I've done my best to avoid embracing strangers, hang out at bars, while limiting time inside stores. I have high-risk relatives at home; the cautious and prudent thing to do is to take reasonable measures to lower risk.
For me a mask isn't a political symbol. It's a seat belt for my face. Just like seat belts, crumple-zones and airbags increase the odds of surviving an accident, masks, physical distancing (and common sense) will lower the risk of catching this virus.
I find myself cramming more (outdoor) lunches with friends into September. Within a month or two only the brave and foolish will be dining outside.
After a few days of lukewarm breezes temperatures cool off in coming days. Sweatshirts stage a comeback, but more 70s are shaping up next week. No gossip-worthy storms are brewing; most of the state stays dry into Sunday.
While Minnesota farmers predict a pretty good harvest, Iowa faces the worst drought since 2013, on top of August's wild derecho (140 mph wind gusts).
That could have been us.
Update Hurricane Sally Predicted Track. It appears that Pensacola, Florida may see the brunt of the storm surge from Sally Wednesday morning, with water levels rising as much as 3-6' (breakers superimposed on that rise). Some additional strengthening is possible before Sally's eye comes ashore during the AM hours.
Extreme Rainfall Amounts. "Sally" pretty much stalled over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico most of the day Tuesday, prolonging a conga-line of feeder bands lashing coastal communities. By the time skies clear (Thursday) upwards of 30-35" will have fallen near Biloxi, Mobile and Pensacola. Maps above: AerisWeather.
Tracking Smoke. NOAA has an online tool that pinpoints fire locations and smoke. Yesterday's orange sun was a direct result of the massive amount of smoke being thrown off by western fires.
NOAA Declares La Nina Watch. Every La Nina and El Nino cycle is different, but based on a cooling trend in the Pacific Ocean the odds of an (easy/mild) winter for Minnesota and northern tier states has dropped a few notches. Here's an explainer from Capital Weather Gang: "...NOAA forecasters have stated there is a 75 percent chance that La Niña will stick around for the entirety of winter. Generally speaking, La Niña typically increases the odds of above-average snowfall in the Pacific Northwest, northern Plains, Great Lakes region and northern New England. However, every La Niña is different, and other weather patterns can overwhelm its effects..."
Map credit: NOAA's Climate.gov.
A Minor Temperature Roller Coaster Ride. Cooling into Friday won't be as dramatic as last week's rude frontal passage, but sweatshirts may stage a comeback later this week before moderation over the weekend. A basically dry pattern lingers into Sunday. Maps: Praedictix and AerisWeather. Blips of Summer Warmth. Any cooling later this week will be temporary - ECMWF shows a run of 70s next week, even at shot at 80F in the Twin Cities by the middle of next week. Graphic: WeatherBell. An Even Cooler Cool Front. If GFS (above) verifies temperatures may take a sharper tumble as we end the merry month of September. Why am I not surprised. Meanwhile, little break in the heat from the southwestern USA and the East Coast. Praedictix Briefing: Issued Tuesday morning, September 15th, 2020:
Big Headline: Since Sally is a slow-moving system, historic rainfall and flash flooding and a dangerous storm surge is expected along the northern Gulf Coast over the next few days. Make sure any preparations ahead of Sally are rushed to completion.
Hurricane Sally. A dangerous Sally is sitting off the Gulf Coast this morning, slowly moving northwestward. It is bringing heavy rain to portions of the central Gulf Coast. Already over 2” of rain has fallen today in Gulf Shores, AL, with over 1” of rain in Pensacola. As of the 7 AM CDT update, the center of Sally was located about 65 miles east of the mouth of the Mississippi River or 105 miles south-southeast of Biloxi, MS. Sally had winds of 85 mph, with hurricane force winds extending out 45 miles from the center and tropical storm winds extending outward 125 miles. The system was moving northwest at 2 mph.
