67 F. average high on May 10.
53 F. high on May 10, 2016.
May 11, 1915: A waterspout is seen on Lake Mills.
A Place for Faith and Science When It Comes to a Changing Climate
Yesterday Mark Seeley and I lead a panel on faith-based climate messaging at the National Adaptation Forum in St. Paul. Scientists and thought-leaders representing Christianity, Judaism and Islam agreed that appealing to hearts and minds is critical. A joint statement issued on the role of faith and climate change messaging is below.
And don't bury the lead: viable solutions exist today. You can club people over the head with the stick of climate gloom and doom, or hold up a carrot of hope: we can have everything we want and need, save money and retool our economy, while emitting less warming carbon pollution. There will be disruption and dislocation, but I'm optimistic we'll figure it out. Because in the end we won't have a choice.
Today is Twilight Zone Day, so I'm taking off early to document a 4-day run of warm sunshine. Somebody has to do it. We should hit 70F Friday; 80F is not out of the question by Saturday. A fetch of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico fuels T-storms next week with dew points in the 60s. It's hard to believe, but neighbors will be whining about the humidity in 3 days.
Expect a steamy stew next week, with a few thundery lumps every now and then.
2017 National (Climate) Adaptation Panelists focused on faith-based messaging, from left to right: Mark Seeley, Dr. Teddi Potter, Paul Douglas; Mitchell Hescox; Odeh A. Muhawesh; Rabbi Fred Scherlinder.
Image credit: Earth Institute, Columbia University.
Adding Atmospheric Insult to Injury. NAM guidance from NOAA shows bands of heavy showers and T-storms tracking across Missouri into the Ohio Valley later today, capable of 1-3" rains. Meanwhile the remarkably wet pattern persists for the Pacific Northwest - where it just does not want to stop raining (or snowing). Seattle just had the coldest winter since 1985. Just when you thought it couldn't get worse. Animation: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
Billion Dollars Worth of Hail Damage in Denver Metro on Monday? It's still early for specifics, but the scope of the hail damage is extensive, according to Capital Weather Gang: "...The Denver Post says the storm brought down power lines and caused car crashes — probably because of slippery conditions. Even in parts of the metro area where the hail was only nickel-sized, it coated the roads in a thick sheet of ice. Depending on the extent of the damage, this could be close to a billion-dollar weather disaster for Colorado. It’s not unheard of for hail storms to cause incredible insurance losses. In April 2017, a hailstorm in San Antonio resulted in $1.4 billion in losses and became the costliest hailstorm in Texas history, unadjusted. Car damage was estimated at $560 million, and damage to homes was around $800 million, according to the insurance council of Texas as reported by the San Antonio Express. More than 110,000 vehicles were damaged by the storm..."
As Heat Index Climbs, Emergency Visits, Deaths Rise in New England. It turns out the Heat Index (temperature + dew point) doesn't have to be as high as thought for people to succumb to the heat. Here's an excerpt from Brown University: "New research shows that New Englanders are susceptible to serious health effects even when the heat index is below 100, a finding that has helped to change the National Weather Service threshold for heat warnings...Data from the study, published in Environmental Research, has helped to shape a new National Weather Service policy for the New England region, according to a recently posted statement from the service’s eastern region headquarters. “The old threshold of 100 to 104 degrees Farenheit for two or more consecutive hours has been lowered to 95 to 99 degrees Farenheit occurring for two or more consecutive days, or any duration of heat index 100 to 104 degrees Farenheit,” the statement says..."
File photo: A.J. Pena.
Swath of States Experiencing Warmest Year to Date. The off-the-charts warmth of February is starting to fade. Here are a couple of clips from a Climate Central recap: "For a swath of states from New Mexico over to Florida and up to Ohio, 2017 has been the hottest year on record through April. For the Lower 48 as a whole, the year is the second warmest in records going back to 1895...Fourteen states along the southern tier of the country and up the Ohio Valley are record hot for the year so far, with another 17 states having a top 5 warmest year through April. Numerous cities in those states, including Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Miami and Charleston, S.C., are also running record hot so far in 2017, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center. Only the Pacific Northwest had temperatures at or below average for the year..."
