Associated Press:

The world’s oceans have suddenly spiked much hotter and well above record levels in the last few weeks, with scientists trying to figure out what it means and whether it forecasts a surge in atmospheric warming.

Some researchers think the jump in sea surface temperatures stems from a brewing and possibly strong natural El Nino warming weather condition plus a rebound from three years of a cooling La Nina, all on top of steady global warming that is heating deeper water below. If that’s the case, they said, record-breaking ocean temperatures this month could be the first in many heat records to shatter.

From early March to this week, the global average ocean sea surface temperature jumped nearly two-tenths of a degree Celsius (0.36 degree Fahrenheit), according to the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, which climate scientists use and trust. That may sound small, but for the average of the world’s oceans — which is 71% of Earth’s area —to rise so much in that short a time, “that’s huge,” said University of Colorado climate scientist Kris Karnauskas. “That’s an incredible departure from what was already a warm state to begin with.”

Climate scientists have been talking about the warming on social media and amongst themselves. Some, like University of Pennsylvania’s Michael Mann, quickly dismiss concerns by saying it is merely a growing El Nino on top of a steady human-caused warming increase.

It has warmed especially off the coast of Peru and Ecuador, where before the 1980s most El Ninos began. El Nino is the natural warming of parts of the equatorial Pacific that changes weather worldwide and spikes global temperatures. Until last month, the world has been in the flip side, a cooling called La Nina, that has been unusually strong and long, lasting three years and causing extreme weather.

Other climate scientists, including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oceanographer Gregory C. Johnson, say it doesn’t appear to be just El Nino. There are several marine heat waves or ocean warming spots that don’t fit an El Nino pattern, such as those in the northern Pacific near Alaska and off the coast of Spain, he said. 

“This is an unusual pattern. This is an extreme event at a global scale” in areas that don’t fit with merely an El Nino, said Princeton University climate scientist Gabe Vecchi. “That is a huge, huge signal. I think it’s going to take some level of effort to understand it.”

The University of Colorado’s Karnauskas took global sea surface temperature anomalies over the past several weeks and subtracted the average temperature anomalies from earlier in the year to see where the sudden burst of warming is highest. He found a long stretch across the equator from South America to Africa, including both the Pacific and Indian oceans, responsible for much of the global temperature spike. 

That area warmed four-tenths of a degree Celsius in just 10 to 14 days, which is highly unusual, Karnauskas said.

Part of that area is clearly a brewing El Nino, which scientists may confirm in the next couple months and they can see it gathering strength, Karnauskas said. But the area in the Indian Ocean is different and could be a coincidental independent increase or somehow connected to what may be a big El Nino, he said.

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Carlson will also be remembered as one of the most prolific disseminators of misinformation on the climate crisis in recent memory.

“Will get lost amid the noise of his sudden departure, but it should not be forgotten that Tucker Carlson has been one of the very worst spreaders of misinformation, conspiracy theories and falsehoods about climate change over the past decade in the US media,” Leo Hickman, editor of climate-focused publication Carbon Brief, tweeted.

Tucker Carlson Tonight was a hotbed of fossil-fuel industry talking points, wackadoo conspiracy theories and monologues interwoven with racist, misogynistic, xenophobic and homophobic material.

He claimed that the “existence of winter disproves the science of climate change”; called climate science a “state religion”; said scientists and activists “bully” people like him and “hate the Earth… hate nature.”

According to New York Times analysis, Carlson’s most basic, fearmongering trope was “You vs Them”, a notion that he also used on climate topics.

In July 2021, for example, he claimed that Texas’ power companies were automatically raising the temperature of residents’ thermostats during a heatwave without permission. “Woo! That’s not creepy or anything,” he told his viewers.

(In reality, Texas’s smart thermostat energy conservation program has been around for 20 years and customers choose to enroll in the program in exchange for rebates, fact-checking site Politifact reported.)

