Friday, June 23, 2017

June Sweatshirts - Milder for 4th of July - Dangerous Heat Southwestern USA

71 F. high temperature in St. Cloud on Friday.
80 F. average high on June 23.
79 F. high on June 23, 2016.

June 24, 2002: Heavy rains fall on already saturated ground, leading to flooding. 5.50 inches fall at Delano, and half of a mobile home park at Howard Lake is evacuated due to rising water.

June 24, 1972: Frost develops across northeast Minnesota. Duluth has a low of 35 and Tower bottoms out at 32.



In Search of June - Milder for 4th of July

What's the better option, extreme cold or debilitating heat? Would you rather be marooned in Antarctica, or a distant suburb of Hell? I ask this rhetorical question because my friends in Scottsdale have gone quiet in recent weeks. These are the same pals who text me photos from the golf course in January.

Minnesotans get their fair share of grief for winter chill, but at least we can walk our dogs year-round. The National Weather Service sent out a statement, warning that dogs and cats risk burns on their paws. Air temperatures were 115-125, but asphalt surface temperatures were closer to 160F, "the minimum safe temperature for cooking ground beef". Pick your poison.

Meanwhile the furnace has kicked on now; it feels like October out there with 60s this weekend and showers popping up each afternoon. Don't panic... yet.

Wednesday looks wet, but temperatures rebound next week and odds favor 70s for the 4th of July weekend, with the heaviest T-storms staying south of Minnesota. Better than the autumnal scene outside your window right now.

A welcome cool intermission from the summer muggies.



Spotty Rains Continue in Minnesota. Here's an excerpt of this week's Minnesota WeatherTalk from Mark Seeley: "This week brought some significant thunderstorms to portions of Minnesota, notably the northwest and the southern tier of counties near the Iowa border. Some northwestern observers reported a half inch or over an inch of rain, much needed given the heat and rapid growth of crops earlier in the month. Across southern counties rainfall of 1 inch to 1.50 inches was prevalent. Most other observers are reporting total monthly rainfall that falls short of normal. Only about 20 percent of the climate stations are reporting normal or greater than normal rainfall this month. Portions of Kittson, Marshall, Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Beltrami, and Koochiching Counties remain in moderate drought...."


Cool Bias Into Early June. The chilliest readings come this weekend, but I don't see us climbing out of this cool rut until the second week of July.





Excessive Rainfall Outlook. The risk of flash flooding shifts to the Gulf Coast and Carolinas today as persistent T-storms flare up along a stubborn frontal boundary. Some 2-4" rainfall amounts are possible.

7-Day Rainfall Outlook. NOAA is predicting heavy rain for the Gulf Coast and Florida (helping to ease the drought there), with more heavy showers and T-storms later in the week for the Upper Mississippi Valley, Midwest and Great Lakes. Meanwhile the western third of America stays dry (and stinking hot).

84-Hour Future Radar. NOAA NAM guidance hints at flash flooding for the Dallas area, with more downpours capable of urban and small stream flooding from the Gulf Coast to the Carolina coast by tonight. Instability showers sprout for the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes (most numerous PM hours). Meanwhile the southwestern USA can't buy a cooling shower anytime soon. Loop: Tropicaltidbits.com.

Bottoming Out. According to ECMWF model guidance the coolest weather of the next 2 weeks comes this weekend with highs stuck in the 60s. We warm up by midweek before another cool-down next weekend; probably 70s for highs 4th of July weekend. A little cool for your favorite lake, but we've seen (far) worse. Twin Cities numbers: WeatherBell.

Persistent Heat Lingers Western USA. Although much of America will probably bake and sizzle in July the epicenter of heat is forecast to be west coast to the Rockies, as a heat pump high pressure ridge stalls. Even the northern tier of the nation will warm up into the 80s, but the nasty heat (90s plus) may be limited to Ohio Valley and Mid Atlantic.

COLD Slaw Gives Way to HOT Dogs Across the East For The Holiday. Great headline! Here's an excerpt of a briefing I received from Planalytics: "...As consumers prepare for the holiday weekend, the run-up week will feature cooler than LY and normal temperatures across eastern North America. Don’t let that fool you though, as warmer temperatures will return to most eastern locations just in time for the weekend. Conversely, the West will start the week warmer than LY and normal but trend cooler as the week progresses. Wetter than normal conditions are anticipated in the Southwest, Southeast, and Midwest regions. Moving into Independence Day weekend (July 1-4), warmer temperatures will return to the Plains, Midwest, and East Coast, boosting demand for summer apparel, suncare, and cold beverages. The West will begin seasonally cool but warm by the 4th. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible in the Midwest and Northeast throughout the holiday weekend, threatening barbecues and other outdoor activities..."



