The Watering Hole,Tuesday April 12, 2016 – Environmental News and Food Politics

Six to 10 million years ago: Ice-free summers at the North Pole

Finally, Republicans can tout real science that global warming is not a man-made event. It happened before millions of years ago.

See, it happened before, when man was not around in sufficient numbers to eff things up.

Open thread.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 31, 2013: The Naked Greenland

Just when you thought you knew what your planet looked like, along comes a surprise – there’s another canyon on our planet that rivals our own Grand Canyon. It’s in Greenland, and it was discovered by scientists using ice-penetrating radar and decades of data.

The canyon has the characteristics of a winding river channel and is at least 460 miles (750 kilometers) long, making it longer than the Grand Canyon. In some places, it is as deep as 2,600 feet (800 meters), on scale with segments of the Grand Canyon. This immense feature is thought to predate the ice sheet that has covered Greenland for the last few million years.

The scientists used thousands of miles of airborne radar data, collected by NASA and researchers from the United Kingdom and Germany over several decades, to piece together the landscape lying beneath the Greenland ice sheet.

As beautiful as I’m sure it looks, my fear is that we’ll be able to see what the canyon looks like, with the naked eye, in our lifetimes. Well, not the people living on the Eastern coast.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss canyons are any other topic you wish. And if you’re currently enjoying a three-day holiday weekend, you can thank Unions for that.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 17, 2013: Your Coriolis Is Showing

It occurred to me that the reason we get storms in the East and droughts in the West is because we have the Atlantic Ocean “sloshing” up against our shores, bringing more hurricanes and precipitation to our side of the country, while the West doesn’t have an ocean of water sloshing upon it. Likewise, the Pacific Ocean brings typhoons to the Eastern shores of Asia, while Europe gets droughts because there isn’t as much water coming its way. Okay, so I’m not the first one to notice that.

The oceans are absorbing more carbon dioxide because of the fossil fuels we burn. Carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere, which reflects heat back toward the Earth. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means more carbon dioxide falling in to the oceans. Which means the oceans are warmer. Warmer oceans give more energy to the storms that are produced. (There aren’t necessarily more storms being produced, but the storms that are being produced are stronger.) And we get, every once in a while, a Hurricane Katrina or a Superstorm Sandy. Except we’re no longer getting them “every once in a while,” we’re getting them all the time. How many times have you heard we were getting “the Storm of the Century”? How many centuries have you been alive?

This got me thinking about the Coriolis Effect. Here’s an interesting short explanation of it and how it affects the weather. Enjoy.

This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss the Coriolis Effect, the Dunning-Kruger Effect, or any other Effect you wish.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, May 1, 2013: New Study Condemns Solar Power

A startling new study released this past weekend went largly unnoticed, overshadowed, as it were, by Sarah Palin’s attack on the White House Correspondence Dinner.

The study takes aim at the neophyte Solar Energy Industry, just as it struggles to gain a toe-hold in producing clean, renewable power in a market dominated by nuclear and natural gas interests.

“It is indisputable” the study began, “that solar energy is the chief contributor to global warming.” The study continued:

Solar energy is by far the leading cause of rising tempertures around the globe, outpacing methane produced by cows, green house gasses produced by industry and natural gas from fracking combined.

The study, funded by Haliburton, ExxonMobile and British Petroleum boasted an impressive amount of statistical data. The study compared average daytime tempertures with average night time tempertures, adjusting for seasonal changes. Solar energy is directly correlated with higher tempertures all around the globe, the study concluded.

Republicans immediately seized upon the study as proof that Solar Power is harming the planet. “We can no longer afford to wait. The sun must set now on the Solar Industry.” One prominent politician pontificated. “I am presenting a bill tomorrow in the Senate that will ban the use of Solar Energy in the United States.”

When asked how he would implement his ban, given the vast amount of solar energy impacting the country on a daily basis, he replied, “Our international trade relations is already working on that. Even as I speak, we’re negotiating for the importation of over a billion parasols from China.”


Climate Change and Global Bankruptcy

I am reading a book right now by a nuclear engineer from Australia (Ron Nielsen) titled The Little Green Handbook published in 2005 before Katrina. I had of course a jaundiced eye but in one of the chapters he eschews nuclear as having considerable little value in future energy solutions and dislikes the massive nuclear waste by-product (people can reform, you know). In any event, he posits that if the world continues on the most likely track of ‘business as usual’ we are poised to experience by 2039 global bankruptcy. The assumption is that business and governments cannot continue to absorb the costly superstorms that will be spawned by the climate change phenomenon. Sandy damage predictions (on the heels of Irene in the Mid Atlantic and New England last year) seem to bear out these predictions. If you recall, there were devastating floods in Europe 2 years ago and 10 foot snows in Romania last winter and you have the case by case evidence that keeps building towards irreversible global collapse of the infrastructure of civilization. Not a pretty picture if we don’t do something soon. Not finished the book yet, but he appears high on wind power as the most reliable alternative to reduce carbon emissions.

