Organization, Presence: Adaptive Management in the Trump Administration

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 10:00 PM GMT on February 03, 2017

Organization, Presence: Adaptive Management in the Trump Administration

Once again, I woke feeling great. Decided I need to think about how to manage my career or, well perhaps, what’s left of it. Think I am going back to my EOS editorial and see if any of what I said made sense.

I am one of those people who feel that there is value of organization and management in our science enterprise. This has been an albatross around the neck of my career; I again and again find myself wandering around on deck imagining how to organize the vital fragments. I have this tedious mantra that organization emerges from complex systems, and that we can do things to seed, fertilize, and accelerate that emergence. It’s not hard to collect scientists together, but it is hard to organize scientists.

We are at a moment when organization will be critical to how the U.S. science enterprise appears in 4 years, 8 years, and 12 years. What I am going to attempt to do in this blog is to think about how to monitor and manage what, presently, feels like convulsions from one outrage to the next.

President Trump: I have seen several analyses of President’s Trump’s psychology, personality, motivations, tactics, and intents. I especially like the articles that say that President Trump’s logic and reason defy understanding. These are people looking to use their models of logic and reason, perhaps even norms of behavior they consider to be established decorum and protocol, and they find no way to frame President Trump’s behavior into compact, rational models.

What we know is that President Trump makes statements that outrage, disrupt, and divert. The statements are often dismissive, insulting, and hurtful. Some statements seem contradictory; many, however, are quite consistent what Mr. Trump has said that he would do. They could be viewed as chaos, “behavior so unpredictable as to appear random, owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions.”

We, also, know that we cannot control what Mr. Trump says, and it is unlikely we will evolve to an understanding that allows intuition of his motivations, logic, and reason. In fact, it is reasonable to assume that if we get to a point where we can predict what will come next, then he will change. Being unpredictable is an attribute; chaos is a style of management, of leadership, of negotiation.

What we can control is how we evaluate and respond.

When trying to manage chaos generated by a leader, it is important to monitor the difference between what is being said and what is being done. What is the difference between words and behavior? In the case of a large organization or, in this case, a government, it is essential to look at those who are actually carrying out the operations on the ground – the behavior.

In my course on climate change, I have a short module on argumentation and rhetoric. Understanding the tactics and motivation of, for instance, someone opposed to making greenhouse gas reductions is critical. The motivation is disruption of policy considered, perhaps, damaging to their industry. The tactic is to take on the credibility, legitimacy and robustness of scientists and science-based investigation. While scientists engage in the reaction and diversion defending scientific knowledge and their personal integrity, the disruption of policy development is achieved. Scientists become engaged in efforts to better communicate and complete their knowledge-based results, but the other side of the argument is not really interested in a knowledge-based reconciliation.

One of the most usable analyses of Trump’s use of language I have seen comes from linguist George Lakoff. In a radio interview, Lakoff deconstructs Trump’s tactics. Two common tactics are diversion, to turn your attention away from the important issue, and deflection, attacking and discrediting the messenger.

Chaos as a management tool is well known. Some of us at NASA in the 1990s viewed Administrator Dan Goldin as a practitioner of chaos management. The NASA history states Goldin was taking on a “bloated bureaucracy” through “aggressive management reform.” Familiar words. (I like to remind people that Goldin served as the NASA Administrator the entire Clinton-Gore Administration, with large reductions to the Earth Observing System budget. Partisanship is often not so easy.)

Deflection, diversion, and disruption are tactics of chaos management. They are counterintuitive to the definition of “managed.” They offend our norms of diplomacy, protocol, and decorum. We are affronted and outraged. We respond at an emotional level, and that allows those waiting for the diversion, the operatives, to go into action.

What we can control is how we evaluate and respond. Organization and discipline will be critical attributes for an effective response to the Trump administration’s efforts to deconstruct not only President Obama’s climate actions, but also to weaken a generation of environmental law. Critical in effective response is to depersonalize that which is dismissive, insulting, and hurtful.

What is most clear in the Trump environmental agenda is to damage and diminish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). At the top of the list are Obama’s Clean Power Plan and elimination of the language of management of carbon dioxide and climate change from the EPA’s public interface. Though commanding outrage, these changes are essentially distractions. They are relatively easy to do, and are in the big picture, largely inconsequential. More consequential will be attacks of underlying environmental law.

I have a growing collection of articles on the EPA archived here. An article that I note from the Washington Post is entitled, “Trump might revisit environmental rules going back decades, transition adviser says.” The article focuses on EPA transition team lead Myron Ebell, and ends with:

In an interview with E&E News Thursday, Ebell raised the idea of cutting the agency’s roughly 15,000-person workforce by two-thirds. Speaking to The Washington Post, he said that he thought cutting the EPA by either a third or a half would be “an aspirational goal,” though he added that he did not know whether the new administration would embrace it.

“I’m not saying that’s what’s going to happen, that’s a goal,” Ebell said, noting that roughly half of the EPA’s budget is passed through to the states. “The states do most of the work, particularly when it comes to air and water programs.”

During the campaign, Trump raised the prospect of eliminating the EPA, saying at one point, “what they do is a disgrace.” At other points, he suggested scaling it back significantly. “We can leave a little bit, but you can’t destroy businesses.”

Ebell noted that Trump would probably propose deeper cuts to the agency than would actually be enacted, because lawmakers are often reluctant to slash the budgets of agencies they oversee. “It you want to achieve significant domestic budget cuts across the government, you’re going to take on appropriators by requesting big cuts.”


Mr. Ebell is, perhaps, representative of the behavior, as opposed to the words, of President Trump’s administration. He has years of steady message; he understands politics; he has stated, directly, what he would like to see happen. My list of articles suggests it is happening.

One response of the climate community is Climate Deregulation Tracker:

About the Climate Deregulation Tracker

President Donald Trump has stated that he intends to undo most or all of the Obama administration’s efforts to address climate change. Many members of Congress have expressed similar intentions.

The Climate Deregulation Tracker monitors efforts undertaken by the Trump administration to scale back or wholly eliminate federal climate mitigation and adaptation measures. The tracker also monitors congressional efforts to repeal statutory provisions, regulations, and guidance pertaining to climate change, and to otherwise undermine climate action. Finally, the tracker will monitor any countervailing efforts to advance climate change mitigation and adaptation in the face of these deregulatory actions.

The tracker will also provide links to related news items, such as updates about federal agency appointments, the removal of climate data from federal websites, and federal actions with indirect implications for climate change.


The Climate Deregulation Tracker helps collect information, but its impact ultimately relies on the emergence of other organized responses to oppose the degradation of our environmental law.

That is more than enough for this blog entry. I fall into the pit of diffuse message.

The climate community, the climate-science community, is not just climate scientists. In fact, our community might not even be majority climate scientists. There are practitioners, professionals, and scientists of all sorts, natural and social, vested in the climate community. There are many activities emerging in our community. The challenge is to focus some of these activities to our behavior on the ground and not to get lost in our words. Because when there is chaos, there is not just opportunity for those who are, perhaps, on the side of chaos.