The Science Behind Arizona's Record-Setting Heat Wave. Here are a few nuggets from Pacific Standard that made me do a double-take: "In the Arizona desert, as far back as weather records go, it's never been this hot for this long. By early Monday afternoon, the temperature was 111 degrees in Tucson, the first in a forecasted series of a record-setting seven consecutive days with highs above 110, the longest streak in city history. (The previous record, should it fall, was six days in a row in 1994.)...
  • The United States Border Patrol stepped up safety messages, saying "it is physically impossible for the average person to carry enough water to survive."
  • The National Weather Service also warned against walking pets outdoors, saying that at pavement temperatures above 162 degrees (consistent with air temperatures of 102), skin is instantly destroyed.
Also on Monday, American Airlines canceled 38 flights previously scheduled for Phoenix on Tuesday—simply because it will be too hot to fly..."


Phoenix: Second-Fastest Warming City in the USA. Praedictix meteorologist Kristin Clark explains: "...In the U.S. Phoenix is the second-fastest warming city over the past 50 years. We are fortunate in the States to have access to cooling technologies. Yet the increasing frequency of heat waves will negatively impact health with more heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Diseases could spread as insects thrive in newly warmed regions. More days with poor air quality will lead to asthma and poor respiratory health. Stresses on crops and worsening drought will impact agriculture. Elevated strains on the energy grid grow as demand for air conditioning increases. The use of energy increases as well as cooling costs. Hot how will it get at your house this week? Be sure to check the Praedictix local, regional and national forecast..."

File photo: Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

New Tools To Help Visualize the Future of Drought. These new NOAA NCEI maps provide the perspective necessary to try and answer tough questions related to moisture. Here's an excerpt from the U.S. Drought Portal: "How much rain is it going to take for this drought to get better? What’s the likelihood that the drought will be over a month from now? If it doesn't rain again for the rest of the month, how bad could the drought get? Questions like these start creeping in when the landscape browns, when streams get low, when the sun starts baking our gardens. Californians were among those contemplating such things as drought intensified there from 2011 into this past winter. Folks in the Dakotas are asking those questions now. How bad can it get? There’s a tool that can help answer. Drought Termination and Amelioration pages from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) offer a customizable interface anyone can use to find information on..."

Map credit: "Based on the PHDI. PHDI is a primary measure of long-term drought but may not apply to all areas, including those with heavily managed surface water. No additional precipitation is needed for white areas. Values are in inches."




Warning System for Great Lakes Tsunamis Under Development. I had no idea - here's a clip from a fascinating article at MLive.com: "...Rapid changes in barometric pressure, often associated with fast-moving weather systems, can generate meteotsunamis. Although many meteotsunamis are too small to notice, large meteotsunamis can have devastating coastal impacts, including damaging waves, flooding and strong currents, that cause significant damage, injury and death. An average of 106 meteotsunamis are observed each year, according to the CIGRL. For example, in 2003 in Sawyer, seven people drowned in an incident initially attributed to rip currents, though the water level records indicated a moderate meteotsunami occurred around the time of the drownings..."

Photo credit: "A wave crashes over the pier at Pere Marquette Park in Muskegon Friday, Oct. 31, 2014." (Cory Morse | MLive.com).

Preparing for the Storm: Predicting Where Our Coasts Are At Risk. It's a complicated matrix of regular tidal forcings, sea level rise, land subsidence and storm-surge flooding, according to USGS: "...What Bandy needed was a model that accounted for waves breaking on the beach, for the shifting shape of the Outer Banks’ beaches and dunes, and how and where the interaction could cause coastal erosion. “That’s information the U.S. Geological Survey [USGS] can provide,” said Hilary Stockdon, project lead for the USGS National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards (NACCH). The USGS created a model that accurately predicts which areas of the beach are at risk to overwash or flooding from impending nor’easters and hurricanes. Combined with the offshore wave forecasts of the NWS, meteorologists like Bandy can now speak in specifics when warning officials and residents. The USGS created the model using more than a decade of carefully gathered data on how storms affect coastlines and by merging models of coastal waves and water levels with detailed mapping..."

