At the last minute for an El Nino this year, a Kelvin wave rises from the data:
And he puts the language of the report itself front and center:
"Throughout the 21st century, climate change impacts will slow down economic growth and poverty reduction, further erode food security and trigger new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger," the report says. "Climate change will exacerbate poverty in low- and lower-middle income countries and create new poverty pockets in upper-middle to high-income countries with increasing inequality."
The warnings pull no punches:
The report says scientists have high confidence especially in what it calls certain "key risks":
—People dying from warming- and sea rise-related flooding, especially in big cities.
—Famine because of temperature and rain changes, especially for poorer nations.
—Farmers going broke because of lack of water.
—Infrastructure failures because of extreme weather.
—Dangerous and deadly heat waves worsening.
—Certain land and marine ecosystems failing.
Reminds me of a tweet today, that actually comes to us from deep in the past:
...there is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men.— Moby Dick (@MobyDickatSea) August 28, 2014
This is my 3000th post on this blog, and to commemorate the occasion and thank readers for their interest, I'd like to give away some top-notch Page tangerines, air dried by yours truly, which IMHO are the best trail treats ever. Better even than chocolate, beause a) they don't melt, b) they're lighter, and c) with luck in drying, they shatter delightfully like light candy in the mouth. These have no perservatives, no added sugar, nothing but tangerines, with can be consumed whole. Here's a pic:
If you don't know me by now, this is a sincere no strings attached offer -- I won't use or sell or give away or in any way take advantage if you send me your name and address. Heck, I'll take a risk by putting down my actual email address: email@example.com, to show that.
My one ulterior motivation is to see if others like these tangerines as much as I do -- if so, I may try to sell them next year when the Page tangerine season comes around again. Let me say that these are way way better than the flat dusty version Trader Joe's sells.
Please write me for some free tangerine candy! You'll like it I bet.
Last week, in his un-ostentacious but no bullshit way, Nicholas Kristof of the NYTimes wrote a great column on the joys of being on the PCT. I'm not going to quote it, because it's hard to know which bit to choose, but encourage you all to take a look.
Today, in a similar vein, but in a more beautiful and more poetic style, Katie Lei, a thru-hiker of a year ago, publishes on her marvelous Doodles page, a beautiful poem/drawing called This Feeling.
Lei writes about being in the wilderness at the beginning of her adulthood, and about looking back on "this feeling" from the future. Reminiscent of another young poet, at the beginning of his career:
As Judith Lewis Mernit wrote for a blog with High Country News:
The weather of Venice Beach, California, where I live, is for the most part stable, and almost always predictable. No sudden squalls appear out of the southwest to chase skateboarders off their concrete ramps; never do we hear the civil-defense sirens warning of an approaching tornado. Living here, swimming and surfing at the beach a few blocks from my house, I have considered many threats: sharks, staph infections, rogue rip tides. Lightning was never on the list.
I didn't go to the beach on Sunday morning, July 27. Crowds generally clog up the swells on weekends, so I escaped to the mountains in Ventura County. When I left, the weather in Venice was gloomy with a mild drizzle — not an unusual syndrome for the Southern California coast — but by the time I hiked and returned to the car at around 3 pm, it had evidently taken a dramatic turn. When I flipped on the radio for the traffic report, I heard that just a half an hour earlier, a bolt of lightning had struck the water near Venice Pier, and 13 people had been injured. Two were found face down in the water.
She -- like yours truly, the Los Angeles Times, and no doubt many others -- were wondering: Could climate change be responsible?
Well, it's within the range of possibility. Climate models have brought it up. A study from 2013, led by David Pierce of Scripps, ran sixteen different general circulation models and found increasing monsoonal moisture in SoCal:
Winters show modestly wetter conditions in the North of
the state [CA], while spring and autumn show less precipitation.
The dynamical downscaling techniques project increasing
precipitation in the Southeastern part of the state, which is
influenced by the North American monsoon.
But Pierce will be the first to tell you that a) this is a projection fifty years into the future, and b) it's impossible to ascribe any weather event to a change in climate. It's like attributing a single car crash to ten years of traffic congestion. Statistically not possible.
Still, there is data to show an increase in monsoonal precipitation. Not only do we have these bizarre weather thunder and lighting storms at places like Santa Catalina Island and Venice beach, but we have a strong upsurge in monsoonal moisture this year. Keep in mind that these clouds, with their potential for thunder and lighting, come from the south, the Sea of Cortez, and rotate counter-clockwise across the Southwest, roughly speaking the reverse of the winter weather pattern we're accustomed to.