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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143. FLwolverine
12:06 AM GMT on February 28, 2017
Quoting 138. BaltimoreBrian:

CaneFreeCR world population is about 1,946 cubed now and that's going up by 1 about every two months. We're getting closer to 2,525 cubed...for now.
If CO2 increases as you project, we will lose the ability to feed even the current population long before we get to 2525 cubed, not to mention places hospitable enough for humans to live.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
142. Pipejazz
6:11 PM GMT on February 27, 2017
Quoting 141. BaltimoreBrian:

Andy Weir's Best Seller 'The Martian' Gets a Classroom-Friendly Makeover Thoughts?

Great idea, but most (if not all) high schoolers already know those words.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
141. BaltimoreBrian
10:16 PM GMT on February 26, 2017
Andy Weir's Best Seller 'The Martian' Gets a Classroom-Friendly Makeover Thoughts?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
139. CaneFreeCR
12:05 AM GMT on February 26, 2017
Quoting 138. BaltimoreBrian:

CaneFreeCR world population is about 1,946 cubed now and that's going up by 1 about every two months. We're getting closer to 2,525 cubed...for now.
SRO
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
138. BaltimoreBrian
8:43 PM GMT on February 25, 2017
CaneFreeCR world population is about 1,946 cubed now and that's going up by 1 about every two months. We're getting closer to 2,525 cubed...for now.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
137. Patrap
6:36 PM GMT on February 25, 2017


Paper thin solar cells on paper can now be produced with inkjet printing. This will allow solar cells to be much cheaper and be placed almost anywhere.

It may still seem far fetched to imagine our houses powered by solar cells in curtains, blinds and windows. But some scientists say it will eventually be possible to print photovoltaic elements on a huge range of surfaces and materials – creating cheap, printable solar cells in place of more costly silicon panels.

Printable solar cells offer exciting potential for generating electricity more flexibly and at a lower cost, wherever the sun shines. In the traditional silicon solar PV we see on people’s rooftops, the most costly component is the silicon material that holds the photovoltaic elements. Silicon is abundant and non-toxic, but it is expensive to process into wafers for traditional rooftop solar PV panels.

New developments in printed solar cells could allow solar energy to be cheaply and easily converted into electricity almost anywhere, including walls, windows, roller blinds, shade umbrellas, and even tents.

The idea of using your tent to harvest power on trips to the beach or a camping weekend could really propel glamping (glamorous camping) to the next level, with free on-site electricity powering life’s little luxuries!

TOWARDS COMMERCIALLY VIABLE PRINTABLE SOLAR CELLS

Currently, printable solar cells have only reached about 10 per cent efficiency, whereas traditional silicon solar PV cells are closer to 25% efficient. The life span of the printed solar cells is also only six months. So researchers are working to increase their efficiency, weather-resistance and life span to reach commercial viability.

In late 2014, a consortium from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the University of Melbourne and Monash University announced that their printable solar cells were on the verge of commercialisation.

A team of 50 chemists, physicists and engineers – working together since 2007 – hope to see printed solar panels used in low-power applications within the next few years.

CSIRO photovoltaic expert Dr Fiona Scholes explained the team hoped they could achieve a similar power delivery at a significantly reduced cost.

“Silicon is falling in price, but think about how cheap plastic is. The ink is a negligible cost, so the raw materials are very cost effective. This is a big step forward because you can put these cells anywhere you can think of. Also the consistency is better than silicon – they work well in cloudy conditions,” said Dr Scholes.

The CSIRO’s Scholes said although silicon cells are still on top of the market, she predicts printed solar cells will be “a key part of the renewable energy mix”. While the team can’t produce the cells commercially itself, a number of manufacturing companies are stepping forward.

HOW ARE PRINTABLE SOLAR CELLS MADE?

At the moment, printable solar cells are made by printing a specially developed ‘solar ink’ onto plastic film, similar to the way plastic bank notes are printed.

Whatever the method or the materials used, the solar principles remain the same:

Incoming photons free electrons and send them scattering through the solar cell’s material before being channelled into an electrical circuit.
The efficiency of the solar cell depends both on how well the material captures light to set these electrons free, as well as how effortlessly the electrons travel through the material.

Researchers such as the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium are developing processes for printing solar cells onto all manner of surfaces using various printing, dyeing and spraying techniques. The solar cells can be printed straight onto paper-thin, flexible plastic, as well as onto steel, and can be made semi-transparent for building cladding and windows.


Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
136. Patrap
6:35 PM GMT on February 25, 2017


Paper thin solar cells on paper can now be produced with inkjet printing. This will allow solar cells to be much cheaper and be placed almost anywhere.

It may still seem far fetched to imagine our houses powered by solar cells in curtains, blinds and windows. But some scientists say it will eventually be possible to print photovoltaic elements on a huge range of surfaces and materials – creating cheap, printable solar cells in place of more costly silicon panels.

Printable solar cells offer exciting potential for generating electricity more flexibly and at a lower cost, wherever the sun shines. In the traditional silicon solar PV we see on people’s rooftops, the most costly component is the silicon material that holds the photovoltaic elements. Silicon is abundant and non-toxic, but it is expensive to process into wafers for traditional rooftop solar PV panels.

New developments in printed solar cells could allow solar energy to be cheaply and easily converted into electricity almost anywhere, including walls, windows, roller blinds, shade umbrellas, and even tents.

The idea of using your tent to harvest power on trips to the beach or a camping weekend could really propel glamping (glamorous camping) to the next level, with free on-site electricity powering life’s little luxuries!

TOWARDS COMMERCIALLY VIABLE PRINTABLE SOLAR CELLS

Currently, printable solar cells have only reached about 10 per cent efficiency, whereas traditional silicon solar PV cells are closer to 25% efficient. The life span of the printed solar cells is also only six months. So researchers are working to increase their efficiency, weather-resistance and life span to reach commercial viability.

In late 2014, a consortium from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the University of Melbourne and Monash University announced that their printable solar cells were on the verge of commercialisation.

A team of 50 chemists, physicists and engineers – working together since 2007 – hope to see printed solar panels used in low-power applications within the next few years.

CSIRO photovoltaic expert Dr Fiona Scholes explained the team hoped they could achieve a similar power delivery at a significantly reduced cost.

“Silicon is falling in price, but think about how cheap plastic is. The ink is a negligible cost, so the raw materials are very cost effective. This is a big step forward because you can put these cells anywhere you can think of. Also the consistency is better than silicon – they work well in cloudy conditions,” said Dr Scholes.

The CSIRO’s Scholes said although silicon cells are still on top of the market, she predicts printed solar cells will be “a key part of the renewable energy mix”. While the team can’t produce the cells commercially itself, a number of manufacturing companies are stepping forward.

HOW ARE PRINTABLE SOLAR CELLS MADE?

At the moment, printable solar cells are made by printing a specially developed ‘solar ink’ onto plastic film, similar to the way plastic bank notes are printed.

Whatever the method or the materials used, the solar principles remain the same:

Incoming photons free electrons and send them scattering through the solar cell’s material before being channelled into an electrical circuit.
The efficiency of the solar cell depends both on how well the material captures light to set these electrons free, as well as how effortlessly the electrons travel through the material.

Researchers such as the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium are developing processes for printing solar cells onto all manner of surfaces using various printing, dyeing and spraying techniques. The solar cells can be printed straight onto paper-thin, flexible plastic, as well as onto steel, and can be made semi-transparent for building cladding and windows.


Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
135. CaneFreeCR
1:40 PM GMT on February 25, 2017
Quoting 134. BaltimoreBrian:

In the year 2525

Sea level rise will be 2,525 cm

CO2 will be 2525 ppm

And the world population will be 2525 cubed.
Carve it in stone and set it up somewhere it won't wash away. But. Somehow I doubt that last number, unless you include the population of all vertebrates. I suspect the human population will be less than the square of the number, under the living conditions that will prevail.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
134. BaltimoreBrian
12:54 AM GMT on February 25, 2017
In the year 2525

Sea level rise will be 2,525 cm

CO2 will be 2525 ppm

And the world population will be 2525 cubed.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
133. Pipejazz
5:31 PM GMT on February 24, 2017
Link From the Harvard Chan School Public Health
Impact of climate change on health. Also links to articles and a webcast of the meeting included in this summary.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
132. Patrap
4:13 PM GMT on February 24, 2017


Emails reveal Pruitt's behind-the-scenes collaboration with oil and natural gas giant
Rene Marsh-Profile-Image
By Jeremy Diamond and Rene Marsh, CNN
Updated 4:50 AM ET, Thu February 23, 2017
Scott Pruitt tries to soothe worries at EPA



A letter signed by Pruitt was nearly identical to one sent by a Devon Energy lobbyist
More than 7,500 pages of emails shed light on Pruitt's relationship with the energy company.

(CNN)In June 2013, a top lobbyist at Devon Energy, an Oklahoma-based oil and natural gas giant, sent one of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's top officials a draft letter objecting to recently proposed federal regulations on fracking.

Two months later, Pruitt, who is now the head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Donald Trump, signed a nearly identical version of that letter and sent it to then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. The only difference was the addition of the attorney general's official letterhead and a paragraph citing additional legal precedent to back up the letter's arguments against federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, one of the main ways Devon Energy pumps out oil and natural gas.

The episode was just one of several examples that highlighted the relationship Pruitt and his top aides maintained with Devon Energy and the oil and gas industry during his time as Oklahoma attorney general. This raises fresh questions about how Pruitt will conduct himself at the EPA, which is charged with regulating that industry.

More than 7,500 pages of emails from the Oklahoma attorney general's office obtained and released by the Center for Media and Democracy through an open records request shed light on Pruitt's relationship with Devon Energy, including allowing the energy giant's top lobbyists to draft and edit letters sent to top federal officials on behalf of Pruitt and other state attorneys general.
A CNN request for comment from the White House was not immediately returned.

An EPA spokesman said the agency would not be commenting.
"That's an Oklahoma issue and we are going to remain focused on the environment and environmental issues," EPA spokesman Doug Ericksen said.
CNN has also reached out for comment to the four state attorney generals who co-signed the August 2013 letter to ask if they were aware the letter had been drafted by Devon Energy officials.

More than 7,500 pages of emails from the Oklahoma attorney general's office obtained and released by the Center for Media and Democracy through an Open Records Act shed light on Pruitt's relationship with Devon Energy, including allowing the energy giant's top lobbyists to draft and edit letters sent on Pruitt and other state attorney generals' behalf to top federal officials.
The newly released emails confirm years of cushy ties between Pruitt and Devon Energy dating back to at least October 2011, when Pruitt also signed a letter quietly drafted by Devon Energy officials and sent it to the head of the EPA. That exchange was first reported by The New York Times in December 2014.

That type of exchange took place multiple times in years to come, according to the released emails.
A month before one of Devon Energy's top lobbyists sent the draft letter on fracking to Pruitt's deputy solicitor general Clayton Eubanks, Eubanks gave Devon Energy officials the opportunity to edit a separate letter addressed to the EPA -- this time about the regulation of methane emissions, a dangerous pollutant.

"Attached is the final draft of the methane letter to EPA regarding the 7 NE States NOI to sue over the regulation of methane emissions. We have received good support on this and I would like to get the letter out in the morning. I thought we should insert a sentence or two regarding the recent EPA report indicating their initial estimates on methane emissions for two categories were too high," Eubanks wrote in a May 2013 email to Bill Whitsitt, Devon's executive vice president of public affairs. "Any suggestions?"
Less than three hours later, Whitsitt replied with proposed additions to the letter from him and his team.
The next day, Pruitt sent the letter that included Whitsitt's changes, word-for-word.


At the time, Devon Energy had been leading the fight against the EPA's system of measuring methane emissions.
"There's no mention of Pruitt questioning anything they (the energy industry) are doing or saying. This is a direct cut and paste type relationship," said Liz Perera, the Sierra Club's climate policy director, who said the emails make clear Pruitt "not only has a good relationship [with the] fossil fuel industry but he's dependent on them to provide research and talking points."
Perera said she was especially struck by the absence of any mention of the earthquakes occurring in Oklahoma at the time, which scientists believed to be tied to fracking activity in the state.
"Pruitt never expressed concern about the increased number of earthquakes believed to be linked to the fracking activity in Oklahoma. He never mentioned launching an investigation into the earthquakes," Perera said.

Hundreds of other emails showed regular contact between Pruitt's top aides and Devon Energy's lobbyists and public affairs executives, including frequent phone calls and in-person meetings between those officials -- as well as meetings between Pruitt and Whitsitt.
Whitsitt also sent along talking points and other draft letters to Pruitt's office in 2013 following "conversations with Attorney General Pruitt."
CNN could not immediately confirm whether Pruitt officially used those letters and talking points as well.
The emails also showed that Pruitt was close with other groups beyond Devon Energy.

In a May 2013 email, Pruitt's executive assistant emailed Richard Moskowitz, the general counsel of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers association, after "General Pruitt asked that I email you" to put Moskowitz in touch with Eubanks, Oklahoma's deputy solicitor general.
"Thank you again for the information you provided during General Pruitt's visit and please do not hesitate to contact me if there is anything else we can do for you," Pruitt's assistant wrote in the email.

Some conservative groups are defending Pruitt's close relationship with the industry. "Despite hyperventilating from fringe groups on the left, these emails show that Scott Pruitt was a dutiful and responsible Attorney General who fought daily on behalf of the people that elected him," Jeremy Adler of America Rising Squared told CNN. "There was no new information in these emails to support the left's anti-Pruitt fever dreams, instead they showed that he behaved like any accomplished public servant, working with key industries in his state to help his constituents."
CNN's Amanda Watts and Curt Devine contributed to this report.




Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
130. Xandra
11:35 AM GMT on February 23, 2017
From YES! Magazine:

The Student-Built Website That Keeps Government Climate Data Safe

Since Trump’s election, scientists have been scrambling to save climate change data sets. And one Michigan graduate student thought the more copies, the better.


Photo courtesy of United States Environmental Protection Agency / Flickr.

It wasn’t long after President Trump took office that chaos took hold at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Throughout his campaign, Trump had promised to get rid of the agency, leaving just “little tidbits left.” He wasted little time.

[...]

Many scientists didn’t wait to find out what was up, what was down, or what was going which way. At risk was years of data on greenhouse gas emissions, temperature trends, sea level rise, and shrinking sea ice—data essential to our understanding of the enormous environmental shifts our planet is undergoing. Worldwide, they scrambled to capture the information from the websites of the EPA, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the United States Geological Survey. Hackathons were organized to download the data to university servers and sites like DataRefuge and the Internet Archive for the fear that Scott Pruitt would be confirmed as head of the EPA; he was confirmed by the Senate on Friday.

