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If Now’s Not the Time to Talk About Climate Change, When Is?  

A nation serious about mitigating natural disasters like the ones we’ve just seen can’t afford to let this moment slip away.  I’ve witnessed the debate over when is—and when isn’t—the appropriate time to discuss the role that climate change may have played in calamitous natural disasters such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the raging wildfires that have now destroyed more than eight million acres in the American West. On one side of the debate, we have those who believe it’s wrongheaded and offensive to be bringing up climate change while so many people are still mourning loved ones, sorting through debris, and picking up the pieces of their shattered lives. On the other side, we have those who believe we simply can’t afford to postpone the conversation—that any delay is tantamount to abdication.

For the people in this second group, humanity finds itself “confronted with the fierce urgency of the now,” in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. Confronted, that is to say, with evidence of an actual crisis in progress, as opposed to a predicted crisis taking place somewhere down the line. And that partially explains the frustration felt by many at the position taken by EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and his allies, who decry any discussion of climate change in the immediate aftermaths of Harvey and Irma. It’s hard to swallow an accusation that the “double-C phrase” is “insensitive to mention,” coming from the figurehead who takes every available opportunity to side with the oil and gas industry over the public and to weaken rather than strengthen environmental protections. Rather than a plea for compassion, it sounds much more like yet another muted threat from a climate denier……..

Like Tom Bossert, Scott Pruitt, and Donald Trump, Americans everywhere are seeing the effects of climate change right before their eyes. But unlike them, we aren’t disinclined to study, analyze, dissect, or discuss the causes. Because if there’s anything at all that we can be doing to reduce the chances of another crisis, we’re on board.

We understand the risks of denial—and also of waiting too long to act. They’re the same risks. https://www.nrdc.org/onearth/if-nows-not-time-talk-about-climate-change-when

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September 16, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power simply IS NOT ‘zero-carbon technology’

 Letter to Guardian, Ian Hill, Guardian 14th Sept 2017, Your excellent editorial on the reducing cost of offshore
wind power (13 September) is timely in identifying the increasingly futile
case for new nuclear build. It does, however, repeat the fallacy that
nuclear power “is a zero-carbon technology”.

The carbon emissions involved in building such immense structures, in mining and transporting uranium,
and in the transport, reprocessing and storage of waste, contribute to a
considerable carbon burden. Estimates vary considerably, but studies
suggest that the emissions from nuclear generation could be one-10th of
those of fossil fuels, but twice those of wind power.

Furthermore, the need for a continuous supply is of only limited use when consumption patterns
become distorted by, for example, the increased need to charge electric
vehicles overnight, as your leader identifies. What is needed now,
alongside continued investment in the latest generation of renewable
production, is increased investment into a wide range of storage
technologies, and further research and investment into the production of
renewable heat.

Tackling the energy challenge is plainly within our grasp
as new technologies come to the market. The challenge now is not a
technological one, it is a political one. Sadly, that is a political
challenge which our current government seem unable to address.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/14/the-role-of-renewables-in-the-uk-energy-mix

September 16, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Over 300 American Organisations Endorse Sweeping Climate Bill

As Nation Reels from Disasters, 300+ Groups Endorse Sweeping Climate Bill
“Disaster after climate-induced disaster is proving that we can’t fail to address our rampant burning of fossil fuels—too much is at stake.”
Common Dreams, by Jessica Corbett, staff writer, 15 Sept 17 

In the wake of massive storms that scientists agree were made much worse by global warming, more than 300 national, state, and local groups have endorsed the OFF Act, proposed legislation that’s been called “the strongest climate bill ever.

The Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act, or OFF Act, was introduced this month by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who said the proposal “paves the way for the United States to replace fossil fuels with 100 percent clean energy generation and use by 2035.”

The coalition backing the legislation—which includes Food & Water Watch, Progressive Democrats of America, National Nurses United, Our Revolution, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Friends of the Earth, the Center for Biological Diversity, and hundreds of others—sent a joint letter to lawmakers explaining why the bill is more necessary than ever.

