Above, Pollster Ed Maibach: “The average American, while concerned about climate change, rarely, if ever, talks about it.
And the reason they don’t talk about it, is because they think they’re in the minority.”

Below: polling shows otherwise.

But First: New Trump budget proposal makes draconian cuts in Environmental and climate related programs.
His party holds seemingly unchecked power.

It’s not like they haven’t eff’d up something like this before.

Robinson Meyer in the Atlantic:

But a skinny budget proposal is still just a proposal—and a funny one at that. While this proposal hints at President Trump’s governance priorities, and serves as an initial negotiating position, it mostly markets his ideological bonafides to other Republicans. It’s fiduciary fan fiction for conservatives, basically, with little chance of becoming law. Not only will a tiny EPA be politically difficult to enact, but there are also sticky legal limits on the extent to which the non-military side of the government can be defunded.

It can hint at other negotiations, though: how much Cabinet secretaries are able to wrangle for their agencies. And on that front, there was a curious anecdote in Coral Davenport and Glenn Thrush’s New York Times story about how the Trump skinny budget came together. As you read it, remember that Obama left the EPA with a budget of $8.2 billion:

The E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, who has himself spoken out against some of the core missions of the agency he leads, went to the White House to request a smaller cut after the White House budget office first presented him its preferred spending level. He pressed for about $7 billion, according to the person. Instead, the White House slashed his budget down even further, to about $5.7 billion.

The Times is right: Scott Pruitt does seem to be “against some of the core missions of the agency.” He’s no environmentalist, either: He recently told CNBC that he doubted some of the most basic premises of climate science.

So if he hates the EPA so much, why is he fighting for more funding for it?
Read the rest of this entry »

Weather Underground:

The world’s costliest flood disaster of 2017 is still unfolding across parts of coastal Peru, where extreme rainfall atop normally dry terrain has led to episodes of major flooding over the last few weeks. More than 110,000 people have been displaced by flooding since December, according to Reuters, and more than 80 deaths have been reported.

The death toll makes the floods of 2017 Peru’s deadliest floods since 2009 – 2010, when 158 people died in flooding between December and March. Preliminary damages from the 2017 rains and flooding in Peru are estimated at $1.4 billion (0.7% of Peru’s GDP), according to insurance broker Aon Benfield. Significant damage has been done to Peru’s infrastructure, with 2,188 kilometers (1,360 miles) of main roads and 928 kilometers (577 miles) of rural roads destroyed, along with 194 bridges. Approximately 671 kilometers (417 miles) of irrigation canals have been destroyed and as many as 23,000 hectares (56,000 acres) of crops damaged or destroyed, including grapes, mangoes, and bananas.

In the video above, scientists connect extreme events to first order physics, i.e., warmer air holds more moisture.
Recent research dives deeper, making stronger connections between climate caused changes in the jet stream, and more extreme events.

Phys.Org:

Unprecedented summer warmth and flooding, forest fires, drought and torrential rain—extreme weather events are occurring more and more often, but now an international team of climate scientists has found a connection between many extreme weather events and the impact climate change is having on the jet stream.

“We came as close as one can to demonstrating a direct link between  change and a large family of extreme recent ,” said Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science and director, Earth System Science Center, Penn State. “Short of actually identifying the events in the climate models.”

The unusual  events that piqued the researchers’ interest are things such as the 2003 European , the 2010 Pakistan flood and Russian heatwave, the 2011 Texas and Oklahoma heat wave and drought and the 2015 California wildfires.

The researchers looked at a combination of roughly 50 climate models from around the world that are part of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), which is part of the World Climate Research Programme. These models are run using specific scenarios and producing simulated data that can be evaluated across the different models. However, while the models are useful for examining large-scale climate patterns and how they are likely to evolve over time, they cannot be relied on for an accurate depiction of extreme weather events. That is where actual observations prove critical.