Even outside of scientific circles, concerned citizens recognized a need to act. When John Rozsa, a graduate student in technology studies at Eastern Michigan University, heard about these efforts, he thought the more copies, the better. So, between classes and his full-time job, he began to download the pre-Trump version of the EPA website—28,000 files and counting.

[...]

Now he’s uploading the files to a website he calls EPA Data Dump. It’s very simplistic, he said, “due to the fact that less than one week ago the website was just a small project of mine.” The website is not quite ready for prime time—it’s still under construction—but already it’s getting a lot of attention.

EPA Data Dump has seen over 200,000 users to date, so much traffic that its server nearly crashed. Rozsa had to start a modest online fundraiser to pay for a dedicated server, more bandwidth, and increased security. The site will soon include a search engine, he said, but first the files must be organized by librarians and other volunteers.

[...]

“Any climate data that has been collected and published by government scientists, or as a result of government-funded or government-sponsored research, belongs in the public domain,” said Michael Mann, professor and director of the Pennsylvania State University Earth System Science Center and lead-author of the now-famous “hockey stick graph” of rising global average temperatures.

“The public has a right to know that it is safe and that it will be preserved for posterity, despite the fluctuations in the prevailing political winds,” he said. “The fact that scientists are fearful that climate data inconvenient to the vested interests that have funded President Trump and congressional republicans will be scrubbed from government websites is a testament to the truly chilling nature of the fossil fuel industry-funded assault on climate science.”

Click here to read full article.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
129. EmsiNasklug
10:52 AM GMT on February 23, 2017
Quoting 55. Xandra:

Paul Beckwith:
‏@PaulHBeckwith

Even the dictionary knows...Webster's Unabridged 1983...




Encyclopedia Germanica (transcript):
Trump-et
Noisy instrument with a goldish gloss.
All that comes out is moist air.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
127. Xandra
10:34 PM GMT on February 22, 2017
Eric Holthaus: "A brave EPA employee securely contacted me with a heartfelt message for all Americans."

From Mother Jones:

"We Will Never Stop": An EPA Employee Blasts the Trump Administration

“What type of nation are we?"


Greenpeace activists unfurl a banner protesting the Trump administration. Ken Cedeno/ZUMA

[...]

Shortly after the inauguration, a career EPA employee contacted me through a secure chat program and began to express profound concern over the threat now posed to their life's work. What follows is a heartfelt essay that this official—who requested anonymity out of fear of retribution by the administration—wrote shortly after Pruitt's confirmation last week:

[...]

What type of nation are we when we allow our leaders to sign into law a rule that makes it EASIER for mining companies to pollute local waterways? These same politicians will try to convince their voters that making it easier to pollute local streams is somehow good for them. Communities in West Virginia, Indiana, and Alabama with sky-high rates of cancer due to industry pollution shouldn't be presented with the false choice of accepting even more poison in their local environment or having a job. No one should be told that they have to put up with cancer-causing poison in their water, air, and land. It's shameful, and it's wrong.

[...]

2015 was the deadliest year on record for people working to defend and protect the environment. Let that sink in. One hundred and eighty-five human beings were killed around the world (more than three for every week of 2015) because they dedicated their lives to protecting human health from pollution and preserving the beautiful planet we all cherish. The same year, the Environmental Protection Agency welcomed Berta Cáceres, along with the other winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize, to honor them for being global leaders in defense of human rights and environmental protection. Less than one year later, Ms. Caceres would be murdered in her home in Honduras because she was brave enough to challenge mining and dam-building corporations. She defended human rights and the environment, and her life was taken because of it.

Here in the US, those of us who work to protect the environment and human health from corporate pollution are lucky enough that we do not live under the specter of murder. We are, however, acutely aware that the forces behind these heinous crimes against environmental activists abroad are the same forces that are working against us in the US today. And make no mistake: These forces are poised to grow even stronger.

If it is discovered in the next few weeks that the EPA Administrator does in fact have even closer ties to polluting corporate interests than we feared, what will the public do? Will the capture of EPA by corporate interests be swept up in all the other horrifying news of the day or week? Or will the public finally decide that it is not acceptable to allow EPA, the only agency with a mission dedicated to protecting the environment, to be systematically dismantled, allowing those at the top to further concentrate wealth and power among themselves? Despite the long odds we face, we will never stop working to protect every person's right to have a healthy place to live, work, and play. And if the new administrator casts me out of the job I love, I will not stop working toward the principles that have always animated my life. This is who I am, and that will never change. I stand in solidarity with brothers and sisters that work to protect human rights, human health, and the environment here in the US and all over the world. The struggle continues.

[...]

Click here to read full article.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
126. Xandra
5:07 PM GMT on February 22, 2017
From The New York Times:

The Pruitt Emails: E.P.A. Chief Was Arm in Arm With Industry


Scott Pruitt, administrator of the E.P.A., at the agency’s headquarters in Washington on Tuesday. Credit Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — During his tenure as attorney general of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt, now the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, closely coordinated with major oil and gas producers, electric utilities and political groups with ties to the libertarian billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch to roll back environmental regulations, according to over 6,000 pages of emails made public on Wednesday.

The publication of the correspondence comes just days after Mr. Pruitt was sworn in to run the E.P.A., which is charged with reining in pollution and regulating public health.

“Thank you to your respective bosses and all they are doing to push back against President Obama’s EPA and its axis with liberal environmental groups to increase energy costs for Oklahomans and American families across the states,” said one email sent to Mr. Pruitt and an Oklahoma congressman in August 2013 by Matt Ball, an executive at Americans for Prosperity. That nonprofit group is funded in part by the Kochs, the Kansas business executives who spent much of the last decade combating federal regulations, particularly in the energy sector. “You both work for true champions of freedom and liberty!” the note said.

[...]

An Oklahoma judge ordered the release of the emails in response to a lawsuit by the Center for Media and Democracy, a liberal watchdog group. Many of the emails are copies of documents previously provided in 2014 to The New York Times, which examined Mr. Pruitt’s interaction with energy industry players that his office also helps regulate.

The companies provided him draft letters to send to federal regulators in an attempt to block federal regulations intended to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas wells, ozone air pollution, and chemicals used in fracking, the email correspondence shows.

They held secret meetings to discuss more comprehensive ways to combat the Obama administration’s environmental agenda, and the companies and organizations they funded repeatedly praised Mr. Pruitt and his staff for the assistance he provided in their campaign.

The correspondence points to the tension emerging as Mr. Pruitt is now charged with regulating many of the same companies with which he coordinated closely in his previous position. As attorney general of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt took part in 14 lawsuits against major E.P.A. environmental rules, often in coordination with energy companies such as Devon Energy, an Oklahoma oil and gas producer, and American Electric Power, an Ohio-based electric utility.

Click here to read full article.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
125. BaltimoreBrian
9:58 PM GMT on February 21, 2017
Followup: Scott Pruitt treads softly, but signals big changes at EPA
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
123. 999Ai2016
6:25 PM GMT on February 21, 2017


New footage shows crack in Larsen C Ice Shelf
British Antarctic Survey - Feb 21.

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) recently captured this video footage of a huge crack in the Larsen C Ice Shelf, on the Antarctic Peninsula. Currently a huge iceberg (...) looks set to break off Larsen C Ice Shelf, which is more than twice the size of Wales. Satellite observations from February 2017 show the growing crack in the ice shelf which suggests that an iceberg with an area of more than 5,000 km2 is likely to calve soon.

