Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark has posted stunning satellite views of the massive surface melt that I mentioned here in August.

For comparison, see helicopter views below showing more familiar, typical surface from 2016.

I’ve been following the energy crunch in Europe, which is indeed serious. The fundamental shortage is gas, which fell off a cliff during the Covid shutdown, and has been slow restarting as the economy has taken off this year. New data shows how much demand was avoided with clean energy.

Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air:

Power generation from zero-carbon sources avoided a gas bill of €33 billion across the European Union (EU) in the first three months of the gas shortage (July-September), as well as €2.3 (£2.0) billion in Great Britain, according to new CREA analysis. The share of zero-carbon generation in the region reached an all-time high of 66% in the third quarter of the year, helping keep the lights on and cut fossil fuel import bills.

Power prices in Europe and the UK have skyrocketed in recent months as a result of rallying wholesale prices of coal, gas and carbon in tandem with power demand rebounding to pre-pandemic levels, and against a background of low fuel reserves in Europe and delays in commodity exports from producing countries. The last week of September saw these commodities trading at all-time highs — coal delivered to Europe traded at $233 per tonne, while fossil gas reached €92/MWh and CO2 emissions priced at nearly €65 per tonne.

The price volatility in EU and UK power markets are a timely reminder that reliance on fossil imports is risky and expensive. During this time, renewables in most European countries covered a significant portion of demand, despite reports of lower generation output, shielding some part of the mix from the effects of fuel costs that would have likely required more gas.

Our analysts scrutinized renewable generation from July to September, as some commentaries around Europe’s situation have gone as far as to claim that the crisis means intermittent renewables “require fossil fuel back-up” as they were unable to meet peak demand,” implying that the energy transition has gone too fast, too soon.

However, our analysis of the contribution of wind and solar to meeting peak loads in July to September shows that solar and wind generation provided 28 GW worth of firm capacity in the EU. Notably, wind&solar generation during this time was higher than the average wind&solar output in 2016-20 (Figure 4). Great Britain is the notable exception to this, as wind&solar generation was 11% less than the average 2016-20 output over the same period, but wind&solar still provided 3.2 GW of firm capacity in Great Britain.

This amount of additional thermal power capacity would have needed to run at peak hours if the wind&solar capacity hadn’t been in place. We quantified the contribution of wind and solar to peak loads by comparing hourly electricity demand in each country to electricity demand with wind and solar generation subtracted, and assessing how much lower the residual load was. If there were events in the data where combined output from wind and solar was zero during times of peak load, this contribution would be zero, even if they had generated at other times. The methodology is documented in the CREA report on fossil fuel overcapacity in Europe, Ripe for Closure.

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Moo-thane is a planetary problem. Seaweed feed can help.

Above, another stellar report from Diana Olick at CNBC on climate impacts.

US News:

Around a quarter of all critical infrastructure in the U.S. “are at risk of becoming inoperable today” due to flooding, a new report found. And that portion is only expected to grow. 

Amid months of contentious debate surrounding a massive investment into the country’s infrastructure, a new study from nonprofit research and technology organization First Street Foundation found that roughly 25%, or around 36,000 facilities, are at risk of failure due to flooding, and over the coming decades, climate change will only make matters worse. 

“Over the next 30 years, due to the impacts of climate change, an additional 1.2 million residential properties, 66,000 commercial properties, 63,000 miles of roads, 6,100 pieces of social infrastructure and 2,000 pieces of critical infrastructure will also have flood risk that would render them inoperable, inaccessible, or impassable,” the report says.

The study, which evaluated flood risk to infrastructure including airports, hospitals, fire stations, schools, roads, residential and commercial properties, found that in addition to the 25% of all critical infrastructure at risk of becoming inoperable today, 23% of all road segments throughout the country are at risk of becoming impassable. An additional 20% of all commercial properties, 17% of social infrastructure facilities like schools, and 14% of all residential properties also face operational risk, the report found.

E&E News:

The U.S. Navy is at war against a surging sea. It has yet to notch a victory. 

Despite tens of millions of dollars spent on studies, risk assessments and guidance documents dating to the 1990s, the most climate-fraught U.S. defense agency hasn’t completed a single large-scale resilience project across more than 40 domestic installations.

