Climate Open Thread Plus Toles Cartoon of the Week by Joe Romm Mar 17, 2012 8:35 am Share 26 Tweet Comment Opine away. Or pine away…. Share 26 Tweet Comment 33 Responses to Open Thread Plus Toles Cartoon of the Week climatehawk1 says: March 17, 2012 at 8:52 am Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground is doing a nice job of covering the current U.S. heat wave: Remarkable week-long March heat wave hitting U.S. – March 14 Unprecedented early-year heat smashes all-time records in Midwest – March 15 Rare March tornado rips Michigan; record March heat wave sets more records – March 16 Also, it says here that Stu Ostro at The Weather Channel is alarmed. Please join Citizens’ Climate Lobby (U.S. and Canada) in their push to tax carbon and rebate the revenue to all citizens. Dennis Tomlinson says: March 17, 2012 at 9:04 am Nowhere is St. Paddy’s Day celebrated like it is in Chicago. Even the mayor of Dublin has been known to come to Chicago for the “festivities”. The Chicago River is died (even more) green; green beer from tappers is served throughout the day; parades are held featuring the usual fare along with bagpipers wearing skirts (plus unederwear, I presume). Celebrants come out to the parade, usuaally still wearing winter coats and stocking hats… but not this year. The forcast has us beating the previous St. Paddy’s Day high by about 7F. We’ve had three straight days of 80F+ highs (a record), and today could be the fourth. Flowers are blooming, trees budding, even the magnolia in my front yard is blooming… about a month ahead of schedule. First flies and mosquitoes appeared yesterday; robins appeared in late February; Donald and Daisy Duck are pecking seeds off the ground beneath the bird feeder in my back yard right now. Also yesterday, one of my fellow engineers at work commented to me that, “If this is global warming, I like it.” And the weather has been beautiful, but in a very sinister sort of way. Change of subject, I’d like to pitch this book, which I’m half-way through. Bill McKibben is one of multiple authors, all of whom are fellows at The Post Carbon Institute. It’s very informative, and thought provoking… well worth the ten bucks. Current reviews on Amazon: 22 five-star; 1 four-star. http://www.amazon.com/Post-Carbon-Reader-Sustainability-ebook/dp/B0056DY90I/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1331988427&sr=1-1 LosAngelista says: March 17, 2012 at 9:09 am http://sciencenordic.com/new-theory-co2-makes-you-fat There is a study out of Denmark that indicates atmospheric carbon dioxide is also making us fat. If this study holds up, it could drive regulations of CO2 emissions based directly on human health effects. aa says: March 17, 2012 at 9:45 am DYED, not DIED. There’s a huge difference. Gail Zawacki says: March 17, 2012 at 9:49 am Far more likely than CO2: http://edge.org/response-detail/2846/what-is-your-favorite-deep-elegant-or-beautiful-explanation “Multiple other oxidative stress- and mitochondrial disruption-inducing exposures that have not yet been assessed will promote one or multiple elements of Metabolic Syndrome.” Similarly, the more immediate threat to cherry trees isn’t early blooming (they live, after all, in quite a range of climates) but exposure to toxic atmospheric pollution. They absorb ozone through foliage and year after year, cumulative damage is killing them. Some pictures illustrating the problem are posted here: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2012/03/cherry-trees-dripping-with-ironic.html CW says: March 17, 2012 at 10:09 am So if the deniers believe the proposed cure (a more intervening government) is worse than the disease (civilizational collapse), then why are they not rallying behind the likes of Amory Lovins and a good number of credible others who routinely argue that business can get us out of this mess, driven by profit only, with minimal to no government action? If it is just that they are not hearing that message, then has there been anyone that has studied the effect of such messaging on deniers? Does it open their minds to the possibility the disease exists after all? Anne says: March 17, 2012 at 10:14 am The website for the National Cherry Blossom Festival has a chart showing all the stats going back 20 years. http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/about/bloom-watch/ Looks like 2000 was a fluke year, with peak blossoms on March 17, otherwise peak has occurred right around the first of April, give or take. If we remove the 2000 outlier, this year’s predicted peak of March 20-23 is earlier by at least a week than every other year in the past 20. A good exercise for a master’s student or young climate scientist would be to correlate the blossoms with that year’s weather for DC and look for a pattern associated with global warming. Does anyone know of such a study? catman306 says: March 17, 2012 at 10:32 am Maybe not. How healthy is the Chicago River? Maybe he/she should have written “Has died.” Tom King says: March 17, 2012 at 10:37 am I watched an interesting documentary on the Romantics and how they created our modern society in the l780’s – 1830’s. Significant attention in episode 2 was given to the issue of the “sublime”. This is a word we don’t use much anymore but it was the overpowering feeling of things that are much bigger than us. Like standing on the edge of a cliff, or when a child tries to imagine the size of the Sun. The Romantics believed