“We are in a climate emergency. The threat of climate chaos from global warming is real, and the evidence continues to mount,” the groups stated. “The OFF Act will stop fossil fuel projects, create tens of thousands of new jobs while transforming our energy economy, begin to address environmental injustices, and put us on the path towards the national mobilization necessary to address the climate crisis.”

Donna Smith, executive director of Progressive Democrats of America, said the number of organizations coming together is reflective of the concerns shared by millions of Americans. “From small communities and large urban areas,” Smith said, “Americans understand that in order to address the climate emergency with an appropriate level of urgency, we must take effective, rapid action to get off fossil fuels.”……https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/09/14/nation-reels-disasters-300-groups-endorse-sweeping-climate-bill

September 16, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Climate change and coral reefs – for some reefs, their end is nigh

Farewelling coral reefs The Saturday Paper, Karen Middleton, 16 Sept 17  We hear much about trying to contain temperature rises to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Why is that the magic number?

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg The 2-degree guardrail came out of the 2009 Copenhagen meeting. When you looked at how ecosystems were responding, you got into an unmanageable area at 2 degrees above the pre-industrial period, which was where the CO2 concentration had been stable for a long time. The trajectory we’re on today could raise temperatures by as much as 5 or 6 degrees on history.

One of the problems with 2 degrees is that generally people have the idea that it’s a guardrail. You go up to the edge of 2 degrees and look over it and see where you don’t want to go and it’s all very safe here. But it’s more like a slippery slope. Things get progressively worse until they become unmanageable. At the latest Conference of the Parties, the UNFCC [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ] governing framework started to say, “well actually we want to keep things well below 2 degrees, and hopefully aim for 1.5 in the long term”.

KM And where are we now?

OHG We’re about a degree above the pre-industrial period.

KM So we’ve got half a degree’s leeway left.

OHG: To keep to that half a degree would be a massive decarbonisation of almost everything we do – energy, transport, food production and so on. Key to this is not just the amount of temperature change; it’s the system’s stability. If we don’t take care of fossil fuels we very quickly get into a situation where things change. Anything like that puts a lot of stress on biology but also on our economic systems. If you’re constantly having increasing temperatures and challenges then you’re not going to be able to build an economic system that will last 50 or 100 years……..

KM You predicted 20 years ago that we were going to be in a diabolical situation. Are you saying, “I told you so?”

OHG I wish I’d been wrong. A very simple model that I put together with people from the European Union showed what temperature was likely to do and we knew the temperature at which coral reefs got into trouble and they crossed each other around mid-century. I remember thinking at the time, “I hope this one’s wrong.” In the last couple of years we’ve had back-to-back bleaching events. Reefs have disappeared from many places – the Caribbean has been particularly hit hard. Corals have gone from maybe 50 to 60 per cent of the bottom of the ocean to less than 5 per cent in many places.

KM Is this irreversible?

OHG Under normal, non-climate-change circumstances, reefs might lose corals due to cyclones for example. And if they’re given 10 to 20 years, they’ll bounce back. But what’s been happening with these bleaching events, which are similar to cyclones in killing coral en masse, is they’re now coming faster and faster. There’s not enough time for reefs to bounce back……..

you have to say, “Where are those reefs that have the best chance of surviving a climate increase of 0.5 degrees?” The ocean isn’t heating up at the same rate in all places. There are some places where the currents have stalled, where it’s getting a lot hotter a lot quicker, like the equatorial Pacific, versus the coral triangle, which is this South-East Asian paradise for corals. The number of species there is something like three times that of Australia. So you start to go, “Oh, well if we’re going to preserve something we wouldn’t do it at the equator where it’s getting really, really hot – we should be going to South-East Asia.”

You do run into what appears to be triage, and I don’t think that’s the right word. I think it’s about another strategy being added onto the great things that are already going on in conservation. We will be releasing a list later this year and you have to ask the question: “What if the Great Barrier Reef’s not on it?” And it’s an interesting one………

KM How do you assess the current status of the Great Barrier Reef? How bad was the bleaching?