(...) The largest icebergs known have all calved from ice shelves. In 1956, a huge iceberg of roughly 32,000 km2 - bigger than Belgium - was spotted in the Ross Sea by a US Navy icebreaker. However, since there were no satellites in orbit at this point, its exact size was not verified. In 1986, a section of the Filchner ice shelf roughly the size of Wales calved - but this iceberg broke into three pieces almost immediately. The largest iceberg recorded by satellites calved from the Ross ice shelf in 2001, and was roughly the size of Jamaica at 11,000 km2. (...)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
122. 999Ai2016
5:43 AM GMT on February 21, 2017
Warming ponds could accelerate climate change
Phys.org - Feb. 20.

"This accelerating effect in ponds, which could have serious impacts on climate change, is not currently accounted for in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change models."
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
121. Patrap
5:50 PM GMT on February 20, 2017



--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
120. Some1Has2BtheRookie
5:02 PM GMT on February 20, 2017
Quoting 112. Misogynist:

In 2004 there was a massive attack on those who would oppose embryonic stem cell research. Scientists and physicians involved in research were all over the news promoting this research as a cure all. Those opposed to it were morally offended by this research. With many of the same celebrities who advocate climate change today, advocating embryonic stem cell research then. The same scientists who said we would be out of oil by now. Same scientists who said we were running out landfills for our trash. If climate change is the threat it is reported to be, then there should be no problem in getting an agreement similar to the Montreal Protocol. We are kind of lucky that we didn't have the industrial revolution 15,000 years ago, the same arguments would be made to keep us in the ice age. It hasn't been this hot in 20,000 years.


The Montreal Protocol was implemented with far less evidence of the problems that particulates were causing us than there is evidence that our release of greenhouse gases are causing us. There was far less push back on the reduction of particulates than there was, and still is, on the reduction of greenhouse gases. One likely reason for this is that we cannot "see" the greenhouse gases whereas, in many cases, we could see the particulates and the impacts that they were causing. Another reason would be is that particulates could be reduced with readily available substitutes of products being used and scrubber technologies. This is not so much the case for the reduction of greenhouse when one cannot actually see the greenhouse gases and their impacts are not as easily detected, even if their impacts will be far more enduring and problematic than the particulates would be.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
119. BaltimoreBrian
6:57 AM GMT on February 20, 2017
Jesse Watters Treks Through the Snow to Ask, 'Who Is Responsible for Global Warming?' (video) Caution--watching this will slaughter your brain cells.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
118. 999Ai2016
1:42 AM GMT on February 20, 2017
In the Sierras, New Approaches to Protecting Forests Under Stress
Yale Environment 360 - Feb. 13.

In California's Sierras and around the world, extreme drought and rising temperatures are killing trees and threatening the viability of forests. Some ecologists are saying that land managers now need to adopt radically new strategies. (...)



California Forests Failing to Regrow After Intense Wildfires
Inside Climate News - December 2016.

(...) Alistair Jump, a forest ecologist in the U.K. who has studied forests on three continents, said recent forest die-offs around the world should be seen as part of a global forest crisis. The massive changes aren't just a symptom of climate change -- they could drive changes in the global carbon cycle that would speed the buildup of heat-trapping pollution. (...)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
117. LowerCal
8:48 PM GMT on February 19, 2017
Quoting 115. Xandra:

From the Huffington Post:

GOP Wants NASA To Stop Worrying About Earth And Focus On Space

There are talks of “rebalancing” the agency’s mission as it continues to tweet about climate change.

NASA continues to steadfastly tweet urgent climate change information despite a critical president and GOP efforts to force the agency to stick to space and forget the Earth.

The Trump administration aims to largely restrict NASA’s focus to its space missions and have it abandon climate change research, which is a part of its Earth Sciences Division. The division, which accounts for just $2 billion of NASA’s $20 billion budget, also includes gathering weather information, which the Republicans don’t want to drop.

At a House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing last Thursday, Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said he wants a “rebalancing” of NASA’s mission to allow other agencies to take over its climate change research. But it’s unclear which agencies could pick up the slack.

The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, climate-change sceptic Scott Pruitt, has vowed to cut the EPA’s budget and staff in the wake of Trump’s campaign promise to “get rid” of the agency, The New York Times noted. The EPA has also been under orders from the Trump administration to refrain from tweeting anything about climate change.

Meanwhile, NASA posts daily climate change updates on @NASAclimate and Facebook with frequent dire warnings about rapid global changes.

Click here to read more.


Of course planetary science wouldn't apply to the only planet we know of that supports human life. :^\
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
116. LowerCal
8:43 PM GMT on February 19, 2017
Re. 112:

When one expends the effort to name sources and furnish their exact statements one can be more persuasive. However sometimes one does not find what one expected and then one can adjust one's opinions to agree with reality. Just sayin'. ;^)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
115. Xandra
6:44 PM GMT on February 19, 2017
From the Huffington Post:

GOP Wants NASA To Stop Worrying About Earth And Focus On Space

There are talks of “rebalancing” the agency’s mission as it continues to tweet about climate change.

NASA continues to steadfastly tweet urgent climate change information despite a critical president and GOP efforts to force the agency to stick to space and forget the Earth.

The Trump administration aims to largely restrict NASA’s focus to its space missions and have it abandon climate change research, which is a part of its Earth Sciences Division. The division, which accounts for just $2 billion of NASA’s $20 billion budget, also includes gathering weather information, which the Republicans don’t want to drop.

At a House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing last Thursday, Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said he wants a “rebalancing” of NASA’s mission to allow other agencies to take over its climate change research. But it’s unclear which agencies could pick up the slack.

The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, climate-change sceptic Scott Pruitt, has vowed to cut the EPA’s budget and staff in the wake of Trump’s campaign promise to “get rid” of the agency, The New York Times noted. The EPA has also been under orders from the Trump administration to refrain from tweeting anything about climate change.

Meanwhile, NASA posts daily climate change updates on @NASAclimate and Facebook with frequent dire warnings about rapid global changes.

Click here to read more.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
114. Xandra
4:30 PM GMT on February 19, 2017
From the Guardian:

Australia’s new normal … as city temperatures hit 47C people shelter from the deadly heat

In Sydney’s baking suburbs, fans have sold out – and fears about the effects of climate change are mounting

Nahid is resting on a bench outside a Target clothing store, her groceries beside her. A cheery, middle-aged woman with a soft Egyptian accent, she is eating a cone of bubblegum ice-cream as though it contains the secret of life. When I ask her if she’s enjoying her ice-cream, it takes her 30 seconds to stop laughing.

“On the weekend I was sick! Sick from the heat! It was like a virus,” she exclaims. “My nephew, he was throwing up from the heat! He couldn’t even take water, he was so sick.

“They say it’s going to be this bad in March too! Normally it is a little cooler in March, but this year…” Nahid shakes her head sorrowfully.

Australians are no strangers to hot weather. But for the past week large parts of the continent have suffered a heatwave of unusual length and intensity. Temperature records were beaten in cities and rural towns around the country. Shops across Sydney ran out of fans, and New South Wales energy minister Don Harwin urged people to beat the heat by going to the movies. More than 40,000 homes in South Australia experienced blackouts as electricity networks struggled to cope with the increased demand placed on the grid by air conditioners.

