National Snow and Ice Data Center:

BOULDER, Colo., March 28, 2016—Arctic sea ice was at a record low maximum extent for the second straight year, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA.

“I’ve never seen such a warm, crazy winter in the Arctic,” said NSIDC director Mark Serreze. “The heat was relentless.” Air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean for the months of December, January and February were 2 to 6 degrees Celsius (4 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit) above average in nearly every region.

Sea ice extent over the Arctic Ocean averaged 14.52 million square kilometers (5.607 million square miles) on March 24, beating last year’s record low of 14.54 million square kilometers (5.612 million square miles) on February 25. Unlike last year, the peak was later than average in the 37-year satellite record, setting up a shorter than average ice melt season for the coming spring and summer.

According to NSIDC, sea ice extent was below average throughout the Arctic, except in the Labrador Sea, Baffin Bay, and Hudson Bay. It was especially low in the Barents Sea. As noted by Ingrid Onarheim at the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Bergen, Norway: “A decrease in Barents Sea ice extent for this winter was predicted from the influence of warm Atlantic waters from the Norwegian Sea.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Having sat thru innumerable climate denial videos in the last 10 years, the parallels are rather stark. And in this case, funny.

Relates to this new post by Joe Romm at Climate Progress. Donald Trump’s mastery of bullshit rhetoric.

Climate Progress:

“An emotional speaker always makes his audience feel with him, even when there is nothing in his arguments; which is why many speakers try to overwhelm their audience by mere noise.” — Aristotle, Rhetoric.

Donald Trump is a master of classical rhetoric — what Plato called “the art of winning the soul by discourse.”

Did you know that there is a rhetorical device, a figure of speech, that allows you to lie and exaggerate and say the most absurd things — “Mexico must pay for the wall” or “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese” — while actually making lots of people believe you are a genuine and truthful person? Donald Trump does.

Yes, while Donald Trump may seem to be a clown or buffoon, he is in fact one of the most effective practitioners of persuasive rhetoric the political world has seen in a long time. If he wins the GOP nomination it will be in large part because of his mastery of rhetoric.

I use the term rhetoric here not with its current negative connotation of overly ornate and stylized speech that is utterly unlike the way real people speak. Rather I use the term in its more classical, Aristotelian sense — the art of persuasion using the figures of speech specifically to match the way real people speak. The fact that Trump sounds more like a real person than his political competition shows precisely how upside-down our current view of rhetoric is.

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Powerful report from Australian Broadcasting about damage to the Great Barrier reef, currently being observed.
It’s one of the most widely predicted consequences of a warming, acidifying ocean.
Spokesmen for climate denying politicians were quoted as saying, “This is not happening.” See below.

ABC – Australia:

An aerial survey of the northern Great Barrier Reef has shown that 95 per cent of the reefs are now severely bleached — far worse than previously thought.

Professor Terry Hughes, a coral reef expert based at James Cook University in Townsville who led the survey team, said the situation is now critical.

“This will change the Great Barrier Reef forever,” Professor Hughes told 7.30.

“We’re seeing huge levels of bleaching in the northern thousand-kilometre stretch of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Of the 520 reefs he surveyed, only four showed no evidence of bleaching.

From Cairns to the Torres Strait, the once colourful ribbons of reef are a ghostly white.

“It’s too early to tell precisely how many of the bleached coral will die, but judging from the extreme level even the most robust corals are snow white, I’d expect to see about half of those corals die in the coming month or so,” Professor Hughes said.

Read the rest of this entry »

LiveScience:

The ice covering the Arctic is at near record lows this year, and this icy deficit may impact weather around the world, NASA reports.

Every March, the Arctic’s sea ice reaches its maximum cover, both in area and thickness, before it recedes to its yearly minimum in September. Live Science spoke with NASA scientist Walt Meier yesterday (March 25) to learn more about the low sea-ice level and what it means for the rest of the planet.

“This year we’re seeing a real extremely warm winter,” Meier said. “Temperatures have been 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit [5.5 to 8.3 degrees Celsius] above normal [in the Arctic]. And we see that reflected in the very low sea-ice cover that generally grows to its maxima around this time of year.”

seaicefox0328

UPDATE:

 

Twitter exchange in which, despite 2 record warm years followed by shocking uptick in global temperatures, long time climate denial stalwart S. Fred Singer still clings to the climate denial orthodoxy.

You’re excused if you never heard of Fred Singer – but he really has been one of the most destructive pseudo-scientific disinfo specialists, not only on behalf of Exxon and the usual suspects, but the tobacco industry as well. A man for all toxic seasons.

Here’s an early “Climate Denial Crock of the Week” video where I took on one of his pet shibboleths.

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nukeplan

New York Times:

As a dragnet aimed at Islamic State operatives spiraled across Brussels and into at least five European countries on Friday, the authorities were also focusing on a narrower but increasingly alarming threat: the vulnerability of Belgium’s nuclear installations.

The investigation into this week’s deadly attacks in Brussels has prompted worries that the Islamic State is seeking to attack, infiltrate or sabotage nuclear installations or obtain nuclear or radioactive material. This is especially worrying in a country with a history of security lapses at its nuclear facilities, a weak intelligence apparatus and a deeply rooted terrorist network.

On Friday, the authorities stripped security badges from several workers at one of two plants where all nonessential employees had been sent home hours after the attacks at the Brussels airport and one of the city’s busiest subway stations three days earlier. Video footage of a top official at another Belgian nuclear facility was discovered last year in the apartment of a suspected militant linked to the extremists who unleashed the horror in Paris in November.

Asked on Thursday at a London think tank whether there was a danger of the Islamic State’s obtaining a nuclear weapon, the British defense secretary, Michael Fallon, said that “was a new and emerging threat.”

While the prospect that terrorists can obtain enough highly enriched uranium and then turn it into a nuclear fission bomb seems far-fetched to many experts, they say the fabrication of some kind of dirty bomb from radioactive waste or byproducts is more conceivable. There are a variety of other risks involving Belgium’s facilities, including that terrorists somehow shut down the privately operated plants, which provide nearly half of Belgium’s power.

The fears at the nuclear power plants are of “an accident in which someone explodes a bomb inside the plant,” said Sébastien Berg, the spokesman for Belgium’s federal agency for nuclear control. “The other danger is that they fly something into the plant from outside.” That could stop the cooling process of the used fuel, Mr. Berg explained, and in turn shut down the plant.

The revelation of the video surveillance footage was the first evidence that the Islamic State has a focused interest in nuclear material. But Belgium’s nuclear facilities have long had a worrying track record of breaches, prompting warnings from Washington and other foreign capitals.

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