Texas leads the way with the Wind.

We have been told how is impacting the Southwest with drier air, more intense droughts, longer heatwaves and heavier downpours. But Texas hasn't just been on the receiving end of climate change—it's become a national leader in clean energy solutions, thanks to an abundance of wind energy. Most people don't realize how much of a powerhouse Texas is when it comes to wind energy. Between its wide open spaces and the Great Plains, Texas is perfectly situated for steady, sustained winds that then can be used for energy production.

1. Texas Holds the Record for All-Time Wind Energy Production
On February 18, Texas surpassed its own all-time record for wind energy production—which was also the national record—providing 45 percent of the state's total electricity needs on multiple occasions throughout the evening. At one point, wind energy production provided more than 14 gigawatts of power, or enough electricity to power roughly 234 million conventional light bulbs. What's more incredible about Texas' new record is that wind power production was fairly constant throughout the day, allowing it to consistently meet around 40 percent of demand on the Texas grid.

2. The Benefits of Wind are Estimated at $3.3 Billion Annually
From savings relating to health and pollution to competition against other energy sources, the financial benefits from wind energy are not insignificant. According to the American Wind Energy Association, the $3.3 billion in annual savings 

3. Texas was the First U.S. State to Reach 10,000 Megawatts of Wind Power Generating Capacity
Not only has wind energy grown much faster in Texas than anywhere else in the U.S., it was also the first state to reach 10,000 megawatts of installed generating capacity in 2011. The majority of this wind energy was generated in western Texas and while there was demand for this power across the state, wind energy growth was so rapid that the infrastructure to transmit it across the state was unable to keep pace. So to ensure wind energy reached the more populated eastern areas of Texas, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) studied the areas with the most wind energy projects and potential and established a series of Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZs). PUCT then used these zones to plan a highly efficient series of more than 3,000 miles of transmission lines to reliably transfer renewable energy generated in western Texas to help power eastern markets. By December 2013, the project was largely completed, reducing the need to limit the amount of wind energy entering the grid. The bottom line: clean energy is now accessible to the entire state.

We’re doomed,” says Mayer Hillman

We’re doomed,” says Mayer Hillman.

 Hillman is an 86-year-old social scientist and senior fellow emeritus of the Policy Studies Institute.
"It’s the end of most life on the planet because we’re so dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. There is no way to reverse the process of the polar ice caps melting."

“We’ve got to stop burning fossil fuels. So many aspects of life depend on fossil fuels, except for music and love and education and happiness. These things, which hardly use fossil fuels, are what we must focus on.”


Scientists and climate experts are sounding alarms over atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) that just surpassed a "troubling" threshold for the first time in human history.

"The reading from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii finds that concentrations of the climate-warming gas averaged above 410 parts per million [ppm] throughout April," Chris Mooney wrote for the Washington Post. " The first time readings crossed 410 at all occurred on April 18, 2017, or just about a year ago."While the planet's concentrations of carbon dioxide fluctuated between roughly 200 ppm and 280 ppm for hundreds of thousands of centuries, as the NASA chart below details, CO2 concentrations have soared since the start of the industrial revolution—and, without urgent global efforts to significantly alter human activities that produce greenhouse gas emissions, show no sign of letting up.

The data is clear; the climate is warming exponentially. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that the world on its current course will warm by 3C by 2100. Recent revised climate modelling suggested a best estimate of 2.8C but scientists struggle to predict the full impact of the feedbacks from future events such as methane being released by the melting of the permafrost.


Instead, says Hillman, the world’s population must globally move to zero emissions across agriculture, air travel, shipping, heating homes – every aspect of our economy – and reduce our human population too. Can it be done without a collapse of civilisation? “I don’t think so,” says Hillman. “Can you see everyone in a democracy volunteering to give up flying? Can you see the majority of the population becoming vegan? Can you see the majority agreeing to restrict the size of their families?”


Hillman doubts that human ingenuity can find a fix and says there is no evidence that greenhouse gases can be safely buried. But if we adapt to a future with less – focusing on Hillman’s love and music – it might be good for us. “And who is ‘we’?” asks Hillman with a typically impish smile. “Wealthy people will be better able to adapt but the world’s population will head to regions of the planet such as northern Europe which will be temporarily spared the extreme effects of climate change. How are these regions going to respond? We see it now. Migrants will be prevented from arriving. We will let them drown.”

