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Related Scary Tags:
climate impacts  ~ anthropogenic change  ~ global warming  ~ drought  ~ food crisis  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  ~ water issues  ~ holyshit  ~ arctic meltdown  ~ faster than expected  ~ deniers  



Mon, Jul 13, 2015
from Vice, via DesdemonaDespair:
The Wettest Place in North America Is Burning
Vancouver Island is home to the wettest place in North America--and right now it's on fire. Drought has plunged the the Port Alberni-Clayoquot Region, part of Canada's only rainforest, into one of the worst dry seasons on record. Forest fires are spreading quickly through sun-scorched woods that, in the past, have received almost seven metres--or 22 feet--of precipitation per year. The fire, which has been burning since last Saturday on Dog Mountain near Sproat Lake, has reached over 245 hectares and is still spreading.... ...


I fear we're nowhere near Peak Irony.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jul 10, 2015
from Esquire:
Climatologists' Psyches: When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job
... I wanted to meet Box to find out how this outspoken American is holding up. He has left his country and moved his family to witness and study the melting of Greenland up close. How does being the one to look at the grim facts of climate change most intimately, day in and day out, affect a person? Is Box representative of all of the scientists most directly involved in this defining issue of the new century? How are they being affected by the burden of their chosen work in the face of changes to the earth that could render it a different planet?... Among climate activists, gloom is building. Jim Driscoll of the National Institute for Peer Support just finished a study of a group of longtime activists whose most frequently reported feeling was sadness, followed by fear and anger.... And many scientists now think we're on track to 4 or 5 degrees--even Shell oil said that it anticipates a world 4 degrees hotter because it doesn't see "governments taking the steps now that are consistent with the 2 degrees C scenario." That would mean a world racked by economic and social and environmental collapse. "Oh yeah," Schmidt says, almost casually. "The business-as-usual world that we project is really a totally different planet. There's going to be huge dislocations if that comes about." But things can change much quicker than people think, he says. Look at attitudes on gay marriage. And the glaciers? "The glaciers are going to melt, they're all going to melt," he says.... And the rising oceans? Bangladesh is almost underwater now. Do a hundred million people have to move? "Well, yeah. Under business as usual. But I don't think we're fucked." Resource wars, starvation, mass migrations . . . "Bad things are going to happen. What can you do as a person? You write stories. I do science. You don't run around saying, 'We're fucked! We're fucked! We're fucked!' It doesn't--it doesn't incentivize anybody to do anything." ...


"We're fucked" just isn't scientific.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 7, 2015
from Denver Post:
Thousands of birds abandon eggs and nests on Florida island
The din created by thousands of nesting birds is usually the first thing you notice about Seahorse Key, a 150-acre mangrove-covered dune off Florida's Gulf Coast. But in May, the key fell eerily quiet all at once. Thousands of little blue herons, roseate spoonbills, snowy egrets, pelicans and other chattering birds were gone. Nests sat empty in trees; eggs broken and scattered on the muddy ground. "It's a dead zone now," said Vic Doig, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist. "This is where the largest bird colony on the Gulf Coast of Florida used to be."... First, they tested left-behind bird carcasses for disease or contaminants. Those tests came back negative. Next, they researched possible new predators. Did raccoons swim over from another island? Perhaps some great horned owls flew out at night and started feasting? Traps caught a few raccoons, which is common, but not enough to have created a wholesale abandonment. There were no telltale signs of owls.... ...


It must be the canaries, abandoning ship.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 29, 2015
from InsideClimate News:
Most Extreme Weather Has Climate Change Link, Study Says
In the wake of major hurricanes, floods and heat waves, scientists are quick to say that no single weather event can be attributed to climate change until careful analysis draws that conclusion. Now, a new study argues that thinking is backwards, that all extreme weather has a link to climate change... Trenberth's paper instead suggests focusing on thermodynamic changes caused by global warming, such as increased sea surface temperatures, humidity and sea level rise. ... "Because global warming is real and present, it is not a question as to whether it is playing a role, but what that role is," the authors wrote. ...


So the sky has fallen, after all.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, May 18, 2015
from PhysOrg:
Ocean currents disturb methane-eating bacteria
Offshore the Svalbard archipelago, methane gas is seeping out of the seabed at the depths of several hundred meters. These cold seeps are a home to communities of microorganisms that survive in a chemosynthetic environment - where the fuel for life is not the sun, but the carbon rich greenhouse gas.... There is a large, and relatively poorly understood, community of methane-consuming bacteria in this environment. They gorge on the gas, control its concentration in the ocean, and stop it from reaching the ocean surface and released into the atmosphere.... "We were able to show that strength and variability of ocean currents control the prevalence of methanotrophic bacteria", says Lea Steinle from University of Basel and the lead author of the study, "therefore, large bacteria populations cannot develop in a strong current, which consequently leads to less methane consumption." ...


Bubble, bubble, roil and trouble, microbes fail and methanes double.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Mar 26, 2015
from Pictou Advocate (Nova Scotia):
Town council hears need for snow equipment
"It's just an exceptional (winter)," Funk said, noting six major snow storms in February and extreme temperature changes that have made it impossible to do things like popularly plowing back intersections. "I've been in the snow business for 35 years and the number of (flash) freezes this winter is unusual," he said. "The equipment has worked well. It's just not up to the winter we've had. We can hope this is not a bell weather of climate change to come." ...


We can hope.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 2, 2015
from Reuters:
California suffers dry January, prolonging devastating drought
California has experienced one of the driest Januarys on record, and the lack of rain during a time of year when the weather is usually wet indicates the state is likely headed for a fourth straight year of drought, officials said. A prolonged drought could portend further economic and environmental setbacks for the nation's most populous state, which has already lost both crops and jobs to the dry weather. ...


Parchifornia

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 29, 2014
from Al Jazeera:
At least 24 killed in Malaysia, Thailand floods as 200,000 evacuated
Severe flooding in Malaysia and Thailand has killed at least 24 people and forced the evacuation of more than 200,000, according to official data reported Sunday. Northeastern Malaysia and southern Thailand are regularly hit by flooding during the annual northeast monsoon, but this year the rain has been particularly heavy. Scientists have predicted that as climate change worsens, storm patterns will become less predictable and more severe.... Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak toured some of the worst-hit areas this weekend, stopping in Kelantan where the number of displaced people doubled to over 80,000 from Friday, following his return from a vacation in Hawaii on Friday. Najib was criticized for his absence during the calamity, after being photographed playing golf with U.S. President Barack Obama. ...


We will assume the two world leaders were conferring about climate change.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Oct 14, 2014
from MPRnews:
As Minnesota's climate changes, bad air and new disease risks follow
In the last century, Minnesota has generally grown warmer and wetter, changes that have big implications for human health. Some Minnesota counties are much more vulnerable than others to health problems associated with climate change, concludes the first county-by-county Minnesota Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. The Minnesota Department of Health report, released Monday, looks at which counties are most vulnerable to extreme heat, flash flooding and bad air quality. ...


Buncha micro managers.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Oct 5, 2014
from AccuWeather:
Typhoon Phanfone Bears Down on Japan
The southern coast of Honshu, from the prefectures of Wakayama to Chiba, will bear the brunt of Phanfone's fury. Destructive wind gusts of 160 to 195 kph (100 to 120 mph) threaten to cause widespread and significant damage to trees and structures. Residents should prepare for extensive and lengthy power outages.... Residents should prepare for widespread flooding, damage to trees and some structures, power outages and flight cancellations. The worst of Phanfone will blast Tokyo later on Sunday night through Monday morning. Douty expects conditions to rapidly improve around Tokyo on Monday afternoon as Phanfone races out to sea and transitions to a non-tropical system. Widespread rain totals of 200 to 250 mm (8 to 10 inches) are also expected from eastern Shikoku to the Honshu prefecture of Fukushima, triggering widespread and life-threatening flash flooding. ...


Flash floods foment feverish Fukushima fears.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 5, 2014
from Cliff Mass Weather Blog:
Will the Pacific Northwest be a Climate Refuge Under Global Warming?
As global warming takes hold later in the century, where will be the best place in the lower 48 states to escape its worst effects? A compelling case can be made that the Pacific Northwest will be one of the best places to live as the earth warms. A potential climate refuge. ...


Don't tell anyone.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jul 16, 2014
from TruthOut:
Arctic Warming and Increased Weather Extremes: The National Research Council Speaks
A new report from the National Research Council (NRC) details the findings of recent Arctic research: Arctic sea ice in all seasons is declining and the rate of loss is increasing. Multiple lines of study show this is impacting weather outside of the Arctic. Increased energy (heat) in the Arctic is slowing the progress of the jet stream around globe, allowing weather systems to linger, increasing the risk of severe weather happening more often in any one place.... In our old climate, we sort-of knew how it behaved. We had decades and even centuries of records to use to project changes into the future. But all of this historical data may be of much less use in the future as the baseline physics have now changed. Even more critical, the short term is now very important as tipping points may appear at any time. Because of 20 years of delay in controlling climate pollution, we are experiencing more warming faster than we would have if we had of begun to address climate pollutants as was suggested decades ago. Because we are warming faster, the risk of climate tipping points is higher. This discussion point states that recent Arctic changes may have "pushed the atmosphere into a new state with different variability." What they mean by variability is that the extremes get more extreme. ...


I'd rather not listen to those guys. They use too many big words!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jun 25, 2014
from NOAA, via DesdemonaDespair:
Not only was May the 39th consecutive May, it was also the 351st consecutive month with global temperature above the 20th century average
May marked the 39th consecutive May and 351st consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average temperature for May occurred in 1976 and the last below-average temperature for any month occurred in February 1985. ...


Again?

ApocaDoc
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Want more context?
Try reading our book FREE online:
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
More fun than a barrel of jellyfish!
Thu, Jun 19, 2014
from Grist:
Everything you need to know about El Nio -- and more
While European scientists now say there is a 90 percent chance of an El Nio forming this year (if it hasn't indeed formed already), what, exactly, an El Nio will do depends a lot on its particular strength.... But whether the boy is coming this year or not, we haven't seen the last of him. Scientists believe that the so-called "global warming pause" we've seen in the past 16 years is the result of the Pacific Ocean spewing out so much of its heat during the El Nio of 1997-'98. Since then, it has had more of an appetite to suck atmospheric heat back in -- and because the trade winds haven't slackened much since then, the Pacific has held on to all that warmth. So, when a big El Nio does form again, us landlubbers are going to heat up ... really fast. On the positive side, that could help convince more people that this whole climate change thing is real. And a little rain would be welcome in drought-stricken California. But there will be many, many downsides -- and not just especially bad traffic jams. ...


I'll see your El Nino, and raise you a derecho and a deluge.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 20, 2014
from Reuters:
Floods affect over 1 million in Balkans, destruction "terrifying"
Bosnia said on Monday that more than a quarter of its 4 million people had been affected by the worst floods to hit the Balkans in living memory, comparing the "terrifying" destruction to that of the country's 1992-95 war. The extent of the devastation became apparent in Serbia too, as waters receded in some of the worst-hit areas to reveal homes toppled or submerged in mud, trees felled and villages strewn with the rotting corpses of livestock. The regional death toll reached more than 40, after the heaviest rainfall since records began 120 years ago caused rivers to burst their banks and triggered hundreds of landslides.... Authorities in Bosnia issued a fresh warning about the danger of landmines left over from the war and now dislodged by the flooding..."I thought the war was as bad as it can get, but it can get worse,"... ...


WWIII: Earth vs Earthlings

ApocaDoc
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Mon, May 19, 2014
from Washington Post:
Climate change: Get ready or get sued
On April 18, 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) declared a state of emergency after an epic deluge left much of the Chicago area under water.... Now a major insurance company is suing Chicago-area municipal governments saying they knew of the risks posed by climate change and should have been better prepared. The class-action lawsuits raise the question of who is liable for the costs of global warming. Filed by Farmers Insurance Co. on behalf of itself, other insurance companies and customers whose property was damaged by the surge of storm water and sewage overflow, the lawsuits allege the governments of Chicago-area municipalities knew their drainage systems were inadequate and failed to take reasonable action to prevent flooding of insured properties. ...


Perhaps it's better to be in denial from a litigation standpoint.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, May 16, 2014
from NASA, via ThinkProgress:
NASA: Last month was second-warmest April in history of temperature data recording
We may not have felt it in the United States, but last month was the second-warmest April worldwide since scientists began recording temperature data, according to a preliminary report from NASA. Around the planet, April temperatures averaged 58.5 deg F, which is 1.3 deg F above average temperatures. This is only a tad lower than than the warmest April ever recorded, a milestone hit in 2010 when NASA calculated global temperatures of 1.44 deg F above average, according to the data sheet. The data announcement also marks this April as the 350th month in a row where the globe has experienced above-average temperatures, a phenomenon that scientists agree is largely caused by increases of man-made greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. Incidentally, April 2014 also marked the first month in human history when average carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached above 400 parts per million. ...


April is the cruelest month. And the most worthy of denial.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 14, 2014
from ThinkProgress:
The Impact Of Climate Change On The Midwest: More Heat, More Droughts, More Floods, Fewer Crops
The 2014 National Climate Assessment, the single largest attempt to compile the science and data concerning climate change's impact on the United States, was released on Tuesday. For the American Midwest, the report comes with some stark projections: more extreme heat, along with heavier downpours and flooding, and serious consequences for the ecosystems of the Great Lakes and for large portions of the region's economy. ...


What was the score of the game last night?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, May 2, 2014
from Scientific American:
Florida Deluge Was All-Time Record
According to data from the weather station at Pensacola Regional Airport, 15.55 inches of rain -- the greatest rainfall amount from any calendar day on record--fell Tuesday. Data from the station go back to 1879. "The 24-hour amount is between a 1 in 50 and 1 in 100 year event," forecasters from the National Weather Service Mobile/Pensacola Forecast Office wrote in a report on the storm. The two-day total, at 20.47 inches, is between a one-in-100- and one-in-200-year event. ...


We better learn to enjoy these one-in-200 year events, since they seem pretty frequent!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 11, 2014
from Reuters:
El Nino more than 50 percent likely by summer: U.S. weather forecaster
The chances have increased over the past month that the much-feared El Nino phenomenon, which has the potential to wreak havoc on global crops, would strike by summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the federal U.S. weather forecaster said Thursday... El Nino - a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific - affects wind patterns and can trigger both floods and drought in different parts of the globe, curbing food supply. ...


El Nightmare!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 19, 2014
from Reuters:
Warmest winter on record worsens California drought
California is coming off of its warmest winter on record, aggravating an enduring drought in the most populous U.S. state, federal weather scientists said Monday. The state had a average temperature of 48 Fahrenheit (9 Celsius) for December, January and February, an increase from 47.2 F in 1980-81, the last hottest winter, and more than 4 degrees hotter than the 20th-century average in California, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in a statement. Warmer winters could make the already parched state even drier by making it less likely for snow to accumulate in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, NOAA spokesman Brady Phillips said. That snow, melting in the spring and summer and running down through the state's rivers, is vital for providing water in the summer, when the state typically experiences little rain. ...


When it rains it pours, and when it droughts it deserts.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 19, 2014
from New York Times:
White House to Introduce Climate Data Website
President Obama wants Americans to see how climate change will remake their own backyards -- and to make it as easy as opening a web-based app. As part of its effort to make the public see global warming as a tangible, immediate and urgent problem, the White House on Wednesday will inaugurate a website aimed at turning scientific data about projected droughts and wildfires and the rise in sea levels into eye-catching digital presentations that can be mapped using an app. ...


If you build it, they will run.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Mar 1, 2014
from Climate Central:
NY State Expects All Utilities to Prep for Climate Change
In a major settlement that could have far-reaching implications nationwide, New York's largest utility is now responsible for preparing for a future of extreme weather, including the impacts of climate change. The state now expects all of the utilities it regulates to consider how sea level rise, extreme weather and other possible effects related to climate change will affect their operations and reliability as they make future construction plans and budgets. It's a model that experts say other states could use to address the ravages of climate change... Partly as a result of the damage the New York region and ConEd's infrastructure sustained during Hurricane Sandy, the settlement requires ConEd, one of the nation's largest utilities, to study how climate change will affect its infrastructure and how to adjust its operations to mitigate those effects. ...


To the victors belong the spoils.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Feb 12, 2014
from tcktcktck:
Extreme Weather Hits Hard Worldwide
From unprecedented storms and flooding in the UK to severe drought in California and Brazil, 2014 has kicked off with some exceptional and weird weather events. Scientists are increasingly able to link the upward trends in extreme weather to climate change--and these latest examples are giving them even more evidence. ...


We are colonized/by the extreme weather that/we have created

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 10, 2014
from Mother Jones:
California's Drought Could Be the Worst in 500 Years (And why it's too late for the rain.)
The Golden State is in the midst of a three-year drought--and scientists believe that this year may end up being the driest in the last half millennium, according to UC Berkeley professor B. Lynn Ingram. Californians are scared, with good reason: Fire danger in the state is high, and drinking water supplies are low. But the drought will have repercussions outside the state's borders, as well. California produces a good chunk of the nation's food: half of all our fruits and vegetables, along with a significant amount of dairy and wine.... About ten percent of the state is experiencing "exceptional drought," the highest possible level. As of this week, seventeen communities are in danger of running out of water, forcing some to buy it or run pipes from other districts.... [T]he state would need to experience heavy rain or snowfall every other day from now until May in order to achieve average annual precipitation levels. ...


Calidessication.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jan 22, 2014
from University of New South Wales:
Get Used to Heat Waves: Extreme El Nino Events to Double
Extreme weather events fueled by unusually strong El Ninos, such as the 1983 heatwave that led to the Ash Wednesday bushfires in Australia, are likely to double in number as our planet warms... We currently experience an unusually strong El Nio event every 20 years. Our research shows this will double to one event every 10 years," said co-author, Dr Agus Santoso of CoECSS... Extreme El Nino's occur when sea surface temperatures exceeding 28C develop in the normally cold and dry eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. ...


Els Ninos

ApocaDoc
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You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy):
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Sun, Jan 19, 2014
from London Guardian:
Global food crisis will worsen as heatwaves damage crops, research finds
The world's food crisis, where 1 billion people are already going hungry and a further 2 billion people will be affected by 2050, is set to worsen as increasing heatwaves reverse the rising crop yields seen over the last 50 years, according to new research. Severe heatwaves, such as those currently seen in Australia, are expected to become many times more likely in coming decades due to climate change. Extreme heat led to 2012 becoming the hottest year in the US on record and the worst corn crop in two decades. ...


Come and get your hot crops!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jan 19, 2014
from Huffington Post:
California Has Driest Year Ever -- And It May Get Worse
... For California, 2013 was the driest year since the state started measuring rainfall in 1849, before it was a state, according to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, or UCAR, a consortium of 75 schools. Low rainfall has shattered records in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shasta and on up to Eugene, Ore... Meteorologists say the reason behind the low precipitation is a massive zone of high pressure nearly four miles high and 2,000 miles long that has been blocking storms for more than a year. Meteorologist Daniel Swain has dubbed it "The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge." ...


I call it "The Rush Limbaugh."

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 13, 2014
from Omaha World-Herald:
Fort Calhoun nuclear plant offline again
Two weeks after the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station finally came online after nearly three years in a cold shutdown, the Omaha Public Power District shut it down again to deal with some iced-over equipment. Freezing temperatures caused ice to build up on one of six sluice gates that control the flow of Missouri River water into the plant. ...


Sounds like an opportunity for cold fusion.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jan 9, 2014
from Huffington Post:
Why 100,000 Dead Bats Fell From The Sky In Australia
Something unusual rained down on residents of Queensland, Australia, over the weekend. In a bizarre incident, thousands of bats reportedly fell from the sky in the northeastern state. While the mass deaths may seem baffling, it appears Australia's heat wave is to blame. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals confirmed that about 100,000 bats recently died as the likely result of extreme heat in the region, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ...




ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jan 2, 2014
from NPR:
Federal Flood Insurance Program Drowning In Debt. Who Will Pay?
Millions of American property owners get flood insurance from the federal government, and a lot of them get a hefty discount. But over the past decade, the government has paid out huge amounts of money after floods, and the flood insurance program is deeply in the red. Congress tried to fix that in 2012 by passing a law to raise insurance premiums. Now that move has created such uproar among property owners that Congress is trying to make the law it passed disappear. Caught in the middle is [FEMA] ... But now FEMA has a problem. "We are $24 billion in debt," says , who directs FEMA. Fugate delivered that bit of news to Congress' House Financial Services Committee in Washington, D.C., recently, as he tried to make the case for raising insurance rates. ...


Everybody wants to pollute but nobody wants to pay.

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Mon, Dec 30, 2013
from Center for American Progress:
Devastating Drought Continues to Plague California
As California enters its third consecutive dry winter, with no sign of moisture on the horizon, fears are growing over increased wildfire activity, agricultural losses and additional stress placed on already strained water supplies. The city of Los Angeles has received only 3.6 inches of rain this year--far below its average of 14.91 inches, USA Today reported. And San Francisco is experiencing its driest year since record keeping began in 1849. As of November, the city had only received 3.95 inches of rain since the year began. ...


The city of (parched) angels.

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Mon, Dec 16, 2013
from New England Center for Investigative Reporting:
The Start Of The "Sand Wars"
Sand is becoming New England coastal dwellers' most coveted and controversial commodity as they try to fortify beaches against rising seas and severe erosion caused by violent storms. From Westerly, Rhode Island to Eliot, Maine, debates over who gets sand, who pays for it and where it comes from are fast becoming some of the region's most contentious oceanfront issues. In many cases, taxpayers are being asked to foot some of the bill for beach-rebuilding projects. "It's called the sand wars," said S. Jeffress Williams, a coastal geologist and scientist emeritus with the United States Geological Survey in Woods Hole and the University of Hawaii. The disputes, happening across the coastal U.S., "are only going to get more intense," he said. ...


With what will I fill my hourglass?

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Wed, Nov 27, 2013
from PRI:
Storm expert says climate change may have played a big role in Typhoon Haiyan after all
We've heard that climate change likely played a very minor role in the havoc that typhoon Haiyan wrought on the Philippines... But in the couple of weeks since then, our primary source for that story has taken a deeper look at the storm and has found that climate change may have played a much bigger role in its damage than he initially thought... Emanuel and his colleagues took a computer model they use to forecast the wind speeds in a storm like Haiyan and ran it with the thermodynamic conditions that were present 30 years ago, in the 1980s, before the warming of the last few decades. They compared it to the model using current conditions. "And when we do that," Emanuel tells The World, "we find that the wind speeds are about ten percent larger now." That’s because warmer surface temperatures essentially provide more fuel for tropical storms. ...


Thus a storm that decimates the landscape.

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Tue, Nov 19, 2013
from Climate Desk:
All Over the World, Hurricane Records Keep Breaking
Earlier this month, Super Typhoon Haiyan stunned the meteorological community. The Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center, which tracked the storm, estimated its maximum 1-minute sustained wind speeds at more than 195 miles per hour based on satellite imagery. If confirmed, that would exceed the official wind speed estimates for all other hurricanes and typhoons in the modern period. (Prior to 1969 some Pacific storms were recorded as stronger, but these measurements are now considered too high). But here's the thing: Haiyan isn't the globe's only record-breaking hurricane in recent years. Even as scientists continue to study and debate whether global warming is making hurricanes worse, hurricanes have continued to set new intensity records. Indeed, a Climate Desk analysis of official hurricane records finds that many of the globe's hurricane basins -- including the Atlantic, the Northwest Pacific, the North Indian, the South Indian, and the South Pacific -- have witnessed (or, in the case of Haiyan and the Northwest Pacific, arguably witnessed) some type of new hurricane intensity record since the year 2000. What's more, a few regions that aren't usually considered major hurricane basis have also seen mammoth storms of late. ...


I feel like I'm at a super exciting sports event!

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Fri, Nov 15, 2013
from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory:
Global Precipitation Linked to Global Warming
The rain in Spain may lie mainly on the plain, but the location and intensity of that rain is changing not only in Spain but around the globe. A new study by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists shows that observed changes in global (ocean and land) precipitation are directly affected by human activities and cannot be explained by natural variability alone. The research appears in the Nov. 11 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Emissions of heat-trapping and ozone-depleting gases affect the distribution of precipitation through two mechanisms. Increasing temperatures are expected to make wet regions wetter and dry regions drier (thermodynamic changes); and changes in atmospheric circulation patterns will push storm tracks and subtropical dry zones toward the poles. ...


We got our global village but it's a mess.

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Tue, Nov 12, 2013
from CommonDreams:
Philippine Rep Makes Plea for 'Global Solidarity' to Fight 'Climate Madness'
"What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness," Sao told the assembly, describing the massive devastation and thousands feared dead following Typhoon Haiyan, the "strongest in modern recorded history." "We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw," he added, appealing to the representatives of nearly 200 countries who assembled in a bid to reach a new agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol that expired last year. Many anticipate the talks will only amount to a 2015 agreement for new limits on greenhouse gas emissions.... To climate change deniers, or those countries who are less impacted by the effects of global warming and therefore are less motivated to enact meaningful change, Sao challenged them before the Warsaw assembly, saying, "I dare them, I dare them to get off their ivory towers and away from the comfort of their armchairs." ...


(Sigh). Another enviro-nazi with facts on his side.

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Thu, Nov 7, 2013
from CNN:
Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of strongest storms ever, heads for central Philippines
Thousands of people in vulnerable areas of the Philippines are being relocated as the strongest storm on the planet so far this year spins toward the country. With sustained winds of 305 kph (190 mph) and gusts as strong as 370 kph (230 mph), Super Typhoon Haiyan was churning across the Western Pacific toward the central Philippines as one of the most intense tropical cyclones ever recorded. Its wind strength makes it equivalent to an exceptionally strong Category 5 hurricane... The storm is so large in diameter that clouds from it are affecting two-thirds of the country. ...


Hurricane Hellacious!

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Sun, Oct 20, 2013
from Guardian:
South Dakota's cattle cataclysm: why isn't this horror news?
... So what's the big deal about this blizzard? It's not really winter yet. The cows don't have their warm jackets on. The cows are still out eating grass in the big pastures. Atlas wasn't just a snowstorm, it was the kind of storm that can destroy the ranchers that have been caring for these cattle for hundreds of years.... Last weekend Atlas hit. It started with rain. The rain soaked the cows and chilled them to the bone. Inches and inches of rain fell. The rain made horrible mud. Then the winds started - 80mph winds, hurricane force.... The snow came down so heavy and so fast the the low spots that the cattle were laying in filled with snow. Not a few inches of snow, not a foot of snow. Enough snow that the cows and their calves were covered in snow. The cows and calves suffocated or froze to death.... This wasn't just a few cows. Tens of thousands of cows are gone. Some ranchers lost their entire herds. All of their cows, gone. ...


What part of natural variation don't you understand?

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Sat, Oct 19, 2013
from ScienceDaily:
Pacific Ocean Temperature Influences Tornado Activity in US
University of Missouri researcher has found that the temperature of the Pacific Ocean could help scientists predict the type and location of tornado activity in the U.S. Laurel McCoy, an atmospheric science graduate student at the MU School of Natural Resources, and Tony Lupo, professor and chair of atmospheric science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, surveyed 56,457 tornado-like events from 1950 to 2011. They found that when surface sea temperatures were warmer than average, the U.S. experienced 20.3 percent more tornados that were rated EF-2 to EF-5 on the Enhanced Fuijta (EF) scale. (The EF scale rates the strength of tornados based on the damage they cause. The scale has six category rankings from zero to five.) McCoy and Lupo found that the tornados that occurred when surface sea temperatures were above average were usually located to the west and north of tornado alley, an area in the Midwestern part of the U.S. that experiences more tornados than any other area. McCoy also found that when sea surface temperatures were cooler, more tornadoes tracked from southern states, like Alabama, into Tennessee, Illinois and Indiana. ...


The Pacific is, after all, only three days' drive away from Hurricane Alley.

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Mon, Oct 14, 2013
from BBC:
Global warming will increase intensity of El Nino, scientists say
Scientists say they are more certain than ever about the impact of global warming on a critical weather pattern. The El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) occurs in the Pacific Ocean but plays an important part in the world's climate system. Researchers have until now been unsure as to how rising temperatures would affect ENSO in the future. But this new study suggests that droughts and floods driven by ENSO will be more intense. ...


El Nino ... El Nono!

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Mon, Oct 14, 2013
from Bloomberg:
India Cyclone Ruins 15 Percent of Odisha Rice Area
The most powerful storm to hit India's east coast in 14 years decimated about 15 percent of Odisha state's rice planting area even as evacuation of 1 million people from the cyclone's path helped limit fatalities. At least 17 people were killed as Cyclone Phailin, Thai for "sapphire," made landfall Oct. 12 near Gopalpur in Odisha about 600 kilometers (373 miles) southwest of Kolkata. Heavy rains and winds packing up to 210 kilometers an hour lashed the region, flooding roads and uprooting trees. As much as 600,000 hectares of the state's rice area were affected, likely destroying an estimated 1 million tons of the grain, said Trilochan Mohapatra, director, Central Rice Research Institute. ...


Great. Rice Chex will rise in price, again. Oh, and sorry, you million, for your inconvenience.

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Wed, Oct 9, 2013
from Shanghai Daily:
Heaviest rain for 52 years floods streets and homes in Shanghai
More than 50 roads and 600 households were flooded yesterday as Shanghai experienced its biggest rainfall in 52 years between Monday night and noon yesterday.... The rain spawned by two typhoons, combined with a high tide in the Huangpu River, overwhelmed part of the city's drainage system. Local authorities issued the highest level of rain and tide alerts as well as the second-highest alert for gales. "It is very rare for the city to suffer such a heavy rainstorm in October," said Shanghai Meteorological Bureau's Zhang Ruiyi. ...


Welcome to the New World Disorder.

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Mon, Sep 30, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Eric Holthaus, Meteorologist, Tweets That He Will Never Fly Again
Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist who has covered weather for the Wall Street Journal, tweeted that he will no longer fly on planes after a grim climate-change report left him in tears. Holthaus, who now writes for Quartz, was reacting to findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a well-respected body that includes 195 member countries, which released a report on Friday that found it is "extremely likely" that humans are causing warming trends seen in the last several decades. It also revised upwards its estimates of the increase in sea levels by the end of the 21st century. Holthaus took the news hard, and vowed to reduce his carbon footprint by giving up on air travel. ...


Someone may be laughing somewhere, but we cry and fly alone.

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from Association for Psychological Science:
After the Storms, a Different Opinion On Climate Change
Extreme weather may lead people to think more seriously about climate change, according to new research. In the wake of Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, New Jersey residents were more likely to show support for a politician running on a "green" platform, and expressed a greater belief that climate change is caused by human activity. ...


Another revelatory report from the University of Duh.

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Wed, Sep 18, 2013
from NewScientist:
Heatwave and wildfires worsened Colorado flooding
A truly ferocious and exceptional event. That is how Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, describes the storm that pummelled his state last week. "This was a once-in-1000-year rainfall," he says, meaning that the storm was of such an intensity and duration that it had a 1-in-1000 chance of occurring in any given year in Colorado.... That huge volume was due in part to a lingering heatwave that for months blocked tropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico from reaching the Rocky Mountains, he says. When that heatwave began to move east last week, weak winds allowed the growing storm system to sit above the Colorado peaks for days. Once that deluge hit the ground, more trouble awaited. Because of Colorado's mountainous terrain, the region is flood-prone anyway but recent wildfires exacerbated things near Boulder and Fort Collins, two areas hardest hit by floodwaters. The fires had cleared land of vegetation that would normally absorb rainwater, says Trenberth. ...


Nice to have the flooding placed in an apocalyptic context.

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Wed, Sep 18, 2013
from Reuters:
Chaos as floods submerge Mexico's Acapulco, death toll rises
Mexico's famous beach resort of Acapulco was in chaos on Tuesday as hotels rationed food for thousands of stranded tourists and floodwaters swallowed homes and cars after some of the most damaging storms in decades killed at least 55 people across the country. Television footage showed Acapulco's international airport terminal waist deep in water and workers wading out to escape floods that have prevented some 40,000 visitors from leaving and blocked one of the main access routes to the city with mud. A torrential, three-day downpour cut off several roads into the Pacific resort of 750,000 people, which was a magnet for Hollywood stars in its heyday, but had the highest murder rate in Mexico last year amid a surge in drug gang violence. ...


When it rains it pours; when it pours it ... pours more.

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Mon, Sep 16, 2013
from Center for American Progress:
States of Denial: States with the Most Federal Disaster Aid Sent Climate-Science Deniers to Congress
The United States suffered from numerous extreme weather events in 2011 and 2012. In fact, there were 25 severe storms, floods, droughts, heat waves, and wildfires that each caused more than $1 billion in economic damages, with a total price tag of $188 billion. To help communities recover from these violent weather events, the federal government spent nearly $62 billion for disaster relief in fiscal years 2011 and 2012. These federal funds only cover a portion of recovery costs; private insurance and individuals harmed by the events also spent billions of dollars. There is recent evidence that climate change played a role in the extreme weather events of 2012.... Interestingly, many of the states that received the most federal recovery aid to cope with climate-linked extreme weather have federal legislators who are climate-science deniers. The 10 states that received the most federal recovery aid in FY 2011 and 2012 elected 47 climate-science deniers to the Senate and the House. Nearly two-thirds of the senators from these top 10 recipient states voted against granting federal emergency aid to New Jersey and New York after Superstorm Sandy. ...


Now that's a superstorm of irony!

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Mon, Sep 9, 2013
from Reuters:
Atlantic hurricane season - a record-breaking dud?
The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which forecasters had predicted would be more active than normal, has turned out to be something of a dud so far as an unusual calm hangs over the tropics. As the season heads into the historic peak for activity, it may even enter the record books as marking the quietest start to any Atlantic hurricane season in decades. ...


Ze calm before ze storm?

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Mon, Sep 9, 2013
from ClimateWire:
Climate change played a role in half of 2012's extreme weather events -- study
New research released yesterday links human-caused climate change to six of 12 extreme weather events from 2012, including summer heat waves in the United States and storm surges from Superstorm Sandy. Teams of scientists from around the world examined the causes behind extreme weather events on five continents and in the Arctic. Their results were published as a special report in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. One of the stronger linkages between global warming and severe weather was found in an analysis of last year's high July temperatures in the northeastern and north-central United States. ...


Half of me is horrified to hear this.

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Mon, Sep 2, 2013
from Grist:
U.S. government paid $17 billion for weather-withered crops last year
Desiccated corn and sun-scorched soybeans have been in high supply lately -- and we're paying through the nose for them. The federal government forked out a record-breaking $17.3 billion last year to compensate farmers for weather-related crop losses -- more than four times the annual average over the last decade. The losses were mostly caused by droughts, high temperatures, and hot winds -- the sizzling harbingers of a climate in rapid flux. ...


The Sizzling Harbingers is the name of my new band, dude!

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Wed, Aug 28, 2013
from Xinhua, via DesdemonaDespair:
Floods affect more than 2 million in NE China
Persistent rain has brought chaos to 56 county-level regions of the province, forcing 239,000 people to be evacuated, according to the provincial civil affairs department. At least 585,000 hectares of crops have been damaged, some 12,000 rooms destroyed, with another 146,000 damaged, leading to direct economic losses of over 10 billion yuan(1.7 billion U.S.dollars). Rainstorms have also swept Heilongjiang and Liaoning provinces, also in northeastern China. As of Tuesday, 85 people were confirmed dead and 105 were missing in the worst floods to hit northeast China in more than a decade. ...


Can you believe it? China's main news agency! I went to its homepage and could find nothing about Miley or twerking!

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Tue, Aug 27, 2013
from Mongabay:
Activists propose naming hurricanes after politicians who deny climate change
Environmental activists are petitioning the World Meteorological Organization (WHO) to start naming storms after policy makers who deny human's role in driving climate change. Campaigners with 350.org, an advocacy organization that is pushing to reduce carbon dioxide levels from the current 400 ppm to 350 ppm, have launched ClimateNameChange.org to rally support for their proposal to revise the WHO's naming system for tropical storms. Currently hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons receive randomly selected names in alphabetical order. Instead 350.org wants storms to be named after politicians who refuse to accept that greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to rising global temperatures. It cites Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) as examples of prominent climate change deniers. ...


"Hurricane Inhofe" does have a nice ring to it.

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Wed, Aug 21, 2013
from E&E Publishing:
A scientist explains the mystery behind the 2010-2011 sea-level drop
For the past couple of decades, the oceans have been steadily rising. Each year, sea-level increases by about 3 millimeters, a constant and ominous creep responding to climate warming. Scientists have been measuring this rise from satellites since 1993, using instruments called altimeters. But for an 18-month period that began in the middle of 2010, something surprising happened. Instead of rising, sea levels fell.... From 2010 to 2011, enough rain fell on Australia to fill the lower part of the lake almost completely, and the upper portion at least 75 percent. Australia got about a foot of rain more than normal over that period, said Fasullo. The continent stored that excess water for long enough to change global sea levels. ...