[...]

The heatwave is officially over, but the reality of Australian summers getting hotter is much more serious and far-reaching than a few more hot days each year. Almost every Australian capital city experienced higher-than-average temperatures in January; in Sydney and Brisbane, it was the hottest month on record. That scorching January came after 2016 was the country’s fourth-hottest year on record – a year that, in turn, followed on from 2013, the hottest year the country has ever recorded.

[...]

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that the Australian government’s response to this steadily unfolding public health and safety crisis would include some acknowledgement of the elephant in the room – climate change. That’s certainly the opinion of the Bureau of Meteorology, which warned in its state of the climate report, published in late 2016, that “the duration, frequency and intensity of extreme heat events have increased across large parts of Australia”, and that “Australian temperatures are projected to continue increasing”.

“There’s a clear trend where those extreme hot days across the continent are increasing, and quite dramatically over the past 20 years,” Braganza says. “Regarding fire weather – which includes things like wind speed, humidity, the drought factor – we’ve seen a shift in most of Australia’s fire-prone regions towards a longer fire season and an increase in the frequency and extremity of fire events, as well as fire danger days.”

But the country’s current administration, headed by the conservative Liberal Party and the rural-based National Party, is deeply hostile to any substantive action on climate change, and the recent heat has seemingly done little to change their minds.

[...]

Click here to read full article.
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113. Xandra
4:22 PM GMT on February 19, 2017
New important study describes how warming is already causing sizable reductions in Colorado River flow.

The 21st century Colorado River hot drought and implications for the future

Bradley Udall, Jonathan Overpeck

Accepted manuscript online: 17 February 2017

DOI: 10.1002/2016WR019638

Abstract

Between 2000 and 2014, annual Colorado River flows averaged 19% below the 1906-1999 average, the worst 15-year drought on record. At least one-sixth to one-half (average at one-third) of this loss is due to unprecedented temperatures (0.9°C above the 1906-99 average), confirming model-based analysis that continued warming will likely further reduce flows. Whereas it is virtually certain that warming will continue with additional emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, there has been no observed trend towards greater precipitation in the Colorado Basin, nor are climate models in agreement that there should be a trend. Moreover, there is a significant risk of decadal and multidecadal drought in the coming century, indicating that any increase in mean precipitation will likely be offset during periods of prolonged drought. Recently published estimates of Colorado River flow sensitivity to temperature combined with a large number of recent climate model-based temperature projections indicate that continued business-as-usual warming will drive temperature-induced declines in river flow, conservatively -20% by mid-century and -35% by end–century, with support for losses exceeding -30% at mid-century and -55% at end-century. Precipitation increases may moderate these declines somewhat, but to date no such increases are evident and there is no model agreement on future precipitation changes. These results, combined with the increasing likelihood of prolonged drought in the river basin, suggest that future climate change impacts on the Colorado River flows will be much more serious than currently assumed, especially if substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions do not occur. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


More information: Climate change is already sapping the Colorado River

A warming climate is already reducing the flow in the Colorado River, and the future risk is large, with a worst case of the river’s flow being cut in half by the end of the century, according to a new study from a pair of the region’s leading researchers.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
112. Misogynist
10:51 AM GMT on February 19, 2017
In 2004 there was a massive attack on those who would oppose embryonic stem cell research. Scientists and physicians involved in research were all over the news promoting this research as a cure all. Those opposed to it were morally offended by this research. With many of the same celebrities who advocate climate change today, advocating embryonic stem cell research then. The same scientists who said we would be out of oil by now. Same scientists who said we were running out landfills for our trash. If climate change is the threat it is reported to be, then there should be no problem in getting an agreement similar to the Montreal Protocol. We are kind of lucky that we didn't have the industrial revolution 15,000 years ago, the same arguments would be made to keep us in the ice age. It hasn't been this hot in 20,000 years.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
110. Xandra
6:13 PM GMT on February 18, 2017
From the Huffington Post:

Here’s What We Learned From Friday’s #DayofFacts

Libraries and museums reminded the world of the better alternative to “alternative.”



Museums and libraries are typically nonpartisan institutions, but even they can’t stay quiet in this political climate and amid the “fake news” buzz. On Friday, they took to Twitter to stand up for something that’s become a puzzling political talking point: Facts.

Using the hashtag #DayofFacts, scientists, historians and even encyclopedias filled Twitter feeds with all the facts that no one ― not a POTUS nor political pundit ― could deny.

The movement was launched by two museum educators in Virginia and D.C., and more than 280 institutions participated, according to The Washington Post.

“We’re using facts to illustrate truth about the present moment,” Alli Hartley, one of the founders, told the Post.

Tweeted facts varied from the mind-blowing (Earth is 4.5 billion years old) to the poignant (over half of the world’s refugees are children). Most tweets seemed to address political topics: civil rights, climate change, borders and immigration, and the free press.

[...]

So, what do we get when a horde of researchers, scientists and history buffs tweet in the fight against “alternative facts”?

Turns out, a whole lot of truth bombs about our country, its history, its communities and the health of the planet we all call home.

[...]

Click here to read full article.

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109. Xandra
4:13 PM GMT on February 18, 2017
Congrats to Peter Sinclair, the founder of the ClimateCrocks.com website and producer of the Climate Denial Crock of the Week video series; and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication on a well deserved Friend of the Planet Award.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
108. Xandra
3:04 PM GMT on February 18, 2017
RE: #107

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
107. Xandra
2:20 PM GMT on February 18, 2017
Society of Pro Journ:
‏@spj_tweets

An attack on a free press by a sitting US president is a slap in the face to democracy, our country's founders and the American people.

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump

The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
106. Xandra
1:25 PM GMT on February 18, 2017
From ProPublica:

Child’s Play: Team Trump Rewrites a Department of Energy Website for Kids

Effort meant to inform younger generations about energy and the environment sees sentences reworked and pie charts eliminated.



Almost 20 years ago, the U.S. Energy Information Administration had an idea: Make an educational website for children about energy sources and the science behind them.

In short order, the EIA created “Energy Kids,” which now features energy-themed sudoku and crossword puzzles, colorful pie charts and a know-it-all mascot called Energy Ant. Images of a school bus parked between a coal plant and an oil rig adorn the bottom of the web page, along with drawings of wind turbines, solar panels and an energy-efficient lightbulb.

During the Obama administration, Energy Kids even won multiple international awards for its content and design, as well as one from a digital publishing company that hailed it as “the best of the best in open and engaging government.”

The Trump administration, it seems, wasn’t altogether impressed with the site or its awards. In recent weeks, language on the website describing the environmental impacts of energy sources has been reworked, and two pie charts concerning the link between coal and greenhouse gas emissions have been removed altogether.

On a page dedicated to coal, the following sentences were deleted: “In the United States, most of the coal consumed is used as a fuel to generate electricity. Burning coal produces emissions that adversely affect the environment and human health.”

The two pie charts that were axed showed that although coal generated only 42 percent of total U.S. electricity in 2014, it created 76 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions linked to electricity generation.

“Impact” seems to have been a word the new administration disliked in particular.

The sentence “Reuse and recycling can also reduce coal’s environmental impact” was changed to “Reuse and recycling can also reduce the environmental effects of coal production and use.” “Underground mines have less of an impact on the environment compared to surface mines” became “Underground mines generally have a lesser effect on the landscape compared to surface mines.” “Impacts of coal mining” was changed to “Effects of coal mining,” and “Reducing the environmental impacts of coal use” became “Reducing the environmental effects of coal use.”