Here's the monsoonal precipitation over Albuquerque this year: the highest in over 100 years [green line].
From John Fleck, a weather and climate reporter in Albuquerque. And here, from Daniel Swain's interesting Weather West site/feed, an image of the monsoonal surge a week [precipitable water anomalies, in green] a week before the storms that brought death to Venice beach.
It's too soon to connect the dots to climate -- but not too soon to take cover.
So hard to keep up with even of a fraction of what is going on! But here for once is some maybe-semi-kind-of good news from the world of science and the environment.
Research published this june has shown that over a period of fifteen years whales traveling with the California current along the coast have been killed at a steady rate by cargo shipping in the Santa Barbara Channel.
I know that doesn't sound like great news, but wait! There's more. From Oregon State University:
NEWPORT, Ore. -- A comprehensive 15-year analysis of the movements of satellite-tagged blue whales off the West Coast of the United States found that their favored feeding areas are bisected by heavily used shipping lanes, increasing the threat of injury and mortality.
Just this week a fin whale floated dead into the harbor area near Pt. Hueneme. Killed by a marine form of blunt trauma. A ship strike?
At the same time, researchers have proposed plans they believe would markedly reduce the death rate.
The researchers note that moving the shipping lanes off Los Angeles and San Francisco to slightly different areas – at least, during summer and fall when blue whales are most abundant – could significantly decrease the probability of ships striking the whales. A similar relocation of shipping lanes in the Bay of Fundy off eastern Canada lowered the likelihood of vessels striking endangered right whales an estimated 80 percent.
Well that sounds like a good idea. But today from Cheri Carlson at the VC Star news comes of a pilot program, funded by a foundation, working with the shipping industry, to bribe, er, incentivize firms to reduce speeds with payments of $2500 per passage.
It's a different way to accomplish the same goal -- to reduce the number of shipping-related fatalies, which could be as high as thirty whales a year, the experts say.
So -- a plan to reduce the number of fatalies, without costing the taxpayer anything?
Ships moving through the Santa Barbara Channel will slow down over the next few months as part of a trial program to help reduce air pollution and protect whales.
Shipping companies can receive a small financial incentive for reducing shipping speeds to 12 knots or less, in the trial modeled after similar programs at Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and the Environmental Defense Center have worked together to develop a program for this area.
"It's wonderful," said Dave Van Mullem, director of the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District. "We have ships out there right now that are in the channel that are participating in this program."
The groups were able to launch the pilot program with a $20,000 grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation, and a matching grant from the air pollution control board.
But without interest from the shipping industry, the pilot program would have stalled.
Officials, however, got more interest than they could initially fund and are now seeking money to expand the trial.
Selected ships will reduce their speed between Point Conception and the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Companies will receive $2,500 per vessel that passes through the channel at the reduced speed, which is monitored with transmitters along the coast.
Along with reducing air pollution, slowing down reduces the likelihood that a whale involved in a collision will be killed, officials said. Several species of whales, including those considered endangered, can be found in the area.
Additional note: Tyler Hayden in the Santa Barbara Independent fills in some details today:
A few months ago the rapturous reporting of a new study on saturated fat caught my eye. Sounded too good to be true, and, well, long story short, that's exactly what it turned out to be.
Here's the opening, from the USC Annenberg/California Endowment's Reporting on Health site:
Time to jump on the bandwagon of saturated fat?
Read the headlines about diet this year and you could easily think, "Why not?"
"Butter is back" said the New York Times in a headline on Mark Bittman's March 28 column. In his opening, Bittman sounded joyful, almost giddy, at the prospect of eating unlimited amounts of saturated animal fats:
Julia Child, goddess of fat, is beaming somewhere. Butter is back, and when you’re looking for a few chunks of pork for a stew, you can resume searching for the best pieces — the ones with the most fat. Eventually, your friends will stop glaring at you as if you’re trying to kill them.
"Butter is bad — a myth," declared Joanna Blythman, of The Guardian.
This surprising development in dietary medicine made headlines around the world. Almost unnoticed in the aftermath was the strong pushback from the international research community.
Perhaps the pushback didn't make headlines because it wasn't what lovers of cheese, meat and butter wanted to hear.
The interesting thnig about reporting this piece is how surprisingly willing leading experts were to actually talk. I queried one leading researcher in Cambridge, expecting if lucky he might respond to an email, but he asked to talk on the phone. For which I remain grateful.