Link to Sandy damage estimates:

Watering Hole: Monday, January 9th, 2012 – The Coming Ice Age

There is an Atlantic chill coming to the east coast of the United States and to western Europe.  According to an article in the Sierra Club magazine, climate scientists are tacking

…a widening pool of freshwater in the Arctic Ocean that’s already more than twice the size of Africa’s Lake Victoria.  Fed by melting permafrost, shrinking glaciers, and Siberian downpours, the freshwater is expected to flush from the Arctic into the Atlantic.

When it gets there, it could slow or even stop the Gulf Stream, the great oceanic conveyor belt that brings tropical waters, and temperate weather, to northern latitudes. Normally, these waters—cooled by winds and made increasingly dense and salty by evaporation and ice formation—plunge below lighter, less-saline water near Greenland, powering the cycle.

But according to Laura de Steur of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, 1,800 cubic miles of meltwater pooling in the Arctic could throw the brakes on that system, rapidly ratcheting down temperatures in a way that we haven’t experienced since the last ice age, 13,000 years ago.

The change in the Atlantic Ocean’s salinity will have a chilling effect on the east coast and in countries on the western side of Europe. The last time that the Gulf Stream slowed and moved further south, it took 1,300 years for it to pick up speed and move north.

This is our Open Thread.  Are you ready for the big chill?  What else do you want to discuss?  Speak Up!

It’s About Time: EPA Finds Global Warming Is Dangerous


Even with all the evidence out there at our fingertips to find; there are still many people who do not believe.  This particular post is an example:

Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create an illusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the “research” to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going.

I guess no amount of scientific data will ever be enough for some folks. Better late than never though, the EPA has admitted global warming is unsafe. Greenpeace has issued a press release about the change of heart at the EPA.

“EPA’s endangerment finding is a welcome sign that the Obama Administration is ready, willing and-more importantly-able to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act if Congress fails to act.

“But today’s announcement is also a testament to the success of industry in delaying real action to stop climate change. It took eleven states, ten years, two IPCC reports, two changes of presidency and one Supreme Court decision to reach the obvious conclusion that global warming endangers human health and welfare and EPA has a duty to do something about it.

Continue reading

Senator Conrad Rejects Obama’s Plan to Cut Millionaire’s Subsidy

Obama’s budget plan is partially hinged on Global Warming Protection which is being undermined by Big Agri as usual.  To say I’m extremely disappointed in Senator Conrad’s  (D-ND) decision is an understatement, and this is why.

Senate Budget committee chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) announced yesterday he would reject President Obama’s plan to cut billions in crop subsidy payments that flow mostly to large profitable farm operations and wealthy landowners.

This is part of Obama’s plan calls for a three-year phase-out of direct payments to grain, cotton, and soybean growers who have more than $500,000 a year in sales.  Needless to say, the National Farmers Union opposes this.

Delegates at the NFU convention in suburban Washington adopted language opposing any change in the 2008 farm law, still being implemented, and asking Congress to oppose cuts in direct payments.

Created in 2002, direct payments total $5.2 billion a year and are made regardless of prices. There are 126,000 farms in the category.

Conrad’s solution is to cut back on programs that would be beneficial to the environment.

Instead, according to a March 24 report by Charles Abbott of Reuters news service, Conrad said he would slash several other programs, among them, two conservation programs that are critical to winning the fight against global warming.

The conservation programs on Conrad’s chopping block help farmers reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and also engage in practices that take carbon out of the air and store it in the soil. Moreover, these programs help farmers protect their land and the environment from the more frequent floods, droughts, and severe weather blamed on global warming.

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Global Warming Melts Frosty the Snowman

Climate change policy will be on the agenda for the 111th Congress when it reconvenes in January 2009.  Global warming will be “front and center” according to Senator John Kerry who will lead the Senate delegation to the United Nations climate talks scheduled to occur in Poznam, Poland in 2009.

Climate change policy will get a boost next year from the fact that some of the most senior members of the Obama administration have focused on the issue during their careers, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) told reporters today.

Kerry, who will chair the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next Congress, said he expected Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Sen. Hillary Clinton — who is expected to be named secretary of state — will both use their new roles to promote a global pact curbing greenhouse gases.

“Both will be exceedingly helpful and important in this effort,” Kerry said during the telephone news conference.

From:  Voices Washington Post

Let’s do what we can do to slow down global warming and save Frosty the Snowman along with the polar bears and other creatures both large and small that depend on a colder climate to survive.  And let us not forget about the vegetation that needs cold temperatures in order for their seeds to germinate.

Interactive Map of Global Warning Signs.

From The Union of Concerned Scientists.