Hillman accuses all kinds of leaders – from religious leaders to scientists to politicians – of failing to honestly discuss what we must do to move to zero-carbon emissions. “I don’t think they can because society isn’t organised to enable them to do so. Political parties’ focus is on jobs and GDP, depending on the burning of fossil fuels.”

Can civilization prolong its life until the end of this century? “It depends on what we are prepared to do.” He fears it will be a long time before we take proportionate action to stop climatic calamity. “Standing in the way is capitalism. Can you imagine the global airline industry being dismantled when hundreds of new runways are being built right now all over the world? It’s almost as if we’re deliberately attempting to defy nature. We’re doing the reverse of what we should be doing, with everybody’s silent acquiescence, and nobody’s batting an eyelid.”

The UK government’s official climate change advisers warned ministers on Thursday that their refusal to ensure new buildings are designed to deal with high temperatures could see annual heat-related deaths more than triple to 7,000 by 2040. Earlier in June, research showed that a third of the world’s population already faces deadly heatwaves as a result of climate change.

“Hot months are no longer rare in our current climate,” said Robert Vautard, at the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences in France. “By the middle of the century, this kind of extreme heat in June will become the norm in western Europe unless we take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

There is a slight bit of good news. Global emissions of climate-warming carbon dioxide remained static in 2016, a welcome sign that the world is making at least some progress in the battle against global warming by halting the long-term rising trend.


All of the world’s biggest emitting nations, except India, saw falling or static carbon emissions due to less coal burning and increasing renewable energy, according to data published by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (NEAA). However other mainly developing nations, including Indonesia, still have rising rates of CO2 emissions.

Stalled global emissions still means huge amounts of CO2 are being added to the atmosphere every year – more than 35bn tonnes in 2016 – driving up global temperatures and increasing the risk of damaging, extreme weather. Furthermore, other heat-trapping greenhouse gases, mainly methane from cattle and leaks from oil and gas exploration, are still rising and went up by 1% in 2016.




Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier is Unstable.

Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier is Unstable and would push sea levels up as much as 3 feet if it falls into the ocean.
Thwaites glacier melting would push sea levels up as much as 3 feet! It's the size of Florida.


Scientists from the United States and United Kingdom announced a massive five-year study aimed at finding out how stable a key Antarctic glacier really is.

They'll be focused on the Thwaites Glacier, located on the western side of Antarctica. It has lost a huge amount of ice recently – enough to contribute about 4 percent of overall sea level rise – and a complete collapse of the Florida-sized glacier would push sea levels up as much as 3 feet, according to Public Radio International.

The new study will be an attempt to learn more about the glacier in hopes that it'll lead to better modeling and a more exact projection of what might happen in the future.

"Really, the whole program is about understanding that extra uncertainty attached to sea level rise and doing what we can to remove it, allowing people to protect their coastal environments and to prepare property to protect their populations," David Vaughan, the director of science at the British Antarctic Survey, told reporters on Monday.

One reason why we know relatively little about Thwaites is because few researchers have made expeditions to West Antarctica to study it since the first trip in the 1950s, PRI also said. The glacier is some 1,000 miles from the closest research station, and weather conditions are not friendly to those who venture into the region, the report added.

But this time, eight research teams will join together for the project, and they plan to study everything from the bedrock under the ice sheet to the climate above it in hopes of finding out as much as they can about the glacier, PRI added. They want to know the history of this ice sheet so they can understand how it has behaved in the past, and if there's any hope to save it during the rapid retreat period currently taking place.

"There is still a question in my view as to whether Thwaites has actually entered an irreversible retreat," Vaughan told BBC.com. "It assumes the melt rates we see today continue into the future and that's not guaranteed. Thwaites is clearly on the verge of an irreversible retreat, but to be sure we need 10 years more data."

About 100 scientists will be sent to West Antarctica as part of the study, according to BBC.com. It'll be the biggest collaboration between U.S. and U.K. scientists in Antarctica in at least 70 years, the report added.