Planet earth is a magical place.

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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from Cedar Rapids Gazette:
Wacky weather changing Iowans' climate change perceptions
Scientists say annual weather proves little about climate trends, but this year and last, at opposite ends of the extreme weather spectrum, have strengthened Iowans' belief that the state's climate is changing....The annual poll conducted by Iowa State University, shows that the percentage of farmers who believe that climate change is occurring increased from 67.7 percent in 2011 to 74.3 percent in 2013, while the percentage who believe it is not dropped from 4.5 percent in 2011 to 2.5 percent this year. The questionnaire, which is sent to about 2,000 Iowa farms with half of them responding, also found that the percentage of farmers who think climate change is caused by human activity increased from 10 percent in 2011 to 17.3 percent this year. ...


Perhaps they are reluctant to acknowledge their own role in climate change.

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Mon, Jun 10, 2013
from New York Times:
After Drought, Rains Plaguing Midwest Farms
About this time last year, farmers were looking to the heavens, pleading for rain. Now, they are praying for the rain to stop. One of the worst droughts in this nation's history, a dry spell that persisted through the early part of this year, has ended with torrential rains this spring that have overwhelmed vast stretches of the country, including much of the farm belt. One result has been flooded acres that have drowned corn and soybean plants, stunted their growth or prevented them from being planted at all. ...


Dear God: just give me the weather I want!

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Wed, May 22, 2013
from London Guardian:
Climate disasters displace millions of people worldwide
More than 32 million people fled their homes last year because of disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes -- 98 percent of displacement related to climate change. Asia and west and central Africa bore the brunt. Some 1.3 million people were displaced in rich countries, with the US particularly affected. Floods in India and Nigeria accounted for 41 percent of displacement, according to the International Displacement Monitoring Centre and Norwegian Refugee Council... ...


Welcome to the new normalypse.

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Tue, Apr 30, 2013
from Climate Central:
Hurricane Sandy's Untold Filthy Legacy: Sewage
Hurricane Sandy was one of the largest storm to hit the northeast U.S. in recorded history, killing 159, knocking out power to millions, and causing $70 billion in damage in eight states. Sandy also put the vulnerability of critical infrastructure in stark relief by paralyzing subways, trains, road and air traffic, flooding hospitals, crippling electrical substations, and shutting down power and water to tens of millions of people. But one of the larger infrastructure failures is less appreciated: sewage overflow. ...


And the turds shall inherit the earth.

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Tue, Mar 26, 2013
from London Guardian:
Scientists link frozen spring to dramatic Arctic sea ice loss
Climate scientists have linked the massive snowstorms and bitter spring weather now being experienced across Britain and large parts of Europe and North America to the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice. Both the extent and the volume of the sea ice that forms and melts each year in the Arctic Ocean fell to an historic low last autumn, and satellite records published on Monday by the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, show the ice extent is close to the minimum recorded for this time of year.... the Arctic ice loss adds heat to the ocean and atmosphere which shifts the position of the jet stream -- the high-altitude river of air that steers storm systems and governs most weather in northern hemisphere. ...


So you're saying there's no benefit at all from global warming???

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Mon, Mar 25, 2013
from Fast Company:
The Weather Channel Is Changing The Climate Change Conversation
Climate change will be a political conversation for a long time to come. So how does an organization that reports on the weather insert itself into the debate without getting political? Just take a look at the Weather Company, the parent company of the Weather Channel and Weather Underground. "We insert climate into every weather story," says David Kenny, CEO of the Weather Company. "We're scientific journalists. We start with science and try to tell scientifically based stories. It's not a political point of view." ...


If only we can get the sportsdesk reporting on climate change...

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Mon, Mar 11, 2013
from Earth Policy Institute:
Where Has All the Ice Gone?
... In September 2012, sea ice in the Arctic Ocean shrank to a record low extent and volume. The region has warmed two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since the 1960s -- twice as much as lower latitudes. With less snow and ice to reflect the sun's rays and with more exposed ocean to absorb heat, a vicious cycle leads to even warmer temperatures. Thinner ice combined with rising temperatures makes it increasingly difficult for the sea ice to recover. The historically ever-present white cap at the top of the globe could disappear entirely during the summer within two decades...Greenland's ice loss has accelerated from 51 billion tons per year in the 1990s to 263 billion tons per year today... parts of Antarctica's vast ice sheet may be even less stable. The continent is flanked by 54 major ice shelves, which act as brakes slowing the movement of ice in land-based glaciers out to sea. Twenty of them show signs of thinning and weakening, which translates into accelerated ice loss. ...


The air conditioner of the planet is turning into a space heater!

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Tue, Mar 5, 2013
from New Scientist:
Globetrotting Sahara sand takes rain to California
If the Sahara gets any drier, it could make California wetter. That's because the dust and microbes that help form clouds can travel around the world on narrow air streams called "atmospheric rivers", causing rain. The particles, or aerosols, help clouds form by acting as seeds for water vapour to condense around. Atmospheric rivers carry this dust-laden water until they hit mountains, such as California's Sierra Nevada, where their cargo turns to precipitation....In two storms with otherwise identical conditions, the one containing more dust was much wetter, suggesting that in future, extra dust from desertification and activities such as agriculture could make far-flung places wetter. ...


All right, already. Enough with the Gaia teaching moments!

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Tue, Feb 26, 2013
from Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK):
Weather Extremes Provoked by Trapping of Giant Waves in the Atmosphere
The world has suffered from severe regional weather extremes in recent years, such as the heat wave in the United States in 2011 or the one in Russia 2010 coinciding with the unprecedented Pakistan flood. Behind these devastating individual events there is a common physical cause, propose scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The study will be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and suggests that man-made climate change repeatedly disturbs the patterns of atmospheric flow around the globe's Northern hemisphere through a subtle resonance mechanism...."What we found is that during several recent extreme weather events these planetary waves almost freeze in their tracks for weeks. So instead of bringing in cool air after having brought warm air in before, the heat just stays....["] ...


Gosh, why don't we get a giant broom to move the waves.

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Wed, Feb 13, 2013
from Climate Central:
Rich Moisture Feed Helped Blizzard Bury Northeast
The weekend blizzard in the Northeast, dubbed "Nemo" by The Weather Channel, socked the region with stunning snowfall totals of more than 3 feet in some places... The amazing snowfall totals were, in part, the result of the rich tropical moisture feed that the storm tapped into, as Climate Central reported on Feb. 8. Data from the University of Wisconsin's Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, showed the amount of total precipitable water over New England was more than 200 percent of normal for the region at this time of year... Climate studies have shown that as the world has warmed, the atmosphere is carrying, on average, more moisture that can be wrung out by storms as rain or snow. ...


I think he said ... rich ... topical ... moisture ...

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Tue, Feb 5, 2013
from University of British Columbia:
Blowing Hot and Cold: U.S. Belief in Climate Change Shifts With Weather
A University of British Columbia study of American attitudes toward climate change finds that local weather -- temperature, in particular -- is a major influence on public and media opinions on the reality of global warming. The study, published February 5 by the journal Climatic Change, finds a strong connection between U.S. weather trends and public and media attitudes towards climate science over the past 20 years -- with skepticism about global warming increasing during cold snaps and concern about climate change growing during hot spells. ...


Americans. So bloody literal.

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Mon, Jan 28, 2013
from St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Drought prompts Missouri ethanol plant to suspend production
Poet Biorefining says its temporarily suspending operations at its Macon ethanol plant next week because the drought left it unable to source enough local corn. Production will be halted Feb. 1, the company said. All 44 employees will continue top [SIC] be paid for regular hours and many will be used to assist in upgrades to the plant while it's off line. Corn will continue to be stockpiled at the plant for future use, the company said. But there's currently no set timeline for resuming production. ...


There's irony, though little poetry, in this tragedy.

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Tue, Jan 22, 2013
from Reuters:
Curbing climate change will cost $700 billion a year: report
The world must spend an extra $700 billion a year to curb its addiction to fossil fuels blamed for worsening floods and heat waves and rising sea levels, a study issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF) showed on Monday. ...


Pocket change.

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Tue, Jan 15, 2013
from London Guardian:
Global food crisis will worsen as heatwaves damage crops, research finds
The world's food crisis, where 1 billion people are already going hungry and a further 2 billion people will be affected by 2050, is set to worsen as increasing heatwaves reverse the rising crop yields seen over the last 50 years, according to new research. Severe heatwaves, such as those currently seen in Australia, are expected to become many times more likely in coming decades due to climate change. Extreme heat led to 2012 becoming the hottest year in the US on record and the worst corn crop in two decades. ...


Can't we build a supermassive air conditioner?

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Wed, Jan 9, 2013
from New York Times:
Australian Forecasters Add New Colors to Temperature Charts to Capture Record Heat
It's so hot that the government weather agency added two new colors -- deep purple and pink -- to temperature charts to convey the new record highs being measured in the worst heat wave ever recorded down under, as The Age newspaper reported today. For the moment, while extreme and widespread heat is predicted to persist, the country looks to be avoiding the new purple zone. Here's an animation of the national heat forecast through the weekend... ...


Smooooke... on the water... a fire in the sky. They burned down the gamblin' house. And Swiss time was runnin' out.

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Mon, Jan 7, 2013
from Reuters:
Australia braces for "catastrophic" wildfire day
Australia was bracing on Monday for days of "catastrophic" fire and heatwave conditions, with fires already burning in five states and as a search continued for people missing after devastating wildfires in the island state of Tasmania. Prime Minister Julia Gillard toured fire-ravaged Tasmanian townships and promised emergency aid for survivors, who told of a "fireball" that engulfed communities across the thinly-populated state on Friday and Saturday. "The trees just exploded," local man Ashley Zanol told Australian radio... ...


You know you're in trouble when the trees explode.

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Mon, Dec 31, 2012
from Morning Edition, NPR:
A Busy And Head-Scratching 2012 Hurricane Season
Superstorm Sandy is what most people will remember from the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. But Sandy was just one of 10 hurricanes this year -- a hurricane season that was both busy and strange .... the largest and strangest storm of the year: Hurricane Sandy. Almost everything about Sandy was unusual. It turned left where most storms turned right. It started out as a hurricane and then became an equally powerful winter superstorm. It brought heavy snow to the Appalachians. ...


The androgynously named Sandy was also transtormual!

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Fri, Dec 28, 2012
from Climate Central:
Great Arctic Cyclone in Summer "Unprecedented": Study
It's known as the Great Arctic Cyclone, and when it roared out of Siberia last August, storm watchers knew it was unusual. Hurricane-like storms are very common in the Arctic, but the most powerful of them (which are still far less powerful than tropical hurricanes) tend to come in winter. It wasn't clear at the time, however, whether the August storm was truly unprecedented. Now it is. A study published in Geophysical Research Letters looks at no fewer than 19,625 Arctic storms and concludes that in terms of size, duration and several other of what the authors call "key cyclone properties," the Great Cyclone was the most extreme summer storm, and the 13th most powerful storm -- summer or winter -- since modern satellite observations began in 1979. ...


All I can say is GAC!

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Sun, Dec 2, 2012
from Munich Re, via AlJazeera:
Insurance report: Extreme weather already costing us dearly
... Indeed, less than a week before Sandy first started forming as a tropical storm, global reinsurance giant Munich Re issued a report about the long-term trend of increasing extreme events, and the threats to life and property that they pose. Severe Weather in North America: Perils - Risks - Insurance runs 277 pages, focusing on the period 1980-2011 - during which losses totalled just over $1 trillion - and notes: "The number of natural catastrophes per year has been rising dramatically on all continents since 1980, but the trend is steepest for North America," adding, "This increase is entirely attributable to weather events, as there has been a negative trend for geophysical events."... While the corporate media habitually frames the environment and the economy in opposition to one another, the insurance industry generally and reinsurers like Munich Re in particular reflect the deeper reality that the economy and the environment are deeply intertwined with one another. There can be no jobs and no businesses if the environment itself is decimated. But almost no other businesses confront this reality directly. When questioned about this, Hoppe responded with typical understatement and restraint. "We must have an interest in keeping things calculable," he said. "If we get global warming of four degrees or so, we'll reach tipping points and have abrupt changes, then we'll have a problem with our business model. ...


Without the economy, the environment would have no reason to exist!

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Mon, Nov 19, 2012
from The Hill:
World Bank report warns of "devastating" global warming
A major World Bank report warns that Earth is heading for a 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature rise by 2100 that would bring unprecedented heatwaves, droughts and floods -- effects that put some of the poorest nations at highest risk. "No nation will be immune to the impacts of climate change," states the new report titled "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 [degrees] C Warmer World Must be Avoided." ...


I'm now banking on the Apocalypse.

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Mon, Nov 5, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
Sandy a galvanizing moment for climate change?
One Sunday afternoon in 1969 the filthy, oil-coated Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire and quickly became a potent symbol of industrial pollution, helping galvanize public opinion and set the stage for passage of national environmental laws the following decade. The combination of Hurricane Sandy and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's announcement that he was endorsing President Obama largely because of Obama's actions on global warming could do the same thing for climate change, say scientists and political observers. ...


The Iroquoian word "Cuyahoga," defined, means duh

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Fri, Oct 26, 2012
from Wall Street Journal:
'Frankenstorm' Headed to Region
Greater New York began preparing for Hurricane Sandy as an unusual confluence of weather patterns started taking shape that could produce what meteorologists dubbed a "Frankenstorm." In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office warned in a news release of "heavy rain, high winds, flooding, tornadoes, coastal surges, and widespread power outages" as soon as Tuesday and said state agencies would be on alert. New Jersey officials said they had begun monitoring flood-prone areas that may have to be evacuated. In Connecticut, power companies were bracing for a test of a revamped storm-preparation system. ...


Hope no one Dracudrowns!

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Mon, Oct 22, 2012
from Salon.com:
No debate on climate change
"Climate change" -- the words that dare not be spoken when candidates for the presidency of the richest and most powerful nation in the world meet in the storm and clamor of a debate. That's been true for the first two meetings between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and it will most likely continue to be the same sad story again in Monday night's foreign policy-focused debate. But it shouldn't be. The latest reason why comes from Europe, in the form of a 274-page report on the cost and frequency of extreme weather events in North America, courtesy of the giant resinsurance company Munich Re. The short version: Across the entire globe, North America is experiencing the most marked increase in both the number of extreme events and their price tag. ...


Now I'm reterrified!

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Tue, Oct 16, 2012
from Climate Central:
New Study Ties Hurricane Strength To Global Warming
One of the major unanswered questions about climate change is whether hurricanes have become more frequent and stronger as the world has warmed. Until now, there hasn't been enough evidence to settle the question, but a report published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences may have changed all that. Using an entirely new method of tallying hurricane power and frequency, a team of scientists say that hurricanes are, indeed, more of a danger when ocean temperatures are higher. "In particular, we estimate that Katrina-magnitude events have been twice as frequent in warm years compared with cold years," the report says. ...


Surf's hot!

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Mon, Oct 15, 2012
from TakePart:
Climate Change Whiplash: 71 percent of Americans Now Link Extreme Weather to Global Warming
It appears that this summer's record-breaking heatwave has lit a fire under our collective climate change views. "Nearly three-quarters of Americans say global warming influences U.S. weather and made this year's record-hot summer worse,” Reuters reported this morning. In a new survey conducted by Yale and George Mason universities, results showed 74 percent of Americans believe that global warming is affecting weather, which is five percentage points higher than it was as recently as March 2012... Other surveys have in fact observed a bit of a see-sawing in American's opinion on the subject of climate change. In a July report, Business Week said, "Following a winter of record snowfall in 2010, the public's acceptance of climate change fell to a low of 52 percent, according to the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change, which was published by the Brookings Institution in Washington. After this year's mild winter, support jumped to 65 percent, the same as that found by the UT Energy Poll in March.” ...


If only the extreme weather chaos would continue we'd be saved!

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Tue, Oct 2, 2012
from FOX News:
Half of Great Barrier Reef has vanished, study finds
Australia's Great Barrier Reef is a glittering gem -- the world's largest coral reef ecosystem -- chock-full of diverse marine life. But new research shows it is also in steep decline, with half of the reef vanishing in the past 27 years. Katharina Fabricius, a coral reef ecologist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science and study co-author, told LiveScience that she has been diving and working on the reef since 1988 -- and has watched the decline. "I hear of the changes anecdotally, but this is the first long-term look at the overall status of the reef. There are still a lot of fish, and you can see giant clams, but not the same color and diversity as in the past."... The biggest factors are smashing from tropical cyclones, crown-of-thorns starfish that eat coral and are boosted by nutrient runoff from agriculture, and coral bleaching from high-temperatures, which are rising due to climate change. ...


Relax! That reef is still half-full!

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Sat, Sep 29, 2012
from Huffington Post:
2012 Will Be Hottest Year On Record Unless Winter Is Abnormally Cold
The U.S. has experienced its warmest year-to-date (January-August) on record, and unless the next four months are about as cold as the first eight months were hot, 2012 will go down as the hottest year on record.... Additionally, according to The Weather Channel, taking only the years since World War II, the odds of not surpassing the warmest year are just 7 percent. So while it's certainly possible that 2012 won't be a record-breaker, it would take a heck of a cold snap to pull that off. ...


I understand the likelihood of a record-breaking wingspan on a pig is less than that.

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Sun, Sep 2, 2012
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Geoengineering 'comparatively inexpensive'
Researchers in the US have estimated that modification of stratospheric albedo - a widely discussed geoengineering technique to counteract some of the effects of climate change - could cost as little as $5 bn a year. Although this is just a small fraction of the gross domestic product (GDP) of most western countries, the team stresses that there are many potential risks of geoengineering the planet in this way.... Indeed, scientists and policy experts have uncovered many disadvantages of stratospheric albedo modification. One problem is that different regions of the world might need different amounts of modification, since global warming is not expected to occur evenly. Another issue is that altering albedo could affect other aspects of the climate such as rainfall. In fact, some climate models suggest that albedo modification could hasten the droughts that climate change itself is expected to induce. Worst, however, is the knowledge that, once begun, albedo modification must be maintained indefinitely. "Abrupt stopping of the delivery of particles to the stratosphere would cause very rapid climate changes," said Apt. ...


Heck, the first fix is free.

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Wed, Aug 22, 2012
from Planet 3.0:
Top Ten Things Aunt Sally Doesn't Know About Climate and Greenhouse Gases
1) Carbon is forever... 2) The next ice age has already been cancelled.... 3) Bugs, weeds, jellyfish, rats.... 4) CO2 disrupts directly.... 5) Rapid increases of atmospheric CO2 poison the ocean.... 9) Until the moment we get this problem under control and for a few decades to follow climate will get not just hotter but more peculiar and fraught with extraordinary events, some of them disruptive.... 10) Uncertainty cuts both ways.... ...


0.1) The Arctic is warming much faster than everywhere else. 0.2) Methane hydrates are released as arctic waters warm.... 0.3) OMG

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 16, 2012
from Live Science:
July Ranks as Fourth Warmest on Record
Last month, the planet saw the fourth warmest July since record-keeping began in 1880, according to U.S. weather records. Most areas of the world experienced above-average monthly temperatures, including most of the United States and Canada... Last month, the continental United States saw a bigger milestone. July 2012 was the warmest month on record for the lower 48 states, surpassing the previous record holder, July 1936. ...


We're all in this together!

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Fri, Aug 10, 2012
from NOAA:
YTD Anomalies: 2012 stands alone

...


No doubt the warmists will insist that there's a pattern.

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Wed, Aug 8, 2012
from CNN:
NOAA: July hottest month on record for continental US
The July heat wave that wilted crops, shriveled rivers and fueled wildfires officially went into the books Wednesday as the hottest single month on record for the continental United States. The average temperature across the Lower 48 was 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.3 degrees above the 20th-century average, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reported. That edged out the previous high mark, set in 1936, by two-tenths of a degree, NOAA said. U.S. forecasters started keeping records in 1895. The seven months of 2012 to date are the warmest of any year on record and were drier than average as well, NOAA said. ...


The warmists are in collusion with the weather?

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Wed, Aug 8, 2012
from Washington Post:
'Like a water world': Torrential rains submerge half of Philippine capital, kill 9 people
... The deluge, the worst since 2009 when hundreds died in rampaging flash floods, was set off by the seasonal monsoon that overflowed major dams and rivers in Manila and surrounding provinces. The capital and other parts of the country already were saturated from last week's Typhoon Saola, which battered Manila and the north for several days before blowing away Friday. That storm was responsible for at least 53 deaths. "It's like a water world," said Benito Ramos, head of the government's disaster response agency. He said the rains flooded 50 percent of metropolitan Manila on Monday evening, and about 30 percent remained under waist- or neck-deep waters Tuesday. ...


I wanna know who gave Manila permission to take all the Midwest's rain!

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Mon, Aug 6, 2012
from Wall Street Journal:
Hong Kong Cleans Up Massive Plastic Spill
A snowy winter scene isn't exactly standard summer fare, but that's the sight that greeted beach-goers in Hong Kong over the weekend. Millions of tiny white plastic pellets have been washing up on the city's shores for the past two weeks, since the city was struck by the worst typhoon in over a decade last month. The storm knocked six containers containing 150 tons of plastic pellets off a ship just south of Hong Kong, sending a tide of white confetti pouring into the waters, which swiftly began washing up on Hong Kong's shores.... Typically measuring just a few millimeters in diameter, the white plastic pellets--also known as "nurdles"--are used as the raw material to produce other plastic products. Experts say that while the pellets aren't toxic themselves, they absorb chemicals and other pollutants from the environment, and could threaten fish or other marine life that consume them. ...


Nurdles sound like such a delicious snack food!

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Mon, Aug 6, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Opinion: Ignore climate Cassandra at our peril
The first scientist to alert Americans to the prospect that human-caused climate change and global warming was already upon us was NASA climatologist James Hansen. In a sweltering Senate hall during the hot, dry summer of 1988, Hansen announced that "it is time to stop waffling.... The evidence is pretty strong that the [human-amplified] greenhouse effect is here."... Hansen, it turns out, was right, and the critics were wrong. Rather than being reckless, as some of his critics charged, his announcement to the world proved to be prescient - and his critics were proven overly cautious.... the record-breaking heat this summer over so much of the United States, where records that have stood since the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s are now dropping like flies, isn't just a fluke of nature; it is the loading of the weather dice playing out in real time. ...


Remember, the singular form of the word dice is die.

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Fri, Aug 3, 2012
from New York Times:
Big Drought Makes for a Small 'Dead Zone'
Researchers from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium have found that this summer's hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico - the oxygen-devoid area of water colloquially known as the dead zone - covers one of the smallest areas recorded since scientists began measuring the hypoxic zone in 1985.... "Because of the massive drought in the Midwest, there's a whole lot less fertilizer being flushed into the rivers and whole lot less water being flushed into the gulf," said Don Scavia, an aquatic ecologist with the University of Michigan.... Dr. Scavia said the small size of this years hypoxic zone was especially interesting because a reduction in the amount of nitrates entering the gulf has an immediate effect. "If we could find some way to stop all that nitrate from going down the river, the problem would be solved in a year or two," he said. ...


The natural balance of environmental collapse is a wonder to behold!

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Wed, Aug 1, 2012
from San Jose Mercury News:
California prepares for harsh realities of changing climate
Climate change is real and unfolding, and the outlook for California is bleak. A series of state-sponsored scientific studies released Tuesday warns that California can expect more scorching heat waves, severe and damaging wildfires, emergency room visits and strain on the electric grid as the Earth continues to warm and sea levels rise along the state's 1,100-mile long coast. Higher temperatures in the next decade means that far more of the state's 37 million people will depend on air conditioning--increasing demand for electricity by up to 1 gigawatt during hot summer months. One gigawatt is roughly the size of two coal-fired power plants and is enough energy to power 750,000 homes. ...


As long as the entertainment industry keeps ignoring climate change, we're good!

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Tue, Jul 31, 2012
from ClimateWire:
1988 vs 2012: How heat waves and droughts fuel climate perception
Coming on the heels of decades of research, the 1988 North American drought bridged the gap between scientific and popular understanding, pulling climate change down out of the atmosphere and planting it firmly in the minds of the U.S. public. From that union came the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the modern climate movement and its counterpart, the climate skeptic movement. More than two decades later, the drought of 2012 has reignited national interest in global warming. National news coverage is up, and a recent poll found that recognition of climate change rose 5 percent on the back of the July heat wave. Yet the debate today is framed within fundamentally different parameters, polarized by party lines and upstaged at every turn by the woes of a flagging global economy. For a significant portion of Americans' belief in climate change seems inextricably linked to the weather, rising with the temperature only to fade again as the seasons turn. ...


Americans are fair weather fans.

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Sat, Jul 28, 2012
from AP, via Yahoo, via DesdemonaDespair:
Report shows US drought rapidly intensifying
The widest drought to grip the United States in decades is getting worse with no signs of abating, a new report warned Thursday, as state officials urged conservation and more ranchers considered selling cattle. The drought covering two-thirds of the continental U.S. had been considered relatively shallow, the product of months without rain, rather than years. But Thursday's report showed its intensity is rapidly increasing, with 20 percent of the nation now in the two worst stages of drought -- up 7 percent from last week. The U.S. Drought Monitor classifies drought in various stages, from moderate to severe, extreme and, ultimately, exceptional. Five states -- Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska -- are blanketed by a drought that is severe or worse. States like Arkansas and Oklahoma are nearly as bad, with most areas covered in a severe drought and large portions in extreme or exceptional drought. ...


You say drought, I say "temporary natural variation."

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Sun, Jul 22, 2012
from New Scientist:
2011 heatwave transformed Australian marine life
Heatwaves aren't just a problem for humans. They can reshape marine ecosystems too. Such extreme weather events will become more common because of climate change. They can ravage land ecosystems, but until now little has been known about their effects in the seas. Events last year in the sea off Australia's west coast suggest that the impact can be extreme and rapid. For more than ten weeks beginning in January, sea temperatures were between 2 deg C and 4 deg C warmer than usual along a 2000-kilometre stretch of coast - the area's most extreme warming event since records began.... The ecosystem had lost complexity. The kelp (Ecklonia radiate) that covered 80 per cent of the area, providing a range of habitats, had declined to cover just 50 per cent. Mats of algal "turf", which create fewer distinct niches, had moved in instead.... Thomas predicts that climate change will commit 15 to 37 per cent of species to extinction by 2050 (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature02121). He says the toll may be made worse by more frequent extreme weather events. ...


Perhaps it's time for some extreme grassroots events!

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Fri, Jul 20, 2012
from Reuters, via Chicago Tribune, from DesdemonaDespair:
US drought could go through October: forecasters
Hotter-than-normal temperatures are expected through October over most of the contiguous 48 U.S. states, with below-average precipitation for Midwest areas already hit by the worst drought in a half century, government forecasters said on Thursday. Experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration did not rule out drought that could continue past October, and they noted that there was a chance of an El Nino pattern that could mean more excessive heat and dry conditions by the end of 2012.... "There's a greater chance that there is no relief possible or in sight" for the U.S. Midwest, Collins said, stressing that these are probabilities, not definitive predictions. ...


Apocaiku:
Evident absence / of rain. Evidence denied / will not stay absent.

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Wed, Jul 18, 2012
from InsideClimate News:
As Drought Punishes, Some Americans Reeling from Billion-Dollar Hail Damage
While the nation is fixated on the punishing heat and drought gripping the United States, parts of the country are still coping with losses from another blast of extreme weather that battered their cities, towns and farms this spring: hailstorms. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said there were about 500 more reports of one-inch diameter or larger hail the first half of this year than the 2005-2011 average. Property damage from just two intense hailstorms that hit large cities could exceed $1.5 billion. ...


These days it's either hell or hail.

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Tue, Jul 17, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Generation X on climate change: Meh
Generation X may not be the stereotypical slackers of those '90s cult classic movies, but here's one issue they have trouble caring about: climate change. The generation that was once poked fun at in pop culture for being underachieving slackers has grown into an educated, wired and scientifically literate generation. But record-breaking heat waves, epic droughts and killer tornadoes haven't sounded the climate change alarm for these adults, aged 32 to 52, according to a University of Michigan report released on Tuesday. With careers, families and kids, Gen X just has bigger concerns, the long-term survey found. They are only slightly more interested in climate change than their parents' generation -- even though more than half of those surveyed believed climate change is a real problem, the study found. ...


Dude, where's my SUV?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 16, 2012
from NOAA via ScienceDaily:
Back-To-Back La Ninas Cooled Globe and Influenced Extreme Weather in 2011
Worldwide, 2011 was the coolest year on record since 2008, yet temperatures remained above the 30 year average, according to the 2011 State of the Climate report released online today (July 10, 2012) by NOAA ... Two back-to-back La Ninas, each characterized by cooler-than-average water temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific, affected regional climates and influenced many of the world's significant weather events throughout the year. ...


Cormac McCarthy: You never know what worse luck your bad luck is saving you from.

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Tue, Jul 10, 2012
from Reuters:
Continental U.S. breaks heat record in first half of 2012
Scorching temperatures in June's second half helped the continental United States break its record for the hottest first six months in a calendar year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Monday. The last 12 months also have been the warmest since modern record-keeping began in 1895, narrowly beating the previous 12-month period that ended in May 2012. Every state except Washington in the contiguous United States had warmer-than-average temperatures for the June 2011-June 2012 period. The recent blistering heat wave broke records across much of the United States, threatening the Midwest's corn crop and helping to fan destructive wildfires. ...


I am too damn hot to come up with a quip.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 9, 2012
from Alternet:
Climate Change: 'This Is Just the Beginning'
Evidence supporting the existence of climate change is pummeling the United States this summer, from the mountain wildfires of Colorado to the recent "derecho" storm that left at least 23 dead and 1.4 million people without power from Illinois to Virginia. The phrase "extreme weather" flashes across television screens from coast to coast, but its connection to climate change is consistently ignored, if not outright mocked. If our news media, including -- or especially -- the meteorologists, continue to ignore the essential link between extreme weather and climate change, then we as a nation, the greatest per capita polluters on the planet, may not act in time to avert even greater catastrophe. More than 2,000 heat records were broken last week around the U.S. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the government agency that tracks the data, reported that the spring of 2012 :marked the largest temperature departure from average of any season on record for the contiguous United States." ...


Horror is the new normal.

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Thu, Jun 7, 2012
from E&E Publishing:
Record N.M. blaze behaving differently from last year's fires
A wildfire has burned through more than 255,000 acres in the Gila National Forest, eclipsing last summer's Las Conchas fire as the largest blaze in New Mexico history. Two years of drought and winds of up to 50 miles an hour have created perfect conditions for the fire, which began as two separate lightning-sparked blazes but merged May 23. As of this morning, the fire was "very active" and exhibiting "extreme behavior," including some flaring into treetops, the interagency Southwest Coordination Center said. ...


Why do you think they call it a wildfire.

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Mon, May 28, 2012
from Agence France-Press:
North Korea suffering severe drought
North Korean state media says the impoverished communist country is suffering a prolonged and widespread drought, raising fears it will worsen already dire food shortages. If the unusually dry weather persists to the end of the month, it will be the driest May in 50 years in western coastal areas, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, warning: "The drought is expected to get more serious." ...


My state media says it's pouring in North Korea.

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Thu, May 17, 2012
from Des Moines Register:
Report: Floods are growing trend
Heavy rainfall is falling more often in the Midwest and severe flooding has doubled in the last half-century, according to a report by two environmental groups. The study was released Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization. The research concludes storms that led to flooding that swamped Cedar Rapids in 2008 and that forced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to blow up a Mississippi River levee to save Cairo, Ill., in 2011 are part of a growing climate trend. Between 1961 and 2011, Iowa had a 32 percent increase in storms that brought 3 or more inches of rain in 24 hours, said the report, titled, "Doubled Trouble: More Midwestern Extreme Storms." ...


Might we say there is a flood of floods?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, May 7, 2012
from Yale Environment 300:
Could a Changing Climate Set Off Volcanoes and Quakes?
Geological disasters might influence climate, for instance when volcanic debris blots out the sun. But climate cannot disrupt geology. Right? Well, actually no, says a British geologist Bill McGuire, in a troubling new book, Waking The Giant: How a Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Volcanoes. There is, McGuire argues, growing evidence to incriminate changing climate in the planet's most destructive geological events. Melting ice sheets and changes in sea level can, he maintains, set off the largest earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Indeed, thanks to climate change, a human hand may already be at work. Potentially, McGuire's argument adds a whole new dimension to why we should be worried about climate change. ...


I'd be soooo disappointed if there weren't volcanoes and earthquakes!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 1, 2012
from Reuters:
App depicts impact of climate change on planet
Whether it is melting glaciers, coastal erosion or drying lakes, a new app displays the impact of climate change on the planet by using before and after satellite images. Called Fragile Earth, the app for iPhone and iPad shows how our planet is impacted by global warming by featuring more than 70 sites such the receding Muir Glacier in Alaska, the impact of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the draining of the Mesopotamia Marshes in Iraq. ...


Appocalypse Now

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Tue, May 1, 2012
from Associated Press:
Flooding disperses invasive plant, fish species
Last year's hurricanes and flooding not only engulfed homes and carried away roads and bridges in hard-hit areas of the country, it dispersed aggressive invasive species as well. In Vermont, the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Irene and work afterward to dredge rivers and remove debris spread fragments of Japanese knotweed, a plant that threatens to take over flood plains wiped clean by the August storm. The overflowing Missouri and Mississippi rivers last year launched Asian carp into lakes and oxbows where the fish had not been seen before, from Louisiana to the Iowa Great Lakes. Flooding also increased the population along the Missouri River of purple loosestrife, a plant that suppresses native plants and alters wetlands. ...


Hurricanes: the Great Mother of Abundance.

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Tue, Apr 17, 2012
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Satellite observes rapid ice shelf disintegration in Antarctic
Now, with ten years of observations using its Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR), Envisat has mapped an additional loss in Larsen B's area of 1790 sq km over the past decade.... "The northern Antarctic Peninsula has been subject to atmospheric warming of about 2.5 degrees C over the last 50 years - a much stronger warming trend than on global average, causing retreat and disintegration of ice shelves."... The Envisat observations of the Larsen Ice Shelf confirm the vulnerability of ice shelves to climatic warming and demonstrate the importance of ice shelves for the stability of glaciers upstream. ...


If we renamed it Proarctica, would we treat it differently?

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Mon, Apr 16, 2012
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Britain faces worst drought since 1976
Half of Britain is now in drought as the country faces its most severe water shortage since 1976, the Environment Agency warns today. More than 35 million people are now living in drought-affected areas, with water shortages today declared across the Midlands and South West. Parts of the country are already drier than they were in the summer of 1976, when Britain experienced its worst drought for more than 100 years. The drought of 1976 led to standpipes being installed in residential streets, water supplies to businesses being rationed and schools having to close early. ...


When it doesn't rain, it doesn't pour.

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Tue, Apr 10, 2012
from Michael Tobis, Planet 3.0:
Disequilibrium is not Your Friend
If a place is ten degrees above normal at a time of one degree of global warming, it does not make sense to say that one degree is due to climate change, and nine degrees "would have happened anyway", even in a statistical sense. It implies that the dynamics of the system are the same under perturbation. Is that a realistic presumption in the absence of other evidence? I think it shows a weak understanding of general systems principles to make that case.... Sure enough, the distribution of regional anomalies isn't just shifting to the warm side. It's also getting broader. It seems to me surprising that anyone expected anything different. The presumption that global warming should be expected to be a benign and gradual process has no basis in anything but tradition. Any basis in general systems theory indicates the opposite.... And this is why "global warming" is an inadequate name for what is happening. Climate is changing very quickly. Some of the slower parts of the system are just starting to wake up. We are entering a period of increasing disequilibrium, and what we are seeing is unequivocally worse than we expected. ...


I don't think "Stop Global Disequilibration" will fit on a bumper sticker.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Apr 3, 2012
from Neorenaissance:
A Message from a Republican Meteorologist on Climate Change
I'm going to tell you something that my Republican friends are loath to admit out loud: climate change is real. I am a moderate Republican, fiscally conservative; a fan of small government, accountability, self-empowerment, and sound science. I am not a climate scientist. I'm a meteorologist, and the weather maps I'm staring at are making me uncomfortable. No, you're not imagining it: we've clicked into a new and almost foreign weather pattern. To complicate matters, I'm in a small, frustrated and endangered minority: a Republican deeply concerned about the environmental sacrifices some are asking us to make to keep our economy powered-up, long-term. It's ironic. The root of the word conservative is "conserve." A staunch Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, set aside vast swaths of America for our National Parks System, the envy of the world. Another Republican, Richard Nixon, launched the EPA. Now some in my party believe the EPA and all those silly "global warming alarmists" are going to get in the way of drilling and mining our way to prosperity. Well, we have good reason to be alarmed. ...


You know you're in big trouble when the Republican meteorologist is uncomfortable!

