Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Severe Risk Slowly Diminishes - Free A/C by Sunday But Showery Pattern Holds On

79 F. high in St. Cloud on Tuesday.
77 F. average high on June 13.
76 F. maximum temperature in the cities on June 13, 2016.

June 14, 1981: A tornado hits Roseville, destroying homes and damages Har Mar Mall.
June 14, 1956: 8 inches of rain fall in the Ivanhoe area in 3.5 hours. 100 thousand dollars in damage to crops is reported.
June 14, 1943: Torrential downpours cause flooding in the Twin Cities and east central Minnesota. 2.5 inches of rain fall in St. Paul in two hours. In addition, four streetcars are hit by lightning.


Steps You Can Take To Lower Your Weather Risk

"Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you." The older I get the more respect I have for Mother Nature. My low-grade paranoia, a healthy fear of extreme weather, manifests itself in various ways. Not driving into flooded roads. NOAA is right: "turn around, don't drown." Avoiding unnecessary travel on the coldest, snowiest nights of winter. Staying hydrated on the hottest days of summer (beer doesn't count). And heading indoors after hearing the first rumble of thunder.

NOAA data from 2006-2013 shows 37 percent of U.S. lightning fatalities were on or near water (beaches and boats). A whopping 81 percent of those 261 lightning deaths were male. True, more men work outside. And rumor has it we're more stubborn.

Although most of the heaviest T-storms push into Wisconsin today we can't rule out another shower. In fact the pattern is remarkably persistent: instability showers and thundershowers almost every day from Friday into Tuesday. No all-day wash-outs, but it may be too cool for the lake by Sunday, with highs in the 70s.

Long-range models hint at 80s and 90s by late June; Minnesota on the northern edge of a sprawling heatwave stretching from California and Arizona to the East Coast. We'll get a taste, but the worst of the blast-furnace heat should stay just to our south.







Wednesday Severe Storm Risk. NOAA SPC has outlined a broad area of the Midwest and Upper Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes with a "slight risk", meaning numerous reports of 1-2" diameter hail, straight-line wind damage and a few isolated tornadoes from Duluth, the Twin Cities and Kansas City to Milwaukee, Chicago and Kalamazoo.

The Most Tornado-Prone County in the USA is in Colorado? I was a bit surprised too - I would have thought Oklahoma or Texas but a story at thedenverchannel.com set me straight: "It may come as a surprise to many, but Colorado is the home of the county with the most tornadoes across the entire nation.  Weld County experiences an average of roughly four tornado segments — or a tornado that at least travels in one county — each year. That adds up to 262 such events. Adams County isn't far behind. The county racked up 173 tornado segments. When correcting for counties or locations with population that may be affected by the tornadoes, Colorado again owns a few of the top counties on the list..."

Remembering the Deadly F4 Tornado That Ravaged Worcester. The massive tornado that swept across Massachusetts in 1953 was one of the most violent ever reported in New England. A story at Boston.com has more details: "...Worcester had been through floods and hurricanes before, but nothing like the extreme, targeted destruction wrought in 1953, according to Robyn Conroy, a librarian at the Worcester Historical Museum. “People would be in one area of the city and there was no sign of damage,” Conroy told Boston.com. “A few miles in another direction, total destruction.” When all was accounted for, the June 9 twister left 94 people dead, nearly 1,300 injured, and 4,000 buildings damaged or destroyed. Around 10,000 were left homeless. At the time, the devastating event — which hit the Worcester near its historic population peak — was the costliest tornado in U.S. history..."

Photo credit: "This picture from Burncoat Street in Worcester shows the pile of debris left the day after the tornado." Boston Globe file photo.



100-degree heat in metro New York City on Tuesday:


Saturday Heat Index. Although a weak back-door cool front takes the edge off the heat across New England and much of the Mid Atlantic region - the southern half of the USA will be frying away this weekend; the combination of temperature and dew point making it feel like 105F or hotter from California's Central Valley and the Phoenix area to Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Memphis and Nashville.

Breathing Easier Across New England - Thunderwear Recommended for Upper Midwest Today. Future radar (NOAA's NAM model) spins up more strong to severe storms over the north central USA later today, lighter thundershowers over the eastern USA. More heavy rain is forecast to push into the Pacific Northwest by Thursday. Animation: Tropicaltidbits.com.