The researchers looked at the historical atmospheric observations to document the conditions under which extreme weather patterns form and persist. These conditions occur when the jet stream, a global atmospheric wave of air that encompasses the Earth, becomes stationary and the peaks and troughs remain locked in place.

“Most stationary jet stream disturbances, however, will dissipate over time,” said Mann. “Under certain circumstances the wave disturbance is effectively constrained by an atmospheric wave guide, something similar to the way a coaxial cable guides a television signal. Disturbances then cannot easily dissipate, and very large amplitude swings in the jet stream north and south can remain in place as it rounds the globe.”

Scientists have been kicking these ideas around for years. More evidence now.

Guardian:

The new work analysed a type of extreme weather event known to be caused by changes in “planetary waves” – such as California’s ongoing record drought, and recent heatwaves in the US and Russia, as well as severe floods in Pakistan in 2010.

Planetary waves are a pattern of winds, of which the jet stream is a part, that encircle the northern hemisphere in lines that undulate from the tropics to the poles. Normally, the whole wave moves eastwards but, under certain temperature conditions, the wave can halt its movement. This leaves whole regions under the same weather for extended periods, which can turn hot spells into heatwaves and wet weather into floods.

This type of extreme weather event is known to have increased in recent decades. But the new research used observations and climate models to show that the chances of the conditions needed to halt the planetary waves occurring are significantly more likely as a result of global warming.

“Human activity has been suspected of contributing to this pattern before, but now we uncover a clear fingerprint of human activity,” said Prof Michael Mann, at Pennsylvania State University in the US and who led the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Kai Kornhuber, at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany and another member of the research team, said: “We looked into dozens of different climate models, as well as into observational data, and it turns out that the temperature distribution favouring planetary wave stalling increased in almost 70% of the simulations.”

Large scale wind patterns are largely driven by the temperature difference between the poles and the tropics. But global warming is altering this difference because the Arctic is heating up faster than lower latitudes and because land areas are heating up faster than the oceans.

 

The Whores on Science.

The good news, we can expect Republicans to bring the same calm, sober expertise to climate action that they brought to the Health care debate.
The bad news, ditto.

Above, Science Committee chairman Lamar Smith has for years spelled out his action agenda to gut science, and target climate scientists. Now there is little to stop him other than citizen action like that which influenced the Health Care debate.
Your action item for today, call your Reps and urge them to turn down HRs 1430, and 1431, described below.

New Republic:

As many conservatives see it, environmental science is an enabler of dreaded government regulation. When enough studies show that there is no safe level of lead in water, then we have to regulate lead pollution. When scientists agree that mercury pollution can effect developmental health, then we have to regulate mercury. And when scientists agree that excessive carbon emissions threaten public health and welfare—well, you get the point.
An obvious solution, for those seeking to avoid such regulation, would be to prevent that science from seeing the light of day. That’s exactly what Lamar Smith, a Republican congressman from Texas, is trying to do. On Thursday, the House Science Committee passed two of Smith’s bills: The Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act (HONEST Act) and the Science Advisory Board (SAB) Reform Act. Combined, they would significantly change how the Environmental Protection Agency uses science to create rules that protect human health.

The HONEST Act is essentially a re-brand of Smith’s notorious Secret Science Reform Act, a bill that would have required the EPA to only use scientific studies for which all data is publicly available and the results are easily reproducible. The SAB Reform Act would change the makeup of the board that reviews the “quality and relevance” of the science that EPA uses: Scientists who receive EPA grants would be forbidden from serving, while allowing the appointment of industry-sponsored experts who have a direct interest in being regulated—so long as they disclose that interest.

Burke and others said the HONEST Act would delay or stymie the approval of scientific data at EPA because it requires that the disclosure of private data and that study results be “reproducible,” meaning an outside source must be able to replicate the entire study on their own and get the same results. Scientists say that’s just not possible for many public health studies. Consider a 10-year study of lead exposure in pregnant women and children: How would scientists swiftly replicate the results? Or a study on the BP oil spill’s impact on public health in coastal Gulf communities: How can one reproduce that event?