Sally Track. Sally will continue to slowly move over the next couple of days, continuing to move west-northwest through the morning hours today, turning north this afternoon, then eventually the north-northeast tonight into Wednesday. This will bring the center of Sally near the southeast Louisiana coast today, with a landfall along the Mississippi or Alabama coast (potentially near the border) sometime late tonight or Wednesday morning. Weak steering winds aloft will continue to allow a slower movement for Sally through the end of the week before it merges with a frontal system. Not much additional strengthening is expected today and tonight due to strong upper level winds and the storm bringing cooler water to the surface. Rapid weakening is expected after landfall. Sally is expected to bring potentially historic rain and flooding to the northern Gulf Coast as well as life-threatening storm surge and strong winds.
Hurricane Alerts. Hurricane and Tropical Storm Warnings are in place along the Gulf Coast due to Sally. Along the coast, they include the following areas:
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for... * East of the Mouth of the Pearl River to the Navarre Florida
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for... * East of Navarre Florida to Indian Pass Florida * Mouth of the Pearl River westward to Grand Isle Louisiana, including Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas and metropolitan New Orleans
Cities that are under Hurricane Warnings include Gulfport, Biloxi, Mobile, and Pensacola. Cities under Tropical Storm Warnings include New Orleans, Hattiesburg, and Panama City.
Here are links to local National Weather Service information on Sally: Tallahassee, Mobile/Pensacola, New Orleans/Baton Rouge, Jackson
Dangerous, Life-Threatening Storm Surge Expected. A dangerous and life-threatening storm surge is expected with Sally along the northern Gulf Coast through the middle of the week as the system slowly approaches and makes landfall. The highest storm surge of 6-9 feet is expected to occur near and to the east of where landfall occurs from the Mouth of the Mississippi River to Dauphin Island including Lake Borgne and Mobile Bay if the peak surge occurs at high tide. Large waves and the expected heavy rain adding more water to the region could also worsen some of the storm surge impacts. The highest water levels will occur at times of high tide through Wednesday, which across the region is generally late this morning and again either late Wednesday morning or early Wednesday afternoon. In Mobile Bay, high tide today is at 11:50 AM, with high tide Wednesday at 12:47 PM.
Storm Surge Warnings. Storm Surge Warnings have been issued due to the expected rising water rushing inland from the coast from Mouth of the Mississippi River to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line, FL, including Mobile Bay.
Heavy Rain Threat. The slow-moving nature of Sally will lead to very heavy rain across the central Gulf Coast from the western Florida Panhandle to far southeastern Mississippi where rainfall amounts of 10-20” with isolated 30” amounts are possible. This could lead to historic and life-threatening flash flooding across the region with major river flooding possible. As Sally continues to move inland, 4-8” with isolated 12” amounts are possible across portions of southeastern Mississippi, southern and central Alabama, northern Georgia, and the western Carolinas which could also lead to flooding.
High Risk Of Flooding. Due to the heavy rain and widespread flash flooding expected with Sally today along portions of the Gulf Coast, a High Risk of Flash Flooding has been issued by the Weather Prediction Center through tonight. Rainfall rates of at least 1-2” per hour can be expected in Sally’s rain bands. The threat of flooding will continue to move inland with Sally Wednesday and Thursday.
Flood Watches. Flood Watches extend across portions of Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle, including Gulfport, Biloxi, Hattiesburg, Mobile, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Pensacola, Panama City, and Apalachicola.
River Flooding. Moderate to major river flooding, potentially approaching historic values, will be possible due to the expected very heavy rain across the region.
Peak Wind Forecast. The strongest winds will be near and just inland of where Sally makes landfall through Wednesday. As Sally is expected to quickly weaken once making landfall, strong winds aren’t expected to continue too far inland.
Gulfport, MS, Wind Gusts. By the mid-afternoon hours today winds in Gulfport, MS, are expected to be above tropical-storm force (39 mph), with peak winds around 50 mph expected to occur during the overnight hours.
Mobile, AL, Wind Gusts. Already by the afternoon hours today wind gusts over 40 mph are expected in Mobile, with hurricane-force wind gusts expected late tonight/early Wednesday morning as Sally moves nearby. Wind gusts will drop back below tropical-storm force late Wednesday afternoon.