that only by embracing the sublime could one acquire suitable respect for Nature – both for its beauty and its potential destructiveness. As I watched I couldn’t help but see the parallels with our current situation. Maybe we have created a society vulnerable to climate denial by living lives that are artificially separated from Nature. When we talk about 500 billion tons of ice melting annually, perhaps there are too many people who simply can’t imagine an ice block this big. They can’t consider how long it would take to walk around it, or how big a lake it would create if it melted nearby. In short, people might have their imaginations disabled by a lack of interaction with the sublime. http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-romantics/ Dennis Tomlinson says: March 17, 2012 at 10:39 am Right you are, aa. That one flue write threw the spill chequer on my pea sea. Joan Savage says: March 17, 2012 at 10:51 am The NPS has records from 1927 to present for Washington DC cherry blooms. Much longer records of cherry blossom bloom dates have been kept in Kyoto, Japan. Aono and Saito (2010) compiled records from circa 1400 onward. Their graph shows a trend in the 20th century towards earlier bloom dates. Joan Savage says: March 17, 2012 at 11:01 am My statistics professor liked to remind us, “There are no outliers,” as variability is part of the information. John Tucker says: March 17, 2012 at 11:44 am Friends of the Earth wrote to the British PM on using renewables to shutter nuclear power. Thankfully Monbiot chimed in and basically told them to get their priorities straight: No Primrose Path It is not a question of nuclear or renewables or efficiency. To prevent very dangerous levels of climate change, we will need all three. This was made clear by the Committee on Climate Change, which showed that the maximum likely contribution to our electricity supply from renewables by 2030 is 45%, and the maximum likely contribution from carbon capture and storage is 15%. If nuclear power does not make up most of the remainder, the gap will be filled by fossil fuel. The environment movement has a choice. It has to decide whether it wants no new fossil fuels or no new nuclear power. It cannot have both. I know which side I’m on, and I know why. Anyone who believes that the safety, financing and delivery of nuclear power are bigger problems than the threats posed by climate change has lost all sense of proportion. ( http://www.monbiot.com/2012/03/15/no-primrose-path/ ) Again: Anyone who believes that the safety, financing and delivery of nuclear power are bigger problems than the threats posed by climate change has lost all sense of proportion. John Tucker says: March 17, 2012 at 11:51 am Here is that report: The Renewable Energy Review May 2011 ( http://hmccc.s3.amazonaws.com/Renewables%20Review/The%20renewable%20energy%20review_Printout.pdf ) Joan Savage says: March 17, 2012 at 11:57 am Gah. That would be 1921, not 1927 for the NPS. Link to page that links to pdf. http://www.nps.gov/cherry/cherry-blossom-bloom.htm Raul M. says: March 17, 2012 at 12:31 pm Liking Dr. Masters’ blog as he indicates how far above average the temps. in some areas are. They sure do much work to show the changing average. I mean ummm. colinc says: March 17, 2012 at 1:07 pm Great comment, Tom, and thanks for the link, I look forward to watching. Perhaps the following will be of “assistance” regarding… When we talk about 500 billion tons of ice melting annually, perhaps there are too many people who simply can’t imagine an ice block this big. They can’t consider how long it would take to walk around it, or how big a lake it would create if it melted nearby. Computing, in rough terms… Since 500 GT ice = 500 GT water and water= ~1.0 g/cc, and… 1 Ton = 2000 lb = 32 Koz = 909 Kg = ~909 Kcc = 0.909 m^3 = ~32 cu.ft., then, 500 GT WATER = 16,000,000,000,000 cu.ft. Therefore, a “pool” of water 10 ft. deep would cover… 1.6 trillion sq.ft. = 36,730,946 acres = 57,392 sq.mi. In other words, a “pool” that is 10 ft. deep and… as a square 239 miles/side => 956 mile perimeter, OR… as a circle with a diameter of 270 miles => 849 mi. perimeter. Assuming the “best” westward-ho-wagontrain speed of 20 mi./day, looks like about 1-1/2 months to walk around it… AS WATER. Since V-ice = V-water + 10%… then, 500 GT ICE = ~17,600,000,000,000 cu.ft. and long-story short… a “block” of ICE 10 ft. thick would be, 40,404,040 acres = 63,131 sq.mi. and a square 251 mi./side & circle 284 mi. diameter. Please feel free to check/correct as necessary. John Tucker says: March 17, 2012 at 1:47 pm Record Events for Thu Mar 15, 2012 through Fri Mar 16, 2012 Total Records: 765 Rainfall: 38 Snowfall: 6 High Temperatures: 411 Low Temperatures: 2 Lowest Max Temperatures: 10 Highest Min Temperatures: 298 ( http://mapcenter.hamweather.com/records/2day/us.html?c= ) John Tucker says: March 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm Third day of record-breaking high temperatures — more to come? Friday’s high of 82 degrees beat the old record for the earliest 82-degree day set in history, which had previously been March 27, 1945. The high was set at 4 p.m. at O’Hare International Airport, the National Weather Service said. The previous record high for March 16 in Chicago was 78 degrees, also set in 1945. The normal high for the day is 47. The city normally has to wait until June 21 to see a normal high of 