Weekend Open Thread

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"Weekend Open Thread"

Opine away.  Or pine away.  Or pie away?  Or pi away?  Or….

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105 Responses to Weekend Open Thread

  1. Prokaryotes says:

    “Freedom is the recognition that no single person, no single authority or government has a monopoly on the truth, but that every individual life is infinitely precious, that every one of us put in this world has been put there for a reason and has something to offer.” Ronald Reagan

  2. David Smith says:

    I am putting together an information page on my site with a working title, “Knowledge in support of action”. I have identified 9 different categories and have begun collecting links for each. The purpose is to provide information to visitors who are new to middle range in terms of knowledge about AGW and offer a range of actions in which an individual can participate. I was wondering if some of the readers at CP might be kind enough to visit the site and offer their favorite links, blogs, books, etc. My goal is to create a serious, one-stop reference which will be kept current moving forward. Your help would be much appreciated. Thank you http://www.stockbridgegreen.com/learnmore.html

  3. Some European says:

    I was a bit late to last week’s party so I’m reposting this from last week’s open thread.

    Here’s my translation of a good article that appeared on Thursday on the website of a Belgian newspaper.

    My favorite bit is where it says: “Scientists agree that the warming arctic ocean has already altered the climate system.”

    How a warming north pole sends us freezing cold

    To some it’s hard to believe in a warming climate when they’re confronted with persistent freezing temperatures and blizzards. But the warming of the climate, on a global scale, is precisely causing those cold snaps and snow records, locally. What’s more: winters in the northern US and in Europe will only become more severe because of the warming of the planet and more specifically the arctic.

    Take the blizzard that paralyzed an area 3000 km across in Canada and the US: 10,000 cancelled flights, hundreds of thousands stuck in airports and traffic jams, 250,000 hit by black-outs, about 100 million people are said to have been affected by the storm.

    20 degrees above normal

    According to scientists the record snowfall is related to the warming of the arctic. Large amounts of warm water flow into the arctic ocean and accelerate the melting of sea ice. Consequence: a warm north pole. Currently, it’s even over 20 degrees warmer than normal up there.

    “During the first week of January, we could still circumnavigate Baffin Island”, says David Phillips, a climatologist at Environment Canada. Baffin Island is located about 2000 km north of Montreal. It’s supposed to be 25 to 35 degrees below freezing there, but on some days in January the mercury rose above zero.

    Unsafe ice

    “For the second winter in a row, it’s not safe for people in the eastern arctic to go on the ice to hunt.” Anyone flying over northern Canada these days will be surprised by the traces of water in what should normally be a white plain.

    Warmer water, melting ice

    The consequences are immediately clear: the temperature of the water flowing through the strait between Greenland and Spitsbergen has risen by two degrees while it had been virtually unchanged for 2000 years. Another consequence: the polar ice cap is shrinking.

    Some experts predict the arctic ice will be all but gone in august in 5 years. Just a few years ago, it was still believed this would be around 2060 at the earliest.

    Important factor

    The arctic ocean’s area is about 14 million square km, the same size as Russia. When an area of that size warms, it has consequences for the entire globe. Together with the south pole, the north pole is one of the most important factors in climate change.

    Scientists agree that the warming arctic ocean has already altered the climate system. One of the consequences is that North America and Europe get more snow.

    Wind patterns

    How come? When polar ice melts, a larger surface is exposed to accumulate the summer’s sunshine. From October till January, that part of the arctic ocean releases the extra heat, instead of refreezing. That in turn influences wind patterns on the northern hemisphere, making the polar region relatively warm and bringing cold and snow to southern regions.

    High precipitation

    In the future, cold, snowy winters could become the norm in Europe and the eastern US. Until now, increased winter precipitation had only been predicted for western Europe. With these new findings, that looks like a correct prediction, but with the precipitation falling under the form of snow.

    Polar bear

    So, that’s bad news for us, but also for the polar bear. Because of the melting ice in the arctic, it will now become even harder for the bear to survive and produce offspring. Thus, this already threatened species is now really on the verge of extinction.

    http://www.demorgen.be/ dm/ nl/ 5396/ Extreem-Weer/ article/ detail/ 1217123/ 2011/ 02/ 03/ Hoe-de-opwarming-van-de-Noordpool-ons-vrieskou-geeft.dhtml

    The same article followed by a parade of denialist comments:
    http://www.hln.be/ hln/ nl/ 5096/ Cancun-2010/ article/ detail/ 1217123/ 2011/ 02/ 03/ Hoe-de-opwarming-van-de-Noordpool-ons-vrieskou-geeft.dhtml

  4. JK says:

    The Economist: “Why Don’t Americans Believe in Global Warming?”
    hhttp://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/02/climate_change

    And the Sierra Club’s summary of the same article, with comments and links to related content:
    http://sierraclub.typepad.com/sierradaily/2011/02/why-dont-americans-believe-in-global-warming.html

  5. Greg Gorman says:

    This past week a number of releases have discussed the “cost benefits” of proposed EPA GHG regulations. Typically these studies address the growth of clean energy technologies and jobs. Rarely do I see the measurement or impact of increased revenues for clean energy production over a twenty or twenty five year period being addressed. I was wondering if anyone addresses the multiplier effects of clean energy production to local economies.

    For instance, NY Times reported yesterday that Kenedy Wind Farm in SE Texas provides its profits to charity. Where I live in Northern NJ, many local governments are installing solar panels to generate revenues and reduce local taxes. Wind farms in upper NY state are keeping many farm communities viable. Local homeowners with solar panels on the roof often place their revenues in local banks and pay income taxes. On the other hand, fossil fuel generation is managed by major corporations- often out of state and definitely out of the local community. These power companies disseminate revenues to share holders including foreign investors.

  6. jcwinnie says:

    Joe, I take that as an invitation to be irrational and transcendental.
    [Heard off-mike]
    Honey, where did you put my Bill the Cat costume?

  7. Tom S. says:

    So what’s your take on “The Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project” study, with initial findings, published last month, showing “no evidence of an intensifying weather trend”. I received a link to the WSJ online editorial page regarding this story and it took me by surprise. I thought I’d just read something days before, somewhere, that pretty much made it clear that globally, extreme weather events have increased. What’s up?

    [JR: The literature has been posted on the World Bank thread. I’ll do another post.]

  8. Paulm says:

    Here is the whole series….which includes our Magnificent Bill…..

    http://www.thenation.com/article/157434/peak-oil-and-changing-climate

  9. Marc A says:

    An easy action we can all take to improve the messaging over climate science is to punish the companies that advertise on the most egregious sources of confusion. As Joe has pointed out, MSM has done a poor job, but Fox goes further and deliberately sows doubt.

    Here’s a list of advertisers that placed national ads with Fox during the latest Super Bowl. (You can also find lists (and the ads, some of which are fun to watch) at http://superbowlads.fanhouse.com/2011/ and http://www.superbowl-commercials.org/.)

    Food and Dining
    Budweiser
    Brisk
    Coca-Cola
    Mars (Snickers and so on)
    PepsiCo (Pepsi, Doritos, and many other brands)
    Stella Artois
    Wendys

    Automobiles
    (Most of the big names except Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. Ford ran before kickoff.)
    Audi
    BMW
    Bridgestone
    Chevy
    Chrysler (best ad?)
    Hyundai
    Kia
    Mercedes-Benz
    Mini
    VW

    Dot Coms
    Cars
    Carmax
    Careerbuilder
    Chatter
    TheDaily
    eTrade
    GoDaddy
    Groupon (The Tibet/Rain Forest campaign has been pulled)
    HomeAway

    Others
    Best Buy
    Motorola
    Sketchers
    Sony
    Verizon

    If you can replace any of these things with a competitor’s equivalent, why not? Then let the company know why advertising on Fox is driving you away from the product.

    As with the Chevy Volt, there may be overriding considerations, but we can still let Chevy know that their placing ads with Fox makes us more likely to consider, say, Nissan.

    If anyone knows of a group organizing around this, post a link!

  10. Phil says:

    I’m also curious about the Twentieth Century Reanalysis, but it looks like the WSJ got it totally wrong.

    The IPCC report acknowledges where the models are weak in predicting NAO, for example, early re-analysis showed a trend, and the more detailed analysis showed no trend. So it’s a “look we have removed certainty. Nope, maybe not” situation. Hardly a big deal.