Aaaah. Not only will temperatures come down by the weekend, but dew points are forecast to drop into the 50s, meaning nearly half as much water in the air as we experienced on Tuesday. Enjoy the break from the humidity, because there are signs of another heat surge by late June. Twin Cities ECMWF numbers: WeatherBell.

Late June Sizzler. Much of the USA is forecast to see 90s, even 100-degree heat the last week of June as a heat-pump high pressure ridge stalls out from Arizona and Texas to the Carolinas. I see a cool, wet bias continuing for the Pacific Northwest and possibly the northern Rockies; otherwise much of the nation will be sweating it out within 2 weeks, if NOAA's GFS forecast for 500mb winds is to be believed.

July Hand-Waving Experiment. More of a suggestion, a trend than an actual forecast, NOAA's Climate Forecast System (CFS version 2) shows a warm bias for the eastern 2/3ds of America next month, but cooler than normal conditions west of the Rockies. Gazing at the current pattern that's not hard to believe. Source: WeatherBell.


Almost Enlightening. This year roughly 100,000 thunderstorms will sprout above the USA, unloading hail, precious rains and flooding rains, and about 20-25 million cloud to ground lightning strikes. Worldwide lightning strikes the Earth about 30 times per second. If anyone asks (doubtful) your lifetime odds of being killed by lightning are 1 in 30,000. The odds of perishing due to extreme cold? 1 in 6,155. So you're about 13 times more likely to be killed by a cold front than lightning.


Does the White House Back Better Hurricane Forecasting? The Signs Point Both Ways. So says an article at NBC San Diego: "As hurricane season begins, and scientists predict the Atlantic Ocean could see another above-normal year, the White House is sending contradictory messages about whether it supports funding for better weather forecasting. On the one hand, President Donald Trump in April signed a bipartisan Congressional bill that protects improvements to hurricane forecasting and tsunami warnings from budget cuts. On the other, the president's proposed budget for 2018 fiscal year, released in May, would slash funding for those very programs, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its National Weather Service. NOAA accounts for much of the 16 percent reduction to the Commerce Department, of which it is a part..."

Pockets of Drought. Moderate to severe drought lingers from the Dakotas into far northern Minnesota, as well as much of Florida and southern Georgia, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor.

Dust Bowl-ification of U.S. Southwest Leads to 8-Fold Jump in Valley Fever Cases. Some harrowing research highlighted at ThinkProgress: "The infection rate of Valley Fever in the Southwest United States has gone up a stunning 800 percent from 2000 to 2011, as dust storms have more than doubled. New research directly links the rise in Valley Fever to the rise in dust storms, which in turn is driven by climate change. Valley Fever, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls “a fungal lung infection that can be devastating,” is caused by inhaling soil-dwelling fungus. When the soil dries out and turns to dust, the wind can make the fungus airborne. “Dust storms are found to better correlated with the disease than any other known controlling factor,“ a new study led by NOAA scientists concluded...."
 
Map credit: "Dust storms spike with Valley fever cases. The largest number of dust storms from 1988 to 2011 are concentrated in the SW states reporting the highest numbers of fever cases."

The Dying Salton Sea. How much is natural vs. driven by a rapidly changing climate? Here's an excerpt from USA TODAY: "California’s largest lake is drying up. The Salton Sea has been shrinking for years, and fish and birds have been dying. The dry lakebed already spews toxic dust into the air, threatening a region with hundreds of thousands of people. And the crisis is about to get much worse. The water flowing into the Salton Sea will be cut dramatically at the end of this year, causing the lake to shrink faster than ever and sending more dust blowing through low-income, largely Latino farming communities..."

A Bipartisan Plan for Flood Insurance. The Op-Ed refers to "an era of severe flooding." I wonder what on Earth might be sparking that. Six U.S. Senators agree on a plan to fix the troubled federal program; The Wall Street Journal reports: "Powerful floods devastate communities across America every year. After these catastrophic natural disasters, too many Americans find themselves facing a man-made calamity: a National Flood Insurance Program that overcharges and underdelivers for policyholders and for taxpayers. The Sept. 30 expiration of the law authorizing the NFIP represents an opportunity to address the waste, abuse and mismanagement plaguing the system. As members of the Senate Banking and Appropriations committees, which oversee flood insurance and provide federal disaster response, we plan to offer bipartisan landmark legislation to tackle systemic problems with flood insurance and to reframe our entire disaster paradigm. Today, more homeowners are abandoning national flood insurance policies because their premiums continue to rise, despite the emergency relief measures Congress approved in 2014..."