CO2 is now at 410 parts per million



On Tuesday, the Mauna Loa Observatory recorded its first-ever carbon dioxide reading in excess of 410 parts per million (it was 410.28 ppm in case you want the full deal). Carbon dioxide hasn’t reached that height in millions of years. It stood at 280 ppm when record keeping began at Mauna Loa in 1958. In 2013, it passed 400 ppm. Just four years later, the 400 ppm mark is no longer a novelty. It’s the norm.

Carbon dioxide concentrations have skyrocketed over the past two years due to in part to natural factors like El NiƱo causing more of it to end up in the atmosphere. But it’s mostly driven by the record amounts of carbon dioxide humans are creating by burning fossil fuels.

“The rate of increase will go down when emissions decrease,” Pieter Tans, an atmospheric scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said. “But carbon dioxide will still be going up, albeit more slowly. Only when emissions are cut in half will atmospheric carbon dioxide level off initially.”

Even when concentrations of carbon dioxide level off, the impacts of climate change will extend centuries into the future. The planet has already warmed 1.8°F (1°C), including a run of 627 months in a row of above-normal heat. Sea levels have risen about a foot and oceans have acidified. Extreme heat has become more common.

All of these impacts will last longer and intensify into the future even if we cut carbon emissions. But we face a choice of just how intense they become based on when we stop polluting the atmosphere.

Right now we’re on track to create a climate unseen in 50 million years by mid-century.

California’s December Inferno

Southern California continues to burn


In Southern California, wildfires continue to burn. It is rare for large wildfires to burn in California in December, which is usually a wet month for the state. In most years, a few hundreds acres might burn. The 2006 Shekell fire in Ventura charred 13,600 acres, making it the largest December fire in the state between 2000 and 2016.

California’s December Inferno

In 2017, the Thomas fire shattered the record for December and may soon eclipse the worst blaze in any month. After burning for 16 days, the massive fire had scorched 272,000 acres (110,000 hectares or 425 square miles) and was just 60 percent contained. That made it the second largest fire on record in California, trailing only the Cedar fire, which burned 273,246 acres in 2003.

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured an image of the Thomas fire scar on December 18, 2017. The natural-color Landsat 8 image was draped over an ASTER-derived Global Digital Elevation Model, which shows the topography of the area. The fire raged first near Ventura, then burned the hills around communities of Ojai and Oak View. Firefighters put up a fierce fight and managed to prevent flames from descending into the valley towns. Flames then pushed west toward Summerland, Montecito, and Santa Barbara. As of December 20, the fire was still spreading along the northern edge of the burn scar.

Authorities reported that more than 1,200 structures—most of them in Ventura County—have been destroyed. Several factors came together to make the blaze difficult to control. An usually wet winter and spring in early 2017 caused vegetation to flourish. Then the dry season turned out to be excessively dry, and rains also have been scarce in the typically wetter months of November and December. All of that vegetation dried out and was primed to burn. Once the fire started, warm temperatures and unusually fierce Santa Ana winds caused the fire to spread rapidly.

After nearly two weeks of red flag conditions, a break in the weather has allowed firefighters to beat back the flames in the past few days. But fire officials still do not expect the Thomas fire to be completely contained until January 2018.

On December 14, 2017, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired a natural-color image of smoke billowing from the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. By December 15, the fire had charred 252,500 acres (102,200 hectares or 400 square miles). That made it the fourth largest fire in California history.

High-resolution climate models present alarming new projections for US

High-resolution climate models present alarming new projections for US


Approaching the second half of the century, the United States is likely to experience increases in the number of days with extreme heat, the frequency and duration of heat waves, and the length of the growing season. In response, it is anticipated that agricultural and ecological needs will increase the demand on already-strained natural resources like water and energy. University of Illinois researchers have developed new, high-resolution climate models that may help policymakers mitigate these effects at a local level.

In a paper published in the journal Earth's Future, atmospheric sciences professor Donald Wuebbles, graduate student Zach Zobel and Argonne National Laboratory scientists Jiali Wang and Rao Kotamarthi demonstrate how increased-resolution modeling can improve future climate projections.