  11. Prokaryotes says:

    Algerian protesters clash with police
    Thousands of people defied an official ban on demonstrations in the Algerian capital and gathered in the city center for an pro-reform protest, the day after weeks of mass protests in Egypt succeeded in toppling the president.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/algeria/8320273/Algerian-protesters-clash-with-police.html

    9 years in Afghanistan, 7 years in Iraq and we are still there trying to bring about “democracy” … guess what, 2 and 1/2 weeks of protests in Egypt changed history. War is no solution. Congrats Egypt. http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/fjzph/9_years_in_afghanistan_7_years_in_iraq_and_we_are/

  12. Phil says:

    I have not yet seen a concise summary of trends in extreme weather events (asking for help, not denying that there is one).

    Here is my take on it. Would appreciate any help that can be provided.

    There is no statistical evidence that if I ignore stop signs that I will regret it. Because I have never tested the hypothesis. It’s OK to use common sense in addition to statistics!

    There might be no statistical evidence that global warming (taken as a fact) has caused an increased trend in extreme weather. And I would rather not test the hypothesis. I’d prefer to get the best predictions possible from modeling and take action as recommended by the experts.

    That said, the following facts look like either a trend or at least an ominous reminder of what to expect if we continue with business as usual:

    2005: Hurricane Katrina was the costliest natural disaster, killing at least 1,836 people with damages estimated at $81 billion

    2007: Frequency Of Atlantic Hurricanes Doubled Over Last Century, Climate Change Suspected sciencedaily

    2007: Tropical storms doubled due to global warming, study says – CNN

    2008: Natural Disasters Up More Than 400 Percent in Two Decades

    2009: Georgia floods ‘epic': According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the floods were a “once in 500 years flood,”

    2009: Death Toll Rises to 222 in Indian Floods -1.5 million have been displaced – CBS

    2010: Tornado record blown away

    2010: Deadly China floods called worst in decade – At least 700 people have been killed and millions displaced. Well over half of China’s provinces are now enduring monsoon-like downpours, flooding and landslides¬.

    2010: The worst floods in Pakistan’s history have affected 14 million people, with floodwater reaching Sindh province, officials say.

    2010: Russia’s record heat wave may already have taken 15000 lives and cost the economy $15 billion as fires and drought ravage the country

    2010: Calif. rain shatters records, and more is coming – FOX

    2011: Mudslides in Brazil

    2010: Floods in Germany

    2011: Evacuations continued in Australia today as a flood of “biblical proportions” continued to assault the northeastern part of the country

    2011: One of the most powerful cyclones on record slammed into Australia’s northeast coast on Thursday

    2011: (Reuters) – World food prices hit a record in January and recent catastrophic weather around the globe could put yet more pressure on the cost of food

    Drought in China: NYT

    The flooding that began last September in many parts of the Southern Hemisphere continued into the new year, and January was a particularly bad month for severe floods. In the past month, heavy rains have led to devastating floods in a number of countries:

    • Following their third wettest year on record (2010), record rainfall continued in parts of eastern Australia in early January, causing severe flooding. Damages are estimated to top $30 billion.
    • Heavy rains in the first week of January left many regions of the Philippines underwater. During two weeks of floods, the death toll rose to 57 people.
    • Sri Lanka suffered record high rainfall in the first two weeks of January; over one million people were displaced from their homes during the subsequent floods, and as many as 40 people were killed.
    • An intense bout of rainfall in Southeast Brazil in early January led to flooding and deadly mudslides. With a death toll of nearly 1,000, the floods are considered the worst natural disaster in Brazil’s history. Floods were also recorded in both Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
    • Serious floods in January were also recorded in Malawi, Malaysia, Mozambique, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    OK, there’s a list. Help me understand the long-term trend. Or is it “just weather”? (not denying, just asking for help)

  13. Prokaryotes says:

    Active in the 1920’s and 30’s, Berlin based Dr. Fritz Kahn illustrated this image of the human body as if it were composed of machinery http://www.dephx.com/2010/11/active-in-1920s-and-30s-berlin-based-dr.html

  14. Steve T says:

    Since the MSM is so averse to fact check stories about climate change, why don’t we try to form an organization which I like to call Open Source PR. This would try to get PR professionals who are concerned about the the failure of science messaging to step up in their spare time (like open source hackers who volunteer to help their favorite open source project — eg. Firefox, Apache…) to help communicate the messaging from the science communities to the MSM. PR professionals are used to influencing the MSM and now the tools and techniques to use to be effective. They could act as a bridge between scientists and the MSM.

    Every day, there are reports that come out concerning climate science that could be the basis of press releases and could be incorporated into PR campaigns. Also beyond studies, there are events happening that could be highlighted in a way that puts the focus on our changing climate and our effect on it. For example, every time there is a weather catastrophe, there is a great opportunity to educate people on the very real effects of climate change. Imaging an ad campaign with a message like:

    [Video of devasting effects of extreme weather event — deluged streets, wrecked homes, homeless people]

    You think addressing climate change is expensive, take a look at what it costs not to address it.

    Most people still get their news from local TV. Spots like this on local TV could have a big effect on the average person’s perceptions.

    What do people think of these ideas? Do you know PR professionals who would be interested in this? Please comment on this.

  15. Prokaryotes says:

    Today’s No.1 Story at Digg

    Former Fox News employee: ‘Stuff is just made up’ | Raw Story http://digg.com/news/politics/former_fox_news_employee_stuff_is_just_made_up_raw_story

  16. Michael T. says:

    U.S. State of the Climate National Overview

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2011/1

    Globally, January 2011 ranks as the 11th warmest January on record according to NASA.

    Global map showing temperature anomalies relative to the 1951-1980 January climatology or climatological average (30 year period).

    (greens/blues = cooler than average and yellows/reds = warmer than average)

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/do_nmap.py?year_last=2011&month_last=01&sat=4&sst=1&type=anoms&mean_gen=01&year1=2011&year2=2011&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=reg

  17. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate change keenly felt in Alaska’s national parks

    Thawing permafrost is triggering mudslides onto a key road traveled by busloads of sightseers. Tall bushes newly sprouted on the tundra are blocking panoramic views. And glaciers are receding from convenient viewing areas, while their rapid summer melt poses new flood risks.
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/02/12/us-alaska-climate-idUKTRE71B23320110212

    Thawing permafrost is triggering mudslides … Can you Say Clathrate Gun?

  18. Prokaryotes says:

    New Report Assesses Climate Change In Wisconsin

    A statewide collaborative of scientists and diverse stakeholders is proposing a multitude of measures to help protect and enhance Wisconsin’s natural resources, economic vitality, and public well-being as the state’s climate becomes warmer and wetter.

    Their report, Wisconsin’s Changing Climate: Impacts and Adaptation, was released this week by the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts. It is available online at http://www.wicci.wisc.edu.

    “This report is the first comprehensive survey of climate change impacts in Wisconsin, and it provides information that will help decision-makers begin to plan for the kinds of changes we’re likely to see in the years ahead,” says Lewis Gilbert, associate director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a member of the initiative’s science council.

    Public officials, resource managers, business owners, and farmers are among the many groups expected to draw upon the new report’s recommendations as they anticipate and address the impacts of current and future climate change across the state.

    “We need to think about what climate change could mean for our natural resources and actively plan to address the issue,” says Jack Sullivan, director of science services at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Sullivan coordinates efforts within the agency to evaluate how a changing climate may alter its management responsibilities and how to minimize negative impacts. http://ashlandcurrent.com/article/11/02/11/new-report-assesses-climate-change-wisconsin

  19. Like Egypt and the Civil Rights movement, we have to create a groundswell of support for a single simple change (e.g. Mubarak goes; end of Apartheid) Presently we do not do that. We argue for LOTS of things, or a goal of 350 ppm, without supporting the vehicle. Congress believes there is no support for carbon pricing.
    And in fact, there is no clear support for it.
    A simple campaign, a la the Tea Party, where we say that a clear statement on climate change and support for carbon pricing will be a litmus test for our votes for future candidates will do it.
    This builds upon the advice of Jacques Cousteau that I described in my guest essay here in June last year.
    A simple example of a petition is at climatelobby.com

  20. Joan Savage says:

    Phil (#16)

    I’d love to see a roster of extreme weather events that is not limited to those with impact on human beings. Even if it is only 50 years long.

    The EMDAT, International Disaster Data Base (http://www.emdat.be/), is a global collection of reports, going back a century, and sorts by several types of disasters, as well as distinguishing between mortality and economic impacts.

    But by definition, “natural disasters” are measured in terms of human impact, so it misses events like extreme temperatures where no human is living. Your event list is all human impacts, and can be compared to the EMDAT data base. One Denier view is that with the explosion of human population, more people are going to be affected by a natural event than if there were fewer individuals.

    What needs to be really carefully articulated is the extremity of the physical event (square kilometers affected, time interval extent, centimeters of precipitation, extreme temperatures) as compared to its impact on human population.