The World's Most Catastrophic Floods, in Photos. The History Channel reviews some of the biggest killers on record, including the Great Johnstown Flood of 1889: "...The disaster began shortly after 3 p.m on May 31, 1889, when a dam on Pennsylvania’s Lake Conemaugh washed away following several days of drenching rain. The collapse unleashed some 16 million tons of water, which quickly turned into a 40-foot-high, half-mile-wide surge of mud and debris. An hour later, the wave struck Johnstown like a giant fist, crushing some 1,600 buildings and sweeping away everything in its path. When the waters finally receded, over 2,200 people were dead and many more were injured or homeless. The flood was later blamed on the poorly maintained dam, which was owned by a hunting and fishing club, but no one was ever held financially liable for the disaster..."

NOAA Data Helps Retail and Manufacturing Business Minimize Impacts from Weather and Climate. Here's an excerpt from NOAA NCEI: "...In the winter, in particular, the weather can dramatically influence economic activity related to the manufacturing and retail industries. A severe snowstorm may keep consumers from shopping at retail stores and dining at restaurants. And, winter weather can prevent goods from getting to market too. For example, when a major snowstorm caused a single-day shutdown in New York, it resulted in $152 million in lost sales (link is external). However, major snowstorms can be profitable for online retailers and the automotive repair industry. Since they account for $3.2 trillion or 17 percent of the U.S. GDP and an estimated 22 million jobs collectively, the performance of the manufacturing and retail industries is a top indicator of economic well-being. With the right data, manufacturers, retailers, and the companies that invest in them can understand and measure how weather is influencing their bottom lines and the country’s economy..."

File photo: Pixabay.com.

Trump's Putdown of Wind Energy Whips Up a Backlash in Iowa. Because wind turbines are the state's #1 cash crop; Iowa is way out ahead of the curve. Here's an excerpt from Associated Press: "President Trump’s putdown of wind energy at his Iowa rally was denounced Thursday across the state, which takes pride in its position as a national leader in wind generation. Trump was talking up his support for coal during his speech in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday night when he said: “I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories.” He paused before adding, “as the birds fall to the ground,” a reference to birds killed by turbines. The remark drew some cheers and laughs inside the arena but didn’t go over well across Iowa, where the rapid growth of the state’s wind energy industry has been a bipartisan success story. Environmentalists and politicians said the president’s suggestion that wind is unreliable was outdated and off-base, and noted that bird deaths have been minimized and aren’t a source of controversy in Iowa..."

Photo credit: "In this June 2, 2014 file photo, cattle graze in a pasture near a wind turbine in Adair, Iowa. President Trump’s putdown of wind energy at his Iowa rally was denounced Thursday, June 22, 2017, across the state, which has been a national leader in wind generation. Trump was talking up his support for coal during his speech in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday when he said: “I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories.” He added “as the birds fall to the ground,” a reference to birds killed by turbines." (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)


Fisticuffs Over The Route to a Clean-Energy Future. Could the U.S. economy run on entirely-renewable sources like wind, solar and hydro? Probably not with today's antiquated grid, reports The New York Times: "Could the entire American economy run on renewable energy alone? This may seem like an irrelevant question, given that both the White House and Congress are controlled by a party that rejects the scientific consensus abouut human-caused climate change. But the proposition that it could, long a dream of an environmental movement as wary of nuclear energy as it is of fossil fuels, has been gaining ground among policy makers committed to reducting the nation's carbon footprint. Democrats in both the United States Senate and in the California Assembly have proposed legislation this year calling for a full transition to renewable energy sources..."


New Solar Paint Could Offer Endless Supply of Clean Energy. This is the kind of potential breakthrough we're going to need to power up world economies without harmful pollution or greenhouse gas emissions. Fusion reports: "Researchers at RMIT University in Australia have developed a solar paint that could offer endless supplies of clean energy. The paint captures water vapor from the surrounding air, and then uses energy provided by the sunlight to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen. Once harvested, the resulting hydrogen could power fuel cells (which can provide electric power) or go directly into powering combustion engines..."

Photo credit: Pixabay.

Senators Push Trump for Answers on Power Grid Malware Attack. Could one smart hacker sitting in his mother's basement on the other side of the world bring down the U.S. power grid? Here's a clip from a troubling story at WIRED.com: "In one of his first public statements on his priorities as president, Donald Trump promised to develop a "comprehensive plan to protect America's vital infrastructure from cyberattacks." That has not yet materialized. And as new evidence has emerged that a piece of sophisticated malware caused a blackout in the Ukrainian capital last December, one group of senators wants answers now about the threat of Russian grid-hacking. In a letter to the president Thursday, 19 senators have called on the White House to direct the Department of Energy to conduct a new analysis of the Russian government's capabilities to disrupt America's power grid..."

