March 22 News: If We’re Altering Rain, Hail, Any Doubts Left on Climate?

Other stories below: Seal pups face climate change woes; Obama putting oil pipeline on fast track as he touts energy record in Oklahoma

Climate Central: If We’re Altering Rain, Hail, Any Doubts Left on Climate?

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when communicating climate science is the resistance many have to accepting the notion that human activities are capable of altering the earth’s climate system. After all, the planet is a pretty big place, and the climate was doing its thing long before humans arrived. To some, the abundant scientific evidence showing that manmade emissions of global warming gases, such as carbon dioxide, are likely the key driver behind recent global warming seems, well, kind of arrogant.

To these folks, I say check out a recent study that had nothing to do with global warming. By showing that human activities can have measurable impacts on small-scale weather phenomena – in this case, thunderstorms that spawn tornadoes and hail – the report highlighted that we’re already able to influence weather on a daily basis.

And if we are capable of modifying thunderstorm behavior, it’s not a large leap to understand that we’re also altering the atmosphere on much broader scales.

Obama putting oil pipeline on fast track as he touts energy record in Oklahoma

Deep in Republican oil country, President Barack Obama is fending off criticism of his energy policies, pointing to plans to fast-track an oil pipeline that emerged after he delayed the larger Keystone XL project earlier this year.

Obama was directing federal agencies Thursday to expedite a 485-mile line from Oklahoma to refineries on Texas’ Gulf Coast that would remove a critical bottleneck in the country’s oil transportation system. The directive would also apply to other pipelines that alleviate choke points.

“We’re drilling all over the place,” Obama said in Maljamar, N.M., on Wednesday, standing alongside oil rigs on federal land. The president was announcing his plans for the expedited pipeline, a southern portion of the original Keystone XL, in Cushing, Okla., where construction is expected to begin this spring.

Tennessee bill protects teachers who challenge evolution and climate change

The state legislature of Tennessee has given legal cover to public school teachers to challenge the science of evolution and climate change, in a move that looks set to deepen a debate about politicisation of the classroom.

The bill passed in the Tennessee Senate this week provides legal protection to teachers who personally do not believe in evolution or the human causes of climate change, and instead want to teach the “scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories”.

It comes at a time when science associations are increasingly concerned by moves to inject religious or ideological beliefs into science teaching ahead of the release next month of a new set of education standards which give a central place to climate change.

Early Spring Sets Much of U.S. Awash in Color and Pollen Dust

Spring, with its promise of flip-flops and daffodils, can have a dark side. Take this one, which hit so early in many parts of the nation that the headaches are outweighing the sunny benefits.

High temperatures and a sudden bloom have turned what some call the Bible Belt into the Pollen Belt. Insects usually not seen for a month or two are out in full force in the Midwest and Rocky Mountains.

Chicago is in its eighth day of 80-degree heat. And in New York, a string of days more than 20 degrees warmer than usual have sent baffled residents searching for sundresses and wondering if it is too soon to schedule a trip to the garden store.

Over the last seven days, 4,412 high-temperature records were broken, according to the National Weather Service.

A Season of Confounded Expectations

The north woods of Maine, where our family of five is spending a year, is a place defined by winter. The intense cold shapes everything that lives in these woods. The long legs of the moose enable it to walk in deep snow. The meadow voles and red squirrels tunnel through the snow. The local people are paragons of self-reliance. Winter is the defining season of northern New England. Even more so than football or baseball season.

The cold of winter begins and ends on a specific day. It is not a gradual change. A cold front moves in from the north one day and winter is here. This year, the local lake froze on Dec.19 and the snow melted on March 17. Three months of cold.

There was not much snow this year. The ground is bare now, but last year the ground was covered with 20 inches of snow on March 17, according to NOAA’s snow data.

Seal Pups Face Climate Change Woes

The newborn Antarctic fur seal is especially vulnerable in its first few months of life, new research suggests. It has high energy requirements, which may be harder to meet as climate changes mean they need to use more energy to keep warm.

By studying the energy requirements of Antarctic fur seals, researchers discovered that, despite climate models showing an increase in temperature, the windier and wetter conditions predicted for Antarctica may lead to lower survival rates for the seal pups. Essentially, the pups may have to allocate more energy to staying warm and less to growth and, ultimately, their survival.

