Archive for category Science
Read this: We hear often that 97% of scientists agree that Climate Change is real and that it is largely caused by human activity. I quote this “fact” quite often, but I must admit I am counting on the authority of people or articles I have read or heard and don’t check them out further. At the same time I see conservatives who totally disagree (and I think, obviously they don’t know what they’re talking about). With all of this, it appears that in spite of overwhelming scientific agreement, “only about 50% the general public think that scientists have reached a consensus on human-caused climate change”. What’s the answer? Is it true and what does it actually mean when we quote this very one sided Scientific Consensus (97%) on Climate Change?
For authority on this area of science the article linked below from http://www.wunderground.com looks to three scientific organizations as authority: The American Geophysical Union (GSU), The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Read the rest of this entry »
Read this: “If you get the chemistry wrong, it doesn’t matter how many landmark climate agreements you sign or how many speeches you give.” Those are serious words from Bill McKibben of 350.org in The Nation Magazine article linked below. The thing is we evidently have been getting a very big part of the causes of Climate Change very wrong. While we have been focusing on CO2, “its’ nasty little brother methane CH4, has recently been getting some serious press”. Most of this is because of a February report from Harvard. The “explosive paper in Geophysical Research Letters …(uses) satellite data and ground observations … concluding that the nation as a whole is leaking methane in massive quantities.” Consensus seems to be that “the core problem … is the rapid spread of fracking.”
As we have moved away from coal and to a lesser extent oil (the largest CO2 producers) we have replaced them with natural gas (less CO2 but basically unmeasured quantities of methane CH4). The reason this is so bad is that “molecule for molecule, this unburned methane is much, much more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.” The EPA had been denying the increase in methane, “but it turns out, as some scientists have been insisting for years, the EPA was wrong.” So what does this do to the gains we have made in recent years? “These leaks are big enough to wipe out a large share of the gains from the Obama administration’s work on climate change—all those closed coal mines and fuel-efficient cars. In fact, it’s even possible that America’s contribution to global warming increased during the Obama years.” Furthermore, “it undercuts the promises we made at the climate talks in Paris. It’s a disaster—and one that seems set to spread.”
Here are some key points covered by this very good, but troubling article:
- Understanding how we got here,
- How fracking works,
- The miscalculation because of focusing only on CO2,
- The lure of natural gas being cheaper,
- Ignorantly promoting natural gas ,
- Push on the east coast to extensively frack the Marcellus Shale which attracted the attention of a couple of Cornell scientists …living on the northern edge of the Marcellus Shale, Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea,
- The fact about methane: Though it produces only half as much carbon as coal when you burn it, if you don’t—if it escapes into the air before it can be captured in a pipeline, or anywhere else along its route to a power plant or your stove—then it traps heat in the atmosphere much more efficiently than CO2,
- Politically, no one in power wanted to hear this, would be an understatement, so instead they attack the scientists even though new research kept backing up Howarth and Ingraffea,
- New worries: about the effects of methane in any quantity on the atmosphere. Everyone agrees that, molecule for molecule, methane traps far more heat than CO2 —but exactly how much wasn’t clear,
- The good news: a methane molecule lasts only a couple of decades in the air, compared with centuries for CO2,
- The bad news: Instead of peaking in 2007 and then trending downward, as the EPA has maintained, our combined emissions of methane and carbon dioxide have gone steadily and sharply up during the Obama years,
McKibben says “One obvious conclusion from the new data is that we need to move very aggressively to plug as many methane leaks as possible. ‘The biggest unfinished business for the Obama administration is to establish tight rules on methane emissions from existing [wells and drill sites].'” Furthermore we must remember that “containing the leaks is easier said than done … (as the) catastrophic blowouts like the recent one at Porter Ranch in California (demonstrated)”. More than any other tactic, “we need to stop the fracking industry in its tracks, here and abroad.” We must aggressively move to renewables now.
There is much more in the article. Read, remember and become active.
Read this: Here is another piece of evidence telling us that climate change is real and we better pay attention. The article below from The Daily KOS, by Meteor Blades relays the latest information from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The study shows that “the winter of 2015-2016 was the warmest winter ever recorded for the 48 contiguous states in the 122 years records have been kept”. Even for our “I’m not a scientist crowd this should mean something”.
The study lists many different indicators all of which show hot, dire results. Some of these were:
- “December-February average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 36.8°F, 4.6°F above the 20th century average, surpassing the previous record of 36.5°F set in 1999/2000”,
- “all six New England states were record warm, and there was only one tiny speck of blue on the entire wintertime temperature map of the lower 48, though you’d probably need a magnifying glass to find it. (Hint: It’s near Yellowstone National Park.)”,
- “Alaska’s winter was more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal”
The authors opinions are blunt but hopeful summing things as they say: “It’s happening, and it’s going to get worse. But impacts can be ameliorated if we take action to keep fossil fuels in the ground, something that can only be achieved if we rapidly transform our energy, transportation, and agricultural systems. And if we dump the deniers and delayers in Congress (largely Republicans but there are always a few Democrats to worry about), in state legislatures, and—harder still, obviously—in industry. The alternative is grim.”
Read the article then use it to counter your denying friends.