While often scientifically and factually incoherent, the segments played well with his older, white, conservative audience by deploying such themes as government overreach, tax hikes, liberal elites, and globalism.

“Tucker Carlson and other hosts at Fox News have been prolific and influential spreaders of climate misinformation,” Dr John Cook, a senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne and an expert on misinformation, told The Independent via email.

“The problem is there’s no climate version of Dominion to hold them to account for misleading the public about climate change.

“Instead it’s the public and the environment that will pay the price for delayed climate action due to misinformation, in the years and decades to come.”

Perhaps most tragic of all, is that there’s serious doubt that Carlson believed a word of it.

The discovery process of the Dominion lawsuit revealed a glut of Carlson’s text messages and emails which exposed him as scornful of stories which he presented to his audience as “truth”.

But his primetime show keenly used exhaustive “minute-by-minute” ratings data, The New York Times recently reported, to keep close tabs on what kept people tuning in.

The Independent has contacted Carlson’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman, for comment.

Peddling outright denial of climate change has become a harder sell in recent years as Americans experience more deadly heatwaves, wildfires, hurricanes, droughts and floods.

Thus climate misinformation has morphed, becoming more insidious, and designed to confuse people with feelings of hopelessness, cynicism and mistrust.

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Yashar’s Newsletter:

Conservative media host and commentator Steven Crowder can be seen on a Ring Camera video berating his wife Hilary, who was at the time nearly eight months pregnant, and demanding that she handle medicine for his dogs that she was concerned was toxic to pregnant women. In the video, he snaps at her to put on her gloves to give his dogs medicine, walk the dogs, and otherwise “perform wifely duties,” as she is clearly emotionally distressed.

Towards the end of the exchange, Hilary Crowder says to her husband, “Your abuse is sick,” he snaps at her, saying, “Watch it. Fucking watch it.” 

Moments later, off camera, Steven Crowder, by his admission, would lose control and scream at his pregnant wife in a threatening tone, “I will fuck you up,” which led his wife to flee their home. 

In a statement sent to me by Hilary Crowder’s family, they say that she spent years hiding her husband’s mental and emotional abuse from her family, that he lied about the circumstances around their divorce, and that he wasn’t present for the birth of their children. 

Documentary evidence I reviewed while reporting this story backs up their assertions.

Trigger warning on video below.

It’s 2023.

Wilmington Star-News (Delaware):

New research reinforces what scientists and others have been warning about the ocean along the North Carolina coast: The sea is rising faster than in most other parts of the United States, and faster than what most scientists had expected.

“It’s very worrisome,” said Dr. Phil Bresnahan, an oceanographer at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. “I don’t think there’s any way around that conclusion.”

Closer to home, a recent study led by researchers from Tulane University found sea rise along the U.S. Southeast and Gulf coasts have reached record-breaking levels over the past 12 years.

The study, published late last month in the journal Nature Communications, found that researchers had detected rates of sea-level rise of about 0.5 inches a year since 2010. While that might not sound like a lot, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says average sea level has risen by 0.14 inches since the early 1990s.

“These rapid rates are unprecedented over at least the 20th century and they have been three times higher than the global average over the same period,” said Dr. Sönke Dangendorf, one of the study’s lead researchers and an assistant professor at Tulane, in a university release.

The scientists found that the accelerated sea-level rise ran from roughly Cape Hatteras to the Gulf of Mexico and into the North Atlantic and the Caribbean − an area known as the Subtropical Gyre. The paper theorized that the gyre, which is a rotating ocean current, has been altered by warming ocean temperatures − which expands water − and changing wind patterns.

Dr. Molly Mitchell, research assistant professor at VIMS, said the Carolinas have seen a significant acceleration in rising ocean levels over the past few years.

“The southern Mid-Atlantic area has been showing an acceleration rate over that time period that is a little bit higher from when we first started,” she said.