In a section on oil, the sentence, “There are environmental concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing” became “Hydraulic fracturing has some effects on the environment.”

On a separate kids’ page for greenhouse gases, a paragraph detailing the U.S. share of global carbon dioxide emissions was also deleted:

“The United States, with 4 percent of the world’s population, produced about 17 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels in 2011, the most recent year for which global data are available. The United States has the world’s largest economy and meets 83 percent of its energy needs by burning fossil fuels.”

Another change involved shrinking a paragraph into footnote-sized font. The minimized text includes a description of methane as “a strong greenhouse gas” that results from coal mining. In the same paragraph, the sentence “Learn more about greenhouse gas emissions” — along with a link to the EIA’s page on “Where Greenhouse Gases Come From” — was deleted.

The changes on the website for kids were flagged by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, a group including scientists, lawyers and archivists that started tracking changes to federal websites and data after Trump’s election. ProPublica independently confirmed the timing and nature of the website changes by examining previous versions of the EIA website captured by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

Click here to read more.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
105. 999Ai2016
2:30 AM GMT on February 18, 2017
Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis
New York Times - Feb. 17.
(...) Much is being written about climate change and the impact of rising seas on waterfront populations. But coasts are not the only places affected. Mexico City - high in the mountains, in the center of the country - is a glaring example. The world has a lot invested in crowded capitals like this one, with vast numbers of people, huge economies and the stability of a hemisphere at risk. (...)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
104. 999Ai2016
8:47 PM GMT on February 17, 2017
Ancient cave reveals recent droughts in the Middle East were most severe for over a millennium
AGU Blogs - Feb. 16.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
103. 999Ai2016
6:22 PM GMT on February 17, 2017
Less snow and a shorter ski season in the Alps
Phys.org - Feb. 16.
After long-awaited snowfall in January, parts of the Alps are now covered with fresh powder and happy skiers. But the Swiss side of the iconic mountain range had the driest December since record-keeping began over 150 years ago, and 2016 was the third year in a row with scarce snow over the Christmas period. A study published today in The Cryosphere, a journal of the European Geosciences Union, shows bare Alpine slopes could be a much more common sight in the future. (...)

State of Alpine Glaciers in 2016 - Negative for 37th Consecutive Year
AGU Blogs - Feb. 2017.
(...) Much of Europe experienced record or near record warmth in 2016, thus contributing to the negative mass balance of glaciers on this continent. In the European Alps, annual mass balance has been reported for 12 glaciers from Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland. All had negative annual balances with a mean of -1050 mm w.e. This continues the pattern of substantial negative balances in the Alps and continues to lead to terminus retreat. In 2015, in Switzerland 99 glaciers were observed, 92 retreated, 3 were stable and 4 advanced. In 2015, Austria observed 93 glaciers; 89 retreated, 2 were stable and 2 advanced, the average retreat rate was 22 m. (...)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
102. Xandra
3:39 PM GMT on February 17, 2017
From Phys.org:

Climate change doubled the likelihood of the Australian heatwave


Maximum temperature anomalies across NSW on February 11, the peak of the heatwave. Credit: Bureau of Meteorology, Author provided

[...]

Since Christmas, much of eastern Australia has been in a flux of extreme temperatures. This increased frequency of heatwaves shows a strong trend in observations, which is set to continue as the human influence on the climate deepens.

It is all part of a rapid warming trend that over the past decade has seen new heat records in Australia outnumber new cold records by 12 to 1.

Let's be clear, this is not natural. Climate scientists have long been saying that we would feel the impacts of human-caused climate change in heat records first, before noticing the upward swing in average temperatures (although that is happening too). This heatwave is simply the latest example.

What's more, in just a few decades' time, summer conditions like these will be felt across the whole country regularly.

Attributing the heat

The useful thing scientifically about heatwaves is that we can estimate the role that climate change plays in these individual events. This is a relatively new field known as "event attribution", which has grown and improved significantly over the past decade.

Using the Weather@Home climate model, we looked at the role of human-induced climate change in this latest heatwave, as we have for other events before.

We compared the likelihood of such a heatwave in model simulations that factor in human greenhouse gas emissions, compared with simulations in which there is no such human influence. Since 2017 has only just begun, we used model runs representing 2014, which was similarly an El Niño-neutral year, while also experiencing similar levels of human influence on the climate.

Based on this analysis, we found that heatwaves at least as hot as this one are now twice as likely to occur. In the current climate, a heatwave of this severity and extent occurs, on average, once every 120 years, so is still quite rare. However, without human-induced climate change, this heatwave would only occur once every 240 years.

In other words, the waiting time for the recent east Australian heatwave has halved. As climate change worsens in the coming decades, the waiting time will reduce even further.

Our results show very clearly the influence of climate change on this heatwave event. They tell us that what we saw last weekend is a taste of what our future will bring, unless humans can rapidly and deeply cut our greenhouse emissions.

[...]

Click here to read full article.

See also: weather@home—development and validation of a very large ensemble modelling system for probabilistic event attribution
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
101. Xandra
12:36 PM GMT on February 17, 2017
From Live Science:

'The Blob' in Pacific Ocean Linked to Spike in Ozone


The "warm blob," seen in April 2015, squished up against the West Coast. The scale bar is in degrees Celsius (each increment is 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit). Credit: NOAA National Climate Data Center

A warm blob of water lurking in the Pacific Ocean in 2014 and 2015 led to a spike in ozone levels across the western U.S., new research suggests.

[...]

The "blob" ― as meteorologists affectionately called the mass of warm water ― occurred from the winter of 2014 through the summer of 2015, when high sea-surface temperatures prevailed in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. The warmer waters — about 2 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 4 degrees Celsius) higher than average for the region — spanned from the coast of Sitka, Alaska, to Santa Barbara, California, and came with a high-pressure system in the atmosphere that led to low wind speeds, fewer storms and sunnier skies.

The warm blob scrambled the food chain and brought a host of strange ecological effects: The toastier waters fueled some of the worst-ever toxic red tide algal blooms, and marine mammals died in droves as they struggled to find enough food in normally cold, food-rich waters, Jaffe said.

[...]

"When you looked at where the highest temperatures were and the unusual highest ozone levels were, you see an unusually good match," Jaffe told Live Science.

That made the team suspect the blob may have fueled the ozone levels. Ozone forms when hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, which are emitted as pollutants from cars, undergo a complicated chemical reaction with sunlight in the atmosphere. Both sunlight and high temperatures fuel faster ozone-formation, whereas the wind blows away the basic building-block pollutants, making it harder to form ozone, Jaffe said.

[...]

The new findings suggest the blob directly led to dangerous levels of ozone across the western U.S.

What's not known, however, is whether climate change will lead to more of these blobby weather patterns.

"We know it's getting warmer, and the question becomes how will ozone change in the future?" Jaffe said.

Click here to read full article
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
100. Daisyworld
5:01 AM GMT on February 17, 2017
NASA Satellite Spots Mile-Long Iceberg Breaking Off of Antarctic Glacier

Kacey Deamer | LiveScience | February 16, 2017


Photo Credits: NASA Earth Observatory

A massive, 1-mile-long (1.6 kilometers) chunk of ice has broken off Antarctica's fast-changing Pine Island Glacier, and NASA satellites captured the dramatic event as the icy surface cracked and ripped apart.

