Energy and Global Warming News for April 20: La Ni±a conditions end

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NOAA: March 2009 Tenth Warmest on Record for Global Temperatures

The combined global land and ocean surface average temperature for March 2009 was the 10th warmest since records began in 1880, according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

Even bigger news, Wunderblog reports, “La Ni±a conditions end“:

If we stay ENSO neutral as the models predict, then the rest of the year is poised to be back on the very warm side (see “NOAA: Eighth warmest winter on record, this summer may be a hot one“)  If we shift over to an El Ni±o, then all bets are off.

E&E Daily (Subs. Req’d)

Energy and Commerce panel launches 4 days of cap-and-trade, energy bill hearings

House Democrats will begin the sprint toward global warming legislation this week with a series of hearings featuring high-ranking Obama administration officials and dozens of other witnesses to discuss the expansive climate and energy measure unveiled last month.

The Energy and Commerce Committee will delve into the details of the 648-page draft bill introduced by Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders are hoping to finalize legislation this year that would establish a program requiring a mandatory cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

Watch hearings here.

Solis to plug Obama admin plan for ‘green jobs’

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is scheduled to make her first congressional appearance tomorrow since her confirmation when she testifies before a Senate panel about developing a “green” work force.

Members of the Senate Housing, Education, Labor and Pension Committee are expected to question Solis about the Obama administration’s strategy for training American workers in green skills and for using the $500 million included in the federal stimulus package for such training.

“This committee hearing will examine how the administration plans to help prepare workers for these jobs and what the missing policy and resource tools to support that agenda are,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee, in a statement.

Boston Globe

Energy bill: like finding free money

If you saw $10 on the sidewalk, would you pick it up? Of course. And if doing so would help the economy and the environment, you might be even quicker.

A proposal before Congress offers businesses and consumers the chance to pocket the money, while creating jobs and helping ease global warming.

Associated Press

Congress considers major global warming measure

Lawmakers this coming week begin hearings on an energy and global warming bill that could revolutionize how the country produces and uses energy. It also could reduce, for the first time, the pollution responsible for heating up the planet.

E&E Daily (Subs. Req’d)

$1.7B Minnesota power line project approved

Another step has been made towards a national grid: a $1.7 billion, 11-year project will build transmission lines through the state of Minnesota.

A series of high-voltage transmission lines that will help ease congestion and carry remote wind power to population centers was approved by regulators yesterday, paving the way for construction of the $1.7 billion CapX 2020 project.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission granted a certificate of need for three 345-kilovolt lines planned by a group of 11 regional utilities led by Xcel Energy and Great River Energy. Part of the approval requires at least one of the lines to carry wind power, easing environmentalists’ concerns the lines would only make it easier for new coal-fired plants to be built.

Skip the Newspaper, Save the Planet?

Says Paul Gillin, the operator of the Web site Newspaper Death Watch (itself a potent sign of things): In an electronically mediated world, where frictionless access to information is the norm, “the high fixed cost of print publishing makes the major metro newspaper business model unsustainable.”

Science Daily

Ocean Dead Zones Likely To Expand: Increasing Carbon Dioxide And Decreasing Oxygen Make It Harder For Deep-sea Animals To Breath

New calculations made by marine chemists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) suggest that low-oxygen “dead zones” in the ocean could expand significantly over the next century. These predictions are based on the fact that, as more and more carbon dioxide dissolves from the atmosphere into the ocean, marine animals will need more oxygen to survive.

Mother Jones

Waste Not, Want Not

Our wasteful habits wouldn’t matter much if there were just a few of us””a Neanderthal hunting band could have discarded six plastic water bottles apiece every day with no real effect except someday puzzling anthropologists. But the volumes we manage are something else.

Greenhouse burial trial a success: scientists

VICTORIA’S potential role in developing divisive “clean coal” technology will be underlined this week when scientists announce 50,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas has been successfully stored underground in the Otway Basin.

The news comes a year after Australia’s first greenhouse burial trial began removing naturally occurring gas from a well, compressing it into a liquid and injecting it in a depleted gas field more than two kilometres beneath farmland.

UK Guardian

Australia’s largest river close to running dry

Australia‘s biggest river is running so low that Adelaide, the country’s fifth-largest city, could run out of water in the next two years.

The Murray river is part of a network of waterways that irrigates the south-eastern corner of Australia, but after six years of severe drought, the worst dry spell ever, its slow moving waters are now almost stagnant.

