Arctic currents heating up.

A North Atlantic current flowing into the Arctic Ocean is warmer than for at least 2,000 years in a sign that global warming is likely to bring ice-free seas around the North Pole in summers, a study showed.

Scientists said that waters at the northern end of the Gulf Stream, between Greenland and the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, averaged 6 degrees Celsius (42.80F) in recent summers, warmer than at natural peaks during Roman or Medieval times.

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“The temperature is unprecedented in the past 2,000 years,” lead author Robert Spielhagen of the Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Literature in Mainz, Germany, told Reuters of the study in Friday’s edition of the journal Science.

The summer water temperatures, reconstructed from the makeup of tiny organisms buried in sediments in the Fram strait, have risen from an average 5.2 degrees Celsius (41.36F) from 1890-2007 and about 3.4C (38.12F) in the previous 1,900 years.

The findings were a new sign that human activities were stoking modern warming since temperatures are above past warm periods linked to swings in the sun’s output that enabled, for instance, the Vikings to farm in Greenland in Medieval times.

“We found that modern Fram Strait water temperatures are well outside the natural bounds,” Thomas Marchitto, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, one of the authors, said in a statement.

The Fram strait is the main carrier of ocean heat to the Arctic.

Graphic credit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2004/0415gyre.html

Article continues: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/28/us-climate-arctic-idUSTRE70P6TE20110128

melting-ice1

Obama sets goal of 1 million electric cars, too. Yaa hoo.

in his State of the Union speech.
Of coures, there are always nay sayers. Thus, this LTE.
Editor:
Charles Lane (Washington Post, 1.28.2011, A21, “Cold Truths on electric avenue”) takes electric cars to task not based on the merits, but because he sees it as another opportunity to bash Obama. Does he forget that President Bush also promoted electric cars? Lane scoffs at Obama’s goal of one million electric vehicles by 2015, saying we would have to sell a quarter of a million every year. No can do, says Lane. We already have a quarter of a million hybrids on the road. And we buy over 10 million cars each year. What is a measly quarter of a million? 2% of purchases each year? Is that so hard? Lane prefers a gas tax and higher miles per gallon standards. Then he should like Obama, because the President is already mandating higher mpg. I prefer a gasoline tax, too, but good luck getting that passed.

Lane says he doesn’t know why anyone would buy an electric car. How about patriotism to start with? A sizeable hunk of our gas money fuels Saudi Arabian madrassa schools where Hate/Kill America is a required course for all their Arab youth. What a jolly legacy that leaves for my daughters. Al Queda gets much of their funding from this same gas money. Is cheap gas worth the blood of Americans? No, so that is why we need electric cars fueled by American electrical energy, like solar, wind, hydro, natural gas and yes, maybe even nuclear and coal.

Spending less overseas and keeping the money in American hands is also good for our trade deficit, even if Lane doesn’t care about our soldiers or the next 9/11 victims.
Much of our national debt is caused by the large expenditures for our military. Reduce our addiction to oil and our military budget and we can balance the budget and reduce taxes.
Does Lane care about saving personal money? No tune ups or oil changes or muffler repairs in my electric vehicle. Electric fuel costs the equivalent of 75 cents per gallon, one quarter of the cost of gasoline now, and probably less as gas prices continue to rise. Money in my pocket.
Then there is the pollution. Urban smog and greenhouse gases, all are reduced by my electric vehicle, powered by solar panels or wind turbines.

Electric vehicles will break down in cold weather, he adds. And the gas cars don’t? Ever heard of freezing gas lines? Or gas cars that won’t crank over in the morning? That never happens in an electric vehicle. Just like my electric drill, my EV starts every time, even in freezing weather. What about those batteries getting cold and performance suffering? Ever heard of insulation? Put the batteries in a styrofoam beer case, and you get toasty batteries.
What happens when the electricity gets cut off in a storm, asks Lane? No charging for those EV batteries. Yes, and no electric power to run the gas pumps either. Unless you drive around the block and find another gas station that is open where you can fuel up your gasoline car. Or drive to your neighbor’s house where they haven’t lost power and charge up your EV and your cell phone.

