2015 nearly sure to be warmest year on record

‘We have the knowledge and the tools to act. We have a choice. Future generations will not’


Global meltdown? @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

A new report released just days before the start of the Paris climate talks makes it clear why there is so much interest in reaching an agreement to cap global warming. The World Meteorological Organization said it’s all but certain that 2015 will be the hottest year on record.

The global average temperature for the year will probably cross a symbolic threshold, reaching 1.0 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era, capping a five-year span that is also the warmest on record, the WMO said, blaming a strong El Niño and human-induced global warming. Read more of the WMO information here. Continue reading

Here’s how the climate-denial sausage is made


There’s no question global temperatures have been climbing steadily for decades, yet a small cadre of radical organizations has been working to deceive the public about the realities of climate change.

New Yale study shows funding behind the effort to mislead Americans on climate science

By Bob Berwyn

Organizations funded by ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers form the core of a disinformation network that has spawned a vast body of literature that deliberately tries to deceive the public about global warming, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The research by Yale University researcher Dr. Justin Farrell closely scoured more than 40,000 texts produced by the climate change counter-movement (164 organizations), finding that  organizations with corporate funding were more likely to have written and disseminated texts meant to polarize the climate change issue. Continue reading

Study IDs Gulf Coast ecosystems at risk

Sea turtles as most vulnerable species

Gulf Coast sunset.

Rising sea level and warming ocean temps are putting Gulf Coast ecosystems at risk, according to a new study. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Sea turtles breeding along the Gulf Coast are among the species deemed most vulnerable to climate change and rising sea level, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded in a new vulnerability assessment that looked at four Gulf ecosystems and 11 species dependent on them.

The ecosystems are mangrove, oyster reef, tidal emergent marsh and barrier islands. The species are roseate spoonbill, blue crab, clapper rail, mottled duck, spotted seatrout, eastern oyster, American oystercatcher, red drum, black skimmer, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle and Wilson’s plover.

Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is thought to be the most vulnerable species across the Gulf Coast. The report identified the main threat as loss of nesting habitat to sea level rise, erosion, and urbanization. Continue reading

Climate: Permafrost meltdown triggers quick release of greenhouse gases to atmosphere

USGS researchers make ground-based permafrost measurements in Alaska.

USGS researchers make ground-based permafrost measurements in Alaska. Photo courtesy USGS.

Alaska study helps quantify climate impacts of melting permafrost

Staff Report

Much of the carbon stored in ancient Alaska soils could be released to the atmosphere shortly upon melting, according to a new study that aimed to help quantify how fast permafrost decomposes and how much carbon dioxide is produced in the process.

The measurements are important because frozen organic soils are not part of the carbon cycle — but they will be as they thaw, potentially releasing huge amounts of heat-trapping gases. Continue reading

GOP trying to scuttle Paris climate deal


Can the U.S. effectively help negotiate a global climate deal with the GOP working against U.S. interests at every turn?

Subversive actions may limit President Obama’s options during upcoming talks

Staff Report

Widespread global support — including in the United States — won’t stop Republicans in Congress from trying to scuttle the deal, even if it means acting subversively, against the interest of the American people and against President Barack Obama.

Politico, and other news sources, have reported that GOP political operatives are telling foreign governments that Congress will try to block efforts to pay for U.S. contributions to the climate change mitigation and adaption fund, a key part of any global deal to try and limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius. Continue reading

Epic Death Valley floods leave wake of destruction


Flash floods in October scoured roads and bridges from the landscape in Death Valley National Park. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

Autumn tourism affected by road damage, but many attractions still open

Staff Report

A series of El Niño-fueled storms in October ravaged parts of Death Valley with floods and mudslides, leading to serious road damage and impacting other park resources, including Devils Hole, a spring that’s home to endangered fish.

According to the National Park Service, flash floods heavily damaged historic structures at Scottys Castle. In a press release, the park service floods pushed over a wall and buried some buildings with about five feet of mud.

The park often sees weather extremes, including flash flooding, but geologists said October’s events were near the edge of the historic envelope. Continue reading

Study suggests California weather will be more extreme

More drought, more flooding …


An intensifying El Niño cycle could affect California weather.

Staff Report

The Pacific Ocean’s El Niño-La Niña cycle may become a dominant factor in West Coast weather by the end of this century and lead to more frequent weather extremes, according to a new study published in Nature Communications. Based on the findings, California could see the number of extreme droughts and floods by 2100, the researchers found.

A better understanding of what gives rise to El Nino and La Nina cycles — together known as El Nino-Southern Oscillation — might help California predict and prepare for more frequent droughts and floods in the coming century. Continue reading


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