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CBS News meteorologist and climate specialist Jeff Berardelli spoke to Dr. Ralph Keeling of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and UCSB political science professor Leah Stokes about the worldwide lockdown and its unremarkable effect on our carbon footprint.

Key takeaway: The pandemic shows that we can only get so far with personal choices about driving, flying, diet, etc.
Wider societal action needed to address climate.

Scientist Leah Stokes: “None of us can choose to unilaterally live in a low carbon society… We’re all locked into a system that has a lot of carbon pollution.”

So how should recovery funding, which is no longer optional, but mandatory – for the US to go forward, be allocated?

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication:

When asked which energy industry their state should prioritize for stimulus funding, three-quarters (75%) say their state should prioritize the clean energy industry, while just a quarter (25%) say their state should prioritize the fossil fuel industry.

WeatherUnderground:

After a spectacular bout of rapid intensification on Sunday, Tropical Cyclone Amphan poses a grave storm-surge threat to the highly vulnerable coastline of the upper Bay of Bengal. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) upgraded Amphan to the equivalent of Category 5 strength at 2 am EDT Monday, with top 1-minute sustained winds estimated at 140 knots (160 mph). Update: As of 11 am EDT Monday, JTWC is rating Amphan’s top winds at 145 knots (165 mph).

On the scale used by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Amphan was upgraded at 3 am EDT Monday to the highest possible level: super cyclonic storm. Only a handful of storms—about one per decade—achieve this level, which corresponds to a three-minute-averaged wind speed of 120 knots (140 mph). Hurricane ratings by the National Hurricane Center and JTWC are based on one-minute averaging, which will yield higher wind speeds for a given storm.

Amphan took advantage of very favorable conditions in the southern Bay of Bengal to strengthen incredibly quickly over the weekend. Drawing on very warm sea surface temperatures of 31°C (88°F), high oceanic heat content, and light wind shear, Amphan bolted from minimal tropical storm strength (35 knots or 40 mph) to Category 5 equivalent strength (140 knots or 160 mph) in just 48 hours—and from minimal hurricane strength (65 knots or 75 mph) to Cat 5 equivalent strength in just 24 hours.

Carbon Brief:

Tropical cyclones across the world have become more intense over the past four decades, a new study concludes.

Major tropical cyclones with winds of 115 miles per hour or more became 15% more likely at a global level from 1979-2017, according to the analysis.

The region seeing the most significant increases in cyclone intensity was the North Atlantic. Over the study period, the chances of a major hurricane occurring in the North Atlantic increased by 49% per decade, the research finds.

The southern Indian Ocean also saw large increases in cyclone intensity, the research finds. This is particularly notable because cyclones that originate in this region often strike in parts of coastal Africa that have limited natural hazard defences, a scientist tells Carbon Brief.

The results “should serve to increase confidence in projections of increased tropical cyclone intensity under continued warming”, the study authors say.

Whirlwind

Tropical cyclones are storms that develop in tropical waters at least 5-30 latitude north or south of the equator, where sea temperatures are at least 27C. Strong tropical storms are called “hurricanes” in the North Atlantic and the central and North Pacific, “typhoons” in the northwest Pacific and simply “tropical cyclones” in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Scientists have reasoned that climate change is likely to make tropical cyclones more intense. This is because tropical cyclones use warm, moist air as fuel and, as climate change warms the oceans, there is potentially more of this fuel available.

However, it is not easy to see a clear increase in intensity just by looking at the global tropical cyclone record, explains study lead author Dr James Kossin, an atmospheric research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He tells Carbon Brief:

“The historical tropical cyclone record is created in a real-time operational setting, typically by forecasters while a storm is active. The forecasters always use the very best data that they can get to estimate storm intensity. The problem is that the data have become progressively better over time. New instruments, data, and intensity estimation techniques are frequently introduced or updated and this creates an artificial trend.”

Instead, for the new research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Kossin and his colleagues made use of algorithms that can estimate tropical cyclone intensity from satellite data alone. Kossin explains:

“This removes a lot of the technology-based trends, but leaves the actual physical trends alone.”

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Not exactly climate, but interesting take on a different philosophy of how people move around.
Great footage highlighting Amsterdam’s terrific public transit.

Andy Slavitt on Twitter:

The view from Trump advisors not directly involved in the rising death toll is that the “CDC” (i.e., EPA) wants to burden Trump’s chances of driving economic activity in the 8 states he cares about.

 The effort to discredit these folks is on. With the same playbook used in climate science. 
-First, CDC guidelines are being ignored.

-Now expect to hear more from “counter-scientists”, discrediting the “doom and gloom” people who want to keep the economy down. 

 Anyone with halfway decent credentials who is willing to say that economies should open now will have an opportunity to make a new career as a cable pundit. 

 The idea will be to drive the networks, Sunday shows, news publications & cable into the “both sides equal time” trap. Chris Christie was one effort at this but I assume they can do better.  They need surrogates I guess because there’s only so many ways to say “it’s ok for some people to die” without sounding like an asshole. 

Their trick will then be to make it appear that roughly half the smart people are saying “stay closed” but the other half are saying “stay open.”

So what to do? 

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Funny, and he talks Australian, which is always a plus.

M. Moore’s movie doing great with the right wing online, but in the real world, it’s sunk his reputation, and is simply irrelevant to the ongoing technological disruption.

Recent publications seem to confirm that the American west, as CBS News mentions above.

I thought it might be interesting to review the video I did on the topic in 2014, following a particularly brutal dry patch.

There has been some local and temporary relief, but the overall picture remains the same. Global warming superimposed on a region that historically has suffered long dry spells.

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