2012 SkS Bi-Weekly News Roundup #6

This is the sixth edition of a biweekly roundup of selected news articles and blog posts about climate change and its impacts. Readers are encouraged to comment on the posted articles and to provide links to other articles of importance.

2012 Hurricane Season Retrospective

By the old-school yardstick of named storms, 2012 ranked among the busiest hurricane season on record. By broader and more sophisticated measures, it was sort of middling.

"We had a large number of storms but most of them did not amount to much," said Chris Landsea, science and operations officer for the National Hurricane Center.

The mixed messages of hurricane season 2012 by Curtis Morgan, The Miami Herald, Nov 29, 2012

Climate Denial Machine: US

Media Matters looks at how conservative media outlets give industry-funded "experts" a platform, creating a polarized misunderstanding of climate science.

Meet The Climate Denial Machine by Jill Fitzsimmons, Media Matters, Nov 28, 2012

COP18: A Unique Perspective

I’ve been getting a lot of press lately what with Hurricane Sandy and the U.N. climate summit in Doha, Qatar. Please allow me to introduce myself. You’ve been calling me “global warming” or “climate change” or even “climate weirding”.

Global Warming Goes to Doha by Stepen Leahy, Inter Press Service (IPS), Nov 28, 2012

Impacts: California

Editor's note (11/30/12): The article will appear in the January 2013 issue of Scientific American. We are making it freely available now because of the flooding underway in California.

Megastorms Could Drown Massive Portions of California by Michael D. Dettinger and B. Lynn Ingram, Scientific American, Nov 30, 2012 

Impacts: Texas

Water managers are eyeing their gauges, farmers are watching wheat fields wither, ranchers are recalculating their herd numbers and city dwellers are dragging out their sprinklers again as drought rapidly intensifies across Texas.

A new federal survey shows the dreaded "d-word" is worming its way back as rainfall deficits mount and soil moisture, stream flows and water reserves quickly decline.

Texas 'drought is rearing its ugly head again' by Steve Campbell, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Nov 29, 2012 

Impacts: US Great Plains

Since the 1940s agriculture on the semiarid southern Great Plains—Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas—has relied on irrigation. On the high plains of Texas, tens of thousands of wells pumping from the 10-million-year-old Ogallala Aquifer have depleted it by 50 percent. Given variation in its depth and the difficulty of pumping at low water levels, most of the remaining reservoir will likely be useless for irrigation within about 30 years. At the same time, climate change has brought less rain as well as hotter temperatures that increase evaporation—forcing farmers to use even more water for irrigation. "We have agriculture systems in semiarid areas," Hayhoe says. "We built these vulnerabilities into the system and climate change is the final straw that may break the camel's back."

Climate Change Threatens Long-Term Sustainability of Great Plains by Melissa Gaskill, Scientific American, Nov 27, 2012

Polar Ice Sheets

Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are shrinking three times faster than they were in the 1990s, and their contribution to global sea level rise is growing, according to a new study by many of the world's top ice experts.

Polar Melting Is Accelerating, So Is Sea-Level Rise by By Lauren Morello and ClimateWire, Scientific American, Nov 30, 2012

Public Opinion: US

The truth is we all need to be more engaged in the stark realities of climate change, which will affect the national economy over time just as much as will the huge federal budget debt .

No individual, no region, is immune from its effects, be it searing heat or severe flooding. Wise are those Floridians who look at the aftermaths of Sandy and know that next year it could be our turn again.

Commentary: Obama should make reducing greenhouse emissions a top priority in second term, Editorial Board, Miami Herald, Nov 27, 2012

Regulation: US

Another in what will likely be many legal maneuvers aimed at either expanding or contracting the regulatory reach of the Environmental Protection Agency over the next four years is expected to land Wednesday morning, as a New York-based policy reform group files notice of intent to sue the agency to force it to create a market for carbon emissions tied to cars, planes and other mobile sources.

Group Signals Plan To Sue EPA To Force Cap-And-Trade Scheme For Vehicle Emissions by Tom Zweller Jr., The Huffington Post, Nov 28, 2012

Sea Level Rise

Sea levels are rising far faster than the latest estimates given by international climate change researchers, a new study has warned.

Sea levels far faster than we thought, warns latest study to raise the alarm over runaway global warming by Damien Gayle, The Daily Mail (UK), Nov 28, 2012

Staying Under 2 Degrees Centigrade

A new scientific report shows that global warming can be kept well under two degrees C, but only if most of the known deposits of coal, oil and gas remain in the ground.

The problem is no country is doing anywhere near enough to keep fossil fuels in the ground, according to the Climate Action Tracker released Friday on the sidelines of the U.N. climate change negotiations here in Doha, Qatar.

Fossil Fuel Lobby in the Driver’s Seat at Doha by Stephen Leahy, Inter Press Service (IPS), Nov 30, 2012

Posted by John Hartz on Sunday, 2 December, 2012

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