“It’s really hard to reproduce long term studies because variables change, people grow up,” said Yogin Kothari, a scientific integrity advocate at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “If they can’t use these studies, the EPA’s policy decisions won’t be based on the best available science.”

Scientific American:

For example, if the bill requires the EPA only use studies that can be identically reproduced, that would impose an unreasonable demand on scientists, according to Rush Holt, who testified at the hearing as CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “Many studies cannot be repeated in exactly the same way—the populations have changed, those people [in the studies] have grown up or moved away or the forest you’re studying has been overtaken by an invasive [species],” Holt explained. “The Secret Science Act has been based on a misunderstanding of how science works—the gold standard is to find other approaches to come up with the same conclusions. Rarely can you repeat an experiment in exactly the same way.”

Critics also worry the legislation could keep the EPA from using important multiyear studies—say, for example, a 10-year study examining air pollution’s effect on human health—in the agency’s rule-making process. Those critical long-term studies are extremely difficult to replicate because they require so much time and money. Because of this, they may not fall under the definition of “reproducible.” Although the bill’s supporters might argue long-term studies would not be excluded, the law’s language would likely leave the term “reproducibility” open to interpretation. For instance, someone could potentially sue the EPA for using one of those long-term studies in its rule-making, leaving it to the courts to determine the definition of “reproducibility.”

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Important in the film “Get Out”.

Lyrics:

Daylight
I wake up feeling like you won’t play right
I used to know, but now that shit don’t feel right
It made me put away my pride
So long
You made a nigga wait for some, so long
You make it hard for a boy like that to know wrong
I’m wishing I could make this mine, oh

If you want it, yeah
You can have it, oh, oh, oh
If you need it, ooh
We can make it, oh
If you want it
You can have it

But stay woke
Niggas creepin’
They gon’ find you
Gon’ catch you sleepin’ (oh)
Now stay woke
Niggas creepin’
Now don’t you close your eyes

Too late
You wanna make it right, but now it’s too late
My peanut butter chocolate cake with Kool-Aid
I’m trying not to waste my time

If you want it, oh
You can have it (you can have it)
If you need it (you better believe in something)
We can make it, oh
If you want it
You can have it, ah!

But stay woke (stay woke)
Niggas creepin’ (they be creepin’)
They gon’ find you (they gon’ find you)
Gon’ catch you sleepin’ (gon’ catch you sleepin’, put your hands up on me)
Now stay woke
Niggas creepin’
Now don’t you close your eyes

But stay woke (ooh, ah)
Niggas creepin’
They gon’ find you (they gon’ find you)
Gon’ catch you sleepin’ (gon’ catch you, gon’ catch you, ooh)
Now stay woke
Niggas creepin’
Now don’t you close your eyes

How’d it get so scandalous?
Oh, how’d it get so scandalous?
Oh, oh, how’d it get, how’d it get
How’d it get so scandalous?
How’d it get so scandalous?
Ooh we get so scandalous
But stay woke
But stay woke

You heard right.

Instant classic.

Deep genius thriller.

New Rod Serling. Yada Yada.

5 years ago the idea that microbial, or algal, growth on the Greenland ice sheet was not getting very much attention, although scientists have known for decades that ice was, in fact a habitat for some kinds of micro organisms.

In recent years, several research groups have been looking in detail at the darkening of the ice sheet – and understanding that, as the planet warms, and ice melts, more liquid water means more habitat for bugs, more darkening, more melt,..you get the picture.

I’ve been fortunate to be part of one of these groups, Dark Snow Project, from the beginning, and again fortunate to spend time on ice with members of a new initiative, called “Black and Bloom”, so named as it focuses not just on Black Carbon, a significant source of darkening and melt, but the specialized organisms “blooming” on the ice, shielding themselves from the intense glacial