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2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #25B

Posted on 21 June 2013 by John Hartz

  • All-time heat records broken in . . . Alaska?!
  • Biologists worried by starving migratory birds
  • Climate change a threat to migratory birds
  • Climate change measuring instruments are on life support
  • Climate change-poverty link highlighted In World Bank report
  • Goodbye, Miami
  • New effort to quantify social cost of pollution
  • Rising seas: a city-by-city forecast for U.S.
  • Scarlet shorebird serves as harbinger of climate change
  • The 10 dumbest things ever said about global warming
  • Time for the fossil fuel industry to pay for their waste
  • U.S. Corps of Engineers won't review climate change impacts

All-time heat records broken in . . . Alaska?!

A massive dome of high pressure, sometimes referred to as a "heat dome," has set up shop over Alaska, bringing all-time record temperatures just a few weeks after parts of the state had a record cold start to spring. In some cases, towns in Alaska were warmer on Monday and Tuesday than most locations in the lower 48 states.

All-Time Heat Records Broken in . . . Alaska?! by Andrew Freedman, Climate Central, June 19, 2013


Biologists worried by starving migratory birds

At the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, the tiny bodies of Arctic tern chicks have piled up. Over the past few years, biologists have counted thousands that starved to death because the herring their parents feed them have vanished.

Puffins are also having trouble feeding their chicks, which weigh less than previous broods. When the parents leave the chicks to fend for themselves, the young birds are failing to find food, and hundreds are washing up dead on the Atlantic coast.

What’s happening to migratory seabirds? Biologists are worried about a twofold problem: Commercial fishing is reducing their food source, and climate change is causing fish to seek colder waters, according to a bulletin released Tuesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Biologists worried by starving migratory birds, seen as tied to climate change by Darryl Fears, Washington Post, June 19, 2013


Climate change a threat to migratory birds

WASHINGTON — Climate change is altering and destroying important habitats that America’s migratory birds depend on, the National Wildlife Federation said Tuesday in a report.

The environmental organization warns that a warming climate might lead to declines and even extinctions in some bird populations, and it calls on Congress and the president to curb carbon pollution and adopt what it calls “climate-smart conservation strategies.”

“We need urgent action at the local, state and federal levels to cut carbon pollution and confront the changes we’re already seeing,” said Larry Schweiger, the president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.

Climate change a threat to migratory birds, wildlife group says by Erika Bolstad, McClatchy Washington Bureau, June 18, 2013


Climate change measuring instruments are on life support

Programs to measure climate changes may be heading for declines due to budget cuts  

Climate change measuring instruments are on life support by John Abraham, Climate Consensus - The 97%, The Guardian, June 19, 2013 


Climate change-poverty link highlighted In World Bank report

The World Bank says it will increasingly view its efforts to help developing countries fight poverty through a "climate lens."

In a report released Wednesday, the international lending institution warned that heat waves, rising seas, more severe storms and other impacts of climate change will trap millions of people in poverty.

As a result, the Washington-based bank said it is stepping up support for efforts to curb climate change and to help the world adapt to it. 

Climate Change-Poverty Link Highlighted In World Bank Report, AP/The Huffington Post, June 19, 2013


Goodbye, Miami

By century's end, rising sea levels will turn the nation's urban fantasyland into an American Atlantis. But long before the city is completely underwater, chaos will begin.

Goodbye, Miami by Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone, June 20, 2013


New effort to quantify ‘social cost’ of pollution

The Obama administration is making a second attempt to systematically account for the dollar damage from greenhouse gas pollution, even with no consensus on how to forestall global warming or whether to do so.

Supporters of the idea acknowledge the tremendous difficulties of trying to translate slippery estimates into a single mathematical factor, difficulties that perhaps help explain why there is little hope of consensus now on climate policy.

The new effort is an update to an estimate for the awkwardly named “Social Cost of Carbon,” a range of costs, stated in dollars per ton, that carbon dioxide emissions are thought to impose on future generations. When the government totes up costs and benefits for a variety of proposed regulations, the Social Cost of Carbon is plugged into the calculation to decide how to write the regulation.