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Mon, Apr 2, 2012
from Bloomberg BusinessWeek:
'Mind Boggling' Warmth Set or Tied 7,577 Highs
Chicago had its all-time warmest March, while New York's Central Park had its second-hottest as thousands of new weather records were set or tied across the U.S., according to the National Weather Service. The average temperature for the month in Chicago was 53.5 degrees Fahrenheit (11.9 Celsius). That topped the previous mark of 48.6 degrees, set in 1910 and matched in 1945, the weather service said, citing data compiled since 1873. In New York, the average temperature was 50.9 degrees, which was 8.9 degrees above normal, while below the record 51.1 degrees in 1945, according to the weather service. "To put it in perspective, if it was April, it would still be in the top 10, as far as warmest. It is mind-boggling," said Tom Kines, a meteorologist for AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. "There are many areas across the upper Midwest that have had their warmest March ever. That seems to be where the core of the warmth was." ...


Once again, reality is implying that warmists have a point.

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Thu, Mar 29, 2012
from New York Times:
Scientists Look to Thinning Ice to Explain Weather Weirding
Lurching from one weather extreme to another seems to have become routine across the Northern Hemisphere. Parts of the United States may be shivering now, but Scotland is setting heat records. Across Europe, people died by the hundreds during a severe cold wave in the first half of February, but a week later revelers in Paris were strolling down the Champs-Elysees in their shirt-sleeves.... "The question really is not whether the loss of the sea ice can be affecting the atmospheric circulation on a large scale," said Jennifer A. Francis, a Rutgers University climate researcher. "The question is, how can it not be, and what are the mechanisms?"... "A changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration and timing of extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events," the report found.... February was the 324th consecutive month in which global temperatures exceeded their long-term average for a given month; the last month with below-average temperatures was February 1985. ...


324 consecutive months? That's just fuzzy math.

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Tue, Mar 27, 2012
from Reuters:
Link builds between weather extremes and warming
Extreme weather events over the past decade have increased and were "very likely" caused by manmade global warming, a study in the journal Nature Climate Change said on Sunday. Scientists at Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Research used physics, statistical analysis and computer simulations to link extreme rainfall and heat waves to global warming. The link between warming and storms was less clear. "It is very likely that several of the unprecedented extremes of the past decade would not have occurred without anthropogenic global warming," said the study. The past decade was probably the warmest globally for at least a millennium. ...


What a comfort to know we'll have it all figured out by the Apocalypse.

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Sat, Mar 24, 2012
from Agence France-Press:
2001-2010 warmest decade on record: WMO
Climate change has accelerated in the past decade, the UN weather agency said Friday, releasing data showing that 2001 to 2010 was the warmest decade on record. The 10-year period was also marked by extreme levels of rain or snowfall, leading to significant flooding on all continents, while droughts affected parts of East Africa and North America.... Nine of the 10 years also counted among the 10 warmest on record, it added, noting that "climate change accelerated" during the first decade of the 21st century. ...


Proof of global climate strange.

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Mon, Mar 12, 2012
from National Geographic:
Spiderwebs Blanket Countryside After Australian Floods
In an arachnophobe's worst nightmare, swarms of spiders spin webs in a bush in flood-ravaged Wagga Wagga (map), Australia, Tuesday. After a week of record rain, floodwaters across eastern Australia have forced the ground-dwelling spiders--and at least 13,000 people--to flee their homes, according to Reuters. The rampant webs blanketing vast stretches of Wagga Wagga are likely "a dispersal mechanism that allows [spiders] to move out of places where they'd surely be drowned," said Robert Matthews, a professor emeritus of entomology at the University of Georgia. Producing large quantities of silk creates a sort of "vast trampoline" that supports the spiders as they're fleeing the water, he noted. ...


That's only a little incredibly creepy.

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Mon, Mar 12, 2012
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Warm weather puts chill on business for ski resorts
It's been a challenging winter for Wisconsin ski resorts, to say the least. First, there was no snow, and it wasn't cold enough for ski resorts to make their own. Then potential visitors assumed ski resorts weren't open because there was no snow anywhere else. On Sunday, temperatures peaked at 66 degrees in Milwaukee, tying a record high from 1973 that's 25 degrees above normal. Meteorologists forecast a high in the 70s Wednesday. But if that didn't persuade resort managers it might be time to put away the mittens and give up on winter, all they had to do was look around. "There's a gentleman sitting at the bar in shorts," Meg Sedgwick, assistant general manager with the Sunburst Ski Area in Kewaskum said Sunday. "We won't be making snow at this stage of the game anymore. It's not cost-effective. People start thinking of golf rather than skiing." ...


It's a comfort to know that in the post-Apocalypse there will be plenty of golf!

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Thu, Mar 8, 2012
from Indiana University:
IU scientists detect seismic signals produced by tornado activity
An Indiana University geophysical experiment detected unusual seismic signals associated with tornadoes that struck regions across the Midwest last week -- information that may have value for meteorologists studying the atmospheric activity that precedes tornado disasters. The experiment by IU researchers involves deployment of more than 100 state-of-the-art digital seismographs in a broad swath of the U.S. midcontinent. One of the twisters that struck southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois on Feb. 29 passed through the seismic detection array. ...


What do we call this thing? Torcano? Volnado?

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Mon, Mar 5, 2012
from San Antonio Express-News:
Climate change made the drought worse, scientists say
Several scientists at NASA and the state climatologist say the record-setting heat and drought of last summer in Texas was made worse by climate change... "We conclude that extreme heat waves, such as that in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010, were 'caused' by global warming, because their likelihood was negligible prior to the recent rapid global warming," [James Hansen] wrote in the paper that is still undergoing peer review. "We can say with a high degree of confidence that these extreme anomalies were a consequence of global warming." ...


In Texas, global warming doesn't exist.

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Mon, Feb 27, 2012
from Chicago Tribune:
Back to normal weather, please
...It's a hungry world out there, and believe it or not, a warm, dry winter in the Midwest weighs against the prospects for the upcoming corn and soybean crop. Think weeds. Think bugs. Think about how soil loses its moisture without its customary blanket of snow. Then consider that global stockpiles of grain and oilseeds stand at low levels, and demand is going strong... As anyone who has set foot outside can attest, temperatures have hovered well above normal. In Illinois, the average for December/January of 33.4 degrees far exceeded the historical average of 27.2. As of last week, February had clocked in at 7.2 degrees warmer than the norm. ...


Abnormal is the new normal.

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Mon, Feb 13, 2012
from PhysOrg:
With climate change, today's '100-year floods' may happen every 3 to 20 years: research
Last August, Hurricane Irene spun through the Caribbean and parts of the eastern United States, leaving widespread wreckage in its wake. The Category 3 storm whipped up water levels, generating storm surges that swept over seawalls and flooded seaside and inland communities. Many hurricane analysts suggested, based on the wide extent of flooding, that Irene was a "100-year event": a storm that only comes around once in a century. However, researchers from MIT and Princeton University have found that with climate change, such storms could make landfall far more frequently, causing powerful, devastating storm surges every three to 20 years. The group simulated tens of thousands of storms under different climate conditions, finding that today's "500-year floods" could, with climate change, occur once every 25 to 240 years. The researchers published their results in the current issue of Nature Climate Change.... But with added greenhouse gas emissions, the models found that a two-meter surge flood would instead occur once every three to 20 years; a three-meter flood would occur every 25 to 240 years. ...


Time-lapse reality.

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Thu, Feb 2, 2012
from Reuters, via Scientific American:
Drought and Warmer Weather Persist in Much of U.S.
Weird weather kept vexing large swathes of the United States over the last week, with unseasonably warm and dry conditions melting northern snows and spreading drought through the southwest, even as heavy rains soaked parched pastures in Texas and Oklahoma, according to climate experts. Unseasonably warm temperatures were noted in Kansas and across many areas of the central Plains, with Kansas recording temperatures well above 60 degrees Fahrenheit this week.... Texas is trying to emerge from a year that saw records shattered for both high heat and lack of moisture. The one-year period between November 1, 2010, and October 31, 2011, was the driest in the state's history, and three-month period of June to August in Texas was the hottest ever reported by any state in U.S. history, according to state and federal climate experts. ...


It ain't just the heat, it's the non-humidity!

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Wed, Feb 1, 2012
from New York Times:
Food Crisis as Drought and Cold Hit Mexico
A drought that a government official called the most severe Mexico had ever faced has left two million people without access to water and, coupled with a cold snap, has devastated cropland in nearly half of the country.... While the authorities say they expect the situation to worsen, one of the five worst-affected states, Zacatecas, got a reprieve on Sunday. Heriberto Felix Guerra, head of the Ministry of Social Development, saw the rain, the first in 17 months, as a guardedly reassuring sign.... ...


What, they don't have faucets in Mexico? Or supermarkets?

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Fri, Jan 27, 2012
from London Guardian:
Flooding rated as worst climate change threat facing UK
Flooding is the greatest threat to the UK posed by climate change, with up to 3.6 million people at risk by the middle of the century, according to a report published on Thursday by the environment department. The first comprehensive climate change risk assessment for the UK identifies hundreds of ways rising global temperatures will have an impact if no action is taken. They include the financial damage caused by flooding, which would increase to £2bn-£10bn a year by 2080, more deaths in heatwaves, and large-scale water shortages by mid-century. ...


That's far too many people for an ark.

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Mon, Jan 23, 2012
from BBC:
Arctic Ocean freshwater bulge detected
UK scientists have detected a huge dome of freshwater that is developing in the western Arctic Ocean. The bulge is some 8,000 cubic km in size and has risen by about 15cm since 2002. The team thinks it may be the result of strong winds whipping up a great clockwise current in the northern polar region called the Beaufort Gyre.... "What we seen occurring is precisely what the climate models had predicted," said Dr Giles. "When you have clockwise rotation - the freshwater is stored. If the wind goes the other way - and that has happened in the past - then the freshwater can be pushed to the margins of the Arctic Ocean. "If the spin-up starts to spin down, the freshwater could be released. It could go to the rest of the Arctic Ocean or even leave the Arctic Ocean." If the freshwater were to enter the North Atlantic in large volumes, the concern would be that it might disturb the currents that have such a great influence on European weather patterns. These currents draw warm waters up from the tropics, maintaining milder temperatures in winter than would ordinarily be expected at northern European latitudes. ...


Is that a bulge in your Arctic, or are you just happy to be predicted?

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Sat, Jan 14, 2012
from Live Science:
How Warmer Summers Cause Colder Winters
Counter to what logic might suggest, warm summers actually trigger cold winters, according to a new study. The study, detailed in the Jan. 13 issue of the journal Environmental Research Letters,offers an explanation for the recent harsh winters in the Northern Hemisphere: Increasing temperatures and melting ice in the Arctic regions are creating more snowfall in the autumn months at lower latitudes, which, in turn, affects an atmospheric pattern that leads to colder winters. ...


It's as if weather was somehow tied to climate.

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Wed, Jan 11, 2012
from Colorado Independent:
Snow drought forces Colorado to face frightening new climate-change reality
Just a year after record snowfall throughout much of the Rocky Mountain West, the region is locked in a snow drought not seen since Jimmy Carter surrendered the White House to Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s. "We have had some very unusual weather so far this season," Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said Friday. "For the first time in 30 years, a lack of snow has not allowed us to open the back bowls in Vail as of January 6, 2012, and, for the first time since the late 1800s, it did not snow at all in Tahoe in December." ...


Snow drought = snought.

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Thu, Jan 5, 2012
from TED, via The Oil Drum:
Jeremy Jackson talks about How We Wrecked the Ocean

Jeremy Jackson is the Ritter Professor of Oceanography and Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. ...


You can tell me, but you can't force me to see!

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Tue, Jan 3, 2012
from Associated Press:
Chile battles 3 huge forest fires; 1 elderly man killed
Firefighters in Chile battled three huge wildfires Monday that have burned about 90 square miles (23,000 hectares) of forest, destroyed more than 100 homes and have driven away thousands of tourists while causing millions of dollars in losses. The fires also claimed their first victim: an elderly man who refused warnings to leave his home. Chile's normally rainy southern regions are suffering from a nationwide heat wave, on top of a drought that makes fires increasingly likely. The country was battling 48 separate fires on Sunday alone, and red alerts were declared for the regions of Magallanes, Bio Bio and Maule. ...


Too bad Chile ... isn't.

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Tue, Jan 3, 2012
from The Daily Climate:
Climate coverage down again in 2011
Media coverage of climate change continued to tumble in 2011, declining roughly 20 percent from 2010's levels and nearly 42 percent from 2009's peak, according to analysis of DailyClimate.org's archive of global media. ...


What we don't know can't hurt us!

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Wed, Dec 28, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
Drought Leads to Stray Donkey Deluge
Law-enforcement agencies in Texas are grappling with an unusual problem: stray donkeys, which are roaming roads and fields in growing numbers and overwhelming animal shelters. The donkey predicament is one of the odder ramifications of the record-setting drought that has dried up Texas. Hay supplies have shriveled, causing prices for a bale to more than double over the past year. Now, authorities say, owners who no longer can afford to feed their donkeys are turning them loose. "The donkey problem is epidemic," said Patrick Bonner, senior sergeant at the Dallas County Sheriff's Department. "We're inundated." ...


This is way beyond political symbolism.

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Tue, Dec 27, 2011
from University of Miami via ScienceDaily:
Link Between Earthquakes and Tropical Cyclones: New Study May Help Scientists Identify Regions at High Risk for Earthquakes
A groundbreaking study led by University of Miami (UM) scientist Shimon Wdowinski shows that earthquakes, including the recent 2010 temblors in Haiti and Taiwan, may be triggered by tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons), according to a presentation of the findings at the 2011 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco. ...


A "groundbreaking" study, indeed.

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Thu, Dec 22, 2011
from Reuters:
Texas drought kills as many as half a billion trees
The massive drought that has dried out Texas over the past year has killed as many as half a billion trees, according to new estimates from the Texas Forest Service. ...


Trees just cause pollution anyway.

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Tue, Dec 13, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Vermont Law School's Top 10 Environmental Watch List for 2012
Vermont Law School, which has one of the top-ranked environmental law programs in the country, just released its second annual Top 10 Environmental Watch List of issues and developments that should be closely followed in 2012. Top of the list? Republican attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency. According to an innovative online database set up by L.A.'s own Rep. Henry Waxman, there have been 170 anti-environmental votes under the Republican majority in the 112th Congress, and 91 of them attacked the EPA. Other hot topics on the watch list include that same EPA and the White House clashing over ozone standards, the activist effort to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and landmark settlements under the Endangered Species Act. ...


Actually, top of the list: Republicans' farts; they're way worse than Democrats' farts.

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Thu, Dec 1, 2011
from Reuters:
WMO: 2011 one of hottest years on record
The world is getting hotter, with 2011 one of the warmest years on record, and humans are to blame, a report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Tuesday. It warned increasing global average temperatures were expected to amplify floods, droughts and other extreme weather patterns. "Our science is solid and it proves unequivocally that the world is warming and that this warming is due to human activities," WMO Deputy Secretary-General Jerry Lengoasa told reporters in Durban, where almost 200 nations are gathered for U.N. climate talks. ...


Deja vu screwed.

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Wed, Nov 30, 2011
from New York Times:
As Texas Drought Reveals Secrets of the Deep
Despite periodic rainstorms, lower temperatures and even snowfall in Amarillo late last month, Texas remains in the midst of one of its worst droughts. From January through October, statewide rainfall totaled 10.77 inches, about 15 inches below average. The year that ended in September was the driest in Texas since at least 1895, when statewide weather records begin, breaking the previous record low set in 1956 by 2.5 inches. "It's the most severe single-year drought on record," said John Nielsen-Gammon, the state climatologist and a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University. "There literally is no point of comparison."... The water levels at many of the state's man-made lakes have become a drought barometer. Lake levels have decreased statewide by as little as a few feet to as much as 50 feet or more. Some lakes are completely dry, and others are close to it. Lake E. V. Spence in West Texas, which normally has a maximum depth of 108 feet, is less than 1 percent full. ...


Boy, when Texas does drought, they do it big!

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Tue, Nov 29, 2011
from MSNBC, via DesdemonaDespair:
Snowless Scandinavians wonder 'where's winter?' This fall on track to become one of the warmest on record
For some reason, Scandinavia is not its frigid self, with unusually warm weather delaying the onset of winter in northern latitudes normally decked in white. The lack of snow has been bad news for winter sports -- World Cup ski races have been dropped, or held on artificial snow, and mountain ski resorts are unable to open. There are even reports of bird song and blooming gardens in some places typically entering the winter freeze at this time of year. "Some flowers, like roses, have actually begun to blossom for a second time," said Mats Rosenberg, a biologist in Orebro, south-central Sweden.... Animals -- such as stoats, hares and willow grouse -- that change color with the season turned white weeks before the snows came, bringing an eerie feeling to the snowless wilds of Lapland. "It was really very weird -- ghost-like white figures darting among the yellow leaves and lichen," said Viljo Pesonen, mayor of the town of 9,000. ...


The "ghost-like figures" of winters past and future.

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Thu, Nov 17, 2011
from Labspaces:
Erratic, extreme day-to-day weather puts climate change in new light
The first climate study to focus on variations in daily weather conditions has found that day-to-day weather has grown increasingly erratic and extreme, with significant fluctuations in sunshine and rainfall affecting more than a third of the planet. Princeton University researchers recently reported in the Journal of Climate that extremely sunny or cloudy days are more common than in the early 1980s, and that swings from thunderstorms to dry days rose considerably since the late 1990s. These swings could have consequences for ecosystem stability and the control of pests and diseases, as well as for industries such as agriculture and solar-energy production, all of which are vulnerable to inconsistent and extreme weather, the researchers noted.... Constant fluctuations in severe conditions could alter how the atmosphere distributes heat and rainfall, as well as inhibit the ability of plants to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, possibly leading to higher levels of the greenhouse gas than currently accounted for. ...


I think it's time to invent the Tentumbrella.

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Tue, Nov 15, 2011
from AP, via HuffingtonPost:
Texas Wildfire Season Hits One-Year Mark With No End In Sight
The devastating Texas wildfire season reaches the one-year mark on Tuesday, and there appears to be no end in sight as officials brace for large blazes that could ignite anywhere across the drought-stricken state. Despite a recent lull in fire activity statewide, the threat remains in parts of Texas, so the Texas Forest Service is not declaring an end to the wildfire season that started Nov. 15, 2010. "This year is a little harder to call (for an ending point) because we're still picking up some fire calls daily," said Tom Spencer, director of the Texas Forest Service's predictive services department. And officials are expecting some large fires this winter and next spring because of dead trees and pastures across the bone-dry state, he said.... In the past year, wildfires statewide have destroyed nearly 4 million acres and more than 2,900 homes, killing 10 people. ...


"Seasons" are so last century.

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Mon, Nov 14, 2011
from Science News:
Dirty air fosters precipitation extremes
Even clouds can suffer from inhaling air pollution, a new study finds, resulting in extreme rainfall patterns that appear to be altering climate across the globe. Farmers, municipal water authorities and others who depend on rainfall prefer moderate, dependable precipitation. But as soot and other minute airborne particles -- a class of pollutants known as aerosols -- get sucked into clouds, the pollution can dramatically alter when clouds deposit rain. The discovery emerged from analyzing every one of thousands of clouds passing over federal monitoring instruments at a site in the western United States over a 10-year period.... The study also reveals unprecedented magnitudes of impacts, says coauthor Daniel Rosenfeld of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. ...


Somebody get those poor clouds some protection!

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Thu, Nov 10, 2011
from Anchorage Daily News:
Alaskan 'hurricane' generates 10'+ storm surge, 30' waves
At its peak, the storm surge and high tide rose seas about 10 feet above normal water levels tonight, Kearney said. "The sea level will remain steady into the early morning hours and then start to come down tomorrow morning." To the east of Nome, in Norton Sound, peak water levels were expected to arrive later tonight with the Weather Service warning of "significant impacts" in the village of Golovin.... Winds of 93 mph were clocked late Tuesday and early Wednesday on Diomede.... Two anemometers on the island measured the hurricane-force blasts.... But "by the time it got light it was obvious that there were serious problems. We just didn't appreciate what we were experiencing until we saw it." Waves over 30 feet high wiped everything off the whole southern portion of the island, Schmitt said. Heavy equipment and at least two metal Connex storage units were claimed by the water. A Connex weighs about 2,500 pounds empty, he said. One of the units was full of steel. It was rolled into a mangled mess. An empty Connex was washed away along with other supplies and equipment, Schmitt said. "The old man of the sea's got 'em now." ...


Don't be ridiculous. They don't get hurricanes in Alaska!

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Tue, Nov 8, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Are birds getting bigger because of global climate change?
Birds in central California are significantly larger than they were 25 to 40 years ago, and researchers believe it may be because they are bulking up in body weight to ride out severe storms related to global climate change. Over the last 25 years, a robin, for example, has increased about an eighth of an inch in wing length and about 0.2 ounces in mass, according to a paper published online in Global Change Biology. The findings fly in the face of assumptions based on an ecological benchmark known as Bergmann's rule: Birds and mammals tend to be larger at higher latitudes, perhaps to conserve body heat. Under this reasoning, birds and mammals would get smaller as they adapted to rising global temperatures. ...


The sky isn't falling; the birds are falling because they're too fat to fly!

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Tue, Nov 1, 2011
from Associated Press:
APNewsbreak: Future holds more extreme weather
For a world already weary of weather catastrophes, the latest warning from top climate scientists paints a grim future: More floods, more heat waves, more droughts and greater costs to deal with them. A draft summary of an international scientific report obtained by The Associated Press says the extremes caused by global warming could eventually grow so severe that some locations become "increasingly marginal as places to live." ...


It's always more, more, more with these climate scientists!

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Fri, Oct 21, 2011
from BusinessGreen:
Climate change could trap hundreds of millions in disaster areas, report claims
Hundreds of millions of people may be trapped in inhospitable environments as they attempt to flee from the effects of global warming, worsening the likely death toll from severe changes to the climate, a UK government committee has found. Refugees forced to leave their homes because of floods, droughts, storms, heatwaves and other effects of climate change are likely to be one of the biggest visible effects of the warming that scientists warn will result from the untrammelled use of fossil fuels, according to the UK government's Foresight group, part of the Office for Science. But many of those people are likely to move from areas affected by global warming into areas even worse afflicted - for instance, by moving into coastal cities in the developing world that are at risk of flood from storms and rising sea levels. ...


Seems to me the disaster area would affect seven billion.

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Fri, Oct 21, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
Floodwaters Reach Bangkok, Region
Floodwaters started seeping into Bangkok Friday, as Thailand's deepening flood crisis cast fresh light on the way rapid urbanization has increased risks for some of the developing world's biggest cities, making them more vulnerable to natural disasters.... The worries in Bangkok are the culmination of months of rising concern across Southeast Asia, after a series of typhoons and unusually-strong seasonal rains pushed reservoirs beyond their limits and sent waters cascading across the region's low-lying flood plains. In Thailand, more than 200 major highways and roads are now impassable, while several key industrial estates have been inundated. Damages are expected to tally at least $6 billion and shave up to two percentage points off gross domestic product, according to economists' estimates. Humanitarian groups said parts of the affected provinces--covering about a third of Thailand --are inaccessible, with some towns under water more than six feet high.... In Cambodia, 18 out of 24 provinces remain inundated, with more than 200,000 people displaced, many of them seeking refuge along national highways. In Vietnam, search-and-rescue teams are still struggling to reach some of the hardest-hit areas. A total of 776 people across the region have died. ...


Apres homo, le deluge.

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Tue, Oct 11, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Peanut Butter Price Jumps After Worst Peanut Harvest In 30 Years
Thanks to a failing peanut crop due to last summer's scorching hot weather, there's a shortage of peanuts in supply. Big brands like Peter Pan, Jif and Smucker's are left with little choice but to raise prices, reports the Wall Street Journal. The price jumps range from 24 to 40 percent, with Jif planning to raise prices by 30 percent in November and Peter Pan by up to 24 percent in the coming weeks, reports MarketWatch Radio. So far, the Wall Street Journal says, USDA figures show the cost of a ton of unprocessed peanuts has spiked from $450 to $1,150 since last year. Researchers at New Mexico State University told ABC KOAT News that high heat, strong winds and bone-dry conditions created the worst peanut season in more than 30 years. ...


Next, it'll be Reese's!

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Mon, Oct 10, 2011
from Reuters:
Deadly Thai Floods Close Factories, Threaten Bangkok
Nearly 200 factories, including one run by Japanese car maker Honda Motor Co Ltd, closed in the central Thai province of Ayutthaya because of flooding, which could threaten Bangkok this week, officials said on Sunday. About 261 people have died since late July in flood-related incidents, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said..."All 198 factories at Rojana have to be closed because the water is about 5.1 meters high," Industry Minister Wannarat Channukul told Reuters. ...


Sad about the people, but I am a wreck about the poor factories!

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Wed, Oct 5, 2011
from Rolling Stone:
Climate Change and the End of Australia
Want to know what global warming has in store for us? Just go to Australia, where rivers are drying up, reefs are dying, and fires and floods are ravaging the continent...In the past year -- one of the hottest on record -- extreme weather has battered almost every corner of the planet. There have been devastating droughts in China and India, unprecedented floods and wildfires in the United States, and near-record ice melts in the Arctic. Yet the prosperous nations of the world have failed to take action to reduce the risk of climate change, in part because people in prosperous nations think they're invulnerable. They're under the misapprehension that, as Nobel Prize-winning economist Tom Schelling puts it, "Global warming is a problem that is going to primarily affect future generations of poor people." To see how foolish this reasoning is, one need only look at Australia, a prosperous nation that also happens to be right in the cross hairs of global warming. "Sadly, it's probably too late to save much of it," says Joe Romm, a leading climate advocate who served as assistant energy secretary in the Clinton administration. ...


This continent, apparently, is not too big to fail.

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Fri, Sep 30, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Dengue fever infects over 12,000 in Pakistan
Already cursed by floods and suicide bombings, Pakistan now faces a new menace from an unprecedented outbreak of the deadly tropical disease dengue fever. In less than a month, 126 people have died and more than 12,000 have been diagnosed with the virus, which has spread rapidly among both rich and poor in Pakistan's cultural capital Lahore. Dengue affects between 50 and 100 million people in the tropics and subtropics each year, resulting in fever, muscle and joint ache. But it can also be fatal, developing into haemorrhagic fever and shock syndrome, which is characterised by bleeding and a loss of blood pressure. Caused by four strains of virus spread by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, there is no vaccine -- which is why prevention methods focus on mosquito control. ...


At least it's an equal opportunity disease!

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Wed, Sep 28, 2011
from Salon:
One Republican candidate's hellfire
George Bush Park burst into flames on Sept. 13, one month to the day after Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his candidacy for president of the United States. In a summer of fierce wildfires across Texas, the George Bush Park blaze was the first big fire to erupt inside the city limits of a major metropolis -- in this case, Houston, the nation's fourth largest city and the headquarters of the oil and gas industry, a major contributor to the man-made global warming that Gov. Perry famously insists does not exist... Sizable though it was, the George Bush Park fire was a minor fire in the context of Texas 2011. Some 3.7 million acres of Texas have burned in the last 12 months, an area roughly equal to the state of Connecticut. Fires are still burning today, as the Texas Forest Service reports, yet Gov. Perry has offered little in the way of relief but the power of prayer and positive thinking. ...


Dear God: Please don't vote for Rick Perry.

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Thu, Sep 15, 2011
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Butterfly numbers fall after coldest summer in two decades
The results of the Big Butterfly Count 2011 revealed that the number of individual butterflies seen by each person counting the insects was down 11 per cent on last year. The common blue saw numbers tumble by 61 per cent in the count, which involved more than 34,000 people across the country recording sightings of 322,000 butterflies. Experts at wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation say they had expected a bumper summer for butterflies after a record-breaking hot, dry spring, but the cold summer with prolonged spells of rain hit the insects.... ''The dismal summer weather, the coldest for 18 years, is undoubtedly to blame, although many butterflies have suffered long-term declines as a result of destruction of their habitats by human activities.''... Butterfly Conservation warns that the last four years have seen butterfly numbers plummet to an all-time low, and that almost half of the 59 British species are now under threat. ...


Maybe that explains all those hurricanes.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Sep 13, 2011
from London Daily Telegraph:
Mass starvation of dugongs and turtles on Great Barrier Reef
Along hundreds of miles of beaches and on the shore of small islands, the rotting carcasses of green turtles and dugongs have are being washed ashore in alarming numbers - victims, scientists believe, of the after effects of the cyclone and floods that have afflicted this part of Australia in the past year. Now naturalists fear that up to 1,500 dugongs -- a species of sea cows -- and 6,000 turtles along the Reef are likely to die in the coming months because their main food source, sea grass, which grows on the ocean floor, was largely wiped out by the floods and cyclone....Mark Read, a protected species expert at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, said turtles and dugongs were the "lawnmowers of the sea" and their losses could have a damaging impact on the overall marine ecology. ...


Would that make jellyfish "the weed whackers of the sea"?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Sep 12, 2011
from Guardian:
US counts the cost of nine months of unprecedented weather extremes
As deadly fires continue to burn across bone-dry Texas and eight inches of rain from tropical storm Lee falls on New Orleans, the US is beginning to count the cost of nine months of unprecedented weather extremes. Ever since a massive blizzard causing $2bn of damage paralysed cities from Chicago to the north-east in January, nearly every month has been marked by a $1b+-weather catastrophe. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric administration (Noaa), there have been 10 major disasters already this year, leaving more than 700 people dead and property damage of over $35bn. In the past 31 years the mainland states have suffered 99 weather-related disasters where overall damages and economic costs were over $1bn. This year has seen three times as many than as usual. NOAA will release its August data next week but Summer 2011 is expected to be the warmest on record. Chris Burt, author and leading weather historian, has complied a list of more than 40 cities and towns that have experienced record temperatures this year. "So many heat records of various types have been shattered this past summer that it is impossible to quantify them," he said. "Not since the great heat waves of 1934 and 1936 has the US seen so many heat-related records broken as occurred this summer. ...


The rain is pain and plainly ain't explained.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Sep 10, 2011
from GDACC:
Pennsylvania Groups Express Concerns over Fracking Fluids in Flood Water
As tropical storm Lee continues to dump massive amounts of rain throughout Pennsylvania, concerns are growing over natural gas drilling pits overflowing and spilling their toxic contents into flooded creeks, streams and rivers. There are no currently safeguards in place by the State of Pennsylvania to prevent natural gas drilling and the placing of open pits containing toxic fracking fluids in flood plains.... "While the industry mouths rhetoric about 'safe and responsible' drilling, they do the absolute opposite in fact, storing hundreds of millions of gallons of toxic flowback fluid in open frack pits, now flowing into floodwaters," said Iris Marie Bloom, director of Protecting Our Waters. "Fracking fluid chemicals, and even worse, the radioactive materials, arsenic and other deadly contaminants brought up from the deep shale, should never come into contact with air, water or earth. But here they are flowing with flood waters irreversibly into our ecosystem. This is a public health disaster in the making. Not one more fracking permit should be issued. All open frack pits must be permanently abolished and life-cycle cumulative impact studies done." ...


Who could have predicted that every day wouldn't be sunny and bright!?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Sep 9, 2011
from Associated Press:
UN chief calls for urgent action on climate change
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that urgent action was needed on climate change, pointing to the famine in the Horn of Africa and devastating floods in northern Australia as examples of the suffering caused by global warming. Ban lashed out at climate change skeptics during a speech at the University of Sydney, arguing that science has proven climate change is real..."Watching this high tide standing on the shore of Kiribati, I said, 'High tide shows it's high time to act,'" Ban said. "We are running out of time." ...


"High" this... "high" that... I just want to get high.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Sep 9, 2011
from NOAA:
U.S. experiences second warmest summer on record
The blistering heat experienced by the nation during August, as well as the June through August months, marks the second warmest summer on record according to scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, N.C. The persistent heat, combined with below-average precipitation across the southern U.S. during August and the three summer months, continued a record-breaking drought across the region. ...


Gee, thanks, NOAA; next you'll be telling us there's no need to build an ark.

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Thu, Sep 8, 2011
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Last two winters' warm extremes more severe than their cold snaps
During the last two winters, some regions of the northern hemisphere experienced extreme cold not seen in recent decades. But at the same time, the winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11 were also marked by more prominent, although less newsworthy, extreme warm spells. New research examines daily wintertime temperature extremes since 1948 The study finds that the warm extremes were much more severe and widespread than the cold extremes during the northern hemisphere winters of 2009-10 (which featured an extreme snowfall episode on the East Coast dubbed "snowmaggedon") and 2010-11. Moreover, while the extreme cold was mostly attributable to a natural climate cycle, the extreme warmth was not, the study concludes.... "Over the last couple of years, natural variability seemed to produce the cold extremes, while the warm extremes kept trending just as one would expect in a period of accelerating global warming," says Scripps climate researcher Alexander Gershunov, a report co-author. ...


Acceleration is just what we need to make the economy grow!

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Tue, Sep 6, 2011
from Climate Central:
Insurance Companies Unprepared for Climate Change, Report Says
Across much of Vermont, New York, and New Jersey this week, home and business owners have been coping with devastating flood damage unleashed by Hurricane Irene. The immense storm is already listed as one of the costliest natural disasters in American history, and total damage expenses will probably surpass $10 billion. Unfortunately, for most people affected by the storm, standard insurance doesn't cover flooding, which means individuals will be footing repair bills on their own. But insurance companies aren't off the hook in the wake of Irene. In a year with a record number of billion-dollar weather disasters, Hurricane Irene has added to an already expensive year for insurers.... According to the Ceres report, most insurance companies are unprepared for how to cope with the risks that a warmer climate poses. ...


Sounds like the insurance companies need insurance companies with insurance...

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Sep 3, 2011
from Reuters:
Millions hit by heavy floods in north and eastern India
Surging flood waters in northern and eastern India have affected millions of people, forcing many from their homes as swollen rivers wash away roads and make rescue work difficult, government and aid officials said on Friday. Aid workers said 5.2 million people are now affected, double the figure from 10 days ago, as tail-end seasonal monsoon rains sweep the heavily-populated states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam where 158 people have died in flooding incidents in the past three months. "The number of people affected by the floods has more than doubled in the last ten days. We have sent teams to do more accurate assessments of the situation, but we do feel it's going to get worse," said John Roche, country representative for the International Federation of Red Cross in India. In the most severely affected state of Uttar Pradesh in north central India, 125 people have died and around 2 million have been affected, said a state government official. ...


Umbrellas are only useful when you can sing in the rain.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Aug 29, 2011
from Pew Center on Global Climate Change:
The 2011 Texas Drought Worst In History
Texas climatologists have recently stated that the ongoing dry spell is the worst one-year drought since Texas rainfall data started being recorded in 1895. The majority of the state has earned the highest rating of "exceptional" drought and the remaining areas are not far behind with "extreme" or "severe" ratings by the U.S. Drought Monitor. So far, Texas has only received 6.5 inches of the 16 inches that has normally accumulated by this time of year.... Streams throughout Texas are running well below normal and reservoirs are running at 50 percent of capacity. Only one boat ramp remains open between Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan and water levels are falling by a foot per week. For farmers and ranchers who depend on Mother Nature to provide water for their livestock and crops, this lack of water has been crippling. Agricultural losses have already mounted to a record 5.2 billion, and the drought has not yet broken. ...


I blame it on illegal immigration.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 9, 2011
from International Business Times:
Severe Solar Storms Could Disrupt Earth This Decade: NOAA
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a federal agency that focuses on the condition of the oceans and atmosphere, said a severe solar storm could cause global disruptions in GPS systems, power grids, satellite communications, and airline communications. With solar activity expected to peak around 2013, the Sun is entering a particularly active time and big flares like the recent one will likely be common during the next few years... some scientists believe that another such event is now overdue...This is a special problem in the United States and especially a severe threat in the eastern United States as Federal Government studies revealed that this extreme solar activity and emissions may result in complete blackouts for years in several areas of the nation. Moreover, there may also be disruption of power supply for years, or even decades, as geomagnetic currents attracted by the storm could debilitate the transformers. ...


I can't help but take all this climate chaos personally.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Aug 8, 2011
from DesdemonaDespair:
Oklahoma and Texas droughts significantly worsened after governors asked citizens to pray for rain
Yes, in a mere two weeks, another 30 percent of [Oklahoma] went into extreme or exceptional drought! Now the entire state is under severe drought or worse. For some reason, science-denying southern Republican governors keep returning to one particular ineffectual 'adaptation' strategy: "Texas Drought Now Far, Far Worse Than When Gov. Rick Perry Issued Proclamation Calling on All Texans to Pray for Rain" (7/15/11).... Of course, we don't really have any short-term strategies to address extreme weather. In the longer term, prayer would appear to be a non-optimal approach, given Texas's and Oklahoma's experience. "The percent of contiguous U.S. land area experiencing exceptional drought in July reached the highest levels in the history of the U.S. Drought Monitor, an official at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said." Sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions, however, would seem our best hope of sharply reducing the prospects that the Southwest becomes a permanent dust bowl. It also has the benefit of science underpinning it.... [Take a look at this amazing animation of the last 12 weeks, by the US Drought Monitor: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/12_week.gif -- 'Doc M] ...