    For a fuller list of extreme events, we are time-limited by the short history of satellite data on uninhabited areas, and financially limited by the labor-intensive process of reconstructing event information from geologic and ice formation. Really huge events like the K-T boundary extinction or the ice-plug breaks at the end of the last Pleistocene glacier in New York State show up in the physical record. But it’s a major accomplishment to derive the information.

    Best wishes and if you find anything reliable on extreme weather events, please post, as I for one would love to see it.

  21. Tom says:

    As promised a workable plan

    Acknowledging first that the solution is far more complex then this limited post contains. We need to understand that the governments is not the solution. You, me, this web site or many like this one, will be the only solutions we have. This solution will look something this.

    A group with a purpose, a site for promotion, and two states for implementation. This group must present a viable plan, Then a site must be enacted to advertise that plan and fund the required action that needs to be implemented. Finally the method need to be determine to enact said plan. When you find those people to form the nuclease to devise that plan. The web site to promote and fund determined plan, did I forget to mention that it will cost you $$$ (things like that slip my mind at times). So what is this plan.

    The foundation is a nonprofit organization that will over see the operation. This Organization will act as a Investment capitalist seeking new environmental projects. The initial funding will have to come from individuals as you and I. Then hopefully profit sharing plans from the supporter new environmental products. The core is maintained as a web based business, taking all that the web has to offer, E-mail’s, web conferring, sharing of secured information etc. This sites main goal is to secure funding through donations, business advertisements and other sources of income generation. Including licensing and patents procurements, with the intent of manufacturing.

    There is not any lack of products for development. For you tube is full of pie in the sky inventions. Most are just that ‘pie in the sky’, a few however ?? Except how can you determine the shells from the nuts. It would be almost impossible and that is why all nuts, after a stringent review must be supported. The question then arises how can that be possible with hundreds of individuals with any number of ideals. That where the Organization comes in. They will bring all like products together through our web site. Instead of one hundred people working on a bedini circuits, for example. We would have these hundred people collaborate to produce a workable product, if one can be produced.

    All struggling geniuses have one thing in common. They almost always need some financial and technical help. That is where our site will be exceptional. We can supply them with the expensive materials they may need to complete the projects. Also include some off sit manufacturing and machine as specified by potential inventor. Our network should find engineers that can go over plans and make recommendations. Finally since we will be pear-reviewing many products, dead ends and waste can be eliminated.

    JR and all in this site, The EARTH, NEEDS YOU (finger pointing). This is only the beginning of what is needed to take the environment seriously. That first step is for you JR to start the ball rolling with a non profit web site (name suggestions are now being taken). If you JR determine that this is something that you fill is good, let us know. Then set up a fund through pay pal or some payment method and take some token collection. We who believe that the environment is important should have no problem of sending you $10-100 or so. After a week let us know if you have enough to set up this new site, file for nonprofit status, and pay off the lawyers.

    This is important after a week, everyone should stop funding JR, just incase he’s a crook (sorry JR)

    Missing in this over view, is a great deal. We never discussed the CEO, the board of directors, Board of Engineers and the steering committee. Never discussed how funds are distributed, pay for personnel, personnel are all volunteer in the beginning (hope you like the extra work JR).

    First motion: All in favor of JR receiving a token pay for all this work that will be required.

    That’s the basic to get a ground floor movement started, for environmental solutions.

    I will be interested to see the direction this post takes.

  22. Leland Palmer says:

    My nephew is a beekeeper, in the Central Valley of California.

    His business has declined drastically, due to the drought of several years ago, and many farmers going out of business due to that. His business has also been decimated by Sudden Colony Collapse Disorder.

    He says it’s not unusual, these days, to put out 1,000 hives of bees, and only get 500 functioning hives back at the end of the season.

    During Sudden Colony Collapse Disorder, what apparently happens is that most of the worker bees fly away, or get lost, and don’t return to the hive. A small core of live workers is left attending a live queen, generally. There are stores of honey and pollen left in the hive, so apparently starvation is not the cause.

    I’m no expert on this, and perhaps other CP readers know more. But, I keep suspecting that climate change is implicated, myself.

    For one thing, growing seasons have been changing, and wild bee (bumblebee) populations have also been declining, apparently at least partially due to a mismatch between the bee life cycle and the new growing seasons. A recent study puts decline in bumblebee populations…at 96%:

    Bumblebees: 96% Decline

    Several species of American bumblebees are rapidly dying off, and scientists aren’t sure why, according to a new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    “The abundance of four species has declined by up to 96 percent in the last 10-15 years,” says study lead author Sydney A. Cameron, an entomologist at the University of Illinois. Also, she reports the bees’ geographic ranges have contracted by anywhere from 23 to 87 percent.

    This isn’t just an academic exercise: Bumblebees pollinate about 15% of all crops grown in the nation, worth about $3 billion. They are excellent pollinators, the study reports, thanks to their large body size, long tongues, and high-frequency buzzing, which helps release pollen from flowers.

    Bees pollinate hothouse crops such as tomatoes, peppers and strawberries, and field crops such as blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, squash and watermelon.

    Cameron suggests two possible causes for the decline: The spread of a deadly fungus known as Nosema bombi and low genetic diversity, which renders the bees susceptible to other pathogens and environmental pressures.

    A study from last year implicates climate change and an increased mismatch between growing seasons and bumblebee hibernation and lifecycles:

    The Heat is Online…17 year study documents change in growing season and bumblebee population decline

    Climate change may be preventing bees from carrying out the vital job of pollination by upsetting their life cycles, a study has shown.

    Flowering times of mountain lilies in the US appear to be out of synch with their bumble bee pollinators, evidence suggests.

    As a result, fewer of the plants are being pollinated and bearing fruit.

    The findings point to a phenomenon that may only be local, or could be globally widespread.

    Reports of declining populations of bees and other flower-visiting creatures have raised concerns about pollination levels.
    There are major implications for farming and food supplies: a third of the world’s fruits and vegetables would not exist without the help of bees and other pollinators.

    The new research provides early evidence that climate change may be playing a role in driving down pollination.

    “Bee numbers may have declined at our research site, but we suspect that a climate-driven mismatch between the times when flowers open and when bees emerge from hibernation is a more important factor,” said biologist James Thomson, from the University of Toronto in Canada.

    Professor Thomson conducted a 17-year pollination study of the glacier lily, Erythronium grandiflorum, in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado – one of the longest investigations of its kind ever conducted.

    He found a progressive decline in pollination over the years which was most pronounced early in the flowering season.

    Three times a year Prof Thomson compared the fruiting rate of flowers that were left to be pollinated naturally, or given extra doses of pollen by hand.

    “Early in the year, when bumble bee queens are still hibernating, the fruiting rates are especially low,” he said.

    “This is sobering because it suggests that pollination is vulnerable even in a relatively pristine environment that is free of pesticides and human disturbance but still subject to climate change.”

    Prof Thomson began his research in the late 1980s after buying a remote plot of land and building a log cabin in a meadow full of glacier lilies.

    His findings were published today in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

    The glacier lily’s blooming period lasts about four weeks, typically from May to June.Its principal pollinators are queens of the early-emerging bumble bee species Bombus bifarius and Bombus occidentalis.

    Surveys have shown no clear evidence of a decline in bumble bee numbers in the region.

    Prof Thomson said the pollination deficits he had observed were probably due to a “growing phenological mismatch between the blooming of E. grandiflorum and the emergence of its best pollinators”.

    He added that the activity levels of queen bumble bees and the lifespan of flowers may be highly sensitive to air temperatures, sunshine, precipitation and wind.

    “If these factors are changing, subtle dislocations of bees and flowers seem plausible,” said Prof Thomson.

    “Further research is needed to see whether the trend continues, and what might be driving it.”

    Scientists keep proposing different explanations for Sudden Colony Collapse disorder, talking about viruses and mites.

    This decline in bee populations may be a global phenomenon. Certainly, there are anecdotal reports from many locations around the world.

    Bees have very complicated connections to their environment- worker bees for example convey the location of food sources by a “waggle dance”. Both honey bees and bumblebees do some sort of waggle dance.

    Now, we’re changing the environment, to which the bees are very intimately connected, by global warming.

    Are we disrupting the complex interactions of the bees with their environment? Certainly, there are life cycle interruptions, due to changing growing seasons.

    Bees navigate by using visual maps of polarized light, and they see that polarized light using specialized receptors.

    Could increased CO2 concentrations be changing the polarization of the sunlight, somehow?

    Whatever is going on, we may be losing the bees and it may be a global phenomenon. :(

    To readers of Climate Progress, though, it all sounds pretty familiar, and pretty sad, though, doesn’t it?