Photo credit: "Flood waters rising in Boise, Idaho, April 6." Photo: Associated Press.

American Cities Face Growing Flood Risk. What is going to ultimately get the public's attention with climate volatility and weather disruption? I would argue that it will come down to frequency and intensity of flooding, inland flooding and coastal flooding as seas continue to rise. Here's an excerpt from Truthdig: "Sea level rise—driven by global warming and climate change—will bring new flood risks to America’s coastal cities. Paradoxically, those conurbations already at risk of catastrophic floods driven by hurricanes can expect a greater number of “moderate” floods. And those cities that have little or no history of severe flooding can expect a greater level of risk from historically unprecedented inundation, according to a new study in the journal Environmental Research Letters. This is another step in what might be called prepare-for-the-future studies. Coastal flooding already costs cities on both east and west coasts an estimated $27bn a year. Researchers have been doing the arithmetic and so far forecast that – globally at least – sea level rise is going to cost $1 trillion by 2050, and $100 trillion by 2100..."

Photo credit: "A hurricane dumped 15 inches of rain on Charleston, S.C., two years ago. This was the result." North Charleston - Wikimedia Commons.


Cyber Experts Identify Malware That Could Disrupt U.S. Power Grid. Another argument for clean, renewable, resilient options that keep keep the lights on, even if the grid goes down. Here's an excerpt from The Wall Street Journal: "Computer-security researchers said Sunday they have discovered the malicious software that knocked out electricity in Ukraine’s capital last year, and warned U.S. companies that the code could be repurposed to disrupt systems in the U.S. The discovery sheds light on an incident that security experts have been watching closely, hoping to understand the risk to the U.S. electrical grid. It follows a 2014 cyber-campaign against the U.S. in which networks at 17 energy companies, including four electric utilities, were compromised..."

Photo credit: "The Kentucky Utilities Co. E.W. Brown generating station in Harrodsburg. U.S. researchers have been studying malicious software to understand the risk it could pose to the U.S. electrical grid." Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg News.
 


"Crash Override": The Malware That Took Down a Power Grid. More perspective on the threat from WIRED.com: "...The researchers say this new malware can automate mass power outages, like the one in Ukraine’s capital, and includes swappable, plug-in components that could allow it to be adapted to different electric utilities, easily reused, or even launched simultaneously across multiple targets. They argue that those features suggest Crash Override could inflict outages far more widespread and longer lasting than the Kiev blackout. “The potential impact here is huge,” says ESET security researcher Robert Lipovsky. “If this is not a wakeup call, I don’t know what could be.” The adaptability of the malware means that the tool poses a threat not just to the critical infrastructure of Ukraine, researchers say, but to other power grids around the world, including America's..."

U.S. grid map: FEMA.


How Retiring Nuclear Power Plants May Undercut U.S. Climate Goals. The expression that comes to mind is "pick your poison". Keep nuclear plants going and try to address concerns with radioactive fuel storage, or risk an uptick in CO2 emissions from burning more natural gas and coal? The New York Times reports: "Over the last decade, a glut of cheap natural gas from hydraulic fracturing has driven hundreds of dirtier coal plants in the United States out of business, a big reason carbon dioxide emissions fell 14 percent from 2005 to 2016. But more recently, that same gas boom has started pushing many of America's nuclear reactors into early retirement - a trend with adverse consequences for climate change. The United States' fleet of 99 nuclear reactors still supplies one-fifth of the country's electricity without generation any planet-warming greenhouse gases. When those reactors retire, wind and solar usually cannot expland fast enough to replace the lost power. Instead, coal and natural gas fill the void, causing emissions to rise..."

Photo credit: "The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Middletown, PA. Exelon has said it will shut down the last reactor there by 2019 unless it receives financial assistance." Jonathan Ernst, Reuters.

The Electric, Driverless Revolution Is About to Hit The High Seas. Driverless cars, airplanes, now container ships? Here's a clip from Bloomberg Technology: "It’s not just in Google laboratories that the revolution in electric, driverless transportation is gathering pace: a Norwegian shipping company is aiming to be able to deliver cargoes by sea on unmanned vessels from 2020. The fully electric, zero emissions YARA Birkeland will set sail next year in Europe, Oslo-based Yara International ASA said a statement Saturday. By 2019 it will be able to work by remote control and at the start of the next decade it will be able to deliver on a fully automated basis. The container ship, being built by Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, will transport fertilizer..."

