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March 27 News: Melting Arctic Sea Ice Drives Extreme Weather, U.S Military Planning

By Ryan Koronowski

"March 27 News: Melting Arctic Sea Ice Drives Extreme Weather, U.S Military Planning"

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Most of the Arctic sea ice that forms each year melts in the spring and summer, which affects global weather patterns and U.S. military planning. [NBC News]

“There are tremendous two-way and multiple interactions between the Arctic and the rest of the world,” retired Rear Adm. David Titley said during the teleconference organized by Climate Nexus, a group trying to raise awareness about climate change.

Experts tied the melting ice in the Arctic to the recent spate of stormy winter weather in parts of the U.S. and Europe. They also noted that the prospect of ice-free summers in the Arctic as soon as 2030 is already impacting international trade and U.S. Navy plans to protect Arctic resources.

The briefing was held the day after the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) announced that the Arctic sea ice reached its maximum reach for the year on March 15, covering 5.84 million square miles. This is the sixth lowest maximum sea ice coverage in the 35-year satellite record.

Melting season starts: Arctic sea ice hit its maximum for the year, and it’s the 6th lowest on record. [Climate Central]

Yesterday the Obama Administration announced a plan to help wildlife adapt to the threats posed by climate change. [LA Times]

Vice Admiral Lee Gunn (ret.) is in Texas to explain how national security is threatened by climate change, and how naval bases are already being rebuilt due to sea level rise. [NPR Texas]

The governors of Oregon and Washington are imploring the White House to consider climate change when it looks at environmental impacts of coal export terminals. [The Hill]

New York State may be the first to tell bondholders that climate change is a risk to their investments. [Bloomberg]

The city of Melbourne, Australia, is now carbon-neutral by virtue of emissions reductions and offsets. [Climate Group]

A new study finds that if you add lignin (a worthless byproduct of corn/ethanol) to concrete, the concrete gets 32% stronger — allowing you to use less carbon-intensive cement. [EarthTechling]

Coral reefs in southern Florida have declined by 50 percent over the last twenty years. [Climate Adaptation]

Community solar will allow electricity-hungry Orlando residents to buy solar power for 13 cents a kw/h, guaranteed for 25 years. And the solar installation is over a parking lot! [EarthTechling]

They call it the “oil & gas industry” for a reason: the next CEO of the American Natural Gas Alliance comes from the American Petroleum Institute. [The Hill]

An aluminum-air battery, used as an emergency one-time backup for an electric car, could carry you 1,000 miles at once. [CleanTechnica]

Climate change is rewriting the world’s wine list, causing vinyards to consider importing grapes from warmer latitudes, and messing with the finesse of Languedoc. [Discovery]

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19 Responses to March 27 News: Melting Arctic Sea Ice Drives Extreme Weather, U.S Military Planning

  1. Dickensian American says:

    As of today according, Arctic sea ice extent is beyond -2 standard deviations according to NSIDC’s calculations.

    With all that cracking and mobility, this has the makings of a frightfully exciting melt season.

    • Sasparilla says:

      I’m hoping that the extent line bounces back again before it starts down forcefully…its at a really bad place to start down, looks like we’ll know by the end of the week.

      • David Goldstein says:

        Sasparilla: I find myself asking ‘why hope for ‘good news’- why hope that the extent bounces back? From a certain angle, it seems better to hope for deterioration as much and and as quickly as possible. The longer it holds off, the longer it will take homo sapiens to get the message and take action. And the longer we hold off, the more warming is in the pipeline and the more time tipping points have to kick off. The Arctic sea ice is going anyway- might as well get it over and done with and see if that penetrates are species wide deep sleep. What do you think?

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          I have to agree with you. I think I understand what Sasparilla means, but it’s like hoping for the hangman to stop for a coffee before he comes to get you for your ‘mind-concentrating’ appointment. Better to get it over with in order that something truly hideous happens sooner rather than later, in the hope that it will wake up the public.

          • Sasparilla says:

            I love your analogy Mulga, you truly have a way with words and I always look forward to them…

            I replied to both you guys but it went long and is in moderation purgatory…basically I’m noticing there are things turning for us despite the politicians, media and fossil fuel companies – renewables scale of deployment and price parity being reached, the general population is starting to wake up to the fact that its right now – in the face effects are here and most importantly the big investment banks are starting to talk about the fact we’ll need to leave most of the FF Co’s reserves in the ground and they’ll need to be valued appropriately…I want the time…we’ll be able to capitalize on the Initial Melt Out much better if it happens in 2016 instead of this year next as well. But I know what you guys are saying and feel it alot too.

          • David Goldstein says:

            I could be wrong (I probably am wrong), but I think that maybe possibly the Arctic going to ‘Zero’ will jar folks a bit. In an case, it will be, I believe, the droughts that finally get things going. You can’t wish away drought- lack of food gets people’s attention.

