Climate Crisis Town Hall | 4 Sep 2019

A seven hour program about Climate was presented by CNN on 4 Sep 2019. Each of 10 Democratic presidential candidates was given 40 minutes to present their plans for addressing climate change and to answer questions from moderators and the audience. Finally there was substantive discussion on this topic in primetime TV hours.

Vox reporters watched it all and compared the policies and ideas proposed by the candidates. They published a story on 5 Sep giving 6 winners and 3 losers in the town hall. Their overall winner was Washington Gov. Jay Inslee who wasn’t even in the program that night. He dropped out in August. But, he has put out over 200 pages of policy very detailed and ambitious. The other candidates have been paying attention to him. Quoting Vox:

Inslee sat down with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in Seattle last week as she was crafting her climate plan. He chatted with former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sens. Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, and Amy Klobuchar. Former housing secretary Julián Castro has been “looking for me,” Inslee told Vox Wednesday, but they haven’t been able to connect yet.

Other winners were the audience questioners and CNN for hosting.

Click this image or this link to read the Vox story about all the winners and losers.

Edward M. PioRoda | CNN

Carbon Dioxide | Record Level Again

Marit Jentoft-Nilsen and Robert Simmon

Atmospheric carbon dioxide has been monitored since 1958 at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory in Hawaii. Values cycle up and down due to the amount of green vegetation available to convert CO2 to O2 by photosynthesis. Plants of the northern hemisphere reach maturity in June-August and reduce the level of CO2 from the previous month. Decomposition and respiration returns carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in the fall and winter. This is known as the fast carbon cycle. The carbon cycle of earth is discussed fully here.

The mean value of CO2 for May 2019 set the highest level in 61 yrs. This chart shows the monthly values plotted for the recent 5 years.

The full record for the Mauna Loa Observatory clearly shows the seasonal and long-term trends. The long-term rate is increasing evidenced by the greater steepness of the plot. More charts and analysis are available at this link.

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Climate Change | Yale Opinion Study

Opinions of people in the United States about climate change range widely. Yale and George Mason Universities surveyed >22,000 people between 2008 and 2018 for the Climate Change in the American Mind project. The survey reveals a lot about beliefs, perceptions, support, and behavior across the country. You can compare your opinions with others in your state, congressional district, metro area, and county.

Funding for the study was provided by the Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Energy Foundation, the 11th Hour Project, the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, the MacArthur Foundation, the Overlook Foundation and the Endeavor Foundation.

Sample Findings

70% of the respondents agree global warming is happening

49% agree that most scientists think it is happening

70% believe it will harm future generations

41% say it is now harming them personally

79% think schools should teach about climate change

70% say environmental protection is more important than economic growth

Interactive Map

The study presents the data in an interactive map of the U.S. Continue reading below where you will find a video tutorial I made showing how to easily use the interactive features of the map. If you prefer to explore on your own, click the map image below to go directly to the study.

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Electricity | How States Make It

How is electricity generated where you live? That question was addressed in a New York Times story by Nadja Popovich on 24 Dec 2018. Electricity is made from several energy sources including coal, natural gas, petroleum, nuclear, water flow, wind, solar, and biomass. The mixture of sources for each state is quite different and depends on the availability and cost of resources for that state.

The article looked at the range of time from 2001 to 2017. The mixture of energy sources has varied over time for each state and for the United States as a whole. Here we see the sources charted for the United States. Note the increase trend of natural gas and the decrease of coal. Nuclear and hydroelectric have remained constant. Wind grew to 6%. Solar in yellow is barely visible in the lower right. Click image for detail.

New York Times | Nadja Popovich and Josh Williams | 24 Dec 2018

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Polar Sea Ice | Variations | Trends

A story on 16 Dec 2016 from the NASA Earth Observatory site said the Antarctic and Arctic sea ice amounts for November 2016 were both at record lows for that month. The Arctic is in the process of refreezing the surface sea ice as it goes into the winter months. The Antarctic is in the process of melting the sea ice as it goes into the summer months. A chart from the story shows the total amount of sea ice north and south from 1 Jan 1979 to 14 Dec 2016. There has been gradual decline in the total. For 2016, the total is significantly less for the last months of the year. An animated version of this chart is in the linked article.

polarseaice

National Snow and Ice Data Center | https://nsidc.org/

Sea ice forms from water already in the oceans. Changes to the total does not alter sea level. Melting of land based ice drains into the oceans and does raise sea level. The decrease in total sea ice is due to shifting winds and warmer temperatures of the water. The underlying reasons and prognosis for future effects is an area of intense scientific study.

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