Perhaps health issues bring out the good in people. Even if sometimes misreported.
Note: I think it's fair to point out that this story on the Reporting on Health site turned out to be unexpectedly popular -- seems to have hit a nerve. Always great to hear people are listening.
From Late Thoughts, a chapter towards the end of Jung's classic memoir Memories, Dreams, Reflections.
I falter before the task of finding the language that might adequately express the incalculable paradoxes of love. Eros is a kosmogonos, a creator and father-mother of all higher paradoxes of all higher consciousness. I sometimes feel that Paul's words -- "Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not love" -- might well be the first condition of all cognition and the quintessence of divinity itself. Whatever the learned interpretation may be of the sentence "God is love," the words affirm the complexio oppositorum of the Godhead.
In my medical experience as well as in my own life I have again and again been faced with the mystery of love, and have never been able to explain what it is. Like Job, I have had to "lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer."
You have to like the genuine humility, the not knowing, though I do wonder how in that state he couild help his love-stricken patients find their way through the mystery and the bewilderment of love.
[image from the irreplaceable David Levine of the 1965 NYRB: available here]
Reminds me of an apparently very famous quote from the 20th century philosopher Wittgenstein, of the same era and similar background, who described his first great book about knowing and the metaphysical by saying in conversation, as described in a recent NYTimes review:
What can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about, we must pass over in silence.
"Thus the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein summarized his first, notoriously difficult book,’Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.” Wittgenstein’s declaration is usually taken to mean that talk about anything metaphysical — God or gods, supernatural phenomena, mystical experience — collapses into nonsense under scrutiny."
For Jung, it's easier to talk about God and the unconscious than love and sex. For Wittgenstein, it's easier to talk about talking about God than either God or the unconscious or love and sex.
Jung has no difficulty admitting he cannot talk about love -- for reasons professional and personal. Is this admirable, or a bit of an evasion I wonder?
One question regarding this news from last week (reported in the LA Times):
A little more than a month after filing documents to spin off its California operations, Occidental Petroleum Corp. has named the leadership team for its proposed subsidiary.
The longtime Los Angeles company announced in February that it was moving its headquarters to Houston and would spin off its California operations and assets into a separate publicly traded company. In early June, the new subsidiary filed documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with the name California Resources Corp.
Occidental Petroleum appointed Todd A. Stevens president and chief executive of California Resources, the parent company announced Thursday. Stevens, who has served as vice president of corporate development at Occidental since August 2012, is a 19-year veteran of the company.
Why? Why why why?
Expect to look into this soon. Note that it's common for big firms to spin off divisions considered to be a drag on the price of their stock, as Time Warner did not so long ago with its print division Time Inc.
Here's a story from an interesting blog on the Utica Shale, a story on five facts about fracking that you may not know -- and a chart. Veteran environmental reporter Bob Downing of the Akron Journal maintains this blog,and said that it gives 10-15k hits a week -- impressive.
For those of us on the Left Coast, think these two may be the most relevant of these facts about fracking from this particular story:
"It makes your ice cream more expensive.
One component of the small percentage of fracking fluid that is not sand or water is guar gum. This natural product of the seeds of the guar plant is also used to improve the texture of ice cream. A chart of guar gum prices since 2000 looks like this:
Ice cream and other foods that utilize the product have seen significant increases in cost. For those of us with a sweet tooth, this alone may be reason enough to be wary of any more rapid expansion of fracking.
The biggest environmental threat could be from the amount of water used, not chemical contamination.
If the benign nature of guar gum and the small percentage of chemicals used in fracking fluid has you believing that the environmental concerns have been massively exaggerated, think again. Fracking just one well uses somewhere in the region of 3 to 8 million gallons of water. Using 2011 data, this article by Jesse Jenkins calculates that to mean that the amount of freshwater consumed by all the shale wells in the U.S. was about 0.3 percent of total U.S. freshwater consumption. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but in a world where water scarcity is becoming more of an issue it has to be considered as fracking use spreads."
Okay then! Wouldn't it be interesting to know exactly how much more ice cream costs? There's a story we haven't seen. A little gimmicky, but would be interesting to know.
On the slightly more important water question, talked to a professor at Carneige Mellon briefly about water, and she said that frack jobs can use brackish water -- but 3-8 million gallons per job? Is that true in California? Holy cow.
[From those wild-haired radicals at OilPrice.com.]