82. ( http://www.suntimes.com/news/11334240-418/third-day-of-record-breaking-high-temperatures-more-to-come.html ) Chris Lock says: March 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm Canadians donate to help save the Arctic Research Station http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/03/16/pearl-donations-update.html For this next story you have to see the comments below the article. The article is about the loss of ice on Lake Superior, due to global warming and climate change. On most CBC online news articles, you can comment and put thumbs up or down. Someone wrote a comment that climate change is the greatest hoax. Normally comments like this get the most thumbs down and fall to the bottom of the pile. This is, however, the top comment; the author and / or his friends hit thumbs up so often that it floated to the top. They’ve spammed the comments. (I don’t know how to repeat the thumbs up, something to do with deleting cookies.) It’s so ridiculous it’s funny. I know it’s a lie, how many others do? Scroll to the bottom of the article to find the comments. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2012/03/13/tby-lake-superior-ice.html Hoedad says: March 17, 2012 at 3:43 pm Will the techno-optimists save the world? Very interesting, no crucial, debate at the TED conference between Paul Gliding, -The Earth is Full http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_gilding_the_earth_is_full.html and Peter Diamandis -Abundance is our Future http://www.ted.com/talks/peter_diamandis_abundance_is_our_future.html then Gliding’s commentary afterwards http://paulgilding.com/cockatoo-chronicles/will-the-techno-optimists-save-the-world.html In which he makes a stab at techo-optimism being another form of the rosy sunset of denial and a final mirage of delusion. Apres moi… Tim says: March 17, 2012 at 6:37 pm The techno-optimists can be part of the problem(s) and they can be part of the solution(s). It is very important to harness their energy to make them a big part of the latter. There is probably no group of businessmen powerful enough to take on the fossil fuel industry than the tech industry. Technology (and agriculture) don’t thrive on crisis – they should want prosperity. What Paul Gilding needs to do is to convince the techno-optimists to start speaking out – to start smacking down the Jim Inhofes and the Joe Bartons and the Pat Michaels – to throw money into the opponents of the Ken Cuccinelli. Americans suffer the delusion that if you ‘kin run a bidness, you kin run the gubmint’. Well, its high time that the tech business community, who employ a lot more people than the oilmen, shut the oil whores up. prokaryotes says: March 17, 2012 at 6:57 pm BREAKING! Climate ‘tech fixes’ urged for Arctic methane An eminent UK engineer is suggesting building cloud-whitening towers in the Faroe Islands as a “technical fix” for warming across the Arctic. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17400804 This is NOAH telling to migrate or prepare the fuckign arc! Get it – DO SOMETHING! colinc says: March 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm Playing this concept out a little further… To equal the above ice-volume, we would need a “few” of the following man-made structures (all volumes from Wikipedia)… 37,288 x Boeing Everett Factory V = 472,000,000 cu ft 88,442 x Jean-Luc Lagardère Plant V = 199,000,000 cu ft [Airbus A380 assembly hall, world’s largest Airliner.] 135,385 x NASA Vehicle Assembly Building V = 130,000,000 cu ft 200,570 x Hoover Dam V = 87,750,000 cu ft and last/least… 203,577 x The Great Pyramid of Khufu V = 86,453,792 cu.ft. Additionally, Wikipedia notes that the pyramid covers an area of 13 acres. Therefore, the 203K+ pyramids would cover a total, edge-to-edge, of 2,646,501 acres or 4,135.16 square miles. Almost forgot, you could also try to imagine that volume of ice as a cube that is ~4.75 miles on a side, the absolute “envy” of the Borg Collective. catman306 says: March 17, 2012 at 8:51 pm And mine pointed out it’s the outliers that sometimes indicate when some unknown factor, besides normal variability, that hasn’t yet been included in the model, has produced an effect. Tom King says: March 17, 2012 at 10:38 pm Thank you Colinc, Going a bit further, the average denier probably has the same cranial capacity as an average human. IE – 1450 cc = 0.0512 cu.ft Taking your 17,600,000,000,000 cu.ft. calculation in account this means the volume of ice would be equal the contents of the heads of 343 trillion climate deniers. But every child already knows this because even a child understands that a denier’s head is actually empty. ;) David B. Benson says: March 17, 2012 at 11:28 pm George Monbiot’s latest several posts are quite good. I’d post a link to the last but the button for copy-n-paste on my mouse stopped working and the mouse won’t be replaced until Monday at the earliest. riverat says: March 18, 2012 at 2:05 am It might hit home better to Americans by comparing it to the area of the Contiguous United States. CONUS is 2,959,064.44 square miles which is 11.9 quadrillion square inches. 