Image credit: YARA Birkeland. Source: YARA.


Battery Storage and Rooftop Solar Could Mean New Life Post-Grid for Consumers. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "...Before people invented the fridge, we produced food, we consumed food immediately,” says Wang, director of the Centre for Clean Energy Technology at the University of Technology, Sydney. “With the development of appropriate electricity storage technology, the electricity is like our food – you can store it and whenever you need that electricity, you can use that immediately.” Batteries as a means to store electricity are nothing new. But with solar photovoltaic units now found on 16.5% of Australian residential roofs, battery storage has stepped into the big league. What was once viewed as an add-on to solar photovoltaic is now driving a revolution in the energy sector and turning the concept of a national electricity grid upside down..."

File photo credit: Electrek.


Copper Demand for Electric Cars to Rise Nine-Fold by 2027: ICA. Reuters has details: "The growing number of electric vehicles hitting roads is set to fuel a nine-fold increase in copper demand from the sector over the coming decade, according to an industry report on Tuesday. Electric or hybrid cars and buses are expected to reach 27 million by 2027, up from 3 million this year, according to a report by consultancy IDTechEx, commissioned by the International Copper Association (ICA). "Demand for electric vehicles is forecast to increase significantly over the next ten years as technology improves, the price gap with petrol cars is closed and more electric chargers are deployed," IDTechEx Senior Technology Analyst Franco Gonzalez said in the report. "Our research predicts this increase will raise copper demand for electric cars and buses from 185,000 tonnes in 2017 to 1.74 million tonnes in 2027," Gonzalez said..."

File image: Shutterstock.

85% of Americans Use Mobile Devices to Access News. Nieman Journalism Lab has details: "Most people in the U.S. — 85 percent of U.S. adults — have used a mobile device to access news at some point, up from around just 50 percent in 2013. But put aside any assumptions about which groups of people are responsible for the big increases. More than two thirds (67 percent) of Americans aged 65 and older get news on a mobile device (in 2016, that number was 43 percent; in 2013, it was 22 percent). Mobile news consumption among 50- to 64-year-olds also increased sharply over the past four years..."

The Secret Origin of the iPhone. The Verge has a fascinating story; here's a clip: "... But if there’s anything I’ve learned in my efforts to pull the iPhone apart, literally and figuratively, it’s that there are rarely concrete beginnings to any particular products or technologies — they evolve from varying previous ideas and concepts and inventions and are prodded and iterated into newness by restless minds and profit motives. Even when the company’s executives were under oath in a federal trial, they couldn’t name just one starting place. “There were many things that led to the development of the iPhone at Apple,” Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in 2012. “First, Apple had been known for years for being the creator of the Mac, the computer, and it was great, but it had small market share,” he said. “And then we had a big hit called the iPod. It was the iPod hardware and the iTunes software. And this really changed everybody’s view of Apple, both inside and outside the company. And people started asking, Well, if you can have a big hit with the iPod, what else can you do? And people were suggesting every idea, make a camera, make a car, crazy stuff.” And make a phone, of course..."
 
Illustration credit:

The Museum of Moist Towelettes. Because why-the-heck-not? I always thought The Moist Towelettes would be a great name for a rock band. Which may be one, of many, reasons why I'm not in a rock band. Here's an explainer at Atlas Obscura: "The office of John French, a Michigan State University employee who works in the planetarium, houses what is likely the campus’s least visited, most unusual museum. There, French keeps a display case full of his collection of moist towelettes from around the globe, with all but one unopened. Beginning 20 years ago, when French first started collecting towelettes, the museum eventually outgrew its first display case as people donated more and more unique towelettes. Some of the most notable include one called “Finger Pinkies,” which is advertised as “the secretary’s hand cleaner,” a few from the Hard Rock Caf├ęs in Beijing and Kuala Lumpur, and a series with Star Trek-themed packaging from the show’s original run..." (Image credit: The Moist Towelette Museum).


Sweet! Baker Makes Internet Trolls Eat Their Words - Literally. I couldn't resist a story at NPR: "The social media world is heavily populated by trolls — you know, those people who write nasty, mean comments online. Sometimes it can be tempting to respond back, but what if there's a better alternative? Like sending them a cake.... with their words written on it. New York City baker Kat Thek does just that. She's the founder of Troll Cakes, a bakery and detective agency. The process is simple. First, customers go to the Troll Cakes site to submit the comment and address of the troll in question. Thek will then bake a cake, write the comment on it using frosting or fondant letters, wrap it up in festive confetti, and send it to the perpetrator..." (Image credit: Troll Cakes).