Perhaps those prayers were aimed at Gaia's mean little brother, God.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Aug 7, 2011
from Grist:
The new normal: billion-dollar disasters
The National Climatic Data Center's (NCDC) latest "Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters" report finds the U.S. has racked up more mega-expensive natural disasters in 2011 than ever before. So far we've suffered more than five times the huge disasters typical at this time of year. Already damage costs have reached nearly $32 billion. Compare that to the first half of the average year -- prior to the onset of "big" hurricane season -- between 1980 and 2010, where disaster costs typically run $6 billion.... All told, the U.S. has suffered 99 weather-related disasters over the past 31 years, where overall damages and economic costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. The normalized losses (that is, the numbers adjusted for the GNP inflation index) add up to more than $725 billion for those 99 disasters. ...


Ain't much compared to the shareholder value the coal and oil companies have provided to the economy.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 4, 2011
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Record breaking UK spring due to warm weather
The Woodland Trust survey of 40,000 volunteers found that the traditional signs of spring were on average 17 days earlier because of the hot weather in April. The orange-tipped butterfly was spotted almost a month early on 13th April, the earliest sighting since records began in 1891. The horse chestnut, dog rose and purple lilac also broke records for coming into leaf early.... Professor Tim Sparks, nature advisor to the Woodland Trust, said it was the earliest spring since 'bulk recording' began. People were also mowing lawns early and spotting rooks nesting and frog spawn in ponds early. "We had a cold winter but this was followed by a particularly warm and dry spring, which included the warmest April on record. This warmth is undoubtedly the main factor which led to many events occurring earlier than usual. ...


Some records were not made to be broken.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 3, 2011
from Live Science:
End Times? Texas Lake Turns Blood-Red
A Texas lake that turned blood-red this summer may not be a sign of the End Times, but probably is the end of a popular fishing and recreation spot. A drought has left the OC Fisher Reservoir in San Angelo State Park in West Texas almost entirely dry. The water that is left is stagnant, full of dead fish -- and a deep, opaque red. The color has some apocalypse believers suggesting that OC Fisher is an early sign of the end of the world, but Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries officials say the bloody look is the result of Chromatiaceae bacteria, which thrive in oxygen-deprived water. "It's just heartbreaking," said Charles Cruz, a fish and wildlife technician with Texas Parks and Wildlife in San Angelo, Tex. ...


What's "heartbreaking"? That's it's not the End Times?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Aug 1, 2011
from Reuters:
Weather disasters seen costly sign of things to come
The United States is on a pace in 2011 to set a record for the cost of weather-related disasters and the trend is expected to worsen as climate change continues, officials and scientists said on Thursday. "The economic impact of severe weather events is only projected to grow," Senator Dick Durbin said at a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Financial Services and Government, which he chairs. "We are not prepared. Our weather events are getting worse, catastrophic in fact."... As of June, the United States has seen eight weather disasters exceeding $1 billion each in damage, and the annual hurricane season has hardly begun, said Kathryn Sullivan, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction and NOAA's Deputy Administrator. The record is nine in a single year, 2008. But April alone saw separate tornado, wildfire, flood and drought disasters. "Any one such a event in a year would be considered quite notable, and we had four in totally different hazard categories in the space of a month," Sullivan told Reuters. The costs of weather-disaster damages have climbed past $32 billion for 2011, according to NOAA estimates.... "Every weather event that happens nowadays takes place in the context of the changes in the background climate system," University of Illinois scientist Donald Wuebbles, who worked on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told the panel. "So nothing is entirely 'natural' anymore," he said. ...


I suppose I should be grateful to be alive while history is being made.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jul 27, 2011
from http://news.discovery.com/earth/climate-change-yellowstone-fires.html:
Climate Change To Spawn More Wildfires
As Earth's climate warms up, Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons are likely to experience large fires more frequently, according to a new study. Within just a few decades, big fires may become as much as 10 times more common than they have been in the last 10,000 years. A bump in fire frequency would reverberate through the environment in unpredictable ways -- affecting the kinds of plants that grow in the area, the kinds of animals that can find habitats there and the amount of carbon that vegetation might be expected to pull out of the atmosphere. Such a fiery future would also threaten people and homes throughout the northern Rockies. ...


The fire on the mountain is burning down the house.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jul 24, 2011
from Chicago Tribune:
Heavy rainstorms are Chicago's latest weather nightmare
Those looking for some kind of a break from the heat of the last week got it overnight -- a rainstorm that dropped temperatures into the low 70s. But like the heat wave that preceded it, this rainstorm was anything but ordinary. According to ChicagoWeatherCenter.com, the total rainfall at O'Hare -- 6.91 inches as of about 6:50 a.m. -- is the largest single-day rainfall since records began in 1871. The highest previous daily total was 6.64 inches on Sept. 12, 2008. And more rain is on the way. ...


Come rain or come shine people are gonna complain!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jul 21, 2011
from Mother Jones:
Get Used to New Weather Extremes
We're seeing records fall in all directions this year--wettest, driest, warmest, coldest, snowiest, stormiest, fieriest--across the globe. In the US alone, in the month of July alone, 1,079 total heat records have been broken or tied. That's 559 broken, 520 tied...so far. The map below, generated today at NOAA's US Records page, shows how records have fallen nationwide, including in Alaska and Hawaii.... In fact, every state except Delaware has broken heat records so far this month. In Iowa yesterday, the heat index exceeded 130deg F/54.4deg C--an extremely rare occurrence in this part of the world. According to Jeff Masters, writing at his Wunderblog, the only place where a 130 deg F heat index is common is along the shores of the Red Sea in the Middle East.... According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the number of wildfires in the US as of the beginning of July this year is 36,424...and counting. These wild lands blazes have burned 4.8 million acres. That's an average of 132 acres per fire--which, by the way, is the largest burned acreage ever recorded in the US during this time period.... ...


I think that's called "unnatural variation."

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 18, 2011
from SciDev.net:
Forecasters 'warned of Horn of Africa drought' last year
Forecasting systems were warning about a serious drought in the Horn of Africa as much as a year ago -- but communication problems between scientists and decision-makers meant the alerts went largely unheeded, according to forecasters. Warnings about the drought -- which the United Nations says is the worst in 60 years -- were issued last August, when the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) released a brief on food security in East Africa following the declaration of a La Nia event, a cooling of the sea surface in the Pacific Ocean known to affect weather in Africa. "We were very confident that the October to December rains were going to be poor," Chris Hillbruner, a food security early warning specialist with FEWS NET, told SciDev.Net. "And there was an increased likelihood that the March to May rains were going to be poor as well."... Chris Funk, a climatologist with FEWS NET, said that the organisation's experts have been "a little frustrated that we provided this information quite early" but not enough has been done to make good use of it. ...


If they'd just predict good news, then scientists might get listened to.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jul 7, 2011
from NOAA, via MotherJones:
Scary Maps of the New Climate Normal
NOAA just updated its Climate Normals for the United States. Per agreement of the World Meteorological Organization, "normals" are calculated per decade, rather than per year. NOAA's latest update is crunched from three-decades-worth of weather data between 1981 to 2010. The new annual normal temperatures for the US strongly reflect a warming world.... Parts of the Great Plains, the Mississippi Valley, and the Northeast experienced slightly cooler July maximums from 1981-2010 compared to 1971-2000 (top map). Far more striking are the January minimums (bottom map). Nighttime January temps were higher everywhere except the Southeast. Warmer nights were most pronounced in the northern plains and northern Rocky Mountains. In some places the new normal were several degrees warmer than the old normal. As you can see in the maps above, based on average year-round temperatures, every state experienced warmer temperatures in 1981-2010 compared to 1971-2000. ...


Yes, but what is the mean? or the mode? or the pangaiatic min-max hypotenuse that proves natural variation?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jul 7, 2011
from Telegraph.co.uk:
UN refugee agency warns of crisis 'of unimaginable proportions' in Somalia drought
Scores of Somali children are dying on the journey or within a day of arrival at refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, as they flee the region's worst drought in decades, according to the UN's refugee agency. High levels of malnutrition, combined with ongoing violence in the war-torn Horn of Africa nation, are threatening "a human tragedy of unimaginable proportions", the UNHCR warned. Following several seasons of failed rains and spiralling global food prices, drought has hit more than 12 million people across Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Thousands of Somali refugees are making perilous journeys of hundreds of miles to seek assistance: 54,000 people crossed into Ethiopia and Kenya in June alone. Levels of serious malnutrition amongst newly arrived children in Ethiopia are exceeding 50 per cent, while in Kenya levels are reaching 30 to 40 per cent. ...


If it can't be imagined, does it exist?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jun 30, 2011
from KPCD:
Drought, wildfires lead to natural disaster declaration by USDA
In all, 213 counties in Texas have lost at least 30 percent of their crops or pasture due to the drought and wildfires, according to the USDA. By declaring a natural disaster, farmers and ranchers will be able to qualify for emergency loans at lower interest rates. Every county in the South Plains is eligible. Tuesday we talked to South Plains farmers about the declaration. "This is a disaster," Scott Harmon continued. "This is a train wreck." Harmon's family has been farming land just south of Idalou since the 1920's. "We've never seen anything like this before," Harmon told us. "People are scared, they don't know what to do and what's going to happen to them next." ...


And we can't even sue the folks that got us here.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 28, 2011
from TomDispatch:
Michael Klare, The Energy Landscape of 2041
Let's see: today, it's a story about rising sea levels. Now, close your eyes, take a few seconds, and try to imagine what word or words could possibly go with such a story. Time's up, and if "faster," "far faster," "fastest," or "unprecedented" didn't come to mind, then the odds are that you're not actually living on planet Earth in the year 2011. Yes, a new study came out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that measures sea-level rise over the last 2,000 years and -- don't be shocked -- it's never risen faster than now. Earlier in the week, there was that report on the state of the oceans produced by a panel of leading marine scientists. Now, close your eyes and try again. Really, this should be easy. Just look at the previous paragraph and choose "unprecedented," and this time pair it with "loss of species comparable to the great mass extinctions of prehistory," or pick "far faster" (as in "the seas are degenerating far faster than anyone has predicted"), or for a change of pace, how about "more quickly" as in "more quickly than had been predicted" as the "world's oceans move into 'extinction' phase."... This will be a war because the future profitability, or even survival, of many of the world's most powerful and wealthy corporations will be at risk, and because every nation has a potentially life-or-death stake in the contest. For giant oil companies like BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell, an eventual shift away from petroleum will have massive economic consequences.... In the meantime, the struggle for energy resources is guaranteed to grow ever more intense for a simple reason: there is no way the existing energy system can satisfy the world's future requirements. It must be replaced or supplemented in a major way by a renewable alternative system or, forget Westphalia, the planet will be subject to environmental disaster of a sort hard to imagine today. ...


Surely we would have woken up to what we were doing by then and changed our entire way of doing things... wouldn't we?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 27, 2011
from Washington Post:
Arctic sea ice headed for another major melt
According to one measure of sea ice coverage - average ice extent - the decline in ice cover appears to be occurring slightly faster so far this year than in June 2007, but it's not clear that it will wind up below the extent measured in September 2007.... "It is important to note for context that all 2011 estimates are well below the 1979-2007 September climatological mean of 6.7 million square kilometers."... "We do not know if Arctic change is responsible for record cold outbreaks in Europe the past two years or the heavy snowstorms along the U.S. East Coast. All we know right now is that the behavior fits the current theory." ...


Wasn't 2007's melt a once-in-a-century event?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 27, 2011
from New Zealand Herald, thru DesdemonaDespair:
Insurance industry facing a climate of fear
For an industry whose survival means managing risk, these are challenging times. Nations which are focused on their economic problems have barely begun to contemplate how they will deal with the scientists' scenario of a warming planet. Yet insurers must calculate their exposure as our assumptions - that homes will be safe, food will be secure and infrastructure will work - are tested by ever more common "Hundred Year" weather disasters, a change that reinsurer Swiss Re calls the "new normal".... Trying to get a handle on this new normal means taking climate science very seriously. And the news is not good. Last month the International Energy Agency said carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose by a record 31 billion tonnes last year, making it more likely that the temperature rise this century would exceed 2C, unleashing runaway global warming and apocalyptic changes, including famine.... "Many of the risks posed by climate change will become uninsurable," predicts Mills. Insurance survives by identifying risks in advance. But climate change is a new ballgame, both in scale and weather volatility. Insurers could also risk losses from liability suits brought against customers who are blamed for fuelling climate change - a fossil fuel company, for example. ...


There are actuarial tables for an apocalypse?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jun 22, 2011
from Al Gore, in Rolling Stone:
Climate of Denial: Can science and the truth withstand the merchants of poison?
Maybe it's just easier, psychologically, to swallow the lie that these scientists who devote their lives to their work are actually greedy deceivers and left-wing extremists -- and that we should instead put our faith in the pseudoscientists financed by large carbon polluters whose business plans depend on their continued use of the atmospheric commons as a place to dump their gaseous, heat-trapping waste without limit or constraint, free of charge. The truth is this: What we are doing is functionally insane. If we do not change this pattern, we will condemn our children and all future generations to struggle with ecological curses for several millennia to come. Twenty percent of the global-warming pollution we spew into the sky each day will still be there 20,000 years from now! ... Continuing on our current course would be suicidal for global civilization. But the key question is: How do we drive home that fact in a democratic society when questions of truth have been converted into questions of power? When the distinction between what is true and what is false is being attacked relentlessly, and when the referee in the contest between truth and falsehood has become an entertainer...? The best available evidence demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt that the reckless spewing of global-warming pollution in obscene quantities into the atmospheric commons is having exactly the consequences long predicted by scientists who have analyzed the known facts according to the laws of physics. ...


That guy is so inconvenient.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jun 18, 2011
from Guardian:
Warning: extreme weather ahead
Drought zones have been declared across much of England and Wales, yet Scotland has just registered its wettest-ever May. The warmest British spring in 100 years followed one of the coldest UK winters in 300 years. June in London has been colder than March. February was warm enough to strip on Snowdon, but last Saturday it snowed there. Welcome to the climate rollercoaster, or what is being coined the "new normal" of weather. What was, until quite recently, predictable, temperate, mild and equable British weather, guaranteed to be warmish and wettish, ensuring green lawns in August, now sees the seasons reversed and temperature and rainfall records broken almost every year. When Kent receives as much rain (4mm) in May as Timbuktu, Manchester has more sunshine than Marbella, and soils in southern England are drier than those in Egypt, something is happening. Sober government scientists at the centre for hydrology and ecology are openly using words like "remarkable", "unprecedented" and "shocking" to describe the recent physical state of Britain this year, but the extremes we are experiencing in 2011 are nothing to the scale of what has been taking place elsewhere recently.... Last month, Oxfam reported that while the number of "geo-physical" disasters - such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions - has remained more or less constant, those caused by flooding and storms have increased from around 133 a year in 1980s to more than 350 a year now. ...


There's something about that 350 number that rings a bell.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 13, 2011
from CBC:
Manitoba flooding linked to climate change: officials
After four soggy years of flooded pastures and ruined crops, the Manitoba government is looking at how to help frustrated farmers cope with climate change in the province's Interlake region. The province has quietly issued a request for proposals for a study on how to deal with "excess moisture on agricultural lands" in the area sandwiched between Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg, north of the provincial capital.... Many frustrated farmers say the proposed study is too little, too late, but the province says it's an important part of coming up with a strategy to help beleaguered producers. Tony Szumigalski, a policy analyst with Manitoba Agriculture, said climate change appears to be causing greater extremes on the Prairies, from drought in Alberta to chronic flooding in Manitoba. "The Interlake has been under water for the last three or four years," he said. "It's been very difficult, especially for a lot of the livestock producers. Their hay fields have been flooded out so there have been issues getting enough hay. There have also been issues related to crops as well." ...


Can we build dikes out of deniers somehow?

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jun 11, 2011
from FAO, from DesdemonaDespair:
Climate change to have major impacts on water for farming
An acceleration of the world's hydrological cycle is anticipated as rising temperatures increase the rate of evaporation from land and sea. Rainfall will increase in the tropics and higher latitudes, but decrease in already dry semi-arid to mid-arid latitudes and in the interior of large continents. A greater frequency in droughts and floods will need to be planned for but already, water scarce areas of the world are expected to become drier and hotter. Even though estimates of groundwater recharge under climate change cannot be made with any certainty, the increasing frequency of drought can be expected to encourage further development of available groundwater to buffer the production risk for farmers.... Increased temperatures will lengthen the growing season in northern temperate zones but will reduce the length almost everywhere else. Coupled with increased rates of evapotranspiration this will cause the yield potential and water productivity of crops to decline. "Both the livelihoods of rural communities as well as the food security of city populations are at risk," said FAO Assistant Director General for Natural Resources, Alexander Mueller. "But the rural poor, who are the most vulnerable, are likely to be disproportionately affected." ...


C'mon. All you have do is drill a few more wells, right?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jun 10, 2011
from Financial Times, on DesdemonaDespair:
Danube river level falls to 100-year low, Europe's drought continues
While southern Europe experienced a rather damp spring, much of northern Europe is in the midst of a drought. In France, the months of March and May were the hottest for more than a century, while England and Wales had their second-driest spring since 1910. Between January and April, "severe" rain deficits were recorded in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Hungary and Austria, according to the European Commission. ... It is France's worst drought in more than 30 years, according to Bruno Le Maire, agriculture minister, with rainfall at barely 45 per cent of the average between 1971 and 2000. Restrictions on water use are already in place in nearly two-thirds of France's 96 mainland "departments".... Christian Steindl, managing director of the Ennshafen port on the Danube, says that, while low water levels are not unheard of, it is the timing that is unusual. "In August this can happen, but not in May." ...


Where's Strauss when you need him?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jun 2, 2011
from Newsweek:
Are You Ready for More?
...Even those who deny the existence of global climate change are having trouble dismissing the evidence of the last year. In the U.S. alone, nearly 1,000 tornadoes have ripped across the heartland, killing more than 500 people and inflicting $9 billion in damage. The Midwest suffered the wettest April in 116 years, forcing the Mississippi to flood thousands of square miles, even as drought-plagued Texas suffered the driest month in a century. Worldwide, the litany of weather's extremes has reached biblical proportions. The 2010 heat wave in Russia killed an estimated 15,000 people. Floods in Australia and Pakistan killed 2,000 and left large swaths of each country under water. A months-long drought in China has devastated millions of acres of farmland. And the temperature keeps rising: 2010 was the hottest year on earth since weather records began. From these and other extreme-weather events, one lesson is sinking in with terrifying certainty. The stable climate of the last 12,000 years is gone. Which means you haven't seen anything yet. And we are not prepared. ...


Whither weather withers our wherewithal.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 31, 2011
from London Daily Telegraph:
Wind farms: Britain is 'running out of wind'
According to government figures, 13 of the past 16 months have been calmer than normal - while 2010 was the "stillest" year of the past decade. Meteorologists believe that changes to the Atlantic jet stream could alter the pattern of winds over the next 40 years and leave much of the nation's growing army of power-generating turbines becalmed. The Coalition has drawn up plans to open more wind farms in an effort to meet Britain's European Union target of providing 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. More than 3,600 turbines are expected to be installed in offshore wind farms over the next nine years. But statistics suggest that the winds that sweep across the British Isles may be weakening. ...


Frankly my dear all we are is dust in the wind.

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Mon, May 30, 2011
from Reuters:
China's 'land of fish and rice' parched by drought
The drought gripping stretches of central and eastern China has dried Lake Honghu into an expanse of exposed mud, stranded boats and dying fish farms, threatening the livelihoods of residents in Hubei Province who call this their "land of fish and rice." Dry spells and floods blight various parts of China nearly every year, and officials are prone to call each the worst in 50 years or longer. But many residents around the lake said that was a fitting label for the months-long drought that has drastically shrunk the lake, the adjacent Yangtze River, and many other lakes and tributaries along the mighty river's course through farming and industrial heartlands. "I've never, ever seen it this bad. Look at the rice. It's all going yellow and the stalks will die unless we get some rain soon," said Ouyang Jinghuang, a pepper-haired 66-year-old farmer tending rice paddies near Lake Honghu. "We're all digging wells and buying our drinking water. Usually, we have so much water here that we worry about floods, not droughts." ...


If only the reasons were more scrutable.

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Wed, May 18, 2011
from Xinhua News Agency:
Drought leaves 1,400 reservoirs 'dead' in C China
A lingering drought in Central China's Hubei province has rendered 1,392 reservoirs virtually useless as only dead water remains in them, said the local water authority Monday. Known as the "land of a thousand lakes" and a major producer of grain and cotton in the country, Hubei is suffering from a drought that has lasted for five months. As of Sunday, water in four medium-sized and 1,388 small-sized reservoirs had dropped below the allowable discharge level for irrigation and other purposes...the drought had left about 315,000 people and 97,300 livestock in the province short of drinking water. ...


Land of parched tongues.

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Mon, May 16, 2011
from Reuters:
France in 'crisis' as drought deepens: minister
France has imposed limits on water consumption in 28 of its 96 administrative departments, the environment ministry said Monday, amid signs that a prolonged dry spell that has hit grain crops would continue. "We are already in a situation of crisis. The situation is like what we would expect in July for groundwater levels, river flows and snow melting," Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet told a press conference.... One of the hottest and driest Aprils on record in France has parched farmland and cut water reserves, stoking worries of a drought similar to that experienced in 1976 and fuelling concern harvests will suffer in the European Union's top grain producer. No substantial rainfall is expected in the next two weeks, weather expert Michele Blanchard told Monday's press conference. ...


Pouvre, pouvre petites plantes.

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Wed, May 11, 2011
from Southwest Farm Press, via DesdemonaDespair:
Texas/Southwest gripped in drought; crops 'pretty much shut down'
Crop and forage production has "pretty much shut down" due to severe to exceptional drought conditions, said a Texas AgriLife Extension Service statewide crop expert. "If you look at the U.S. drought monitor, about 26 percent of the state of Texas is an exceptional drought," said Dr. Travis Miller, AgriLife Extension program leader and associate department head of the soil and crop sciences department, College Station. "Exceptional," means it is a one-in-50-year occurrence, Miller explained. Much of the rest of the state was in what's classified as moderate, severe, or extreme drought. The distinctions are being based largely on how much damage and losses are expected to crops, forage production, livestock and water sources, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor classification scheme.... "But statewide, it's a pretty grim picture," he said. "And it's not just Texas; it's New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and parts of Arkansas. It's an exceptional drought across a big area." Corn along the Gulf Coast is stunted and tasselling early, Miller said. "It's in a lot trouble." ...


I'm just glad we can't blame it on climate change!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 5, 2011
from Beijing Global Times:
Sandstorm covers Shanghai in dust
The eastern coast of China has borne the environmental brunt of a massive sandstorm that has swept across a large swath of the country, causing air quality in Shanghai to plummet to its worst level in years. The sandstorm originated in the Southern Xinjiang Basin and has been traveling all the way east to the coastal regions since Thursday, blasting Shanghai and other cities in the Yangtze River Delta with sand and dust. Statistics from the State Forestry Administration show the sandstorm has swept through 10 provinces and regions in the north and west of China, affecting an area of 2.3 million square kilometers and a population of 90 million. Beijing was hit by the sandstorm Saturday. ...


That's not just a sandstorm, it's a tsandami!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 4, 2011
from New York Times:
Army Corps Blows Up Missouri Levee
Ruben Bennett, his back bent and his fingers gnarled from a lifetime of labor, has lived all of his 88 years on an expanse of rich farmland here, just below where the Ohio River pours into the Mississippi. He survived his share of floods -- including the record-setting one that swept away his boyhood home -- but he has never run from one, until now....The Mississippi River, already at record levels here, keeps rising, fed by punishing rains. As the flood protection systems that safeguard countless communities groan under the pressure, federal officials executed a fiercely debated plan to destroy a part of the levee holding back the river in the area Mr. Bennett calls home for the greater good of the region. ...


Bye bye, Miss American Pie.

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Sat, Apr 30, 2011
from USA Today:
Climate change could spawn more tornadoes
As with any major weather disaster these days -- from floods and hurricanes to wildfires and this week's tornado outbreak in the South -- people ask questions about its relation to the huge elephant that's lurking in the corner, global climate change. Two separate studies in 2007 reported that global warming could bring a dramatic increase in the frequency of weather conditions that feed severe thunderstorms and tornadoes by the end of the 21st century. One study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that locations could see as much as a 100 percent increase in the number of days that favor severe thunderstorms. ...


And by "elephant," are we referring to those blood-sucking, climate-denying Republicans??

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Wed, Apr 6, 2011
from IRIN:
Kenya: Livestock dying as drought deepens
Thousands more heads of livestock have died in Kenya's arid Northeastern province as La Nia drought conditions worsen and water shortages become more acute.... Livestock farmers in the three regions have lost more than 17,000 animals since January.... Mass deaths of livestock began in February, but the average daily loss of animals has risen in the last three weeks as crucial water sources dried up. Many of the remaining water sources are contaminated, leading to increased incidents of water-borne diseases such as typhoid, amoeba and diarrhoea. A recent assessment by the UN found that the drought ravaging East Africa had left eight million needing food aid, 1.2 million in Kenya.... "We have not received a single drop of rain and yet the rains were expected two weeks ago. We are faced with a humanitarian crisis. A significant number of deaths, mainly of children, pregnant women and elderly people can be attributed to hunger, dehydration and lack of water," he said. "Banisa, a rich grazing area and a trading centre with more than 18,000 people and surrounded by 16 villages, is almost deserted now. The only dam which has served the whole population for last seven years dried up last week." ...


This is a great opportunity for disaster tourism!

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Mon, Apr 4, 2011
from PhysOrg:
Declining mangroves shield against global warming
Mangroves, which have declined by up to half over the last 50 years, are an important bulkhead against climate change, a study released on Sunday has shown for the first time.... Destruction of these tropical coastal woodlands accounts for about 10 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation, the second largest source of CO2 after fossil fuel combustion, the study found. Fewer trees not only mean less CO2 absorbed from the air, but also the release of carbon stocks that have been accumulating in shallow-water sediment over millennia. Mangroves -- whose twisted, exposed roots grace coastlines in more than 100 countries -- confer many benefits on humans living in their midst. The brackish tidal waters in which the trees thrive are a natural nursery for dozens of species of fish and shrimp essential to commercial fisheries around the world. Another major "ecosystem service," in the jargon of environmental science, is protection from hurricanes and storm surges. ...


I bet that passive-voice "decline" has an active causal agent behind it.

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Sun, Apr 3, 2011
from Yale360:
Birds Delay Spring Migration As Tropical Rainfall Declines, Study Says
Declining rainfall in tropical regions can cause migratory birds to delay their departure from wintering grounds back to their northern breeding areas, according to a new study. In a five-year study of American redstarts, a species of warbler, scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute found that individual birds delayed their spring migration from Jamaica to North America when low rainfall produced a scarcity of insects, the birds' primary food supply; the redstarts apparently delayed migration because of insufficient nutritional reserves. Over the last 16 years, increasingly severe and unpredictable dry seasons in Jamaica have resulted in an 11-percent decrease in rainfall. "Our results support the idea that environmental conditions on tropical non-breeding areas can influence the departure time for spring migration," said Colin Studds.... While it is unclear whether the delayed migration will have an adverse impact on the birds, the study said a delayed departure could ultimately affect the arrival time to breeding territory, and thus yield less time to reproduce. ...


I can think of a few other reasons to hang out in Jamaica.

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Sun, Apr 3, 2011
from The Independent:
Britain's March was the driest in 40 years
The past month has been the driest March for around 40 years, forecasters said today. Provisional recordings show that the UK has also seen 25 percent more sunshine than usual over the last four weeks as temperatures climbed and Britons enjoyed their first taste of spring. But there was bad news for those hoping for an early start to summer - April showers are on their way as usual. According to provisional Met Office figures, the average rainfall between March 1 and 29 stands at only 39.1mm (1.5in). This is expected to rise very slightly when the showers of the past two days are factored in. However, it is still expected to be well below the 95.9mm (3.8in) norm for March. ...


So March came in like a lion, and left as a... camel.

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Mon, Mar 21, 2011
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Sydney's heavy weather: six weeks' rain in a day
Sydney has switched from its driest start to the year since 1965 to one of its wettest weeks in March after up to 200 millimetres of rain fell in 24 hours this weekend - 1.5 times the monthly average, a meteorologist says.... Persistent rain is showing no sign of letting up, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting rain and thunderstorms throughout the day and further showers on Tuesday.... Mr Dutschke said that, on Saturday and yesterday, 99 millimetres fell on the city - the highest 24-hour total in 3.5 years, with the heaviest downpours of about 150 to 200 millimetres along the beaches and the northern suburbs. "It's been a big turnaround in events, given that Sydney has been one of the parts of the state that has really missed out on La Nina-type rainfall," he said.... ...


These days, when it pours, it deluges.

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Sun, Mar 20, 2011
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Deadly heatwaves will be more frequent in coming decades, say scientists
The heatwave that scorched eastern Europe in 2010, killing thousands of people and devastating crops, was the worst since records began and led to the warmest summer on the continent for at least 500 years, a new scientific analysis has revealed. The research also suggests that "mega-heatwaves", such as the prolonged extreme temperatures that struck western Europe in 2003 will become five to 10 times more likely over the next 40 years, occurring at least once a decade. But the 2010 heatwave was so extreme - 10 deg C above the average for the first week of August between 1970 and 2000 - that similar events are only expected to occur once every 30 years or so.... The findings of the study are consistent with this, said Barriopedro: "Under global warming this kind of event will become more common. Mega-heatwaves are going to be more frequent and more intense in the future." ...


It ain't the heat -- it's the megaheat.

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Thu, Mar 17, 2011
from CBC:
Storm surges the new normal, P.E.I. warned
Coastal communities along P.E.I.'s North Shore need to prepare themselves for the impacts from climate change, a watershed management group was told Tuesday night. About two dozen residents gathered at the North Rustico Lions Club to hear a panel of experts discuss how climate change will hit North Shore communities. Flooding from storm surges, a combination of high tides and water driven on shore by strong winds, was a major focus of the meeting. "We're going to see bigger storm surges and they're going to occur more frequently," said Erin Taylor, climate change coordinator for the provincial Department of Environment. Taylor said storm surges like the one the North Shore saw on Dec. 21, in the 3.6-metre range, currently come about once every 20 years. By the 2050s, they are expected to happen once every two years. ...


At least there's order to that magnitude.

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Fri, Mar 11, 2011
from ABC News:
Residents near nuclear plant told to evacuate
Authorities have urged 2,000 residents living near a nuclear power plant in Fukushima to evacuate after the biggest earthquake in Japan's history hit the region. The prefectural government issued the evacuation advice for residents in a two-kilometre radius of the No. 2 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Kyodo News reported earlier that an emergency core-cooling unit had been activated at the plant after a power failure. ...


Something tells me they probably don't need to be urged.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Mar 3, 2011
from NOAA:
Significant Climate Anomalies and Events of 2010
...


Anomalies? What anomalies?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 28, 2011
from London Daily Mail:
Water demand will 'outstrip supply by 40 percent within 20 years' due to climate change and population growth
Water demand in many countries will exceed supply by 40 per cent within 20 years due to the combined threat of climate change and population growth, scientists have warned. A new way of thinking about water is needed as looming shortages threaten communities, agriculture and industry, experts said. In the next two decades, a third of humanity will have only half the water required to meet basic needs, said researchers. Agriculture, which soaks up 71 per cent of water supplies, is also likely to suffer, affecting food production. ...


That's why I'm sticking with my Diet Coke.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Feb 18, 2011
from Bloomberg, via DesdemonaDespair:
Climate Change May Cause 'Massive' Food Disruptions
Global food supplies will face "massive disruptions" from climate change, Olam International Ltd. predicted, as Agrocorp International Pte. said corn will gain to a record, stoking food inflation and increasing hunger. "The fact is that climate around the world is changing and that will cause massive disruptions," Sunny Verghese, chief executive officer at Olam, among the world's three biggest suppliers of rice and cotton, said in a Bloomberg Television interview today. "We're friendly to wheat, corn and soybeans and bearish on rice."... Shrinking global food supplies helped push the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization's World Food Price Index to a record for a second month in January. As food becomes less available and more expensive, "hoarding becomes widespread," Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at FAO, said Feb. 9, predicting prices of wheat and other grains are more likely to rise than decline in the next six months. Corn futures surged 90 percent in the past year, while wheat jumped 80 percent and soybeans advanced 49 percent as the worst drought in at least half a century in Russia, flooding in Australia, excessive rainfall in Canada, and drier conditions in parts of Europe slashed harvests. ...


Cokes will soon cost more than a beer!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 17, 2011
from Associated Press:
Scientists connect global warming to extreme rain
Extreme rainstorms and snowfalls have grown substantially stronger, two studies suggest, with scientists for the first time finding the telltale fingerprints of man-made global warming on downpours that often cause deadly flooding. Two studies in Wednesday's issue of the journal Nature link heavy rains to increases in greenhouse gases more than ever before... For years scientists, relying on basic physics and climate knowledge, have said global warming would likely cause extremes in temperatures and rainfall. But this is the first time researchers have been able to point to a demonstrable cause-and-effect by using the rigorous and scientifically accepted method of looking for the "fingerprints" of human-caused climate change. ...


Let the revolution begin!

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Sun, Feb 13, 2011
from Reuters:
Climate change keenly felt in Alaska's national parks
Thawing permafrost is triggering mudslides onto a key road traveled by busloads of sightseers. Tall bushes newly sprouted on the tundra are blocking panoramic views. And glaciers are receding from convenient viewing areas, while their rapid summer melt poses new flood risks. These are just a few of the ways that a rapidly warming climate is reshaping Denali, Kenai Fjords and other national parks comprising the crown jewels of Alaska's heritage as America's last frontier. These and some better-known impacts -- proliferation of invasive plants and fish, greater frequency and intensity of wildfires, and declines in wildlife populations that depend on sea ice and glaciers -- are outlined in a recent National Park Service report. ...


These kinds of new excitements should increase tourism!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 10, 2011
from Guardian:
Mass tree deaths prompt fears of Amazon 'climate tipping point'
Billions of trees died in the record drought that struck the Amazon in 2010, raising fears that the vast forest is on the verge of a tipping point, where it will stop absorbing greenhouse gas emissions and instead increase them. The dense forests of the Amazon soak up more than one-quarter of the world's atmospheric carbon, making it a critically important buffer against global warming. But if the Amazon switches from a carbon sink to a carbon source that prompts further droughts and mass tree deaths, such a feedback loop could cause runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences. "Put starkly, current emissions pathways risk playing Russian roulette with the world's largest forest," said tropical forest expert Simon Lewis, at the University of Leeds, and who led the research published today in the journal Science.... He said increasing droughts in the Amazon are found in some climate models, including the sophisticated model used by the Hadley centre. This means the 2005 and 2010 droughts are consistent with the idea that global warming will cause more droughts in future, emit more carbon, and potentially lead to runaway climate change. "The greenhouse gases we have already emitted may mean there are several more droughts in the pipeline," he said. ...


That tale of the pipeline is exhausting.

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Sun, Feb 6, 2011
from PhysOrg:
Asia faces climate-induced migration 'crisis'
Asia must prepare for millions of people to flee their homes to safer havens within countries and across borders as weather patterns become more extreme, the Asian Development Bank warns. A draft of an ADB report obtained by AFP over the weekend and confirmed by bank officials cautioned that failure to make preparations now for vast movements of people could lead to "humanitarian crises" in the coming decades. Governments are currently focused on mitigating climate change blamed for the weather changes, but the report said they should start laying down policies and mechanisms to deal with the projected population shifts. Research carried out for the United Nations showed that 2010 was one of the worst years on record worldwide for natural disasters. Asians accounted for 89 percent of the 207 million people affected by disasters globally last year, according to the Belgium-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). ...


Every crisis is an opportunity! Right? Right?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Feb 2, 2011
from Reuters:
Giant cyclone hits Australian tourist coast
One of the most powerful cyclones on record slammed into Australia's coast on Thursday, uprooting trees, tearing roofs off buildings and raising the danger of deadly storm surges. Cyclone Yasi, packing winds of up to 300 km (186 miles) an hour near its core, come ashore along hundreds of kilometers of northeast coastline late on Wednesday...Satellite images showed Yasi as a massive storm system covering an area bigger than Italy. It is predicted to be the strongest ever to hit Australia... Queensland has had a cruel summer, with floods sweeping across it and other eastern states in recent months, killing 35 people. ...