New Effort to Quantify ‘Social Cost’ of Pollution by Matthew L Wald, New York Times, June 18, 2013


Rising seas: a city-by-city forecast for U.S.

Depending on geology, vulnerability, ocean currents and political leadership, some regions will be hit harder than others. Researchers recently discovered that the Atlantic coast between North Carolina and Massachusetts is a particular hot spot, with the sea rising three to four times faster than the global average. Among the U.S. cities most at risk:

Rising Seas: A City-by-City Forecast, Rolling Stone, June 20, 2013


The 10 dumbest things ever said about global warming

A list of the dumbest things ever said about global warming is, sadly, almost impossible to curate in any comprehensive fashion. Politicians, talk show hosts, economists, pundits – people are saying dumb things about climate change all the time. But after much exhaustive research, we narrowed it down to 10 prize-winningly idiotic statements on this subject.

The 10 Dumbest Things Ever Said About Global Warming by Brooke Jarvis, Rolling Stone, June 19, 2013


Time for the fossil fuel industry to pay for their waste

We all know that banksters only care about the bottom-line, so only the threat of losing massive year-end bonuses could make them freak out, right? And therefore they shouldn’t care about climate change, because that has nothing to do with banking, right?

Wrong.

Banksters are now freaking out about climate change, too, because it’s going to hit their bottom-line, and hard.

Climate change has the potential to devastate economies, and if that happens, banks will be devastated too.

Time for the fossil fuel industry to pay for their waste by Thom Hartmann, Truthout, June 20, 2013


Scarlet shorebird serves as harbinger of climate change

In years past, tens of thousands of red knots crowded the sandy beaches of Mispillion Harbor in Delaware Bay, gorging on fresh horseshoe crab eggs spawned in such abundance they turned the shoreline a gelatinous green.

Smaller than a gull but larger than a robin, the shorebirds have one of the longest-distance migrations known in the animal kingdom. Each year, the ruddy-breasted birds fly to the Canadian Arctic from their winter home in Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America. And each year, there are fewer and fewer.

Red knots, elite athletes of the bird world, stop briefly in Delaware Bay in the spring, when the horseshoe crabs lay their eggs. They feast until they’ve doubled their weight, then they resume their flight to the Arctic to breed young of their own.

Scarlet shorebird serves as harbinger of climate change between the poles by Erika Bolstad, McClatchy Washington Bureau, June 18, 2013


U.S. Corps of Engineers won't review climate change impacts 

The U.S Army Corps of Engineers will not review the broader climate-change impacts of proposed coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest, an agency official told Congress on Tuesday.

The much-anticipated decision was a significant victory for the supporters of three terminals in Washington and Oregon and a setback for environmentalists and state and local officials who oppose exporting coal to China.

“The corps will limit its focus on emissions to those associated with construction of the facilities,” Jennifer Moyer, acting regulatory chief for the corps told lawmakers. “The effects of burning of coal in Asia or wherever it may be is too far to affect our action.”

U.S. Corps of Engineers won't review climate change impacts of Northwest coal exports by Curtis Tate, McClatchy Washington Bureau, June 18, 2013 

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Comments

Comments 1 to 13:

  1. I have just been playing Arround with you graphics.

    Extremely cool!

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  2. The dumbest claim I have found about global warming and its effects was "we will be able to adapt to overcome those problems" - a claim made on SkS!

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  3. John,  now you are using Rolling Stone as a news source?   Wow!   Please read those articles and not just the headlines.   Coastal cities with low elevations have  historically experienced these problems.   Nothing new here.   I've walked out of my downtown house in Charleston to be greeted by 2 feet of water in the streets.   Combination of a high tide,  full moon, and some rain.  Oh, by the way,  a lot of the Charleston peninsula was built over a landfill.   Building cities in low lying area is always dangerous.  