The Pine Island Glacier is one of the largest glaciers within the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, accounting for about 20 percent of the ice sheet's total ice flow to the ocean, according to NASA scientists. The immense glacier is also one of the least stable, and in recent years, the ice sheet has been quickly retreating and losing massive amounts of ice. Previously, icebergs the size of cities have broken off of the Pine Island Glacier.

The glacier's last major iceberg break — an event known as calving — was in July 2015, when an iceberg measuring almost 225 square miles (580 square kilometers) separated from Pine Island Glacier.

The Earth-watching Landsat 8 satellite captured images of the latest iceberg event between Jan. 25 and 29, seeing the progression from the initial crack to the iceberg floating into the bay. Though this latest iceberg is about 10 times smaller than the 2015 event, measuring between 0.6 and 1.2 miles (1 to 2 km), NASA scientists said the recent break shows how fragile the ice shelf is.

"I think this event is the calving equivalent of an 'aftershock' following the much bigger event," Ian Howat, a glaciologist at The Ohio State University, said in a statement. "Apparently, there are weaknesses in the ice shelf — just inland of the rift that caused the 2015 calving — that are resulting in these smaller breaks."

More icebergs may break off of the Pine Island Glacier in the near future. NASA has previously photographed small rifts developing about 6 miles (10 km) from the ice front, and one such rift was observed on Nov. 4, 2016, during one of the agency's Operation IceBridge flights to monitor the region.

Climate change and the warming ocean have been linked to the the retreat and melt of the world's ice. According to Howat, such "rapid fire" calving is generally unusual for the glacier, but West Antarctic glaciers are eroding due to the flow of warm ocean water beneath them. A recent study found that the warming ocean was melting an ice crevasse of the Pine Island Glacier at the bedrock level, melting the glacier from its center.

These warmer ocean waters are causing the Antarctic ice shelf to break from the inside out. As such, scientists expect further calving along the glacier and have warned that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could collapse within the next 100 years.

Original article on Live Science. Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
99. Xandra
10:44 PM GMT on February 16, 2017
From InsideClimate News:

EPA Official, After Years of Work to Thwart the Agency's Mission, Returns to Carry Out Trump Agenda

A key member of Donald Trump's transition team, David Schnare returns to the agency where he worked for 33 years, while also striving to hamstring some of its work.


David Schnare in a Fox News appearance about the EPA

David Schnare's career with the Environmental Protection Agency began in the agency's infancy in 1978 with the critical mission of implementing the new Safe Drinking Water Act. Over the next 33 years, he would call the EPA home as an enforcement lawyer and policy analyst, while also working in his outside time to try to undermine some of the agency's pressing priorities.

During his tenure at the EPA, Schnare simultaneously directed a conservative think tank's environmental program that opposed regulation as a pollution remedy. He testified to Congress that carbon regulations do greater harm to the environment than carbon dioxide. He also co-founded a legal organization funded partly by fossil fuel interests, and through that group launched an effort to make public climate scientists' private emails to call their work into question.

Now in his late 60s, Schnare returns to the EPA in a far more powerful role: reshaping it under another foe of regulation, President Donald Trump. He is one of 11 appointees to the agency's beachhead team that is beginning to implement the administration's agenda, which Trump has promised will include a rollback of environmental regulations. Schnare said he's been asked to stay on full-time beyond the transition. That's a chilling prospect for environmental and climate activists, who worry his history of aggressive campaigns against scientists and fossil fuel regulation mean he will work against the agency's mission.

"The bottom line is he has been a virulent EPA critic who has worked to block health protections saving many tens of thousands of lives a year," said John Walke, director of the clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Click here to read more.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
98. BaltimoreBrian
7:01 PM GMT on February 16, 2017
Global warming already surrendering to new administration! After failures of 2014-2016! World temperatures are dropping! Great!

2,500 cm of sea level rise by 2500 CE. Gonna make it happen. It's gonna be great.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
97. Xandra
5:18 PM GMT on February 16, 2017
From InsideClimate News:

Scientists' Group Launches Website to Help Federal Whistleblowers

Fearing an assault on science from the Trump administration, the Union of Concerned Scientists is creating a way for federal scientists to report abuses.


Many scientists, led by those doing climate work, have expressed concern about the Trump administration's actions and the future of federal science. Credit: Wikimedia

Many of President Donald Trump's words and actions have federal scientists worried their work will be politicized or suppressed. Now, one advocacy group is responding with a step-by-step guide for scientists to securely share information about any foul play.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, whose mission is to protect scientific integrity, has created a webpage for federal scientists to report abuses, with instructions on how to avoid detection or hacking.

Trump has called climate change a hoax, and one of his administration's first moves was to remove pages from the White House and State Department websites that referred to the issue. The Trump administration has sent memos and directives to agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service, that some employees reportedly interpreted as gag orders, though some of the directives were later reversed or disavowed.

"There have been a number of actions either proposed or taken by the transition team and the administration that make science more vulnerable to political interference," said Michael Halpern, deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He said many of Trump's nominees are opposed to the missions of the agencies they would oversee. "When you have hostile agency appointees, science becomes more vulnerable to political influence. So I think all these conditions taken together make it more important for federal employees to report what they see."

[...]

UCS's new webpage encourages federal employees to "share any evidence of actions that impede the ability of science or scientists to protect public health and the environment," including memos, emails or "datasets or other information that has been altered or removed from public view."

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Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
96. Xandra
3:21 PM GMT on February 16, 2017
Ed Hawkins:
‏@ed_hawkins

Exactly 79 years ago today, an amateur meteorologist provided the first evidence that the globe was warming due to carbon dioxide emissions.

His name was Guy Stewart Callendar (@GuyCallendar) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Stewart_Callend ar



He had to do all the calculations by hand, without a computer, meticulously recording the observations in many notebooks like this one.



Tyndall & Arrhenius had earlier suggested that CO2 changes would alter the climate, but Callendar's study was first observational evidence.

Callendar's original 1938 study, with 'review comments' from esteemed meteorologists at the end, is available: http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/~ed/callendar_1938.p df

Callendar's global land temperature change estimates are remarkably similar to modern estimates for the same period https://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/2013/75-years- after-callendar/



Callendar highlighted some potential benefits of a warming planet: avoiding the deadly ice ages & increased crop growth at high latitudes.

But as the world warms, the negative consequences become clearer, eg. rising sea levels, melting ice, increasing heatwaves & heavy rainfall.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
95. Xandra
12:24 PM GMT on February 16, 2017
Quoting 92. ScottLincoln:


I think NASA GISTemp came out today too. Also one of the top 5 warmest Januarys.

Yes the third warmest january on record.

From NASA GISS:

January 2017 Was Third-Warmest January On Record



January 2017 was the third warmest January in 137 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

Last month's temperature was 0.20 degrees Celsius cooler than the warmest January in 2016. However, it was 0.92 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean January temperature from 1951-1980.

Two of the three top January temperature anomalies have been during the past two years. 2016 was the hottest on record, at 1.12 degrees Celsius warmer than the January mean temperature, followed by 2007 at 0.96 degrees Celsius warmer. January 2017 placed third.

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Data: https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/G LB.Ts+dSST.txt
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

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