists say, as climate change brings warmer temperatures that may eat through the ice and snow on Mount Everest.
Nepal was left reeling when a sudden ice avalanche slammed down onto a group of Sherpa guides on Friday and killed 16 in the deadliest single disaster on Everest. While it is impossible to link any single event to long-term changes in the global climate, scientists say the future will likely hold more such dangers in high-altitude regions.
Avalanches of snow, rock or ice could increase. Climbing and trekking terrains would become unsteady. Glaciers may be more unpredictable. Storms will become more erratic, and the Himalayas in particular could see more snow as warming oceans send more moisture into the air for the annual Indian monsoon that showers the 2,400-kilometer (1,500-mile) mountain range.
April 26, 2015
If you saw the President’s as-always, pitch near-perfect and impeccably timed speech to the White House Correspondent’s Dinner last, you saw his final bit with his “Anger Translator”, a brillant parody on the ‘angry black man” so loved and feared by the Fox News Crowd.
But even the Anger Translator is taken aback by the President’s rage about climate deniers….
The use of humor to cut thru to the bone is rarely deployed like this by a Chief Executive. Only John Oliver has done anything quite as skewering as this.
Below, the equally brilliant and effective piece from Oliver’s Last Week Tonight show.