OHG The reef’s health has been rocky for some time. In 1998 we had 50 per cent of the reef bleached but only 10 per cent died. That’s 10 per cent of 40,000 square kilometres of coral – it’s still a large amount. Then it happened again in 2002 and then we had a bit of a break and then it came roaring back in 2016 and 2017, where not only much of the reef bleached but we lost almost 50 per cent of the corals over the last two years. If we continue to have warm summers like we had in ’16 and this year, the next one could wipe out the remaining coral. Now, I don’t want to sound doomsday, but that’s where we’re at right now. It’s still a wonderful place to visit. But if we continue on this trajectory it won’t be, very soon – within our lifetime. I think that this is the wake-up call that we need. If losing the Great Barrier Reef isn’t serious stuff, what is? https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/environment/2017/09/16/farewelling-coral-reefs/15054840005215

September 16, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Pope Francis urges climate change sceptics to consult with a scientist.

Pope Francis On Climate Change Denial: ‘Man Is Stupid’ Huff Post, WASHINGTON, 14 Sept 17 — Climate change denials amid catastrophic hurricanes are a reminder that humans are not a particularly smart species, Pope Francis said Sunday while flying over areas in the Caribbean decimated by Hurricane Irma.

 “Man is stupid,” he said, referencing a passage in the Old Testament, according to the The New York Times and The Associated Press. “When you don’t want to see, you don’t see.”

A correspondent for Crux Now had a slightly different translation of the pontiff’s comments: “Man is a stupid and hard-headed being who doesn’t see.”

The pope — who has sparred with President Donald Trump on several issues, including climate change — also urged the climate skeptics of the world to consult with a scientist.

 “Those who deny climate change need to go to scientists and ask them,” Francis said, according to Crux. He said the scientific community has been “clear and precise” in linking human activities to the ongoing crisis and that “each [person] has a moral responsibility, bigger or smaller.” Climate change is a “serious matter over which we cannot make jokes,” he said.
Pope Francis’ comments came during a flight from Colombia to Rome, which passed over areas of the Caribbean left devastated by Hurricane Irma. According to Crux, journalists asked the pope about the moral responsibility world political leaders have to fight against climate change.

Francis warned that “history will judge those decisions,” and that if humans fail to curb climate change we “will go down,” according to reports.

When Trump met with Francis in May, the pope gave the president a copy of his 2015 encyclical on climate change and the environment, “Laudato Si.” In the 184-page document, Francis argues that climate change is inherently a moral and spiritual issue and criticizes local and national governments that refuse to address it. ……http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/09/11/pope-francis-on-climate-change-denial-man-is-stupid_a_23205254/

September 15, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Climate change, extreme wildfires, and lung damage

Extreme wildfires in the US could lead to long-term lung damage https://www.newscientist.com/article/2147141-extreme-wildfires-in-the-us-could-lead-to-long-term-lung-damage/12 September 2017, And it looks like there is more to come. Most western states will remain at risk throughout September. “Fuel moisture levels and fire danger indices in these areas are at near-record to record levels for severity,” warns the NIFC. In August, rainfall was 25 per cent below average in western states – and temperatures were 2 to 6°C higher than normal.

As part of its wildfire outlook for the rest of the year, the NIFC predicts fires this month in parts of Idaho, Nevada and Utah. There, grasses were two to three times more profuse than usual, but have since dried out.

The NIFC says states such as Montana are so bone dry that they could still be at risk in October. Fires are also likely as late as December in central Texas and most of Oklahoma, following a predicted dry spell in late autumn.

Don’t breathe

Charities supporting lung health warn that people exposed to smoke and other pollution from the fires are at higher risk of short and long-term lung damage. Children, whose lungs are still immature, and the elderly are most at risk.

“We consider unhealthy air to contain around 35 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic metre, but in Montana, they’re looking at just under 1000 over many days on a regular basis,” says Janice Nolen of the American Lung Association in Washington DC. “A colleague of mine up there is saying he can’t breathe.”