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

            Sasparilla, I agree-I think that the tide is finally turning, and I’m a rusted-on pessimist. It actually feels a little, you know-dare I say it?- exhilarating.

        • Sasparilla says:

          I know what you guys are saying as well & feel that way sometimes too – but, things are starting to turn for us on some important fronts (renewables are finally taking off in installation numbers and reaching price parity with fossil generation, the general population is taking serious notice of what’s happening with the climate – in the face effects are happening now, and the banking folks (see my last comment below), thank god, are starting to talk about the need to take into account we’ll need to leave most fossil fuel companies reserves in the ground and that will destroy their market value as it plays out…years of course, but it’ll tip at some point) – so at this point I want the time…as long as possible before the initial arctic melt out. We’re getting close to making a turn despite the politicians & the media.

          If we have arctic ice cap dive and an initial melt out this year or next, we wouldn’t be able to capitalize on this hugely symbolic moment (which we won’t get back). If it melts out in 2016 or so, I think we’ll have a much better chance of having a huge chunk of the American public with pitch forks at the ready (really) and a truly mass protest in D.C. to make shit happen for real (courtesy of Mr. McKibben of course). But I know what you guys are saying too.

  2. Solar Jim says:

    “Vice Admiral Lee Gunn (ret.) is in Texas to explain how national security is threatened by climate change.”

    Then an explanation could describe how Holocene climate has been destroyed by 24/7 fossil ignition including “national security” force projection for such activities as globalized petroleum protection. A fossilized/federalized ideology of Texas tea would seem to be near the heart of this existential situation.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      The US obsession with its global empire of ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’ that consumes one and a half trillion a year, and its Messianic belief that it alone is the moral arbiter of all the planet’s societies (which increases utterly destructive global tensions)is one of the major obstacles to the sort of planetary collaboration and co-operation that is our only hope.

      • Merrelyn Emery says:

        What a delicious irony it would be if it were the US military that finally got it through all those thick skulls, trying to save the world instead of destroying it, ME

  3. Sasparilla says:

    Have to flag this, such a great chart looking at China’s power energy consumption by source over the last 30 years – gives such a great instant view of what trouble we’re in there regarding coal (and where renewables are):

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9871

    The article itself has some other good stuff, but that graph on Chinese power consumption over the last 30 years is amazing.

    • Ouch. That was quite depressing.
      Saving the planet is going to be a lot harder than I thought. JC

    • Jack Burton says:

      Yes, great chart on China. I remember back in the late 80′s that there was much talk that on her new growth pattern that China would become the new and biggest emitter of green house gases by the 21st century. How right those folks were. As such, we are in deep trouble. The US and Europe laid the ground work for disaster, China has stepped in and assured our fate. Frankly, no matter what I hear people say about reducing emissions, I don’t see it. I only see more and more emissions. That and the new feed backs kicking in have sealed our fate.

    • Mark E says:

      It would be a better chart if it somehow broke down the energy usage according to domestic use vs consumption for exports. In other words, if it showed how much of the consumption was done on our behalf because we have exported or manufacturing to them.

      • Sasparilla says:

        That would be nice, but I don’t think there’d be any way to figure that out, other than guessing as the production over there is all mixed up (domestic and foreign consumption). Somebody knowledgable could make a WAG though.

  4. Sasparilla says:

    London Investment Bank HSBC releases report (you have to pay for that) detailing we’re going to use up our 2.0C CO2 allowances much sooner than expected and most of the world fossil fuel reserves will need to stay in the ground (this is key as once its digested in the fossil fuel investor community the values of fossil fuel companies will decline to put it mildy).

    Dave Roberts has a good writeup here:

    http://grist.org/climate-energy/giant-investment-bank-taken-over-by-hippie-alarmists/

    An analysis of the report itself is here:

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/hsbc-world-is-hurtling-towards-peak-planet-54114

    Overall there is much to be optimistic about within the report – from the standpoint that things may be starting to turn whether the fossil fuel companies want it to or not.

  5. FrankD says:

    “city of Melbourne is now carbon-neutral”

    Wha…?

    Okay, so there’s a little terminological inexactitude there.

    Firstly it is not the city (small c) of Melbourne – ie the conurbation of 4+ million people – this is the City (capital C) of Melbourne, a small area covering the centre of the city, 100,000 residents (and many business HQ’s and commuting workers, of course).

    Secondly, it is not even the City of Melbourne – it is the City of Melbourne Council, the body that provides municipal services (garbage collection, pet licences and parking fines) to that 2.5% of Melbourne.

    This is a bit like reading “London is carbon neutral” and finding out that it means Westminster City Council (sorry, couldn’t find a good US analogy).

    Good on the City Council for going carbon-neutral, but lets not gild the lily. The city (small c) of Melbourne will be one of the last cities on earth to be carbon neutral, given that it sources most of its electrical power from the woefully inefficient lignite-fired power stations of the LaTrobe Valley, and deals daily with urban sprawl that has far outstripped its public transport network.