Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Chilly Correction - Slushy Coating by Tomorrow in St. Cloud - 6"+ Coating for Duluth

53 F. high in St. Cloud yesterday.
38 F. average high on March 15.
70 F. high on March 15, 2015.

.79" rain fell Tuesday as of 7 PM. St. Cloud picked up .30" of rain.

March 16, 1930: The temperature at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport tops out at a record 71 degrees.

The Definition of Raw - Plowable Snow Up North

I have a sudden, inexplicable urge to ski Duluth. The same storm responsible for windswept rain in the Twin Cities will mix with a fresh surge of Canadian air to whip up some 4-8 inch snow totals for the North Shore. Winter's last gasp? Perhaps, but snow in March is hardly newsworthy at this latitude.

At least on paper March is still the 3rd snowiest month of the year, according to NOAA, just behind January and December, in that order. On this date in 1917 the metro area was pasted with 9 inches of fresh snow.

But this year the warm signal has been too strong and too persistent. El Nino accounts for some of the additional warmth, but warming of the arctic is off the scale. There just isn't as much bitter air for Canada to export to the USA.

A cold rain tapers to showers today as winds gust to 40 mph. A terrible hair day for all. A little slush can't be ruled out on metro lawns, but by the time surface temperatures fall below 32F (Friday morning) moisture will be long gone.

Except in Duluth. If you want to slip and slide in a fresh March snow drive 1-3 hours due north.

* First 15 days of March were 12.6 F. warmer than average in the Twin Cities.

Retrograding Storm. Another wave of moisture approaches from the north today as a vertical storm temporarily stalls over the Great Lakes. The atmosphere will be marginally warm enough for rain showers in the metro, but all that blue north of MSP is wet, slushy (accumulating) snow. 84-hour precipitation type: NOAA NAM and AerisWeather.

Probably Plowable. Both 12 KM and 4 KM NAM model solutions show a cool half foot of snow for Duluth and much of the Northland, as well as far northern Wisconsin. A coating of slush can't be ruled out from Alexandria to St. Cloud and the Twin Cities late tonight and Thursday morning, but daytime highs consistently above 32F should melt any snow fairly rapidly in the metro area.

Winter's Last Stand? It's Minnesota - it can snow in May, so I'm not going out on that limb just yet, but our internal model ensembles show 4" of snow in Bemidji by 11 PM tonight. Source: Aeris Enterprise.

Cool Correction. Not exactly arctic, but closer to average for the third week of March, with predicted highs in the upper 30s and  low 40s into the first half of next week. Flurries linger into Friday, possibly Saturday - right now Sunday looks like the sunnier, slightly milder day of the weekend. 50s may return by the end of next week. Source: WeatherSpark.

Late March: Slightly Above Average. Predicted 500 mb winds (GFS) show a zonal flow blowing over northern tier states with chilly air lurking over much of Canada. I don't see any more 60s or 70s looking out 3 weeks or so; a string of 40s, maybe a few days in the 50s into early April.

Over a Dozen Major Flash Floods in the Last 12 Months in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas. Here's an excerpt from The Weather Channel that helped to frame the recent (historic) flooding. The term "historical flooding" is rapidly losing all context", it seems: "...The historic March 2016 rain and flooding is putting an exclamation point on what's been an exceptionally wet last 12 months over a swath of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri, featuring over a dozen significant flood events. The 12-month period ending March 9, 2016 was the record wettest March 10 to March 9 period in at least four major observing sites with at least 60 years of historical data, including...As you can see, some locations have picked up over two feet more precipitation than average over the past 12 months..."

A Swing to La Nina Later in 2016? Not so fast - Miriam O'Brien at HotWhopper sent me this nugget from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology: "Based on the 26 El Niño events since 1900, around 50% have been followed by a neutral year, and 40% have been followed by La Niña. International climate models suggest neutral is most likely for the second half of the year. However, La Niña in 2016 cannot be ruled out, and a repeat El Niño appears unlikely."

