NBC and Inside Climate News:

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — At the foot of the Chesapeake Bay in southeast Virginia lies a Naval shipyard older than the nation itself. One of the country’s first warships was built here in 1799. So was the first battleship, and decades later the first aircraft carrier.

Over the past three centuries, Norfolk Naval Shipyard has been blockaded and burnt to the ground, only to be rebuilt again and again. Today, it’s one of four Navy shipyards that maintain the nation’s nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers, which enable the Pentagon to respond quickly to military and humanitarian crises across the globe.

But the shipyard now faces its greatest existential threat: rising seas and extreme weather driven by climate change.

In the past 10 years, Norfolk Naval Shipyard has suffered nine major floods that have damaged equipment used to repair ships, and the flooding is worsening, according to the Navy. In 2016, rain from Hurricane Matthew left 2 feet of water in one building, requiring nearly $1.2 million in repairs.

And that wasn’t even a direct hit — the most immediate worry, former military leaders say, is a strong storm that blows right through the area.

“It would have the potential for serious, if not catastrophic damage, and it would certainly put the shipyard out of business for some amount of time,” said Ray Mabus, who was the Navy secretary under President Barack Obama. “That has implications not just for the shipyard, but for us, for the Navy.”

Among the shipyard’s greatest vulnerabilities are its five dry docks, which are waterside basins that can be sealed and pumped dry to expose a ship’s hull for repairs. Once inside, vessels are often cut open, leaving expensive mechanical systems vulnerable to damage from storms and flooding.

The dry docks “were not designed to accommodate the threats” of rising seas and stronger storms, according to a 2017 report by the Government Accountability Office. Navy officials warned the government watchdog agency that flooding in a dry dock could cause “catastrophic damage to the ships.”

Already, high-tide flooding is contributing to extensive delays in ship repairs, the GAO said, disrupting maintenance schedules throughout the Navy’s fleet. Sea level in Norfolk has risen 1.5 feet in the past century, twice the global average, in part because the coastline is sinking.

The Navy has erected temporary flood walls and uses thousands of sandbags to protect the dry docks at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The Navy has also begun elevating some equipment, but the facility remains vulnerable, according to a Defense Department surveyon the effects of extreme weather on military bases, obtained through a public records request. In response, the Navy proposed a more permanent barrier estimated to cost more than $30 million, part of a 20-year, $21 billion plan submitted to Congress this year to modernize Norfolk as well as Navy shipyards in Maine, Washington and Hawaii.

But the new projects have yet to be approved.

The Navy said it takes extensive measures to limit damage from flooding. “These requirements ensure the safety of our personnel, our ships (nuclear and non-nuclear), and shipyard infrastructure,” William M. Couch, a Navy spokesman, said in an email.

In October, Hurricane Michael offered a glimpse of what can happen to coastal military bases in a storm’s path when it leveled much of Tyndall Air Force Base, damaging more than a dozen stealth fighters undergoing maintenance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf10uPYYux8

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Incredible in light of the most recent National Climate Assessment.
I wonder if Dr. Sagan would have believed that human’s would have let things get to this dire place.
Certainly I would not have.

Below, Sagan mentions climate change on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show in 1978. (go to 13:10) Read the rest of this entry »

nca4a

Administration has tried to bury the new National Climate Assessment – perhaps an even more significant scientific document, for Americans,  than the recent IPCC report – in that it is the work product of the American government’s own science agencies.

Let’s make sure the Black Friday news dump strategy doesn’t work.

Climate Nexus:

This U.S. federal government report shows that:

  • Human activity, like burning fossil fuels, is the primary cause for the warming temperatures we are undoubtedly experiencing.
  • By the end of this century, fighting climate change will save hundreds of billions of dollars just in public health costs, and save thousands of lives a year.
  • Americans are already paying for climate change as it makes storms more damaging, heat waves more deadly, wildfires more common, allergies worse and some diseases more widespread.
  • The U.S. military, as well as many farmers, businesses, and local communities are already planning for and adapting to climate change.
  • Climate change is a clear and present danger to the health and wealth of the American people.

Topline findings of the report include:

Human activity, primarily burning fossil fuels, is causing climate change. There is no credible alternative to global warming emissions to explain the warming.

  • Global average temperatures have risen 1.8°F (1.0°C) since 1901, predominantly because of human activity, especially the emission of heat-trapping gases.
  • Globally, 16 of the last 17 years are the warmest years on record.
  • Depending on the region, Americans could experience an additional month to two month’s worth of days with maximum temperatures above 100°F (38°C) by 2050, with that severe heat becoming commonplace in the southeast by 2100.

Economic losses from climate change are significant for some sectors of the U.S. economy.

  • In some sectors, losses driven by the impacts of climate change could exceed $100 billion annually by the end of the century.
  • If emissions continue unabated, extreme temperatures could end up costing billions upon billions in lost wages annually by the end of the century, and negatively impact the health of construction, agricultural and other outdoor workers.
  • Many aspects of climate change – including extreme heat, droughts, and floods – will pose risks to the U.S. agricultural sector. In many places, crop yields, as well as crop and grazing land quality, are expected to decline as a result.
  • We may be underestimating our level of risk by failing to account for multiple impacts occurring at once, or not planning for impacts that will span across government borders and sector boundaries.
  • Our aging infrastructure, especially our electric grid, will continue to be stressed by extreme weather events, which is why helping communities on the frontlines of climate impacts to adapt is so crucial.

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CBS on New Climate Report

November 23, 2018

They tried to bury this new report from government sources, by releasing it on Black Friday.
Let’s prove that calculation wrong.

In case it comes up.

Yale Climate Connections:

A confession. That cartoon where someone is hunched over the computer, unable to tear away from furious typing, because someone is wrong on the internet? That was me. Or at least it used to be.

Cartoon

As a lifelong scientist and educator, I simply could not let stand an idle comment about volcanoes emitting more CO2 than humans. Allowing misinformation to just sit there – uncorrected – was too much to bear. (And did you know that it would take three Mt. St. Helens eruptions plus one Mt. Pinatubo eruption every day to keep up with human emissions? See? I can’t help myself.)

I’ve since calmed down a bit and learned to be more strategic in my climate change debunking efforts. In the age of bots, trolls, and sycophants, one has to pace oneself.

The spectrum of ‘persuadability’

After several years of reading, responding to, and cataloging the discourse around climate change, I now see a pattern becoming clear: Not every person offering pushback is doing so for the same reason. Sure, some people are itching for a fight, but myriad others have genuine questions, hold only tentative beliefs, or are in-sync with the mainstream science but not inclined to do anything about it. Gauging someone else’s underlying position can help focus one’s attention on whether – and how – to engage.

Spectrum graphic

See note at the end of this posting for a detailed description of each.

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