UPDATE: Two commenters pointed me to the Polar Science Center. They look to have the best Arctic ice volume model around — and it’s been validated (see below). Note: “Anomalies for each day are calculated relative to the average over the 1979 -2009 period for that day to remove the annual cycle.”
The big Arctic news remains the staggering decline in multiyear ice “” and hence ice volume. If we get near the Arctic’s sea ice area (or extent) seen in recent years this summer, then this may well mean record low ice volume — the fourth straight year of low volume. And the latest extent data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center suggests we will:
The insufficiently-covered letter has been kept alive as a story for two reasons. First, the editors at Science ran the letter with a ‘photoshopped’ ‘collage’ (see above). Second, we learned that the authors first tried to get some of the newspapers that have been publishing dubious attacks on climate scientists to publish the piece as an op-ed, but were rejected.
Let’s start with the second. I asked the lead author, Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick, if the bombshell about the rejections buried in the NYT Green blog story were true. He wrote me back:
By Climate Guest Blogger on May 13, 2010 at 2:25 pm
The WSJ just reported “an effort by a few Senate Democrats to raise the cap on damage claims that BP PLC must pay for a Gulf of Mexico oil spill was blocked Thursday after Republicans said the plan wouldn’t work. This CAP repost explains the issue and what’s at stake.
BP does not actually know how fast its oil disaster is growing, a top executive testified on Tuesday. Although its claim that the spill is growing at 210,000 gallons a day is widely accepted, BP America chairman and president Lamar McKay said that is just a guess based on the size of the surface slick from the destroyed Deepwater Horizon well. After Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) questioned why BP’s estimate changed a week after the fatal explosion from 1000 barrels (42,000 gallons) to 5000 barrels (210,000 gallons) a day, McKay said “there’s no certainty around that number” because “you can’t measure what’s coming out at the seabed”:
The volume estimates are based effectively on surface expression, because you can’t measure what’s coming out at the seabed. So this is based on NOAA models and Coast Guard — NOAA, Coast Guard, and BP estimates effectively from surface information, overflights and things like that, and then backed into in terms of the volume. So, there’s no certainty around that number. There’s a large uncertainty bound around 1000, there’s uncertainty around 5000. It’s the best estimate currently.
It’s extremely questionable whether 210,000 gallons a day is, in fact, “the best estimate.” Independent satellite analysis experts Dr. John Amos and Dr. Ian McDonald have estimated from surface imagery that the BP disaster is increasing at a rate of over one million gallons a day:
The last “official” estimate of 210,000 gallons a day was made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and accepted by the Coast Guard back on April 29. However, 372,000 gallons of dispersants have been sprayed on the slick, making surface imagery useless for judging the ever-expanding cloud of oil coming from a mile below the ocean. On May 1, the Coast Guard and NOAA stopped trying to estimate the spill rate, with Admiral Thad Allen saying:
Any exact estimation of what’s flowing out of those pipes down there is probably impossible at this time.
Overall, Kerry-Lieberman’s language on offsets shows a willingness to make hard choices on offset regulatory mechanisms for political, market, and in some cases environmental benefits…. [O]n the whole, the offsets provision provide a reliably cheaper way to GHG reduction, which will generally be legitimate environmentally….
One of the weakest features in both the House and Senate climate bills is the large quantity of offsets that polluters are allowed to buy in place of purchasing allowances or reducing their own emissions.
When asked “What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?” about 49 percent of respondents answered the economy or unemployment, while only 1 percent mentioned the environment or global warming.
But when asked, “What do you think will be the most serious problem facing the world in the future if nothing is done to stop it?” 25 percent said the environment or global warming, and only 10 percent picked the economy. In fact, environmental issues were cited more often than any other category, including terrorism, which was only mentioned by 10 percent of respondents.
By Climate Guest Blogger on May 13, 2010 at 8:52 am
Yesterday, executives including BP’s chairman Lamar McKay, Transocean CEO Steve Newman, and Halliburton’s Timothy Probert appeared before a hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee to dodge responsibility for their respective roles in the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Coast oil spill.
About an hour before the investigation began, House Republicans gathered a few blocks away for an “oil and gas breakfast” fundraiser with the oil and gas industry to benefit Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX). View a screenshot of the invitation from the Political Party Time blog below:
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