23 Apr

Water rise visualizations if all the ice melts: shame about Florida

Fascinating visualization of what happens if all the ice on Earth melts. Lots of China on the east coast suffers, South Korea, and the US east coast suffer. Florida just goes away, as does most of the Gulf Coast (Florida’s pretty much in serious trouble no matter what the projections call for, apocalyptic or otherwise. But it’s okay, they banned the words climate change and global warming, I’m sure they’ll be fine).

Looks my investment in fish-scale vests and gills was a bit premature.


13 Jul

Miami is slowly flooding, and will eventually be our newest Venice

I basically assume Miami is the newest Venice at the start of Hurricane Fever due to this:

“What makes Miami exceptionally vulnerable to climate change is its unique geology. The city – and its satellite towns and resorts – is built on a dome of porous limestone which is soaking up the rising seawater, slowly filling up the city’s foundations and then bubbling up through drains and pipes. Sewage is being forced upwards and fresh water polluted. Miami’s low topography only adds to these problems. There is little land out here that rises more than six feet above sea level. Many condos and apartment blocks open straight on the edge of the sea. Of the total of 4.2 million US citizens who live at an elevation of four feet or less, 2.4 million of them live in south Florida.”

(Via Miami, the great world city, is drowning while the powers that be look away | World news | The Observer.)

16 Jun

Cold War-style spy games come to the Arctic

Hmmmm… sounds familiar.

“In early March, a mysterious ship the size of a large passenger ferry left a Romanian wharf, glided through the narrow strait that separates Europe from Asia and plotted a course toward Scandinavia. After a two-year refitting, the $250 million ship will begin its mission: to snoop on Russia’s activities in the Arctic.

‘There is a demand from our political leadership to describe what is going on in this region,’ said Norway’s military intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Kjell Grandhagen.

As climate change eats away at the sea ice covering the North Pole, Arctic nations — the U.S., Canada, the Nordic countries and Russia— are fishing for secrets in East-West spy games echoing Cold War rivalries. The military dimension remains important but this time there’s an economic aspect, too: getting a leg up in the competition for potential oil and gas resources, along with new shipping lanes and fishing waters.”

(Via Cold War-style spy games return to melting Arctic – Toledo Blade.)

10 Jun

National Geographic Atlas is struggling to keep up with redrawing Arctic Ice on map

The world of Arctic Rising is breathing down our necks:

“The shrinking of the Arctic ice sheet in the upcoming 10th edition of the National Geographic Atlas of the World is one of the most striking changes in the publication’s history, geographers say.

The reduction in multiyear ice—commonly defined as ice that has survived for two summers—is so noticeable compared with previous editions that National Geographic Geographer Juan José Valdés calls it ‘the biggest visible change other than the breakup of the U.S.S.R.'”

(Via Shrinking Arctic Ice Prompts Drastic Change in National Geographic Atlas.)

Hat tip to Elizabeth Bear on twitter for the link:

02 Jun

Ozone hole, global warming, same playbook being used against fixing them

I remember my stepdad rushing to get air conditioning coolant for his Buick. Later he took me out in the car. “This will be the last AC fluid charge for AC this cold,” he told me. “After this, it’ll be weaker. We’ll never have frigid air conditioning like this again, so soak it in.”

At the time, it felt like a total Mad Max moment. Like society was changing and we’d lost something.

At first, it was true. The replacement coolant fluids didn’t create AC as cold. But over the years, systems were tweaked, other fluids swapped in. And now I can hop in a car and get frigid AC. And the ozone layer isn’t being stripped away. And it’s one of the things that stands out for me in my life. That legislation was wielded to solve a global issue, that the skeptics were out with economic doomsaying and nearly identical arguments as the ones made now:

“Ozone depletion worsened globally throughout the 1990’s, with peak ozone losses reaching 70% in Antarctica in Spring, 30% in the Arctic in Spring, 8% in Australia in summer, 10-15% in New Zealand in summer, and 3% globally year-round (WMO, 2002; Manin et. al., 2001; McKenzie et. al., 1999). In response, the international community adopted four amendments to the Montreal Protocol in the 1990’s to promote an ever faster phase out of ozone-destroying chemicals. Finally, in the early 2000’s, although the we cannot yet say that stratospheric ozone depletion has reached its maximum, atmospheric levels of ozone-destroying substances in the atmosphere are now declining, and a disappearance of the Antarctic ozone hole is expected by about 2050 (WMO, 2002). Molina and Rowland were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1995. The citation from the Nobel committee credited them with helping to deliver the Earth from a potential environmental disaster.