Only one major initiative, a $21 billion program to raise dry docks and modernize the Navy’s four primary shipyards, has turned dirt. Many other Navy installations — from Key West, Fla., to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii — have yet to complete base-wide resilience plans, even though such plans are required by Congress.

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All righty then.
Republicans are desperate for a way to find their footing on climate change. Realizing that, after a summer of shocking extreme weather events, public alarm on climate is rising sharply.

Moreover, Republicans know they lost the last election principally in suburbs that were formerly safe for them, as women and college educated voters deserted them precisely on issues like climate. Ominously for the GOP, climate impacts are no longer limited to polar bears on the cover of magazines, but are hammering suburbs in key electoral states like Michigan, Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada.

Easy to understand that puzzled Repubs are noodling around their “conservative” solutions to the problem they’ve been actively denying for 40 years.

Raw Story:

A Republican state legislative candidate in Virginia posed an interesting question on Twitter recently.

I’m curious, Do you think the sea level would lower, if we just took all the boats out of the water? Just a thought, not a statement,” wrote Scott Pio, who is challenging Democratic Del. David Reid in Loudoun County’s District 32.

One problem for Repubs is that they’ve spent 30 years attracting a crowd of science-illiterate morons as candidates. Half a decade ago, then rising star in the party Bobby Jindal suggested Republicans “stop being the stupid party”. That movement has only accelerated, and Jindal is no longer on anyone’s list of Presidential hopefuls.

CNBC:

After Russia rode to Europe’s rescue and offered to increase gas supplies to the region amid soaring prices, experts said one thing had become abundantly clear: Europe is now largely at Russia’s mercy when it comes to energy, just as the U.S. had warned.

Natural gas contracts hit new highs in Europe this week — and regional benchmark prices are up almost 500% so far this year — with heightened demand and a squeeze in supply putting pressure on the energy sector as the weather turns colder.

Prices seesawed on Wednesday, hitting new highs before retreating after Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped in, offering an increase in Russia’s gas supplies to Europe.

Market analysts said the move showed that Europe was increasingly vulnerable to Russia, which is waiting for Germany to certify the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project which will bring more Russian gas to Europe via the Baltic Sea.

The $11 billion pipeline has now been completed much to the annoyance of the U.S. which has long-opposed the project, warning for years during its construction that it compromises Europe’s energy security and that Russia could seek to use energy supplies as leverage over the region.

The Obama and Trump administrations galvanized bipartisan opinion against the pipeline and President Joe Biden too announced sanctions against companies involved in the project, but these were waived in May in what was seen as an attempt by the U.S. to rebuild ties with Germany.

‘Energy blackmail’

“Europe has now left itself hostage to Russia over energy supplies,” said Timothy Ash, emerging markets senior sovereign strategist at Bluebay Asset Management, in a research note Wednesday, calling the situation “unbelievable.”

″[It’s] crystal clear that Russia has Europe (the EU and U.K.) in an energy headlock, and Europe (and the U.K.) are too weak to call it out and do anything about it,” he said, calling it a form of “energy blackmail.”

“Europe is cowering as it fears [that] as it heads into winter Russia will further turn the screws (of energy pipelines off) and allow it to freeze until it gets its way and NS2 is certified.”

Putin used a televised government meeting on Wednesday to offer an increase in supplies to Europe. He also chided the region for canceling many of its long-term gas contracts in exchange for spot deals, saying the Kremlin was ready to negotiate new long-term contracts for gas sales.

Many experts believe that Russia has withheld gas supplies to Europe on purpose, in a bid to speed up Germany’s certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Russia has refuted this, however, with Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov denying on Wednesday that Russia has had any role in Europe’s energy crisis.

Nonetheless, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak noted on Wednesday that the expected German certification of the controversial pipeline could help cool prices.

90 percent of all the leafy greens grown in the US during winter are grown around Yuma, Arizona, totally dependent on the rapidly diminishing water resource from the Colorado River. That’s going to have to change.

Could the answer be happening in Appalachia?