Many climate models use a spatial resolution of hundreds of kilometers. This approach is suitable for global-scale models that run for centuries into the future, but they fail to capture small-scale land and weather features that influence local atmospheric events, the researchers said.

"Our new models work at a spatial resolution of 12 km, allowing us to examine localized changes in the climate system across the continental U.S.," Wuebbles said. "It is the difference between being able to resolve something as small as Champaign County versus the entire state of Illinois -- it's a big improvement."

The study looked at two different future greenhouse gas output projections -- one "business as usual" scenario where fossil fuel consumption remains on its current trajectory and one that implies a significant reduction in consumption by the end of the century. The group generated data for two decade-long projections (2045-54 and 2085-94) and compared them with historical data (1995-2004) for context.

"One of the most alarming findings in our business-as-usual projection shows that by late-century the southeastern U.S. will experience maximum summer temperatures every other day that used to occur only once every 20 days," Zobel said.

Although not as severe, other regions of the country are also expected to experience significant changes in temperature.

"The Midwest could see large unusual heat events, like the 1995 Chicago heat wave, which killed more than 800 people, become more common and perhaps even occur as many as five times per year by the end of the century," Wuebbles said. "Heat waves increase the mortality rate within the Midwest and the Northeast because people in these densely populated regions are not accustomed to coping with that kind of heat that frequently."

The extreme temperatures and extended duration of the warmer season will likely take a significant toll on crops and the ecosystem, the researchers said. Areas like the American West, which is already grappling for limited water resources, could witness much shorter frost seasons at high elevations, leading to a smaller surge in spring meltwater than what is needed for the early growing season.

"The high resolution of our models can capture regional climate variables caused by local landforms like mountains, valleys and bodies of water," Zobel said. "That will allow policymakers to tailor response actions in a very localized way."

The new models concentrate on temperature and do not factor in the effect that regional precipitation patterns will have on the impact of the anticipated climate changes. The researchers plan to extend their study to account for these additional variables.

"The concept of global climate change can be somewhat abstract, and people want to know how these projected changes are going to affect them, in their community," Wuebbles said. "Our models are helping answer those questions, and that is what separates our work from the larger, global-scale studies."

Story Source: provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 
Original written by Lois Yoksoulian. 
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Scientific consensus: Earth's climate is warming

Scientific consensus: Earth's climate is warming:




 Most leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing the position that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.
Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems

Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals1 show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.

Climate change is real. There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world’s climate. However there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems.

 It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities

Statement on climate change from 18 scientific associations


"Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver." (2009)2


American Association for the Advancement of Science
"The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society." (2006)3


American Chemical Society
"Comprehensive scientific assessments of our current and potential future climates clearly indicate that climate change is real, largely attributable to emissions from human activities, and potentially a very serious problem." (2004)4


American Geophysical Union
"Human‐induced climate change requires urgent action. Humanity is the major influence on the global climate change observed over the past 50 years. Rapid societal responses can significantly lessen negative outcomes." (Adopted 2003, revised and reaffirmed 2007, 2012, 2013)5


American Medical Association
"Our AMA ... supports the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth assessment report and concurs with the scientific consensus that the Earth is undergoing adverse global climate change and that anthropogenic contributions are significant." (2013)6


American Meteorological Society
"It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide." (2012)7

American Physical Society
"The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now." 

The Geological Society of America
"The Geological Society of America (GSA) concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2006), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) that global climate has warmed and that human activities (mainly greenhouse‐gas emissions) account for most of the warming since the middle 1900s." (2006; revised 2010)9






U.S. National Academy of Sciences
"The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify taking steps to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere." (2005)11


U.S. Global Change Research Program
"The global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases. Human 'fingerprints' also have been identified in many other aspects of the climate system, including changes in ocean heat content, precipitation, atmospheric moisture, and Arctic sea ice." (2009, 13 U.S. government departments and agencies)12


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
“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.”13



The following page lists the nearly 200 worldwide scientific organizations that hold the position that climate change has been caused by human action.
http://opr.ca.gov/s_listoforganizations.php

U.S. agencies

The following page contains information on what federal agencies are doing to adapt to climate change.

http://www.c2es.org/docUploads/federal-agencies-adaptation.pdf