KTUU Anchorage:

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) – Rain has ruined the 2019 Willow 300 dog sled race. Race organizers canceled the event when trail damage caused by warm, wet weather was too pervasive to keep up with, Christine Stitt, the race’s director and organizer told KTUU early Tuesday afternoon.

The 300-mile, three-day mid-distance race is among the events long distance mushers use to qualify for the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod.

“We were good up until last night when it started raining,” Stitt said.
“It is just not safe for musher, dog or machines and we just won’t put anyone in that position,” she said.

Temperatures above freezing and continued rainfall wrecked sections previously repaired, and water crossings were deemed too dangerous, Stitt said.

Thirty-four mushers who’d signed up, including Mat-Su Borough mayor Vern Halter, and Iditarod veterans Anna and Kristy Berington, Nick Petit, Wade Marrs, and Cim Smyth, will receive refunded entry fees, less the required $25 membership fee to be a part of the Willow Dog Mushers Association. Memberships will carry forward one year, Stitt said.


Above, Stephen Colbert recounts how the President ignores the best intelligence professionals in the world, in favor of Fox & Friends..

Inside Climate News:

The nation’s intelligence community warned in its annual assessment of worldwide threats that climate change and other kinds of environmental degradation pose risks to global stability because they are “likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent through 2019 and beyond.”

Released Tuesday, the Worldwide Threat Assessment prepared by the Director of National Intelligence added to a swelling chorus of scientific and national security voices in pointing out the ways climate change fuels widespread insecurity and erodes America’s ability to respond to it.

“Climate hazards such as extreme weather, higher temperatures, droughts, floods, wildfires, storms, sea level rise, soil degradation, and acidifying oceans are intensifying, threatening infrastructure, health, and water and food security,” said the report, which represents the consensus view among top intelligence officials. “Irreversible damage to ecosystems and habitats will undermine the economic benefits they provide, worsened by air, soil, water, and marine pollution.”

In just the past two weeks, the Pentagon sent a report to Congress describing extreme weather and climate risks to dozens of critical military installations. (House leaders on Wednesday asked for more details, including an assessment of the 10 bases in each service most vulnerable to climate change.) The Government Accountability Office also recommended the State Department resume providing guidance to U.S. diplomats about climate change and migration. Last week, a scientific paper concluded that drought driven by climate change and the subsequent fights over water resources increased the likelihood of armed conflict in the Middle East from 2011–2015, which in turn triggered waves refugees.

The United Nations Security Council also held a discussion on Friday devoted to understanding and responding to how climate change acts as a “threat multiplier” in countries where governance is already fragile and resources are sparse.

Below, Colbert’s condolences to the Vortex-clobbered midwest… Read the rest of this entry »

This is quite good, actually.

Jennifer Francis has been a friend of this series for some years – when I first started interviewing her long ago, her work was considered a bit on the cutting edge.

Now mainstream.

Today I posted this clarifying graphic on our current situation.


Anchorage AK 47 F warmer than Chicago, IL                                        Click Image for Larger

Below, I think this is the first video in which I interviewed Dr. Francis. Read the rest of this entry »


Per Bill McKibben today:

‘Charlie on the MTA’ is one of the great political protest songs of all time–a call for affordable public transit. The woman who wrote it (in 1949) died today

Remembered as one of the opening shots of what U. Utah Phillips called the “Great Folk Scare” of the 60s.

Boston Globe:

When Jacqueline Steiner wrote most of the lyrics in 1949 for what is popularly known as “Charlie on the MTA,” she considered it a “toss-off, an occasional song that would soon be forgotten” — a fate much like what befell poor Charlie, who was trapped forever on the subway.

Instead, it became one of the best-known Boston songs — rivaled only by such anthems as “Dirty Water” — and the namesake of the modern-day MBTA’s CharlieCard. After the Kingston Trio recorded a hit version in 1959, fans across the country sent the Metropolitan Transportation Authority envelopes stuffed with nickels to help Charlie pay the 5-cent increase in an exit fare and end his eternal ride.

Listeners needed only to hear the song once to clap and sing along with the unforgettable refrain:

But did he ever return,

No, he never returned

And his fate is still unlearned

He may ride forever, ’neath the streets of Boston

He’s the man who never returned

“I am continually amazed that people — it doesn’t matter where they’re from — still know the song, which we wrote all those long years ago,” she told the Globe in 1998.

That was the year Walter A. O’Brien Jr. died. It was on his behalf that Ms. Steiner and Bess Lomax Hawes penned what is officially titled “MTA” — a campaign song for O’Brien, a Progressive Party candidate who finished last in the Boston’s 1949 mayoral race.

