Daily Archives: December 28, 2015

Freak storm in North Atlantic to lash UK, may push temperatures over 50 degrees above normal at North Pole – The Washington Post

Noth-Atlantic

GFS model shows huge storm over Iceland early Wednesday and a massive wind field covering much of the Northern Atlantic. (WeatherBell.com)

By Jason Samenow December 28 at 2:33 PM

The vigorous low pressure system that helped spawn devastating tornadoes in the Dallas area on Saturday is forecast to explode into a monstrous storm over Iceland by Wednesday.

[Nature’s
startling contrast: Tornadoes torment Texas; Blizzard buries
New Mexico
]

Big Icelandic storms are common in winter, but this one may rank among the strongest and will draw northward an incredible surge of warmth pushing temperatures at the North Pole over 50 degrees above normal. This is mind-boggling.

And the storm will batter the United Kingdom, reeling from recent flooding, with another round of rain and wind.

Computer model simulations show the storm, sweeping across the north central Atlantic today, rapidly intensifying along a jet stream ripping above the ocean at 230 mph.

…(read more).

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I Will Be Heard: The Legacy of William Lloyd Garrison and The Liberator

E120, e130, e145

At End of Hottest Year Ever, Massive U.S. Storm Kills At Least 43 with More Extreme Weather to Come


Democracy Now!

Published on Dec 28, 2015

At least 43 people died over the Christmas holiday weekend in a series of storms that hit the South, Southwest and Midwest United States. Tornadoes were reported in 10 states, including Michigan, which recorded its first-ever tornado in December. The deadliest storms were in Texas, where at least 11 people died when tornadoes hit areas near Dallas. As many as 1,000 homes were damaged. Now a major snowstorm is heading toward the region. Flash floods also killed at least 13 people in Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas, where as much as nine inches of rain fell on some areas. Meanwhile, heat records were broken on Christmas Day across the East Coast from Maine to Georgia. This weekend of extreme weather comes as climatologists predict 2015 will be the warmest year ever recorded, smashing last year’s record. We are joined by leading climate scientist James Elsner, professor at Florida State University and co-author of “The Increasing Efficiency of Tornado Days in the United States,” a paper recently published in the journal Climate Dynamics.

http://www.democracynow.org/2015/12/28/at_end_of_hottest_ever_year

Democracy Now!

Published on Dec 28, 2015

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Storms Kill At Least 43 Across U.S. over Christmas Weekend

At least 43 people died over the Christmas holiday weekend in a series of storms that hit the South, Southwest and Midwest United States. Missouri and New Mexico have declared a state of emergency. Tornadoes were reported in 10 states, including Michigan, which recorded its first-ever tornado in December. The deadliest storms were in Texas, where at least 11 people died when tornadoes hit areas near Dallas. Now a historic snowstorm is heading toward Dallas after causing blizzard-like conditions in New Mexico, Oklahoma and western Texas. Another 10 people died in tornadoes in Mississippi, six more in Tennessee. Flash floods also killed at least 13 people in Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas, where as much as nine inches of rain fell on some areas. A Birmingham, Alabama, resident described the destruction after a tornado touched down.

Loretta Scott: “I feel grateful. I’m just thankful to be alive. I’m just thankful to be alive. It was so horrible. It was like clawing at the roof, and the windows just broke through, and the rain was so thick, and it was just like—it was a nightmare. And when the people said take cover, if I had not moved one inch back into taking cover, the whole glass would have been on my bed where I was laying. It blew out the windows.”

Christmas Heat Shatters Records Across East Coast
December 28, 2015

Meanwhile, heat records were broken on Christmas Day across the East Coast from Maine to Florida. On Christmas Eve, the thermometer topped a record-breaking 70 degrees in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

More Than 100,000 Evacuated amid Floods in South America
December 28, 2015

Extreme weather also continues around the world. More than 100,000 people have had to evacuate their homes in areas of Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina amid severe flooding.
England: 500 Soldiers Sent to Address “Unprecedented” Flooding
December 28, 2015

UK F looding

British Prime Minister David Cameron has deployed 500 soldiers to address “unprecedented” flooding in northern England. Scores of flood warnings have been issued across England, Wales and Scotland. We’ll have more on the links between record-breaking heat, tornadoes and climate change after headlines with a leading climate scientist.