“Man-made climate change is making things incrementally hotter and allowing for fuels to dry out that much faster,” says John Abatzoglou at the University of Idaho. There is also “a legacy of fire suppression and fuel accumulation” that has intensified the natural pattern of wildfires in the US.

“We need to prevent this going forward, and one reason we’re having this crisis is climate change,” says Nolen. “It’s exacerbating these events, making them more likely and moBy Andy Coghlan

There is no relief on the horizon for beleaguered citizens in California, Montana, Oregon and other western states besieged by an abnormally large profusion of forest fires.

Nationally, wildfires this year have scorched 3.3 million hectares. That is roughly the size of Maryland, and way ahead of the 2.25-million-hectare annual average up to September seen between 2006 and 2016.

The US National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Idaho says there are currently 64 very large fires. Montana has been worst hit, suffering 25, and Oregon now has 17. And it looks like there is more to come. Most western states will remain at risk throughout September. “Fuel moisture levels and fire danger indices in these areas are at near-record to record levels for severity,” warns the NIFC. In August, rainfall was 25 per cent below average in western states – and temperatures were 2 to 6°C higher than normal.

As part of its wildfire outlook for the rest of the year, the NIFC predicts fires this month in parts of Idaho, Nevada and Utah. There, grasses were two to three times more profuse than usual, but have since dried out.

The NIFC says states such as Montana are so bone dry that they could still be at risk in October. Fires are also likely as late as December in central Texas and most of Oklahoma, following a predicted dry spell in late autumn.

September 14, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Media are letting us down, coverage of climate change gets poorer, as climate change gets worse

Climate change is getting worse, and so is media’s coverage of it, Salon.com. Media are failing to inform audiences about pressing impacts on human migration patterns, women, and the economy, Broadcast networks are decreasing their climate coverage at a time when the case for reporting on the issue is become more and more compelling. By ignoring this serious matter, media are failing to inform audiences about pressing impacts on human migration patterns, women, and the economy.

In 2016, media had no shortage of compelling reasons to cover climate change — from the revelation that it was the third consecutive hottest year on record to the United States’ election of a climate denier to its highest office. Yet broadcast news outlets’ coverage of climate change dropped a whopping 66 percent from 2015 to 2016, making it the third consecutive year of declining coverage.

When media turn a blind eye to climate change, they ignore an issue that will have devastating impacts and multiply existing threats across the globe. According to The New York Times, unmitigated climate change could displace between 50 million and 200 million people by 2050. But the effects of climate change are already visible. In the U.S. last year, the federal government allocated $48 million in grants to resettle residents of Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana, which represents “the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change.”

 Climate change poses a particular threat to women. A whole host of studies have concluded that women will bear the brunt of climate change-induced natural disasters and severe weather events. According to a United Nations analysis, “Women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men — primarily as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent for their livelihood on natural resources that are threatened by climate change.” The analysis also stated, “When coupled with unequal access to resources and to decision-making processes, limited mobility places women in rural areas in a position where they are disproportionately affected by climate change.”
The prospect of a warming planet also presents a huge risk to the global economy. ……http://www.salon.com/2017/09/11/climate-change-is-getting-worse-and-so-is-medias-coverage-of-it_partner/

September 14, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, media | Leave a comment

Himalayas facing grave threat from climate change

Global warming poses grave threat to the Himalayas, The Himalayan Times, September 12, 2017  Nepal,  THT ONLINE/RASTRIYA SAMACHAR SAMITI, KATHMANDU: Increasing global warming caused by greenhouse effect and its subsequent impact has posed a grave threat to the Nepal’s mountain ranges, experts said.

They stressed the need of taking timely interventions to minimise the impact of climate change on the mountains.

The experts shared their views at an interaction programme on ‘challenges f mountaineering tourism and environmental impact’ organised by Management Association of Nepal on Tuesday.

Former President of Nepal Mountaineering Association Ang Chhiring Sherpa revealed the fact that increasing atmospheric temperature caused rampant snow melting and mountains were in the gradual process of turning into just rocky hills.