Google's Elite Hacker SWAT Team vs. Everyone. If you're interested in security and privacy (who isn't?) you'll want to check out details on Google's Project Zero in an article at Fortune: "...You don’t have to be a member of Google’s Project Zero to know that security crises are on the rise around the globe. Every company has become a tech company—and so hacks are increasingly becoming commonplace, draining corporate bank accounts, spying on individuals, and interfering in elections. The headlines are sobering: More than 1 billion Yahoo accounts compromised. Tens of millions of dollars stolen through the SWIFT financial network. Countless private emails from the Democratic National Committee exposed ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (For more on how business is responding, read “Hacked: How Business Is Fighting Back Against the Explosion of Cybercrime.”)U.S. companies and government agencies reported 40% more breaches in 2016 than in 2015, and that’s a conservative estimate, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center..."

Illustration credit: Francesco Francavilla for Fortune.

Opioids, a Mass Killer We're Meeting With a Shrug. Here's the intro of a Nicholas Kristof Op-Ed at The New York Times: "About as many Americans are expected to die this year of drug overdoses as died in the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. For more than 100 years, death rates have been dropping for Americans - but now, because of opioids, death rates are rising again. We as a nation are going backward, and drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50..."

Senate Health Bill is a Disaster for Opioid Crisis. Wired.com reports.

The Cheapest Generation. No, millennials don't necessarily want the same things their parents did. Here's an excerpt from The Atlantic: "...All of these strategies share a few key assumptions: that demand for cars within the Millennial generation is just waiting to be unlocked; that as the economy slowly recovers, today’s young people will eventually want to buy cars as much as their parents and grandparents did; that a finer-tuned appeal to Millennial values can coax them into dealerships. Perhaps. But what if these assumptions are simply wrong? What if Millennials’ aversion to car-buying isn’t a temporary side effect of the recession, but part of a permanent generational shift in tastes and spending habits? It’s a question that applies not only to cars, but to several other traditional categories of big spending—most notably, housing. And its answer has large implications for the future shape of the economy—and for the speed of recovery..."

Deadly Hemlock Emerging, Spreading in Parts of Minnesota. Here's an excerpt from Star Tribune: "Poison hemlock is spreading in parts of southeastern Minnesota, prompting warnings to avoid touching the toxic flowering weed and get immediate emergency help if it's ingested. The weed, which is native to Europe and brought to North America as an ornamental plant, can grow 8 feet tall and has white clusters of flowers. It's now in bloom in parts of the state and sometimes is mistaken for wild carrot or toxic water hemlock. But poison hemlock can be differentiated from those two species because it has fern-like leaves and purple blotches on the stems..."
Photo credit: Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

These Charts Show Who You'll Spend Your Time With Across Your Lifetime. Moral of the story from Quartz: learn to at least (like) yourself a little: "...Some of the relationships Lindberg found are intuitive. Time with friends drops off abruptly in the mid-30s, just as time spent with children peaks. Around the age of 60—nearing and then entering retirement, for many—people stop hanging out with co-workers as much, and start spending more time with partners Others are more surprising. Hours spent in the company of children, friends, and extended family members all plateau by our mid-50s. And from the age of 40 until death, we spend an ever-increasing amount of time alone..."

Why Your Brain Hates Other People. Food for thought at Nautilus: "Humans universally make Us/Them dichotomies along lines of race, ethnicity, gender, language group, religion, age, socioeconomic status, and so on. And it’s not a pretty picture. We do so with remarkable speed and neurobiological efficiency; have complex taxonomies and classifications of ways in which we denigrate Thems; do so with a versatility that ranges from the minutest of microaggression to bloodbaths of savagery; and regularly decide what is inferior about Them based on pure emotion, followed by primitive rationalizations that we mistake for rationality. Pretty depressing. But crucially, there is room for optimism. Much of that is grounded in something definedly human, which is that we all carry multiple Us/Them divisions in our heads. A Them in one case can be an Us in another, and it can only take an instant for that identity to flip..."

Illustration credit: Ignacio Serrano.