Down Under, torn asunder.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 31, 2011
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Fish develop red spot fungus after floods
Fish in Brisbane waterways are starting to develop a red spot fungus from flood contamination, while authorities are rushing to fix a treatment plant to stop a sewage leak.... "But that's still likely to be six weeks before they have got disinfection processes in place to remove the sewage contamination."... He said there was evidence some fish had developed the fungus "red spot" from the flood pollution. "It shows up on fish that are in distress," he said. ...


I'm feeling a little spotty myself.

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Mon, Jan 31, 2011
from AlJazeera, via Perry:
Hunger and despair in Sri Lanka
Recent flooding in eastern Sri Lanka destroyed thousands of homes, devastated the rice crop and drowned thousands of livestock. A million people, 40 per cent of them children, are at risk of serious hunger as a result. Some of the worst-affected areas were only just recovering from decades of conflict and the tsunami when the floods hit, and the people who live there are facing their third humanitarian emergency in less than 10 years.... Among those at risk of the impending food crisis is Pakyarani, a 32-year-old farmer's wife and mother of four.... The rain started on January 6. It didn't stop for days - there was thunder and lightning, and the wind was blowing extremely hard. I was sure there would be a cyclone. Eventually we were warned that the rivers and lakes were about to burst their banks. We were afraid that we would be caught in the flood, so we decided to leave.... All the rice in our field has been ruined by the floods. It will be May before we can sow new rice seeds, and July before we can harvest. We have no savings to buy food, let alone to repair our house. It's not safe to live like this; the area is full of snakes, and if my children get bitten we have no transport to take them to the nearest hospital, which is 10 kilometres away. ...


Just laugh at the clouds / so dark up above / put a song in your heart / you're ready for love!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jan 23, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Climate change: Dogs of law are off the leash
From being a marginal and even mocked issue, climate-change litigation is fast emerging as a new frontier of law where some believe hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake. Compensation for losses inflicted by man-made global warming would be jaw-dropping, a payout that would make tobacco and asbestos damages look like pocket money. Imagine: a country or an individual could get redress for a drought that destroyed farmland, for floods and storms that created an army of refugees, for rising seas that wiped a small island state off the map. In the past three years, the number of climate-related lawsuits has ballooned, filling the void of political efforts in tackling greenhouse-gas emissions. ...


That won't be a problem here in the United States where climate change is an ideological issue.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jan 21, 2011
from The Australian:
Engineer's emails reveal Wivenhoe Dam releases too little, too late
LEAKED email communications from a Wivenhoe Dam engineering officer underline concerns that the Brisbane River flood was mostly caused by massive releases from the dam after it had held on to water too long over a crucial 72 hours before the severe rainfall that hit the region last week. The emails, which become increasingly urgent in tone as the situation became critical as the dam's levels rise rapidly, were provided to The Australian by a source who said the stream of data had convinced him the river flood of Brisbane could have been largely avoided if the dam's operators had taken action much earlier....According to figures from Wivenhoe's operator, SEQWater, the dam's capacity went from 106 per cent full on the morning of Friday, January 7, to 148 per cent full on the morning of Monday, January 10, due to the limited weekend releases. ...


I know when my weekend releases are limited, I tend to burst!

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Thu, Jan 20, 2011
from Reuters:
Climate change growing risk for insurers: industry
Insurers are struggling to assess the risks from climate change, industry officials say, with the floods in Australia and Brazil highlighting the potential losses from greater extremes of weather. Scientists say a warmer world will cause more intense drought, floods, cyclones as well as rising sea levels and the insurance industry says the number of weather-related disasters has already soared over the past several decades.... "There is still a fair amount of uncertainly as to climate change and the attribution of climate change to natural events or man-made and therefore it has not translated yet into the pricing," Yves Guerard, secretary-general of the Ottawa-based International Actuarial Association, told Reuters.... Overall losses from weather-related natural catastrophes rose by a factor of 3 in the period 1980-2009, taking inflation into account, while insured losses from such events increased by a factor of about 4 during the same period. Total insured losses from natural disasters in 2010 was $37 billion, it says. While taking into account rising wealth, population and urbanization, "there is evidence indicating that the growing number of weather-related catastrophes most probably cannot be fully explained without climate change," the company says. ...


Insurance is only worth the economy it's printed on.

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Sat, Jan 15, 2011
from Guardian:
Australian floods: Why were we so surprised?
After 10 years of drought, we are having the inevitable flooding rains. The pattern is repeated regularly and yet Australians are still taken by surprise. The meteorologists will tell you that the current deluge is a product of La Nina. At fairly regular intervals, atmospheric pressure on the western side of the Pacific falls; the trade winds blow from the cooler east side towards the trough, pushing warm surface water westwards towards the bordering land masses. As the water-laden air is driven over the land it cools and drops its load. In June last year the bureau of meteorology issued a warning that La Nina was about "to dump buckets" on Australia. In 1989-90 La Nina brought flooding to New South Wales and Victoria, in 1998 to New South Wales and Queensland. Dr Andrew Watkins, manager of the bureau's climate prediction services, told the assembled media: "Computer model forecasts show a significant likelihood of a La Nina in 2010." In Brisbane the benchmark was the flood of 1974; most Queenslanders are unaware that the worst flood in Brisbane's history happened in 1893. Six months ago the meteorologists thought it was worthwhile to warn people to "get ready for a wet, late winter and a soaked spring and summer". So what did the people do? Nothing. They said, "She'll be right, mate". She wasn't.... The rest of the world might well be scratching its head. Though the rise of the Brisbane river had been predicted for many days, owners left their boats on the river, some of them moored to pontoons, which were themselves ripped from their moorings. Literally hundreds of pontoons went careering down the river, crashing into unmanned powerboats that were already cannoning into each other. A long section of the riverside walkway broke away and became a waterborne missile.... After the Fitzroy river flooded Rockhampton in 1991, all the corals and sea grasses round the Keppel Islands died. The area had not yet recovered when the brown tide returned at the beginning of January, and keeps coming. The fresh water now entering the seas off Australia is expected to drift northwards to where the Great Barrier Reef is already struggling with rising sea temperatures. In ecological terms, worse, perhaps very much worse, is on the way. Australia owes it to the rest of the world to get a handle on its regular floods. Or she won't be right, mate. ...


But if we started believing computer models' predictions, we'd have to change our lifestyle!

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Wed, Jan 12, 2011
from Reuters, via Desdemona:
Floods threaten Australia's Great Barrier Reef
Australia's devastating floods are flushing toxic, pesticide-laden sediment into the Great Barrier Reef, and could threaten fragile corals and marine life in the world's largest living organism, environmentalists said on Monday. Flood plumes from the swollen Fitzroy and Burnett rivers in Queensland state had muddied reef waters as far as the Keppel Island Group, about 40 km (24 miles) offshore, at the southern end of the World Heritage-listed reef. "Toxic pollution from flooded farms and towns along the Queensland coast will have a disastrous impact on the Great Barrier Reefs corals and will likely have a significant impact on dugongs, turtles and other marine life," the World Wild Life Fund (WWF) said in a statement.... The damage to the Great Barrier Reef would be exacerbated because the floods are "bigger, dirtier and more dangerous due to excessive tree clearing, overgrazing and soil compaction", the WWF said. Experts expect the reef to recover, but depending on the coral resilience, that could take up to 100 years. ...


If God didn't want those toxins in the coral, He wouldn't have let us use them in the first place.

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Wed, Jan 12, 2011
from TheNews, via DesdemonaDespair:
Pakistan flood victims in miserable conditions, UNDP told
The flood-affected people are still living in miserable conditions and more assistance is needed to rehabilitate them, according to the Sindh chief minister.... The meeting discussed the situation after last year's heavy floods, which damaged several districts and affected more than seven million people in Sindh.... The meeting was informed that almost half of the total affected people were residing in camps and the situation was very crucial. ...


I didn't know Pakistan was in Australia.

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Fri, Jan 7, 2011
from Aquatic Research, via DesdemonaDespair:
Ocean currents changing drastically due to global warming
Examination of deep sea corals reveals that there have been drastic changes to oceanic currents in the western North Atlantic since the 1970s. The influence of the cold water Labrador Current, which is in periodic interchange with the warm Gulf Stream, has been decreasing continually since the 1970s. Occurring at the same time as Global Warming this phenomenon is unique in the past 2000 years. These results are reported by researchers from the University of Basel and Eawag in the current edition of the scientific journal PNAS.... Using new geochemical methods, an international team of researchers including the biogeochemists Prof. Moritz Lehmann (University of Basel) and Dr. Carsten Schubert (Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) were able to prove that a drastic change to a warm water mode occurred in the western North Atlantic in the early 1970s. This change, the timing of which coincides with and may be directly related to global warming, is unique in the last 2000 years.... The researchers were able to show a clear reduction in the 15N/14N ratio since 1970 which indicates that the role of the cold Labrador Current, with a higher 15N/14N ratio, is becoming less important. ...


Churning and churning in the shifting gyre / ocean warming will not heed the falconer / shores fall apart; the currents will not hold...

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Thu, Jan 6, 2011
from New York Times:
A 'Bulge' in Atmospheric Pressure Gives Us a Super-Cold Winter Amid Global Warming
Icicle-covered oranges in Florida. The United Kingdom swamped with its coldest December in more than a century. Travelers stranded in airports surrounded by snowy fortresses.... So how does this fit with global warming models? According to some climate scientists, the cold in places like Florida actually could be a sign of warming, rather than an argument against the phenomenon. The ongoing disappearance of sea ice in the Arctic from elevated temperatures is a factor to changes in atmospheric pressure that control jet streams of air, explained James Overland, an oceanographer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. That is because ice-less ocean is darker and, thus, absorbs more solar heat, which in turn spews warmer air than average back into the Arctic atmosphere. That unusually warm air can contribute to a "bulge" effect to the atmospheric pressure controlling how cold air flows, according to Overland, who works at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. Rather than moving circularly in the Arctic from west to east as typical, the bulge may prompt air to move in a U-shaped pattern down to the southern United States. ...


Apocaiku: cold air is warming / it roils and pushes further / chaos brings new ice

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Wed, Jan 5, 2011
from Associated Press:
Reinsurer says costs from natural disasters jumped in 2010, shows evidence of climate change
A leading reinsurer said Monday that extreme natural catastrophes in 2010, including severe earthquakes, floods and heat waves, led to the sixth-highest total of insurers' losses since 1980 and showed evidence of climate change. Munich Re AG said in its annual review that insured losses came in at $37 billion (euro27.69 billion) this year, up from $22 billion in 2009. It said total economic losses, including losses not covered by insurance, rose to $130 billion from last year's $50 billion. "The high number of weather-related natural catastrophes and record temperatures both globally and in different regions of the world provide further indications of advancing climate change," the company said in a statement. ...


Good God, man, even the insurance dudes get it!

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Tue, Jan 4, 2011
from CBC:
'Double whammy' warms Nunavut -- light rain in January
A lack of sea ice in parts of Canada's eastern Arctic is contributing to unusually mild temperatures in Nunavut, according to scientists. In recent months, the weather in many parts of Nunavut has been 10 to 12 degrees above the -20 and -30 C temperatures that are normal at this time of year. Light rain fell in Iqaluit, the territorial capital, as the daytime temperature hovered around 0 C on Monday. Environment Canada declared 2010 to be the warmest year on record there. In a rare sight for this time of year, Frobisher Bay has not yet frozen over entirely. Likewise, there is a lack of sea ice in parts of Hudson Bay, Davis Strait and other Arctic waterways.... According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, nearly half of Hudson Bay would have been frozen over by the end of November. But by Nov. 30, only 17 per cent of the bay had sea ice on it.... "You may be seeing a little bit of a hint of what the future holds in store for you," he said. ...


Can you call a gut punch "a little bit of a hint"?

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Sun, Jan 2, 2011
from NEF, via Guardian:
Blast from the Past: Aug 1, 2008: 100 months to save the world [today we're now at 71]
If you shout "fire" in a crowded theatre, when there is none, you understand that you might be arrested for irresponsible behaviour and breach of the peace. But from today, I smell smoke, I see flames and I think it is time to shout. I don't want you to panic, but I do think it would be a good idea to form an orderly queue to leave the building. Because in just 100 months' time, if we are lucky, and based on a quite conservative estimate, we could reach a tipping point for the beginnings of runaway climate change. That said, among people working on global warming, there are countless models, scenarios, and different iterations of all those models and scenarios. So, let us be clear from the outset about exactly what we mean.... We found that, given all of the above, 100 months from today we will reach a concentration of greenhouse gases at which it is no longer "likely" that we will stay below the 2C temperature rise threshold. "Likely" in this context refers to the definition of risk used by the IPCC. But, even just before that point, there is still a one third chance of crossing the line.... But does it have to be this way? Must we curdle in our complacency and allow our cynicism about politicians to give them an easy ride as they fail to act in our, the national and the planet's best interest? There is now a different clock to watch than the one on the office wall. Contrary to being a counsel of despair, it tells us that everything we do from now matters. And, possibly more so than at any other time in recent history. ...


Hmmm. So reading something 29 months old might matter?

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Fri, Dec 31, 2010
from Guardian:
Australian floodwaters rise as bushfire threat looms
Flooded area of north-east Australia is bigger than France and Germany, as southern states face tinder dry conditions.. Floodwaters have risen across a vast area of north-east Australia, affecting 22 towns, forcing 200,000 residents out of their homes and closing an important sugar export port. Flooding has already shut coal mines and the biggest coal export port in Queensland, forcing companies such as Anglo American and Rio Tinto to slow or halt operations.... In the southern states of Victoria and South Australia, meanwhile, soaring temperatures and tinder dry conditions have sparked bushfires. Authorities warned of possible "catastrophic" fires if conditions worsened, and holiday travellers were asked to prepare evacuation plans.... Emergency authorities said the flooding was not expected to reach a peak in some areas until Sunday and would not recede for at least a week. Australia has endured its wettest spring on record, according to the national weather bureau, causing six river systems in Queensland to flood. Swollen rivers in New South Wales have also caused flood damage to wheat crops. Possibly as much as half the Australian wheat crop, or about 10m tonnes, has been downgraded to less than milling quality because of rain damage. That has tightened global supplies and sent prices up by about 45 percent this year, the biggest surge since 2007. The floods have also pushed coking coal and thermal prices higher and tight markets are keeping a close eye on further disruptions. Queensland's ports have an annual coal export capacity of 225m tonnes. Australia is the world's biggest exporter of coking coal used for steel-making and accounts for about two-thirds of global trade. It is also the second-biggest exporter of thermal coal used for power generation. ...


Wet on one side, dry on the other? That's just an engineering challenge!

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Thu, Dec 30, 2010
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Britain could be heading for coldest winter in 300 years
The average temperature of the season so far has been -0.8C (32F), colder than any year since 1683/84 when the mercury plunged to -1.17C (29.9C). Traditionally a cold December leads into a chillier than usual January and February, meaning this winter could be one of the coldest on record. Even though it has been warmer in the last few days, the Met Office is already predicting a colder than average January with temperatures falling again from New Year's Day. ...


The predictive utility of "tradition" just ain't what it used to be.

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Mon, Dec 27, 2010
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
Six months after Pakistan floods, seven million remain without shelter
...he biggest disaster in Pakistan's history inflicted its deadliest wrath in these northern reaches, as summer monsoons ripped down the valleys, devouring land, people and entire villages. The brown torrent killed almost 2,000 people, but that number hardly begins to encompass the months of misery that followed, those who died of malnutrition or disease as they fled the rising water. Now, as winter blows into the mountains, an estimated seven million people remain without proper shelter. Villagers scrabble in the earth, trying to build homes that will keep them warm among the snow drifts. ...


If any of you are having trouble visualizing our post-Apocalyptic future, look no further.

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Fri, Dec 10, 2010
from Nature, via EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Greenland ice sheet flow driven by short-term weather extremes, not gradual warming: UBC research
Sudden changes in the volume of meltwater contribute more to the acceleration - and eventual loss - of the Greenland ice sheet than the gradual increase of temperature, according to a University of British Columbia study.... Now a new study, to be published tomorrow in the journal Nature, shows that a steady meltwater supply from gradual warming may in fact slow down glacier flow, while sudden water input could cause glaciers to speed up and spread, resulting in increased melt.... "Sudden water input caused by short term extremes - such as massive rain storms or the draining of a surface lake - however, cannot easily be accommodated by existing channels. This allows it to pool and lubricate the bottom of the glaciers and accelerate ice loss," says Schoof, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Global Process Modeling. "This certainly doesn't mitigate the issue of global warming, but it does mean that we need to expand our understanding of what's behind the massive ice loss we're worried about," says Schoof. ...


Thank goodness gradual warming doesn't create local weather extremes!

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Tue, Nov 30, 2010
from TreeHugger:
How Climate Change Threatens the American Farmer
Called An Almanac of Extreme Weather, it's an op-ed for the New York Times written by Jack Hedin, a Minnesotan farmer whose family has been in the business since his great-grandfather homesteaded the land in the late 1800s. He describes the increasingly extreme weather that fits the projections made by climate models, and details the hardship he, his family, and his peers will face as heavy floods become more powerful and more frequent. Hedin notes that even his great grandfather, who recorded in his memoirs the damage dealt by the tornadoes and droughts of the Dust Bowl in the 30s, would be taken aback by the weather his great-grandson's family is coping with today. He mentions that the state's climatologist has said that there have already been three "thousand-year rains" in the past seven years in his part of the state -- and that the trend is expected to continue.... "Climate change, I believe, may eventually pose an existential threat to my way of life. A family farm like ours may simply not be able to adjust quickly enough to such unendingly volatile weather. We can't charge enough for our crops in good years to cover losses in the ever-more-frequent bad ones. We can't continue to move to better, drier ground. No new field drainage scheme will help us as atmospheric carbon concentrations edge up to 400 parts per million; hardware and technology alone can't solve problems of this magnitude." ...


Dear God: is there somebody we can bribe to get out of this mess?

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Sat, Nov 20, 2010
from Guardian:
Severe weather warning: Peru as canary
For the indigenous Quechua people like Flores Choque, who have farmed Peru's highlands since the 15th century, the warning signs are already very real. Their farming calendar, dictated by the weather, has traditionally given their lives a steady rhythm. But in the last few years uncharacteristic and unpredictable weather - flooding, frosts, hail, intense heat and drought - has bombarded it. Crops have continually failed and Save the Children research reports production in some areas has fallen as much as 44 percent since 2007, with animal mortality rising from 20 percent to 48 percent. Water supply has diminished and the health and livelihoods of thousands been jeopardised.... "The people are becoming poorer and malnutrition is increasing," Apaza Maita stresses. "Children don't have defences and their health is suffering. They've always had respiratory problems but now they're much worse. For the first time we have cases of bronchitis."... Kallpa is also encouraging farmers to use natural fertilisers rather than chemicals. Hardy native potatoes are being planted again instead of the white potatoes previously grown for export, as well as crops such as tarwi, a bean that, though tasteless, bursts with nutrition.... "It's all connected with the weather and melting glaciers. Four years ago a small river near here ran at eight litres per second. This year it's four litres per second. Now there isn't enough water for the community." ...


It ain't just the heat, it's the extremity.

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Thu, Nov 18, 2010
from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via ScienceDaily:
As Arctic Temperatures Rise, Tundra Fires Increase
In September, 2007, the Anaktuvuk River Fire burned more than 1,000 square kilometers of tundra on Alaska's North Slope, doubling the area burned in that region since record keeping began in 1950. A new analysis of sediment cores from the burned area revealed that this was the most destructive tundra fire at that site for at least 5,000 years. Models built on 60 years of climate and fire data found that even moderate increases in warm-season temperatures in the region dramatically increase the likelihood of such fires. ...


You know you're in trouble when your tundra is on fire!

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Sun, Nov 14, 2010
from McClatchy Newspapers:
Ocean waves getting bigger, and stronger
...Ocean waves are becoming bigger and more powerful, and climate change could be the cause... Using buoy data and models based on wind patterns, scientists say that the waves off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and along the Atlantic seaboard from West Palm Beach, Fla., to Cape Hatteras, N.C., are steadily increasing in size... Since the mid-1970s, buoy data show the height of the biggest waves off the Northwest coast has increased an average of about four inches a year, or about 10 feet total... ...


Perhaps the oceans are simply evolving.

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Mon, Oct 25, 2010
from Thanh Nien Daily:
HCMC set to bear brunt of climate change impacts
Ho Chi Minh City and other Asia's coastal megacities will suffer more frequent and severe flooding affecting millions of people, if current climate change trends continue, a new report says. Major flooding could cost billions of dollars in infrastructure damage, hurting the economy. The hardest hit are likely to be urban poor populations, says the report titled Climate Risks and Adaptation in Asian Coastal Megacities...The cities have populations close to or over 10 million and are economic centers of their countries and the region. Yet they are facing increased risks of climate change such as rising sea levels and an increased frequency in extreme weather conditions. ...


Here in the US we call that the trickle down effect.

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Mon, Oct 4, 2010
from London Guardian:
Malaria threatens 2 million in Pakistan as floodwaters turn stagnant
More than 2m cases of malaria are expected in Pakistan in the coming months in the wake of the country's devastating floods, aid workers have warned. Two months into the crisis, large areas remain submerged in southern Sindh province, creating stagnant pools of standing water that, combined with the heat, are powerful incubators of a disease spread by mosquitoes that breed and hatch in the pools. More than 250,000 cases of suspected malaria, including some of the fatal falciparum strain, have been reported, according to the World Health Organisation. ...


Noah should have known to leave mosquitoes behind.

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Wed, Sep 29, 2010
from SPX:
Wildfires: A Symptom Of Climate Change
This summer, wildfires swept across some 22 regions of Russia, blanketing the country with dense smoke and in some cases destroying entire villages. In the foothills of Boulder, Colo., this month, wildfires exacted a similar toll on a smaller scale. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of wildfires large and small are underway at any given time across the globe. Beyond the obvious immediate health effects, this "biomass" burning is part of the equation for global warming. In northern latitudes, wildfires actually are a symptom of the Earth's warming. ...


"Global burning" is so much more dramatic a term than "global warming."

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Sun, Sep 26, 2010
from The Independent:
Australia faces worst plague of locusts in 75 years
But the rains feeding the continent's fourth-longest river are not the undiluted good news you might expect. For the cloudbursts also create ideal conditions for an unwelcome pest - the Australian plague locust. The warm, wet weather that prevailed last summer meant that three generations of locusts were born, each one up to 150 times larger than the previous generation. After over-wintering beneath the ground, the first generation of 2010 is already hatching. And following the wettest August in seven years, the climate is again perfect. The juveniles will spend 20 to 25 days eating and growing, shedding their exoskeletons five times before emerging as adults, when population pressure will force them to swarm. It is impossible to say how many billions of bugs will take wing, but many experts fear this year's infestation could be the worst since records began - 75 years ago. All that one locust expert, Greg Sword, an associate professor at the University of Sydney, would say was: "South Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria are all going to get hammered." ...


I'm sure I've heard about the "plague of locusts" thing somewhere...

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Wed, Sep 8, 2010
from New York Times:
Extreme Weather in a Warming World
The need for developing resilience in the face of worst-case weather is glaring and urgent. With or without shifts propelled by the buildup of human-generated greenhouse gases, as populations continue rising in some of the world's worst climatic "hot zones" -- sub-Saharan Africa being the prime example -- the exposure to risks from drought and heat will continue to climb, as well. In poor places, the risk is exacerbated by persistent poverty, dysfunctional government and a glaring lack of capacity to track climate conditions and design agricultural systems and water supplies around them.... The impact of warming on calamitous weather remains primarily one of frequency. The odds of extreme and prolonged heat or heavy rains will rise with an unabated buildup of warming emissions.... For temperatures, reality is matching the pattern forecast by climate scientists for more than two decades. The prediction? Heat waves -- and new record highs -- are ever more likely while unusually cold stretches -- and new cold records -- are ever less likely. This trend has already been measured over the 48 contiguous states. And there's every sign this will continue, according to a recent study led by scientists at Stanford University. ...


The deluge -- it's apres moi.

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Mon, Sep 6, 2010
from Inter Press Service:
After the floods
...Information from the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) reveals that approximately 25,234,144 people have been affected by floods in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The lack of medical care means that the province could suffer more in the aftermath of the floods than it did during the initial disaster. Statistics reveal that 172,868 people -- 32 per cent of the population in areas affected by floods in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa -- need food on an immediate basis. 270,472 people do not have access to clean drinking water while 162,017 people lack hygiene facilities...Flood victims may have another disaster to contend with soon if this situation continues much longer -- an outbreak of cholera. Cholera is a deadly intestinal infection that can cause death if left untreated. According to an update released by the NDMA on August 26, only 149 cholera kits have been distributed in one province -- the Punjab. ...


Lord, here comes the flood / We'll say goodbye to flesh and blood...

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Mon, Sep 6, 2010
from Burness Communications via ScienceDaily:
In a Changing Climate, Erratic Rainfall Poses Growing Threat to Rural Poor, New Report Says
Against a backdrop of extreme weather wreaking havoc around the world, a new report warns that increasingly erratic rainfall related to climate change will pose a major threat to food security and economic growth, especially in Africa and Asia, requiring increased investment in diverse forms of water storage as an effective remedy. "Millions of farmers in communities dependent on rainfed agriculture are at risk from decreasing and erratic availability of water," said Colin Chartres, director general of the Sri Lanka-based International Water Management Institute (IWMI), which released the report to coincide with World Water Week in Stockholm. "Climate change will hit these people hard, so we have to invest heavily and quickly in adaptation." ...


Ashes to ashes... dustbowl to dustbowl...

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Sat, Sep 4, 2010
from New Scientist:
Pakistan's flood weather eased Atlantic hurricanes
The stalled weather pattern blamed for disastrous floods in Pakistan and a record heatwave in Russia may have averted disasters elsewhere by putting the North Atlantic hurricane season on hold. Forecasters had predicted that warm sea-surface temperatures and the onset of the weather pattern known as La Nina would make a busy Atlantic hurricane season this year. In June, Phil Klotzbach and William Gray of Colorado State University predicted 18 tropical storms, with 10 reaching hurricane force and five becoming deadly major hurricanes. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast similar numbers. Yet this year's hurricane season got off to a very slow start, with only three storms by 20 August, and only one of them, Alex, reaching hurricane strength even briefly. That seemed a fizzle compared with the last busy storm season in 2008, when six of the year's 16 named storms, including major hurricane Bertha, had formed by 20 August.... Klotzbach attributes the calm conditions to dry air subsiding over the oceans, denying tropical storms the moisture that powers their growth. The dry air came from the blocking pattern that stalled the jet stream over Russia and Pakistan, says Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Air rose over Europe and Asia, then descended over the oceans depleted of the atmospheric moisture that fuels hurricanes. ...


Well done, Pakistan. Earl could have been catastrophic!

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Tue, Aug 31, 2010
from TreeHugger:
Millions of Dead Fish Poison Bolivian Drinking Water
In the northern hemisphere, the winter of 2010 was notable for its unpredictability and extreme conditions. From East Coast blizzards to a devastating cold snap in Florida, cities struggled to to keep pace and entire ecosystems hovered on the brink of collapse. Now, as winter wears on in the Southern Hemisphere, Bolivia is reeling from uncharacteristically cold weather that is clearing entire watersheds of life. Bolivian rivers that normally run around 59 degrees Fahrenheit this time of year have dropped below 39 degrees Fahrenheit. This 20 degree drop has been enough to kill an astonishing number of fish and other wildlife. Already, an estimated six million fish have died. Michel Jgu, a researcher from the Institute for Developmental Research in Marseilles, France, commented that: "There's just a huge number of dead fish... in the rivers near Santa Cruz there's about 1,000 dead fish for every 100 metres of river." The exceptional quantity of dead and decomposing fish in the rivers has tainted the water supplies of several Bolivian towns and completely destroyed the livelihoods of fisherman living in the area. With bans now in place to protect the small populations of fish that remain, the economic recovery will be slow even after temperatures begin to warm. ...


I hate it when natural variation seems so unnatural.

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Tue, Aug 31, 2010
from Herald Scotland:
Pakistan: A land left to drown by the 'timber mafia'
The warnings regularly given by all manner of experts had been ignored for decades. If Pakistan's authorities continued to allow the country's timber mafia and a benighted and oppressed peasantry to strip the country's forests at a faster rate than anywhere else in Asia, as is happening, floods of Biblical proportions would be inevitable. They would not be acts of God. They would be man-made catastrophes. And so it came to pass - as August began - that heavier than usual, but not unprecedented, monsoon rains fell.... "Other than landslides, soil erosion and the occasional homes and crops being swept away, it [the forest denudation] was not considered a disaster and hence didn't make the headlines," wrote Ayesha Tammy Haq, a columnist with the Pakistan daily Express Tribune newspaper.... This year's monsoon lashing northern Pakistan with unusual intensity would historically have been absorbed by extensive forests, much like multiple layers of blotting paper, allowing the rains to run off more sedately than in modern times. But this month the mud and water deluge cascaded off the tree-bare mountains and hills with exceptional force and barrelled down towards the plains in mammoth fury. ...


Hey, a guy's gotta eat. Capiche?

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Sun, Aug 29, 2010
from Reuters, via Scientific American:
Pakistanis too broken to rebuild in flood crisis
He has been walking for two days with a 20-kg (44 lb) sack of wheat on his back. Food shortages caused by the disaster have sent prices soaring and the only market he can afford is many kilometers away. "How can I think about rebuilding? I have no way of making money and I am just too tired," said the 50-year-old farmer. Madyan, in the northwest Swat valley, looks more like an earthquake zone than a flood-stricken area. Four-storey hotels that fueled the local economy vanished. Buildings have been flattened, with cars sandwiched between slabs of concrete. Roads were dragged down and all that's left behind are 30-meter (100-foot) dirt cliffs crumbling into a river. Pakistan's government was heavily criticized after its sluggish response to the floods, which hit about one-third of the country, made more than 6 million homeless, and threaten to the bring the economy to its knees without outside intervention.... "The government is robbing everything from us," he said. "If this continues there will be lots of angry young men here. They could join the Taliban. They have nothing else to do." ...


Act of God, or act of Man, betrayal has consequences.

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Fri, Aug 27, 2010
from Guardian:
Pakistan flood victims flee Thatta after another levee is breached
Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis have fled the historic southern city of Thatta in Sindh province after the swollen Indus river broke a levee and flooded new areas. Around 175,000 people, about 70 percent of the city's population, were believed to have fled their homes overnight, said Manzoor Sheikh, a senior government official. Authorities were trying to repair the broken levee 78 miles south-east of the major port city of Karachi and arranging transport for people trying to leave. "The situation is getting worse," said local disaster official Hadi Baksh Kalhoro. "The water is flowing into a nearby canal endangering Thatta city."... Many historic tombs, graves and other sites linked to the Mughal empire that once ruled the subcontinent are at risk in Sindh. Some people have refused to leave the danger zone while others have taken shelter in an ancient graveyard for Muslim saints.... The floods began with the onset of the monsoon and have ravaged large parts of Pakistan, from the mountainous northwest to the agricultural heartlands. More than 1,500 people have died, almost 17.2 million people have been significantly affected, and about 1.2m homes have been destroyed or badly damaged, according to the UN. ...


That "Pakistan Flood" story is still around? It's been weeks!

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Thu, Aug 26, 2010
from Yahoo News:
Behold the awesome power of the fire tornado
It turns out that "firestorm" isn't just a figure of speech. In a scene that looks like something straight out of the Book of Revelation, brushfires in Brazil combined with strong wind gusts to spark a tornado of fire. The bizarre weather event trailed flames in its wake as it touched down in the town of Aracatuba and around its surrounding countryside. Aracatuba hasn't seen any rain in three months. The flames brought traffic to a halt on a nearby road then disappeared. One local citizen caught the fearsome spectacle on camera. You can watch the raw footage... ...


The Apocalypse is going to be way cool!

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Thu, Aug 26, 2010
from IRIN:
Record low water levels threaten millions in Cambodia
Late rains and record low water levels in Cambodia's two main fresh water systems will affect food security and the livelihoods of millions, government officials and NGOs warn. "We expect the impact to be very strong," said Nao Thuok, director of the Fisheries Administration, adding that low water levels along the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers were already limiting fish production and migration. Crucial spawning grounds in floodplains along the rivers remained dry. "The places where the fish usually lay their eggs do not have much water so the fish population will decrease a lot," he warned. Approximately six million Cambodians or 45 percent of the population depend on fishing in the Mekong and Tonle Sap basins, the government's Inland Fisheries Research and Development Institute, reports. The annual "flood" season of daily rain usually starts in July but began a month late, local agricultural surveyors say.... Not only the fisheries sector is suffering, however. Rice farmer Meas Chan Thorn in western Pursat Province was only able to plant last week, a month behind schedule, because of the late rains, and predicted yields would be halved. ...


I'm sure this is just a "localized weather phenomenon."

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Tue, Aug 24, 2010
from Jakarta Globe, via DesdemonaDespair:
Indonesia reaches 'super-extreme level of weather'
Indonesia has been experiencing its most extreme weather conditions in recorded history, meteorologists warned on Wednesday as torrential rains continued to pound the capital. All regions across the archipelago have been experiencing abnormal and often catastrophic weather, an official from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said. "We have reached a super-extreme level of weather this year, the first time in our history, and this is much worse than what we experienced back in 1998, when the La Nina caused extreme weather in the country," Edvin Aldrian warned. ...


Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow! You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout till you have drenched our... wait, no, don't do that!

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Sun, Aug 22, 2010
from National Center for Atmospheric Research:
A storm so fierce, a new term is coined
A windstorm that swept across Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois on May 8, 2009, was so remarkably fierce that NCAR scientists coined a new term to describe it: super derecho. A derecho (the Spanish word for "straight") is a long-lived, straight-line windstorm that is associated with a bow echo, or line of severe thunderstorms. The word was first used in the American Meteorological Journal in 1888 by Gustavus Hinrichs, who sought to describe a derecho event in Iowa. The May 8 event, however, was no ordinary derecho. The bow echo produced an eye-like structure similar to tropical cyclones. It gained strength as it moved across Kansas in the early morning hours, spinning off 18 tornadoes and packing wind speeds from 70 to 90 miles per hour when it hit Springfield, Missouri. It plowed a path of destruction through the state about 100 miles wide, crossing the Mississippi River with 90 to 100 mph wind gusts before dissipating at Illinois' eastern border. ...


I don't think I like the derecho this is going.

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Thu, Aug 19, 2010
from Guardian:
Rising temperatures reducing ability of plants to absorb carbon, study warns
Rising temperatures in the past decade have reduced the ability of the world's plants to soak up carbon from the atmosphere, scientists said today. Large-scale droughts have wiped out plants that would have otherwise absorbed an amount of carbon equivalent to Britain's annual man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists measure the amount of atmospheric CO2 absorbed by plants and turned into biomass as a quantity known as the net primary production. NPP increased from 1982 to 1999 as temperatures rose and there was more solar radiation. But the period from 2000 to 2009 reverses that trend - surprising some scientists.... Reduced plant matter not only reduces the world's natural ability to manage CO2 in the atmosphere but could also lead to problems with growing more crops to feed rising populations or make sustainable biofuels. "Under a changing climate, severe regional droughts have become more frequent, a trend expected to continue for the foreseeable future," said the researchers. ...


I thought you liked CO2 and heat.

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Thu, Aug 19, 2010
from London Independent:
On the frontline of climate change
Irrigated by one of the world's mightiest river systems, the Murray-Darling Basin yields nearly half of Australia's fresh produce. But the basin is ailing, and scientists fear that as climate change grips the driest inhabited continent, its main foodbowl could become a global warming ground zero. The signs are already ominous: in the Riverland, one of the nation's major horticulture areas, dying vines and parched lemon trees attest to critical water shortages. Farmers have had their water allocations slashed during the recent crippling drought; 200 sold up, and many of those who hung on are struggling... At one school, children have reportedly been stealing packed lunches from classmates. ...


Just so they don't build a freakin' mosque there.

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Thu, Aug 19, 2010
from Climatewire:
Pakistan -- a Sad New Benchmark in Climate-Related Disasters
Devastating flooding that has swamped one-fifth of Pakistan and left millions homeless is likely the worst natural disaster to date attributable to climate change, U.N. officials and climatologists are now openly saying. Most experts are still cautioning against tying any specific event directly to emissions of greenhouse gases. But scientists at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva say there's no doubt that higher Atlantic Ocean temperatures contributed to the disaster begun late last month. Atmospheric anomalies that led to the floods are also directly related to the same weather phenomena that a caused the record heat wave in Russia and flooding and mudslides in western China... ...


Better to be "sad" about climate change than terrified.

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Mon, Aug 16, 2010
from Financial Times:
Economic Outlook: Toll from wheat price to emerge
Will soaring wheat prices feed through into higher inflation? This week's data releases will provide more clarity on the extent to which the sharp rise in global agricultural markets in July has affected prices in the world's food markets - although economists warn that the full effects of higher wholesale prices may not be felt for months. Rising inflation could put pressure on policymakers to tighten monetary policy sooner. The return of inflationary concerns comes after the price of wheat rose almost 50 per cent in July as Russia, the world's third-largest exporter, suffered its worst drought in more than a century. ...