On this 30th anniversary of the beginning of the ozone depletion debate, it is revealing to review the techniques the skeptics used in the CFC-ozone depletion issue over the past 30 years. All of them have parallels in the current global warming debate.”

(Via The Skeptics vs. the Ozone Hole | Weather Underground.)

, via Ramez Naam, who makes the excellent point:

15 Jan

Imagine if for every space launch, there was a moon hoaxer on TV. That’s where we are now for climate news


There’s the image.

“To me, one of the most fascinating aspects of climate change denial is how deniers essentially never publish in legitimate journals, but instead rely on talk shows, grossly error-laden op-eds, and hugely out-of-date claims (that were never right to start with).

In 2012, National Science Board member James Lawrence Powell investigated peer-reviewed literature published about climate change and found that out of 13,950 articles, 13,926 supported the reality of global warming. Despite a lot of sound and fury from the denial machine, deniers have not really been able to come up with a coherent argument against a consensus.”

(Via Climate change: Another study shows they don’t publish actual papers..)

The media’s allowing denialists on every single show about climate change makes it seem like that pie is 50/50. It’s really fucked up people’s ability to understand just how strong the consensus is.

If 99 out of 100 doctors said you have cancer, do you refuse to treat?

How about 13,926 out of 13,950?

Imagine if every time a picture of a space launch happened, or video of probes on another planet happened, a flat earth theorist or moon landing hoax believer was on the news to refute that it was really happening, imagine that. That is the current state of news reporting on global warming.

And the stakes are way, way higher on this.

It’s a disgrace.

01 Jan

AP is suddenly realizing other nations are racing to claim resources in the Arctic as it warms up

What’s particularly rich about this is that the Republican senator of Alaska never once mentions *why* all these resources in the Arctic are suddenly available…

“The U.S. is racing to keep pace with stepped-up activity in the once sleepy Arctic frontier, but it is far from being in the lead.

Nations across the world are hurrying to stake claims to the Arctic’s resources, which might be home to 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its untapped natural gas. There are emerging fisheries and hidden minerals. Cruise liners filled with tourists are sailing the Arctic’s frigid waters in increasing numbers. Cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route, one of two shortcuts across the top of the Earth in summer, is on the rise.

The U.S., which takes over the two-year rotating chairmanship of the eight-nation Arctic Council in 2015, has not ignored the Arctic, but critics say the U.S. is lagging behind the other seven: Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Canada and Denmark, through the semiautonomous territory of Greenland.”

(Via America Is Losing The Competition For The Arctic – Business Insider.)

25 Jul

Arctic methane belch is expensive… more expensive than going green

Look, the cost of mucking about and waiting is going to be too expensive. Already billions are being spent to clean up after increasing natural disasters. Opponents of alternative energy claim it’s too expensive.

What’s too expensive is this:

“A sudden methane burp in the Arctic could set the world back a colossal $60 trillion.

Billions of tonnes of the greenhouse gas methane are trapped just below the surface of the East Siberian Arctic shelf. Melting means the area is poised to deliver a giant gaseous belch at any moment  – one that could bring global warming forward 35 years and cost the equivalent of almost a year’s global GDP.

These are the conclusions of the first systematic analysis of the economic cost of Arctic melting, which delivers a sobering antidote to other, more upbeat assessments that say melting in this area would improve access to minerals on the ocean bed, increase fishing and create ice-free shipping lanes.”

(Via Huge methane belch in Arctic could cost $60 trillion – environment – 24 July 2013 – New Scientist.)

17 Jul

Reuters has climate change deniers at the top

Reuters supplies most of the news that newspapers just reprint, so this has tremendous second order impacts. An ex-reporter there takes a look at the inside environs of Reuters:

“In April last year, Paul Ingrassia (then deputy editor-in-chief) and I met and had a chat at a company function. He told me he was a climate change sceptic. Not a rabid sceptic, just someone who wanted to see more evidence mankind was changing the global climate.

Progressively, getting any climate change-themed story published got harder. It was a lottery. Some desk editors happily subbed and pushed the button. Others agonised and asked a million questions. Debate on some story ideas generated endless bureaucracy by editors frightened to take a decision, reflecting a different type of climate within Reuters – the climate of fear.

By mid-October, I was informed that climate change just wasn’t a big story for the present, but that it would be if there was a significant shift in global policy, such as the US introducing an emissions cap-and-trade system.

Very soon after that conversation I was told my climate change role was abolished. I was asked to take over the regional shipping role and that I had less than a week to decide.”

(Via Climate change | THE BARON.)

This is why we need fewer newspapers just reprinting Reuters and providing actual news.