Alabama Warns of Floating Fire Ants in Flood Waters. Just when you thought it couldn't get much worse comes a story at AP and WMUR.com: "Floating colonies of fire ants could form in flood waters as Tropical Storm Cindy trudges inland. That's the warning from Alabama state officials, who say the insects known as red imported fire ants can present a potentially serious health threat to people and animals during severe flooding. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System said in a statement that the floating colonies may look like ribbons, streamers or a large ball of ants floating on the water..."




TODAY: Cool and showery - typical for early October. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 65

SATURDAY NIGHT: Showers taper, still chilly. Low: 52 (40s up north)

SUNDAY: What June? Some sun, cool wind and a stray shower. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 66

MONDAY: More sun, still refreshingly cool. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 49. High: 71

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, warmer breeze. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 54. High: 79

WEDNESDAY: Humid, heavy showers and T-storms likely. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 62. High: 81

THURSDAY: Some sun, probably a drier day. Winds: W 7-12. Wake-up: 63. High: 83

FRIDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, lukewarm. Winds: N 5-10. Wake-up: 65. High: near 80


Climate Stories....


From Heatwaves to Hurricanes, Floods to Famine: Seven Climate Change Hotspots. The Guardian takes a look at where the symptoms of a rapidly changing climate may have the most immediate implications: "...The evidence for the onset of climate change is compelling. But who and where is it hitting the hardest? How fast will it come to Africa, or the US? What will be its impact on tropical cities, forests or farming? On the poor, or the old? When it comes to details, much is uncertain. Mapping the world’s climate hotspots and identifying where the impacts will be the greatest is increasingly important for governments, advocacy groups and others who need to prioritise resources, set goals and adapt to a warming world. But lack of data and different priorities make it hard. Should scientists pinpoint the places most likely to see faster than average warming or wetter winters, or should they combine expected physical changes with countries’ vulnerability? Some hot-spot models use population data. Others seek to portray the impacts of a warming world on water resources or megacities..."




The Uncertain Future of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. How might the West Antarctic Ice Sheet be impacted by a warming climate? Eos reports: "...One hypothesis is the following sequence of events: (1) global warming melts virtually all sea ice surrounding Antarctica, thereby removing this component of the O-Ring that encloses the continent and stabilizes discharge from ice streams and calving from ice shelves; (2) freed from pileup of sea ice against their calving fronts, ice shelves would disintegrate faster from increased iceberg calving that discerps ice shelves, facilitated by enhanced top and bottom melting; (3) retreat of the Ross Ice Shelf calving front, successively freeing East Antarctic outlet glaciers that now “nail” the Ross Ice Shelf to the Transantarctic Mountains, thereby allowing these outlet glaciers to increase discharge of East Antarctic ice; (4) increased ice discharge by West Antarctic ice streams, perhaps with a tenfold increase in ice velocity as now seen for Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers entering ice-free Pine Island Bay in the Amundsen Sea..."

Image credit: "Satellites have been continuously measuring sea ice in the polar regions since 1979. This image from March 3, 2017, shows the sea ice around the Antarctic continent at its lowest yearly minimum extent in the satellite record." Credit: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio


Why a Scientific Cruise to Antarctica Should Be On Your Bucket List. Here's a clip from a story at Travel + Leisure: "...Once, the white continent was the exclusive preserve of scientists, explorers, and whalers, but starting in the 1960s the entrepreneur Lars-Eric Lindblad began pioneering trips for lay travelers. From the outset, Lindblad saw science and tourism as integral partners, and he recognized that having travelers actively engage with Antarctica, side-by-side with experts, could play a valuable role in bolstering conservation of this great wilderness. That ethos has continued to guide and distinguish Lindblad Expeditions under the leadership of his son, Sven-Olof. Today the company operates two Antarctic ships — in collaboration with National Geographic — offering three itineraries between October and March, ranging from 14 to 24 days..."

Photo credit: Dan Westergren.




Mixing Science and Faith When Addressing Climate Change.  I just got back from Kansas City, where I gave an AMS talk to America's TV meteorologists on climate messaging for conservatives; framing that highlights faith as well as science. Not sure it moved the needle, but I sense more traction with stewardship and Creation Care. The increase in warm season rainfall is most pronounced in the Midwest and New England. Large hail MAY be on the increase, but it's unclear whether background warming has a role. Expanding suburbs means more expensive targets for severe weather to strike. Normalization of socioeconomic trends is an ongoing challenge. I'm encouraged that a significant majority of on-air meteorologists now acknowledge the trends - I noticed far less push-back on the core science than 10 years ago. I encouraged the scientists in the room to consider weaving their faith journey into their public discussions. It may not be suitable for a 3-minute on-air weather broadcast, but in a smaller setting, where you're explaining the science, build on a foundation of facts, evidence and data. If you believe in something (more) than the scientific method, share your faith journey. Tell people why you are personally concerned about a rapidly changing climate, and what it means for their kids, their towns, their careers.