February Breaks Global Temperature Record by "Shocking" Amount. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "...NASA dropped a bombshell of a climate report,” said Jeff Masters and Bob Henson, who analysed the data on the Weather Underground website. “February dispensed with the one-month-old record by a full 0.21C - an extraordinary margin to beat a monthly world temperature record by.” “This result is a true shocker, and yet another reminder of the incessant long-term rise in global temperature resulting from human-produced greenhouse gases,” said Masters and Henson. “We are now hurtling at a frightening pace toward the globally agreed maximum of 2C warming over pre-industrial levels...”

Graphic credit: Guardian graphic | Source: NASA.

Giant Metaphor Crashes Through the Ice in Canada's North. You can't make this stuff up. Here's the intro to a story at Cantech Letter: "An 80-thousand pound metaphor crashed through the ice in the Northwest Territories Saturday in the form of an off-white Western Star fuel tanker. The CBC reports that the tanker was carrying heating fuel to Deline, a town of about 500 near the Great Bear Lake. The accident happened just three days after the territory’s transportation department raised the allowable weight on the Great Bear Ice Crossing from 10,000 kilograms to 40,000..."

Why Your Tweets Could Really Matter During a Natural Disaster. Data-mining social media for specific keywords can assist emergency responders pinpoint areas most threatened by natural disasters; here's an excerpt from The Washington Post: "...As Hurricane Sandy bore down on the East Coast in late 2012, people in its path fired off millions of tweets that included words such as “stay safe,” “no power,” “frankenstorm,” “flooding” and “blackout.” Such a collective blast of social media activity, it turns out, might one day help officials find and assess the most severe damage caused by a natural disaster. In a study published Friday in the journal Science Advances, researchers detailed how 52 million geographically pinpointed tweets they gathered from before, during and after the hurricane offered telling insight into where it ultimately wreaked the most havoc. In essence, the scientists determined that the areas that experienced the most notable spike in Twitter activity were associated with areas where residents filed the most insurance claims and received the most individual assistance from Federal Emergency Management Agency grants..."
Superstorm Sandy file image: NASA.

13.1 Million U.S. Coastal Residents Could Face Flooding Because of Rising Sea Levels. Here's the intro to a story at The Los Angeles Times: "As many as 13.1 million people living along U.S. coastlines could face flooding by the end of the century because of rising sea levels, according to a new study that warns that large numbers of Americans could be forced to relocate to higher ground. The estimated number of coastal dwellers affected by rising sea level is three times higher than previously projected, according to the study published Monday in the science journal Nature Climate Change. As many as 1 million California residents could be affected. If protective measures are not implemented, the study says, large numbers of Americans could be forced to relocate in a migration mirroring the scale of the Great Migration of African Americans from Southern states during the 20th century..."
Photo credit above: "Pounding surf erodes the beach at The Wedge in Newport Beach." (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times).

Miami Beach Wants to Fast-Track Work to Battle Sea-Level Rise. Here's the intro to a story at The Miami Herald: "A mile-long stretch of road in Miami Beach that has become ground zero for South Florida’s problems with sea-level rise could get a new seawall and an anti-flooding pump over the next two years. Miami Beach and the Florida Department of Transportation are working out an agreement to split the anticipated $25 million it will take to safeguard the low-lying stretch of Indian Creek Drive that was the center of media attention when last fall’s king tides completely flooded the roadway. Images of tourists sloshing in several inches of water to get to their hotels became emblematic of the region’s struggles with seasonal tides that have grown worse in recent years..."

Photo credit above: "Alejandro Herrera , a seventh-grader at Nautilus Middle School in Miami Beach, waits for the school bus in front of his condo on Indian Creek Drive during high tide on Miami Beach." Walter Michot.

