While Americans are preoccupied with the antics of an insane criminal president, the world spins on.

Perennial tensions between nuclear armed India and Pakistan boiled over – and above, two senior glacier experts remind us that as a warming climate causes glaciers to retreat in the Himalayas, water and food pressures will increase in the most densely populated areas of the world.

Jeff Masters in Weather Underground:

As nuclear-armed India and Pakistan engage in military clashes over the disputed Kashmir region, consider that a “limited” nuclear war between them is capable of causing a catastrophic global nuclear winter that could kill two billion people. The inevitable wars and diseases that would break out could kill hundreds of millions more.

A 2008 paper by Brian Toon of the University of Colorado, Alan Robock of Rutgers University, and Rich Turco of UCLA, “Environmental Consequences of Nuclear War”, concluded that a war between India and Pakistan using fifty Hiroshima-sized weapons with 15-kiloton yield on each country, exploded on cities, would immediately kill or injure about forty-five million people. However, the final toll would be global and astronomically higher, according to recent research.

The most recent study of the environmental aftermath of a nuclear conflict, Mills et al. 2014, Multidecadal global cooling and unprecedented ozone loss following a regional nuclear conflict, used an Earth system climate model including atmospheric chemistry, ocean dynamics, and interactive sea ice and land components, to investigate a limited nuclear war where each side detonates fifty 15-kiloton weapons over urban areas—less than half of the existing arsenals of the approximately 140 warheads each that India and Pakistan have. These urban explosions were assumed to start 100 firestorms. Firestorms are self-feeding fires that suck air into themselves and generate immense columns of rising smoke which lofts into the stratosphere, where it spreads globally. The model predicted the smoke would block enough sunlight for the Earth to experience the coldest temperatures since the last ice age, thousands of years ago.

nuclear-winter-temp-change

 

 

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A climate denial crock of so, so, many weeks ago blooms afresh.

The ever-repeating idea that “real” scientists are not being heard, or drowned out in the global plot by evil UN conspirators. Plays good for paranoid old folks, I guess – but it’s run its course. The proof?
Trump.

Washington Post:

The White House plans to create an ad hoc group of select federal scientists to reassess the government’s analysis of climate science and counter conclusions that the continued burning of fossil fuels is harming the planet, according to three senior administration officials.

The National Security Council initiative would include scientists who question the severity of climate impacts and the extent to which humans contribute to the problem, according to these individuals, who asked for anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

The group would not be subject to the same level of public disclosure as a formal advisory committee.

The move would represent the Trump administration’s most forceful effort to date to challenge the scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions are helping drive global warming and that the world could face dire consequences unless countries curb their carbon output over the next few decades.

Axios:

We’re at the beginning of a make-or-break period to confront global warming. A combination of forces, from dire scientific reports to extreme weather events, have crystallized a movement to action.

The big picture: A rare convergence of science that reveals the urgency of the problem; extreme events that highlight threats almost nationwide; and shifting public views that are fueling support for stronger policies, scientists and polling experts say.

In the past 2 years, a spate of dire scientific reports have been published, each of which has hammered home the urgency of acting on this issue.

  • In October, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that the effects of global warming are already evident worldwide.
  • To avoid more severe impacts, the panel said greenhouse gas emissions should be cut by about 45% by 2030, relative to 2010 levels — a Herculean task compared to current global trends.
  • Another report the Trump administration released on Black Friday tied trends in wildfires, sea level rise, and other extreme events to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The collective message from these studies is that the actions we take in the next 10 to 20 years will be crucial to determining the climate for centuries to come.

 

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Grim but not hopeless.

wutip

Weather Underground:

Super Typhoon Wutip underwent an impressive burst of rapid intensification on Saturday morning, topping out as Category 4 super typhoon with a central pressure of 925 mb and sustained winds of 155 mph—just short of Category 5 strength. This makes Wutip the strongest Northwest Pacific typhoon ever observed in February, as well as the strongest tropical cyclone anywhere north of the equator in February.

According to NOAA’s Historical Hurricane Tracks database, only seven January and February Category 4 or Category 5 typhoons have been recorded in the Northwest Pacific since records began in the late 1940s. Wutip is tied with Super Typhoon Rose of January 1957 as the second strongest typhoon to form in these two months. The only stronger typhoon ever observed so early in the year was Super Typhoon Ophelia, which peaked as a Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds on January 13, 1958.

The previous strongest February typhoon on record was Super Typhoon Higos, which hit 150 mph winds on February 10, 2015.

Wutip rapidly intensified from a Category 3 storm with 120 mph winds to a top-end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds in 24 hours, under conditions that appeared marginal for rapid intensification: moderate wind shear of 15 – 20 knots combined with sea surface temperatures that declined from 29°C (84°F) to 27°C (81°F) along Wutip’s track. These water temperatures are near average for this time of year. As of Saturday afternoon (EST), satellite images showed that Wutip had likely reached its peak intensity, and I do not expect Wutip to become a Category 5 storm. The typhoon appeared to be undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle, and the intensity of the eyewall thunderstorms was waning.

 

greenface3

David Roberts on Twitter:

All right, I view the argument over personal carbon-cutting behavior as a toxic distraction, taking place almost entirely *within* the already insular climate community & mostly furnishing ways for ppl in that community to bash others in that community. And …

… the last few days reinforced that tenfold. So I want to share one last anecdote & then hopefully leave the subject behind. Pull up a chair.

Back around 2007, Al Gore’s first movie came out & green was briefly “cool” in pop culture. Magazines had glossy “green issues.”

“Green” popped up in commercials, movies, & sports events. And, most memorably for me personally, NBC instituted a “green week” during which all their programming would be, in some vague & poorly specified way, “green.” It was a strange & heady time.

“Green week” perfectly captured what went so horribly wrong with all this. The thing is, though Gore made climate “trend,” as we say these days, the vast, vast majority of people, including the people making pop culture, didn’t understand it.

Most people had no frame of reference whatsoever other than the simple fact that this was “environmental” — the latest thing environmentalists were going on about, some new kind of pollution, some new set of threatened critters, something something.

Lacking any guidance from NBC, or any user-friendly resources to learn more, the creatives behind NBC shows, forced to incorporate “green,” simply fell back on their pre-existing impressions & associations & stereotypes. And what were those? Funny you should ask. Read the rest of this entry »

Terri Kanefield on Twitter:

Trump & pals have positioned the goalposts: If Mueller doesn’t produce evidence of Trump crimes in each filing, it’s all a hoax.

I suspect Team Trump invented the nonsense that Mueller is ready to submit a report.

 Look how clever that was. It set up the expectation that the sentencing memo would contain Mueller’s endgame.

A sentencing memo is about the defendant: It gives a picture of the defendant beyond the crimes so the court can pass a sentence taking into account all factors👇

Click for larger

In looking to the Manafort sentencing report for evidence of Trump crimes, we’re allowing Trump & pals to frame—and simplify—the inquiry.

I suggest the sentencing memo IS about the big picture—but much bigger than Trump’s complicity in Russia’s attempt to sway the election.

The memo is about Manafort’s “brazen” lawbreaking that continued while he was Trump’s campaign manager, and even while he was under indictment.

The picture is of a man who habitually breaks laws, and lived his entirely life as if he’s above them.