Hurricane Harvey Update

August 28, 2017



Dedicated to Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Bonus Patty Loveless version below.

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2 minutes. This is the one worth watching and sharing for those whose time is pressed.

I sat down with Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon in June of 2016, at an American Meteorological Society event in Austin.

For actual impact of climate change on numbers of hurricanes, the record is still too short with modern observations to draw conclusions, although Kerry Emanuel, elsewhere on this page, has some ideas.

For extreme rains, high temperatures, and flooding, the data are clear enough – and preliminary forecasts show most concern for extreme rain and floods by Hurricane Harvey.

An Interview with Harvey

August 25, 2017


Aaron Huertas in Medium:

A lot of people are wondering if it’s okay to “politicize” hurricanes. I was able to reach Hurricane Harvey via telephone to get his opinion. Here’s our brief conversation.

Hey, Harvey! Glad to reach you. I know you’re busy. So just briefly, my editor is making me ask this, is there any chance you could turn around and not make landfall?

I’d love to, but at this point, I’m locked in. It’s physics.

Okay, had to ask. Look, a lot of people are worried that about “politicizing” you, saying we need to focus on the emergency response in Texas. What do you have to say to them?

I think they’re right. I’m as apolitical as it gets. I don’t watch cable news. I don’t even vote. And I‘m definitely not here to get dragged into a political debate.

Sure. So what about the immigrants who can’t evacuate from your path without fear of being detained? A lot of people are worried about that.

Well, obviously, that’s unfortunate. Yes, some people have to choose between getting away from me and getting deported, but now’s not the time to focus on something as divisive as immigration policy.

Okay…How about the refineries you might hit? There’s a big environmental justice problem around those areas and fence-line communities could be dealing with pollution for decades.

I’m not trying to hit any specific areas or specific people, okay? It’s not my responsibility to account for where people live or where you let companies put giant tanks full of oil.

Gotcha. So last topic. The ocean you’re riding in on is significantly higher than it used to be and…

Is this going to be a climate change question? Read the rest of this entry »

Now that #Harvey has your attention.
A couple years earlier, I had asked Dr. Emanuel to give a play by play of Hurricane Sandy as it barrelled up the coast.

More below from PBS Newshour. Read the rest of this entry »


Weather Underground:

Hurricane Warnings and Storm Surge Warnings are up for portions of the coast of Texas as rapidly intensifying Tropical Storm Harvey heads north-northwest at 10 mph over the Gulf of Mexico. Harvey was still a tropical depression at 10 pm CDT Wednesday night, but has explosively intensified in the early morning hours, and is almost certain to be a hurricane later today. Update: The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has upgraded Harvey to a Category 1 hurricane with 80-mph sustained winds as of noon CDT Thursday. If you live on the coast of Texas, please heed the advice of local emergency management officials, and get out today if you live in an evacuation zone. Tropical storm-force winds may arrive along the coast of Texas as early as 8 am CDT Friday, making evacuation difficult thereafter, according to the latest National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast.hurricenaharvy

Washington Post:

Harvey rapidly intensified Thursday morning in the central Gulf of Mexico, and it officially became a hurricane early in the afternoon. The extremely dangerous storm is predicted to strengthen and plow into southeast Texas on Friday as the first major hurricane, rated Category 3 or higher (on the 1-5 Saffir-Simpson intensity scale), to strike U.S. soil in 12 years.

An incredible amount of rain, 15 to 25 inches with isolated amounts of up to 35 inches, is predicted along the middle and upper Texas coast, because the storm is expected to stall and unload torrents for four to six straight days. The National Hurricane Center said it expects “devastating and life-threatening” flash flooding.


New Evidence: #ExxonKnew

August 24, 2017

History will judge these people harshly.  One of them is currently Secretary of State.

Dana Nuccitelli in the Guardian:

Read all of these documents and make up your own mind.

That was the challenge ExxonMobil issued when investigative journalism by Inside Climate News revealed that while it was at the forefront of climate science research in the 1970s and 1980s, Exxon engaged in a campaign to misinform the public.