  23. Michael T. says:

    Data Storm: What To Do With All This Climate Information?

    “One of the reasons storage technology has advanced so rapidly in recent years is because the massive amounts of data being collected around the world every day demand it. Today’s issue of Science devotes a special section to the abundance of data generated in all scientific disciplines and how it is being used to push scientific boundaries. One commentary, co-authored by Jonathan Overpeck, Gerald Meehl, Sandrine Bony and David Easterling, points out the challenges that come along with the vast quantity of climate data, including how best to use all the data and how to make sure uncertainties are properly communicated when the data is made open for everyone to use.”

    http://www.climatecentral.org/blog/data-storm-what-to-do-with-all-this-climate-information/

  24. Mike says:

    Republicans and trying to cut funding to the EPA and have threatened to block funding for the healthcare law. It is an old tactic.

    In the Civil Rights era conservatives fought desegregation by cutting off funds to public schools. Dozens of laws were passed to avoid desegregation: measures authorized school closures, repealed mandatory attendance and cut off funds to integrated schools. The Southern Manifesto assailed the Supreme Court’s “clear abuse of judicial power” and pledged “resistance” to desegregation by all “lawful means.” [Paraphrased: From Jim Crow to Civil Rights, http://books.google.com/books?id=NytV-qWjSBcC&pg=PA390&lpg=PA390

    The point is not that deniers are racists, but that when conservatives can’t win the battle of ideas, they resort to such measures. And there is a psychological connection between willful ignorance or denial and bigotry. Part of the mind is shut off from reality and extreme emotional defense mechanisms emerge to the fore. Progressives too young to remember that era would do well to study it.

  25. Prokaryotes says:

    Anyone saw this movie yet?

    Climate As the New Dirty Word

    A new movie on climate change, called Carbon Nation, debuts this week. It’s positioned as the anti-Al Gore climate change movie. Basically, you don’t have to believe in the science of climate change to watch the movie and want to support clean power and greener transportation.

    The movie features interviews with former CIA, now VantagePoint Venture Partner, James Woolsey, as well as the New York Times‘ Thomas Friedman and Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers. Will the movie catch on in circles where An Inconvenient Truth hasn’t? http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/11/idUS35191439520110211

  26. Prokaryotes says:

    Carbon Nation Trailer
    Here it is – the official theatrical trailer for Carbon Nation. Come out and support the film when we open in theaters this February! http://www.carbonnationmovie.com

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLs73KJI36w

    A dedicated post would be great …

  27. Prokaryotes says:

    Last year report

    Carbon Nation
    Peter Byck, producer/director of “Carbon Nation,” discusses his film which he says is not about global warming; it is about “global warming solutions.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckNuWfDntLY

  28. Colorado Bob says:

    Climate change keenly felt in Alaska’s national parks

    (Reuters) – Thawing permafrost is triggering mudslides onto a key road traveled by busloads of sightseers. Tall bushes newly sprouted on the tundra are blocking panoramic views. And glaciers are receding from convenient viewing areas, while their rapid summer melt poses new flood risks.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/02/12/us-alaska-climate-idUKTRE71B23320110212

  29. Prokaryotes says:

    Surprise

    Every year, in a tradition dating to the 1940s, thousands gather in the Spanish town of Buñol for La Tomatina, a giant “food fight,” in which participants gleefully pelt each other with tomatoes and get very, very messy. There’s blood in the streets, but it belongs to the tomatoes.

    However, according to a study in the prestigious journal, Science, and two in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, we are about to experience food fights of a very different, more deadly way.

    One group of researchers examined the historic links between climate change and incidents of war in Europe and Asia. Going back a millennium, they uncovered a “strikingly high” correlation between temperature variation and the number of wars. Their explanation? Climate change has “significant direct effects on land-carrying capacity” which in turn “affects the food supply per capita.” In their words, “the paths to those disasters operated through a reduction in agricultural production.” As one might guess, these researchers, working from institutions in China, the US, and UK, found that the highest correlation between climate change and war occurred in arid regions, precisely the areas where food supplies were must vulnerable to climatic perturbations.

    Another group of researchers based at Berkeley, NYU, Harvard and Stanford focused on Africa. They too found “strong historical linkages between civil war and temperature… with warmer years leading to significant increases in the likelihood of war.” What might we then expect to happen in Africa in the future? The researchers point out:

    “When combined with climate model projections of future temperature trends, this historical response to temperature suggests a roughly 54% increase in armed conflict incidence by 2030, or an additional 393,000 battle deaths if future wars are as deadly as recent wars.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cary-fowler/avoiding-a-global-food-fi_b_820072.html

  30. Pbo says:

    50 million climate refugees in 2011 according to documentary.

    Has anyone seen this?

    Any comments?

    http://www.climaterefugees.com/

    Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28MH3jZlucc

  31. Prokaryotes says:

    Recent Gas Explosions Raise Questions of U.S. Pipeline Safety

    A series of natural gas explosions has raised questions about the safety of the nation’s aging pipeline system.

    http://newyorkcity.injuryboard.com/toxic-substances/recent-gas-explosions-raise-questions-of-us-pipelines-safety.aspx?googleid=288342

    Federal Regulators Find Alaska Pipeline Safety Flaws
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703786804576138524017057638.html

  32. Prokaryotes says:

    QUETTA: Unkown militants blown up four major gas pipelines by installing explosive material with them in Sui and Peerkoh areas of Dera Bugti, Balochistan on Saturday.http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/12/gas-pipelines-blown-up-in-dera-bugti.html

  33. William P says:

    It seems mostly what we here do is:
    1. Bitterly complain and attack attempts to distort climate facts by media and politicians.

    2. List new dire indicators of global warming as noted by scientists and others.

    3. Say how worried we are for our children and grandchildren.

    Is there any work being done on coping with complete failure to curb CO2 and other green house gas emissions?

    I strongly suspect deep in the bowels of the Department of Defense and the intelligence agencies some good and serious work is being done. But of course that is all super secret from taxpayers who financially support it.

    A strong attempt by high profile people in climate affairs (e.g., officials at Climate Progress) going through a sympathetic Senator might pry something out to educate all of us on advanced thinking about what is coming and the thinking on what will be done.

    I urge Climate Progress readers to make this request to Climate Progress officials.

  34. Colorado Bob says:

    China bids to ease drought with $1bn emergency water aid

    World’s biggest wheat producer resorts to desperate measures in attempt to protect harvest from worst drought in 60 years

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/feb/11/china-drought-emergency-water-aid

  35. Prokaryotes (21), Colorado Bob (32): time for a new Alaska reality tv-show?

  36. Prokaryotes says:

    William P., it is offical, just follow the news at google for example. Atm some Republicans try to axe some of these crucial work. Yesterday i posted yet another risk assessment released by the Pew Center.

    It is high time, the most important assessments in decision making, for the future of the entire race. The bell curve! Risk Managment Expert, Stephen Schneider would have had a special report right now on the frontpage of CP and possible over at he NYT, Rip.

    Take a page from the military: Risk management could reboot climate change debate
    http://www.pewclimate.org/blog/gulledgej/take-page-military-risk-management-could-reboot-climate-change-debate

  37. Prokaryotes says:

    Frequent, Severe Fires Turn Alaskan Forests into a Carbon Production Line http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2011/february/story36692.html

    A 1 billion pound gorilla waking up.

  38. K. Nockels says:

    There are two new reality shows out of Alaska right now. 1) is about bush pilots 2) is called Gold Rush neither shows or addresses any change in the climate there, in fact they go out of their way to not by limiting comment an any weather/climate change and portray the whole state as never changing. In Gold Rush you are presented with backhoes and dreg equipment tearing up a stream bed and driving heavy equipment through it. The work sight looks like a mountain top coal minning nightmare.

  39. Jean says:

    i was disappointed in the show on Science Friday 12/4 As i remember it Ira Flatow asked his guest if he thought the Christmas storm on the East coast and the melting Atctic were caused by Global warming…and the answer was “NO” we had al kinds of record breaking events here in Oklahoma the past 2 weeks.Looked at my favorite sites for back up and found non.but I posted remarks several times in local papers how so many record breaking events just are not normal ,etc…I was pleasantly surprised to see other commentators agreeing

  40. John McCormick says:

    RE # 39

    William P, you suggest,

    “A strong attempt by high profile people in climate affairs (e.g., officials at Climate Progress) going through a sympathetic Senator might pry something out to educate all of us on advanced thinking about what is coming and the thinking on what will be done. ”

    I know you were referring to the inner working of the Defense Department.

