For instance, Elon Musk was not the founder.

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Private company is pushing some interesting community design ideas. Solar panels are great, but actually the water management here could be the most significant piece.
Yeah, I get it, –  expensive luxury homes for rich white people.  But well-to-do early adopters have always driven technological change.
The hydrological management here could be adapted to other areas – so valuable test bed.

But is Florida so vulnerable this dream is impossible?

Suggest full screen for this one.

Celebrating the passage of Michigan’s Proposal one.

How Climate Worsens Fires

November 16, 2018

Dana Nuccitelli has joined the stable of great science communicators at Yale Climate Connections.

Dana Nuccitelli at Yale Climate Connections:

The data tell the story: Six of California’s ten most destructive wildfires on record have now struck in just the past three years.

President Trump’s tweets suggesting forest mismanagement is to blame for California’s wildfire woes, and threatening to withhold federal funding, have prompted widespread rebukes for their insensitivity as thousands of citizens flee the fires – some, tragically, unsuccessfully – and as an affront to thousands of weary firefighters.

The reality is that about 57 percent of the state’s forests are owned and managed by the federal government, and another 40 percent by families, companies, and Native American tribes. Forest management does play some role in creating wildfire fuel, but some wildfires aren’t even located in forests. Moreover, scientific evidence clearly shows that climate change is exacerbating California’s wildfires in different ways:

    • Higher temperatures dry out vegetation and soil, creating more wildfire fuel.
    • Climate change is shortening the California rainy season, thus extending the fire season.
    • Climate change is also shifting the Santa Ana winds that fan particularly dangerous wildfires in Southern California.
    • The warming atmosphere is slowing the jet stream, leading to more California heat waves and high-pressure ridges in the Pacific. Those ridges deflect from the state some storms that would otherwise bring much-needed moisture to slow the spread of fires.

Global warming causes higher temperatures, and 2014 through 2018 have been California’s five hottest years on record. This pattern leads to an increase in evapotranspiration – the combination of evaporation and transpiration transferring more moisture from land and water surfaces and plants to the atmosphere. Essentially, global warming causes plants and soil to dry out as the atmosphere holds more water vapor.

These are the many ways in which climate change is clearly connected to California #wildfires. On top of this direct drying effect, climate change is causing a shift in rain patterns. Northern California has received only one inch of rain this season, which is about one-fifth of normal. A 2018 paper published in Nature Climate Change, led by UCLA’s Daniel Swain, found that as a result of global warming, California’s rainy season will become increasingly concentrated in the winter months between December and February. April, May, September, October, and November will become increasingly dry, meaning that the state’s wildfire season will start earlier and end later. As Swain noted in an informative Twitter thread about California’s November 2018 wildfires,

If Northern California had received anywhere near the typical amount of autumn precipitation this year (around 4-5 in. of rain near #CampFire point of origin), explosive fire behavior & stunning tragedy in #Paradise would almost certainly not have occurred.

With these hotter, drier conditions extending late into the year, wildfires have become larger, and they spread faster, cause more damage, and are more difficult to contain.

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I showed the video above to a group last night, and serendipitously could talk about the actual current weather conditions as a good example of what we expect to see more and more often in a changing world.

Current jet-stream set up features a strong “ridge” high over Alaska, diverting moisture away from the fires of California, while setting up a roller coaster for frigid air to pour down on to the Eastern US.
Hence early winter storms for Easterners while the west continues to suffer a longer than historical fire season.

ridge1118

jet111618

Movie got it wrong. It’s not women going infertile, it’s males that could be sterilized.

Washington Post:

Heat doesn’t just kill. It is also diminishes the vitality of sperm, curtailing the capacity to reproduce, as scientists have documented.

“Heatwaves reduce male fertility and sperm competitiveness, and successive heatwaves almost sterilise males,” wrote the authors of a study published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed Nature Communications.

But the research points newly to an even longer-lasting effect. Ecologists and evolutionary biologists at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, found that heat stress appears to be associated with transgenerational fertility problems.

That means that organisms may bear the effects of elevated temperatures long after the initial exposure — in the form of reduced lifespans, reproductive challenges and other types of defects passed to offspring.

The scientists found that heat waves undermine sperm production and viability, and also interfere with movement through the female. They further discovered that extreme heat “reduced reproductive potential and lifespan of offspring when fathered by males, or sperm, that had experienced heatwaves.”

USAToday:

Yes, the scientists used beetles to test their theory. But researchers say the insects can be used as a proxy for people.

Beetles are one of the most common species on Earth, “so these results are very important for understanding how species react to climate change,” said study co-author Matt Gage, an ecologist at the University of East Anglia in the U.K.

Heat waves are predicted to be more frequent and more extreme this century as human-caused climate change continues.

“Research has also shown that heat shock can damage male reproduction in warm-blooded animals too, and past work has shown that this leads to infertility in mammals,” added lead author Kirs Sales, also of the University of East Anglia.

And you may say, “It’s just beetles”.

But a lot of other species reproduce sexually.  Extinction is forever.

Scary ideas

Quartz:

“We need more environmental hardliners in Congress,” she told In These Times magazine earlier this week. “We need a Marshall Plan for renewable energy in the United States. The idea that the Democratic Party needs to be moderate is what’s holding us back on this.”

Ocasio-Cortez wants to make the US run 100% on renewable energy by 2035. Scientists warn that the window of opportunity for staving off dangerous levels of climate change is rapidly closing, and dramatically (and quickly) reducing emissions is the most direct route to avoiding potential environmental catastrophe. Rapidly decarbonizing the US economy by completely shifting to renewables is the best and maybe only way to actually make a difference in climate-change mitigation; any milder approach will almost certainly lead us to miss that window.

The Huffington Post points out that Ocasio-Cortez’s 100%-renewable plan puts her in agreement with a coalition of US mayors who have committed to the goal of complete decarbonization within their own cities. But Ocasio-Cortez, who has an economics degree, also couples that plank with an economic plan she is calling the Green New Deal.

“The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan,” she told the Huffington Post. In short, Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal would temporarily redirect the US economy towards avoiding catastrophic climate change. “We must again invest in the development, manufacturing, deployment, and distribution of energy, but this time green energy,” she said.

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