Photo credit: " Christinne Muschi / Reuters.
Mississippi River To Reach Flood Stage in Memphis. U.S. News has the story.
Here's Where Heavy Rain Is Increasing the Most in U.S. Climate Central reports: "Heavier precipitation is a signature of climate change. For every 1°F of temperature increase, the atmosphere can effectively hold 4 percent more water vapor. So as the world warms from the increase in greenhouse gases, the amount of evaporation also increases from oceans, lakes, rivers, and soils. The extra water vapor is available to produce additional rain and snow, creating an environment ripe for heavy precipitation events which is exactly what we are seeing in the numbers. This week’s analysis, an update from our 2015 Climate Matters, shows an increase in the top 1 percent of daily rainfall events across the vast majority of states in the U.S..."
Map credit: "Drought Has Disappeared from much of the U.S. Left: August 7, 2012. Right: April 25, 2017." NASA Earth Observatory
In Win for Environmentalists, Senate Keeps an Obama-Era Climate Change Rule. Methane is more than 80 times more powerful (in terms of heat-trapping capabilities) than CO2 over the short term. Here's a link to a New York Times story.
Over 450 million LEDs have been installed to date in the United States, up from less than half a million in 2009, and nearly 70% of Americans have purchased at least one LED bulb. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) are even more common, with 70%+ of households owning some CFLs. All told, energy-efficient lighting now accounts for 80% of all U.S. lighting sales.LEDs use 85 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs..."
Why Electric Car Early Adopters Went Electric + Best Things About Driving Electric. For me it was the ability to save money (charging at home late at night), lower insurance and MUCH less maintenance. There are 150 moving parts on my Tesla, compared with roughly 10,000 moving parts on a traditional gas-powered vehicle. There is simply less that can go wrong. Here's an excerpt from Clean Technica: "...Environmental benefit” was still the leading response, but the gap narrowed hugely for this question versus the previous one. Drive quality was illuminated as a dramatic benefit of EVs in this section. “The smooth and quiet drive” of EVs and “the fun and/or convenience of instant torque” were in close contention for the #2 spot. However, they both concern drive quality and could have been combined if we chose to go that route. In such a case, “drive quality” may well have risen to #1. The remaining benefits rather evenly split the pie, with some notable differences by region and type of EV, as highlighted in the previous section. However, one more benefit worth pulling out here is “low maintenance.” It didn’t perform well at all in the previous section, but it gets quite a bit of love here — comparable with several other topics, on average..."
Food Waste is The World's Dumbest Environmental Problem. Vox explains why: "...Your dinner isn’t simply a delicious, innocent bystander. From the farm to your plate, there’s food waste at every step. And decomposing food isn’t just stinky; it releases potent greenhouse gases, mostly in the form of methane. Even so, food waste should still be a relatively small issue, except that we needlessly waste food on such a massive scale that it adds up to a global problem. Just under 7 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from food waste worldwide. To put that in perspective, if all the world’s food waste came together and formed a country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and the US..."
Photo credit: Dr. Sylvia Lee. Joanna Blaszczak / Cary Institute
46% of "TV Screen Time" Spent Watching Traditional Linear TV? Netflix, Amazon and Hulu are catching on - getting to be a regular habit according to new research highlighted at iab.com: "...56% of U.S. Adults own a Streaming Enabled TV which is a 56% rise from 2015. The majority of time Americans are watching TV (54%) is spent streaming video (20%), which can include network TV shows, subscription service original shows, or original digital video content.
Some additional key highlights from the study include:
- 46% of American’s ‘TV Screen Time’ is spent watching Traditional Linear Programming
- Half of Streaming Enabled TV owners (50%) say they prefer watching commercials over paying for ad-free subscriptions when streaming video on TV..."
Photo credit: " Photo: Emily Prapuolenis/The Wall Street Journal.