Water levels in the Murray in the first three months of this year were the lowest on record and the government agency that administers the river, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), said the next three months could be just as grim.

With meteorologists predicting another year of below-average rainfall, the MDBA, is bracing for worse to come.

ABC News

Global Warming, Thirsty Energy: 7 Dimensional Chess

At first, they look like two completely separate problems from hell imposed on humanity by global warming:

Problem One: Humanity is sliding into water bankruptcy in the American Southwest, China, India.

As mountain glaciers vanish worldwide, many millions of drought refugees — desperately looking for water and food — are thought by experts to be quite possible in several regions of the planet even within the next 20 years.

Problem Two: it’s urgent all nations make an almost unimaginably fast switch to alternative energy immediately — including a major retooling of mankind’s energy generators and conduits– in order to drastically cut greenhouse emissions.

Compiled by Max Luken and Carlin Rosengarten

11 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for April 20: La Ni±a conditions end

  1. paulm says:

    Get your say in quick…

    efforts to establish unified climate change language

    Bowman Global Change, a firm that helps organizations make sustainable transformations, has co-authored a letter to the scientific community outlining three steps to improve the information exchange between climate scientists and policy makers.

  2. B Buckner says:

    There was no La Nina. The La Nina conditions did not last long enough to be considered a La Nina event. That requires five consecutive and overlapping three month periods of La Nina conditions. We only had three.

  3. Dean says:

    There was a L Nina from summer/fall of ’07 to spring of ’08. Since then, those ocean temps have either been neutral or below average, but not enough to formally qualify as a La Nina. In fact, the last three overlapping periods were quite cool in those waters, but the length of that period was short. See .

  4. paulm says:

    Sustainable consumption?

    Tapping Our Wild Rivers Can’t Fix Climate Change

    Construction workers in remote camps blasting rights-of-way through grizzly habitat to build RoR facilities on undeveloped rivers to provide seasonal power for export to Los Angelites who can now crawl in their electric cars guilt free along the freeway?

    Climate scientists do not like to think about this. But when you do, you see the second, and more difficult, “inconvenient truth” of climate change — the limits of a model of development that depends on always more growth, and more energy to fuel it. That is to say, the PowerUp strategy.

    Just as global warming was until recently marked by widespread denial, so too denial of the problematic of growth economics is omnipresent today.we are hitting the “limits environmentally, socially, politically…. In other words, we have to think about a zero-growth economy.” Message: it’s the whole economistic agenda that’s unrealistic.

  5. David Freeman says:

    paulm above mentioned Bowman’s letter to Science. It’s an interesting and valuable read if you believe effective communication of climate science to non-scientists is important. As the letter states, “At this critical moment, scientific understanding has outstripped our society’s capacity to use that knowledge by a wide margin.”

    I recommend you read the letter at

  6. paulm says:

    David, If you have traveled on the London Underground, ‘MIND the gap’ springs to mind.

  7. Susan Anderson says:

    I found this interesting:
    “Desert clash in West over solar potential, water”

    I see it contains references to rare species but to me the kicker was competition over water, which is a much broader concern. We are always seeing unintended consequences, aren’t we!

  8. David B. Benson says:

    “Hurricanes Shoot Water Ice into the Stratosphere”:

    Positive feeback, methinks.

  9. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi David B. Benson-

    Romps and co-author Zhiming Kuang, assistant professor of climate science, were intrigued by earlier data suggesting that the amount of water vapor in the stratosphere has grown by roughly 50 percent over the past 50 years. Scientists are currently unsure why this increase has occurred; the Harvard researchers sought to examine the possibility that tropical cyclones might have contributed by sending a large fraction of their clouds into the stratosphere.

    Using infrared satellite data gathered from 1983 to 2006, Romps and Kuang analyzed towering cloud tops associated with thousands of tropical cyclones, many of them near the Philippines, Mexico, and Central America. Their analysis demonstrated that in a cyclone, narrow plumes of miles-tall storm clouds can rise so explosively through the atmosphere that they often push into the stratosphere.

    Romps and Kuang found that tropical cyclones are twice as likely as other storms to punch into the normally cloud-free stratosphere, and four times as likely to inject ice deep into the stratosphere.

    “It is … widely believed that global warming will lead to changes in the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones,” Romps and Kuang write. “Therefore, the results presented here establish the possibility for a feedback between tropical cyclones and global climate.”

    Not good news, maybe, sad to say. Scary stuff.

    But according to the deniers (insert heavy sarcasm here) clouds and water vapor are going to save us.