Read this: There are many experts who believe that we actually can stabilize our climate if we could just get world leaders (particularly the big polluters) to act. The Nation Article, on the link below, by Robert Pollin says “a simple and viable path to climate stabilization is right before us” and there are many experts around the world who agree. The 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference opens in Paris on November 30, where this issue will be paramount. Since the conference in 2009 global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have “increased by about 10%”, moving from “29 to 32 billion metric tons”. This is an amazing increase and yet world leaders have done very little to really make a difference. Yet Pollin’s article continues to suggest there is a chance. ” The global economy can bring global emissions down to the IPCC target of 20 billion tons within 20 years if most countries—especially those with either large GDPs or populations—devote between 1.5 and 2 percent per year of GDP to investments in energy efficiency and clean, low-emission renewable-energy sources. The consumption of oil, coal, and natural gas will also need to fall by about 35 percent over this same period—i.e., at an average 2.2 percent rate of decline per year.” These are not gigantic changes and would probably be readily accepted by people around the world if the urgency was effectively conveyed. There will obviously be propaganda against change coming from those with the greatest economic interests in maintaining the status quo. Read the full article below to get the complete picture and remain vigilant as you support leaders who have real priorities for climate change stabilization.
Read this: The Mother Jones article in the link below, by Luke Whelan cites recent studies showing that “the Sierra Nevada mountain range’s snow pack levels this year are the lowest they’ve been for 500 years. That’s right, since roughly the year 1500.” This fact leads me to assume that the many Climate Change deniers are logically still living in the Dark Ages. True or not, as Whelan says, “this is bad news for Californians: Snowfall in the mountains can account for as much as one-third of the state’s water supply during a normal year.” This is just another small piece of evidence supporting that fact that Climate Change is real and it is here now. Yes, rain and snowfall vary greatly but as this study shows the last time it was this bad was around 1500. The sun supposedly revolved around the earth and we burned people at the stake for witchcraft. We have learned a lot since then, but right or wrong, we still cling to convenient rhetoric for political and short term economic purposes. Being wrong about whether the sun revolves around the earth or the earth around the sun is pretty trivial argument compared to having government and world leaders today who don’t believe in the science of Climate Change. Maybe it is time we (voters) all started applying a whole lot of pressure on our supposed leaders to act on our behalf and act now.
Watch this: The link below takes you to a very informative video narrated by Bill Putman, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The visual effects here are based on computer models. They dramatically show the effects, paths and concentrations of CO2 throughout the world and Putnam’s minimal narrations helps you better understand what you are seeing. Take a few minutes and watch.
Check this out: One of the dilemmas when discussing Climate Change with anyone is where to get reliable information. Well here is a very sound source. Part of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Earth System Research Laboratory / Global Monitoring Division / Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network has created a dynamic video presentation that charts CO2 changes over a period of 800,000 years and ending on January 1, 2014. Whereas the environmental organization 350.org says we need to attempt to maintain global CO2 levels at or near 350 ppm, the video ends with a CO2 level of 398 ppm as of 2014. Watch the video demonstrating “Trends in Atomospheric Carbon Diozide” as well as other charts. Their web site also has many other tabs with videos and many charts worth taking a look at. Bookmark the web site and arm yourself with some information and note that at the end of the initial video there is a lengthy list of scientific organizations and experts that support the information found here.
Read this: Methane emissions, which are far worse than CO2, are rapidly spreading. The article below from The Daily KOS, by rktect is an example of science that is not covered by the major media. I often ask why, but the title “Don’t read this if you don’t want to know how bad it is” and the content of this article, disturbingly answers that question. Yes, this article tells a very disturbing story. “Methane Hydrate releases in the arctic as warned of by Sam Carana are now reported by NOAA to be 150 miles across. You will remember that even slight releases of methane in the arctic were enough to cause polar researchers like Jason Box to freak out a little over a year ago.” You might be thinking that since you haven’t heard of this it can’t be that critical. Think again! “Methane is orders of magnitude worse than CO2 and its being released in 50 Gigaton bursts farts that by themselves can cause an instant 1.3° C global temperature rise.” As the article repeatedly suggests, any reporting of this has been “Trumped” by, let’s just say more exciting news. Those of us who have followed 350.org’s premise that the world target should be to allow the global temperature to increase no more than 2 degrees C have to be greatly concerned about this newly reported event. “Now we have El Nino acting like a blowtorch raising the temperature of the whole Pacific Ocean 4-8 ° C and directing its focus towards the (US) west coast.” How will this affect overall global temperatures? It can’t be good! Read more in the article below and keep your eyes out for additional news (you will have to search for it since our national media will probably not cover it) on Methane problems related to Climate Change.
Read this: This article from the Los Angeles Times, by RONG-GONG LIN II, gives details on what is being called a “Godzilla El Niño”. The storm “has the potential to become one of the most powerful on record, as warming ocean waters surge toward the Americas, setting up a pattern that could bring once-in-a-generation storms this winter to drought-parched California.” But this doesn’t mean the California drought is over. Bill Patzert, a climatologist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge says “this definitely has the potential of being the Godzilla El Niño.” Warnings suggest “so much rain all at once has proved devastating to California in the past. In early 1998, storms brought widespread flooding and mudslides, causing 17 deaths and more than half a billion dollars in damage in California. Downtown L.A. got nearly a year’s worth of rain in February 1998”. This will not necessarily solve California’s drought for any extended period of time. “The Pacific Ocean west of California is substantially warmer than it was in 1997. That could mean that though El Niño-enhanced precipitation fell as snow in early 1998, storms hitting the north could cause warm rain to fall this winter. Such a situation would not be good news ‘for long-term water storage in the snowpack,’ said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at Stanford University.”This is another example of the complicated nature of “Climate Change” and our need to actively pursue corrections in our behaviors worldwide that continue to contribute to its’ acceleration. Please support Climate Change legislations.