If there is a problem, there is a technical solution. Lane just wants to be a whiner and a nay sayer.

President sets clean energy target. Wish us all luck.

Obama sets 2035 clean electricity target

Obama links budget to environment
March 23, 2009 10:42 AM
President Barack Obama set a target for power plants to produce mostly clean electricity by 2035 — including power from sources like clean coal and natural gas — in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Obama also called for investment in clean technologies and urged Congress to eliminate billions of dollars in subsidies for oil companies.

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own,” Obama said about oil company profits. “So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.”

Such a move, which Obama has repeatedly urged since taking office in 2009, would hit U.S. operations of oil majors such as Exxon Mobil, British Petroleum and ConocoPhillips. In last year’s budget Obama had called for an end to nearly $40 billion in subsidies for oil, gas and coal companies, a proposal that failed.

But while he took aim again at oil companies, Obama sought a centrist message on an issue that has sharply divided Washington, saying nuclear power and two fossil fuels, clean coal and natural gas, would be needed to meet a goal of 80 percent clean energy in less than 25 years.

“Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas,” Obama said. “To meet this goal, we will need them all and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.”

After a comprehensive energy bill that included a cap and trade market on carbon emissions failed in the Senate, Obama said last year that climate change policy would have to be achieved in smaller chunks.

Josh Freed, the director of the clean energy program at the nonpartisan think tank Third Way, said Obama’s inclusion of nuclear power and natural gas in his targets for clean energy could attract the necessary votes in Congress.

“There’s a large faction of Republicans and some Democrats who don’t believe we can make the transition to clean energy without including nuclear power,” he said.

Article continues: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70O50V20110126

bikes-are-cool

Some glaciers are advancing, but OVERALL Himalays glaciers are decreasing

Climate sceptics may be quick to, “Well, some are melting and some are growing” implying that it all averages out. Well, it doesn’t average out equally. The overall trend is bad news for India and China re: water supplies.
While some Himalayan glaciers retreat, others are growing
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September 16, 2009 09:07 AM

Some Himalayan glaciers are advancing despite an overall retreat, according to a study on Sunday that is a step toward understanding how climate change affects vital river flows from China to India.

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A blanket of dust and rock debris was apparently shielding some glaciers in the world’s highest mountain range from a thaw, a factor omitted from past global warming reports. And varying wind patterns might explain why some were defying a melt.

“Our study shows there is no uniform response of Himalayan glaciers to climate change and highlights the importance of debris cover,” scientists at universities in Germany and the United States wrote in the study of 286 glaciers.

The findings underscore that experts in the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were wrong to say in a 2007 report that Himalayan glaciers could vanish by 2035 in a headlong thaw. The panel corrected the error in 2010.

The report said that 58 percent of glaciers examined in the westerly Karakoram range of the Himalayas were stable or advancing, perhaps because they were influenced by cool westerly winds than the monsoon from the Indian Ocean.

Elsewhere in the Himalayas “more than 65 percent of the monsoon-influenced glaciers … are retreating,” they wrote in the journal Nature Geoscience of the satellite study from 2000 to 2008. Some glaciers that were stable in length were covered by a thick layer of rocky debris.

“Overall in the Himalayas, the glaciers are retreating,” Dirk Scherler, the lead author at the University of Potsdam in Germany, told Reuters.

Article continues: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70M1RC20110123

Greenland ice is melting more. More evidence.

Greenland’s massive ice sheet experienced record surface melting and runoff last year, according to research released today.

Unusually warm conditions in much of the country helped extend the annual melting season by up to 50 days longer in 2010 than the average observed between 1979 and 2009, researchers found.

Last year also set records for the amount of water runoff from the ice surface, loss of surface ice and the number of days when ice was bare rather than blanketed by snow. Summer snowfall was below average.

“In 2010, generally speaking, surface temperatures were higher than average,” said lead author Marco Tedesco of the City College of New York’s Cryosphere Processes Laboratory. “It was not just the summer temperatures, but also the spring and later winter temperatures. The melting season started early and lasted much longer than normal.”

melting-ice

Less ice means more global warming. Didn’t we know this already?

But here is yet another study confirming this concept.
Too little ice could be adding to global warming

Wednesday, January 19, 2011; C10
This story may be a little hard to believe, especially a day after most kids had a day off from school because of ice, but here goes:

Scientists are reporting that the shrinking ice and snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is adding to the problem of global warming in a way that they had not anticipated. Arctic sea ice, glaciers and snow are reflecting less energy back to space than they were 30 years ago, according to a University of Michigan study.

Scientists say that what was once covered in ice and snow is now land and water, which are darker and absorb more heat than the white ice. As a result, the amount of solar energy being reflected to the Earth’s upper atmosphere has decreased since the late 1970s.

Scientists add that other factors could be causing the decrease but that the decline is more than they had expected.

Temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere have risen by about 0.75 degrees Celsius in the past three decades. The study did not look at the Southern Hemisphere, where Antarctica has far more ice, is much colder and shows fewer signs of warming.

antarctica_ice_mass-loss

2010 was hot for solar/wind jobs, too.

Transaction Value ($M) 2010 2009 % Change
Solar 3,165 1,855 71%
Wind 4,771 3,056 56%
Biofuel 1,160 1,327 -13%
Biomass 240 584 -59%
Smart Distribution 1,261 96 1,209%
Energy Storage 458 763 -40%
Energy Efficiency 2,499 1,258 99%
Hydro, Ocean and Tidal 108 177 -39%
Geothermal 595 0 –
Diversified Renewables 418 286 46%
Carbon Capture and Sequestration 40 55 -27%
Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology 31 50 -39%
Total $14,744 $9,506 55%
solar-dish

2010 Hottest on Record

2010 hottest year ever; extreme weather hits record high

Already this winter, powerful storms have pummeled cities coast to coast with mounds of snow and unusually chilly temperatures. Climate skeptics are pointing to these events as evidence against global warming, while in reality, these events only serve to reinforce that our climate is changing. The New York Times summed it up, saying,

What we have to overcome to win on climate change.

2010 was a year when more offshore oil and natural gas production, and even a climate-change bill, seemed possible. That was until BP’s Macondo well blew up in the Gulf of Mexico in April, killing 11 men, causing the biggest oil spill in U.S. history and changing the dynamics of the nation’s energy policy. Just weeks before this tragedy, a deadly explosion at a Massey coal mine in West Virginia killed 30 men, and in September, a blast at a PG&E California pipeline left eight people dead and a neighborhood in ruins.
And with all these catastrophes, you would think that the clean energy/global warming advocates would have been able to pass a global warming bill. Not with several coal state Dem senators like Rockefeller voting against us.
So, what to do?
We need to build the biggest citizen movement we can to win on climate change. That means educational efforts like the FunRun and others. It means a positive message. Let’s get going. Here I am as Avatar, battling mt top removal mining.avatar5

Climate vs Weather

Climate is the long term view and Weather is the short term view of temperatures/atmospheric conditions. We can tell that the climate is warming by reviewing decades long changes in average temperatures, long term trends in melting glaciers, Arctic ice, etc. However, not everyone distinguishes between the two, climate and weather.
In a survey last spring, following an unusually cold winter for many parts of the United States, the percentage of climate change believers stood at 52 percent, with 36 percent non-believers and 13 percent unsure. The number of believers rose 8 percent and the number of non-believers dropped 9 percent in the fall survey, taken just a few months after a hot summer.

But Jon Krosnick, a professor at Stanford University, said the only group affected by cold weather in terms of belief about climate change is the 30 percent of the population who distrust scientists. And then they only consider how the most recent season compares to the previous three years in terms of worldwide temperatures, he said.

If this winter is unusually cold, he said, you would expect to see a “small drop” in the percentage of people who think global warming is happening.

“People don’t use their local temperatures as a benchmark,” he said. “They are not dodos.”