    I’d like to know more about the inner workings of our domestic environmental organizations.

    We need to pry something out of them “”to educate all of us on advanced thinking about what is coming and the thinking on what will be done. “”

    We might be surprised to hear they have no clue either.

    John McCormick

  41. Raul M. says:

    As we are subject to our local weather, a group
    Could design a virtual pc based Global Warming
    Theme Park to educate the viewer with the
    probable local ramifications of living in a warme
    location of sea flow to the porch and lightening
    and thunder in the distance. Oh, and very hungry
    dogs swimming toward etc. It would be educational
    and scary too.

  42. Clare says:

    Climate change themes feature in this sculpture exhibition downunder, on Waiheke Is, near Auckland:

    I visited this last week & was impressed with the way powerful statements about AGW were made in a number of the works, especially in ‘Collapse’ by Fletcher Vaughan, seen here:
    http://blogs.aucklandnz.com/isiteonauckland/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/sculpture22.13.jpg
    In his artist’s statement Vaughn says
    “The second half of the twentieth century was a wild party – gas-guzzling cars, cheap energy & vast personal wealth from booming industry. But now we are waking up to the nasty hangover & facing the consequences of last night’s excess. ‘Collapse’ represents the precarious balancing act we are performing with our planet. We’ve been building layers upon layers and each new layer only makes the collapse more likely. Now we’ve reached the point where the house of cards can’t go any higher.
    The scuplture site is directly exposed to the forces of nature, elements that are becoming more unpredictable & extreme due to climate change & global warming. Although firmly fixed, the illusion that ‘Collapse’ could be toppled at any moment by a breath of wind represents the fragility of our planet & its inhabitants in the present day”.
    (Actually this house of cards held up well during the recent storm after Cyclone Wilma, some of the other works were damaged)

    More details (the playing cards have witty details, spades became trees felling by bulldowers, oil dripped, the queens held coke bottles, clubs as stealth bombers etc etc), of this & views of some other works:
    http://heathercrawcour.blogspot.com/2011/02/headlandsculpture-on-waiheke-island_12.html
    http://heathercrawcour.blogspot.com/2011/02/headlandsculpture-on-waiheke-island.html

    http://www.sculptureonthegulf.co.nz/

  43. Prokaryotes says:

    Feb. 12 guest opinion: Protecting EPA’s authority is imperative, especially now

    The congressional obstructionists who last year blocked energy and climate legislation are back — and so is their blithely dismissive view of the scientific consensus on climate change.
    This time, Republicans and a handful of Democrats are targeting the federal Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency that is charged with enforcing the three-decades-old law.
    Last week, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) announced plans to introduce legislation that would block the EPA from considering greenhouse gases a pollutant under the terms of the Clean Air Act.
    Meanwhile, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) has proposed an even more sweeping plan to prevent action on climate change, and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) has introduced a bill that would delay federal enforcement of any greenhouse gas limits for two years.
    In a landmark 2007 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Air Act gives the EPA not just the authority but the obligation to regulate greenhouse gases. Nothing happened until the Obama administration entered office, and since then the agency has responsibly moved forward to fulfill its legal mandate.
    After reviewing research compiled by organizations ranging from the National Academy of Sciences to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the EPA issued an endangerment finding in 2009, declaring that greenhouse gases pose a significant threat to human health.
    Last month, the agency enacted the first regulations of major stationary sources of greenhouse gases (think power plants, refineries and factories). The new rules will be modest at first, affecting only a few hundred new plants or existing facilities that are undergoing major upgrades.
    Unless Congress awakens from its climate slumber and approves legislation limiting greenhouse gases, the agency eventually will provide the only federal action to control U.S. carbon emissions. http://www.newberggraphic.com/news/2011/February/11/Opinion_Guest.Opinion/feb.12.guest.opinion.protecting.epas.authority.is.imperative.especially.now/news.aspx

  44. Prokaryotes says:

    Memo to Fox News: Science and Politics Don’t Mix

    This piece was co-written by Ryan Koronowski, Alliance for Climate Protection Research Director and Josh Nelson, Alliance for Climate Protection Director of Online Communications and New Media.

    Former oil and energy trader Eric Bolling, a financial news personality on Fox News, often gets on television to talk about climate change. On Tuesday, Media Matters published research on Bolling’s program and uncovered a history of claims that are demonstrably false:

    Bolling Hosted Skeptic To Claim “There Is No Global Warming.” Bolling hosted Brian Sussman, radio host and author of Climategate: A Veteran Meteorologist Exposes The Global Warming Scam, who asserted that “there is no global warming.” Sussman claimed that the “hottest decade in history was the 1930s.”

    Bolling: “I think We Warm And We Cool. It’s The Globe.” Discussing a Rasmussen poll asking respondents “how likely is it that some scientists have falsified research data,” Bolling stated: “Listen, you know where I stand on this. I’m not — I think we warm and we cool. It’s the globe.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/4/09]

    Bolling Falsely Suggested Snow Disproves Global Warming. On Fox & Friends, referring to the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Bolling stated: “I think, a couple of years ago, they were in Washington. It was snowed out. The global warming issue wasn’t, I guess, a factor there. But they solved that problem going to Cancun.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/9/09]

    In fact, the decade from 2001-2010 was the hottest on record, and as Alliance for Climate Protection Chairman Al Gore explained in a recent blog post, extreme weather events — including heavy snow — are entirely consistent with climate science.

    So why would Bolling repeatedly push these discredited ideas? One possibility is the fact that the managing editor of Fox News specifically instructed the network’s on-air personalities to do just that.

    This unfortunate myopia extends beyond Fox’s news and opinion programming — it affects the advertisements that Fox viewers are permitted to see. Last May, VoteVets.org ran an ad on cable that made “the familiar case that climate legislation would have national security benefits by reducing the oil profits of hostile Middle Eastern states.” CNN and MSNBC aired the ad. But Fox viewers weren’t allowed to see the ad because it was “too confusing.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-nelson/memo-to-fox-news-science-_b_822162.html

  45. Michael T. says:

    New York City January mean surface temperature anomaly compared to the January global mean anomaly from 1950-2011:

    http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/Temperature/T_moreFigs/global+NYC.Jan.pdf

    Updating the Climate Science: What Path is the Real World Following?
    http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/

  46. Prokaryotes says:

    How do trees and forests relate to climate change?

    This question and answer is part of the Guardian’s ultimate climate change FAQ

    Deforestation, and especially the destruction of rainforests, is a hugely significant contributor to climate change. Scientists estimate that forest loss and other changes to the use of land account for around 23% of current man-made CO2 emissions – which equates to 17% of the 100-year warming impact of all current greenhouse-gas emissions.

    As children are taught at school, trees and other plants absorb CO2 from the air as they grow. Using energy from the sun, they turn the carbon captured from the CO2 molecules into building blocks for their trunks, branches and foliage. This is all part of the carbon cycle.

    A mature forest doesn’t necessarily absorb much more CO2 that it releases, however, because when each tree dies and either rots down or is burned, much of its stored carbon is released once again. In other words, in the context of climate change, the most important thing about mature forests is not that they reduce the amount of CO2 in the air but that they are huge reservoirs of stored carbon. If such a forest is burned or cleared then much of that carbon is released back into the atmosphere, adding to atmospheric CO2 levels.

    Of course, the same process also works in reverse. If trees are planted where previously there weren’t any, they will on soak up CO2 as they grow, reducing the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. It is thought that trees, plants and other land-based “carbon sinks” currently soak up more than a quarter of all the CO2 that humans add to the air each year – though that figure could change as the planet warms.

    Unsurprisingly, the relationship between trees and local and global temperature is more complicated than the simple question of the greenhouse gases they absorb and emit. Forests have a major impact on local weather systems and can also affect the amount of sunlight absorbed by the planet: a new area of trees in a snowy region may create more warming than cooling overall by darkening the land surface and reducing the amount of sunlight reflected back to space.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/feb/11/forests-trees-climate

  47. catman306 says:

    A neighboring county has an old, covered over, landfill that is leaking methane gas. In the newspaper article it mentioned that methane is inflammable in concentrations greater than 5% and explosive when it collects in voids.

    http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/021111/new_783891006.shtml

    When the permafrost really starts letting loose of its stored methane in a few years, is it possible that the concentrations of methane can exceed 5% or collect in voids?

  48. Prokaryotes says:

    How One Person Might Slash His or Her State’s Emissions (and Expenses)

    If my interrogations of startled passersby reflect reality, huge numbers of us are frightened of climate change but do little about it.