Other Tropical Activity
Other Tropical Activity. We are also watching the following systems in the Atlantic:
Hurricane Paulette: Paulette continues to quickly move northeastward across the Atlantic and is expected to become a major hurricane later today. It will quickly weaken later this week, and it is expected to be a post-tropical system as it approaches the Azores this weekend. Tropical Storm Teddy: Teddy is expected to become a hurricane later today and then reach major hurricane status later this week with peak winds around 125 mph Saturday. This system does not pose a land threat over the next five days, and several models currently have it moving to the east of Bermuda into next week. Tropical Storm Vicky: Vicky is expected to weaken over the next few days, becoming a remnant low in about 36-48 hours. This system does not appear to be a threat to land. We are also tracking a few areas of interest that could form into tropical system. The main one we are tracking is south-southeast of the Cabo Verde Islands which has a high (70%) chance of formation in the next five days. Western Wildfires
Elevated Fire Danger Today. Warm and dry weather continues today across the western United States, but winds should generally be light across the region, helping to limit the fire weather danger. However, forecast winds of at least 15-20 mph across portions of Oregon, California, and Nevada will lead to an elevated fire danger. Even with the lighter winds across much of the region, fires will be allowed to spread due to the continued dry weather.
Air Quality Concerns And Fire Weather Warnings. Due to the fire threat, Fire Weather Warnings (pink) are in place across portions of Oregon and California. Air Quality Alerts (gray) remain in place across the western United States due to the smoke from the wildfires reducing air quality across the region. From southern Washington to the Reno area, Dense Smoke Advisories (tan) are in place.
Hazardous Air Quality This Morning. Unhealthy to hazardous air quality is occurring across the western United States this morning due to all the wildfire smoke in the air.
Air Quality Forecast. Hazardous air quality will continue across the region today, especially in the Portland, Bend, Pendleton, Medford, Chico, and Fresno areas.
D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix
Wildfires During Pandemic Intensify Economic Pain in West. Associated Press has perspective: "...The fires are unlikely to make much of a dent in the overall $20 trillion U.S. economy. The financial fallout will be measured in the low billions of dollars, not in hundreds of billions or trillions. To make a nationwide impact, Kamins said, it would take something like Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which disrupted oil supplies. But the economic pain will be intense in areas decimated by fire, especially poor towns in rural Oregon and California, piling on at a time when many businesses have already succumbed to the pandemic-induced recession. U.S. economic activity collapsed at a record 31.7% annual pace from April through June..."
File image: NOAA.
NOAA: Hottest Summer on Record for North America. These symptoms of a warming world are probably not a coincidence, according to NOAA: "...According to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, the average global land and ocean surface temperature in August was 1.69 degrees F (0.94 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average of 60.1 degrees F (15.6 degrees C), making it the second-hottest August in the 141-year record, behind August 2016. The Northern Hemisphere had its hottest August on record with a temperature departure from average of 2.14 degrees F (1.19 degrees C), besting the previous record set in August 2016. Globally, the 10 warmest Augusts have all occurred since 1998 -- with the five warmest occurring since 2015..."
California's Wildfire Smoke Plumes are Unlike Anything Previously Seen. Capital Weather Gang points out some of the unique (and vaguely terrifying) meteorological observations of this new breed of wildfire: "...The Creek Fire, which has burned nearly 200,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada mountains, was only 6 percent contained on Friday. On Sept. 5, a day after it was first ignited, its smoke plume soared to 55,000 feet. That’s taller than many of the tornadic thunderstorms that roll across Oklahoma and Kansas each spring. Such clouds are both indicators of and contributors to extreme fire behavior, such as rapid fire spread and the formation of fire vortices including tornadoes, along with other dynamics that are hazardous to firefighters and can imperil communities..."
Evolution of a Pyrocumulonimbus Cloud. NASA has a great explainer; here's an excerpt: "...The huge, dense cloud created on Sep. 05 and seen in the Suomi NPP image was a pyrocumulonimbus cloud (pyroCb) and the resulting smoke plume that grew upward was spotted and confirmed on Sep. 06, 2020. A pyrocumulonimbus cloud is also called a cumulonimbus flammagenitus. The origins of the latter word are from the Latin meaning “flame” and “created from.” This perfectly describes a cloud that is caused by a natural source of heat such as a wildfire or volcano. Rising warm air from the fire can carry water vapor up into the atmosphere causing clouds. Any type of convective cloud can be created. In this case, the cumulonimbus, or thunderhead cloud, was created. Precipitation and lightning can also occur with these types of clouds creating a risk that the fire will expand due to increased wind from precipitation downdraft or by creating new fires due to lightning strikes..."