TODAY: Sticky sunshine, passing T-storm (best chance Wisconsin). Best chance of severe weather east of STC. Winds: SW 10-15. High: 86
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Drying out under a partly cloudy sky. Low: 62
THURSDAY: Plenty of sun, a rare dry day with lower humidity. Winds: W 8-13. High: 84
FRIDAY: Some sun, few pop-up PM storms. Winds: W 7-12. Wake-up: 63. High: 83
SATURDAY: Milder, better day, T-storm risk late PM. Winds: SW 7-12. Wake-up: 61. High: 79
SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy, cooler. Few showers. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 59. High: 72
MONDAY: Still brisk, nagging shower risk. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 57. High: near 70
TUESDAY: Fading sun, still cooler than average. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 56. High: 73


File image above: Citizens Climate Lobby.

Climate Stories...

Fighting Climate Change Can Be a Lonely Battle in Oil Country, Especially for a Kid. These 21 young people show a lot more backbone, integrity and long-term vision than many elected officials at a local, state and national level. Here's an excerpt from InsideClimate News: "...The lawsuit, brought by Our Children's Trust in 2015, relies on a novel legal strategy that has yielded victories for climate activists seeking sweeping policy change in other countries. The stakes are so high for the United States that both the Obama and Trump administrations, and the fossil fuel industry, have repeatedly sought to have the case dismissed. But federal judges have so far upheld the plaintiffs' right to a hearing, which means the case could come to trial as early as November. Jayden, perhaps more than the other plaintiffs, has felt the impact of climate change. She has watched hurricanes batter her state and the rise of the sea hollow out a coastline already damaged by sinking land, wetlands destruction and oil industry dredging. After a storm hit her hometown of Rayne last August, she woke up in her bedroom ankle-deep in water, though her neighborhood had never flooded before. Her house, still damaged after the August storm, flooded again in early May..."

Climate Change Researchers Cancel Expedition Because of Climate Change. Oh, the irony. Here's a clip from a story at CBC News: "A team of scientists had to abandon an expedition through Hudson Bay because of hazardous ice conditions off the coast of Newfoundland caused by climate change. About 40 scientists from five Canadian universities were scheduled to use the icebreaker CCGS Amundsen for the first leg of a 133-day expedition across the Arctic. It's part of a $17-million, four-year project led by the University of Manitoba that looks at both the effects of climate change as well as public health in remote communities. Their trip began May 25 in Quebec City, but due to bad ice conditions off the coast of Newfoundland, the icebreaker was diverted from its course to help ferries and fishing boats navigate the Strait of Belle Isle, said David Barber, a climate change scientist at the University of Manitoba and leader of the Hudson Bay expedition called BaySys..."

Photo credit: "The CCGS Amundsen, an icebreaker with 40 scientists on board, was diverted from the first leg of a journey through the Arctic on Sunday to help search and rescue efforts off the coast of Newfoundland in the Strait of Belle Isle." (Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans).

The Larsen C Ice Shelf Collapse Hammers Home the Reality of Climate Change. Dr. John Abraham, climate scientists at the University of St. Thomas, writes for The Guardian: "Very soon, a large portion of an ice shelf in Antarctica will break off and collapse into the ocean. The name of the ice shelf is Larsen C; it is a major extension from of the West Antarctic ice sheet, and its health has implications for other ice in the region, and sea levels globally. How do we know a portion is going to collapse? Well, scientists have been watching a major rift (crack) that has grown in the past few years, carving out a section of floating ice nearly the size of Delaware. The speed of the crack has increased dramatically in the past few months, and it is nearly cracked through..."

Photo credit: "NASA handout photo dated 10/11/16 showing a rift in the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, as scientists have said that an iceberg a quarter the size of Wales is poised to break off from it." Photograph: NASA/John Sonntag/PA.