O’Brien opposed the MTA’s 5-cent fare increase, but that resonated too little in an election most remembered as the first time John B. Hynes defeated James Michael Curley.

The song’s original last verse, which Ms. Steiner recorded in 1949 with others in the group Boston People’s Artists, included a plug for Walter O’Brien’s campaign. In the Kingston Trio’s somewhat reworked version, the first name “George” was substituted — probably as a hedge in the red-baiting McCarthy era, when name-checking a progressive like O’Brien could prompt radio stations to avoid playing a song.

Hawes, whose father and brother — John and Alan — were famed folk musicologists, wrote the verse that makes listeners chuckle and think:

Charlie’s wife goes down to the Scollay Square Station

Every day at quarter past two

And through the open window

She hands Charlie a sandwich

As the train comes rumbling through. Read the rest of this entry »

WVLT Knoxville:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) – Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin made some controversial comments while appearing on a Louisville to talk radio show.

He spent most of his visit discussing many things such as the pension crisis and issues with Senate Bill 151.

He also talked about how America is becoming soft because schools are closing due to cold.

“There is no ice going with it or any snow, I mean what happens to America? We’re getting soft,” said Bevin.

Bevin went on to say that it is better to err on the side of caution, but he believes that this is setting a bad example for the youth.

“It does concern me a little bit that in America, on this and many other fronts, we’re sending messages to our young people that if life is hard you can curl up in the fetal position somewhere in a warm place and just wait until it stops being hard, and that just isn’t reality,” said Bevin.


Click for larger


Associated Press:

TRUMP: “In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming (sic)? Please come back fast, we need you!”

THE FACTS: While the Midwest is in the grip of a chill that’s likely to set records, Earth is still considerably warmer than it was 30 years ago and especially 100 years ago.

The lower 48 states make up only 1.6 percent of the globe and five western states are warmer than normal. The Earth as a whole — and it is global warming, not U.S. warming — on Tuesday is 0.54 degrees (0.3 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1979 to 2000 average and 1.6 degrees warmer than it was on average about 100 years ago, according to data from the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer and NASA.

“This is simply an extreme weather event and not representative of global scale temperature trends,” said Northern Illinois University climate scientist Victor Gensini, who is in the midst of some of the worst subfreezing cold. “The exact opposite is happening in Australia right now.”

Australia is broiling with triple-digit heat that is setting records opposite the Midwest. Adelaide last week was 115.9 degrees (46.6 Celsius), setting the record for the highest temperature ever set by a major Australian city.

Trump is cherry picking cold weather to ignore the larger picture of a warming planet, said John Cook, a professor of climate change communications at George Mason University.

“This myth is like arguing that nighttime proves the sun doesn’t exist,” Cook said.

Washington Post:

In Wisconsin, the governor has declared a state of emergency, and many school districts called off classes ahead of a bone-chilling week of weather. The looming deep freeze led to federal court closures in Chicago and shut down the Lincoln Park Zoo — though polar bears will still be allowed outside. Flights were grounded. Amtrak canceled trains running in parts of the Midwest. Utility companies scrambled 24-hour response teams, because as one executive told The Post, “In these kinds of events, people just cannot be out of power.”

As millions of people across the nation braced for a possibly life-threatening cold snap, President Trump late Monday used the opportunity to mock the idea that climate change is actually happening, while misspelling the word “warming.”

“In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder,” Trump tweeted. “People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Please come back fast, we need you!”

Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve weighed in on the “methane bomb” topic before – but for this video I was fortunate to catch up with some key experts at December’s American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

Katey Walter Anthony is well known for the series of “flaming lake” videos that she and her students produced in past years, illustrating methane production in arctic lakes.

I understand U. of Alaska higher ups have some concerns about safety and have asked the kids to tone it down.

I also talked to Ben Abbott, who got his PhD studying permafrost at UA Fairbanks – and is now at Brigham Young. Ben is a terrific communicator that I’ve followed since he was a grad student years ago.

Ben told me about a young woman who contacted him with questions about the “Arctic Methane Bomb” – Juliana Musheyev had, like a number of folks, I suspect, gotten completely consumed with the conspiratorial disaster porn of the Methane bomb crowd (“imminent human extinction”).
To her credit, Musheyev actually did real research in the literature, including contacting experts like Ben.  Her questions lead her to research by Carolyn Ruppel – who has been leader of the USGS Gas Hydrates project, and is one of the foremost experts globally on the topic.  I’ve interviewed Dr. Ruppel by Skype before, and was delighted to meet her in person last month.

She has a lot to say, some of which is in the vid, and more of which I’ll be posting here very soon.