Mitchell said there could be a range of large-scale factors impacting why that’s happening, including increased ice sheet melting and changing circulation patterns. But because the tide gauges reflect very local signals, they also could be influenced by factors such as a change in water flows, drought, sinking land masses − a major problem in much of northeastern North Carolina − or other local climate and geological conditions.

I’ve tracked the Palisades Nuclear Plant since it was first being constructed – a troubled process.
During the construction phase, the Utility, then known as Consumers Power, sued the contractor, Bechtel, saying that defects in the construction process rendered the facility, one attorney told me – “a dangerous instrumentality”.
Nonetheless, Palisades, sited on the Michigan shore of Lake Michigan a couple hours north of Chicago, went into service, but the road was bumpy. Engineers encountered a number of then poorly understood problems, including corrosion of heat exchangers, so called “Green Grunge” that seemed to be exacerbated by the interaction of exotic alloys with high radiation.
For several years in the early 80s, Palisades availability was as low as 8 percent.
But over time, engineers worked the bugs out and were able to operate successfully. The plant was sold to a third party operator, and performed more or less steadily and economically for decades, until the last few years, when yet another operator took over, intending to manage shutdown and decommissioning.
At that point, anxieties about the need for carbon free power lead to several attempts to secure federal funding to keep the plant open. Those efforts failed, and the plant was abruptly closed in May 2022, due to some problems with seals on control rods.

Now there are efforts to restart, something that has never been done before with a plant of this type.

Detroit News:

The Florida-based owner of a shuttered nuclear power plant on the shores of Lake Michigan is asking the State of Michigan for roughly $300 million in taxpayer assistance to help it restart operations at the Palisades Nuclear Generating Station.

Holtec International approached a few regional lawmakers recently about the plan, but a formal request has not yet been made to the state, said Rep. Joey Andrews, a St. Joseph Democrat who represents Covert Township in Van Buren County, where the nuclear plant is located.

“It’s bridge money to help them get from ending the decommissioning process to beginning operating against,” Andrews said of the funding request, which was first reported by The Herald-Palladium.

The more than 50-year-old plan was decommissioned by then-owner Entergy Nuclear last year before the company sold the facility to Holtec. The nuclear power plant shut down last May.

Holtec said it was approached by the state last month to restart the plant to address “the need for zero-emission clean energy.” Representatives for the energy company presented plans last month to resume operations at the plant to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

On Wednesday, the company said it was hopeful it’s discussions with the federal government and state would “produce a winning solution.”

“As we work with the Department of Energy through the loan application process, the financial commitment from Michigan and a power purchase agreement are both essential to making a return to operations feasible,” said Patrick O’Brien, director of government affairs and communications for Holtec International.

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The commentary below in the LA Times made a splash a few days ago. Illustrates concerns about the US charging network.

Los Angeles Times:

I love my electric car. I really do.

I love how I never have to buy gas. I love how it glides quietly up the street. I love that it has so much pickup that I can easily blow past gas-powered muscle cars if I want to. I love having stickers that allow me to drive solo in the HOV lanes. I love that routine maintenance consists of little more than rotating the tires.

But after three years, I am thinking seriously of trading it in for the gas-powered hybrid plug-in version.

Why? Because as much as I love my car, I loathe that I can’t travel around California, a state has led the electric car revolution, with confidence that I can get a charge when I need one.

Yes, there are significantly more public charging stations than when I first got behind the wheel of my Kia Niro EV in January 2020. But there are also significantly more electric vehicles vying to use them — and still vast areas of the state without a single fast charger. Chargers are more reliable now, but still not quite good enough. In 2020, it felt like half the public chargers I tried to use weren’t working. These days, l find only about a quarter are out. This jibes with the experience of researchers who checked public fast chargers at 181 charging stations in the Bay Area last year and found that about 23% weren’t functional.

Even with more chargers, they still aren’t easy to find. I have an app that helps, but it only gives me a general location. Public charging stations are often tucked away in remote corners of parking lots or behind buildings with no helpful signage. They may be accessible only during business hours or, if in a hotel, only for paying guests to use. 

