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Don't let Lomborg piece in Washington Post distract or confuse

This morning's Washington Post has a featured piece by famed Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg, "Don't blame climate change for extreme weather."  It is causing a storm. Many see it as questioning climate change, which it does not.

Sea Level Rise Cover Story NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC September

National Geographic Magazine has been showing us planet Earth for 125 years, with balanced reporting, stunning photography and great graphics. The September 2013 issue is no exception.

"Rising Seas" is a terrific article. I strongly encourage you to grab one if you don't already subscribe to the print or digital versions.  

You can read the fine text by Tim Folger online but you will miss most of the great photography by George Steinmetz, and some high impact graphics.

In particular the print edition has a pull out poster showing what the continents will look like whenever all the ice melts.

Overall the article parallels my book, High Tide On Main Street: Rising Sea Levels and the Coming Coastal Crisis. While it will not fundamentally surprise any of my readers, the impact is so much stronger, that this is worth having too. 

It is just another example of some of the great journalism now tackling what I have dubbed "the story of the century."

 

 

When will we see effects of SLR? - Car wheels are already rusting

Often I am asked when we will begin to see the effects of sea level rise (SLR). For me, it conjures up the image of the kid's game where you cover your eyes and are admonished not to peek, so that you don't see what's happening.  The difference with SLR is that many people do not notice what is happening and their eyes are open.

Here are some current accounts from South Florida, though similar stories are happening in coastal communities all over the world.

In low lying areas saltwater is pooling at high tide each month during the full moon when the tide cycle is exaggerated. A few times a year, during the extreme tides, when the planets line up, the effect is even more exaggerated -- the next one of those will be in October. Slowly rising sea level rise is lifting the normal range of tides ever higher, bringing the highest tides onto streets.

Exposing the lie that "Global Warming Is Over"

There is some confusion about the rate of global warming that should be set straight. Increasingly a message is being heard that "global warming is slowing down" or even that it is coming to an end.  

Some who talk about this probably do so out of honest confusion, for some it may be wishful thinking, but for a certain group it is part of the intentional disinformation perhaps better known as propoganda. It is time to clarify for some, and expose the lie for others.

This temperature chart of global land temperature anomalies (variations from the normal) tells the story quite clearly. It covers almost four decades, a good representative sample. 

The claims about the slow down in warming, even suggesting that the warming has ended, choose a selection of years that fits the story they want to tell, often looking at a recent seven year or seventeen year pattern to show a flat line, or even decline. In fact there are six blue lines on this chart, highlighting brief select sets of years, that can each be used to show a flat or even slight cooling periond.  

Big Chunk of Antarctica Breaks Off - The signal of catastrophic sea level rise?

An iceberg larger than Chicago broke off from West Antarctica last week. By itself that might be news. This one deserves special attention because it broke off of Pine Bay Glacier.

Readers of my book, "High Tide On Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis" may recognize that location. On page 59 I name that precise glacier as the weak spot of Antarctica.

On the map at the left this is in the area in red at the eight o'clock position.

In 1978 a legendary expert, the late Dr. John Mercer, said this was the place that could herald the big melt that would lead to catastophic sea level rise (SLR). If Pine Bay and its sister glacier "Thwaites" slid into the ocean, Mercer calculated that global sea level could rise about six feet over the course of a decade or so. 

As I describe in the book, he put a rough timeframe of fifty years on that scenario. We are now in the middle of the fourth decade. It has been showing signs of softening and melting in recent years. Recent calculations with more sophisticated satellite data on the ice mass indicate that Mercer's estimates were on the low side.

What if Sandy had been a real Hurricane?

The term "Superstorm Sandy" irks some who think it should just be called a hurricane, rather than hyped into something special. Six months after the landmark event, it turns out that Superstorm may be exactly the right term, but perhaps not for the reason most assume.

NOAA - the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - which encompasses the National Weather Service felt it was appropriate to do a retro analysis of the event and the communications related to it, to learn lessons for the future. That report, "Hurricane/Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy, October 22-29, 2012" was recently published in May 2013, about six months after the disaster. At 66 pages, it is comprehensive. Without going into detail, I will give you two key points that strike me as worth noting:

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