A little wheat-belt tightening, that's all.

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Sun, Aug 15, 2010
from New York Times:
In Weather Chaos, a Case for Global Warming
The floods battered New England, then Nashville, then Arkansas, then Oklahoma -- and were followed by a deluge in Pakistan that has upended the lives of 20 million people. The summer's heat waves baked the eastern United States, parts of Africa and eastern Asia, and above all Russia, which lost millions of acres of wheat and thousands of lives in a drought worse than any other in the historical record. Seemingly disconnected, these far-flung disasters are reviving the question of whether global warming is causing more weather extremes. The collective answer of the scientific community can be boiled down to a single word: probably. ...


And thus we are probably screwed.

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Sat, Aug 14, 2010
from BBC:
Rain triggers fresh China landslides
Torrential rain has brought landslides to more areas in China, as relief teams in devastated Zhouqu county battle against the bad weather. Teams are continuing to recover bodies in the remote region in Gansu province, in the wake of Saturday's landslides that left 1,700 people dead or missing. Elsewhere in Gansu 24 people were killed in landslides, and five people died in Sichuan province to the south. More rain is forecast for the area in the next few days. ...


Oh, mirror in the sky / what is love?

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Sat, Aug 14, 2010
from London Independent:
Children bear the brunt of Pakistan's nightmare
...Two weeks after unprecedented monsoon rains started causing chaos and devastation in the north-west of the country, in this region the effects are still being felt. Further south, in Sindh province, it is likely that the worst is yet to come.... Half the people being rescued by the troops and volunteers are children. Experts estimate that of the 14 million people affected by these floods, six million children are at risk. In every natural disaster, it is often children who suffer the most. When food is in short supply, they are often the last to eat, they are more vulnerable to contagious diseases and water-borne illnesses such as cholera, and under such hardship a child's needs may not always be a family's priority. In these floods, many children, inclined to swim and splash in the deep brown waters, have been attacked by snakes. ...


Whatever happened to the meek inheriting the earth?

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Fri, Aug 13, 2010
from Christian Science Monitor:
China mudslides were predicted 13 years ago
Monster monsoon rains may have loosened the mud and rock that buried and killed more than 1,000 people in the northwestern Chinese Province of Gansu over the weekend, but the mudslide in Zhouqu was more than a natural disaster. Official records show that government-run lumber companies cut 313,000 acres of forest from the slopes of Zhouqu county between 1952 and 1990, denuding the geologically vulnerable mountainsides and subjecting them to soil erosion. Thirteen years ago two Chinese scientists published a paper warning that following "the destruction of the eco-system" in the district, "a rainstorm will carry debris down the gully, destroying farmland, houses, roads, bridges, water facilities, and power systems and causing death and injury." ...


What were those scientists' names -- Nostra and Damus?

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Thu, Aug 12, 2010
from Associated Press:
Long hot summer of fire and floods fit predictions
Floods, fires, melting ice and feverish heat: From smoke-choked Moscow to water-soaked Pakistan and the High Arctic, the planet seems to be having a midsummer breakdown. It's not just a portent of things to come, scientists say, but a sign of troubling climate change already under way. The weather-related cataclysms of July and August fit patterns predicted by climate scientists, the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization says -- although those scientists always shy from tying individual disasters directly to global warming. The experts now see an urgent need for better ways to forecast extreme events like Russia's heat wave and wildfires and the record deluge devastating Pakistan. They'll discuss such tools in meetings this month and next in Europe and America, under United Nations, U.S. and British government sponsorship. "There is no time to waste," because societies must be equipped to deal with global warming, says British government climatologist Peter Stott. ...


Can't I waste ... just one more day, please?

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Thu, Aug 12, 2010
from Guardian:
World feeling the heat as 17 countries experience record temperatures
2010 is becoming the year of the heatwave, with record temperatures set in 17 countries. Record highs have occurred in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine - the three nations at the centre of the present eastern European heatwave which has continued for more than three weeks - but also many African, Middle Eastern and Latin American countries. Temperatures in Moscow, which have been consistently 20C above normal, today fell to a more manageable 31C (86F). But the extreme heat experienced there would barely have registered in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Niger, Pakistan and Sudan, all of which have recorded temperatures of more than 47C (115F) since June. The number of record highs is itself a record - the previous record was for 14 new high temperatures in 2007. ...


The 99 degrees in Finland feels like the 125 in Iraq.

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Tue, Aug 10, 2010
from Cumberland Times-News:
Deep Creek fish kill toll at 1,000 -- and counting
The death toll of the June fish kill in Deep Creek Lake has reached approximately 1,000 and counting, but environmental investigators are hopeful the rate of fish deaths is slowing. Investigators are attributing the fish kill to unprecedented high water temperatures in the lake, combined with the speed at which the water temperature rose. The water heated up too quickly for the fish to become acclimated. "The vast majority of fish kills are really natural, as this one apparently is as well," said Maryland Department of the Environment Program Manager Charlie Poukish, who investigated the incident. "Our main interest, of course, is to get out quick enough to try to document if there is some sort of toxin -- the old canary in the coal mine." But instead of a toxin, Poukish said the Deep Creek Lake fish appear to be victims of a combination of stresses. Those stresses, including the higher water temperature, made them more susceptible to parasites. "We noticed a very heavy parasite load on the fish," Poukish said, adding, "The ultimate cause of death was really septicemia, which was brought on by a common bacteria found in nature which really doesn't affect fish until they're stressed." ...


Maybe it's time we genetically modified fish, so they could sweat.

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Mon, Aug 9, 2010
from CBC:
Record heat forces Northwest Territories folks to adapt
Landslides and low water levels in the Northwest Territories in the wake of record-breaking warmth have prompted calls for changes in infrastructure planning. "It's really important that community decision-makers and government decision-makers are prepared to spend a little bit more to make sure that the design [of structures such as buildings and roadways], in terms of preparation for permafrost degradation, is as strong as possible," said Doug Ritchie, a spokesman for the environmental group Ecology North, in the wake of temperature changes that Environment Canada called "unprecedented." In the Northwest Territories this year, spring temperatures were almost six degrees warmer than average, surpassing the previous record set in 1998 by half a degree. Climatologist Dave Phillips said in his 40 years with Environment Canada, he's never seen such a rapid change in temperature. "In my business, you break records by a tenth or a hundredth of a degree, not by a full half-degree or a degree," he said. "This is unprecedented, this kind of warming that we've seen in the last six months."... The Yukon government is already spending millions fixing roads affected by landslides, erosion, and washouts caused by extreme weather such as heavy rainstorms, Ritchie said. ...


You don't need even a high school degree, to understand six degrees. Centigrade!

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Mon, Aug 9, 2010
from PhysOrg:
Officials point to Russian drought and Asian deluge as consistent with climate change
Government officials are pointing to the drought and wildfires in Russia, and the floods across Central and East Asia as consistent with climate change predictions. While climatologists say that a single weather event cannot be linked directly to a warming planet, patterns of worsening storms, severer droughts, and disasters brought on by extreme weather are expected as the planet warms.... On Friday Medvedev continued his sudden frankness on climate change, warning that climate change could impact the Winter Olympics. "Frankly, what is going on with the worlds climate at the moment should incite us all (I mean world leaders and heads of public organizations) to make a more strenuous effort to fight global climate change," he said. Russia is one of the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters: when emissions due to deforestation are not included, Russia is listed as among the top 4, after China and the US, and nearly equal to India.... At the same time as central Russia is experiencing record heat and debilitating fires, a number of Asian nations have been hit with catastrophic flooding and mud slides. Flashfloods in India have left 132 people dead and some 500 missing, while mudslides in China due to flooding has taken the lives of 127 people. Nearly 50,000 people have been evacuated in China. But to date no nation appears worst hit than Pakistan, where flooding has killed 1,600 people and affected 14 million. Landslides have followed the flooding killing dozens more. ...


Nattering nabobs of the negative "new normal."

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Mon, Aug 9, 2010
from PhysOrg:
Moscow's toxic smog fails to shift as anger, heat grows
The toxic smog smothering Moscow showed little sign of abating Monday as media accused officials of covering up the scale of the disaster and the authorities raced to put out a fire near a nuclear site. Amid Russia's worst heatwave in decades, the raging wildfires and burning peat bogs in central Russia have choked Moscow for several days and even sent plumes of smoke as far as neighbouring Finland.... "Authorities do not release statistics in order to conceal their incompetence," the Kommersant daily quoted an unidentified head of an enterprise in the funerals industry as saying. "Morgues and crematoria are overcrowded."... "We have been strictly forbidden to hospitalize people barring the most extreme cases," he said, complaining of hazardous working conditions.... "Air conditioners work only on the floor of the administration, temperatures reach 30 degrees C (86 degrees F) in the operating room," he told Kommersant on conditions of anonymity. "It's hard to work in these conditions."... The heatwave created a national catastrophe which has affected all areas of life, with 10 million hectares (25 million acres) of agricultural land destroyed and the government ordering a controversial ban on grain exports. ...


But the vodka vendors are doing a bang-up business!

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Fri, Aug 6, 2010
from BBC:
Pakistan floods 'hit 12m people'
The worst floods in Pakistan's history have now affected 12 million people, says the government relief agency. General Nadeem Ahmed, of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), said that figure only covered Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces. Figures for Sindh province were not yet available, he added.... As well the estimate of 12 million people affected, Gen Ahmed said that 650,000 houses had been destroyed. "In my opinion, when assessments are complete, this will be the biggest disaster in the history of Pakistan," he told a news conference in Islamabad on Friday.... And the region is only midway through monsoon season, with more rain forecast. ...


I hate it when "Singin' in the Rain" gets to that primal-scream part.

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Sat, Jul 31, 2010
from USA Today:
July could be hottest month on record
Relentlessly scorching temperatures have July flirting with the record books to become the hottest month since weather data were first collected more than a century ago. Cities such as New York, Washington and Las Vegas are on track to set record average temperatures for any month. Philadelphia, Phoenix and Raleigh, N.C., are on pace for their second-warmest month, the National Weather Service says.... Cool weather in the Northwest may keep July from setting a national heat record, says Deke Arndt of the climatic data center. Much of the Midwest and Deep South have been significantly warmer than average in July, but no records should be set in those areas. ...


I'm just relieved that it's weather, and not climate. Whew!

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Thu, Jul 29, 2010
from Christopher Booker, in the Telegraph:
Desperate days for the warmists
Ever more risibly desperate become the efforts of the believers in global warming to hold the line for their religion, after the battering it was given last winter by all those scandals surrounding the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. One familiar technique they use is to attribute to global warming almost any unusual weather event anywhere in the world. Last week, for instance, it was reported that Russia has recently been experiencing its hottest temperatures and longest drought for 130 years. The head of the Russian branch of WWF, the environmental pressure group, was inevitably quick to cite this as evidence of climate change, claiming that in future "such climate abnormalities will only become more frequent". He didn't explain what might have caused the similar hot weather 130 years ago. Meanwhile, notably little attention has been paid to the disastrous chill which has been sweeping South America thanks to an inrush of air from the Antarctic, killing hundreds in the continent's coldest winter for years. ...


Warmist? I'm a Chaosist!

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Thu, Jul 22, 2010
from New Scientist:
Record-breaking heat does not 'prove' global warming
After very cold winter weather in many parts of the northern hemisphere, the notion of global warming was ripe for mockery. The family of senator Jim Inhofe - who called global warming "a hoax", built an igloo in Washington DC, with a sign saying "Al Gore's new home". And now? The winter weather has given way to a series of extraordinary heatwaves.... According to meteorologist Jeff Masters, nine countries have recorded their hottest ever temperatures this year, from the 53.5 degrees C recorded on 26 May in Pakistan to the 44 degrees C recorded in Russia on 11 July. If these records are officially confirmed, it will mean more national heat records been set in one year than ever before. So should "global warmists" be crowing about how this record-breaking heat proves they were right all along? No: the record-breaking heat does not "prove" global warming.... According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for instance, June was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record. According to NASA, the average temperature over the past 12 months has been the hottest ever.... But the latest El Nio was not as especially strong. What's more, we are currently getting less heat from the sun than we have for decades. This means that it's the combination of a strong underlying global warming trend due to rising carbon dioxide, together with a moderate El Nino, that explains why the planet is so hot at the moment. ...


What's good enough for the gander is good enough for the cooked goose.

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Sat, Jul 17, 2010
from Reuters:
World simmers in hottest year so far
The world is enduring the hottest year on record, according to a U.S. national weather analysis, causing droughts worldwide and a concern for U.S. farmers counting on another bumper year. For the first six months of the year, 2010 has been warmer than the first half of 1998, the previous record holder, by 0.03 degree Fahrenheit, said Jay Lawrimore, chief of climate analysis at the federal National Climatic Data Center. Period of a El Nino weather pattern is being blamed for the hot temperatures globally. "We had an El Nino episode in the early part of the year that's now faded but that has contributed to the warmth not only in equatorial Pacific but also contributed to anomalously warm global temperatures as well," Lawrimore said. ...


Not that El CO2o has anything to do with this.

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Fri, Jul 16, 2010
from Ocala:
Is Gulf oil spill really worst disaster ever?
...The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and sending poisonous crude gushing unabated into the Gulf for 2 1/2 months. But is it the worst disaster? Some television analysts say yes, while some experts say it's too soon to tell - that there have been far worse things to befall the earth, far worse things that people have done to the earth and each other. ...


For example, you should steer clear when I toot.

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Fri, Jul 16, 2010
from The Daily Climate:
Locking in our future
Welcome to the Anthropocene. Decisions made today about planet-warming emissions will influence climate impacts not just for decades but for centuries and perhaps even millennia, a panel from the National Academy of Sciences warned Friday. Given the longevity of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, these scientists said, these decisions effectively lock humanity in for a range of impacts, some of which can be "very severe." "Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch where human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth's climate," the scientists wrote. ...


More like the Anthro-po'folks-cene!

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Tue, Jul 13, 2010
from The Daily Climate:
Climate change can be hazardous to your health
Extreme weather induced by climate change has dire public health consequences, as heat waves threaten the vulnerable, storm runoff overwhelms city sewage systems and hotter summer days bake more pollution into asthma-inducing smog, scientists say. The United States - to say nothing of the developed world - is unprepared for such conditions predicted by myriad climate models and already being seen today, warn climate researchers and public health officials... Last week, as the East Coast stewed its way through the first heat wave of the summer, researchers at Stanford University published a study suggesting exceptionally long heat waves and extreme temperatures could be commonplace in the United States within 30 years - sooner than expected. ...


Sooner than expected, but still time to blow it off!

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Sat, Jun 26, 2010
from Vietnamnet:
Scorching heat, pollution kills fish, vegetables in central Vietnam
Hundreds of fish breeders along the edges of Tam Giang Lagoon have been watching their fish die off en masse due to heat and pollution in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue over the last few weeks.... The hot and muggy weather has also coupled with diseases to kill a slew of shrimp bred in the province. As of now, shrimps bred on nearly 2,000 hectares of farms have died to ineffectual breeding methods. In addition, several vegetable crop fields have yellowed and withered in the heat, putting over 1,200 Quang Dien District households in financial straits. The district provides the market an average of 2,000 tons of fresh vegetables annually. ...


Gooood endless noon, Vietnam!

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Thu, Jun 17, 2010
from London Guardian:
Cutting greenhouse gases will be no quick fix for our weather, scientists say
Global warming will continue to bring havoc to the world's weather systems for decades after reductions are made in greenhouse gas emissions, a new study shows. Scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre in Exeter say climate change could bring greater disruption to the planet's water cycle than previously thought. The research suggests that increased floods and droughts could continue long after future efforts to stabilise temperature may succeed. ...


Creedence asks: "Who'll stop the rain?" ...looks like nobody!

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Sat, Jun 12, 2010
from National Geographic:
"Ominous" Pre-Katrina Conditions Seen in Atlantic
t's already been forecast to be "extremely active," but the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season may be shaping up to be something even worse: a replay of 2005, the most active and destructive Atlantic basin hurricane season in history. The warm ocean temperatures and weak winds recorded this past May were similar to those of May 2005--the year that spawned Hurricane Katrina. Such patterns are "definitely ominous and foreboding," said Chris Hebert, lead hurricane forecaster for the private forecasting company ImpactWeather, based in Houston. For instance, the similarities to 2005 means there's an increased risk of hurricane impact across the northern Caribbean islands, the Florida Peninsula, and the northeast Gulf Coast, from southeastern Louisiana to Florida, he said. ... Right now the oscillation value is -1.49, compared with -1.25 in 2005, Hebert said. In 2009, a quiet hurricane year, the value was 1.68, because the Azores-Bermuda high remained strong all year, hampering hurricane formation. Last year unusually warm Pacific waters--part of an El Nino event--caused the jet stream, a high-altitude wind current, to shift southward into Atlantic regions where storms typically form. ...


And this year, the skids are greased with oil.

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Tue, Jun 8, 2010
from CBC:
Iceberg melting sinks sculpture project
Sculptures by Dutch artist Ap Verheggen are sitting under 500 metres of water, after the iceberg on which they were placed melted too quickly. Verheggen set the two sculptures Dog Sled Riders adrift on an iceberg off Greenland to draw attention to climate change. But global warming happened a little too quickly for the artist, whose project is supported by the World Wildlife Fund. The iceberg was to take several years to float down the Davis Strait to Newfoundland and Labrador, after calving from the Greenland glacier in March. But an average high temperature record for the Arctic was set in May and the iceberg collapsed in a matter of months. Last week the iceberg was seen floating off Uummannaq, a tiny island in the northwest of Greenland, but on Thursday, the iceberg collapsed.... The curvy, five-metre long sculptures depict the outline of an Inuit directing a dog sled team with a long whip, in homage to an Inuit way of life that is disappearing because of climate change. ...


Comedy, tragedy -- and irony. Mush!

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Mon, Jun 7, 2010
from KWGN:
A deadly week on Colo. rivers
Rivers and streams across Colorado are running dangerously high as the sudden warm weather melts the mountain snow faster than expected. Northern Colorado is under a flood advisory through Tuesday night because of heavy runoff. Estes Park officials continued to monitor the Big Thompson and Fall rivers, which came close to overflowing Saturday. Sandbags were placed around the Estes Park post office, but the water receded on Sunday. The fast-moving water may have played a role in several drowning fatalities and at least one disappearance.... The weather service highly discourages rafting, kayaking, fishing and other water activities due to the conditions. Warm weather continues across the state on Monday and temperatures could reach 97 in Denver. ...


Rocky Mountain hiiiiigh...

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Sat, Jun 5, 2010
from Guardian:
2010 on track to become warmest year ever
New data from some of the world's leading climate researchers and institutions suggest that 2010 is shaping up to be one of the warmest years ever recorded. Scientists at the US National Snow and Ice Centre Data Centre (NSIDC) report today that Arctic sea ice - frozen seawater that floats on the ocean surface - is now at its lowest physical extent ever recorded for the time of year, suggesting that it is on course to break the previous record low set in 2007. Satellite monitoring by the NSIDC in Boulder, Colorado, shows that the melting of sea ice has been unusually fast this year, with as much as 40,000 sq km now disappearing daily. The melt season started almost a month later than normal at the end of March and is not expected to end until September.... The Nasa research backs up findings by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the US national climate monitoring service that measures global temperatures by satellite. This has recorded the hottest ever first four months of a year. ...


Stop it now, Eaarth, or I'm going to kill you!

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Fri, May 28, 2010
from NOAA:
April 2010 warmest ever
April 2010 was characterized by very warm conditions across much of the world. Warmer-than-average conditions during April 2010 were present across much of the world's land areas. The warmest anomalies occurred in southern Asia, northern Africa, the north central and northeastern U.S., Canada, Europe, and parts of northern Russia. Although much of the world's land area was engulfed by warmer-than-average temperatures, cooler-than-average conditions prevailed across Argentina, Mongolia, eastern and southern Russia, and most of China.... Sea surface temperatures (SST) during April 2010 were the warmest on record, with an anomaly of 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average. ... Overall, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature anomaly for April 2010 was the warmest April on record since records began in 1880. The previous record was set in 1998. The combined global land and ocean temperature anomaly was 0.76°C (1.37°F) above the 20th century average. ...


April is the cruelest month.

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Thu, May 27, 2010
from NOAA, via Reuters:
US govt warns of worst hurricane season since 2005
The Atlantic storm season may be the most intense since 2005 when Hurricane Katrina killed over a thousand and disrupted oil production by crashing through Gulf of Mexico energy facilities, the U.S. government's top weather agency predicted on Thursday. In its first forecast for the storm season that begins next Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast 14 to 23 named storms, with 8 to 14 developing into hurricanes, nearly matching 2005's record of 15. Three to seven of those could be major Category 3 or above hurricanes, with winds of more than 110 miles per hour (177 km per hour), the agency said, echoing earlier predictions from meteorologists for a particularly severe season that could disrupt U.S. oil, gas and refinery operations. ...


I thought all that oil might calm the waters.

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Mon, May 3, 2010
from Associated Press:
Tenn. officials brace for more flooding, deaths
About 1,500 guests of a downtown hotel complex spent the night in a high school to escape the flooding Cumberland River, which was expected to crest Monday following weekend thunderstorms that killed at least 19 people in Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky... Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen called it an "unprecedented rain event," but that failed to capture the magnitude. More than 13 inches of rain fell in Nashville over two days, nearly doubling the previous record of 6.68 inches that fell in the wake of Hurricane Fredrick in 1979. "That is an astonishing amount of rain in a 24- or 36-hour period," Bredesen said Sunday. At least 11 were dead in Tennessee, six in Mississippi and two in Kentucky. ...


I've seen fire and I've seen rain... but never quite like this!

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Thu, Apr 29, 2010
from PNAS, via Environmental Research Web:
Double whammy for amphibians
It's clear that the world's amphibians are in trouble - many species have become extinct since the 1980s. What's less obvious is exactly what's causing the problem; climate change and a chytrid fungus are both suspects. Now a US team has linked the extinctions to increased temperature variability caused by El Nino events. They believe this is reducing amphibian's defences against disease.... "Given that global El Nino events and temperature variability were the best predictors of amphibian declines, we believe our results support the notion that global climate change might be contributing to increases in tropical, and perhaps worldwide, enigmatic amphibian declines."... "If changes to climate variation and extreme climate events affect disease risk and species interactions in general, models based on changes to mean climate alone will not effectively predict the biological effects of climate change." ...


Hey Professor: "Weather extremes ruin amphibian health worldwide. It's much worse than we thought" might have carried more punch.

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Wed, Apr 28, 2010
from Reuters, via DesdemonaDespair:
Arctic explorers get nasty surprise: rain
In what looks to be another sign the Arctic is heating up quickly, British explorers in Canada's Far North reported on Tuesday that they had been hit by a three-minute rain shower over the weekend. The rain fell on the team's ice base off Ellef Rignes island, about 3,900 km (2,420 miles) north of the Canadian capital, Ottawa. "It's definitely a shocker ... the general feeling within the polar community is that rainfall in the high Canadian Arctic in April is a freak event," said Pen Hadow, the team's expedition director. ... The Arctic is heating up three times more quickly than the rest of the Earth. Scientists link the higher temperatures to the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.... Experts say the thick multiyear ice covering the Arctic Ocean has effectively vanished, which could make it easier to open up polar shipping routes. U.S. data shows the 2009 ice cover was the third-lowest on record, after 2007 and 2008. ...


Raindrops keep falling on my head/ that doesn't mean my world will soon be seeing red....

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Fri, Apr 16, 2010
from CSIRO, via EurekAlert:
Ocean salinities show an intensified water cycle
Evidence that the world's water cycle has already intensified is contained in new research to be published in the American Journal of Climate. The stronger water cycle means arid regions have become drier and high rainfall regions wetter as atmospheric temperature increases.... The paper also confirms that surface warming of the world's oceans over the past 50 years has penetrated into the oceans' interior changing deep-ocean salinity patterns.... The study finds a clear link between salinity changes at the surface driven by ocean warming and changes in the ocean subsurface which follow the trajectories along which surface water travels into the ocean interior. ...


Yes, but are you calculating the salt added from my tears?

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Tue, Apr 6, 2010
from AP, via PhysOrg.com:
Study: Northeast seeing more, fiercer rainstorms
The Northeast is seeing more frequent "extreme precipitation events" in line with global warming predictions, a study shows, including storms like the recent fierce rains whose floodwaters swallowed neighborhoods and businesses across New England. The study does not link last week's devastating floods to its research but examined 60 years' worth of National Weather Service rainfall records in nine Northeastern states and found that storms that produce an inch or more of rain in a day - a threshold the recent storm far surpassed - are coming more frequently. "It's almost like 1 inch of rainfall has become pretty common these days," said Bill Burtis, spokesman for Clean Air-Cool Planet, a global warming education group that released the study Monday along with the University of New Hampshire's Carbon Solutions New England group. The study's results are consistent with what could be expected in a world warmed by greenhouse gases, said UNH associate professor Cameron Wake. He acknowledged it would take more sophisticated studies to cement a warming link, though. "I can't point to these recent storms and say, that is global warming," he said. ...


Don't know why / there's more clouds up in the sky...

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Sat, Apr 3, 2010
from Environmental Research Web:
Evidence suggests changing environment can bring down a civilization
Decades of drought, interspersed with intense monsoon rains, may have helped bring about the fall of Cambodia's ancient Khmer civilization at Angkor nearly 600 years ago, according to an analysis of tree rings, archeological remains and other evidence. The study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may also shed light on what drives - and disrupts - the rainy season across much of Asia, which waters crops for nearly half the world's population.... Similar studies suggest that abrupt environmental changes may have pushed other ancient civilizations over the edge, including the Anasazi people of the southwestern United States; the Maya people of Central America, and the Akkadian people of Mesopotamia. There is some evidence that other once-powerful kingdoms in what is now Vietnam and Myanmar may have fallen during the late 1700s, following extreme dry and wet periods. "Both human society and the Earth's climate system are complex systems capable of unexpected behavior. Through the long-term perspective offered by climate and archaeological records, we can start to identify and understand the myriad ways they may interact," said study coauthor Kevin Anchukaitis, a tree ring scientist at Lamont. "The evidence from monsoon Asia should remind us that complex civilizations are still quite vulnerable to climate variability and change." ...


Thank goodness we are the first invulnerable civilization.

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Sun, Mar 21, 2010
from PhysOrg.com:
Sandstorms blanket Beijing in yellow dust
Beijingers woke up Saturday to find the Chinese capital blanketed in yellow dust, as a sandstorm caused by a severe drought in the north and in Mongolia swept into the city. The storm, which earlier buffeted parts of northeastern China, brought strong winds and cut visibility in the capital. Authorities issued a rare level five pollution warning, signalling hazardous conditions, and urged residents to stay indoors.... Scientists blame a combination of deforestation and prolonged drought in northern China for the phenomenon.... In the southwest of the country, drought has left 16 million people with a shortage of drinking water, according to a statement issued by the State Commission of Disaster Relief. Since late last year, the provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou, have received only half their annual average rainfall, leaving water supplies severely depleted. ...


Deforestation is just part of natural variation. There's nothing *we* can do.

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Thu, Mar 18, 2010
from BBC:
Africans 'take blame for climate change'
Many Africans blame themselves for climate change even though fossil fuel emissions there are less than 4 percent of the global total, a new survey suggests. The report, the most extensive survey ever conducted on public understanding of the issue, found that others blamed God for changes in weather patterns.... It has become a well-worn truism of international climate politics that those that did the least to cause climate change are those set to suffer the most from it.... ...


As a Westerner, let me just say: mea maxima culpa! And, good luck!

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Thu, Mar 11, 2010
from IRIN:
Niger: Southern villages emptying as drought bites
"Empty" increasingly describes villages around the southern Niger town of Tanout in Zinder Region: Water wells and pastures, fields and food banks - and slowly - entire villages, are emptying.... Insufficient rains nationwide led to a 31 percent slump in crop production compared to last year - 410,000 tons less - according to the government's latest estimates.... The government has estimated that poor rains have forced some two million people to finish off their food reserves seven months before the next harvest. Another five million may soon follow. ...


What's new? Humans have been eating their seed banks for a hundred years.

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Wed, Mar 10, 2010
from Inter Press Service:
"Famine Marriages" Just One Byproduct of Climate Change
The negative fallout from climate change is having a devastatingly lopsided impact on women compared to men, from higher death rates during natural disasters to heavier household and care burdens. In the 1991 cyclone disasters that killed 140,000 in Bangladesh, 90 percent of victims were reportedly women; in the 2004 Asian Tsunami, an estimated 70 to 80 percent of overall deaths were women. And following the 2005 Hurricane Katrina in the United States, African-American women, who were the poorest population in some of the affected States in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, faced the greatest obstacles to survival, according to the New York-based Women's Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO)...women are particularly affected by climate change because they are the largest percentage -- accounting for about 70 percent -- of the poor population. ...


Next you'll be telling me menfolk emit more methane!

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Sun, Mar 7, 2010
from PhysOrg.com:
Melbourne cyclone, hailstones 'size of tennis balls', record floods
"(It was) tennis ball size roughly," he said. "As far as we can tell, that's close to the biggest hail we've seen in Melbourne." As the city readied for further violent storms Sunday, once-in-a-century floods were peaking in the state of Queensland in the country's northeast, parts of which have been in drought for almost a decade.... Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said the cost of the flooding would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, as there had been major damage to highways and rail lines had been washed away. "This is a massive water event which has smashed all the records known here in the southwest," she told reporters Sunday as she toured St George. ...


I'll be convinced something is wrong only when hailstones are the size of pumpkins.

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Mon, Mar 1, 2010
from PhysOrg.com:
Australian residents urged to flee 18-metre flames
Some 166 firemen using dozens of fire engines and aircraft were battling the flames, which have already consumed 22,000 hectares (54,000 acres) of land. FESA could not say how many homes were at risk in the sparsely populated area but said it was mainly farmland. Western Australia, a giant state four times the size of Texas, has just sweltered through its hottest southern hemisphere summer with temperatures averaging nearly 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). News of the blaze follows an announcement that Western Australia has sweated through its hottest ever summer, recording average temperatures just shy of 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), officials have said. ...


Go East, young man -- and hurry!

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Wed, Feb 24, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
State sidesteps climate change survey
When the National Association of Insurance Commissioners decided it would require large insurance companies to publicly disclose the risks they face from climate change -- and the steps they are taking to combat them -- insurers across the country had every reason to believe they would make their first disclosures on May 1 this year, as agreed upon by state insurance commissioners. Not so for Indiana's insurers. Or for insurers in several other states that seem to be following Indiana's lead... At least two more states have abandoned the survey altogether. NUVO confirmed with state insurance commissions that Mississippi and North Carolina have joined Indiana. Meanwhile, Alabama, Connecticut and Utah told NUVO they were reconsidering it. ...


The domiNO effect of states who say NO.

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Mon, Feb 22, 2010
from London Independent:
Methane levels may see 'runaway' rise, scientists warn
Atmospheric levels of methane, the greenhouse gas which is much more powerful than carbon dioxide, have risen significantly for the last three years running, scientists will disclose today -- leading to fears that a major global-warming "feedback" is beginning to kick in. For some time there has been concern that the vast amounts of methane, or "natural gas", locked up in the frozen tundra of the Arctic could be released as the permafrost is melted by global warming. This would give a huge further impetus to climate change, an effect sometimes referred to as "the methane time bomb". ...


Quit with the feedback already!

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Mon, Feb 22, 2010
from Associated Press:
Study: Warming to bring stronger hurricanes
Top researchers now agree that the world is likely to get stronger but fewer hurricanes in the future because of global warming, seeming to settle a scientific debate on the subject... The study offers projections for tropical cyclones worldwide by the end of this century, and some experts said the bad news outweighs the good. Overall strength of storms as measured in wind speed would rise by 2 to 11 percent, but there would be between 6 and 34 percent fewer storms in number. Essentially, there would be fewer weak and moderate storms and more of the big damaging ones, which also are projected to be stronger due to warming. An 11 percent increase in wind speed translates to roughly a 60 percent increase in damage, said study co-author Kerry Emanuel, a professor of meteorology at MIT. The storms also would carry more rain, another indicator of damage, said lead author Tom Knutson, a research meteorologist at NOAA. ...


How about just one giant storm?! Oh wait... that's the Apocalypse.

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Wed, Feb 17, 2010
from Guardian:
Tajikistan facing water shortages and climate extremes, report warns
Tajikistan, which has been at the crossroads of Asian civilisations for over a thousand years, is in danger of being overwhelmed by water shortages, rising temperatures and climate extremes. A report released today by Oxfam details fast-rising temperatures, melting glaciers in the Pamir mountains, increased disease, drought, landslides and food shortages. Temperatures plummeted to -20C for more than a month in 2008-09 - unheard of in what is, in places, a subtropical region - and temperatures in the south of the country near Afghanistan have risen several degrees above normal, said the report. About 20 percent of the country's 8,492 glaciers are in retreat and 30 percent more are likely to retreat or disappear by 2050, said Ilhomjon Rajabov, head of the state's climate change department. The largest glacier, Fedchenko, has lost 44 sq km, or 6 percent of its volume, in the last 34 years.... The implications of climate change stretch well beyond Tajikistan's borders, said Oxfam. Because its glaciers and mountains supply much of the water for the Aral Sea and and the vast, water-hungry, cotton-growing areas of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, there is a danger climate change will increase tensions between already water-stressed countries. ...


Imagine the attention if this was, say... Colorado?

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Tue, Feb 16, 2010
from BBC:
Fog decline threatens US redwoods
Scientists in California say a drop in coastal fog could threaten the state's famed giant redwood trees. Their study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says such fog has decreased markedly over the past 100 years.... "Fog prevents water loss from redwoods in summer and is really important for the tree and the forest," said research co-author Professor Todd Dawson.... Dr Johnstone thinks drought stress could affect the growth of new trees and the plants and animals that depend on the redwoods. But he notes that the negative impact on the tree population is, as yet, unproven. "We're concerned for certain, we expect some impact on the ecology but we don't have clear evidence that the redwoods are about to go extinct in the near term." ...


"Near term" may mean something different to us than to two-thousand-year-olds redwoods.

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Thu, Feb 11, 2010
from Guardian, via DesdemonaDespair:
Climate changes desynchronizing biological cycles in Britain
The analysis confirms that spring and summer are occurring earlier, but also shows that this trend appears to be accelerating. The shift could pose problems for animals, birds and fish that rely on springtime flowering of plants to supply food for their young.... The new study compiled 25,000 records of springtime trends for 726 species of plants, animals, plankton, insects, amphibians, birds and fish across land, sea and freshwater habitats. It analysed them for changes in the timing of lifecycle events, such as egg laying, first flights and flowering, a science known as phenology. The results showed that more than 80 percent of trends between 1976 and 2005 indicated earlier seasonal events. On average, the study showed the seasonal timing of reproduction and population growth shifted forward by eleven days over the period, and that the change has accelerated recently. ...


If springtime comes early, won't Punxatawny Phil always see his shadow?

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Tue, Feb 9, 2010
from Washington Post:
U.S. proposes new climate service
The Obama administration proposed a new climate service on Monday that would provide Americans with predictions on how global warming will affect everything from drought to sea levels. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Service, modeled loosely on the 140-year-old National Weather Service, would provide forecasts to farmers, regional water managers and businesses affected by changing climate conditions... A Web portal launched Monday at www.climate.gov provides a single entry point to NOAA's climate information, data, products and services. ...


The Apocalypse will be monitored.

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Mon, Feb 8, 2010
from Asahi Shimbun:
Seaweed beds, the 'cradle of the sea,' vanishing
... Seaweed beds are called the "cradle of the sea" because they provide fish with oxygen, as well as places to hide and lay eggs. The symbol of marine biodiversity, however, is fast disappearing from Japan's coastal regions in a phenomenon called isoyake, or denudation of rocky shores. In 1991, an Environment Agency survey found 200,000 hectares of rich seaweed beds around the nation. The Marine Ecology Research Institute in Tokyo estimates about 20 percent had been lost by 2008. The underwater deforestation is attributed to overgrazing by herbivorous fish, pollution and other factors, but the exact causes have not been determined. ...


Whose hand is rocking this cradle?

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Mon, Feb 8, 2010
from Reuters:
Blue jeans: 15000 litres/ pair
The main impact of climate change will be on water supplies and the world needs to learn from past co-operation such as over the Indus or Mekong Rivers to help avert future conflicts, experts said on Sunday. Desertification, flash floods, melting glaciers, heatwaves, cyclones or water-borne diseases such as cholera are among the impacts of global warming inextricably tied to water. And competition for supplies might cause conflicts.... "Water is a very good medium [for co-operation]. It's typically an apolitical issue that can be dealt with," said Adeel, who is also director of the UN University's Canada-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health. ...


How touching that we can all die of thirst together!