Sea Level Rise is Predictable. It Will Be Anything from Bad to Awful. WIRED has more perspective and context; here's a clip: "...The results were pretty drastic. A three foot rise in sea level affects 4.2 million people, while a six foot rise would affect 13.1 million. This is several times higher than previous estimates. Example a study published in Global Environmental Change in 2013 put 1.8 to 7.4 million people at risk from rising seas. Which is worrying, until you stop and consider San Francisco. If the city’s action plan for sea level rise works perfectly, higher tides will not force anyone to move (higher rent, on the other hand…). Same for other places preparing for coastal inundation. Heck, ocean front real estate could take a hit from studies like this—sea level rise cannot displace people who never moved to the coast in the first place..."

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article65577892.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article65577892.html#storylink=cpy

Catching Storm Runoff Could Ease Droughts, But It's No Quick Fix. KQED has a story with implications that go beyond California's drought; here's the intro: "Stormwater is starting to get some serious attention in California, as the state’s drought enters a fifth year. Thanks in part to El Niño, rain has been surging through downspouts and gutters lately. And a lot of it: one storm in Los Angeles County, packing one inch of rainfall, means 10 billion gallons of water. The Oakland-based Pacific Institute estimates that rainfall captured in the San Francisco Bay Area and metro Southern California could, in a strong year, provide enough water to supply the entire city of Los Angeles..."

Photo credit: "Storm runoff cascades into the street in Glen Ellen." (Craig Miller/KQED).

Top 5 Tornado Myths. Meteorologist Matt Holiner at Fox19 in Cincinnati has some very good reminders as we head into prime time tornado season. You can rate a tornado just by looking at it? "...I blame the movie Twister for this one.  Throughout the movie, they constantly look at tornadoes and say, "That's a F-3," or "There's a F-5 heading our way!"  This is all wrong. The width of a tornado gives a general idea of the intensity, but there are plenty of examples of relatively skinny tornadoes that had higher winds than wider ones.  It is nearly impossible to measure the wind speed of a tornado as they are happening as the instruments would likely be destroyed.  Instead, the wind speed within tornadoes is estimated based on the damage they leave behind.   The method that is used to do this is the Enhanced Fujita or EF Scale. The evaluation of the damage can't occur until after the tornado has passed, which is why the official rating of a tornado is usually not announced by the National Weather Service until the day after the storm..."

Obama Reverses Course on Drilling Off Southeast Coast. The New York Times reports: "The Obama administration is expected to withdraw its plan to permit oil and gas drilling off the southeast Atlantic coast, yielding to an outpouring of opposition from coastal communities from Virginia to Georgia but dashing the hopes and expectations of many of those states’ top leaders. The announcement by the Interior Department, which is seen as surprising, could come as soon as Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the decision who was not authorized to speak on the record because the plan had not been publicly disclosed. The decision represents a reversal of President Obama’s previous offshore drilling plans, and comes as he is trying to build an ambitious environmental legacy. It could also inject the issue into the 2016 presidential campaigns, as Republican candidates vow to expand drilling..." (File photo: Wikipedia).

Electric Cars Get a Room of Their Own at Twin Cities Auto Show. Here's the intro to a story at The Pioneer Press: "One of the major draws at the Twin Cities Auto Show this year is expected to be the Porsche 918 Spyder, a mean-looking dark gray two-seater that goes from 0 to 62 mph in 2.2 seconds and costs nearly $1 million — likely making it the priciest auto by far at the event. The Spyder is also an electric car. It is the main attraction in the show’s first-ever electric-car room, a sign the eco-friendly vehicles are getting new respect at the auto show, the biggest event to hit the Minneapolis Convention Center every year..."
Photo credit above: "A $1 million Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid electric car is at the 43rd annual Twin Cities Auto Show at Minneapolis Convention Center. The show opens Saturday." (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri).

