Daily Archives: July 18, 2014

Grim Harvest: Climate Change Sweeps Iowa Farms

Grim Harvest: Climate Change Sweeps Iowa Farms (Op-Ed)

Daniel Glick, thestorygroup.org | July 18, 2014 01:47am ET

Daniel Glick is the co-founder of thestorygroup.org, a Colorado-based multimedia journalism company. He was also one of the editors of the National Climate Assessment, and has written about climate change for many publications, including National Geographic and Newsweek. Glick contributed this article to Live Science’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Corning, Iowa, isn’t the first place that people think of as ground zero for climate-change impacts . The gently rolling landscape in the southwest quadrant of this corn-fed state is punctuated by silver grain silos and carpeted in corn stalks and soybean rows. Farmers here know that sooner or later, commodity prices, fuel prices, seed prices and pretty much every type of weather that comes out of the sky will buffet their business. It’s just the price you pay if you’re a farmer, they’ll say with a shrug — the price of being able to work some of the planet’s most fertile soil and grow food for a nation.

Since he was 15, Ray Gaesser has planted, tended, harvested and sold crops through all kinds of conditions, good times and bad. In his 46 years of farming, he’s learned to stay on top of all the variables he has to juggle, from international trade trends to new soybean-planting techniques. As president of the American Soybean Association, he also tries to keep up with everything from biotechnology advances to biodiesel policy changes.

…(read more).

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Gavin Schmidt: The emergent patterns of climate change


TED

Published on May 1, 2014

You can’t understand climate change in pieces, says climate scientist Gavin Schmidt. It’s the whole, or it’s nothing. In this illuminating talk, he explains how he studies the big picture of climate change with mesmerizing models that illustrate the endlessly complex interactions of small-scale environmental events.

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What is Climate? Climate Change, Lines of Evidence


nationalacademies

Published on Jul 2, 2012

The National Research Council is pleased to present this video that explains how scientists have arrived at the current state of knowledge about recent climate change and its causes. This is part one of a seven-part series, available on the National Academies channel.

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Evidence Of The Extreme Climate Change

HawkkeyDavisChannel

Published on Nov 16, 2012

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Tobias Feakin – The Debate in Europe About Climate Change and the Military

Environmental Change & Security Program (ECSP)

Published on Jul 24, 2012

“We established [the Climate Change Security Program] as a methodology of exposing the defense community in the U.K. and Europe to some of the more nuanced security debates that are going on around climate change, environmental change, and resource shortages,” said Tobias Feakin, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies (RUSI) in an interview with ECSP.

What they found when they first approached the U.K. defense establishment in 2006, was surprising. “They opened [that] door wide open and said, ‘actually, you know what, we’ve been looking at this, we’ve been concerned about this for a long time, and we’ve already started including it in our long-term planning and strategic thinking.'”

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Climate Change 2013: Greenland Ice Sheet & Northern Polar Jet Stream – Peter Sinclair

Local Future Network

Published on Jul 23, 2013

New climate change science explained by Peter Sinclair, just back from a scientific expedition to the Greenland Ice Sheet. Sinclair explains the feedback effects of melting ice, and the impacts on the northern polar jet stream and mean sea level.

Sinclair leads educators on climate science and created the Climate Denial Crock of the Week video series, which tackles myths about global warming, the greenhouse effect, and carbon dioxide pollution.

Sinclair proposes moving towards wind and solar as the key to jobs and future energy needs.

Recorded, edited, and published by Aaron Wissner of LocalFuture.org

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Hunger in America

  • Aired: 04/07/2014
  • 27:09

Portraits of America’s hungry. Food insecurities from San Joaquin, California’s farmers who do not have enough to eat to a family in suburban Chicago feeling the economic pinch at the dinner table and food deserts in the home and big city.

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Gas Export Terminal Draws Opposition From Marylanders, Faith Groups

By Ryan Koronowski on July 12, 2014 at 3:28 pm

This photo taken June 12, 2014 shows a half-a-mile long, the Dominion Energy’s Cove Point LNG Terminal’s offshore loading platform, a mile offshore seen from the facilities nature preserve which surround the plant in Lusby, Md.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Cliff Owen

The shale gas boom in the U.S. has used unconventional drilling practices like fracking to lower natural gas prices, to increase supply, and to soon transform America into a net gas exporter. This last development has elicited a huge controversy, and ground zero could be the small town of Lusby on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.

That’s the home of a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal called Cove Point. Dominion Energy has received conditional approval to convert the site’s existing import facility into an export terminal from the Department of Energy, FERC, and a key state regulatory body. But local opposition to the proposed project is mounting.

On Sunday, July 13, there will be a rally on the Mall in Washington, D.C., organized by a host of green groups, billed as the “first national rally to stop fracked gas exports at Cove Point.” They want FERC to decide not to give the project final approval. Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said in May that the risk of a fire or explosion at the facility to nearby houses was too great: “if anything goes off site … homes are going to be incinerated. They’re just too close.”

