This one will be rocketing around the tubes for a few days.
Watch and spread.

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New Video of Antarctic Crack

February 21, 2017

Climate Central:

It’s summer in Antarctica, which has scientists scurrying around the seventh continent carrying out various research experiments. That includes monitoring the massive crack that has spread across the Larsen C ice shelf, located on the Antarctic Peninsula.

On Tuesday, researchers with the British Antarctic Survey released new aerial footage showing the widening rift that threatens to tear the ice shelf asunder at any moment. The footage makes the immensity of the crack clear, as the yawning chasm stretches off into the horizon.

The crack now stretches more than 100 miles in length. And at 1,500 feet across, you could lay the Empire State Building across the rift with a few feet to spare.

The rift is expected to soon cleave a monster iceberg off the Larsen C ice shelf. Scientists estimate the iceberg could be up to 1,930 square miles in size, or roughly 10 percent of the whole ice shelf. That’s the equivalent of Delaware (or twice the size of Wales if you prefer Commonwealth measurements).

Scientists at Project MIDAS, an Antarctic research group monitoring the rift, wrote in January that the breakup “will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula” and leave the ice shelf in a less stable state.

That could eventually cause it to collapse, a fate that befell the Larsen A and B ice shelves in 1995 and 2002, respectively. The Project MIDAS scientists wrote that the Larsen B breakup followed a similar massive iceberg calving event, which was caused by abnormally warm air in one of the world’s fastest warming places.

Ice shelf health is a key metric researchers are watching all around Antarctica. The shelves act like bookends, holding up the massive stores of ice on the continent. If they disappear, it will cause more land ice to tumble into the ocean, raising sea levels. Since Larsen B’s collapse, the glaciers behind it have flowed to the sea six times faster.

The West Antarctic has some shelves very vulnerable to breakup, including the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf. It recently calved a comparatively small “aftershock” iceberg following a major July 2015 calving event. But satellites show that it has started to develop a large crack as well.

Previous research has shown that an unstoppable melt that would drive oceans at least 10 feet higher could already be underway in West Antarctica, though it would take centuries for the process to play out. Warming oceans and air are the main culprits.

Bloomberg:

Saudi Arabia is kicking off its $50 billion renewable-energy push as the world’s top crude exporter turns to solar and wind power to temper domestic oil use in meeting growing energy demand.

Bidders seeking to qualify to build 700 megawatts of wind and solar power plants should submit documents by March 20, and those selected will be announced by April 10, Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry said Monday in an e-mailed statement. Qualified bidders will be able to present their offers for the projects starting on April 17 through July.

“This marks the starting point of a long and sustained program of renewable energy deployment in Saudi Arabia that will not only diversify our power mix but also catalyze economic development,” Khalid Al-Falih, the energy minister, said in the statement. The ministry’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office intends to set up “the most attractive, competitive and well executed government renewable energy investment programs in the world,” he said.

Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Morocco are developing renewable energy to either curb their fuel imports or conserve more valuable oil that could otherwise be exported. Saudi Arabia plans to develop almost 10 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023, requiring investment of $30 billion to $50 billion, Al-Falih said last month in Abu Dhabi.

NYTimes:

MIDLAND, Tex. — In the land where oil jobs were once a guaranteed road to security for blue-collar workers, Eustasio Velazquez’s career has been upended by technology.

For 10 years, he laid cables for service companies doing seismic testing in the search for the next big gusher. Then, powerful computer hardware and software replaced cables with wireless data collection, and he lost his job. He found new work connecting pipes on rigs, but lost that job, too, when plunging oil prices in 2015 forced the driller he worked for to replace rig hands with cheaper, more reliable automated tools.

“I don’t see a future,” Mr. Velazquez, 44, said on a recent afternoon as he stooped over his shopping cart at a local grocery store. “Pretty soon every rig will have one worker and a robot.”

Read the rest of this entry »

It would be a big mistake if the Party of Climate Denial misread last year’s Putin-puffed election results as an excuse to lay waste to the planet.
Pollster Ed Maibach explains above, – but just in case you think that’s wishful thinking, you should know that folks in the not-so-green US Chamber of Congress have made similar observations.

supportdarksnow

Lest you think that the COC has gone soft on its planetary extinction agenda, the official quoted here helpfully suggests that greenhouse controls should perhaps be “slow-rolled” rather than rescinded.

Energy and Policy:

A senior energy official at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently warned that there will be “hell to pay” if the Trump administration tries to rescind the EPA’s science-based endangerment finding for greenhouse gas emissions.