    We almost always give one of two reasons:

    1. The problem’s huge. I’m tiny. Effort’s pointless.
    2. I don’t know what to do.

    We’ll call these groups the Tinies and the Baffles, respectively. This post is for the Baffles. The Tinies are tougher, requiring for inspiration oratory that’s hard to muster unless you’re named King or Gandhi. Maybe someday I’ll try to lob something inspiring at the Tinies, but not today.

    Back to the Baffles. I have 2 ideas for you. I’ll lead up to them:

    The ideas came from pondering the Return-On-Investment (ROI) of different climate actions. ROI, used in business and everywhere piles of money gather, requires us to answer: how much effect will we have for each dollar spent?

    We can use ROI to understand how to reduce our carbon emissions. For example, if you’re a state with limited funds (redundant!), where should you direct money: Solar Panels or Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs? ROI analysis reveals that every dollar spent on CFLs saves 50 times more CO2 than every dollar spent on electric solar panels. Likewise CFLs turn a profit after a few months, while solar panels do so only after many years. The choice is clear: forget solar panels until you’ve replaced all your state’s CFLs.

    CFLs are good, but I’m on a quest for the best. What energy policy is the ROI champ? I recently discovered what I believe is a contender for the crown. It comes from Elton B. Sherwin, a venture capitalist whose book Addicted to Energy drips with golden ideas. This particular idea, which is directed toward state governors, has two parts:

    1. Print “Grades” (A,B,C,D or F) on every building’s utility bill. A building’s grade will reflect its carbon footprint per square foot. In addition, on each bill, print the money that would have been saved if the building were as efficient as the highest-scoring buildings of similar size in the same area.
    2. Make all buildings’ utility bills and grades publicly available online.

    The benefits of this policy:

    1. It’ll reduce the energy used in buildings by making us aware of how much we can save (that is, a lot).
    2. It’ll give builders feedback (which they don’t often get now), and help them build better in the future. BTW, how dumb is it that builders don’t automatically get performance reports on their buildings already? What if airplanes were made this way? We’d all be dead is what.
    3. Buyers will be able to better know expected utility costs when deciding which buildings to purchase and how much to offer.
    4. Energy-efficiency businesses will be able to spot the prospects they can most help (owners of the least efficient buildings), and offer services.
    5. Once the data is available to third parties, new businesses and applications will be invented around it.
    6. It’ll create a buzz. Over time, it’ll lead to permanently heightened energy awareness.
    http://climatepirate.com/how-one-person-might-slash-his-or-her-state%E2%80%99s-emissions-and-expenses/

  49. Raul M. says:

    There are natural gas detectors that just plug
    Into an outlet (electrical) to tell if methane is
    entering into foundation cracks of buildings?

  50. Oakden Wolf says:

    Of all the things the Tea Partiers have floated out so far, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer’s reintroduction of a bill prohibiting the United States from contributing to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) blows my frigging mind.

  51. Joan Savage says:

    Supplement to (#24), comment to Phil (#16)

    Science News (Feb 12, 2011. Environment) has drawn attention to work by Carl W. Ebeling and Seth Stein who evaluated Hurricane Andrew’s seismic signature. Seismic records go back further in time than hurricane monitoring, so this new technique may help expand the data base of extreme event records.

    C.W. Ebeling and S. Stein. Seismological identification and characterization of a large hurricane. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. Vol. 101, February 2011, p. 399. doi:10.1785/0120100175

  52. David B. Benson says:

    Raul M. @55 — Domestic natgas has a dsitinctive smelling chemical added to it so that even the tiniest concentrations will alert you to the fact that you need to immediately inform your natgas utility company.

  53. Prokaryotes says:

    Catman, this movie explains current methane observations and mentions amounts.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25BE42PzZZc

  54. Prokaryotes says:

    Note the movie is almost 45 minutes long, for instance google “Mega disasters Methane explosion x264″. If someone knows similar movies, please post.

  55. Frank Zaski says:

    The EPA really needs our help! I attended the Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference in DC last week and ran into an EPA employee who writes rules. She said the EPA is overwhelmed with anti GHG regulation comments, particularly the 5 to 10 page comments made on each rule proposal.

    She (an environmentalist too) said the EPA need to receive stronger support in all forms – letters, emails, LTEs, and multi-page professional comments, and even more click the box submissions from environmental groups.

    I also spoke with the staffs of five Democratic Senators and Representatives who also said the same – negative comments they receive outnumber those supporting stronger EPA rules.

    We must do more at all levels and quickly encourage supportive institutions and corporations to use their big clot as well.

  56. Mond from Oz says:

    I think of the enormity of the convergence we face (food, oil, population, weather), all related to AGW, and arriving within decades. As I understand it, this situation is the consequence of irreversible changes presently in train, which would be subject to positive feedback even if we relinquished fossil fuel tomorow. Add to that the corruption of governments by vested interests and their compliant media, and it starts to look like the game is just about over.

    So if the continuation of humanity must now depend on Lockwood’s ‘few mating pairs round the Arctic’, and their progeny, how and where will we preserve for them, perhaps for the next several thousand years, a legacy of plant and animal DNA, and a sufficient account of basic science for them to start again? And in what language will we write that, and upon what medium?

  57. Deborah Stark says:

    Re: Frank Zaski | Post #61

    Thank you, Frank. That’s good information.

  58. ianash says:

    You may be aware of this but there is a group called The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project which aims at making a new temperature data set (http://www.berkeleyearth.org/objectives

    Sounds good right? However a few ‘warning bells’ sounded when I had a closer look:

    – Judith Curry is on their team
    – one of the donors is the Charles Koch Foundation (yep that Koch)
    – Richard Muller, the head of this project, wrote an oped for the WSJ saying:

    “Another option is that we could learn to live with global warming. Despite claims to the contrary, storms aren’t increasing. The rate of hurricanes hitting the U.S. coast has been constant for a century, and the number of damaging tornadoes has been going down. Will Happer, a former director of research for the Department of Energy, argues that additional CO2 may have helped the agricultural revolution. And chilly Berkeley might be nicer with a few degrees warming.”

    (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703514404574588673072577680.html)

    – this one from Muller states that the ‘hockey stick is broken’
    http://www.mullerandassociates.com/pages/articles/32-Global_Warming_Bombshell.htm

    Hmmm.

  59. Lewis C says:

    Prok – re the net albido effect of forest expansion –

    During the snows of last December, when we had about 15″, a friend & I surveyed several local woods with this question in mind. Some rule-of-thumb conlcusions were very obvious.

    1/. Under snow, deciduous trees give a far lighter image than do coniferous due to the latter’s retention of large areas of visible dark green needles.

    2/. Without snow, deciduous may or may not offer a darker image than other land uses, but are always lighter than most conifers (the larches in autumn colours being an exception).

    3/. Assessing the net sequestration effect of additional forestry options has to include measures both of species’ albido effects and root-to-twig carbon accumulation curves and also of their soil-building capacities. Deciduous are generally far better at this than conifers, but this capacity declines towards the tropics – for example the Amazon rainforest is around 60 million years old and has only about a foot of soil under it.

    Regards,

    Lewis

  60. max says:

    When my father sends me articles like this (brief extract below)-full of what I believe to be untruths-how do I respond? Where do I find the facts? FYI He lives in upstate NY and claims to be all for green energy-just not wind turbines that kill lots of birds, are eyesores and make lots of noise.

    THE GREAT WIND SCAM

    Written by Jack Kelly

    Tuesday, 18 January 2011

    England is experiencing its coldest winter in a century. The cold has been all the more biting for some because many of the 3,150 wind turbines Britain increasingly depends upon to generate electricity haven’t been working.

    “With demand for power at record levels because of the freezing weather, there have been days when the contribution of our forests of wind turbines has been precisely nothing,” wrote Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail Dec. 27.

    “It gets better,” Mr. Littlejohn continued. “As the temperature has plummeted, the turbines have had to be heated to prevent them from seizing up. Consequently, they have been consuming more electricity than they generate.”