16 trillion cubic feet is 27.6 quadrillion cubic inches. Dividing 27.6 by 11.9 gives 2 1/3 inches of water covering the CONUS from ice melting each year. (I used exact values [all 17 digits] in my calculations). David Stockbridge Smith says: March 18, 2012 at 9:45 am How about the volume of ice melt is the equivolent 711,000,000 homes, average size – 2,500 square feet, vollume 22,500 feet cubed. I think thats 3 – 4 times all of the residences in the US of A. colinc says: March 18, 2012 at 10:11 am Great follow-ups Tom, David and river… That “reminds” me, when I mentioned the 10-foot thick slab of ice being 63K+ sq.mi. I also had intended to point out that it would cover 96% of the state of Florida (65,755 sq mi). Nonetheless, we must also be mindful that this process has been proceeding for more than a “few” years (more than a few FL’s are already “gone”) and the process IS accelerating. Anna Haynes says: March 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm Monbiot in 2005: “…Winter is no longer the great grey longing of my childhood. … Across most of the upper northern hemisphere, climate change, so far, has been kind to us. And this is surely one of the reasons why we find it so hard to accept what the climatologists are now telling us. In our mythologies, an early spring is a reward for virtue. … If climate change is to introduce horror into our lives, we would expect – because throughout our evolutionary history we survived by finding patterns in nature – to see that horror beginning to unfold….But the overwhelming sensation, experienced by all of us, almost every day, is that of being blessed by our pollution.” (link) John Tucker says: March 18, 2012 at 7:06 pm They are. He has been a reasonable voice with his priories straight. I shutter to think how many decades in greenhouse gas reductions we would have been set back had the anti-nuke movement been unencumbered in its objectives of shuttering all nuclear power. I wrote a blog entry with some history of Germany’s withdrawal after getting irritated reading of the expansion of NG filling stations. ( http://diseaseclimate.blogspot.com/2012/03/natural-gas-bridge-end-of-beginning-or.html ) I dont know if I am being fair in my conclusions or not, as I visit other blogs with very strong and extreme anti nuclear sentiment that are completely out of the loop when it comes to climate change. They are mainstream too. Sometimes, if anything considering what is occurring I am beginning to think I was being too conciliatory. Bad policy statements from green groups, particularly ones I respect like NRDC are wearing thin: “NRDC’s nuclear team sets forth several security and safety recommendations for the industry, and until those requirements are met, recommends more practical and economic alternatives to cutting global warming pollution, such as renewable energy and efficiency technologies.” ( http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/power/power.asp ) That last line is particularly infuriating considering what has occurred, how much has been deployed correctly and the level of deployment possible. Glib even. John Tucker says: March 19, 2012 at 3:19 am Let me be more specific – The proliferation concerns are ridiculous. The amount of material a potential terrorist would need to remove and reprocess; its absurd to believe it couldn’t be tracked and detected if they could actually pull it off without contaminating themselves. They didn’t even use current cost analysis and the MIT study they used doesn’t even support the numbers they used in context; “There is no question that the up-front costs associated with making nuclear power competitive, are higher than those associated with fossil fuels,” said Dr. Moniz. “But as our study shows, there are many ways to mitigate these costs and, over time, the societal and environmental price of carbon emissions could dramatically improve the competitiveness of nuclear power” ( http://web.mit.edu/nuclearpower/ ) As for waste disposal: “To date, the government has focused all of its efforts on building a repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, but over the years, it has become clear that the site may not have the necessary geology to keep the waste from migrating and eventually contaminating the nearby water table.” Its not “clear” and the site was considered viable. Regulator found Yucca nuclear dump safe-report ( http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/08/us-usa-nuclear-waste-idUSTRE7577E720110608 ) But as dry cask storage is now in use and reprocessing and breeder reactors being considered its not the issue its made to be. But this should bother people the most concerned with climate: “U.S. electricity needs could be met while reducing emissions by 70 percent or more through a combination of increased end-use efficiency, wind power, solar power, integrated gasification combined-cycle coal plants with carbon capture and storage, and high-efficiency natural gas combined- cycle turbines. These technologies are cheaper than new nuclear plants, and they can be built or installed much more quickly, without the serious security, public health, and environmental dangers that accompany nuclear power.” also : “Moreover, unless plug-in hybrid, all-electric, or fuel-cell-powered vehicles, or electric trains are commercialized on a large scale, nuclear power has virtually no role to play in reducing emissions from the transportation sector,” I don’t know where to start. How was that conclusion come to? I would like to see them come here and defend that position in a open forum using scientific reference to existing technology, the rate of renewable installation, its impact and other developments over the last few years. How could no one question this stuff if they felt the issue was important?