Archive for the ‘climate’ Category

Snow Shortage in Sochi

February 13, 2014

Snow Shortage in Sochi

Today in Sochi, the Pearl of the Russian Riviera on the Black Sea, the temperature hit 63 degrees Fahrenheit. Nice for folks who came to enjoy the subtropical climatepalm trees, historic hotels and spas, and wide beaches; not so good for the Winter Olympic Games.

The snow cover is so slushy that Olympic officials have tapped into Sochi’s Strategic Snow Reserve. Many Americans would gladly donate the deep snow that currently covers their cars, sidewalks, and roadways, but that’s impractical due to Sochi’s strict “Buy Russian” policy. Shipping snow to Sochi from Russia’s subarctic climate zone via Trans-Siberian Express would take too long; maybe they can use some of those Soviet-era cargo blimps.

More:

“Sunkissed beachgoers strip off in Sochi as hot weather turns ski and snowboard runs into slush,’ Dan Bloom, Daily Mail

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Image: Sochi Intourist Travel Brochure, 1937.

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Breeding Burpless Bovines

June 23, 2013

Breeding Burpless Bovines

Methane and other greenhouse gasses are heating up the world’s atmosphere, fueling global warming. 18% of those gases come from the burps and farts of the billions of cows in the vast herds feeding the world’s growing appetite for meat. Face it, Earth’s human population isn’t going to go Vegan, and cow-mounted catalytic converters just don’t cut it. What’s to be done?

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Groundhog Day

February 2, 2013

Groundhog Day

It’s February 2nd, time to monitor Marmota monax and dream of winter’s end. Whether or not you believe in woodchuck weathermen, one thing is certain: you can’t have groundhogs if you want a backyard full of fresh garden veggies.

Groundhogs (aka woodchucks, whistlepigs, and marmots) are insecto-vegetarians and confirmed locavores. If you plan to plant this spring, harvest those hairy beasts now. Celebrate Groundhog Day with critter cuisine.

Serving suggestions:

Woodchuck au Vin

Canadian Fried Woodchuck

Groundhog Pie

Woodchuck Recipes from Michigan (Oriental Groundhog,Waco Groundhog in Sour Cream,Woodchuck Stew, Woodchuck Meat Loaf)

More groundhog lore and recipes here and here.

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Venice: Surf’s Up!

November 14, 2012

Venice: Surf's Up!

New Yorkers learned about Storm Surge last month after a visit from Hurricane Sandy. But with climate change causing rising sea levels, Tidal Surge will be a more frequent threat to coastal cities. If you want to see New York’s future, look at Venice.

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Climate Change and Surfing: It’s a Bummer, Dude.

August 14, 2012

Climate Change and Surfing: It's a Bummer, Dude.

Climate change means extreme weather. When it’s stormy there will be some monster waves, but there will also be long periods of flat water. The really bad news is that climate warming causes sea level rise:

“Even a foot change in the tide line can mean the difference between great and mediocre waves…. Researchers believe sea levels could rise six inches by 2030, and a foot by 2050, or more.”

Except in North Carolina, of course, where sea level change is against the law.

At beaches where the water has a sandy bottom, there will still be some slope and maybe some decent wave formation. Where the bottom is rocky or made of coral, the outlook is not so good.

More:

“Will Climate Change Wipe Out Surfing?” Sam Kornell, Pacific Standard

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Image (“The Great Wipeout Off Kanagawa, after Hokusai”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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King Canute to Visit Virginia Beach?

June 14, 2012

King Canute Visits Virginia Beach

Following the lead of the North Carolina Senate, the Commonwealth of Virginia has decided to legislate against the inevitable rise of the sea level along the coastal Atlantic shore. Sounds like King Canute is moving from Hatteras to Virginia Beach.

More:

“Virginia Lawmaker Says ‘Sea Level Rise’ Is A ‘Left Wing Term,’ Excises It From State Report On Coastal Flooding,” Rebecca Leber, Think Progress

“Sink or Swim,” The Colbert Report

“Sea level rise 101,” John Bruno, SeaMonster

“Understanding Sea Level Rise: Why a linear extrapolation is the least reasonable predictor of future changes,” Southern Fried Science

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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King Canute Backs North Carolina Shore Bill

June 2, 2012

King Canute Backs North Carolina Shore Bill

North Carolina’s Coastal Resources Commission, using current scientific data, estimated a 39-inch rise in sea level by the year 2100.  Developers of beach houses, marinas, and seaside resorts don’t want to hear about it, so a bill has been introduced in the state legislature making scientific estimates of changes in sea level illegal.

Just like legendary King Canute, North Carolina’s politicians want to order the sea to stop rising. Maybe Canute was really a  Tarheel Republican climate change denialist.

More:

“Climate Change: North Carolinians Hope to Stop It in Its Tracks,” Bill Chameides, Huffington Post

“NC Considers Making Sea Level Rise Illegal,” Scott Huler, Scientific American blog

Read Knight Science Journalism Tracker post here.

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Image (“King Canute Tours North Carolina Shoreline”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Acqua Alta

November 27, 2010

Acqua Alta

The art-infested Italian city of Venice got a good cleaning this weekend as the acqua alta high tide sloshed over ancient squares and into palazzo basements. Okay, if palazzos don’t have basements, where do they keep all that wine?

In areas of Venice that are under water, tourists and other pedestrians crowd together on narrow wooden walkways (passerelle). Water depth can range from 1 to 2 meters (about 3 feet, 3 3/5 inches to 6 feet, 6 7/10th inches). Good thing high-heeled boots are in fashion; there’s never a vacant gondola around when you need one.

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Earth Day Update: Meat, Methane, Laughing Gas

April 22, 2010

Earth Day Update: Meat, Methane, Laughing Gas 

A 2006 UN study claimed meat production is responsible for creating more greenhouse gas emissions than the exhaust of all cars, SUVs, buses, planes and trucks combined. Methane and other greenhouse gases are produced by cow flatulence and burping.  

If you need to discuss it in polite company, the process that makes cows gassy is called “enteric fermentation.”  Cow burps are “ruminant eructation.” 

A 2009 study estimated that half of all greenhouse gases are generated by livestock.  Investigators have been collecting cow gas emissions (methane and nitrous oxide) in huge plastic containers for analysis. People concerned about Global Warming have urged a reduction in meat eating  in order to reduce the size of gassy cattle herds. 

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Snow in DC; Global Warming Deniers Rejoice

December 19, 2009

Snow in DC; Global Warming Deniers Rejoice

It’s snowing in the District of Columbia.  A  foot of snow is on the ground and it’s not even winter yet.  President Obama couldn’t even use his helicopter after returning from the failed Copenhagen climate change summit. He traveled from Andrews Air Force Base to the White House by car.

Climate change denial is a growth industry among those who don’t believe in evolution, either. Global Warming skeptics see a massive conspiracy involving UN black helicopters or Hollywood Jews, little green men, or mad scientists.  Those with a vested interest in the status quo are glad to support them. Many who deny anthropogenic global warming are funded by huge corporations that grow rich by generating greenhouse gasses (more here).

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