It’s not uncommon to locate a charging station and discover that all the chargers are in use or blocked by cars not charging. Or, most frustratingly, the chargers may be offline or nonfunctional — which you may not discover until you park, plug in and try to start the charger. And even if the stars align and you find an available charger that works, it may shut off mid-charge with no warning or reason. 

When I chose an electrical vehicle, I knew that meant an extra 30 minutes in travel time for each charging stop during a road trip. But I did not count on the time wasted by having to, for example, backtrack to another station or one out of my way because the charging station on my route was not working.


In 2021, installed slow chargers in China increased by 35% to about 680 000 publicly accessible units, more than four times the number of slow chargers available in 2018. However, growth has been much slower in the pandemic period than in previous years. Between 2015 and 2020, the average annual growth rate was over 60%.

Europe ranks second with over 300 000 slow chargers in 2021, a 30% year-on-year increase. The Netherlands leads in Europe with more than 80 000 slow chargers, followed by 50 000 in France, 40 000 in Germany, 30 000 in the United Kingdom, 20 000 in Italy and just over 12 000 in both Norway and Sweden. The stock of slow chargers in the United States increased by 12% to 92 000 in 2021, the slowest increase among major markets. In Korea, it increased by nearly 70% to over 90 000.

To ensure ready access to charging and spur good manufacturing jobs at home, President Biden has publicly committed to building out a convenient, reliable, and user-friendly national network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030.  

Salt Lake Tribune:

For the first time in five years, high volumes of water are gushing from the drought-depleted Lake Powell, replicating the spring floods that would naturally occur were the Colorado River not dammed at Glen Canyon.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Monday opened the gates at Glen Canyon Dam allowing up to 39,500 cubic feet per second, or cfs, to pour into the river channel at Lees Ferry, sending a flood-stage surge of water through Grand Canyon. That’s like the contents of 27 Olympic swimming pools a minute spouting through the bottom of the dam.

“These experiments are really designed to recreate habitat and the physical attributes that would have existed downstream from the dam, but for the existence of the dam,” said Amy Haas, executive director of the Colorado River Authority of Utah (CRAU), at last’s week board meeting. “In this case, what I’m talking about is building up sandbars using sediment that has accumulated.”

The 72-hour experiment comes as Lake Powell begins to rebound from record low levels as the runoff from record-setting snowpack begins to flow into the upper Colorado River.

Under a plan approved in 2012, the bureau had been conducting high-flow experiments almost annually until 2018. Since then, a string of dry years and excessive water use have depressed levels of Lake Powell, which today is only 23% full, sitting at 3,525 feet above sea level.

That is about to change drastically in the coming weeks as the upper Colorado basin’s snowpacks, which are 157% of normal, melt and flow into Powell and upstream reservoirs. The lake level is projected to climb by more than 50 feet this year, according to Bart Leeflang, the CRAU’s hydrologist.

“If there is a time to gloat about hydrology, now is the time to do it,” he said at last week’s board meeting. “It is amazing what has happened between March and April.”

What happened in those months was a big snowpack getting bigger, holding twice as much water in some places as normal for this time of year, coming after back-to-back years of skimpy snow accumulations. According to Bureau projections, the lake level is expected to peak in July at 3,591 feet, 71 feet above its historic low recorded April 13.

“A couple years ago, we were bemoaning the fact that we had lost 2 million acre-feet from April to May [from Lake Powell],” Leeflang said. “And now you see that we picked up 2 million acre-feet in two weeks in March.”

At 3,576 feet, Powell would still remain 124 feet below full pool, holding just 39% of its capacity. This year’s bounty doesn’t put an end to the crisis on the Colorado River, which supplies 40 million Westerners and irrigates 5 million acres, but it buys Utah and the six other basin states time to find a lasting solution to the river’s chronic deficits. It may even rescue boating this summer at Lake Powell, among Utah’s top recreation draws, where most of the ramps are high and dry and marinas are unusable.

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