TODAY: Sunny and pleasant. Winds: N 7-12. High: 68
THURSDAY NIGHT: Clear and pleasant. Low: 47
FRIDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, mild breeze. Winds: W 5-10. High: near 70
SATURDAY: Lukewarm sun. Get. Off. The. Couch. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 53. High: 78
SUNDAY: Partly sunny, soak it up. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 60. High: 79
MONDAY: Some sun, chance of a T-storm. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 59. High: 73
TUESDAY: Sticky, strong T-storms possible. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 60. High: 78
WEDNESDAY: Intervals of sun, feels like June. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 62. High: near 80
* Photo details: I took this in front of the St. Paul Hotel yesterday. Looking good.
Historic Flooding in Quebec Probably Linked to Climate Change: Experts. Here's an excerpt from The Montreal Gazette: "Some may blame the gods, Hydro-Québec or their own bad luck, but climate change scientists say the heavy rains and terrible flooding plaguing Quebec this spring are almost certainly caused by global warming. “There is a very clear picture emerging that we’ve changed the chemistry of the atmosphere with our greenhouse gases and we are really seeing the consequences now,” Paul Beckwith, a climate systems scientist who teaches at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, told the Montreal Gazette in an interview Tuesday. Record amounts of rain this spring in Quebec and Ontario have meant the soil is saturated and can’t absorb any more water. The run-off adds to the water levels in already bloated rivers and streams. Lake Ontario has now hit its highest recorded level since 1880, when record-keeping began. The St. Lawrence River is about 1.2 meters higher than it normally is this time of year..."
Global temperatures could exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above their preindustrial levels within the next 15 years, according to a new scientific study, crossing the first threshold under the Paris climate agreement and placing the world at a potentially dangerous level of climate change. The report comes as climate agreement participants are watching the United States — where the Trump administration is debating whether to withdraw from the Paris accord — and as scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are working on a special report about the 1.5-degree goal (equivalent to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) and the consequences of overshooting it..." (File image: NASA).
Photo credit: "The ice cliffs of West Antarctica."
To Curb Climate Change, We Need to Protect and Expand U.S. Forests. Here's an excerpt of an interesting article at The Conversation: "Forests have been removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing carbon for more than 300 million years. When we cut down or burn trees and disturb forest soils, we release that stored carbon to the atmosphere. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, one-third of all carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere from human activities have come from deforestation. To slow climate change, we need to rapidly reduce global emissions from fossil fuels, biofuels, deforestation and wetland and agricultural soils. We need to also accelerate the removal of carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere. In a new report published by the nonprofit Dogwood Alliance, my co-author Danna Smith and I show that we have a major opportunity to make progress on climate change by restoring degraded U.S. forests and soils..."
These People Want You To Know Climate Change Isn't Just for Liberals. Here's an excerpt from a story at Ars Technica: "...DeWitt sees his faith as fundamental to, rather than in conflict with, his concern about climate change. He often finds common ground with fellow evangelicals by talking about stewardship of the wonderful natural world they have been given as a home. Put in these familiar terms, climate change seems more like an issue worthy of careful consideration. Public opinion on climate change is, generally speaking, sharply divided by political and cultural identity. Research on this “cultural cognition” by Yale’s Dan Kahan has highlighted patterns of polarization around certain topics. We rely on our network of family, friends, and community for signals about what is true, and we feel pressure to harmonize our views with the views of that group. The more that political signals get tangled up with climate science, the harder it becomes for conservatives to do anything but reject it..."
Graphic credit: Climate Fingerprints. Climate science doesn't rest on a single, slender thread of evidence. There are multiple markers pointing to warming of the atmosphere, oceans and cryosphere.
Photo credit: "Richard Primack, here, is searching for newly leafing trees and blooming flowers near Walden Pond." Craig LeMoult/WGBH News.
Washington's Broken Climate Debate. Axios reports: "Washington is a mess when it comes to climate change, split in two mutually exclusive groups of people: those who think the issue is the most urgent problem facing the world and those who refuse to acknowledge it's a problem at all. Why it matters: Dealing with climate change should be a priority for the U.S. government, but it's impossible with two sides that don't even agree on the terms of the debate. Congress hasn't seriously considered a climate bill since 2010, the last time any sizable group of congressional Republicans were willing to talk openly about addressing the issue. Meanwhile, outside of the beltway, concern about climate change is at record highs, according to a March Gallup poll..."
Image credit: Rebecca Zisser / Axios.