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] The introduction to this site's Comment Policy reads as follows: 

    The purpose of the discussion threads is to allow notification and correction of errors in the article, and to permit clarification of related points. Though we believe the only genuine debate on the science of global warming is that which occurs in the scientific literature, we welcome genuine discussion as both an aid to understanding and a means of correcting our inadvertent errors.  To facilitate genuine discussion, we have a zero tolerance approach to trolling and sloganeering. [My bold.]

    Please take the time to read the entire Comments Polcy and please adhere to it in your future posts.

  4. And guess what Terra.....it already is, and will increasingly be, more dangerous as increased sea levels exacerbate those existing reasons for flooding.

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  5. Rugbyguy, you're right.   But,  I just checked NOAA for Charleston's SLR and it is at 3.15 mm/yr. Not a lot to worry about. 

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  6. @Terranova #5:

    Although you did not provide a direct link to it, I presume that you found the 3.15mm/yr rate of seal level rise for Charleston, SC on NOAA's graph, Mean Sea Level Trend 8665530 Charleston, South Carolina. Am I correct?

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  7. Terra@5: I wonder if the people of New York and New Jersey might have said the same thing....last year.

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  8. Really interesting interview with Bob Sanford regarding the flooding in Alberta and the role climate change has on the intensification of the hydrological cycle.

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  9. John,

    You are correct on the NOAA link you provided.  And, I am by no means trolling, and I am not even sure what sloganeering means in the context of my post.  If I offended you, or any readers, I offer my sincere apologies.  

    Take this statement in the vein it is intended.  As a working scientist, I feel that articles from sources such as Rolling Stone detract from the hard science attempted by SKS.  Rolling Stone magazine is great (I read my sister-in-laws secondhand copies) when it comes to music and liberal politics, but not so much when it comes to science.

    In the future I will restrict my comments to the "sciencey" stuff. 

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  10. Terranova,

    I am not sure what your point was with your posts, but I have this response.  You said " I've walked out of my downtown house in Charleston to be greeted by 2 feet of water in the streets".  8 inches of that was due to climate change fueled sea level rise.  How much better would you have been with only 16 inches of water instead of 24?  I can drive through 16 inches of water but 24 floods my engine.  In general, the last 8 inches of a flood cause a disproportionate amount of damage.  You are correct that 3.15 mm of sea level rise is not much to worry about.  The increase in global temperature this year of about 0.02C is also nothing that bothers me.  Unfortunately, these increases will continue for the indefinate future.  3.15 mm of sea level rise will be 1 foot more water in your street in 100 years, except that the rate is projected to increase substantially during that time.  That is enough water to stop up the street drains in Maimi.  Likewise the .02C rise will be 2C in 100 years, unless it also increases as projected.  This will be over the safe limit of 2C when added to the 0.6C we have already experienced.


    The sea level rise today was only about 10 micrometers.  Who cares?  That is less than the thickness of a piece of paper!

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  11. @Terranova #9:

    NOAA explains how it computed the 3.15mm/yr rate of seal level rise for Charleston, SC as follows:


    The mean sea level trend is 3.15 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.25 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from 1921 to 2006 which is equivalent to a change of 1.03 feet in 100 years.


    Do you believe that the annual rate of 3.15 millimeters per year will continue over  the next 50 years?  The next 100 years?

     

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  12. Terranova,

    Why do you critique John for the choice of Rolling Stone as new source, and subsequently trolling about it? We know that RS is not a scientific journal and I would not expect it as a basis for any serious article. The purpose of those roundups is not to dissect science but to see "what's going on" in the popular press.

    As such, I for example find the RS article about "10 Dumbest Things"  very useful to read in order to have a good laugh. I liked especially the number 9:

    9. "100 years is a long time . . . There is an extremely high chance that the very nature of human society itself will have changed by that time in ways that render this entire issue moot."

    Believe it or not, skptics used to take such argumentation seriously, they have changed the goalposts since.

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  13. John at.11

    It's possible.  Acceleration or deceleration ate inevitable. 

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