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Sun, Jan 31, 2010
from PhysOrg.com:
Coral in Florida Keys suffers lethal hit from cold
Bitter cold this month may have wiped out many of the shallow water corals in the Keys. Scientists have only begun assessments, with dive teams looking for "bleaching" that is a telltale indicator of temperature stress in sensitive corals, but initial reports are bleak. The impact could extend from Key Largo through the Dry Tortugas west of Key West, a vast expanse that covers some of the prettiest and healthiest reefs in North America. Given the depth and duration of frigid weather, Meaghan Johnson, marine science coordinator for The Nature Conservancy, expected to see losses. But she was stunned by what she saw when diving a patch reef 2.5 miles off Harry Harris Park in Key Largo.... Star and brain corals, large species that can take hundreds of years to grow, were as white and lifeless as bones, frozen to death. There were also dead sea turtles, eels and parrotfish littering the bottom.... "Corals didn't even have a chance to bleach. They just went straight to dead," said Johnson, who joined teams of divers last week surveying reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. "It's really ecosystem-wide mortality."... Cold-water bleaching is unusual, last occurring in 1977, the year it snowed in Miami. It killed hundreds of acres of staghorn and elkhorn corals across the Keys. Neither species has recovered, both becoming the first corals to be federally listed as threatened in 2006. ...


"Ecosystem-wide mortality" -- is that a euphemism?

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Sat, Jan 30, 2010
from IRIN:
PAKISTAN: Drought fears for wheat farmers
Drought-like conditions across Pakistan in December and January are worrying wheat farmers who fear large-scale crop failure. "Things are looking dismal right now. The wheat crop, sown late last year, needs to be watered. It is our main crop of the year. The lack of rain is a disaster for those of us who depend on wheat," Muhammad Fiaz, a farmer from the Vehari area of Punjab Province told IRIN.... "The lack of rain means the water table is falling and it is hard even to grow vegetables for use in our house. Things are really looking very bleak, and there is still no sign of rain," said Fiaz. The water volume in rivers has fallen by 21 percent due to the lack of rain, while reservoir levels have dropped by around 34 percent since September, when the monsoon ended, according to media reports. ...


I like to think of the reservoirs as being two thirds full.

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Fri, Jan 22, 2010
from Oregon State University, via EurekAlert:
Findings challenge a century of assumptions about soil hydrology
A new study by scientists from Oregon State University and the Environmental Protection Agency showed -- much to the surprise of the researchers -- that soil clings tenaciously to the first precipitation after a dry summer, and holds it so tightly that it almost never mixes with other water. The finding is so significant, researchers said, that they aren't even sure yet what it may mean. But it could affect our understanding of how pollutants move through soils, how nutrients get transported from soils to streams, how streams function and even how vegetation might respond to climate change.... "We used to believe that when new precipitation entered the soil, it mixed well with other water and eventually moved to streams. We just found out that isn't true." "This could have enormous implications for our understanding of watershed function," he said. "It challenges about 100 years of conventional thinking."... The study found in one test, for instance, that after the first large rainstorm in October, only 4 percent of the precipitation entering the soil ended up in the stream -- 96 percent was taken up and held tightly by soil around plants to recharge soil moisture. A month later when soil moisture was fully recharged, 55 percent of precipitation went directly into streams. And as winter rains continue to pour moisture into the ground, almost all of the water that originally recharged the soil around plants remains held tightly in the soil it never moves or mixes. ...


If you don't know what it means, it means a lot.

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Mon, Jan 18, 2010
from UCSD, via EurekAlert:
Wilder weather exerts a stronger influence on biodiversity than steadily changing conditions
Climate scientists predict more frequent storms, droughts, floods and heat waves as the Earth warms. Although extreme weather would seem to challenge ecosystems, the effect of fluctuating conditions on biodiversity actually could go either way. Species able to tolerate only a narrow range of temperatures, for example, may be eliminated, but instability in the environment can also prevent dominant species from squeezing out competitors.... "It may depend on the predictability of the environment. If you have a lot of violent changes through time, species may not be able to program their life cycles to be active when conditions are right. They need the ability to read the cues, to hatch out at the right time," Shurin said. "If the environment is very unpredictable, that may be bad for diversity, because many species just won't be able to match their lifecycles to that." ...


Can't they just evolve for predictable unpredictability?

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Sun, Dec 27, 2009
from Tucson Arizona Daily Star:
Why your plants are so confused
Gardeners have had a tough year: a dry winter; relatively cool, late spring and early summer; a hot and sputtering monsoon; a near freeze in October; and a warm November. "I know plants were completely confused," says Michael A. Crimmins, a climate specialist with the Arizona Cooperative Extension. Some of the weather wackiness can be attributed to the effects of temperature changes in the Pacific known as El Niño and La Niña. But as world climate continues to change, more confusion is inevitable for both plants and gardeners. ...


I don't think the plants are merely confused. I think they're angry.

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Wed, Dec 16, 2009
from NASA, via WWF:
NASA: November was the Warmest on Record
NASA today (15 December 2009) updated its Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index with data for November 2009, indicating that the month was 0.68oC above the 1951-1980 mean, making it the warmest November on record. NASA also issued data for the September-October-November period, indicating that it was the 2nd warmest on record for land and ocean combined, behind only Sep-Oct-Nov 2005. ...


Another record! We so kick ass at this!

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Mon, Dec 14, 2009
from Desdemona Despair:
Brazil's river of death
The once free-flowing Manaquiri River, which runs through the state of Amazonas in northwest Brazil, is in the fight of its life against a spell of dry weather - and it appears to be losing the battle. Thousands of dead fish are rotting on the river banks and hundreds more float on its surface, turning the area into a toxic cesspool. Vultures circle overhead, picking away at the rotting carcasses. Even an alligator - one of the fiercest reptiles of the Amazon - floats belly up in the river. Local fishermen say it has not rained in more than 25 days, leaving the large surrounding rivers in recession. This has in turn choked off the tributaries that provide fresh water to the Manaquiri. ...


Sorry, fish.

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Sat, Nov 21, 2009
from PhysOrg.com:
Australia issues 'catastrophic' alerts as fires rage
Unseasonably hot and dry weather combined with strong winds to fan scores of blazes in the country's southeastern states, many of which were sparked by overnight lightning strikes. "It has never been this hot, dry or windy in combination in November ever before," said New South Wales (NSW) state premier Nathan Rees.... More than one-third of NSW was under a Code Red or Catastrophic fire alert, in which residents cannot be forcibly evacuated but are strongly advised to abandon their property due to extreme risk of death or injury. ...


New South Wales may be really new before we know it.

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Sat, Nov 21, 2009
from Times Online (UK):
'Rain like this happens once every 1,000 years'
The full and devastating impact of England's worst recorded day of rain was still emerging last night as tributes were paid to a policeman swept away by floodwaters while trying to save others. PC Bill Barker was helping motorists stranded on a bridge over the Derwent in the Cumbrian town of Workington when it collapsed. His body was discovered hours later on a nearby beach. The Environment Agency said that the flooding across the region was so severe that such an event was likely to happen only once in 1,000 years. The rainfall, on to an already saturated terrain, was the highest level measured in England since records began. Meteorologists recorded 314mm (12in) of rain in 24 hours and flood warnings remained in place across the North West of England, parts of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. ...


At least that means we won't see weather like this again till 3009!

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Sat, Nov 14, 2009
from Billings Gazette via DesdemonaDespair:
Record snowfall destroys 9,000 buildings and strands 7.5 million in Northern China
Unusually early snow storms in north-central China have claimed 40 lives, caused thousands of buildings to collapse and destroyed almost 500,000 acres (200,000 hectares) of winter crops, the Civil Affairs Ministry said Friday.... The snowfall is the heaviest in the northern and central provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Shandong and Henan since record keeping began after the establishment of the Communist state in 1949, the ministry said without giving detailed figures.... More than 7.5 million people have been stranded or otherwise affected by the storms, which caused the collapse of more than 9,000 buildings, damaged 470,000 acres (190,000 hectares) of crops, and forced the evacuation of 158,000 people, the ministry said. ...


Just more evidence that "global warming" is an enviro-conspiracy. I mean, snow, right?

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Tue, Oct 27, 2009
from Washington Post:
Ailing planet seen as bad for human health
Climate change will make Americans more vulnerable to diseases, disasters and heat waves, but governments have done little to plan for the added burden on the health system, according to a new study by a nonprofit group. The study, released Monday by the Trust for America's Health, an advocacy group focused on disease prevention, examines the public-health implications of climate change. In addition to pushing up sea levels and shrinking Arctic ice, the report says, a warming planet is likely to leave more people sick, short of breath or underfed. ...


Yet another fine report from the Duh! Institute.

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Thu, Oct 22, 2009
from London Times:
Four-year drought pushes 23 million Africans to brink of starvation
...A four-year drought has pushed as many as 23 million people to the brink of starvation across East Africa, making it the worst in a decade or more. Close to four million of those at risk are in Kenya, where one person in ten survives on emergency rations. Last week clouds gathered over much of the country, but the rains have come too late to bring much relief. Aid agencies have warned that with them will come flooding, cholera, malaria and hypothermia. In the arid north, pastoralists have watched as their cattle collapsed from exhaustion and thirst, and those that survive now face floods. The people are scarcely holding on and the number of armed skirmishes over water and livestock is rising. ...


When it comes to the Apocalypse... if it's not one thing... it's another.

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Tue, Oct 20, 2009
from Beirut Daily Star:
Winter as we know it on the way out
BEIRUT: It's autumn but many Lebanese are still happily whiling away their weekends at the beach, taking advantage of the apparent Indian summer while it lasts. As the beach-goers perspire from the hot weather, many environmental experts are starting to sweat over what they claim is the first sign of climate change. They say Lebanon is already feeling the heat of a warmer world and warn the country's four distinct seasons will be reduced to one long, hot and dry season and a much shorter winter period if global action to mitigate climate change isn't adopted immediately. Environmentalists have already predicted Lebanon's average summer temperatures will increase by 1.2 degrees centigrade. ...


Two seasons... easier to keep track of than four.

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Mon, Oct 19, 2009
from International Rice Research Institute via ScienceDaily:
Climate Change Threatens Rice Production
...by using advanced modeling techniques, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has mapped rice-growing regions in the Philippines that are most likely to experience the negative effects of climate change, showing the extent to which climate change threatens rice production. Solutions to help farmers adapt are nevertheless available. Cyclone Nargis wreaked havoc on the rice crops and communities of Myanmar in 2008. Since then, IRRI has sent submergence-tolerant and salt-tolerant rice varieties for testing there as more resilient options for farmers. Massive rat infestations in Myanmar followed cyclone Nargis. Horrific rat infestations also occurred recently in Laos and Bangladesh, where the rodents ate up to 100 percent of rice crops, invaded house stores of food, bit sleeping people, and likely propagated disease. IRRI is hosting an international conference on rodents in rice to help find solutions. ...


And the RATS shall inherit the earth.

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Sun, Oct 18, 2009
from New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Global warming suit gets go-ahead
A group of Mississippi landowners can pursue their lawsuit against more than 30 major oil, electric and coal companies they say have created global-warming pollutants that contributed to rising sea levels and increased Hurricane Katrina's destruction. A three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned a U.S. District Court ruling that said the defendants could not sue the companies for claims that their emissions caused damage under Mississippi public and private nuisance, trespass and negligence statutes. Gerald Maples, lead attorney for the landowners in the class-action lawsuit, said he filed the suit 22 days after Katrina to get the attention of energy officials about greenhouse gas emissions. ...


How can I get ME one of those snazzy global warming suits?

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Thu, Oct 15, 2009
from NOAA, via DesdemonaDespair:
Global Temperature Anomalies, August 2009
Sea surface temperatures (SST) during August 2009 were warmer than average across much of the world's oceans, with cooler-than-average conditions across the higher-latitude southern oceans and the northern parts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The August 2009 worldwide ocean SST ranked as the warmest on record for a third consecutive month -- 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F). This broke the previous August record set in 1998, 2003, and 2005. Meanwhile, the worldwide land surface temperature represented the fourth warmest August on record. During the month of August, warmer-than-average temperatures were present across large portions of the world's land areas with the exception of cooler-than-average conditions across Japan, the central contiguous United States, parts of Canada, western Alaska, and western Russia. ...


Climate chaos makes such pretty pictures!

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Tue, Oct 13, 2009
from AAP, via Sydney Morning Herald:
Queenslanders recruited to count koalas
Queenslanders are being asked to count a koala as the RSPCA tries to determine whether koala numbers are climbing or falling. The koala count takes place on the weekend of October 24 and 25, and while the RSPCA wants information from southeast Queensland's urbanised areas, people all over the state are being asked to report koalas wherever they're seen.... "As our population grows we're pushing further and further into their habitat." Habitat destruction means koalas have to travel on the ground as they hunt for suitable eucalyptus leaves or mates.... ...


When you have to count them, the number's too effing small.

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Wed, Oct 7, 2009
from Dick Jones Communication, via EurekAlert:
Water scarcity will create global security concerns
"Up to 1.2 billion people in Asia, 250 million Africans and 81 million Latin Americans will be exposed to increased water stress by 2020," Pachauri says. Water shortages have an enormous impact of human health, including malnutrition, pathogen or chemical loading, infectious disease from water contamination, and uncontrolled water reuse.... "A technological society has two choices," Pachauri says. "It can wait until catastrophic failures expose systemic deficiencies, distortion and self-deceptions, or the culture can provide social checks and balances to correct for systemic distortion prior to catastrophic failures."... "A major mitigation would only postpone growth domestic product growth by one year at most over the medium term. That's not a high price to pay for the world." ...


Before implementing "major mitigation," you have to believe in the "theory of science." Oh, and have political will.

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Thu, Oct 1, 2009
from Riverhead News-Review:
When dead trees attack
The woods along Flanders Road are filled with dead trees, and transportation and environmental officials worry that motorists may not be as fortunate in the future when trees collapse. The Pine Barrens Commission estimates that 14,000 acres of the 100,000-acre Central Pine Barrens region, which covers parts of Southampton, Riverhead and Brookhaven, are covered with dead trees. "There's something wrong with the trees and it's extensive," said Eileen Peters, a spokeswoman for the Sate Department of Transportation.... Cornell believes multiple factors have contributed to the oak die-off.... ...


Looks like we're not at fault! Just a natural phenomenon. Whew!

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Wed, Sep 30, 2009
from World Bank, via DesdemonaDespair:
World Bank estimates climate change to cost developing nations $100 billion a year
Developing countries will need to spend as much as $100 billion annually for the next 40 years to adapt to more extreme and severe weather changes, according to a World Bank study issued on Wednesday. The report said poorer countries would need to invest in large-scale infrastructure projects to cope with floods, drought, heatwaves and more frequent and intense rainfall if the Earth's temperature rose by 2 degrees Celsius by 2050. "Faced with the prospect of huge additional infrastructure costs, as well as drought, disease and dramatic reductions in agricultural productivity, developing countries need to be prepared for the potential consequences of unchecked climate change," said Katherine Sierra, World Bank vice president for sustainable development. ...


How do you squeeze blood from a dessicated corpse?

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Tue, Sep 29, 2009
from American Chronicle:
Weather extremes in India's Jharkand
Any change in monsoon trend drastically affects agriculture.... There has been a major shift in the pattern of rainfall during the south-west monsoon season (from June to September) in recent years. This is one of the findings of an analysis by scientists at the India Meteorology Department's National climate Centre at Pune.... Due to global warming there is high influx of water in the Himalayan rivers flowing through Assam, Bihar and West Bengal in eastern India in the form of floods due to melting of Himalayan glaciers associated with heavy rains in the Himalayas. These floods annually destroy millions of tons of crops. This year the world's largest river island Majuli in Assam State of India has been severely hit by flood and erosion.... Few years ago, there were reports coming in of massive forced migration due to persistent droughts in Bundelkhand area in Central India. Large lakes had completely dried, water in wells that people use for their daily needs had run down, rivers and tributaries had dried up, thousands of hand pumps had become useless because the groundwater levels had fallen. People had abandoned their cows and other cattle to a dusty death, as they were unable to provide them fodder and water. ...


This might be news -- if it was happening here.

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Sun, Sep 27, 2009
from Science News:
Heavier Rainstorms Ahead Due To Global Climate Change, Study Predicts
Heavier rainstorms lie in our future. That's the clear conclusion of a new MIT and Caltech study on the impact that global climate change will have on precipitation patterns.... Overall, previous studies have shown that average annual precipitation will increase in both the deep tropics and in temperate zones, but will decrease in the subtropics. However, it's important to know how the frequency and magnitude of extreme precipitation events will be affected, as these heavy downpours can lead to increased flooding and soil erosion.... Model simulations used in the study suggest that precipitation in extreme events will go up by about 6 percent for every one degree Celsius increase in temperature. Separate projections published earlier this year by MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change indicate that without rapid and massive policy changes, there is a median probability of global surface warming of 5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100, with a 90 percent probability range of 3.5 to 7.4 degrees. ...


Oh, the weather outside is frightnin'; with wind, and rain, and lightnin'; but we just don't want to know; let it blow let it blow let it blow.

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Sat, Sep 26, 2009
from AFP, via DesdemonaDespair:
India heading for worst drought since 1972
India's monsoon was about 20 percent below strength just over a week before the official end of the rainy reason, putting the country on course for its worst drought since 1972, weather data showed Wednesday. "Until September 21, for the country as a whole, the rain deficiency was 22 percent," said B.K. Bandopadhyay, a spokesman for the weather office.... Low rainfall early in the monsoon period ravaged India's rice, cane sugar and groundnut crops, and has disrupted the flow of water into the main reservoirs that are vital for hydropower generation and winter irrigation. The drought is expected to dampen India's economic growth this year and has sent food prices rocketing, leading to huge hardship for India's poor masses.... Rains in the northwest were 34 percent less than average, in central regions they were down by 19 percent, and the northeast had a 26-percent shortfall. ...


Mother Nature has some explaining to do. Doesn't she owe us rain?

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Fri, Sep 25, 2009
from The Economist:
A catastrophe is looming
THIS year's drought is the worst in east Africa since 2000, and possibly since 1991. Famine stalks the land. The failure of rains in parts of Ethiopia may increase the number needing food handouts by 5m, in addition to the 8m already getting them, in a population of 80m... In Mwingi district, in Kenya's Kamba region, the crops have totally failed. Villagers are surviving on monthly government handouts of maize-meal, rice and a little cooking oil. Worse than the hunger, say local leaders, is the thirst. People are digging wells by hand, but they hit rock... Meteorologists reckon the rains due in October and November will be heavier than usual. That would be good, if the east African authorities were prepared. But they are not. Mud slides and floods are likely, with streams and rivers carrying off the topsoil. Malaria and cholera may increase. Surviving cattle, weakened by drought, will drown or die of cold. ...


Afrocalypse!

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Thu, Sep 24, 2009
from New Scientist:
Climate change may trigger earthquakes and volcanoes
FAR from being the benign figure of mythology, Mother Earth is short-tempered and volatile. So sensitive in fact, that even slight changes in weather and climate can rip the planet's crust apart, unleashing the furious might of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and landslides. That's the conclusion of the researchers who got together last week in London at the conference on Climate Forcing of Geological and Geomorphological Hazards. It suggests climate change could tip the planet's delicate balance and unleash a host of geological disasters. What's more, even our attempts to stall global warming could trigger a catastrophic event... ...


The Apocalypse... is gonna be like a themepark ride!

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Wed, Sep 23, 2009
from COP15:
Future coffee: scarce, expensive -- but tasty
Climate change is prompting farmers in Guatemala to look for new fields for their coffee plantations. While temperatures have only increased by half a degree on average, this is enough to affect conditions for coffee plants. A similar development is likely to be seen in the entire Central American region over the next years.... "As a scientist it pains me to say it, but the conditions for coffee growing in many of the highland areas, where the best coffee is grown, could be better for coffee in the coming years. The coffee grown at those altitudes could have higher yields and it's likely that the producers will be able to take advantage in the short turn by growing those high-quality coffees more abundantly." ...


"Peak Coffee" might result in a 12.3 percent decline in world productivity of everything!

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Wed, Sep 23, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
Dust storms engulf Sydney, Australia
Winds sweep millions of tonnes of red dust from Australia's drought-ravaged interior and dump it on the coast. (Guardian photoessay) ...


Is a dust bowl inverted, down under?

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Sat, Sep 19, 2009
from Christian Science Monitor:
Severe drought affects 1.3 million in Syria
The acute drought that has driven an estimated 300,000 Syrian farmers, herders, and their families to abandon home for makeshift urban camps may not be the worst in the region's history; the Fertile Crescent has often experienced cycles of drought. But now climate change, an exploitation of water resources, and higher food prices brought about by the global financial crisis have all severely sharpened the impact of this dry spell, now in its fourth year. The numbers of Syrians affected an estimated 1.3 million, 803,000 of whom have entirely lost their livelihoods point to a serious humanitarian crisis. With Syria's population expected to triple by 2025, the severity of the drought presents yet another challenge for a leadership isolated internationally and struggling at home to maintain a broken state system while slowly introducing capitalism. ...


Perhaps they should rethink that whole "tripling the population" plan, eh?

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Mon, Sep 14, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
The last nomads: drought drives Kenya's herders to the brink
The men, says 55-year-old Hawa, are a day behind the women with what remains of their livestock -- some camels and 18 goats out of the 40 they once owned. The rest perished through lack of water -- or were slaughtered for meat so her family could survive a few more days on their journey.... "We have no water," she explains, "and no food. We have left the pastures because we have lost so many goats. We had to come here to seek assistance. For the past two months we have talked and talked about making this decision. We waited because we thought there might be some rain."... "The way the climate is changing -- if it continues -- it will be very difficult to sustain the nomadic way of living. It is a very hard task. We fear that soon people will begin dying not just from the lack of food but from a lack of water." He believes that despite the terrible conditions visible already, the nomads are currently only at the beginning of what has become a disaster. ...


Vegetarianism might be an option -- if there were only vegetables.

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Tue, Sep 8, 2009
from The Vancouver Sun:
Forest fires caused by lightning nearly double
British Columbia is being hit with an explosive growth in wildfires caused by lightning, with 2,161 lightning-fuelled fires ignited since April 1. The number represents an 84-per-cent jump over the entire 2008 fire season, and is far higher than 2004, which recorded the second-highest number of wildfires caused by lightning in the last 10 years. Between April 1 and September 7, B.C. has had 3,002 wildfires. Of those, 72 per cent were caused by lightning, according to the B.C. Wildfire Management branch.... ...


Sounds like Thor is mighty disquieted.

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Tue, Sep 8, 2009
from SciDev.net:
Air pollution cutting China's 'vital' rain
China's increasing air pollution has cut the light rainfall essential to the country's agriculture over the last 50 years, new research suggests. The research, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research last month, is based on rainfall data collected from weather stations across China. The number of light rain days -- those with precipitation of less than ten millimetres -- in northeast and southeast China has been cut by 7 and 8 days respectively per decade for the past five decades, researchers have found.... The authors say that increased levels of aerosols -- particles of pollution in the air above China -- are caused by increasing fossil fuel consumption, particularly in big cities like Beijing. ...


Economic growth as a WMD? Is this a trap we laid?

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Mon, Sep 7, 2009
from PNAS, via NCSU:
U.S. Crop Yields Could Wilt in Heat
Yields of three of the most important crops produced in the United States -- corn, soybeans and cotton -- are predicted to fall off a cliff if temperatures rise due to climate change.... [They] predict that U.S. crop yields could decrease by 30 to 46 percent over the next century under slow global warming scenarios, and by a devastating 63 to 82 percent under the most rapid global warming scenarios.... The study shows that crop yields tick up gradually between roughly 10 and 30 degrees Celsius, or about 50 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. But when temperature levels go over 29 degrees Celsius (84.2 degrees Fahrenheit) for corn, 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) for soybeans and 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit) for cotton, yields fall steeply. ...


How will I get my morning Post Toasties?

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Sat, Sep 5, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
Kenyan drought becomes devastating
Kenya, a land more than twice the size of Britain, is everywhere parched. Whole towns such as Moyale with more than 10,000 people are now desperate for water. The huge public reservoir in this regional centre has been empty for months and, according to Molu Duka Sora, local director of the government's Arid Lands programme, all the major boreholes in the vast semi-desert area are failing one by one. Earlier this year, more than 50 people died of cholera in Moyale. It is widely believed that it came from animals and humans sharing ever scarcer water. Food prices have doubled across Kenya. A 20-litre jerrycan of poor quality water has quadrupled in price. Big game is dying in large numbers in national parks, and electricity has had to be rationed, affecting petrol and food supplies. For the first time in generations there are cows on the streets of Nairobi as nomads like Isaac come to the suburbs with their herds to feed on the verges of roads. Violence has increased around the country as people go hungry. "The scarcity of water is becoming a nightmare. Rivers are drying up, and the way temperatures are changing we are likely to get into more problems," said Professor Richard Odingo, the Kenyan vice-chair of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). ...


They haven't enough water for tears.

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Wed, Sep 2, 2009
from Environmental Research Web:
Climate-adaptation costs are three times higher than estimated
The costs of adapting to climate change could be at least two to three times higher than predicted by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The underestimate has implications for the international climate negotiations coming up in Copenhagen in December... "The reason [for the underestimate] is they didn't include a number of very important sectors that are likely to be impacted by climate change -- industry, energy mining, retailing -- about a half of the world's economy," Martin Parry of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.... For example, the UNFCCC estimate of $11 billion for the water sector did not include the cost of adapting to floods and assumes no costs for transferring water within nations from areas of surplus to areas of deficit. And the figure of $8130 billion for infrastructure adaptation assumed a low level of investment in infrastructure in Africa and other relatively poor areas. If this is not the case, adapting the upgraded infrastructure to climate change could be eight times more costly. ...


Oops! We forgot about all those co(a)sts!

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Sun, Aug 30, 2009
from Los Angeles Times:
10,000 homes are threatened
The unstoppable Angeles National Forest fire threatened 10,000 homes Saturday night as it more than tripled in size and chewed through a rapidly widening swath of the Crescenta Valley, where flames closed in on backyards and at least 1,000 homes were ordered evacuated. Sending an ominous plume of smoke above the Los Angeles Basin, the fire was fueled by unrelenting hot weather and dense brush that has not burned in 60 years. It took off Saturday afternoon in all directions, forcing residents out of homes from Big Tujunga Canyon to Pasadena, and reached toward Mt. Wilson. ...


Hollywood is made of wood!

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Sat, Aug 29, 2009
from Chronicle Herald (Canada):
Bugs, fire twin threat in a warming world
"As far as the eye can see, it's all infested," forester Rob Legare said, looking out over the thick woods of the Alsek River valley. Beetles and fire, twin plagues, are consuming northern forests in what scientists say is a preview of the future, in a century growing warmer, as the land grows drier, trees grow weaker and pests, abetted by milder winters, grow stronger. Dying, burning forests would then only add to the warming.... While average temperatures globally rose 0.74 degrees Celsius in the past century, the far north experienced warming at twice that rate or greater. And "eight of the last 10 summers have been extreme wildfire seasons in Siberia," American researcher Amber Soja pointed out by telephone from central Siberia.... American forest ecologist Scott Green worries about a "domino effect."... Flannigan worries, too, that future fires smouldering through the carbon-heavy peatlands that undergird much of the boreal region would pour unparalleled amounts of carbon dioxide, the main global-warming gas, into the skies, feeding an unstoppable cycle. ...


"What are you, a doomer?"
"Nope, just thinking it through."

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Fri, Aug 28, 2009
from Environmental Research Web:
Scientists uncover solar cycle, stratosphere and ocean connections
Subtle connections between the 11-year solar cycle, the stratosphere, and the tropical Pacific Ocean work in sync to generate periodic weather patterns that affect much of the globe, according to research appearing this week in the journal Science. The study can help scientists get an edge on eventually predicting the intensity of certain climate phenomena, such as the Indian monsoon and tropical Pacific rainfall, years in advance.... [I]f the total energy that reaches Earth from the Sun varies by only 0.1 percent across the approximately 11-year solar cycle, how can such a small variation drive major changes in weather patterns on Earth? ... The team first confirmed a theory that the slight increase in solar energy during the peak production of sunspots is absorbed by stratospheric ozone. The energy warms the air in the stratosphere over the tropics, where sunlight is most intense, while also stimulating the production of additional ozone there that absorbs even more solar energy. Since the stratosphere warms unevenly, with the most pronounced warming occurring at lower latitudes, stratospheric winds are altered and, through a chain of interconnected processes, end up strengthening tropical precipitation. At the same time, the increased sunlight at solar maximum causes a slight warming of ocean surface waters across the subtropical Pacific, where Sun-blocking clouds are normally scarce. That small amount of extra heat leads to more evaporation, producing additional water vapor. In turn, the moisture is carried by trade winds to the normally rainy areas of the western tropical Pacific, fueling heavier rains and reinforcing the effects of the stratospheric mechanism. ...


I'm not sure I like the idea of such little things making such a big difference... because we're doing some pretty big things.

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Wed, Aug 26, 2009
from University of Oklahoma, via EurekAlert:
Global warming threatens tropical species, the ecosystem and its by-products
Tropical lizards detect the effects of global warming in a climate where the smallest change makes a big difference, according to herpetologist Laurie Vitt.... Climate change caused by global warming threatens the very existence of these and other tropical species, the ecosystem and its by-products, Vitt maintains.... Tropical species are affected more by the very narrow temperature range of their typically warm climate than are ectotherms living where the temperatures fluctuate in greater degrees. Even the smallest change in the tropics makes a difference to the tropical species most susceptible to climate change. "Climatic shifts are part of our natural history, but years of research indicate global warming has increased the rate at which climate change is taking place, " Vitt states. ...


I know! Let's do some flyovers and spraypaint the canopy of the rainforest white!

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Wed, Aug 26, 2009
from UCSD, via EurekAlert:
Deadly heat waves are becoming more frequent in California
From mid July to early August 2006, a heat wave swept through the southwestern United States. Temperature records were broken at many locations and unusually high humidity levels for this typically arid region led to the deaths of more than 600 people, 25,000 cattle and 70,000 poultry in California alone. An analysis of this extreme episode carried out by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, put this heat wave in the context of six decades of observed heat waves. Their results suggest that such regional extremes are becoming more and more likely as climate change trends continue.... While mechanisms driving this regional anomaly are still under investigation, the researchers concluded that the trend towards more frequent and larger-scale muggy heat waves should be expected to continue in the region as climate change evolves over the next decades. ...


It's not the heat, or even the humidity... it's the sense of impending doom.

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Sat, Aug 22, 2009
from London Financial Times:
Kenya hit by mass hunger and water shortage
The number of Kenyans in urgent need of food aid has jumped by over 50 per cent to nearly 4m, according to official figures, as the country is hit by mass hunger as well as shortages of power and water. The immediate cause of the three-fold crisis is a prolonged drought, but critics of Kenyas dysfunctional coalition government blame it for failing to mitigate the droughts effects, in spite of clear warning signs. The government was already facing public discontent over its failure to implement political reforms pledged after last years post-election crisis, but the real-life impact of the food, water and power shortages is fuelling the anger. ...


A "dysfunctional government"... sounds awfully familiar!

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Thu, Aug 20, 2009
from IRIN News (UN):
Kenya: Massive crop failure in 'grain basket'
Two months before harvest time, the maize in Kenya's Rift Valley should be tall, lush and green, bursting with life. Instead, crops in the province's Lare division are stunted, barren fields of parched browns and pallid yellows. The area, local farmers say, has experienced three years of erratic rainfall. This year, however, has been "a nightmare" ... "I do not expect to harvest anything, yet I used a lot of money to prepare my land and plant maize and beans earlier this year," the 70-year-old farmer said.... "Overall, we expect at least 95 percent maize crop failure across the larger Nakuru areas; only areas such as Weseges in Nakuru North may see some maize harvests," said Stephen Muriithi, the Nakuru district agricultural officer.... To cope with the food crisis, the vulnerable communities have resorted to reducing the number and size of meals per day; restricting adult consumption to allow more for children; consuming seed stock; taking children out of school to help search for food; engaging in casual labour; relying on remittances; using part of the resettlement money to open up land; ploughing more than 90 percent of available arable land for crop production; and building residential units on farms for income. In other parts of the country, substantial crop failure in the southeastern and coastal marginal cropping lowlands is expected to lead to deepening food insecurity, said the assessment. ...


Don't forget: all you need is persistence and a dream, to succeed.

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Mon, Aug 17, 2009
from Chemical & Engineering News:
Kindling For Climate Change
The word "Arctic" tends to conjure images of glaciers, polar bears, icy waters, and frozen tundra. And indeed, all of those are common features of Alaska's North Slope. But as climate change alters the atmosphere and landscape in the Arctic, another image might need to be added to that list: fire... But as the temperature in the Arctic has risen, the number of lightning strikes has increased 20-fold. Because the area is so cold and wet, a strike generally has trouble causing much trouble. In July 2007, lightning hit an area north of camp, near the Anaktuvuk River, starting a fire that smoldered for several ...


Lightning in the Arctic? That's surely one of the signs of the Apocalypse!

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Mon, Aug 17, 2009
from IRIN News (UN):
Somalia: Drought fuelling rural exodus in Somaliland
"We know that hundreds of thousands have [been] displaced to urban centres," said Abdihakim Garaad Mohamoud, Deputy Minister at the Somaliland Ministry of Resettlement, Reintegration and Rehabilitation. "Every city in Somaliland has a huge number of displaced people because of the recent drought," he added. "It has affected 60 percent of the rural population, whether they are pastoralists or agro-pastoralists. From east to west, south to north, every place in Somaliland has been affected." "Sixty percent of animals have been lost. One [man] who had 200 sheep has lost 110-120, and one who had 20 camels lost half." ...


I'll think about that while I drive to the grocery store to pick up some AquaFina!

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Sun, Aug 16, 2009
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Geothermal power search holds promise, threat
On a high ridge in the Mayacamas Mountains, a drill slowly bores into the earth to test a new way to generate electricity. The test, by a Bay Area company called AltaRock Energy, could give the world another source of renewable energy, a valuable weapon in the fight against global warming. It could also trigger earthquakes in a corner of California that already shakes most every day, a prospect that is jangling the nerves of some nearby homeowners... AltaRock will drill below the steam pockets, burrowing into deep rocks hotter than 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The company, based in Sausalito, will fracture those rocks with high-pressure water, creating a network of cracks. AltaRock will then pump more water into the cracks, using the rocks to heat the water and create steam. Geologists monitoring the $17 million project say it will create earthquakes, but most will be too small to notice. ...


Say, could earthquakes be a renewable energy source?

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Thu, Aug 13, 2009
from Christian Science Monitor:
Argentina: Farming crisis batters world food provider
...Argentina is facing its worst farming crisis since becoming one of the most prolific food providers in the world. A devastating drought, the most severe in more than 50 years, has dried up grassland and left cattle with nothing to graze... For cattle-raising regions, like San Miguel del Monte, south of Buenos Aires, the drought has cut deeply. Here, the lakes have dried; pastures are so barren that cattle graze by the roads. On a recent day, local producer Lorena del Rio looked at two dozen cows feeding on corn from a special plastic trough, an expensive alternative to pasture. Her family has lost eight of their 600 cows, and many cows are too weak to get pregnant. "It is horrible not to be able to feed your animals," Ms. Del Rio says. ...


Don't moooooo for me.

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Wed, Aug 12, 2009
from Penn State, via EurekAlert:
Harbingers of increased Atlantic hurricane activity identified
Mann, working with [others,] reconstructed the past 1,500 years of hurricanes using two independent methods. They report their results in today's (Aug. 13) issue of Nature. One estimate of hurricane numbers is based on sediment deposited during landfall hurricanes.... The other method used a previously developed statistical model for predicting hurricane activity based on climate variables.... Both hurricane reconstructions indicate similar overall patterns and both indicate a high period of hurricane activity during the Medieval Climate Anomaly around AD 900 to 1100. "We are at levels now that are about as high as anything we have seen in the past 1,000 years," said Mann.... "It seems that the paleodata support the contention that greenhouse warming may increase the frequency of Atlantic tropical storms," said Mann. "It may not be just that the storms are stronger, but that there are there may be more of them as well." ...


As if the past was any predictor of the future.

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Sun, Aug 9, 2009
from New York Times:
Climate Change Seen as Threat to U.S. Security
The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics, military and intelligence analysts say. Such climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions, say the analysts, experts at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who for the first time are taking a serious look at the national security implications of climate change. ...


Maybe they should wargame Resource Depletion, Species Collapse, Biology Breach.... naah. Only one thing at a time.

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Thu, Aug 6, 2009
from CBC:
'Balmy' High Arctic broke heat record in July
Temperatures soared to record highs in the High Arctic in July, stunning Environment Canada's senior climatologist. David Phillips said a heat record was broken last month in Eureka on Ellesmere Island. A similar record was almost broken further up the island at Alert, Canada's most northerly place. "Boy, there are some real head-shakers. I look at Eureka -- I mean, it is probably almost as far north as you can get -- and we saw temperatures of, you know, up to almost 21 C [70 F]," Phillips told CBC News. "It's been just absolutely balmy." Phillips said Eureka went up to 20.9 C on July 14, breaking the record of 20.7 C from July 23, 2007. Environment Canada started recording weather at the Eureka weather station in 1947. ...


