Appropriate for today.

A lot of Americans are getting it that weather is becoming more severe due to climate change.
Marketers have noticed – and they want customers to know they understand.

And make sure those hands have gloves.

Winter is Warming. Really.

January 28, 2019

First make sure you have your long johns and wool socks ready – if you are in the upper midwest United States, we’re in for a cold snap.
The polar vortex is at it again, and we’ve discussed how that’s related to climate change. ( see above for what it’s doing today – Monday, 1/28/19) Note the freight train of cold air coming down from the Canadian Archipelago onto the upper midwest.

But the bigger picture is warmer winters. Climate Central has a nice tool to look at temp records in your city – but if you want confirmation, ask your local ski resort operator.


Climate Central:

A mid-winter cold snap has hit much of the country, but these episodes are becoming less frequent with climate change. Low temperatures and ample snowfall are a must for winter recreation — an industry that contributed more than $20 billion to the national economy in the 2015-2016 season. These conditions are under threat from warming winters, according to a new report from Climate Central.

Warming is affecting regional snowfall patterns differently,  but from the 1970s to 2010s, 57 of the 107 analyzed weather stations saw the average annual snowfall trend downward by at least an inch. The biggest losers were Flagstaff, Arizona; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Casper, Wyoming — all historically snowy Western cities that are getting drieroverall. Since the 1970s, annual snowfall has dropped by a total of 48, 31, and 29 inches in those cities, respectively.


Click for Larger

However, warming of the Great Lakes has hindered ice formation and increased the evaporation that fuels lake effect snow. Annual snowfall totals in Marquette, Michigan; Erie, Pennsylvania; and Youngstown, Ohio have climbed by respective totals of 68, 33, and 30 inches in the last half-century. Trends have also climbed more than 10 inches in Northeastern cities like Philadelphia, Boston, and New York, as a warmer atmosphere leads to more heavy precipitation events where it is still cold enough to support snow. Still, future warming will mean fewer days below freezing and more rain than snow, as shown in our 2016 report, “Meltdown.”



Lake Superior on January 21, 2019.  As the Great Lakes are more often ice free in wintertime, increased evaporation can lead to Lake Effect snowfalls across the upper midwest. Click image for larger.

Snow-friendly temperatures are declining across the country. In the last half-century, winters have warmed by more than 2°F in 78 percent of the 244 cities analyzed. Seventeen cities have warmed by more than 5°F, led by a 7°F increase in Burlington, Vermont. And according to Climate Impact Lab, every state in the contiguous U.S. will see fewer days with below-freezing lows by midcentury, shortening winter recreation seasons.

Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions would limit these effects. In Colorado, the nation’s top winter sports economy, unchecked emissions would cause 34 fewer below-freezing days per year by the 2040-2059 period, compared to the 1981-2010 average. But if the world meets its Paris Agreement pledges to reduce emissions, Colorado could save 8 snow-friendly days per year. For the state’s 43,000 winter recreation jobs, a salvaged week could make a major difference.

Deniers often get confused about the physics of snow.

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Is AMOC Running Amuck?

January 28, 2019

Stefan Rahmstorf in RealClimate:

Last year, twenty thousand peer reviewed studies on ‘climate change’ were published. No single person can keep track of all those – you’d have to read 55 papers every single day. (And, by the way, that huge mass of publications is why climate deniers will always find something to cherry-pick that suits their agenda.) That is why climate assessments are so important, where a lot of scientists pool their expertise and discuss and assess and summarize the state of the art.

So let us have a quick look what last year’s climate assessments say about the much-discussed topic of whether the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC, a.k.a. Gulf Stream System) has already slowed down, as predicted by climate models in response to global warming.

First, there is the IPCC 1.5 °C report (SR15) prepared for the Paris Climate Agreement and published in September 2018. It doesn’t say all that much about the AMOC, given that it is not a full IPCC assessment, but it does say this:

It is more likely than not that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) has been weakening  in recent decades, given the detection of the cooling of surface waters in the north Atlantic and evidence that  the Gulf Stream has slowed by 30% since the late 1950s (Srokosz and Bryden, 2015; Caesar et al., 2018).  There is only limited evidence linking the current anomalously week state of AMOC to anthropogenic warming (Caesar et al., 2018). It is very likely that the AMOC will weaken over the 21 st century. […]

Weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is projected to be highly disruptive to natural and human systems as the delivery of heat to higher latitudes via this current system is reduced.