Engineers, Not Politicians, Can Solve Climate Change. An article at The Walrus got my attention: "...Politics will not save us. Put not your hope in politics. But keep hope close to your heart. While politicians try and fail to diminish carbon levels by a few percent, in certain circles, far away from parliaments, fossil fuels have already become, well, quaint. A few years ago, while the politicians weren’t looking, solar and wind power hit the knee of stunning exponential growth curves. Check out this graph put together by Auke Hoekstra, a researcher at Eindhoven University of Technology. This is one of the most remarkable charts I have ever seen. It says that practically every year since 2008, the International Energy Agency—a Paris-based organization that acts as a clean energy policy adviser to its twenty-nine member states—has wildly underestimated the growth of solar power, insisting that it is linear rather than exponential..."



Occidental Petroleum Wants To Be "Part of the Solution" on Climate Change. Fortune has details: "...One way Occidental is accomplishing those environmental goals is by using a technique called “enhanced oil recovery.” It involves reusing CO2 to extract more oil from tapped-out oil wells. This new process is considered environmentally friendly because while it increases oil production, while reducing carbon emissions.Hollub says Occidental is trying to “help to be part of the solution” and continues to finance research to uncover other innovations to preserve the environment. In an ironic twist to President Trump’s abandonment of the Paris accord, Hollub says Occidental is actually more determined to speed up its environmental goals..."


If You Think Climate Will Be Expensive, Calculate the Cost of Letting It Happen. Here's a clip from Harvard Business Review: "...This echoes a common political talking point: that fighting climate change is bad for the economy. I’d like to point out the flip side: that climate change itself is bad for the economy and investing in climate resilience is not only a national security priority, but an enormous economic opportunity. The share of national GDP at risk from climate change exceeds $1.5 trillion in the 301 major cities around the world. Including the impact of human pandemics – which are likely to become more severe as the planet warms — the figure increases to nearly $2.2 trillion in economic output at risk through 2025..."

As Glaciers Retreat, They Reveal a Host of New Problems. An article at Fusion caught my eye: "...This melting will only continue. According to a recent study from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Portland State University, Montana’s Glacier National Park’s glaciers have shrunk by an average of about 39% since 1966, with some shrinking by as much as 82%. Currently about 10% of the land on Earth is covered with glacial ice—including glaciers, ice caps, and the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica—stretching over 5.8 million square miles and storing about 75% of the world’s fresh water. Were melting of land ice to continue until it was all gone, sea level would rise some 230 feet, drowning the coastal cities of the world. And as the cryosphere continues to warm and change, it will only exponentially increase the pace of climate change, by releasing more CO2 and methane in the atmosphere, decreasing the reflective surfaces on the Earth, and increasing the surface area of the ocean. “The glaciers are telling us something,” says Clarke. “We need to listen if we care about our future.”


How Climate Data is Collected. NPR explains how we know that CO2 levels are, in fact, rising worldwide:

HOOD: Despite the frozen fingers, every week Morse skis, hikes or drives a snowcat to get to this ridge. She works for the University of Colorado at Boulder collecting data for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
MORSE: We know that CO2 is going up because of sites like this. And there are sites like this all over the world.
HOOD: About 100 in NOAA's network. For hundreds of thousands of years, concentrations of carbon dioxide, or CO2, were never higher than 280 parts per million, but that number began to rise with the industrial revolution. And in recent years, it's rising faster at an unprecedented level. It's the direct result of burning fossil fuels like coal and natural gas...

File image: John Sonntag, NASA.


Do Recent Climate Decisions Put Our Military Men and Women at Increased Risk? Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from the San Antonio Express-News: "...Climate change also causes more frequent extreme weather events, which means more requests for humanitarian aid across the globe; meanwhile, droughts and resource shortages end up strengthening the very extremist groups our troops face on the battlefield. In light of these dangers, the Department of Defense describes climate change as a “threat multiplier” because it makes the jobs of our troops harder and riskier. If we choose not to take steps to move away from the fossil fuels of the past and toward the clean energy of the future, we will be condemning our allies, our children and our loved ones in uniform to an increasingly dangerous world — and a world in which the United States is a backward outsider..."


Climate Change in British Columbia: Here's How 2050 Could Look. CBC News reports: "Climate change has been blamed for raging forest fires, devastating floods and shrinking glaciers, but scientists have determined the effects will look different in various regions of B.C. Their severity depends on how successful humans are in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Under a middle-of-the-road scenario that assumes that in the future greenhouse gas emissions are halved, the average annual temperature in B.C. would increase by 2.5 C by 2050, according to the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium..."

Photo credit: "The risk of wildfires in the Okanagan will increase if average annual temperatures rise 2.5 C by 2050." (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press).

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