WTVQ – Lexington:

The global population is headed toward 10 billion people by 2050, and the UN predicts that we will need to produce 70% more food to feed them. Jonathan Webb, founder and CEO of AppHarvest, believes AI-powered greenhouses are a solution.“We have to figure out how to grow a lot more food with a lot less resources, all the while in the middle of climate disruption,” says Webb. “We can do that by using technology.”

Built in 2020 and set across 60 acres, AppHarvest says its state-of-the-art greenhouse yields 30 times more per acre than open fields, while using 90% less water.

“The facility allows you to control the light, the heat, and the nutrition of the crops,” says Josh Lessing, AppHarvest’s chief technology officer. “When you have that much control over the environment, you can do a lot of interesting things,” he says.LED lights are used to supplement natural light and crops are grown without soil, in an alternative growing medium that allows water and nutrients to be absorbed by the plant root.Using 300 sensors and AI, the facility collects data from more than  700,000 plants, and growers can remotely monitor the microclimate to ensure that crops receive the ideal amount of nutrients and water.AppHarvest’s robots assess which tomatoes are ripe enough to be harvested, and then pick and prune them using their robotic arms.

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Checking in on the reliably cuckoo “The Earth is Cooling” crock.

The talking point still active in the increasingly isolated pockets of climate denial, is that the sun is just about, any time now, entering into a quiescent phase that will send the world into a cooling tailspin.

Let’s do a “How it started, How it’s going”.

Space.com June 1, 2021:

In 2020 Cycle 25 had 80% more sunspots overall than the equivalent period for Cycle 24, suggesting that the current cycle may in fact be stronger, rather than weaker. The international Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel said in September 2020 that they expect Cycle 25 to be about as strong as Cycle 24. Has the consensus changed since then, or is it still the same? 

“The consensus has not changed,” panel co-chair Doug Biesecker told All About Space. The consensus is still that the current cycle will be much like Cycle 24. “We have not seen anything that differs significantly in the early stages of this cycle that varies from the panel prediction of a peak of 115 [sunspots] in July 2025.” The predictions are based on the 13-month “smoothed sunspot number” — a statistical method for calculating sunspots. And you have to be patient when studying the sun. As Biesecker said: “It can take up to three years after the cycle begins before we can say with confidence whether the prediction is still valid.”

Above, 2011 example of a genre of climate denial classified under “The World is really Cooling”. Here delivered by reliably wrong Joe Bastardi, then of Weather Bell forecasting.

Space.com, September 2021:

Solar activity bottomed out in December 2019, signaling the beginning of a new sunspot cycle — number 25. The current expectation is that we will reach a maximum around mid-2025. But even for this, not all solar scientists are on the same page regarding how strong it will ultimately become. The general consensus is that solar cycle 25 may have a slow start but will peak with a sunspot range of 95 to 130. This is well below the average number of sunspots, which typically ranges from 140 to 220 sunspots per solar cycle.

However, a forecast published in the journal Solar Physics in November 2020, was diametrically opposite, predicting that “Sunspot Solar Cycle 25 could have a magnitude that rivals the top few since records began.” 

Commenter Demevilwayz on this YouTube post:

..he sings about a man who dreamed about a woman named fatma. and he was so in love and knew she was real that he traveled the whole country to find her. hes from the south and the girl lives in the north. the meaning behind it is that mali is one country and that the people should realise that instead of seperating it in north and south like the man in the song did until he finds his love..

Outtake from “The 11th Hour” film, interview with Native American activist John Trudell.

Wikipedia:

John Trudell (February 15, 1946 – December 8, 2015) was a Native American author, poet, actor, musician, and political activist. He was the spokesperson for the United Indians of All Tribes‘ takeover of Alcatraz beginning in 1969, broadcasting as Radio Free Alcatraz. During most of the 1970s, he served as the chairman of the American Indian Movement, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

After his pregnant wife, three children and mother-in-law were killed in 1979 in a suspicious fire at the home of his parents-in-law on the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes Duck Valley Indian Reservation in Nevada, Trudell turned to writing, music and film as a second career. He acted in films in the 1990s. The documentary Trudell (2005) was made about him and his life as an activist and artist.