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Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

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Atlantic Tropical Weather Update 8/31/09

Invest-94 continues to exhibit increasing organization today, while the banded cloud features are only moderately impressive.  The system still doesn’t have a dominant central low pressure center.  This disturbance is definitely still a tropical wave, not yet a tropical depression.

Invest-94’s general center of circulation is located near 15.6N, 53.4W (~500 miles east of the Windward Islands) ; is moving WNW @ 14mph; and has maximum sustained winds of 30mph.

The disturbance’s movement in the past 12+ hours has taken it more northerly than I thought it would last night.  It should continue its WNW/NW movement throughout the next day or so.  After that, there is considerable divergence of model track solutions.  The NOGAPS keeps moving the storm NW, while the GFS, LBAR and BAMM shift its track to almost due west after Day 2.  The HWRF comes up with a snaking pattern: WNW, W, then WNW again in days 4-5.  The multitudes of track solutions means that anything from no impact on islands is possible, as is a glancing blow to the northern Windward Islands, Puerto Rico and Hispanola.

Continued organization and intensification is also progged by models, but this was the case all day yesterday as well.  The only thing to take from this is that intensification to Tropical Depression status is likely in the next day or so.  SSTs are plenty warm and the system will encounter less wind shear as it continues to travel across the basin.

Much further east, another tropical wave is exiting Africa over the Atlantic.  This wave is fairly far north – about 12.5N or so.  It isn’t that vigorous either.  A wave still over Africa looks a little better on satellite imagery.  It will be many days before either of these disturbances make their mark on the Atlantic basin, if at all.


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Atlantic Tropical Weather Update 8/30/09

The Atlantic hurricane season is in medium- to high-gear.  While Tropical Depression Danny was being absorbed by a synoptic low moving off the U.S. coast, a vigorous tropical wave has been moving west across the Atlantic basin.  This wave has slowly grown more organized as it has made its trek westward.

At this time, Invest-94 is located 850 miles east of the Windward Islands.  It loosely looks like a tropical storm with the stirrings of potential rain bands moving around a central low pressure site.

Invest-94’s center is located near 12.6N, 48.3W; is moving WNW @ 11mph; and has maximum sustained winds of 30mph.

Invest-94 should continue moving WNW or NW over the next few days.  This expected path would put it near the northern Windward Islands in two to three days.  It has the potential to impact Puerto Rico in days 4-5.  It could also just as well steer north of the islands and remain over the Atlantic, like Bill did earlier this season.

Invest-94 is forecasted to continue to organize and strengthen over the next 3-5 days, becoming a tropical depression in the next day, a tropical storm a day or so after that and even a hurricane in the last part of the forecast period.  Water temperatures are more than warm enough to sustain a hurricane – over 28C waters now, 29C waters in days 2-5.  Wind shear is expected to remain minimal over the next few days, so Invest-94 should have nothing in its way to prevent it from strengthening.

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Colorado Could Be 9.3°F Warmer By 2100

An unbelievably ironic situation could evolve over the Midwestern U.S. during the rest of this century. The states whose Senators are most adamant about derailing any meaningful action on climate change are most likely to experience the worst effects of that climate change.

How will Colorado’s Senators vote when (if?) a climate change/energy bill comes to the Senate floor. To be clear, there is no such bill currently in the Senate today. Unfortunately, all we can conjecture about are generalities at this point. That being said, this general question should be posed to our Senators (even better would be to get a reasonable response): Will you vote for a climate bill that avoids most of the 9.3°F of warming that Colorado can expect to see by 2100?

It would be best, of course, to see a climate bill that would actually do so. The House’s climate and energy bill, H.R. 2454 doesn’t do enough in my opinion, for example. It would lock in some portion of that predicted warming. At this stage, it is up to the Senate to produce a bolder climate bill.
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State of the Arctic – 8/27/09

The state of the Arctic in August 2009 is among the worst in recorded history.  Arctic areal sea ice extent won’t break the 2007 record, but it’s nowhere near the climatological average – and that’s indicative that a new phase of the Arctic has been reached.  For three years in a row, sea ice extent has bottomed out at well below two standard deviations from the average extent.  The biggest difference between this year and 2007 is the shift of local weather patterns.  This year, a high pressure system has kept moving ice toward cooler water near the Siberian coast rather than away from the Siberian coast.  I’ll share some graphical images, then discuss them and the larger picture below.

Here is my last post showing conditions in July and June.  Conditions have steadily worsened throughout this summer, as the pictures below demonstrate.  As of yesterday, here is a satellite representation of Arctic sea ice conditions:

And here is the comparison picture from July:

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Atlantic Tropical Weather Update 8/27/09

The fourth named storm of the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season has formed – Tropical Storm Danny was a tropical wave that had made it north of the Caribbean Islands and interacted with an upper-level low.  Enough organization occurred to allow the storm to be named.  Here are Tropical Storm Danny’s vitals as of this morning:

Center located at 27.4N, 72.1W; moving NW @ 10mph; maximum sustained winds of 60mph; minimum central pressure of 1006mb.

Tropical Storm Danny’s official track forecast is a near duplicate of Hurricane Bill’s.  He is moving around the western periphery of the sub-tropical ridge over the mid-Atlantic.  His course should take him by the east coast of the U.S., but no landfall should occur there.  Instead, T.S. Danny is expected to come ashore either over New Brunswick or Nova Scotia.  It will be a couple of more days before that final landfall area becomes more clear.