Wall Street Tours the Tesla Factory - And Loves What It Sees. Yes, I'm a bit biased. Both GM and Tesla have electric cars coming on the market priced in the low 30s - within 10 years driving a gasoline-powered car will  be the rough equivalent of using a rotary telephone. Here's a clip from Bloomberg Business: "Wall Street analysts have been touring Tesla’s massive factory in Fremont, Calif., and they're returning with the same conclusion: Elon Musk's electric-vehicle company is getting ready for something big. In a sign of this enthusiasm, Robert W. Baird & Co. upgraded its Tesla rating on Monday morning following a factory tour. Tesla spent some $1.6 billion on major upgrades last year as it prepares to launch its first attempt at a mass-market car—the Model 3—on March 31The transformation is striking, according to auto analysts at Stifel Financial Corp., Credit Suisse Group AG, and Baird. The firms are telling investors that Tesla is learning from the mistakes that delayed its previous launches and is on track to make the shift from producing tens of thousands of $80,000 cars to hundreds of thousands of $35,000 cars—assuming the Model 3 proves a success with drivers..."
Image credit: "The Entire History of Tesla in Two Minutes."

Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership Receiving National Recognition. Kudos to Xcel Energy, CenterPoint Energy and the city of Minneapolis. Here's an excerpt at Midwest Energy News: "Now into its second year, a unique partnership between the city of Minneapolis and two utilities is receiving national recognition and praise from clean energy advocates. On Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the Clean Energy Partnership a Climate Leadership Award in the “Innovative Partnerships” category. That followed a January event at the White House where officials from the city and Xcel Energy were recognized by the Department of Energy for a software program that helps building owners to better understand their energy use. The partnership – the first of its kind in the country – brings together the city of Minneapolis, Xcel and the natural gas company CenterPoint Energy in an effort reduce greenhouse gas emissions through efficiency programs, renewable energy options and other approaches..."

United Airlines is Flying on Biofuels. Here's Why That's a Really Big Deal. The Washington Post has details; here's a clip: "...Friday’s launch will be the first application of that agreement. The flights will use a mixture of 30 percent biofuel and 70 percent traditional fuel, and United says that the biofuel will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 60 percent compared with regular fuel. In general, the idea behind renewable fuels is to use a biological source — for example, plant or animal matter — rather than a geological one, like oil. The Honeywell UOP technology that’s being applied at the AltAir refinery can utilize a range of difference sources, from used cooking oil to algae..."

Photo credit: "A United Airlines passenger airplane passes over Whittier, Calif., on its way to Los Angeles International Airport, Sunday, July 26, 2015." (AP Photo/Nick Ut).

How The Nazi Salute Became The World's Most Offensive Gesture. I had no idea - here's a clip from Atlas Obscura: "...In fact, Winkler traces the salute to more recent artistic depictions of ancient Romans, beginning with Jacques-Louis David’s 1784 painting, The Oath of the Horatii. According to Winkler, the painting, which depicts three brothers saluting their father and pledging to protect Rome, “provided the starting point for an arresting gesture that progressed from oath-taking to what will become known as the Roman salute.” Other neoclassical artists began to depict similar poses, and the myth was perpetuated through the early 20th century as it spread throughout depictions of ancient Roman society, including an early 20th century stage production of Ben-Hur. The myth was so widespread that it is believed to be behind the adoption of the official Olympic salute, which stopped being used after the rise of Nazism..."

Photo credit above: "The Olympic Salute, Gra Rueb, c. 1928." (Photo: Vincent Steenberg/CC BY-SA-3.0).

Russia Recruits Combat Dolphins, Lists Perfect Teeth as Prerequisite. Perhaps the most bizarre headline in recent memory; details via Atlas Obscura: "A government website has revealed that Russia wants five dolphins for military use, further rebuilding a Cold War-era program that saw the U.S. and Russia battle for supremacy in combat sea mammals. Russia is looking for three male and two females, all between three- and five-years-old, with "perfect teeth," according to The Guardian. The country is willing to pay around $24,000 for the five dolphins, according to a document that appeared on the government site..."

Photo credit above: "An American military dolphin." (Photo: U.S. Navy/Public Domain).