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2015: The Year the Environmental Movement Knocked Out Keystone XL | InsideClimate News

In 2011, Bill McKibben, one of the world’s most well-known climate activists, swept in to energize the Keystone XL fight with civil disobedience in front of the White House. After years of sustained activism, the pipeline was rejected in November 2015. Credit: John Duffy, flickr

Reeling from a string of defeats, environmental and climate activists seized on the tar sands pipeline to rediscover how to rally large numbers of people.

By Katherine Bagley, InsideClimate News Dec 28, 2015

This was the year that environmental groups won a seven-year battle against the Keystone XL pipeline, representing a major comeback for a movement that had lagged in influence and mass appeal for years. Defeating such a major project also marked the first time activists have been able to draw a line in the sand against an oil industry that had been seemingly immune to such campaigns.

Heading into 2016, it’s a movement enlarged and revitalized, one with new power in Washington, D.C. and the ability to mobilize thousands of people worldwide.

The nadir had come in 2010 with the death of cap-and-trade legislation that the mainstream movement had poured years of high-stakes Congressional bargaining into, as well as $229 million. That followed international climate treaty talks in Copenhagen that had unraveled spectacularly in 2009. At the same time, Americans’ acceptance of climate change nosedived, dropping from 72 percent in 2008 to 52 percent in 2010, according to a Brookings Institute poll.

“The environmental movement was in a dismal place following years of failed inside-the-beltway strategy,” said Bob Wilson, a geographer at Syracuse University who studies the modern environmental movement. “The fight against the Keystone XL pipeline revitalized the movement to an extent that we haven’t seen since the 1970s. It has been very difficult to organize around climate change because it is so abstract, so seemingly far in the future. Here was a concrete, solid thing to focus on, something to rally the grassroots around. It worked.”

But it did not happen easily or quickly. The ragged coalition that would eventually halt one of the biggest North American fossil energy projects to come along in decades had already been underway for two years. In 2007 and 2008, a collection of philanthropic foundations that champion environmental causes began funding grassroots and national groups to oppose expansion of the Alberta tar sands, the world’s third largest oil reserve stretching nearly 55,000 square miles. At the time, almost no one knew about the tar sands, let alone the project’s impacts on the environment or climate.

Enter the Keystone XL.

In 2008, TransCanada applied for a U.S. presidential permit to build a segment of pipeline that would connect Alberta’s landlocked oil with refineries in the Gulf of Mexico, and give tar sands access to world markets. On its path to Texas, Keystone XL also would cross the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies about 30 percent of the groundwater pumped for irrigation in the entire U.S. and the drinking water for nearly 2 million Americans. Anti-tar sands activists knew they had found their target.

(read more).

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Can Observed Weather Events Be Attributed to Climate Change? William Moomaw

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Exxon Sowed Doubt about Climate Science for Decades by Stressing Uncertainty | InsideClimate News

Collaborating with the Bush-Cheney White House, Exxon turned ordinary scientific uncertainties into weapons of mass confusion.

By David Hasemyer and John H. Cushman Jr. Oct 22, 2015

As he wrapped up nine years as the federal government’s chief scientist for global warming research, Michael MacCracken lashed out at ExxonMobil for opposing the advance of climate science.

His own great-grandfather, he told the Exxon board, had been John D. Rockefeller’s legal counsel a century earlier. “What I rather imagine he would say is that you are on the wrong side of history, and you need to find a way to change your position,” he wrote.

Addressed to chairman Lee Raymond on the letterhead of the United States Global Change Research Program, his September 2002 letter was not just forceful, but unusually personal.

No wonder: in the opening days of the oil-friendly Bush-Cheney administration, Exxon’s chief lobbyist had written the new head of the White House environmental council demanding that MacCracken be fired for “political and scientific bias.”

Exxon was also attacking other officials in the U.S. government and at the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), MacCracken wrote, interfering with their work behind the scenes and distorting it in public.

Exxon wanted scientists who disputed the mainstream science on climate change to oversee Washington’s work with the IPCC, the authoritative body that defines the scientific consensus on global warming, documents written by an Exxon lobbyist and one of its scientists show. The company persuaded the White House to block the reappointment of the IPCC chairman, a World Bank scientist. Exxon’s top climate researcher, Brian Flannery, was pushing the White House for a wholesale revision of federal climate science. The company wanted a new strategy to focus on the uncertainties.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
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