  61. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Personally I think that it would be easy to mobilise populations, as was done during the Second World War, to fight the good fight against the climate disruption enemy. In the USA FDR was able to simply order GM and Ford etc to turn to wartime production, because the Presidency still held prestige. Today that kudos is all imaginary and propagandistic and the Republicans commit acts of sabotage that could have been construed as treachery in Roosevelt’s day. They certainly amount, in my opinion, to complicity before the act in turning our childrens’ lives toward horror.
    During the war, in every country, even Japan and Germany under hideous bombardment (and in an ignoble cause) or in the Soviet Union where atrocities and the level of carnage were unprecedented in human history, camaraderie and group support were unprecedented. People enjoy acting collaboratively, working with one another, not against each other, seeing other people as comrades not competition. After all, group solidarity and co-operation have been our species’ preferred methods for 99% of our history as a species. If we could harness this group identity and strength, we could do anything. And the group in question this time is not one nation, or one tribe, under attack, or even a coalition, it is the whole of humanity. We have an opportunity to leave behind the history of human contention and havoc, in the face of a common threat to all humanity. This must be the great turning-point in humanity’s history, or the beginning of its end. Arrayed against us now are not external enemies bent on conquest and subjugation, but a tiny global elite of greedy plutocrats, who despise the rest of humanity and put their wealth and power before mankind’s future. We can beat them, but not through violence, which is their strong suit and preferred method. We must simply get together, organise non-compliance, by reducing consumption, by sharing, by downsizing, by installing renewable power sources, by planting tress, growing our own food and sharing it and by teaching our children to respect life and despise greed. Sure we can vote as well, as long as the plutocrats allow that luxury, but never, ever, for the plutocrats’ stooges, who we must reject absolutely. We have no other choice, but I guarantee it will leave us feeling empowered for once in our lives, making our own decisions, not those imprinted on our souls by the MSM and the advertising Moloch. Even if we fail, we’ll go down swinging.

  62. Artful Dodger says:

    Does anyone know, in this “bitter cold and snowy” Winter, how Climate Doves explain all 5 Great Lakes being open? I mean, if it was abnormally cold wouldn’t they freeze over?

  63. Raul M. says:

    David B. Benson #58 yes the utility companys
    have taken steps to prevent harm from that
    source but melting methane from the permafrost
    has none.

  64. Raul M. says:

    Also survivalists would like a pc based
    Global Warming Theme Park that rewards
    with survival the longer one could stay
    alive moving through the increasing
    consequences of weather chaos.

  65. Prokaryotes says:

    Dear Jack Kelly,

    The air is to frigid cold because it comes from the polar region. And latest science is that this anomaly is connected with the sea ice loose.

    Modern wind blades have heating capabilities and fossil generated machines face the same obstacles and need more energy to function in cold temperature scenarios too. In fact fossil energy is harder to supply during cold periods because it requires heavy machinery to transport it, hence less energy security. Modern electric vehicle and decentralized energy generation, with i.e. wind turbines, solar, geothermal is the answer. And in region with cold spells they need upgrades for anti freeze.

    The bird story is a myth, put out by the fossil companies, in fact bird death linked to wind blades is statistical not relevant. Affected are small turbines and the trend is for bigger devices and you just need to attach a predator image to the top of the turbine to keep birds away.

    In the United States, cars and trucks wipe out millions of birds each year, while 100 million to 1 billion birds collide with windows. According to the 2001 National Wind Coordinating Committee study, “Avian Collisions with Wind Turbines: A Summary of Existing Studies and Comparisons to Other Sources of Avian Collision Mortality in the United States,” these non-wind mortalities compare with 2.19 bird deaths per turbine per year. That’s a long way from the sum mortality caused by the other sources. http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/04/common_misconce.php

    Upon closer look one will realize that this is not a simple black and white issue, but rather one with many grey areas. For example, scientists were able to explain the mysterious deaths of 200 bats at a wind farm in Brandenburg: While using the enclosure of a wind turbine blade as a roost, the bats ended up dying of starvation rather being killed by the rotor blades .

    Sometimes in a community the protection of birds is the only argument available to opponents of wind energy, even when the relevant laws on construction and emission control are not on their side. But that does not have to be the case.

    The German branch of Friends of the Earth (BUND) estimates an annual average of 0.5 bird deaths per wind turbine, which currently equals around 8,000 deaths per year. Similar findings can be found in an aggregate study by the German Society for Nature Conservation (NABU) that analyzed 127 case studies: Only 269 dead birds have been found at wind power turbines across Germany since 1989 and only 245 dead bats since 1998. By extrapolating these figures, NABU estimates that around 10,000 birds and bats die each year. In comparison, the BUND states: “One can assume that approximately 5-10 million birds die because of road traffic and the same number are killed by high voltage masts in Germany each year” .
    http://www.wind-energie.de/en/topics/protection-of-birds/

  66. Prokaryotes says:

    Paul R. Ehrlich: Saving Earth

    For a scholar who traffics in some of the more dispiriting elements of modern biology, ecology and demographics, Paul R. Ehrlich is a remarkably funny guy. His caption for this picture? “A living Neanderthal” contemplating the skull (a replica) of an extinct one. Maybe his humor is a coping mechanism for the parlous state of the planet; maybe it’s the result of more than 50 years as a Stanford University researcher, professor and author.

    However you draw the map of this melting, freezing world, Ehrlich is on it. He got there in 1968, with the sizzlingly, and to Ehrlich’s mind now, regrettably titled book “The Population Bomb.” It is replete with “ifs” and “whens” about the catastrophic collision of population versus resources, some of which have come to pass and some of which haven’t — yet. On that score, Ehrlich is as gleeful at attacking his critics as they are at going after him.

    In his latest book, “Humanity on a Tightrope,” coauthored with Robert E. Ornstein, the tightrope could still turn into a lifeline if humans choose the right balance. Before he’s off to Costa Rica to pursue his first academic love, butterflies, he’s looking the planet, and humanity, in the face.

    One thing I draw from your new book is that you’re now calling on individuals to do what institutions have failed to when it comes to saving the planet and ourselves.

    That’s part of it. We now know more than enough about what the hell is wrong with the world. The climate, the toxification of the planet, the epidemiological environment, the chances of plague, losing biodiversity, the rate of extinction of species — and we’re doing nothing about it. We’ve had 10 failures now on international attempts to do something about climate change. If we don’t figure out how to change human behavior toward sustainability, we’re basically … screwed, I think is the technical term.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-morrison-ehrlich-021211,0,413002.column

  67. Prokaryotes says:

    New House Energy Chair: Global Warming Not Man-Made

    370 comments

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-20031180-501465.html

  68. Prokaryotes says:

    Elite group of yacht owners help scientists study global warming
    SeaKeepers, a group of yacht owners, has taken aboard an innovative new option: a specially designed sensing system for helping to measure changes in the sea.

    Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/02/10/2060678/yacht-owners-do-good-for-the-planet.html

  69. Colorado Bob says:

    Green Smoke Screen
    Supporters of “green energy” like to say it will create more jobs. They’re wrong.
    By Bjørn Lomborg

    http://www.slate.com/id/2284634/

  70. Paulm says:

    Or maybe it’s Damed if u do & Damed if u don’t.

  71. Colorado Bob says:

    The Copenhagen Consensus Center asked Gürcan Gülen, a senior energy economist at the Bureau for Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin, to assess the state of the science in defining, measuring, and predicting the creation of green jobs. Gülen concluded that job creation “cannot be defended as another benefit” of well-meaning green policies. In fact, the number of jobs that these policies create is likely to be offset—or worse—by the number of jobs that they destroy.

    ” Bureau for Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin ”

    This reads like an old Soviet moniker . But these days it’s a fossil powered hand puppet .

  72. Mickey says:

    #70, not all the Great Lakes normally freeze over in a typical winter. In addition, only in the southern sections has this winter been abnormally cold. In the case of Lake Superior, they had a cold January but a mild December thus the delay there. For Lake Michigan only the shallow areas typically freeze over which is what has happened now. For Lake Huron, it rarely freezes over completely but ice coverage in the southern parts is above normal while below normal in the northern parts and this winter its mostly in the southern areas that have been abnormally cold. Lake Erie is pretty much frozen over as it usually does since it is the shallowest lake. Lake Ontario is the deepest lake so almost never freezes over, not even during the harsh winter of 1994 did it freeze over which was much colder than this one. If you want to look at sea or lake ice, you have to look at how much there is relative to normal. There are also other factors too. In the case of Hudson Bay it is frozen over now, but due to the unusually mild past few months it froze over two months later than normal while the Gulf of Bothnia (separates Sweden from Finland) froze over early due to an abnormally cold November and December but despite a mild January is still frozen over as temperatures even though above average were below freezing still.

  73. Colorado Bob says:

    NATURAL disasters are fast becoming a key risk that Australian miners need to plan for, following the recent damaging floods and category five cyclone in resources-rich Queensland.

    The risk of natural disasters now ranks in the top three for miners, with flooded pits and damaged infrastructure having the biggest impact on operations.