In typical U.S. Chamber fashion, Christopher Guith dismissed current concerns about climate change as based on “religion” – not “scientific facts” – while speaking at a January 26th event in the coal state of Kentucky. Guith is the senior vice president for policy at the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.

But Guith conceded that carbon dioxide emissions are likely to ultimately be regulated under the Clean Air Act. He also said that “soccer moms and soccer dads” will make the Trump administration pay if it goes after the EPA’s endangerment finding.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why I Stand Up For Science

February 20, 2017

Me too. What he said.

The Macroscope:

Make no mistake: There is a War on Science in America.

The White House not only denies obvious, empirical facts on a regular basis, but they have invented the Orwellian concept of “alternative facts”. In the past, we simply called them lies, but now they are used in the world’s most powerful office. And that should scare all of us.
What’s worse is that the White House and many members of Congress aren’t just anti-fact, they are against the  pursuit of facts, and have tried to place draconian restrictions on what federal scientists can research, publish, and even discuss. And god knows what will happen to our nation’s long-standing investments in research and science education.
This attack on science, and on knowledge itself, goes beyond anything we have seen in America before. And it is not only dangerous to science, it is dangerous to our nation and the world.

But the War on Science has inspired a mighty backlash. Scientists are standing up against politicians. We’ve seen rogue Twitter accounts, hundreds of op-eds, and scientists announcing they are running for office. There will even be a March for Science on April 22. It’s a popular uprising, complete with heroes in white lab coats and park ranger uniforms.
But when I see these signs of protest, I feel worried. Is this the right approach? Are we truly connecting with the American people?
Sure, people are taking a stand  against “alternative fact”, cuts to research, and muzzling scientists. But what are we  for?

To truly connect with people, I think scientists and their supporters need to paint a positive vision of the future, where science re-affirms its moral authority, articulates how it will help us, and advances a noble cause.
In other words: What is the higher purpose of American science? And what will scientists work for, live for, and fight for?

I can’t answer for other scientists, but here’s what I will fight for.

1. Keeping America Great, as It’s Always Been. Until recently, science has enjoyed deep, bipartisan support from elected officials. Thoughtful leaders on both sides of the aisle from Teddy Roosevelt to Truman, Kennedy to Nixon, George H.W. Bush to Obama have used science to guide our country forward.
And those leaders knew what I know: America is at its best when science is accepted and helps us do great things. Science helped us defeat fascism, win the Cold War, end polio, feed the world, land on the moon, and crack the code of life. What could it do next?
The greatness of America is strengthened by science it helps us lift people up, improve the human condition, and build a better world.
Our future is dependent on science. Will we embrace science again, solve the challenges of our time, and thrive? Or will we turn our backs on science and fail being a great nation, dooming our future? Read the rest of this entry »

Scientists Start Standing Up

February 20, 2017

Just the tiniest warm up for something, much, much, larger.
Stay tuned. #Sciencemarch

Washington Post:

Hundreds of scientists and their supporters rallied in historic Copley Square on Sunday, demanding that the Trump administration accept empirical reality on issues such as climate change and highlighting the centrality of objective information to making policy.

“We did not politicize science,” said Naomi Oreskes, a Harvard science historian who spoke at the rally, which unfolded on a surprisingly warm February day that left the square filled with mud puddles from the melt of a recent blizzard. “We did not start this fight.”

“Our colleagues who have been attacked have not been attacked because they did something wrong,” Oreskes continued. “They have been attacked because they did something right” — namely, producing information that proved politically inconvenient.

This timing — along with the science-intensive community in an area that features Harvard, MIT and numerous other universities — probably helped to ensure a good part of the turnout.

“I feel that we’re in this public relations battle right now, and we need to recast our work as scientists, not as dispassionate data junkies, but as people that care about the world around us,” said Beka Economopoulos, one of the march organizers, who is with the Natural History Museum.

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Language is very important in communicating something as complex as climate change – and science reporting most often suffers because it over-simplifies, or misses important nuances in making the case. This CBS report is case in point.

Overall, it’s affirming of science, but several glaring errors and misspeaks mar this message.

Surprising in that physicist Michio Kaku is the one mis-speaking. I am sure he would correct if he reviewed.

So, rather than me writing this all out, I’m asking the Climate Crocks very-well-prepared readers to write it for me.
Get out your pens and count the errors!

Economize language, eschew jargon – you are all budding climate communicators – get me some succinct, just-the-fact bullets.
Pretend I’m Donald Trump getting an intel briefing – except in my case, OK to name sources.