Then, in November, the 4th US National Climate Assessment was published that had been two years in the making. It says:

The primary concern related to ocean circu­lation is the potential slowing of the Atlantic Ocean Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). An AMOC slowdown would affect poleward heat transport, regional climate, sea level rise along the East Coast of the United States, and the overall response of the Earth’s climate system to human-induced change. […]

As the atmosphere warms, surface waters entering the North Atlantic may release less heat and become diluted by increased freshwater melt from Greenland and Northern Hemisphere glaciers. Both of these factors would slow the rate of sinking and weaken the entire AMOC.

Though observational data have been insuffi­cient to determine if a long-term slowdown in the AMOC began during the 20th century, one recent study quantifies a 15% weakening since the mid-20th century and another, a weakening over the last 150 years. Over the next few decades, however, it is very likely that the AMOC will weaken.

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Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis:

Only one day after the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected that coal’s decline will slow, gas will dominate the future energy mix and that wind will peter out after the PTC ends, one of the nation’s largest and arguably its most successful power companies has a very different forecast for the future.

In NextEra Energy’s fourth quarter results call, CEO Jim Robo dropped another bombshell, with his statement that solar and wind plus storage will be cheaper than coal, oil or nuclear, that this will be “massively disruptive to the conventional fleet” and that it will provide opportunities for developers well through the next decade.

Robo’s exact math is that even after the federal tax credits expire, wind will be 2 – 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, large-scale solar will be 2.5 – 3 cents, and storage will add .5 – 1 cent. This would put these resources slightly below the current cost of natural gas-fired generation, without the uncertainty around fuel prices that is inherent to gas.

These comments came as NextEra announced a strong fourth quarter and full year 2018, including growing renewable energy development. NextEra Energy Resources, the company’s competitive power arm, put 326 MW of solar online, including 125 MW of distributed generation. This represents a more than 50% growth on 2017 installation levels, but the company is just getting started.

NextEra already holds contracts for 1,773 MW of solar projects expected to come online in 2019 and 2020. Underlying the uncertainty around project development, it says that it could put anywhere from around 900 MW to 3.3 GW online over the next two years. Beyond that, NextEra also has 1,521 MW of solar projects which are slated to come online after 2020.

The company’s energy storage development is also growing. While the company’s 37 MW of deployments in 2018 was only 23% larger than 2017, NextEra also has 50 MW of batteries planned for 2019-2020, and 415 in the post-2020 timeframe.


We’ve had 10,000 years of relative climate stability.

That may be ending.

Glaciologist Alun Hubbard, interviewed at Narsarsuaq, Greenland, August 2018.

Remember this story from a few year’s back?

BBC – 2009:

The extraordinary true story of a Malawian teenager who transformed his village by building electric windmills out of junk is the subject of a new book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

Self-taught William Kamkwamba has been feted by climate change campaigners like Al Gore and business leaders the world over.

His against-all-odds achievements are all the more remarkable considering he was forced to quit school aged 14 because his family could no longer afford the $80-a-year (£50) fees.

When he returned to his parents’ small plot of farmland in the central Malawian village of Masitala, his future seemed limited.

But this was not another tale of African potential thwarted by poverty.

Defence against hunger

The teenager had a dream of bringing electricity and running water to his village.

And he was not prepared to wait for politicians or aid groups to do it for him.

The need for action was even greater in 2002 following one of Malawi’s worst droughts, which killed thousands of people and left his family on the brink of starvation.

Unable to attend school, he kept up his education by using a local library.

Fascinated by science, his life changed one day when he picked up a tattered textbook and saw a picture of a windmill.

Mr Kamkwamba told the BBC News website: “I was very interested when I saw the windmill could make electricity and pump water.

“I thought: ‘That could be a defence against hunger. Maybe I should build one for myself’.”