How can I get in on the coming boom in far-north summer cottages?

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Fri, Jul 31, 2009
from New Scientist:
Alaska's biggest tundra fire sparks climate warning
The fire that raged north of Alaska's Brooks mountain range in 2007 left a 1000-square-kilometre scorched patch of earth an area larger than the sum of all known fires on Alaska's North Slope since 1950. Now scientists studying the ecological impact of the fire report that the blaze dumped 1.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere about the amount that Barbados puts out in a year. What's more, at next week's meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Albuquerque, New Mexico, two teams will warn that as climate change takes hold tundra fires across the Arctic will become more frequent. Tundra fires only take off once certain thresholds are reached, says Adrian Rocha of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts. "But projected changes in climate over the next century increased aridity, thunderstorms, and warming in the Arctic will increase the likelihood that these thresholds will be crossed and thus result in more larger and frequent fires." ...


Just when you thought you'd run out of stuff to worry about...

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Fri, Jul 31, 2009
from The Earth Institute at Columbia University via ScienceDaily:
Index Insurance Has Potential To Help Manage Climate Risks And Reduce Poverty
Climate has always presented a challenge to farmers, herders, fishermen and others whose livelihoods are closely linked to their environment, particularly those in poor areas of the world. A type of insurance, called index insurance, now offers significant opportunities as a climate-risk management tool in developing countries... "Only the richest three percent of people in the world are covered by insurance," said Olav Kjorven, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau for Development Policy. "The world's poor have been completely left out, even though they are the most vulnerable people most in need of protection. Droughts, floods and hurricanes often strip whole communities of their resources and belongings. Index insurance, however, could finally enable millions of poor people to access financial tools for development and properly prepare for and recovery from climate disasters." ...


"Index insurance"... it sounds soooo sexy!

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Tue, Jul 28, 2009
from Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:
Experts planning for a flood of Noah's Ark proportions
California may be caught in the throes of a years-long drought, but ... crisis experts are now planning for a flood of Noah's Ark proportions. Worried about the long-term effects of climate change, the USGS and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration are co-creating a scenario for a cataclysmic flood across the Golden State. Last year, a USGS-led team of 300 scientists created a detailed scenario for a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Southern California, followed by a "ShakeOut" drill of 5.4 million residents, a disaster preparedness record. Many of the same scientists are now fashioning a hypothetical ARk Storm scenario similar to the mother of all known California floods - the Great Flood of 1861-62. ...


Are they also acquiring two of every kind of beast?

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Tue, Jul 28, 2009
from Washington Post:
Texas Scorched by Worst Drought in 50 Years
A combination of record-high heat and record-low rainfall has pushed south and central Texas into the region's deepest drought in a half century, with $3.6 billion of crop and livestock losses piling up during the past nine months. The heat wave has drastically reduced reservoirs and forced about 230 public water systems to declare mandatory water restrictions. Lower levels in lakes and rivers have been a blow to tourism, too, making summer boating, swimming and fishing activities impossible in some places.... Nearly 80 of Texas' 254 counties are in "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, the worst possible levels on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's index. ...


Everything is bigger AND droughtier in Texas.

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Wed, Jul 15, 2009
from Dallas Morning News:
Brutal realities in Texas
SOUTHWEST: Isolated thunderstorms graced a few farms and ranches, but for most the hottest, driest summer on record continued unabated. High winds and a series of more than 20 days with record or near-record high temperatures aggravated the drought. The soil profile was very dry. High, dry winds increased the risk of roadside and field fires. The Edwards Aquifer water level, as measured at a test well in San Antonio, dropped within 0.3 feet of the mandatory Stage III declaration requirement by the San Antonio Water System. A mandatory stage III water rationing declaration was expected soon, said AgriLife Extension personnel. Except in deferred pastures, forages were almost nonexistent. Pastures and rangeland made almost no progress. The cantaloupe and watermelon harvests were nearly complete. Harvesting of corn and sorghum began; below-average yields were expected. Cotton, peanuts and pecans were making excellent progress under heavy irrigation. ...


Water rationing with the left hand, excellent cotton through heavy irrigation with the right.

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Mon, Jul 13, 2009
from China Daily:
100,000 evacuated in Sichuan downpour
CHENGDU: At least two people were missing and more than 100,000 others displaced after a rainstorm pelted part of Sichuan Province over the past three days, the local government said Sunday. Two young men were flushed away by mountain torrents at about 9 a.m. Saturday while passing a makeshift bridge in Xuanhan County, Dazhou City. Rescuers are searching for them, according to the government of Dazhou. About 102,000 people have been evacuated or relocated to safe places in the city, where continuous downpour had collapsed 8,582 houses, damaged 11,782 and flooded nearly 30,900 hectares of cropland since Thursday afternoon. ...


I'm SCREAMING in the rain, just SCREAMING in the rain!

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Mon, Jul 13, 2009
from BBC:
Children die in harsh Peru winter
Children die from pneumonia and other respiratory infections every year during the winter months particularly in Peru's southern Andes. But this year freezing temperatures arrived almost three months earlier than usual. Experts blame climate change for the early arrival of intense cold which began in March. Winter in the region does not usually begin until June. The extreme cold, which has brought snow, hail, freezing temperatures and strong winds, has killed more children than recorded annually for the past four years. ...


Three months?!? Let's hope Spring comes just as early!

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Wed, Jun 17, 2009
from Reuters:
2008 confirmed rise in weather disasters: Red Cross
A global trend toward increasing weather-related disasters was confirmed in 2008, the second deadliest year in the past decade for natural catastrophes, an annual Red Cross report said on Tuesday....More than three quarters of the disasters struck developing countries, which suffered 99 percent of the deaths, Maarten van Aalst, an author of the report, told a news conference... "In the 1990s, we saw an average of about 200 natural weather-related disasters per year. In the past decade that's been on average about 350. Last year we had 297, which is ... still well above what we've been used to in the past." ...


Kinda calls into question the whole idea of NATURAL catastrophes.

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Mon, May 25, 2009
from Associated Press:
Amazon hit by climate chaos of floods, drought
SAO PAULO -- Across the Amazon basin, river dwellers are adding new floors to their stilt houses, trying to stay above rising floodwaters that have killed 44 people and left 376,000 homeless. Flooding is common in the world's largest remaining tropical wilderness, but this year the waters rose higher and stayed longer than they have in decades, leaving fruit trees entirely submerged. Only four years ago, the same communities suffered an unprecedented drought that ruined crops and left mounds of river fish flapping and rotting in the mud. Experts suspect global warming may be driving wild climate swings that appear to be punishing the Amazon with increasing frequency. It's "the $1 million dollar question," says Carlos Nobre, a climatologist with Brazil's National Institute for Space Research. ...


Hey, if it's only a million bucks let's have a bake sale!

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Sun, May 17, 2009
from Associated Press:
UN: Growth of slums boosting natural disaster risk
The rampant growth of urban slums around the world and weather extremes linked to climate change have sharply increased the risks from "megadisasters" such as devastating floods and cyclones, a U.N. report said Sunday. The study which examines natural disaster trends and strategies to reduce potential catastrophes also noted that millions of people in rural areas are at higher risk from disasters such as landslides where forests have been stripped away or crippling droughts blamed on shifting rainfall patterns. Much of nearly 200-page report restates warnings from previous studies about unchecked urban growth and shortsighted rural planning. But it also seeks to sharpen the apparent link between climate change and the severity and frequency of major natural disasters including severe droughts and epic storms. ...


These slumdogs are our canaries in the catastrophic coal mine.

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Thu, Apr 23, 2009
from Washington Post:
Dust Storms Escalate, Prompting Environmental Fears
The Colorado Rockies, including the headwaters of the Colorado River and the Rio Grande, have experienced 11 serious dust storms this year, a record for the six years researchers have been tracking them. More important, an increasing amount of airborne dust is blanketing the region, affecting how fast the snowpack melts, when local plants bloom and what quality of air residents are breathing. The dust storms are a harbinger of a broader phenomenon, researchers say, as global warming translates into less precipitation and a population boom intensifies the activities that are disturbing the dust in the first place. ...


Dust... The new invasive species.

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Mon, Apr 20, 2009
from National Geographic News:
Surprising Clouds Forming Due to Lead in Air
Lead in the air is causing clouds where there shouldn't be any "in conditions typically too warm and dry for cloud formation," according to scientists who've "bottled" clouds and even grown their own. Driven mainly by industrial lead-dust emissions, lead-heavy clouds could change weather patterns and might actually help fight global warming, the study suggests. Researchers collected cloud samples atop a Swiss mountain and found that about half of their ice crystals contained lead... As our world warms and becomes drier, these leaded clouds may drive unpredictable changes in rain and snowfall... ...


The good news is, we can move these clouds around with giant magnets!

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Wed, Apr 8, 2009
from Edinburgh Scotsman:
Wet summers taking a toll as butterflies suffer their worst year
BUTTERFLIES have suffered their worst year for a quarter of a century, with populations of many species plunging by more than half due to a series of wet summers. In total 12 species -- the highest number ever recorded -- suffered their worst year since monitoring began in the mid 1970s. They include the pearl bordered fritillary, for which Scotland is a stronghold, which saw its numbers plummet by 56 per cent in 2008. The small tortoiseshell, common in Scotland, experienced a 45 per cent decline and is becoming rare in some areas. And the orange tip, easily recognisable in Scottish gardens due to the distinctive colourings on its wings, was down 26 per cent. A series of wet summers, as well as habitat loss, have been blamed for the decline. ...


A world without a pearl bordered fritillary is a world I don't want to live in!

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Thu, Apr 2, 2009
from Los Angeles Times:
Report outlines possible effects of warming on California
As California warms in coming decades, farmers will have less water, the state could lose more than a million acres of cropland and forest fire rates will soar, according to a broad-ranging state report released Wednesday. The document, which officials called the "the ultimate picture to date" of global warming's likely effect on California, consists of 37 research papers that examine an array of issues including water supply, air pollution and property losses. Without actions to limit greenhouse gas emissions, "severe and costly climate impacts are possible and likely across California," warned state environmental protection secretary Linda Adams. The draft Climate Action Team Report, an update of a 2006 assessment, concludes that some climate change effects could be more serious than previously thought. ...


This "more serious than previously thought" remark is getting a little too familiar.

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Wed, Apr 1, 2009
from BBC (UK):
Climate change fans Nepal's fires
The forest fires that flared unusually viciously in many of Nepal's national parks and conserved areas this dry season have left conservationists worrying if climate change played a role. At least four protected areas were on fire for an unusually long time until just a few days ago. Nasa's satellite imagery showed most of the big fires were in and around the national parks along the country's northern areas bordering Tibet.... For nearly six months, no precipitation has fallen across most of the country - the longest dry spell in recent history, according to meteorologists. ...


Got marshmallows?

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Fri, Mar 20, 2009
from New York Times:
Increased frequency of landslides remains largely ignored despite risks
When a series of powerful January storms dumped huge volumes of rain across the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, Washington's top geologist, Dave Norman, knew to expect landslides. During the first two weeks of the month, the intense storms pelted the already saturated ground in western Washington, triggering at least 1,500 landslides that damaged or destroyed an estimated 200 homes, buried sections of 150 roadways and contributed to thousands of people seeking safety in emergency shelters....The destruction highlights the often overlooked danger posed by landslides, one of the nation's most costly natural disasters, responsible for as much as $3.5 billion in damages and 50 deaths each year. And, experts say, changing climatic conditions could make landslide risks worse, especially along the West Coast. ...


Great... something else I gotta worry about!

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Wed, Mar 11, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Garden birds suffer worst breeding season
... Only the reed warbler managed a slightly better than average breeding season. And the blackbird, great tit and song thrush saw their productivity drop by more than 30 per cent, with the thrushes witnessing a fall of 38 per cent in the number of young they managed to rear. The CES monitoring is undertaken using mist nets to catch and ring the birds for periods during the breeding season at 120 sites in the UK and Ireland, comparing the number of juvenile birds with adults to analyse breeding success. Last year's problems followed on from 2007's low productivity, with seven species suffering their worst breeding season to date in the wake of the wettest May to July on record. ...


I so wanted to have a songbird's music to accompany this posting. But I couldn't find it.

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Tue, Mar 3, 2009
from London Daily Star:
10,000 Could Die in Summer Heatwave
The Government is said to be "very concerned" that as many as 10,000 lives will be lost as temperatures soar to 40C across the country. Sun stroke, dehydration, air pollution and wildfires all contribute to a rise in deaths during sizzling summers. The highest temperature measured in the UK was 38.5C, recorded in Kent on August 10, 2003. And it could become a regular occurrence in the near future. ...


The Brits just need to cool out.

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Sun, Mar 1, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
UK Government 'to recommend siestas' to combat heatwaves
People in areas hit by extreme heat will be advised to stay indoors during hottest time of the day -- between 11am - 3pm -- swap suits for casual loose-fitting clothes, avoid hot food, drink lots of water and use fans. The alert was prepared by the Department of Health, in consultation with other agencies including the Met Office. Met Office scientists have predicted that climate change means heat waves will become more frequent over the next two decades, becoming regular after 2030. ...


If it's regular, is it still a heat wave?

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Fri, Feb 27, 2009
from New York Times:
Worst Drought in Half Century Shrivels the Wheat Belt of China
a long rainless stretch has underscored the urgency of water problems in a region that grows three-fifths of Chinas crops and houses more than two-fifths of its people but gets only one-fifth as much rain as the rest of the country.... Normally, the new land he was offered lies under more than 20 feet of water, part of the Luhun Reservoir in Henan Province. But this winter, Luhun has lost most of its water. And what was once lake bottom has become just another field of winter wheat, stunted for want of rain. Water supplies have been drying up in Northern China for decades, the result of pervasive overuse and waste. Aquifers have been so depleted that in some farming regions, wells probe a half-mile down before striking water. ...


Was this "dry lake bottom" I feel in my mouth once my salivary glands?

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Tue, Feb 24, 2009
from SciDev.net:
China's water deficit 'will create food shortage'
A leading climate change expert has warned that water shortage is the greatest threat to China's agricultural sector this century, amid a drought across the country. As demand for water continues to rise and less is available for agriculture, "China will see a food shortfall of 5-10 per cent -- a disastrous outcome in a country of 1.3 billion people -- unless effective and timely measures are taken," said Lin Erda, one of China's top climate change experts and leader of a joint China-UK project, 'Impacts of Climate Change on Chinese Agriculture'.... When the current episode of drought reached its peak in early February it was affecting 1.6 million hectares of farmland in at least 12 provinces in northern China -- considered the country's breadbasket. Thanks to snow and rainfall last week the affected area has dropped to 497,000 hectares across eight provinces. ...


Oh good... the breadbasket's only 1/3 empty.

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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
from The Economist:
Drought in northern China
...After 100 days without precipitation in the region, the government has declared a "Level 1" emergency for the worst drought in 50 years, authorising an extra 300m yuan ($44m) in special drought-relief spending. It will finance everything from cloud-seeding rockets to the digging of new wells and tankers to deliver water. This year's winter-wheat harvest is at risk. February 8th saw some rain, but only 5-10 millimetres, compared with 200mm farmers say they need in coming months. The drought comes at a difficult moment. The global downturn has hit China's exporters hard, and millions of rural migrants have lost their jobs in coastal factories and returned to their villages....China's water woes will only worsen, especially for farmers. When supplies tighten, urban and industrial users usually have priority. Ma Jun, a water specialist in Beijing, says that since the 1950s China has been digging ever deeper wells, and building ever more dams, canals, and water diversion projects. But all this has taken a toll. Because of lower water-tables and depleted aquifers, many rivers can no longer replenish themselves in the dry season. ...


My tung is so dry.

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Tue, Feb 10, 2009
from Washington Post:
Pride of Argentina Falls on Hard Times
Argentina is suffering its worst drought in decades and the cattle are dying by the barnload. Since October, the drought has taken down 1.5 million of the animals, according to an estimate by the Argentine Rural Society, in a country that last year sent 13.5 million to slaughter. The cattle for the most part are dying of hunger, as the dry skies have shriveled up their pastures, along with huge swaths of Argentina's important soy, corn and wheat fields. "The drought has affected practically the entire country, the cattle-ranching sector, agriculture. It is the most intense, prolonged and expensive drought in the past 50 years," Hugo Luis Biolcati, the president of the Argentine Rural Society, said in the organization's offices in Buenos Aires. "I think we are facing a very bad year." The cattlemen at the century-old Liniers Market in Buenos Aires, one of the largest cow auctions in the world, with about 40,000 animals passing through each week, tend to agree. In wooden pens, spines and ribs jut out under the many taut hides jostling together. ...


Don't moo for me.

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Sun, Feb 1, 2009
from London Independent:
Parched: Australia faces collapse as climate change kicks in
Leaves are falling off trees in the height of summer, railway tracks are buckling, and people are retiring to their beds with deep-frozen hot-water bottles, as much of Australia swelters in its worst-ever heatwave. On Friday, Melbourne thermometers topped 43C (109.4F) on a third successive day for the first time on record, while even normally mild Tasmania suffered its second-hottest day in a row, as temperatures reached 42.2C. Two days before, Adelaide hit a staggering 45.6C. After a weekend respite, more records are expected to be broken this week. Ministers are blaming the heat-- which follows a record drought-- on global warming. Experts worry that Australia, which emits more carbon dioxide per head than any nation on earth, may also be the first to implode under the impact of climate change. ...


Down Under's 'bout to go down.

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Sun, Nov 23, 2008
from Inter Press Service:
CLIMATE CHANGE-LATIN AMERICA: Frightening Numbers
A World Bank study presented Friday, the first day of a Nov. 21-23 congress of legislators from the Americas meeting in Mexico City to discuss the challenges of the global financial and climate crises, says natural disasters related to climate change, like storms, drought and flooding, cost 0.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the affected countries, on average, in Latin America and the Caribbean. If the frequency of natural disasters increases from one every four years to one every three years, per capita GDP could shrink by two percent per decade in the region, according to the report presented by Laura Tuck, director of the World Bank's department of Sustainable Development for Latin America and the Caribbean. The economy of the Caribbean region alone could experience six billion dollars in losses by 2050 in tourism, coastal protection, and the pharmaceutical and fishing industries. ...


By 2050, tourism will have transformed into refugeism anyway.

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Sun, Nov 2, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Drought land 'will be abandoned'
Parts of the world may have to be abandoned because severe water shortages will leave them uninhabitable, the United Nations environment chief has warned. Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, said water shortages caused by over-use of rivers and aquifers were already leading to serious problems, even in rich nations. With climate change expected to reduce rainfall in some places and cause droughts in others, some regions could become 'economic deserts', unviable for people or agriculture, he said. ...


Luckily, we have a spare planet to expand into.
What, wait, we don't?

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Sat, Oct 18, 2008
from Christian Science Monitor:
Climate change's most deadly threat: drought
...Brian Fagan believes climate is not merely a backdrop to the ongoing drama of human civilization, but an important stage upon which world events turn... In his new book, The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations, Fagan ... makes an original contribution ... by summoning attention to what he calls "the silent elephant in the room": drought. As polar icecaps melt and glaciers disappear, thus causing seas to rise, low-lying coastal areas may indeed be inundated, creating millions of environmental refugees. But it is the inland agricultural breadbasket regions that feed the world that stand to suffer the greatest upheaval if reliable precipitation patterns vanish. ...


The breadbasket will become a basketcase!

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Wed, Sep 24, 2008
from Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Western states' plan aims to cut greenhouse gas
A coalition of Western states and four Canadian provinces released on Tuesday the most far-reaching plan yet for cutting emissions of the greenhouse gases that are warming the globe. The Western Climate Initiative will create a market-based system that limits carbon dioxide releases and allows polluters to trade for the right to emit the gases. The "cap-and-trade" plan is touted by elected officials and environmentalists as a means of reducing the country's dependence on fossil fuels and gives Washington state a running start in the development of clean, green energy. It also will help reduce the harm caused by global warming, including rising sea levels, droughts and more ferocious and frequent storms and wildfires, the officials said. ...


And if it gets me laid, too, then by gum I'm all for it!

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Mon, Sep 22, 2008
from Abu Dhabi National:
War zone's melting glacier a "colossal" risk
ISLAMABAD // India and Pakistan's 24-year battle for the Siachen Glacier along the disputed border above Kashmir costs more than US$2 billion (Dh7.4bn) annually, is accelerating glacial melting and is putting millions of South Asians at risk of catastrophic floods, drought and food shortages, glacial experts and environmentalists warn. ...


Can we all just get along?

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Sat, Aug 30, 2008
from AFP:
Massive evacuation as millions hit by India floods
More than 300,000 people trapped in India's worst floods in 50 years have been rescued but nearly double that number remain stranded without food or water, officials said Saturday. About 60 people have died and three million have been affected since the Kosi river breached its banks earlier this month on the border with Nepal and changed course, swamping hundreds of villages in eastern Bihar state.... "We have been stuck here for the past 10 days with no rescue team reaching here. Our food and water stocks have run out. Our mobiles (phones) are working, but they too will fail any moment," Laxmi Singh was quoted as saying. Survivors at relief shelters said they were not getting anything to eat. "We have absolutely nothing with us here. We left everything behind," one woman at a crowded relief camp told NDTV news network. ...


Elsewhere, people are talking about Palin's hotness.

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Thu, Aug 28, 2008
from ABC News:
Future Storms, Global Warming Could Devastate Louisiana Coast
Louisiana's 15,000 square miles of coastal wetlands traditionally act as natural buffers from storm surges. For centuries, the fresh floodwaters of the Mississippi River replenished the wetlands with sediment, building them up and flushing out the saltwater blown in by hurricanes. But when levees were built in the 1930s to control the flooding of the river, saltwater flowing in from the gulf was left unchecked, killing habitats for freshwater wildlife and eating away at the coastline. The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources estimates that every 38 minutes the area loses an area of coastline about the size of a football field. "And they say over the next 20, 25 years we'll lose another thousand miles," Jindal said. ...


Silly goose -- we can control mother nature, at our whim, because we're smarter than she is. And more powerful.

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Sun, Aug 10, 2008
from The West Australian:
West Australia may get drier than expected
Computer models have already forecast that global warming will make dry areas even drier, while increasing severe rainfall and flooding in already wet areas such as Australias tropical far north. But the new research, based on satellite rainfall data over the past 21 years, suggest that this polarising trend is even more pronounced than models had foreseen. That is ominous news for southern WA, which has already seen rainfall declines of 20 per cent since the 1980s. In contrast, wet tropical areas are likely to suffer an increase in heavy rainfall, raising the prospect of flooding, according to Richard Allan, of Reading University, in Britain, who led the study. ...


"The wet gets wetter
and the dry gets drier
That's the story of...
That's the glory of coal."


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Fri, Aug 8, 2008
from National Geographic:
Extreme Rains to Be Supercharged by Warming, Study Says
"Global warming could make extreme rains stronger and more frequent than previously forecast, a new study suggests. Such a scenario could make floods fiercer, damage more crops, and worsen the spread of diseases such as malaria, scientists say." ...


Sounds like for nature, this time it's personal!

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Thu, Jul 31, 2008
from New Scientist:
Five ways to trigger a natural disaster
"Few people still doubt that human emissions are causing long-term climate change, which is predicted to increase storm surges, drought and possibly hurricanes. So there's little doubt that humans influence natural disasters over the long term. But can we also trigger sudden "natural" catastrophes? The answer is yes. From mud volcanoes to disappearing lakes, human actions can have all sorts of unforeseen environmental consequences." ...


Not to mention trigging the natural disaster of stating the obvious!

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Tue, Jul 22, 2008
from World Wildlife Fund via NaturalNews.com:
Half the Amazon Rainforest to be Lost by 2030
"Due to the effects of global warming and deforestation, more than half of the Amazon rainforest may be destroyed or severely damaged by the year 2030, according to a report released by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The report, "Amazon's Vicious Cycles: Drought and Fire," concludes that 55 percent of the world's largest rainforest stands to be severely damaged from agriculture, drought, fire, logging and livestock ranching in the next 22 years." ...


We've seen fire and we've seen rain, but we don't like seeing fire in the rainforest.

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Sat, Jul 19, 2008
from BBC:
Diary: Colorado River drought
"The south-western US is suffering its eighth consecutive year of drought. There are concerns that the Colorado River, which has sustained life in the area for thousands of years, can no longer meet the needs of the tens of millions of people living in major cities such as Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The BBC's Matthew Price is travelling along the river to investigate the scale of the problem and is sending a series of diary items from there." ...


Dear Diary: Geewillickers, I'm thirsty!

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Tue, Jul 15, 2008
from Associated Press:
EPA document ties public health problems to global warming; White House tried to bury analysis
"Government scientists detailed a rising death toll from heat waves, wildfires, disease and smog caused by global warming in an analysis the White House buried so it could avoid regulating greenhouse gases. In a 149-page document released Monday, the experts laid out for the first time the scientific case for the grave risks that global warming poses to people, and to the food, energy and water on which society depends." ...


It'll be a gas to have this administration gone.

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Wed, Jul 9, 2008
from University of Michigan, via EurekAlert:
How intense will storms get? New model helps answer question
A new mathematical model indicates that dust devils, water spouts, tornadoes, hurricanes and cyclones are all born of the same mechanism and will intensify as climate change warms the Earth's surface.... For every 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit that the Earth's surface temperature warms, the intensity of storms could increase by at least a few percent, the scientists say. For an intense storm, that could translate into a 10 percent increase in destructive power. ...


How might that affect our wind farms?

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Mon, Jul 7, 2008
from Terra Daily:
Australian climate report like 'disaster novel': minister
"Heatwaves, less rain and increased drought are the likely prospect for Australia, according to a new report on climate change which the agriculture minister said read like a "disaster novel". The report, by the Bureau of Meteorology and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, found that the world's driest inhabited continent is likely to suffer more extreme temperatures due to climate change." ...


At least he didn't say
it was like a "disaster movie."

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Thu, Jun 26, 2008
from University of Minnesota, via ScienceDaily:
Extreme Weather Events Can Unleash A 'Perfect Storm' Of Infectious Diseases, Research Study Says
An international research team ... has found the first clear example of how climate extremes, such as the increased frequency of droughts and floods expected with global warming, can create conditions in which diseases that are tolerated individually may converge and cause mass die-offs of livestock or wildlife.... The study ... suggests that extreme climatic conditions are capable of altering normal host-pathogen relationships and causing a "perfect storm" of multiple infectious outbreaks that could trigger epidemics with catastrophic mortality. ...


It ain't the heat, it's the
host-pathogen relationships.

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Thu, Jun 12, 2008
from London Daily Telegraph:
Drought closes world's biggest cattle ranch in Australia
"Anna Creek station, which is bigger than Israel, encompasses 9,267 square miles of scrub, sand dunes and savannah in the Outback of South Australia. It is normally capable of supporting 16,000 cattle but the "Big Dry" -- the worst drought in a century -- has exhausted the land, forcing the herd to be whittled down to less than 2,000." ...


The "Big Dry" could sure use a "Giant Wet."

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Thu, Jun 5, 2008
from NOAA, via ScienceDaily:
Tornados, Flooding May Warn Of Climate Change
Record-keeping meteorologists at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration say this year's tornado season is one of the deadliest in a decade and may be on pace to set a record for the most tornadoes. And flooding in the Midwest has been at 100-year levels this spring. "There is considerable concern that climate change due to greenhouse gases species increasing will lead to the enhancement of strong, large storms occurrences, such as hurricanes that also spawn tornadoes when they occur. Increased storm strengths also bring flooding events," he said. ...


We're not just in Kansas anymore.

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Sun, May 25, 2008
from Houston Chronicle:
Tufts global warming study eyes cost of doing nothing
Doing nothing about global warming would cost America dearly in the rest of this century because of stronger hurricanes, higher energy and water costs, and rising seas that would swamp coastal communities, according to a new study by economists at Tufts University. ...


But it will make for some great reality TV!

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Wed, May 14, 2008
from Christian Science Monitor:
ON TRACK TOWARD RECORD SPRING FOR TORNADOES
Extremes in temperature throughout the vast table of the American heartland are making 2008 one of the deadliest years for US tornadoes in recent history. The supercell thunderstorms that breed twisters have occurred farther north and earlier in the year than is typical, according to some experts. But many are quick to add that this increase in severe weather is not necessarily an indication of permanent climate change. ...


All we know for sure is we've got a feeling we aren't in Kansas anymore.

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Sat, Apr 19, 2008
from Associated Press:
Jet stream found to be permanently drifting north
The jet stream -- America's stormy weather maker -- is creeping northward and weakening, new research shows. That potentially means less rain in the already dry South and Southwest and more storms in the North. And it could also translate into more and stronger hurricanes since the jet stream suppresses their formation. The study's authors said they have to do more research to pinpoint specific consequences. From 1979 to 2001, the Northern Hemisphere's jet stream moved northward on average at a rate of about 1.25 miles a year, according to the paper published Friday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. ...


America's lack of discipline is clearly at fault here. We can't even keep our jet streams on track!

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Sat, Apr 19, 2008
from National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration:
Global Land Temperature Warmest On Record In March 2008
"The average global land temperature last month was the warmest on record and ocean surface temperatures were the 13th warmest. Combining the land and the ocean temperatures, the overall global temperature ranked the second warmest for the month of March. Global temperature averages have been recorded since 1880." ...


March is busting out all over!

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Mon, Apr 14, 2008
from Reuters:
Bangladesh faces climate change refugee nightmare
"DHAKA - Abdul Majid has been forced to move 22 times in as many years, a victim of the annual floods that ravage Bangladesh. There are millions like Majid, 65, in Bangladesh and in the future there could be many millions more if scientists' predictions of rising seas and more intense droughts and storms come true...Experts say a third of Bangladesh's coastline could be flooded if the sea rises one metre in the next 50 years, creating an additional 20 million Bangladeshis displaced from their homes and farms." ...


What are you called if you leave the coastline early -- in anticipation of rising sea levels? A prefugee!

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Tue, Apr 8, 2008
from London Times:
Food prices rise beyond means of poorest in Africa
"It has been called a "perfect storm" -- a combination of apparently unrelated events that have come together to trigger soaring food prices. Millions of people, particularly in developing countries, are affected by rises that have caused riots and many deaths. Increased energy prices, competition between biofuels and food, rising demand from economic growth in emerging countries and the effects of sudden climatic shocks, such as drought and floods, have combined to cause skyrocketing prices in some of the world's poorest countries, such as Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. Peter Smerdon, Africa spokesman for the UN's World Food Programme (WFP), told The Times: "The people hit hardest by this combination of factors are those living on the razor's edge of poverty. There is not one single country in Africa not negatively affected. Indeed, most countries in the world are affected." ...


Surely one of the most effective ways of controlling overpopulation is starvation. And not all countries are affected. Here in the US we waste about 25 percent of our food -- around 100 billion tons of food per year.

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Sun, Apr 6, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Drought ignites Spain's 'water war'
"There is a common saying in Spain that during a drought, the trees chase after the dogs. Now it is ringing true as the country struggles to deal with the worst drought since the Forties: reservoirs stand at 46 per cent of capacity and rainfall over the past 18 months has been 40 per cent below average. But months before the scorching summer sun threatens to reduce supplies to a trickle, a bitter political battle is raging over how to manage Spain's scarcest resource -- water. Catalonia, in the parched north east, has been worst affected, with reservoirs standing at just a fifth of capacity. ...


I guess the rain in Spain ain't fallin' on the plain no mo'...

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Tue, Mar 18, 2008
from USA Today:
Drought eases, water wars persist
"It's raining again in the Southeast. Much of the drought-parched region has been deluged recently by winter downpours, including weekend storms that battered the downtown business district and a swath of north Georgia. The drought has not ended, but it has eased across most of the region, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor and the National Weather Service.... Now comes a tougher challenge: resolving new and long-standing disputes over water that some experts say could hamper the region's emergence as an economic and population powerhouse. In a part of the nation where water shortages have not traditionally been an issue, it's difficult to tell whether even a historic drought has made a lasting difference, some scholars say. "The Southeast has not yet come to grips with the fact that it has a water problem, that it needs to plan for its water usage, that it can't take for granted that all the water it needs will always be there," says Robin Craig, a law professor and water expert at Florida State University's College of Law. ...


Sounds like an intervention would be helpful. Where is our Dr. Phil for environment issues?

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Mon, Mar 10, 2008
from People's Daily (China):
Amazon's worst-ever drought in 2005 caused by global warming
"Brazil's drought in 2005, the worst-ever hitting the Amazon, was caused by global warming instead of the El Nino weather phenomenon as previously thought, the country's National Space Research Institute (INPE) announced Sunday. "The idea that a drought comes with every El Nino is simply not correct," said INPE researcher Carlos Nobre who studied the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean and Amazon rainfall. "El Nino does not affect the southwestern Amazon region." ...


That familiar scapegoat, El Nino, is quickly becoming the dead duck of hot-dog boys who cry wolf because they're scaredy cats about global warming.

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Fri, Feb 8, 2008
from The Daily Green:
The Seed of Deadly Tornadoes
"Temperatures as much as 25 degrees higher than normal set the stage for the deadly tornadoes that descended on the American south, leading to death, injuries and destruction in Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee ... Is this another global warming harbinger?" ...


Not to mention these tornadoes spirited away a couple of voters to Oz.

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Mon, Jan 28, 2008
from National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration:
2007 Was Tenth Warmest For U.S., Fifth Warmest Worldwide
"The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. in 2007 is officially the tenth warmest on record, according to data from scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The agency also determined the global surface temperature last year was the fifth warmest on record. The average U.S. temperature for 2007 was 54.2F; 1.4F warmer than the 20th century mean of 52.8F." ...


And whose bright idea was it come up with an acronym -- NOAA -- that evokes the dude with the ark?

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Thu, Jan 17, 2008
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Changing climate
"Climate change is having a significant impact on the health of the seas surrounding Britain, says a new report. Rising seas, bigger waves, flooding, and more violent storms are already happening as temperatures increase. 2006 was the second-warmest year in UK coastal waters since records began in 1870 and seven of the 10 warmest years have occurred in the last decade, according to the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) report card 2007-08." ...


Got your floaties ready, mate?

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Wed, Jan 9, 2008
from PortClintonNewsHerald (Ohio):
101-year temperature record broken
"In any time in Ohio, we can get a mix of weather. In January it's not really common that we get southerly weather this far north, but it can happen. The jet stream has shifted its position to allow the warm air to flow north into Ohio," the meteorologist said. "We've had several swings in recent years where we do get warm-ups in January. ... Getting temperatures in the 50s is really not that uncommon, but getting them into the 60s is really noteworthy." ...


Local weather is a very different entity than climate warming, but it's still notable that records were set all over the place. And we've also found it quite difficult to locate "colder than ever recorded" stories.

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Sat, Jan 5, 2008
from AFP, via TerraDaily:
It's raining iguanas after Florida cold snap
"An unexpected cold snap this week sent thermometers plummeting in Florida and heat-hungry iguanas dropping from tree branches like autumn leaves, scientists and witnesses said." ...


When scientists AND witnesses are seeing the same surreal scene you know the Endtimes are just around the corner.

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Sat, Jan 5, 2008
from Associated Press:
More than 1M lose power in Calif. storm
"Howling winds, pelting rain and heavy snow pummeled California on Friday, toppling trees, flipping big rigs, cutting power to more than a million people and forcing evacuations in mudslide-prone areas. Flights were grounded and highways closed in Northern California as gusts reached 80 mph during the second wave of an arctic storm that sent trees crashing onto houses, cars and roads. Forecasters expected the storm to dump as much as 10 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada by Sunday. The heavy snow was slowing search efforts for a family believed to be missing in the mountains, authorities said." ...


We PostApocaDocs sometimes think "Family missing in the mountains" will have to become its own Scenario, due to its frequency.

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Tue, Dec 11, 2007
from AAAS (US):
Sir David King Urges Global Pact by 2009 to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
Speaking to an overflow audience, King said that the Earth is already feeling destructive effects of human-caused climate change. But if a rigorous new agreement could be approved in 2 years and implemented by 2012, he said, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases could be stabilized between 450 and 550 parts per million. "The impacts at 450 ppm will be 'dangerous,'" King said. But if levels were to approach 550 ppm and beyond, possible on current trends by mid-century, impacts which would become progressively more severe at higher levels include: reduced crop yields in many areas; reduced supplies of fresh water; storms, droughts, and forest fires of increasing intensity; species extinction; lethal heat waves; and coastal flooding that could create tens of millions of refugees. "We must get global agreement," he said, "and I'm standing here in Washington [D.C.] saying: 'We need it in a very short period of time.' " ...


"Atmospheric CO2 levels alone are now at over 380 ppm and expected to reach 400 ppm within a decade."

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