Image credit: "This series of GIF images shows the development of the Creek fire from Sep 5 through Sep 7, 2020." Credits: NASA Worldview
NOAA's Former Satellite Now Providing Weather Data to the U.S. Military. SpaceNews explains whatever happened to GOES-13: "The U.S. Space Force announced that a geostationary weather satellite previously owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is now in service for the military providing coverage over the Indian Ocean. A satellite that NOAA first launched in 2006 and retired in 2018 has been repurposed as the Electro-Optical Infrared Weather System – Geostationary, or EWS-G1. The Space Delta 2 at Peterson-Schriever Garrison, Colorado, declared the satellite operational on Sept. 1. NOAA is operating EWS-G1 for the military collecting weather imagery over the Indian Ocean region in support of U.S. Central Command..."
How Big Oil Misled the Public into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled. A story at NPR caught my eye: "...NPR and PBS Frontline spent months digging into internal industry documents and interviewing top former officials. We found that the industry sold the public on an idea it knew wouldn't work -- that the majority of plastic could be, and would be, recycled -- all while making billions of dollars selling the world new plastic. The industry's awareness that recycling wouldn't keep plastic out of landfills and the environment dates to the program's earliest days, we found. "There is serious doubt that [recycling plastic] can ever be made viable on an economic basis," one industry insider wrote in a 1974 speech..." Photo credit: "Landfill workers bury all plastic except soda bottles and milk jugs at Rogue Disposal & Recycling in southern Oregon." Laura Sullivan/NPR. Remembering the Galveson Hurricane of 1900. I didn't realize there was a Minnesota angle, but Dr. Mark Seeley set me straight at Minnesota WeatherTalk: "...This past Tuesday marked the 120th anniversary of the most lethal hurricane disaster in U.S. history. Galveston, TX was hit by 120 mph winds and a 20 foot storm surge on September 8, 1900. More than 6,000 people drowned and over 3600 homes were destroyed. This hurricane tracked north over Texas and the southern plains to merge with a cold front over Iowa by September 10th. The storm then produced a period of very heavy rains over Minnesota. In fact, the record Twin Cities rainfall for today's date of 3.11 inches is a direct result of this storm. Other parts of southern Minnesota reported 4 to 6 inches of rainfall as a result of this storm..." Photo credit: "Floating wreckage near Texas City - typical scene for miles along the water front - Galveston disaster." Wikipedia. Swedish Consortium Unveils Mammoth Wind-Powered Car Carrier. Back to the future? The Driven has details: "...Heralded as a “Swedish project for truly sustainable shipping,” the wPCC is currently being developed by the consortium and is expected to be sailing by the end of 2024. The world’s largest sailing vessel, the wPCC is billed as being able to reduce emissions by 90% as compared to other ocean-going freighters. A transatlantic crossing aboard the wPCC would take twelve days, instead of the current seven days it takes a conventional freighter..." The Social Dilemma. If the product or service is free - YOU are the product. You simply won't believe the amount of data mining going on - and how much these platforms know about all of us. Here's an excerpt of a review of a new documentary on Netflix from The New York Times: "...That social media can be addictive and creepy isn’t a revelation to anyone who uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like. But in Jeff Orlowski’s documentary “The Social Dilemma,” conscientious defectors from these companies explain that the perniciousness of social networking platforms is a feature, not a bug. They claim that the manipulation of human behavior for profit is coded into these companies with Machiavellian precision: Infinite scrolling and push notifications keep users constantly engaged; personalized recommendations use data not just to predict but also to influence our actions, turning users into easy prey for advertisers and propagandists..." "I Have Blood On My Hands" Says Former Facebook Employee and Whistleblower. Buzzfeed News has the story: "Facebook ignored or was slow to act on evidence that fake accounts on its platform have been undermining elections and political affairs around the world, according to an explosive memo sent by a recently fired Facebook employee and obtained by BuzzFeed News. The 6,600-word memo, written by former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang, is filled with concrete examples of heads of government and political parties in Azerbaijan and Honduras using fake accounts or misrepresenting themselves to sway public opinion. In countries including India, Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador, she found evidence of coordinated campaigns of varying sizes to boost or hinder political candidates or outcomes, though she did not always conclude who was behind them..." America is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral. Ed Yong has a harrowing overview at The Atlantic; here's an excerpt: "...Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster. They grabbed onto whatever solution was most prominent in the moment, and bounced from one (often false) hope to the next. They saw the actions that individual people were taking, and blamed and shamed their neighbors. They lapsed into magical thinking, and believed that the world would return to normal within months. Following these impulses was simpler than navigating a web of solutions, staring down broken systems, and accepting that the pandemic would rage for at least a year. These conceptual errors were not egregious lies or conspiracy theories, but they were still dangerous. They manifested again and again, distorting the debate around whether to stay at home, wear masks, or open colleges. They prevented citizens from grasping the scope of the crisis and pushed leaders toward bad policies..." Illustration credit: Aaron Marin. The Lessons Two Ancient Philosophers Have For Us During the Pandemic. Words of wisdom that still ring true, courtesy of The Washington Post (paywall): "...The happy life is not to be found in pleasures or possessions, wrote Seneca, who was soon to be stripped of both. It is a life spent in pursuit of virtue, of learning what is the right thing to do and then doing it -- no matter how many people do otherwise. We may live to old age or die young; we may be healthy or sick, rich or poor: These are matters of fortune beyond our control. We control only our own thoughts and actions, how we conduct ourselves and how we treat others..." How to Save TV Ads from Extinction. But really, do we want to save TV ads? To save "free" TV? Here's a clip from Quartz: "... Not only is viewing spread out between TV and digital, but viewing within digital is also consumed in vastly different ways. That’s before you even consider the devices on which viewers are watching: About 70% still watch on televisions, but an increasing number are viewing on phones, tablets, and computers. More options are great for the consumer. But it’s a nightmare for advertisers as they try to decide how much to spend on each medium, and how their messaging should change depending on the platform. On top of existing fragmentation, there’s a global pandemic. All evidence suggests the coronavirus is accelerating a shift to digital consumption. And while TV ad revenues have been stable for decades, despite the myriad reasons for them to fall, the pandemic may be what pushes them over the edge..."
Masks, Meet Wretched Excess. Oh yes, but does it keep you safer while you're looking stylish? USA TODAY reports: "...Vanity Fair reported that the Louis Vuitton shield includes an elastic monogrammed strap that goes around the wearer's head with a movable shield attached by golden studs engraved with the LV logo. While several media outlets including Vanity Fair and the New York Post say the shields will cost $961, Business Insider reported that Louis Vuitton officials said a price has not been announced yet..."
Image credit: Louis Vuitton.
Taco Bell is making its own wine. It's 2020, why not. CNN.com reports: "Jalapeño Noir is designed to pair with its Toasted Cheesy Chalupa. There's tons of cheese on Taco Bell's menu, so a wine to pair with it is a natural next step. The tantalizing combination is only available for a limited time in Canada to celebrate the launch of the menu item…. Taco Bell Canada said in a release the duo is "irresistible," adding that "the rich taste and crunchy texture of the beloved Toasted Cheesy Chalupa complements notes of wild strawberry, cherry and beetroot in this silky limited-edition red wine..."
Image credit here.
81 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.
72 F. average high on September 15.
82 F. high on September 15, 2019.
September 16, 2006: A rapidly forming tornado hits Rogers just before 10pm, causing one fatality.
September 16, 1992: New Market receives nearly a foot of rain. A bridge collapses during a flood in northern Le Sueur County.
September 16, 1955: An F1 tornado touches down in Mille Lacs and Kanabec Counties, causing 1 fatality and $500,000 in damages.