When not helping his family farm maize, he plugged away at his prototype, working by the light of a paraffin lamp in the evenings.

But his ingenious project met blank looks in his community of about 200 people.

“Many, including my mother, thought I was going crazy,” he recalls. “They had never seen a windmill before.”


Neighbours were further perplexed at the youngster spending so much time scouring rubbish tips.

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Minus 9 F in Mid-Michigan this morning.


Video below explains why.

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Wokee from Muskogee

January 26, 2019


Build wind power in Oklahoma – the Sooner the better.

I’m here all week…

Muskogee Phoenix:

Oklahoma never will be a Top 10 state if lawmakers insist on pushing bills that would take the state backward instead of positioning it for the future.

Four state senators filed legislation clearly intended to hobble Oklahoma’s wind industry. It is no surprise the senators who filed five bills list contributors from the oil and gas sector among some of the largest contributors to their campaigns.  

Three bills would place greater restrictions on wind farm siting, requiring additional setbacks and notifications for those where there might be a perception of interference with not only military air space but private airports as well. These bills were filed by Sens. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, Casey Murdock, R-Felt, and Adam Pugh, R-Edmond. 

A fourth bill, filed by Sen. Mark Allen, R-Spiro, would create a new 50-cent per kilowatt hour fee for converting alternating current to direct current electricity. Allen filed another bill that would reduce from 12 months to 90 days the time a company has to complete the decommissioning process and remove materials that cannot be recycled from the state.

While precautions are necessary to ensure safe flying, anti-wind legislation filed in Oklahoma during the past few years are onerous attempts to hobble an industry that has a promising future in this state. These lawmakers and others undoubtedly are carrying water — likely contaminated — for the oil and gas industry threatened by the an alternative source of energy consumers are demanding.

Oklahoma ranks second nationwide for installed wind capacity, generating enough electricity in 2017 to power 2.3 million homes. The wind industry, which directly and indirectly supported 8,000 to 9,000 jobs that year in Oklahoma, provided that electricity while using virtually no water and pumping no carbon dioxide into the air. 

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On Thursday, Thunberg gave an impromptu speech at a lunch with a star-studded guest list that included music stars Bono and, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, and an array of bankers and investors. She roasted them.
“Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we will have created, but that is not true, because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame,” Thunberg said flatly. “Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”

There was a short pause in the room before Bono started clapping.


Maybe it’s the disasters. Maybe it’s the change in seasons. Maybe it’s the science.

But people are waking up to climate change.

Rob Meyer in The Atlantic:

The polls suggest that public opinion about climate change is in a state of upheaval. Even as President Donald Trump has cast doubt on climate change, most Americans have rejected his position. Record numbers of Americans describe climate change as a real and present danger. Nearly a quarter of the country says they already see its tidings in their day-to-day life, saying “personal observations of weather” helped convince them of climate change’s reality.

Despite this increasing acceptance, there is no clear political path forward. Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes” were needed to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius. Such a transformation would be, in other words, expensive. But almost 70 percent of Americans say they wouldn’t pay $10 every month to help cool the warming planet.

Yale Program on Climate Change Communications:

Our latest national survey finds that a large majority of Americans think global warming is happening, outnumbering those who don’t by more than 5 to 1. Americans are also growing more certain that global warming is happening and more aware that it is caused by human activities. Certainty has increased 14 percentage points since March 2015, with 51% of the public now “extremely” or “very sure” that global warming is happening. Sixty-two percent of the public now understands that global warming is caused mostly by human activities, an increase of 10 points over that same time period.

  • Seven in ten Americans (73%) think global warming is happening, an increase of ten percentage points since March 2015. Only about one in seven Americans (14%) think global warming is not happening. Americans who think global warming is happening outnumber those who think it isn’t by more than a 5 to 1 ratio.
  • Americans are also increasingly certain that global warming is happening – 51% are “extremely” or “very” sure it is happening, an increase of 14 percentage points since March 2015, matching the highest level since 2008. By contrast, far fewer – 7% – are “extremely” or “very sure” global warming is not happening.

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