Harvard scientists Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes decided to take up Exxon’s challenge, and have just published their results in the journal Environmental Research Letters. They used a method known as content analysisto analyze 187 public and internal Exxon documents. The results are striking:

  • In Exxon’s peer-reviewed papers and internal communications, about 80% of the documents acknowledged that climate change is real and human-caused.
  • In Exxon’s paid, editorial-style advertisements (“advertorials”) published in the New York Times, about 80% expressed doubt that climate change is real and human-caused.
  • As Oreskes documented with Erik Conway in Merchants of Doubt, tobacco companies and several other industries that profited from harmful products engaged in decades-long campaigns to sow doubt about the scientific evidence of their hazards. As one R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company 1969 internal memo read:

    Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public

    The results of this new paper show that Exxon followed this same playbook. While the company’s internal communications and peer-reviewed research were clear about human-caused global warming, its public communications focused heavily on sowing doubt about those scientific conclusions.

    For example, Exxon scientist Brian Flannery co-authored a chapter of a 1985 Department of Energy report with NYU professor Martin Hoffert concluding that in a “Low CO2” emissions scenario, humans would cause about 2°C global surface warming above pre-industrial levels by 2100, and about 5°C in a “High CO2” scenario. These projections were in close agreement with those in the latest IPCC report nearly 30 years later.


Temperature increase projected in response to rising carbon dioxide levels. Illustration: Hoffert & Flannery (1985), US Department of Energy report.

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Dan Kammen made headlines this week in resigning his post as as science envoy for the US State Department, in protest of administration anti-science policies that “threatens life on this planet”.

Dr. Kammen is one of the experts I interviewed in San Francisco last December, and I’ll be including more of his remarks in my upcoming video “The Path Post Paris”.

Scientific American:

An energy researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, resigned his post as a science envoy for the US Department of State on 21 August, citing US President Donald Trump’s “attacks on the core values of the United States”.

In a resignation letter addressed to Trump, scientist Daniel Kammen joined political leaders from both major parties who have criticized Trump’s equivocal response to violent demonstrations by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, on 12 August. Kammen also criticized the Trump administration’s “destructive” policies on energy and the environment, which he said have affected his work as a science envoy. Such policies include the president’s decision to pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris climate pact.

“Your presence in the White House harms the United States domestically and abroad and threatens life on this planet,” wrote Kammen, whose term as an envoy was set to end next month. The first letter of each paragraph in his letter appears to be an acrostic that spells out the word “impeach”.

Former president Barack Obama created the science envoy programme in 2010 to boost outreach and partnerships with predominantly Muslim countries. The effort, which is run by the state department, has since expanded to cover more countries. Kammen is one of 18 scientists who have participated in the envoy programme; his work in Africa and the Middle East has focused on national security, jobs and sustainable energy.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A state department official confirmed that Kammen was one of three active science envoys and said the department is in the process of appointing more. The department declined to comment on Kammen’s resignation letter.


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Ignorant, anti-science, homophobe, early, loyal Trump supporter – what’s not to like?

Those republican Senators, including Senator Flake and Corker, who have expressed doubts about Trump’s leadership, have a perfect opportunity here to show they aren’t bullshitters. Turn this nominee down.


But other than the fact Clovis is not a scientist, nothing about his background and work on the campaign and transition has gotten as much attention as his skepticism about climate change, in part because the division he would oversee conducts all manner of climate science research — from studying how to reduce the carbon footprint of food production to coming up with ways for farmers to adapt to more severe weather patterns.

When he was running for Senate in 2014, Clovis did an interview with Iowa Public Radio, during which the hosts pointed out that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that rising temperatures are “very likely due to human activities.”

“Do you believe the science?” the hosts asked.

“I am extremely skeptical,” he said without skipping a beat. “I have looked at the science and I have enough of a science background to know when I’m being boofed.

And a lot of the science is junk science.“It’s not proven,” he continued. “I don’t think there’s any substantive information available to me that doesn’t raise as many questions as it does answers. So I’m a skeptic.”

The Hill:

President Trump’s pick to be chief scientist for the Department of Agriculture (USDA) previously suggested former President Obama wanted to “enslave” his opponents and seemed “happy” after the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Read the rest of this entry »