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, cooler breeze. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 69 THURSDAY: Clouds increase, probably dry. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 44. High: 62 FRIDAY: More clouds than sun, still cool. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 47. High: 64 SATURDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, not bad. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 48. High: 69 SUNDAY: Intervals of sun, milder breeze. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 54. High: 75 MONDAY: Unsettled, few T-showers possible. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 57. High: 76 TUESDAY: Lukewarm sunshine. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 60. High: 79
Photo credit: Paul Douglas
Climate Change Will Force a New American Migration. Note to self - it's already happening. ProPublica examines the threat and subsequent trends in where Americans want to live: "...What I found was a nation on the cusp of a great transformation. Across the United States, some 162 million people -- nearly 1 in 2 -- will most likely experience a decline in the quality of their environment, namely more heat and less water. For 93 million of them, the changes could be particularly severe, and by 2070, our analysis suggests, if carbon emissions rise at extreme levels, at least 4 million Americans could find themselves living at the fringe, in places decidedly outside the ideal niche for human life. The cost of resisting the new climate reality is mounting. Florida officials have already acknowledged that defending some roadways against the sea will be unaffordable. And the nation’s federal flood-insurance program is for the first time requiring that some of its payouts be used to retreat from climate threats across the country. It will soon prove too expensive to maintain the status quo..."
Will Extreme Weather Keep Getting Worse? Scientists Say Yes. Here's the intro to a post at Weather.com: "One by one, climate and disaster records and milestones have been shattered in 2020. The stories of the extremes make daily headlines: Nine cities see their earliest snowfall ever. A South Dakota River was in flood stage for 17 months. The last decade was the hottest ever recorded on Earth. A brutal California heat wave had off-the-charts temperatures. Historic wildfires burn across the western United States. Things can only go up from here, right? That's not what the experts say. Scientists and climate experts resoundingly agree that we're likely to see more years like 2020, with more intense, destructive and deadly weather events..."
Image credit: NOAA CPO.
What Happened During Trump's (California) Visit? Here's an excerpt from The New York Times (paywall): "...On Monday, President Trump met with Gov. Gavin Newsom and a group of California officials in McClellan Park outside Sacramento. The California officials wore masks. The president did not. “It’ll start getting cooler,” Mr. Trump said. “You just watch.” Wade Crowfoot, the secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, told Mr. Trump that he hoped the weather would, indeed, cool. “I wish science agreed with you,” Mr. Crowfoot said. “I don’t think science knows, actually,” President Trump responded. Climate change is not a matter of debate among scientists..."
In Smoky Skies, Clarity on Climate Crisis. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from the Star Tribune Editorial Board: "...A California official brought up climate change, but Trump was uninterested. “It will start getting cooler,” he said. “You just watch. I don’t think science knows, actually.” Science does know, actually. The case for human-influenced climate change is well established. Trump’s dismissive attitude toward the science of climate change is no more based in reality than his minimizing (in public, anyway) of the deadliness of the coronavirus. Closer to the mark was Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger to Trump’s re-election bid, who also spoke about the fires Monday. In his own incendiary comments, he used the words “climate arsonist” in reference to the president. It’s reasonable to call Trump to account for his negligence toward the climate crisis. But “arsonist” sounds like the rhetoric of the rumor mongers who blame antifa operatives for setting some of the wildfires..."
Climate Change Denialist Given Top Role at Major U.S. Science Agency. By all means let's sugarcoat what's really happening right now. Science Magazine has the troubling news: "...The move marks an escalation within the Trump administration to undermine the agency's ability to warn the public of climate risks, observers said. Legates has spent his career denying consensus climate science while elevating the work of fringe researchers and industry-funded scientists. He has claimed that addressing climate change would do more harm than good, and he has said pumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would benefit humanity. When testifying before the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee last year, Legates blamed natural variations for the unprecedented level of warming that scientists say is caused by the release of carbon dioxide from human activity. "Climate has always changed, and weather is always variable, due to complex, powerful natural forces," Legates said. "No efforts to stabilize the climate can possibly be successful..."