Zimbabwe: Nation Lacks Expertise to Deal With Climate Change – Study

Zimbabwe lacks the technical expertise and institutional capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate change, a study has revealed. Environment and Natural Resources Management permanent secretary Ms Florence Nhekairo announced the findings at a function to commission the joint programme to intensify the fight against climate.

The programme is called “Strengthening national capacity for climate change programme in Zimbabwe”.

Ms Nhekairo said a recent study carried by her ministry had shown that climate change remained the biggest challenge to the country as it was threatening food security and economic growth.

“The study reveals that the country has weak inter- and intra-sectoral co-ordination in climate change issues, limited capacity for climate change policy analysis and implementation and limited resources to fund climate change adaptation and mitigation programmes,” she said.

Carbon Plan Could Pay Off for Airlines

Emirates, an airline based in wealthy Dubai, has been among the outspoken opponents of a system making airlines account for their pollution on all flights using E.U. airports.

Yet Emirates could make a modest profit of €1.5 million, or $2 million, from a small surplus of permits, each representing a ton of carbon dioxide, that airlines can trade as part of the system.

The E.U. Emissions Trading System already applies to about 11,000 factories and utilities across the European Union. Since the start of the year, airlines have had to obtain enough permits to offset their emissions along the entire length of round-trip journeys.

12 Responses to March 22 News: If We’re Altering Rain, Hail, Any Doubts Left on Climate?

  1. prokaryotes says:

    The FORA TV embedded movie from yesterday is playing automatically and you cannot pause it. I suggest to move the movie into the full view part of that particular post..

  2. Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Monckton is coming to California this Saturday!
    From comments elsewhere

    Monckton will be giving a presentation at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Theatre, 5998 Acala Park, University of San Diego, Saturday Mar 24 at 7PM.

    If anyone here knows any researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who might be inclined to “crash” Monckton’s little tea-party, please pass this on to them…

    On-line reservations here:

    Total auditorium capacity is about 300

  3. prokaryotes says:

    Lord Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
    Join me live today at 5:30 PM (Eastern Time) as I speak on climate at Union College in New York. Rumor has it that some of our left-wing friends may try to prevent me from speaking. Isn’t that progressive of them? I expect any such efforts will fail and (technology willing) I hope you can join us.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    Looking for authors for my new project about the electric car revolution..

    You could register and submit a blog post..

    I’m looking for submissions about car owner experiences with the new models or maybe even people who have insights on Tesla’s upcoming Sedan 2012!

    But anything electric car revolution is fine.

  5. prokaryotes says:

    SF Chronicle:

    For some GOP members of Congress, the Chevy Volt, made by General Motors, is a fire hazard and a job loser, while Palo Alto’s Tesla Motors is a crony capitalist purveyor of toy cars for Silicon Valley millionaires.

    The campaign has tainted Energy Secretary and UC Berkeley physicist Steven Chu and his agency’s renewable energy loan programs, rupturing a consensus under former President George W. Bush, who started the programs to end America’s addiction to oil.

    But it may not stop the electric car. The assault has enraged General Motors. On March 1, the company opened an unprecedented campaign to re-introduce the Volt in California, the biggest U.S. auto market, even as it temporarily halted production because of slow sales.

    ‘It’s all on us’
    GM Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson has complained about the political atmosphere that surrounds the Volt.

  6. prokaryotes says:

    The aftermath of Cyclone Gudrun, this is approx. 1,3 % of all forest it took down.

  7. prokaryotes says:

    ..revenue was derived from drivetrain and other sales to companies like Toyota.

    To prove the strong growth potential of this company and its products they recently unveiled the new Model X, which on its first day sold over $40 million in advanced sales when the actual product will not be out for quite some time.[ii] This was without any advertising by the company. Allow yourself to soak in the financing brilliance of this event. Tesla has likely not even begun to manufacture any of these vehicles yet has already amassed $40 million to fund these build. The impact this will have on financial ratios and leverage is astronomical.

    To further extrapolate this development for the company not only did sales for other company vehicles suffer no decline on the release of the Model X, the Model S saw reservations rise 30% post announcement. People are quite literally paying to stand in line for these products.

  8. prokaryotes says:


    ..some say it will see a stock price double within the year and become the Apple of the auto world