“This situation is dangerous for the entire mountain ecosystem. Mountaineering tourism is certain to be severely hit by this. Some settlements in the mountain region are in the need of relocation, following the water crisis there.”…….. KATHMANDU: Increasing global warming caused by greenhouse effect and its subsequent impact has posed a grave threat to the Nepal’s mountain ranges, experts said…… https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/global-warming-poses-grave-threat-himalayas/

September 14, 2017 Posted by | ASIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Satellites reveal global fingerprints of sea-level rise

Global fingerprints of sea-level rise revealed by satellites, http://www.nature.com/news/global-fingerprints-of-sea-level-rise-revealed-by-satellites-1.22588

Geological processes send more meltwater from glaciers and ice sheets to Earth’s mid-latitudes. Rachael Lallensack, As an ice sheet melts, it leaves a unique signature behind. Complex geological processes distribute the meltwater in a distinct pattern, or ‘fingerprint’, that causes seas to rise unevenly around the world. Now, for the first time, researchers have observed what these sea-level fingerprints look like on a global scale.

“No one has put it together for a complete global picture like this before,” says James Davis, a geophysicist at Columbia University in Palisades, New York. The work was published in Geophysical Research Letters on 9 September1.

The concept of sea-level fingerprints has been been factored into models used to predict sea-level rise for several years, says lead researcher Isabella Velicogna, a geophysicist at the University of California, Irvine. And researchers have used tide gauges for just as long to observe the fingerprints in coastal regions. But the global view provided by the latest study adds confidence to projections of future sea-level rise.

As an ice sheet melts, it leaves a unique signature behind. Complex geological processes distribute the meltwater in a distinct pattern, or ‘fingerprint’, that causes seas to rise unevenly around the world. Now, for the first time, researchers have observed what these sea-level fingerprints look like on a global scale.

“No one has put it together for a complete global picture like this before,” says James Davis, a geophysicist at Columbia University in Palisades, New York. The work was published in Geophysical Research Letters on 9 September1.

The concept of sea-level fingerprints has been been factored into models used to predict sea-level rise for several years, says lead researcher Isabella Velicogna, a geophysicist at the University of California, Irvine. And researchers have used tide gauges for just as long to observe the fingerprints in coastal regions. But the global view provided by the latest study adds confidence to projections of future sea-level rise.

Velicogna and co-author Chia-Wei Hsu, also at the University of California, Irvine, used gravity data from NASA’s two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, which measure changes in mass on Earth’s surface. The scientists looked at satellite data from April 2002 to October 2014, and matched it with measurements from pressure stations on the ocean floor. These instruments measure the total mass above them.

Velicogna says that the findings should be used to create a roadmap for better placement of ocean-bottom pressure stations, which in turn can be used to improve calculations of sea-level fingerprints in the future.

“We know sea-level change throughout the world won’t be uniform, and it’s useful for people to know how those changes might show up,” says Mark Tamisiea, a geophysicist at the University of Texas at Austin.

September 14, 2017 Posted by | climate change, oceans, Reference | Leave a comment

There are 11 nuclear power plants in the path of Hurricane Irma

What Lies In Irma’s Path, Five Thirty Eight, By Rachael DottleRitchie King and Ella Koeze, what lies in that path? We can’t say for sure, but within the so-called cone of uncertainty for Irma, there are 11 nuclear power plants, hundreds of hospitals and a slew of hazardous waste containment sites that could become sources of environmental contamination. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-lies-in-irmas-path/?ex_cid=538email

September 11, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Climate change: Parts of South Asia devastated by record monsoon floods

1,200 Die as “Devastating” Climate Change-Linked Floods Submerge Parts of South Asia      8 September 2017  Indian floods: Families devastated after unprecedented monsoon season    ITV News 8 September2017    Some of the victims of India’s worst ever flooding have shown the extent of the devastation as authorities face accusations they have abandoned families caught up in the disaster.
1,200 Die as “Devastating” Climate Change-Linked Floods Submerge Parts of South Asia

India is one of several South Indian countries to suffer huge floods in the this year’s unprecedented monsoon season.

