Key passage about 2 minutes in.
Do I have to comment on this? No, I don’t think so.

Trust me, there’s a climate punchline at the end.

Thin line between denial and delusional.

Raw Story:

Republican senator from Oklahoma, who once brought a snowball onto the Senate floor to disprove climate change, expressed his dismay with the Supreme Court clearing the path for same sex marriages nationwide, adding he has friends in the gay community who agree with him.

Sen. James Inhofe (R) told KJRH that the U.S. Supreme Court is “A very liberal court and we saw what happened last week,” referring to an earlier court decision allowing  the Affordable Care Act to continue forward.

Adding, “They haven’t ruled right on anything in a long time,” Inhofe turned to Friday’s landmark decision making same sex marriage the law of the land, saying he has gay friends who agreed with him that it was decided improperly.

“I’ve been disappointed, and I was not surprised. I thought they would rule the way they did. I know a lot of people, actually a lot of people who are friends of mine in the gay community, who also think it was a bad decision,” he explained.

Below, another, more revealing quote, hints what the Senator thinks of his friends in the gay community – and suggests he’s in denial about a lot more than climate.

Bill Maher and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy discuss the Pope’s recent encyclical on the environment.

McCarthy made news, well, Fox News, this week, with her comments that climate deniers are “not normal’.

Below, More Bill on Congress, science, and regulations. Read the rest of this entry »


Circle of Blue:

Sao Paulo is a paradox of water scarcity and abundance. Brazil’s largest city, located in a region that averages 25 more inches of rain each year than Seattle, is gripped by the worst drought in 80 years. Since the drought began last year, Sao Paulo has struggled to provide water to its 20 million residents.

The severity of the drought is apparent in Sao Paulo’s reservoir levels. Collectively, the city’s six primary reservoir systems are 27.1 percent full, compared to 40 percent full at this time last year—a difference that amounts to 274 billion liters, according to data compiled by the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.

Water levels in the Cantareira reservoir system, the city’s most important water storage facility is at 20 percent of capacity as the region enters its annual dry season. Cantareira served nearly half of the city’s population before the drought, but now supplies water to 5 million people as water managers turn to smaller reservoirs to relieve pressure on the system.

The Alto Tiete reservoir system, less than half the size of Cantareira, currently is at 22.4 percent of its capacity, and supplies 4.5 million people.

The city’s drained reservoirs, though, represent only a portion of the challenge facing Sao Paulo’s water managers. Another is how residents view the drought. Though reservoir water levels are disturbingly low, Sao Paulo still lacks the visual evidence of a drought as seen in places like California, Australia, and Mexico. That’s because a lot of the city is still very green and heavy rains still occur.

saopaologirl“They are in a drought, but the meaning of a drought is really different depending on where you are,” Newsha Ajami, director of urban water policy for Stanford University’s Water in the West program, told Circle of Blue. Ajami was invited to Sao Paulo in December 2014 to discuss water issues with state officials. Ajami added that the city flooded while she was there. “If you live in an area where drains are overflowing every time it rains, you’re not going to say it is a drought. Perception definitely matters.”

Situated on a plateau 700 meters above the sea, the city is at the headwaters of the Alto Tiete river basin and averages about 1,600 millimeters (63 inches) of rain each year—25 inches more than Seattle. Reservoirs like Guarapiranga, Rio Grande, and Billings hold large amounts of water, but they are either too small or too polluted to bolster Sao Paulo’s water security. In addition, the city is still flooding during the rainy season. Floods made headlines earlier this month, as well as in November, December, and February.

“We are definitely seeing that it has been raining less, but there have been some dramatic events,” Pedro Jacobi, a professor of education and environmental science at the University of Sao Paulo who studies water governance, told Circle of Blue . “We have a situation where the reservoirs are empty, but if it rains in the city, it has so much asphalt that if you have 50 to 60 millimeters [of rain] you are under water in many parts.”

The result is a landscape that belies the severity of the water crisis and a skewed perception that complicates voluntary conservation efforts—Sao Paulo’s primary tool for ensuring adequate water supplies in the short-term.Further clouding the public’s view of the drought is the government’s response, which has been characterized by disorder, distrust, and a general lack of urgency. For example, residents began complaining of dropping water pressure in their homes as early as May 2014, but officials did not admit to water rationing until March 2015. Instead, the government persistently held that rain would refill the reservoirs, negating the need for more drastic measures.

The Conversation:

The climatic factors influencing the drought in California and in Sao Paulo are likely interconnected. Cycles in the Pacific sea surface temperature that occur on decadal timescales are coupled to changes in atmospheric circulation that affect weather patterns worldwide. In some regions, atmospheric conditions are such that they block the passage of cold fronts that cause the storms to bring precipitation, changing the path of these rain events.

As long as these blocking conditions persist, there will be regions undergoing dry conditions, whereas others will be extremely wet. The North Pacific has been entering a phase that will likely increase the probability of these blocking mechanisms that favor dry conditions in California and other regions of the planet, including Sao Paulo.

Read the rest of this entry »

National Center for Science Education:

Prompted by the release of the movie Jurassic World, a new poll from YouGov indicates that Americans are about evenly split on the question of whether dinosaurs and humans lived on the planet at the same time.

Asked “Do you believe that dinosaurs and humans once lived on the planet at the same time,” 14% of respondents said definitely, 27% said probably, 18% said probably not, and 25% said definitely not; 16% were unsure.

Demographically, YouGov noted, “While most Americans who describe themselves as ‘born again’ (56%) believe that humans and dinosaurs once shared the planet, most Americans who do not describe themselves as born again (51%) think that they did not.”

In seeming confirmation of the roughly even split in opinion, a poll of registered voters in Texas in 2010 found that 30% agreed and 41% disagreed with “The earliest humans lived at the same time as the dinosaurs,” with 30% saying that they didn’t know.

Similarly, in Reports of the NCSE in 2010, George Bishop and his colleagues described a 2008 survey in which 40% of respondents agreed, and 48% of respondents disagreed, with “Dinosaurs lived at the same time as people.”

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Any associations you might have with Alaska being a generally chilly place, actually, were belied by last month’s heat wave: with average temperatures 7.1 degrees above normal, the state had its hottest May in 91 years of record-keeping. Here, via NASA’s Earth Observatory, is what that deviation looked like:

alaska0615 North American land surface temperatures from May 17–24, 2015, compared to the 2001–2010 average for the same eight-day period. Shades of red depict areas that were hotter than the long-term average; areas in blue were below average for the week. White pixels were normal, and gray pixels did not have enough data, most likely due to excessive cloud cover.

Meteorologists attributed the unusual heat to a “kinked jet stream that is sending air masses in a more north-south flow than the more typical east-west direction” — a pattern that may be connected to two typhoons in the Pacific.

In the long-term, the problem gets much scarier. Thanks to climate change, the state, with the rest of the Arctic, is currently heating up at twice the rate of lower latitudes, and its weather, as one state meteorologist, who was only sort of joking, put it, is “broken.” Earlier this year, Slate’s Eric Holthaus did a deep-dive on why that’s happening:

Alaska’s recent surge of back-to-back warm winters comes after a record-snowy 2012, in which the National Guard was employed to help dig out buried towns. Then, about two years ago, something in the climate system switched. The state’s recent brush with extreme weather is more than just year-to-year weather variability. Alaska is at the point where the long-term trend of warming has begun to trump seasonal weather fluctuations. A recent shift toward warmer offshore ocean temperatures is essentially adding more fuel to the fire, moving the state toward more profound tipping points like the irreversible loss of permafrost and increasingly violent weather. If the current warm ocean phase (which began in 2014) holds for a decade or so, as is typical, Alaska will quickly become a different place.


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