Tropical Storm Danny’s official intensity forecast intensifies him to a hurricane by Saturday morning.  He should maintain that strength through the weekend, affecting the Canadian maritimes as a Category 1 storm.

Elsewhere, Invest 94 emerged over the Atlantic early yesterday.  It is moving west across the Atlantic basin.  It is currently south-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.  It consists mostly of disorganized thunderstorms at this time, though this might change in the next couple of days.  This system might stay to the south of where Hurricane Bill and Tropical Storm Danny moved.  If that happens, it would pass over the Windward Islands in six days.

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Sen. Udall Reportedly Joins McCain On Nuclear Power

So says the Denver Post after Sen. John McCain joined Sen. Mark Udall on a tour of Rocky Mountain National Park to see firsthand some of the deleterious effects climate change has already wrought. The takeaway? “Bipartisan” support for nuclear power.

Really? Really, Sen. Udall – that’s what you’re going to work towards in the Senate? And again, we see a Democratic Senator pledge to work with their Republican colleague toward a policy solution when it is quite apparent what McCain really wants [emphasis mine]:

President Barack Obama must put forth a White House plan as soon as possible that congressional leaders can debate, McCain said.

Is this a continuation of the Cons’ view that executives make laws? Because if they do, then President Obama doesn’t need the Congress for anything. No, McCain and his Con buddies just want to continue to use President Obama as a smear target. Sen. Udall – you cannot work with these people until they demonstrate they want to work with you. And no, sliming Democrats at every opportunity and trashing the deliberative process in your chamber doesn’t count as working with you, in case you were curious or confused.

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Astroturfing the Climate and Energy Bill In Colorado

I expect by now SquareStaters are well aware of the astroturfing efforts that multi-million dollar lobbying firms have sponsored, organized and staffed in response to health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations’ wishes. Recent posts about them can be found here, here and here.

I also expect that most of us have heard or read somewhere that a similar approach to fostering debate fear and hatred is being put together by dirty fuel corporations. They want to set the tone and control the debate over the Senate’s consideration of climate and energy legislation:

An oil-lobby funded rally will come to Greeley on Tuesday to sway residents against upcoming climate change legislation.

That’s correct: the same clowns that profited the most from $4.00 gas last year are trying to scare people into believing that this year’s Climate and Energy legislation (ACES) will bring back $4.00 gas and cost thousands of more jobs. These same folks were involved with forging letters that were sent to Representatives prior to their vote. Let me count the ways to smack this nonsense down…

Actually, I want to point out only two ways in which these actions are immoral. The first is the subversion of small-d democracy that is going to be continued by corporate interests. If constituents in Greeley, CO-04 or Colorado are really against ACES (H.R. 2454), that’s fine. They have that right. But as we’ve seen in the health care mess this month, corporations aren’t about to allow citizens to decide for themselves whether they like legislation. They’re going to spend what seems like a lot of money to most of us to stuff the legislation with things they want. The reason is easy to figure out: if they get their way, they’ll make a huge return on their lobbying investment.

In reality, the planned demonstration, again funded, organized and likely staffed by dirty energy corporations, isn’t about the climate or energy legislation at all. No, this demonstration will really be about profit: will dirty energy and fuel corporations continue to make record profits at our expense or not? It’s actually pathetic that otherwise good people will turn out for this little act of political theatre.

Secondly, the question that needs to be answered is what do the people of Greeley, CO-04 and Colorado have to gain or lose by the passage or failure of ACES? If ACES fails, and the U.S. doesn’t take any meaningful action on energy or the climate this year, gas prices will rise in the future (anybody who doesn’t think so isn’t based in reality) and dirty fuel corporations will continue to chalk up billions of dollars of profit every quarter. That’s bad enough.

But it will get much, much worse. On top of those two, average temperatures in Colorado will warm up by at least 11°F by the end of the century (which will work to desertify the state), wildfire burn areas in CO will increase by up to 175% by 2050, glaciers will continue to melt faster, and sea level will continue to rise faster.

That is literally what the corporations are fighting for. Is that what Greeley, CO-04 or Colorado residents really want? Do farmers really not want to be able to farm by the middle of this century when temperatures rise year after year and reliable precipitation decreases year after year? Do Coloradans really want water tables and water flow to disappear? Do we want to have to fight massive, uncontrollable fires for years on end?

Because here is how Coloradans are being manipulated [emphasis mine]:

API President Jack Gerard reported in his memo to other API members that when people hear that the legislation could increase the cost of gasoline to $4 a gallon and lead to significant job losses, audiences changed their opinions of the bill.

Of course they did. But how likely are $4.00 gas or job losses if ACES passes? Not very. Gas won’t shoot up to $4.00 per gallon because of a weak carbon cap being implemented in a few years time. Jobs won’t be shed if we shift from dirty fuels to clean fuels – the result would be quite the opposite.

I have a question for Jack, his minions and his blind supporters: How have petroleum corporations kept the price from reaching $4.00? How many jobs have they created this year? No, Jack, your industry is undergoing a bust right now – and it has nothing at all to do with energy or climate legislation. It has to do with corporations sheltering their obscene profits: they made plenty of money and at the first sign the market was slowing down, thousands of good Coloradans were put out on their butts. Listening to your lies and propaganda isn’t going to get them their jobs back or prevent $4.00 gas.

(h/t rnoboa who sent me the article link)

Cross-posted at SquareState.