    Major investments in flood protection following floods in January 2008 meant miners were better prepared for last year’s event, but levies and prevention work were said to be “sorely tested” at the height of the recent heavy rains.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/miners-on-guard-in-their-battle-with-nature/story-e6frg8zx-1226004685936

  74. Colorado Bob says:

    Tropical Cyclone 13S (Bingiza) is about to cross northern Madagascar. For weeks Madagascar has been mentioned in the flood reports in southern Africa. Another poor country getting smacked .
    http://www.usno.navy.mil/JTWC/

  75. Colorado Bob says:

    More on the food story –

    Australian feed wheat supply is unusually large this year after rains and floods damaged crops. Around half of Australia’s 2011 crop of 22 million to 26 million tonnes is likely to be downgraded to feed grade, much more than the 4 million tonnes of feed wheat a year it typically produces for domestic consumption.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/11/us-china-wheat-idUSTRE71A1JE20110211

    While they had a record crop, they experienced a 25% drop in the amount of food grade wheat grown.

  76. Colorado Bob says:

    But then came Saskatchewan’s record-setting rains, preventing farmers from even planting wheat on millions of acres of drenched agricultural land.

    “What is typically the driest province was never wetter,” Environment Canada noted in its year-end review of the country’s Top 10 weather stories of 2010, which placed Saskatchewan’s “Summer of Storms” at No. 6.

    http://www.canada.com/news/Rain+Saskatchewan+revolution+Egypt+soaring+food+prices+helped+topple+dictator/4268846/story.html#ixzz1DmBIoiy0

  77. Colorado Bob says:

    Chile drought looms as La Nina takes its toll on farm output

    La Nina is complicating government efforts to regulate the economy. Hydroelectric power generation has suffered as low rainfall has begun to empty the reserves. Chile produces about half of its energy though hydroelectric power. Officials said the shortfall was already estimated to be about 10 percent of the total hydroelectric production feeding into the grid.

    Read more: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resource-Wars/2011/02/10/Chile-drought-looms-as-La-Nina-takes-its-toll-on-farm-output/UPI-65921297382836/#ixzz1DrTqApdo

  78. Colorado Bob says:

    A SEVERE drought is threatening the wheat crop in China, the world’s largest wheat producer, resulting in shortages of drinking water for people and livestock.

    China has been essentially self-sufficient in grain for decades, for national security reasons. Any move by China to import large quantities of food in response to the drought could drive international prices even higher than the record levels recently reached.

    ”China’s grain situation is critical to the rest of the world – if they are forced to go out on the market to procure adequate supplies for their population, it could send huge shockwaves through the world’s grain markets,” said Robert Zeigler, the director-general of the International Rice Research Institute in Los Banos, Philippines.

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/when-china-goes-hungry-the-world-shakes-20110211-1aqgl.html

  79. Colorado Bob says:

    Global 2010/11 corn production was lowered 1.8 million tons with reductions for Argentina and Mexico. Argentina production was lowered 1.5 million tons as continued dryness through mid-January further reduced yield prospects in the country’s central growing areas.

    http://www.feedstuffs.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=F4D1A9DFCD974EAD8CD5205E15C1CB42&nm=Breaking+News&type=news&mod=News&mid=A3D60400B4204079A76C4B1B129CB433&tier=3&nid=51FD030A8D004A6EB5D2A44B1792927B

  80. Mike says:

    Mod: Is there an issue or problem with my post #36 (aside from typos)? It is still in “moderation.”

  81. Colorado Bob says:

    LA PAZ, Bolivia, Feb. 11 (UPI) — Bolivian President Evo Morales canceled an appearance at a public event amid fears that protests over food prices and availability will spark riots in the country.

    Morales has been battling with an endemic food crisis, exacerbated by opposition anger over his style of government.

    Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Special/2011/02/11/Morales-aborts-visit-amid-fears-of-food-riots/UPI-56061297458214/#ixzz1Drb5nrao

  82. Michael says:

    Colorado Bob (92) –

    If you look at rainfall deciles, even when you go back as far as 36 months, there are areas that have been the wettest on record, with most of the eastern half of the country well above average. The drought in SW Australia is also very evident with areas in the driest deciles.

    The 1/2/3 year rainfall difference maps are equally as impressive with differences for all three periods up to 1,200 mm or more.

  83. Ziyu says:

    What are your thoughts on this genetically modified corn? It has the disadvantage of possible cross polination but the advantage of reducing the overall carbon footprint of ethanol.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/12/business/12corn.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

  84. Brooks Bridges says:

    There was, in a recent post here, a wonderful statement concerning the certainty of the science of climate change. I’ve seen it before also. I can’t find it. I’d appreciate a reference.

    It was something to the effect that when a hypothesis/theory reaches a certain level of certainty it becomes as close to a fact as is possible. And that climate change was at that level.

    I’m trying to assemble a set of key information so don’t have to depend on memory in discussions and think this is a very important one.

  85. David B. Benson says:

    Massimo Pigliucci
    Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk
    Univ. Chicago Press, 2010.

  86. Hipparchus says:

    The following link leads to an article on the front page of the Boston Globe today, Sunday, February 13, 2011, headed “Deep thinking on snowy spells: Scientists study North Atlantic weather system for clues to patterns of miserable winters”:

    http://www.boston.com/news/weather/articles/2011/02/13/researchers_try_to_decipher_patterns_of_super_snowy_spells/

    This article is puzzling and annoying because it quotes people at institutions that appear respectable but does not mention climate change. It deals largely with the North Atlantic Oscillation, about which I know nothing; in fact the printed article has a sidebar explaining the positive and negative phases of that oscillation.

    Maybe someone that understands this article can comment about it. Did the writer seek out the wrong people to interview, did she just ask the wrong questions, or was she deliberately trying to rule out climate change by not mentioning it? The article is prominent and certainly gives the impression that global warming has nothing to do with the “super snowy spells” it mentions.

  87. David B. Benson says:

    Hipparchus @97 — In general, climate change will cause increased droughtss punctuated by ever more and more severe extreme precipitation events. Check what meteorologist Jeff Masters has to say on his Weather Underground climate blog.

  88. Colorado Bob says:

    Michael @ 93 –
    I have been looking at the coal story and floods . The business writers all are calling them 50 year floods or stating the the rain is more common than once thought. But with the cores taken from the reef, mentioned in the study last week, these are at least greater than a 300 year event.

    Queensland Floods Spur U.S. Coal Exports to Highest in 15 Years

    Demand for the fuel is part of a wider trend, said David Khani, an analyst at FBR, whose ratings on eight coal companies earned investors a 52 percent return in a year.

    “We like to call it ‘coalbilization,’” Khani said. “All of these things that are out of the norm are just exacerbating the underlying trend, which is supply can’t keep up with demand. What’s going on in Australia impacts what’s going on in Central Appalachia and Northern Appalachia.”

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-02-13/queensland-floods-spur-u-s-coal-exports-to-highest-in-15-years.html

  89. Colorado Bob says:

    Queensland’s summer of 2010-2011 will be long remembered for its widespread flooding and the impact of Cyclone Yasi, but it may not be an isolated occurrence for the state.

    Research from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) shows the frequency of extreme rainfall events has been increasing since the late 19th century.

    Dr Janice Lough has presented a paper in the prestigious scientific journal Paleoceanography, explaining how her latest research supports predictions that tropical rainfall will become more variable in a warming world.

    http://news.brisbanetimes.com.au/breaking-news-national/more-qld-extreme-rainfall-events-expected-20110209-1amdu.html

  90. Colorado Bob says:

    The record she cored starts in 1639, 371 years ago. 73-74 was the wettest in the record.

    “These coral samples, which date from 1639 to 1981, suggest that the summer of 1973-74 was the wettest in 300 years,” Lough said in a statement released by the American Geophysical Union, which will publish her study in an upcoming issue of the journal Paleoceanography. “This summer is now being compared with that record-settling one,” she said. The current La Niña is the strongest it has been since 1974. ”

    http://news.discovery.com/earth/australia-corals-predict-more-rains.html

  91. Colorado Bob says:

    Every record report I’ve seen this winter , smashed 73′- 74′, but I’ve yet to see what the Australia Met Office says.

    AUSTRALIANS should brace themselves for more heavy rain and flooding.
    http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2011/02/14/294251_latest-news.html

  92. Colorado Bob says:

    Colo. renewable energy rules survive GOP offensive

    Democrats weren’t persuaded. Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins, said he could not support changes that wouldn’t confront the prospect of irreversible climate change.

    http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9L9UHQG0.htm

  93. max says:

    Re 94 Thoughts on genetically modified corn: This is a site that prides itself on relaying the latest science related to climate change. Any discussion of GM agriculture pro- or con- should also be science-based. Any technology may have a mix of risks and benefits-the policy decision whether the benefits outweigh the risks sufficiently to allow commercialization must be based on the best available scientific research as well as a consideration of the alternatives.