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2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #24B

Posted on 15 June 2013 by John Hartz

  • 2012 weather disasters: $110 billion price tag
  • A fight over U.S. coal exports and the industry’s future
  • Climate change could increase areas at risk of flood by 45 percent
  • Climate change is the GOP’s worst nightmare
  • Extreme weather and signs of climate action
  • Pentagon bracing for dissent over climate and energy shocks
  • Two-thirds of energy sector will have to be left undeveloped
  • U.S. Department of Energy’s crusade yields results
  • Warming ocean is biggest driver of Antarctic ice shelf melt
  • You’re going to get wet

2012 weather disasters: $110 billion price tag

When it came to extreme weather and climate events, 2012 was a colossal year for the U.S. It was the warmest year on record in the lower 48 states, featuring a massive drought and deadly heat waves that broke thousands of temperature records. Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, and one of the most intense and long-lasting complexes of severe thunderstorms, known as a “derecho,” plunged 4 million people into darkness from Iowa to Virginia. 

2012 Weather Disasters: $110 Billion Price Tag Makes It Second Costliest Year Since 1980 by Andrew Freedman, June 14, 2013


A fight over U.S. coal exports and the industry’s future

CROW AGENCY, Mont. — Every few hours trains packed with coal pass through the sagebrush-covered landscape here in southern Montana, some on their way north to Canadian ports for shipment to Japan and South Korea. If the mining company Cloud Peak Energy has its way, many more trains will thunder across the prairie to far larger proposed export terminals in Washington State. 

A Fight Over U.S. Coal Exports and the Industry’s Future by Clifford Krauss, New York Times, June 14, 2013


Climate change could increase areas at risk of flood by 45 percent

A landmark study finds climate change could have a huge impact on the (U.S.) National Flood Insurance Program.

FEMA Report: Climate Change Could Increase Areas at Risk of Flood by 45 Percent by Kate Shepard and James West, June 13, 2013


Climate change is the GOP’s worst nightmare

Many conservative politicians have been among climate change deniers, but ignoring the science will led to something the GOP dreads even more — big government.

Jim Hansen: Climate Change is the GOP’s worst nightmare by Mark Jaffe, The Denver Post, June 13, 2013


Extreme Weather and Signs of Climate Action

Another season of extreme weather is upon us. A severe storm, with winds up to 70 miles per hour, whipped its way from Illinois to Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, Colorado is experiencing one of its worst wildfires in history -- the Black Forest Fire has burned 15,700 acres, displaced more than 38,000 people, and impacted 13,000 homes. These events are reminders of what the world will look like as our climate system moves into increasingly dangerous and unfamiliar territory.

This week brought a trifecta of events with significant implications for climate change.

U.S. Faces a Week of Extreme Weather and Signs of Climate Action by Dr. Andrew Steer, The Blog, The Huffington Post, June 14, 2013


Pentagon bracing for dissent over climate and energy shocks

NSA Prism is motivated in part by fears that environmentally-linked disasters could spur anti-government activism.

Pentagon bracing for public dissent over climate and energy shocks by Nafeez Ahmed, Earth Insight, The Guardian, June 14, 2013


Two-thirds of energy sector will have to be left undeveloped

If world is to limit global warming we cannot burn all our fossil fuels, says International Energy Agency economist Fatih Birol.

Two-thirds of energy sector will have to be left undeveloped, Bonn conference told by Frank McDonald, June 12, 2013, The Irish Times


U.S. Department of Energy’s crusade yields results

Every year, the United States Department of Energy’s far-flung operations generate millions of tons of climate-warming greenhouse gases. By tightening valves, replacing worn gaskets and such, Josh Silverman and the department’s engineers have managed to cut the annual leaks of one gas by about 35,000 pounds.

Department of Energy’s Crusade Against Leaks of a Potent Greenhouse Gas Yields Results by Michael Wines, June 13, 203


Warming ocean is biggest driver of Antarctic ice shelf melt

Of earth's two vast ice sheets, Antarctica is perhaps the more mysterious. From the icy surface to the ocean below, there are several different ways the ice sheet is shrinking. How these processes compare is key to knowing how fast melting ice sheets are raising sea levels worldwide - and a new study out today may help to shed a bit more light.

Warming ocean is biggest driver of Antarctic ice shelf melt, says new study by Roz Pidcock, The Carbon Brief, June 13, 2013


You’re going to get wet

BEFORE Hurricane Sandy tore through New York and New Jersey, it stopped in Florida. Huge waves covered beaches, swept over Fort Lauderdale’s concrete sea wall and spilled onto A1A, Florida’s coastal highway. A month later another series of violent storms hit south Florida, severely eroding Fort Lauderdale’s beaches and a chunk of A1A. Workers are building a new sea wall, mending the highway and adding a couple of pedestrian bridges. Beach erosion forced Fort Lauderdale to buy sand from an inland mine in central Florida; the mine’s soft, white sand stands out against the darker, grittier native variety.

You’re going to get wet: Americans are building beachfront homes even as the oceans rise, The Economist, June 15, 2013

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Comments

Comments 1 to 2:

  1. Interesting report on Rignot et all 2013 about Antarctic ice shelf melt.

    That looks like a confirmation of OHC as the main driver of the arctic amplification. Down south, iceshelfs are relatively minor part of the system and continental ice is not affected. But in north, the iceshelf makes up most of the arctic, therefore OHC is discharged there very well, decreasing sea albedo in summer and feedding back itself.

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  2. Chris,

    I think you missed the point of Rignot's paper.  The ice shelves in the Antarctic support the land based ice.  If the ice shelves in the Antarctic melt, ice from the land will slide into the ocean to take its place.  This shift of ice from the land to the sea raises sea level.  In addition, Rignot showed that the majority of the melting came from a small group of ice shelves that are not regularly monitored.  That means the melting is likely to have been missed by previous studies.

    In the past it was thought that iceberg calving was the major loss of ice in the Antarctic.  Rignot showed that melting is (now) more important.  As ocean heat content increases, melting will increase.

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