A Blessed Thaw
Australia is baking, California facing the worst drought in well over a century - while we brave a steady artillery shelling of cold-bombs, courtesy of Canada.
I'm sure a few climate skeptics had a chuckle when snow fell on a well attended Climate Summit at St. Olaf in Northfield on Saturday. Snow falling in winter no more invalidates climate trends than birds invalidate the theory of gravity.
Or as one patient PhD climate scientist explained, "Paul, if it gets to the point where it doesn't snow anymore in Minnesota - we're going to have much bigger problems". Welcome to Venus!
The first 17 days of January are running about 6F colder than average, which will make today's high in the mid-30s feel like a (bad) Carnival cruise.
Cold waves never come in one shot, but rather in "waves". The first shot arrives by Tuesday, a reinforcing slap Thursday, with the coldest surge coming Sunday, when highs may hold just below 0F. Not the school-closing cold of January 6-7, but cold enough to get your full attention. Clippers brush us with more candy-coatings of snow late Friday, again Monday.
GFS data hints at low 40s for the (outdoor) Super Bowl in New Jersey February 5. What can possibly go wrong?
Photo credit above: "Gov. Jerry Brown points to images showing the snow depth in the Sierra mountains on Jan. 13, 2013, left, and Jan. 13, 2014, center, while declaring a drought state of emergency in San Francisco, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. With a record-dry year, reservoir levels under strain and no rain in the forecast, California Gov. Jerry Brown formally proclaimed the state in a drought Friday, confirming what many already knew. Brown made the announcement in San Francisco amid increasing pressure in recent weeks from the state's lawmakers, including Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein." (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
1. Urban water agencies will (and are beginning to) roll out a wide range of voluntary and mandatory water “conservation” programs. These typically ask customers to limit discretionary water uses such as watering gardens and washing cars and sidewalks. As droughts worsen, agencies expand these programs to offer incentives for both structural and behavioral changes: purchase more water-efficient appliances, remove grass and plant water-efficient gardens, cut shower times, and more. In the past, these kinds of programs and educational efforts have temporarily cut urban water use by between 10 and 25% depending on the programs and level of effort.
2. Some farmers and water districts with “junior” water rights will see water allocations from state and federal irrigation projects severely cut; some growers with “senior” water rights will see modest or even no shortages at all..."
Graphic credit: Weather Underground, data source: Aon Benfield.
Armed Forces See Rise In Renewable Energy. To appease Al Gore? Probably not. To save money, build in redundancy and resiliency, and become less dependend on oil supply lines. Probably because it makes dollars and sense and lowers the risk to our troops deployed in the field, worldwide. Here's an excerpt from The Los Angeles Times: "The use of clean energy technology has seen a sharp rise in military sites in the U.S., as the armed forces push into green sources of power around the country, a report said. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. have looked for ways to reduce its energy bills in recent years even as the Pentagon's budget is squeezed. Combined, the U.S. military goes through $4 billion worth of power on its bases, according to a report from Pew Charitable Trusts. The armed forces have moved to quickly adopt green energy solutions, the report said..."
Image credit above: "The armed forces are increasing their use of renewable-energy projects to cut down on power bills." (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times / February 27, 2009).
- “If you could throw a parade of any caliber through the Zappos office, what type of parade would it be?” --The Zappos Family, Customer Loyalty Team Member interview.
- “How lucky are you and why?” --Airbnb, Content Manager interview.
- “If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?” --Apple, Specialist interview.
- “If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?” --Red Frog Events, Event Coordinator interview...."
"Neglected Topic" Winner: Climate Change. The New York Time's Nicholas Kristof has the column; here's the intro: "HERE’S a scary fact about America: We’re much more likely to believe that there are signs that aliens have visited Earth (77 percent) than that humans are causing climate change (44 percent). That comes to mind because a couple of weeks ago, I asked readers for suggestions of “neglected topics” that we in the news business should cover more aggressively in 2014. Some 1,300 readers recommended a broad range of issues, which I look forward to pilfering (with credit!) — and many made a particularly compelling case for climate change..."
Did You Hear The One About The Serious Environmentalist? Huffington Post has the Op-Ed; here's an excerpt: "Environmentalists don't get the joke. The situation is too dire -- extreme weather from a changing climate, toxins in our food, endangered species dying off -- for this to be a laughing matter. At least, that's our reputation: Serious, earnest, humorless. The reputation is partly deserved. Most environmental activists take their work very seriously. We see huge problems facing our world, and know that human lives are at stake. Take a look at this new study from the National Academy of Science, about the abrupt impacts of climate change, and you'll know why. When you focus on issues that are so serious, it's easy to slip into taking yourself too seriously..."
Image credit above: "The increase in climate science disbelief. Yale and George Mason University teams on Climate Change Communication.
Belief In Climate Change Depends On The Weather. At least among Independent voters. The Week has the story; here's a clip: "Conservative organizations spend as much as a billion dollars a year trying to convince Americans that climate change isn’t real, or if it is real, that it isn’t caused by humans. At one point, it seemed that their campaign was working. In 2009, Pew found that belief in global warming had fallen to a low of 59 percent, down from 77 percent in 2007. And just 36 percent of those surveyed that year believed that climate change was being caused by humans, down from 47 percent in 2007. However since 2009, the number of believers has grown: Today 69 percent of those surveyed believe global warming is occurring, with 42 percent believing it is caused by humans..."
Photo credit above: Wikipedia.
"That is a very striking number and one I think that should be ringing alarm bells. It indicates to me that something has fundamentally changed in the economics of the oil industry and that you're having to invest more and more for diminishing incremental production."