Archive for December, 2015

Record Temperatures A Terrifying Taste of Things To Come

December 31st, 2015 No comments

Climate Chaos Just Beginning

What the corporate media is not telling readers

Source: Confronting Climate Change in the Northeast (UCS, 2007)

Source: Confronting Climate Change in the Northeast (UCS, 2007)

I’ve been disgusted by the failure of the corporate media to put the record temperatures in the context of climate change and instead write a series of stories that downplay the disastrous implications, ignore, deny and obscure any link to climate change, and essentially celebrate what should be absolutely terrifying.

[Update: 1/2/16 this story today at NJ.Com is perhaps the most blatant example of what I am now calling “climate denial spin from the merchants of death” in the media’s series: “Climate Change is Good for You“. [Both TM] ~~~ end update]

The map above is from the a Report “Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast” (2007) – which found:

  • Late-century summers in the Tri-State region around New York City could resemble those of South Carolina today under the higher-emissions scenario, and those of Virginia under the lower-emissions scenario. (@ page 6)

That Report was written way back in 2007. Since then, the data have documented that virtually all prior projections were far too conservative and seriously underestimated both the rate of warming and the magnitude of impacts of warming.  Actual impacts are coming sooner and are bigger. Projections have only gotten worse since.

A typical example of poor reporting is today’s Bergen Record, which begins by reinforcing the “positive benefits” of warming (doesn’t that picture look like fun?) and downplays the climate context.

In contrast with that photo, the northeast will suffer significant negative economic and social impacts associated with the loss of winter recreation- skiing in particular.

But I was particularly pissed off by how the Record story essentially used the kind of climate shifts depicted in the above map as “perspective”:

For perspective, New Jersey just experienced the typical December average for Macon, Ga., or Jackson, Miss. And the Garden State’s December was warmer by 3 degrees than the typical December average for Atlanta.

That is a “perspective” that is devoid of context and climate science.

David Robinson, NJ State Climatologist (...on one hand ...) (8/25/10)

David Robinson, NJ State Climatologist (…on one hand …) (8/25/10)

I blame the State Climatologist David Robinson of Rutgers as well.

A recent presentation to the Pinelands Commission science series, provided another example of that.

Robinson, in an apparent effort to “temper” his “official” statements, actually mis-stated the science and the degree of scientific consensus.

Look at his powerpoint – note how Robinson poses the question and how he uses an erroneous and equivocal “preponderance of the evidence suggests” standard:

Is climate presently changing in NJ & elsewhere?

Preponderance of evidence suggests climate change is occurring and humans are responsible for a significant portion of recent changes

Using a “preponderance of the evidence” standard is flat out wrong. And the evidence does not “suggest” it virtually “proves”.

In contrast to Robinson’s “preponderance … suggests” standard, the IPCC 5th Assessment does not pose a question of whether climate change is happening, but states it as a virtual certainty and presents the scientific consensus much more starkly, powerfully, and persuasively than Robinson does (boldface mine)

SPM 1. Observed Changes and their Causes

Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of green- house gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems. {1}

SPM 1.1 Observed changes in the climate system

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen. {1.1}

SPM 1.2 Causes of climate change

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the pre-industrial era, driven largely by economic and population growth, and are now higher than ever. This has led to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. Their effects, together with those of other anthropogenic drivers, have been detected throughout the climate system and are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. {1.2, 1.3.1}

During his Pinelands remarks, Robinson explicitly said that his public statements on climate change do not reflect his views as a scientist or as a tenured university professor or as an individual, but are more conservative and tempered because he is speaking in an official capacity as The State Climatologist.

Virtually everyone in the room knew what he meant: that he is intimidated by the political and/or economic implications of what he says.

NJ is ground zero for climate chaos, whether the issue is sea level rise; more frequent and intense storms; lurching from drought to flooding; or the ecological damage , such as southern pine beetles on Pinelands forests or the emerald ash borer on ash trees in NJ’s northern hardwood forests.

We need forceful and accurate statements by the scientists and media.

We will write more extensively on these issues in the coming year.

Happy New Year folks. Stay off the roads, there are a lot of amours out there tonight. (*hahaha! Freudian typo! I meant “amateurs” not “amours” – although there are a lot of them out there tonight as well!)

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Photo – Part 6 (end)

December 31st, 2015 No comments
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Photos (Part 5)

December 30th, 2015 No comments
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Photos (Part 4)

December 29th, 2015 No comments
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Photos (Part 3)

December 27th, 2015 No comments
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