Facebook and Google Announce Plans to Become Carbon Neutral. The Guardian reports: "Facebook and Google are becoming carbon neutral businesses, joining competitors Apple and Microsoft in committing to put no excess carbon into the atmosphere, both companies have independently announced. But the details of the two companies’ ambitions differs greatly. At Google, which first committed to going carbon neutral in 2007, the announcement sees the company declaring success in retroactively offsetting all carbon it has ever emitted, since its foundation in 1998. It has also committed to being powered exclusively by renewable energy by 2030. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is: in 2017, Google became a “net-zero” company, buying renewable energy to match its energy usage, but was unable to fully commit to eliminating carbon-emitting generation entirely..."
How Climate Change is Fueling Record-Breaking California Wildfires, Heat and Smog. Here's an excerpt from The Los Angeles Times: "...Lindsey, who acknowledges that he was a bit of a climate skeptic in the past, said seeing the increase in seawater temperatures, in particular, over many years “was a real epiphany or wake-up call.” “By now, there’s no doubt in most people’s minds that the atmosphere is warming and the ocean is warming,” he said. “With the way greenhouse gases are increasing, in my mind, there’s no doubt that we’re causing this. It’s human activity that’s causing this. So I’m concerned about the future. And that’s somebody who’s very skeptical.” Global warming has increased the odds of unprecedented heat extremes across more than 80% of the planet and “has doubled or even, in some areas, tripled the odds of record-setting hot events” in California and the Western U.S., said Stanford University climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh..."
Dismay as Huge Chunk of Greenland's Ice Cap Breaks Off. Details via Associated Press and Star Tribune: "An enormous chunk of Greenland's ice cap has broken off in the far northeastern Arctic, a development that scientists say is evidence of rapid climate change. The glacier section that broke off is 110 square kilometers (42.3 square miles). It came off of the fjord called Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, which is roughly 80 kilometers (50 miles) long and 20 kilometers (12 miles) wide, the National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland said Monday. The glacier is at the end of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream, where it flows off the land and into the ocean..."
Image credit: "This Monday, July 30, 2019 natural-color image made with the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite shows meltwater collecting on the surface of the ice sheet in northwest Greenland near the sheet's edge. A hotter world is getting closer to passing a temperature limit set by global leaders five years ago and may exceed it in the next decade or so, according to a new United Nations report released on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020."
Secret Recording Reveals Oil Executives' Private Views on Climate Change. The New York Times (paywall) reports: "...At a discussion convened last year by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, a group that represents energy companies, participants worried that producers were intentionally flaring, or burning off, far too much natural gas, threatening the industry’s image, according to a recording of the meeting reviewed by The New York Times. “We’re just flaring a tremendous amount of gas,” said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, at the June 2019 gathering, held in Colorado Springs. “This pesky natural gas,” he said. “The value of it is very minimal,” particularly to companies drilling mainly for oil. A well can produce both oil and natural gas, but oil commands far higher prices. Flaring it is an inexpensive way of getting rid of the gas..."
Charleston Sues "Big Oil" for Flooding in South Carolina Lowcountry Caused by Global Warming. Here's the intro to a story at The Post and Courier: "The city of Charleston filed a lawsuit Wednesday in state court against two dozen major oil and pipeline companies, alleging their products and the spread of misinformation about fossil fuels have caused climate change and repetitive, disastrous flooding in the city. The lawsuit demands those companies -- some of the biggest names in the industry -- pay for the cost of trying to keep the city dry. But it doesn’t specify a dollar amount. It was the second assault on the oil industry in two days. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced a moratorium on drilling off the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida..."
Biden's Early Climate Focus and Hard Years in Congress Forged His $2 Trillion Clean Energy Plan. More details on how Joe Biden might address climate change from InsideClimate News: "...But Biden, keenly aware of the forces that conspired to forestall Obama's climate agenda, has made climate action integral to his plan for addressing the immediate woes he will inherit. Biden has framed climate change as one of four historic crises that the nation is confronting at once--a perfect storm that has delivered "one of the most difficult moments America has ever faced." In his pledge to "Build Back Better," Biden is seeking to propel his climate plan, rather than allowing it to be trampled by the imperative to address the pandemic, the economic collapse and racial injustice. "We can, and we will, deal with climate change," Biden said. "It's not only a crisis, it's an enormous opportunity. An opportunity for America to lead the world in clean energy and create millions of new good-paying jobs in the process..."
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