A report commissioned by nearby residents and Tidwell’s group highlights the risks posed by the plant to homes within 0.8 miles from its borders. Though the LNG industry has a very safe track record, the consequences of an accident at an LNG facility would be dire. A 2004 Energy Department study suggested that a catastrophic leak and ignition at an LNG plant would cause a fireball hot enough to melt steel at 1,200 feet and give second-degree burns a mile away.

It’s not just environmentalists that oppose Cove Point. “Maryland’s religious communities are heartbroken by the harm climate change is already causing to our neighbors, close to home and around the world,” says Joelle Novey, Director of Interfaith Power & Light, a network of religious institutions which engages congregations in responding to climate change. “And we’re praying that FERC won’t let a Goliath corporation stomp into Maryland and make a mockery of our good work to protect our air, our water, and our climate.”

“We have often felt outmatched in this struggle, but we can only do what David did — this weekend, we’ll stand up faithfully for clean energy that doesn’t frack our water or protects our climate.”

…(read more).

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NOAA State Of The Climate In 2013: ‘Our Planet Is Becoming A Warmer Place

By Joe Romm on July 18, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Heat energy in the top 2,300 feet (700 meters) of the ocean in 2013 compared to the 1993-2013 average. Orange and blue areas show where the upper ocean’s heat storage rose or fell by as much as 5 gigajoules per square meter.

CREDIT: NOAA, Larry Belcher, John Lyman

The planet kept warming at an unhealthy pace last year, according to a report by hundreds of the world’s top scientists led by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Tom Karl, director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, said that the planetary vital signs documented in this report, “State of the Climate in 2013,” reveal “The planet is changing more rapidly … than in any time of modern civilization.”

One of the most important findings is that “upper ocean heat content has increased significantly over the past two decades”:

Heat content in the global ocean down to 700 meters (2300 feet) has risen in the past two decades. Via NOAA.

As NOAA explains, the reason ocean heat content is rising is that “Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases are preventing heat radiated from Earth’s surface from escaping into space as freely as it used to; most of the excess heat is being stored in the upper ocean.” Why is this so important to our understanding of global warming?

Recent studies estimate that warming of the upper oceans accounts for about 63 percent of the total increase in the amount of stored heat in the climate system from 1971 to 2010, and warming from 700 meters to the ocean floor adds about another 30 percent.

So the place where climate scientists predicted the overwhelming majority of the heat trapped by human emissions would end up is precisely where there has been rapid warming in the past 20 years.

And in case you were wondering what total ocean heat content has looked like in recent decades, NOAA has the chart for you:

Global ocean heat over the past half century (down to 2000 meters) . Via NOAA.

Here are the highlights of the “State of the Climate in 2013” (emphasis in original):

  • Greenhouse gases continued to climb: Major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide, continued to rise during 2013, once again reaching historic high values. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased by 2.8 ppm in 2013, reaching a global average of 395.3 ppm for the year. At the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the daily concentration of CO2 exceeded 400 ppm on May 9 for the first time since measurements began at the site in 1958. This milestone follows observational sites in the Arctic that observed this CO2 threshold of 400 ppm in spring 2012.
  • Warm temperature trends continued near the Earth’s surface: Four major independent datasets show 2013 was among the warmest years on record, ranking between second and sixth depending upon the dataset used. In the Southern Hemisphere, Australia observed its warmest year on record, while Argentina had its second warmest and New Zealand its third warmest.
  • Sea surface temperatures increased: Four independent datasets indicate that the globally averaged sea surface temperature for 2013 was among the 10 warmest on record. El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-neutral conditions in the eastern central Pacific Ocean and a negative Pacific decadal oscillation pattern in the North Pacific. The North Pacific was record warm for 2013.
  • Sea level continued to rise: Global mean sea level continued to rise during 2013, on pace with a trend of 3.2 ± 0.4 mm per year over the past two decades.
  • The Arctic continued to warm; sea ice extent remained low: The Arctic observed its seventh warmest year since records began in the early 20th century. Record high temperatures were measured at 20-meter depth at permafrost stations in Alaska. Arctic sea ice extent was the sixth lowest since satellite observations began in 1979. All seven lowest sea ice extents on record have occurred in the past seven years.

NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan summed the report up this way, “These findings reinforce what scientists for decades have observed: that our planet is becoming a warmer place.”

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Republicans Cripple US Military on Climate Change


johniadarola

Published on May 26, 2014

Global warming is a threat to our national security, but not one we’ll be preparing for, apparently. The House passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization bill on Thursday that would bar the Department of Defense from using funds to assess climate change and its implications for national security. The amendment, from Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), passed in what was nearly a party-line vote. Let me know in the comments!

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