Arctic Ice Shatters Melt Record | Mother Jones

The Arctic sea ice extent yesterday fell below its previous record low and is currently losing frozen sea at the rate of ~29,000 square miles (~75,000 square kilometers) a day. That’s equivalent to an area the size of South Carolina every 24 hours.

Here’s what happened:.

On 26 August 2012 sea ice extent fell to 1.58 million square miles (4.10 million square kilometers).

That’s 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers) below the previous record set on 18 September 2007.

The 2007 record low ice extent was 1.61 million square miles (4.17 million square kilometers).

Note that this year’s record low was set more than three weeks earlier than the 2007 record. And summer isn’t over yet. There’s more melting to come.

via Arctic Ice Shatters Melt Record | Mother Jones.

More inconvenient facts for us to ignore while watching The Bachelor. 

Virginia Republican forces scientists to stop using ‘climate change’ terminology | The Raw Story

In a legislative dust-up earlier this year, according to reporter Scott Harper, writing for The Virginian-Pilot, Stolle told Virginia State Senator Ralph Northam (D) that the terms “climate change” and “sea-level rise” are “liberal code words” that must be excised from a study request, or risk having that request shelved.

Shockingly enough: Even though Republicans control the state’s general assembly and hold the tie-breaking vote in the Virginia Senate, they voted to approve $138,000 to fund the study after Northam allowed the term “sea-level rise” to be swapped out for “recurrent flooding.”

While prior administrations in Virginia, namely that of Gov. Tim Kaine (D), were quite proactive about studying climate change, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has said in public that he does not believe human activity is influencing the earth’s climate. His administration also shuttered Gov. Kaine’s climate change commission, which had produced numerous reports on the threats posed to the state by sea-level rise and warmer temperatures.

Ever since then, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has been pushed by the legislature to stop using the scientific terms “climate change” or “sea-level rise,” swapping them for “coastal resilience,” Laura McKay, director of coastal zone management programs, told the Pilot.

via Virginia Republican forces scientists to stop using ‘climate change’ terminology | The Raw Story.

NC is not the only state that would like to legislate away the facts of climate change. Virginia would outlaw the very use of the words. Silly legislation like this only highlight the fact that some conservatives are ideologically rigid and obtuse. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. If coastal states do not come to terms with the reality of rising sea levels, whether man-made or not, billions of dollars’ worth of property and businesses will be destroyed and millions of people will lose their homes and livelihoods. It’s time to stop debating this issue and pretending that climate change doesn’t exist. Even if we continue to argue about whose “fault” it is, we should at least be planning for the eventuality that our coastlines will be changing in the very near future.

Warmest Spring on Record Hits Continental US | LiveScience

Warmth across much of the continental U.S. last month secured an impressive list of weather records. So far, the lower 48 have seen their warmest spring on record, as well as the warmest year-to-date, and the warmest 12-month since record keeping began in 1895. ‘

These records derive from the unusual warmth the eastern two-thirds of the lower 48 states have been experiencing. In May, only the northwestern states did not experience warmer-than-average temperatures, according to the U.S. the National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Adminstration.

For the season overall, 31 states had record warmth for the season, and 11 others had spring temperatures that ranked among their 10 warmest. Only Oregon and Washington had spring temperatures near their averages.

via Warmest Spring on Record Hits Continental US | LiveScience.

On Climate Change, Money Trumps Common Sense | Connecting the Dots, What Matters Today | BillMoyers.com

These days, it seems as if there’s not a fact that can’t be ignored, rejected or altered if you throw enough cash at it.

Last week, the Associated Press reported “a troubling new milestone.” In the Arctic, levels of the heat-trapping gas, carbon dioxide, a key factor in global warming, have hit 400 parts per million, a level scientists believe has not been reached in at least 800,000 years.

“’The fact that it’s 400 is significant,’ said Jim Butler, global monitoring director at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Lab in Boulder, Colo. ‘It’s just a reminder to everybody that we haven’t fixed this and we’re still in trouble.’”

“…The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal for electricity and oil for gasoline, has caused the overwhelming bulk of the man-made increase in carbon in the air, scientists say.”

The International Energy Agency recently announced that in 2011, global levels of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels were at a record high of 34.8 billion tons, up 3.2 percent.

Serious news. Yet the day before the AP report, the progressive website Think Progress took note of Republican opposition in the House to the military seeking alternative fuels “if they cost more than ‘traditional fossil fuel.’” This despite a U.S. Army study that, environmental concerns aside, “[a] fighting force that isn’t restricted by the reach of a tanker truck or weighted down by heavy batteries is more nimble and, as a result, more lethal.”

Continue Reading:  On Climate Change, Money Trumps Common Sense | Connecting the Dots, What Matters Today | BillMoyers.com.