More than 1,400 are thought to have died across four countries. Many more saw their homes washed away, families split up, and crops on which they depended to survive ruined.

The crisis has had relatively little worldwide coverage, with news organisations more focused on hurricanes on the other side of the world.

But both are linked to changing weather patterns due to climate change that are expected to drive more extreme weather in the years to come.

In India, the poverty-stricken northern state of Bihar was among the worst affected……

 weeks after the flood first struck, there has been virtually no Government aid to help victims.

Instead, local charities have been left to deliver emergency supplies.

There were also questions over why there had no been warnings to evacuate or prepare ahead of the floods.

Ashish Ranjan, a volunteer flood relief coordinator, said deaths could have been prevented.

Imagine the misery people went through. If we had an early warning system, a lot of lives could have been saved.

People could have moved to safer places and they could save their belongings.

September 11, 2017 Posted by | ASIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Cold War-era nuclear waste in the path of Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma may plow into a site full of Cold War-era nuclear waste, Business Insider, DAVE MOSHER, 

September 11, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

CNN the only Sunday morning political show to mention climate change when discussing Irma

Sunday shows largely fail to mention climate change in Hurricane Irma coverage https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2017/09/10/sunday-shows-largely-fail-mention-climate-change-hurricane-irma-coverage/217895

CNN’s State of the Union was the only Sunday morning political show to mention climate change when discussing Irma

DINA RADTKEThree out of four* major Sunday morning political programs neglected to discuss climate change during their coverage of Hurricane Irma, the second category four hurricane to hit the United States in a matter of weeks.

As Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean and approached Florida, Sunday morning political news programs reported on the storm’s remarkable strength and size and the potential damage it could cause, but three major Sunday shows — Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday, CBS’ Face the Nation, and ABC’s This Week — failed to mention the effects of climate change during their coverage of the storm, even though expertshave linked extreme weather events, including Irma, to global warming.

The only Sunday morning political show to discuss climate change was CNN’s State of the Union. During an interview with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), host Jake Tapper said, “I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, the fact that many experts say that the storm is more intense because of climate change” and asked why many Republicans “act as if it’s not real, even though the overwhelming scientific consensus is that it’s real, and it’s man-made”:

Television news programs have repeatedly avoided discussing climate change in their coverage of devastating natural disasters, including Hurricane Harvey. The reluctance to discuss climate change on this week’s Sunday news shows follows a pattern that seems to be getting even worse.

Methodology

Media Matters searched SnapStream for discussions of climate change and global warming using the search terms “climate change” or “global warming” on Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday, CBS’ Face the Nation, and ABC’s This Week, and CNN’s State of the Union. Segments were counted if climate change or global warming was discussed in reporting on Hurricane Irma.

*NBC’s Meet the Press was not included because the show was preempted for Hurricane Irma coverage.

September 11, 2017 Posted by | climate change, media, USA | 1 Comment

Trump administration’s budget will cripple program for forecasting hurricanes!

Hurricane forecasting is a casualty in the war on climate science, By DIANE CARMAN | The Denver Post
On May 25, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration checked their satellite data, crunched the numbers on ocean temperatures, water currents and weather patterns, and made a prediction. They said this would be an above-normal hurricane season, with 11 to 17 named storms and two to four major hurricanes churning through the Atlantic.

Then they really got to work. The first of the named storms, Arlene, had already jumped the gun in April, forming in the Atlantic weeks before the official opening of the hurricane season. The folks at NOAA knew if they applied the latest in science and technology, they could save lives.

The scientists at the NOAA offices in Boulder, at Princeton and around the country had a new tool — the Finite-Volume on a Cubed-Sphere (FV3) — which produces better models and helps them forecast hurricanes more accurately so that residents can be warned as early as possible on whether to shelter in place, evacuate or seek safe harbor.