Why Only Apple Users Can Trash Their Files. Atlas Obscura has an interesting tale; here's a story link and excerpt: "...Apple did win one small victory, though. Judges ruled that, in one particular iteration of the Windows-HP desktop, the trash can looked a little too much like Apple’s. “Like the garbage icons in the Macintosh and Lisa, the Waste Basket icon in NewWave… is depicted as an outdoor alley-style cylindrical garbage can with a lid and a handle on the top,” the judges wrote. The same was true of NewWave's folder icons. Of all the supposed similarities, the trash alone was a bridge too far..."
Photo credit above: "A Macintosh XL running the Lisa operating system. The jaunty-lidded trashcan is visible at the bottom left of the desktop." (Photo: Gerhard/CC0).

TODAY: Blustery. Rain slowly tapers. Winds: NW 20-40+ High: 44

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Light showers mixed with a little snow. Low: 34

THURSDAY: Light rain/snow mix. A little slush Thursday night? Winds: NW 10-20. High: 38

FRIDAY: Slick spots early? Chilly, few leftover flurries. Wake-up: 30. High: 39

SATURDAY: Nagging clouds and flurries. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 28. High: 39

SUNDAY: Partly sunny, feels better out there. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 25. High: 42

MONDAY: Fading sun, breezy and milder. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 31. High: 44

TUESDAY: Patchy clouds, risk of a rain shower or two. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 33. High: 46

Climate Stories....

Yes, Scientists Can Link Extreme Weather Events to Climate Change. Here's a summary of new research at ThinkProgress: "When asked about a particular weather event’s link to climate change, scientists are typically cautious to make definitive statements — especially in the immediate aftermath, before they’ve had the chance to study the event. But according to a new study, it’s getting easier for scientists to make the link between climate change and some forms of extreme weather. The study, published Friday by the National Academies Press, found that scientific advances over the past several years have helped scientists link increases in frequency and intensity of temperature and precipitation-related events like droughts and heat waves to climate change..."

Photo credit: AP Photo/Eric Risberg.

Florida Republicans Demand Climate Change Solutions. Here's an excerpt from Scientific American: "...As primary voters in Florida go to the polls today, scientists, business leaders and political figures all say they've seen a shift this election cycle. Figuring out how to adapt to the economic realities of 6 to 10 inches of sea-level rise over 1992 levels in the next 15 years has become a bipartisan issue in much of Florida, particularly in places most vulnerable to rising seas. "Some people see sea-level rise as something that is coming up in the next 50 years," Regalado said. "But in Miami, people know about flooding. People understand flooding, and people understand the consequences of sea-level rise and the need to do something..."

Graphic credit: "Polling conducted over the past five years shows a growing acceptance of climate change in Florida, where scientists say rising sea levels from ice melting in the Arctic already are stressing the state's stormwater systems." Data courtesy of the University of Texas Energy Poll.

Global Warming Masked by Aerosols: Study. Cosmos Magazine has a summary of recent research; here's the intro: "There was a silver lining to the sulfur pollution in our atmosphere late last century – it offset some of the warming effects of greenhouse gases. And now we're cleaning up our act, the Arctic has suffered. Amy Middleton reports. High levels of aerosols, spewed from coal- and gas-powered power plants, cooled our atmosphere, masking up to a third of global warming caused by greenhouse gases last century. And when Europe cleaned up its sulfur emissions, it inadvertantly gave Arctic warming a boost. A study led by geoscientist Trude Storelvmo at Yale University and published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience bypassed climate modelling and instead observed temperature, greenhouse gas levels and surface radiation from 1,300 surface sites from across the globe from 1964 and 2010..."

Local View: Global Warming May Bring Some Cold Weather. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Duluth News Tribune: "...For now, it seems reasonable to believe that the extent of sea ice coupled with temperature amplification in the Arctic may influence our weather, even if determining the cause of a particular weather event is not possible. According to climatologist Mike Halpert of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, “Explaining why something happened is almost as hard as predicting it.” But regardless of their cause, kinks in the jet stream that allow cold Arctic air to spill to lower latitudes could remain common even as the planet as a whole heats up."

Climate Change and Conservative Brain Death. Here's a clip from an analysis at New York Magazine: "...Even allowing generously for hyperbole, Rubio’s description is as delusional as right-wing predictions of hyperinflation and Greek-style collapse during Obama’s first term. Literally nothing of the sort has taken place. Energy prices have been completely stable. That is because the green-technology subsidies in the stimulus, combined with a wave of tough regulations on the production and use of carbon, have driven a wave of green-technology innovation. Major new clean-energy technologies — wind, solar, batteries, LEDs — have plummeted in cost. All of these innovations have allowed the economy to decarbonize quickly without imposing noticeable costs on consumers. The coal industry is in a state of collapse..."

Graphic credit: U.S. Department of Energy.

Economists Are Out of Touch With Climate Change. The Age has an Op-Ed that resonates- here's a clip: "...The disconnect between economics and natural science is certainly part of the problem. Economists are notoriously unwilling to cite research in other social science fields, and this insularity – sometimes called siloing – probably leads them to ignore the natural sciences as well. But many economic phenomena are critically dependent on natural phenomena, so neglecting science can make economic models spit out ludicrous results. Economic models, like any other, are subject to the problem of rubbish in, rubbish out..."

Record-Shattering February Warmth Bakes Alaska, Arctic 18F Above Normal. Here's an excerpt from ThinkProgress: "...The speed up of human-caused global warming, while long predicted, is extremely worrisome, particularly given where it is warming the most — the Arctic and permafrost regions of North America. For instance, recent research finds that rapid Arctic warming, driven in part by sea ice loss, is already worsening extreme weather. Also, the permafrost contains twice as much carbon as the atmosphere, and as it defrosts, it releases that carbon in the form of either CO2 or methane (CH4), which is 84 more times more potent at trapping heat than CO2 over a 20-year period. Thus accelerated warming of the Arctic leads to accelerated global warming which leads to even more warming of the Arctic and so on..."

Graphic credit: "Global mean surface temperature (anomaly from 1951-1980 mean). NASA data (h/t Tamino). Red dot is February."

Meltdown Earth: The Shocking Reality of Climate Change Kicks In - But Who is Listening? Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Conversation: "...We are currently swamping the Earth’s ability to absorb greenhouse gases. 2015 saw the largest annual increase in carbon dioxide since records began – far higher than the Earth has experienced for hundreds of thousands of years. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means higher temperatures. There is already one positive feedback loop in operation; the extra warming from our emissions is increasing the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere, which further increases temperatures. Fortunately, this is not a very strong feedback loop. Unfortunately, there seem to be other, much more powerful ones lurking in the event of further warming. Tipping points such as the thaw of permafrost and release of the very powerful greenhouse gas methane in large quantities would drive world temperatures well beyond the 2℃ threshold..."

The Coming Reckoning on Climate Change: Column. Here's a snippet of an Op-Ed at USA TODAY: "...If any issue is as morally fraught today as slavery and colonialism were in the 19th century, it is climate change. Scientists have been warning for more than three decades that continued release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere will lead to catastrophic changes in the earth’s climate and ecosystems. Yet humans are now releasing about twice as much carbon from fossil fuels as in 1980. Betting against the predictions of climate scientists essentially amounts to betting against the laws of physics. As the atmosphere becomes more opaque to the infrared radiation given off by the earth’s surface, the planet inevitably will warm. Sure, a small group of contrarian scientists thinks that some sort of countervailing mechanism will offset the warming. But they have little or no evidence to support their convictions..."

File photo: Scott Ackerman Photography.

5 Ways Climate Change Directly Affects You. Here's a clip from Odyssey: "...Heat waves can cause dehydration and heat stroke. According to the EPA, they are the most common cause of weather-related death. A heat wave in India last summer claimed over 2,330 lives. According to EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database, that heat wave was the world's fifth deadliest in history. In fact, the top five deadliest heat waves in world history all happened after 1998. It is easy to think, "How will this affect me? Can't I just go inside or drink some water?" Sure, going inside may provide temporary sanctuary from the heat, but it comes at another cost; rising temperatures mean more air conditioning, and more air conditioning means more air pollution from power plants. Additionally, urban areas are usually hotter than their rural counterparts..."

The Dangers of Climate Change Denial. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Orlando's SunSentinel: "Here in Florida, we’re experiencing the impacts of climate change first hand. Sea level rise has caused flooding in Miami to be a regular occurrence. Hurricanes are more frequent and severe. In the past five years, Florida has seen five natural disasters that qualified for disaster declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Administration. And yet, Senator Marco Rubio claims “the climate has always changed.” A recent analysis from the Center for American Progress Action Fund showed that more than 202 million – or 63 percent – of all Americans are represented in Congress by someone who denies the science behind climate change. This stands in stark contrast to poll after poll showing that more than 67 percent of all Americans support taking action to address climate change..."

Rising Sea Levels May Disrupt Lives of Millions, Study Says. For places like south Florida, coastal Louisiana, Virginia's Tidewater, even New York City and Boston, a warming (rising) ocean will be more than a minor inconvenience. It already is. Data suggests seas are rising at the fastest rate in 28 centuries. Here's a summary of new research findings at The New York Times: "Sea-level rise, a problem exacerbated by greenhouse gas emissions, could disrupt the lives of more than 13 million people in the United States, three times more than most current estimates, according to a study published Monday. Rising seas, which already endanger coastal communities through tidal floods and storm surges, could rise three feet or possibly even more over the next century if emissions continue at a high level, threatening many shoreline communities. The study, published in Nature Climate Change, argues that most projections vastly underestimate the number of people at risk because they do not account for population growth. For the study, the authors combined future population estimates with predicted sea-level rise, using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to demonstrate that millions are at risk: 4.2 million if seas rise by three feet; 13.1 million with a six-foot increase, a high-end estimate..."
Photo credit above: "Rodney Clement gingerly stepped from the sidewalk to the street through tidal flooding around his home in Charleston, S.C., last year." Credit Grace Beahm/The Post and Courier, via Associated Press.

Developers Don't Get It: Climate Change Means We Need to Retreat from the Coast. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Guardian: "...We now know that 13.1 million people are at risk of flooding along the US coast by the end of this century. A new study published in Nature Climate Change further suggests that massive migration will occur unless protective measures are taken. Since sea-level rise will speed up after the end of the century due to increased glacier and ice sheet melting, the flooding we face in this century is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem is particularly severe along our 3,000-mile low-lying sandy barrier island coast extending, with a few breaks, all the way from the South Shore of Long Island to the Mexican border. Along this long barrier island coast, Florida has the longest and most heavily developed shoreline..." (File photo: Marsha Halper, Miami Herald).

The More We Learn About Antarctica's Past, The Scarier the Present Looks. Chris Mooney has the results of new research at The Washington Post; here's a snippet: "For the second time in a month, leading scientists have closely tied the ancient history of the vast Antarctic ice sheet to a key planetary parameter that humans are now controlling — the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Last month, new research showed that during the Miocene era, some 14 to 23 million years ago, Antarctica gave up huge volumes of ice, equivalent to tens of meters of sea level rise, when levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are thought to have been around 500 parts per million. We’re at a little over 400 parts per million now..."

Photo credit above: "A zodiac carrying a team of international scientists heads to Chile’s station Bernardo O’Higgins in Antarctica in January 2015." (Natacha Pisarenko/AP).

Report: Farmers Should Diversify to Adapt for Climate Change. A story at The Flathead Beacon in Kalispell, Montana caught my eye; here's an excerpt: "...Chris Christiaens, legislative and project specialist for MFU, said there has been a push in the last 18 months to educate producers on the importance of diversifying their crops. Farmers are also trying to get their crops in earlier to take advantage of wet weather in the early spring, but that leaves them open to frost damage. Christiaens said the winter wheat is already out of dormancy with the warm spring so far, but if it turns cold again, a snowstorm could smother the crop. “There’s something certainly different,” Christiaens said. “So we’re saying if you want to stay in business, think about diversifying, think about crops that are more drought resistant...”
Photo credit above: "A wheat field and irrigation equipment near Ronan." Beacon File photo.

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