You Say "Climate Change" - I Say "Global Warming". What's the Difference? Reuters explains: "When it comes to climate speak, labels seem to matter: the American public - particularly Republicans - are more likely to say they doubt the existence of "global warming" than "climate change", according to researchers at Cornell University. In a survey, 74 percent of Republicans polled said they believed that climate change is happening, but only 66 percent said they believed in global warming. In contrast, 94 percent of Democrats said they believed in both. The reasons why people discredit climate science may be because they do not like the policies being proposed to tackle the problem, said study co-author Jonathon Schuldt, assistant professor of communication at Cornell. "Acknowledging the reality of global warming or climate change may lead to new government regulations on businesses, which goes against core conservative values," he said..." (File image: Shutterstock).


Why is China Suddenly Leading the Climate Change Effort? It's a Business Decision. Here's an excerpt of an explainer at The Washington Post: "China watchers and other commentators debate China’s resolve and capability to fill the political vacuum left by the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord this month. Why would China be eager to take leadership on climate change? To understand this transition requires looking more closely at the interests and motivations of the Chinese leadership in the rapid growth and development of Chinese renewables. Unlike political leaders in Europe or former U.S. president Barack Obama, who link moral duty with climate action, China’s leadership is not looking to support collective goals of reducing greenhouse gases. Rather, China will redefine global climate leadership to pursue the government’s immediate goals of national economic development, control of energy infrastructure and global economic competitiveness of Chinese industry..."

Photo credit: "Windmills at the Da Bancheng Wind Farm in Xinjiang, China. After the U.S. decision to leave the Paris climate change agreement, Beijing has suggested that China will take on a leadership role in mitigating global warming." (AP)


Rapid Nuclear Decommissioning Threatens Climate Targets, Says IEA. Reuters has the story: "Decommissioning nuclear plants in Europe and North America from 2020 threatens global plans to cut carbon emissions unless governments build new nuclear plants or expand the use of renewables, a top International Energy Agency official said. Nuclear is now the largest low-carbon power source in Europe and the United States, about three times bigger than wind and solar combined, according to IEA data. But most reactors were built in the 1970s and early 80s, and will reach the end of their life around 2020. With the average nuclear plant running for 8,000 hours a year versus 1,500-2,000 hours for a solar plant, governments must expand renewable investments to replace old nuclear plants if they are to meet decarbonisation targets, IEA Chief Economist Laszlo Varro told Reuters..."

File photo: NRC.


Exxon, BP and Shell Back Carbon Tax Proposal to Cut Emissions. Ironic that the oil majors around the world are coming around and addressing the elephant in the living room, but the administration is still advocating ambitious environmental policy right out of the 1950s. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "Oil giants ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Total are among a group of large corporations supporting a plan to tax carbon dioxide emissions in order to address climate change. The companies have revealed their support for the Climate Leadership Council, a group of senior Republican figures that in February proposed a $40 fee on each ton of CO2 emitted as part of a “free-market, limited government” response to climate change. The fossil fuel companies announced their backing for the plan alongside other major firms including Unilever, PepsiCo, General Motors and Johnson & Johnson..."

Photo credit: "Under the proposal, a $40 carbon tax, rising over time, would be levied on emissions in order to encourage a shift towards renewable energy sources such as solar and wind." Photograph: Franck Robichon/EPA.


Head of the American Meteorological Society to Secretary of Energy: You're Dead Wrong on Climate. Meteorologist Dan Satterfield has a post at AGU Blogosphere: "There is just no doubt anymore that the warming of the last century is due to rising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Yes, there are a ton of myths out there but no one who understands the basic science has any doubt. Even the latest surveys show that among those in the field the agreement is over 99%. So, when the Secretary of Energy goes on TV and says things that are preposterous, someone should correct him. Keith Seitter, the Exec. Director of the American Meteorological Society, has done just that..."

Image credit: "It’s the math. I’m quite sure that atmospheric scientists will be happy to explain this graphic to Secretary Perry." From the IPCC 2013.

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