So five days before Harvey hit, NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory used the fabulous FV3 to predict that the storm would develop a second eyewall and produce extreme rainfall across the region. Both predictions as well as those about the path of the storm were spot on.

Residents and public officials relied on the forecasts, and as a result the death toll was remarkably low for a storm of such magnitude in the fourth-largest city in the U.S. Early reports are that 60 people died in Harvey, compared to 1,833 in Hurricane Katrina and 117 in Superstorm Sandy………

the high-powered computing and data-gathering technology also is essential for understanding climate change.

Which is why the Trump administration’s budget calls for crippling the program.

Under Trump’s plan, NOAA’s budget is to be slashed by one-fifth, including eliminating programs to improve the agency’s ability to predict tornadoes and to create a tsunami-warning program for the West Coast. The budget for weather satellites — vitally important in hurricane forecasting — is to be cut by 17 percent.

While the Trump administration is laser-focused on jobs for coal miners, it’s busy planning for widespread layoffs of climate scientists who are accused of doing “crazy stuff” — like accurately predicting hurricanes…….http://www.denverpost.com/2017/09/08/hurricane-forecasting-is-a-casualty-in-the-war-on-climate-science/

September 11, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Florida governor’s climate change denial has made state even more vulnerable to hurricanes

Irma: Florida governor’s climate change denial has made state even more vulnerable, warn experts
‘This is what happens when you build a major metropolitan area at sea level with a state government that is in denial…and supports polluters’, Independent, 
Mythili Sampathkumar New York  @MythiliSk As Hurricane Irma ominously makes its way to Florida, experts have warned that the governor’s denial of climate change makes the state’s infrastructure more vulnerable to damage.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has warned all residents to evacuate because Irma “is wider than our entire state and is expected to cause major and life-threatening impacts from coast to coast”. The state is approximately 360 miles (580 km) wide.

“We can rebuild your home, we can’t rebuild your life,” he said.
In Florida, residents install storm shutters and wooden planks in an attempt to minimise inevitable damage to homes and storefronts, but the state may not have done enough to ensure public structures are equally prepared.

Mr Scott, along with Republican Senator Marco Rubio, have dodged questions on climate change over the years.

As recently as June 2017 after Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the global Paris Agreement on climate change, Mr Scott would not say whether he believed human action had an impact on climate despite scientific evidence.
Instead he focused on the President’s commitment to American jobs, saying: “You cannot invest in your environment without a good economy.”However, this attitude could result in preventable damage along the Florida coast and particularly for poorer communities in the state.

Julie McNamara, an energy analyst at the Union for Concerned Scientists, told The Independent that research done by the group indicated that electricity transformers in Miami-Dade county were at particular risk of flooding.

She said that these structures are “not required to build for the future” and so sea level rise and increasing intensity of storms are not taken into account.

State government regulations do not reflect that reality in Florida either. Ms McNamara pointed out that Florida Power and Light, a large public utility company serving almost 10 million people, has “doubled down” on nuclear power and has limited the state’s residents ability to have more resilient, renewable sources of power than nuclear plants that could also flood……

Nicole Hernandez Hammer, Climate Science and Community Advocate at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Independent that what Miami Beach has done is great, but those same funds are not available in lower income areas.“People [in these neighbourhoods and cities] deal with flooding frequently because of sea level rise on normal days,” so it is frightening to think what may happen with Hurricane Irma, she said……..

“This is what happens when you build a major metropolitan area at sea level with a state government that is in denial…and supports polluters,” Ms Hammer said.She has first-hand experience with Mr Scott’s aversion to even discussing climate change.

When she was assistant director of climate change research at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, Ms Hammer worked on a report regarding the state transportation infrastructure’s resilience to rising sea levels.

When her team submitted the report to the Florida Department of Transportation, the agency called to tell the team to scrub almost all mentions of the phrase “climate change,” even in the summary of the report.

“We can’t even mention the phrase but now we’re all panicking,” Ms Hammer noted…….http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/irma-florida-latest-hurricane-news-climate-denial-governor-infrastructure-a7937356.html

 

 

September 11, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment