THE BLOG
06/28/2014 06:49 pm ET Updated Aug 28, 2014

Climate Change This Week: Packing Record Heat, Fracking Leaks and More!

Today, the Earth got a little hotter, and a little more crowded.

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Daily Climate Change: Global Map of Unusual Temperatures, June 28 2014

How unusual has the weather been? No one event is "caused" by climate change, but global warming, which is predicted to increase unusual, extreme weather, is having a daily effect on weather, worldwide.

Looking above at recent temperature anomalies, much of the US is experiencing warmer than average temperatures; the east Pacific warm spot still prevents much rain from reaching California.

Much of the Arctic Sea surrounding the North Pole is experiencing much warmer than normal temperatures - not good news for our Arctic thermal shield of ice, which is predicted to shrink further in 2014 (see below). Hotter than usual temperatures continue to dominate human habitats.

(Add 0.3-0.4 C to have these anomaly values calibrate with those of NASA.) Daily updates of can be seen here for both the temperature anomalies map, and the jetstream map. For real time animated US surface wind patterns, click here, and here, for the planet. (Clicking on "earth" there reveals data and map options.)

SOLAR KEEPS SMILING

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Organic photovoltaics, the cheap but less efficient cells that can be produced in flexible films, are getting closer to mass production with improvements in efficiency, production and investment.

In the US, the solar home market is going mainstream as it becomes affordable and accessible. Now, customers who can't own or lease rooftop systems can to buy into shared or community solar arrays. Meanwhile, new ways to connect investors to solar projects are emerging.

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Check it out here, right now!

To meet the resulting rise in demand, Elon Musk, SolarCity CEO, plans to build a factory to churn out 1 Gigawatts worth of solar panels annually.

In Utah, unsubsidized solar power is now as cheap as or cheaper than fossil fuels, convincing one utility to sign up for 20 years of it. Oklahoma may fight new EPA pollution regulations, but it is expanding its clean energy portfolio, including solar and cutting carbon emissions.

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California is investing over $400 million in clean energy development and storage. In Texas, a utility doubled its large-scale solar source and says it will be coal-free by 2016.

Nationally, new tariffs on Chinese solar modules will raise US prices 14 percent; get them while they're still cheap! The good news is, going towards a low carbon future with wind and solar power also makes economic sense.

Ggg german parliament building is powered by clean renewable energy.

Clean energy powerhouse Germany set major records in solar power recently but needs to develop more storage. The UK now plans to build what could be the world's largest offshore wind farm.

Climate disrupting drought and expense limits energy access to much of Pakistan, but encourages the expansion of off-grid solar power, and companies are learning quickly how to do so.

GOOD CLEAN NEWS

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National Science Foundation

OO Despite Heat, Low Electricity Prices In Texas Show How Wind Is Good For Consumers

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Source: Responding To Climate Change

OO Switching to Wind and Residential Solar Could Reduce Water Waste which is prevalent in the energy industry.

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OO DOE Investing Millions to Research Integrating Clean Energy Into Grid

OO New Software Management Systems Helping Transform the Distribution Grid

OO 6 Student-Led Tech Projects That Battle Climate Change

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A windfloat, or floating wind turbine, is the start of developing floating windfarms. Wikipedia

OO Portugal: Drifting Off Coast Is Global Frontrunner In Floating Windfarms

OO Harley-Davidson Roars In With First Electric Motorcycle

CALIFORNIA DRYIN'

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OO California's Drought Just Got Even Worse

OO Water War Brewing Between California And Arizona as their common water source, the Colorado River, continues its longterm decline from overconsumption,n and climate change, in the form of a growing drought.

OO California Drought: Tensions Soar Over Decline of Sierra Snow as historic water users debate how to share the remaining water.

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OO California Drought Drying Up Honey Supply Besides colonies collapsing from pesticides and parasites, bees are faced with a lot less natural forage to make honey.

OO California Drought Forces Fish Hatcheries To Empty To Avoid BIG Losses


RISING RISKS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate Change Puts World's Energy Systems at Risk a new report says, reports Fiona Harvey at the UK Guardian. Rising sea levels, extremes of weather and an increase in the frequency of droughts and floods will all play havoc with the world's energy systems as climate change takes hold.

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Power plants and electricity distribution networks are particularly vulnerable to droughts and floods. Photograph: Stephen Hird/Reuters

Generators from nuclear reactors to coal-fired power plants will feel the brunt of weather changes. Many large plants are particularly at risk from droughts, because they need water to cool their facilities, and floods, because they lack protection from sudden storms. Electricity distribution networks are also likely to be affected.

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The arctic jetstream is becoming wavier as polar ice disappears, and that waviness is fueling more extreme weather worldwide. NASA

Wavy Jetstream Fueling Extreme Weather new research shows, reports Brian Kahn at Climate Central. The research showed that particularly wavy jetstream patterns were correlated with particularly extreme temperature and precipitation patterns. Previous research indicates that melting of Arctic ice is causing wavy disturbances in the jetstream.

OO Louisiana Is World's Fastest Loser of Land from Climate Change says a recent US govt report, creating new environmental refugees.

It's Getting Hot:

OO U.S. Seeing Red: Summer Temps Rise Nationally

OO May 2014 Hottest On Planet Earth Since 1880

OO Hottest Spring On Record Globally, Reports Japan Meteorological Agency

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Arctic ice, vital habitat for polar bears, continues to disappear yearly, leaving them adrift. Credit Gerard Van Der Leun/Flickr.

OO Arctic Ice To Shrink 18 percent Below Average In 2014 predict scientists -- not good news, since summer Arctic ice forms a major planetary heat shield, keeping it from heating even more...

OO Surface Melting Is Speeding Flow Of Greenland Glaciers

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Credit James Marvin Phelps/Flickr

Climate Change, El Nino Could Make 2014 Hottest Year on Record say climate change scientists, reports Sophie Yeo / at Responding to Climate Change. The prediction is based on sound physics and the latest El Nino 2014 predictions, a 90 percent chance of occurrence.

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El Nino typically starts to form with a massive buildup (red) of warm water in the eastern Pacific. Via UK Guardian , Climate Consensus

During an El Niño, the ocean releases its energy into the air, warming surface temperatures, and affecting weather patterns globally, including weaker Indian monsoons, and more Pacific hurricanes. It is devastating: The 1997 El Niño, the strongest ever, cost around US$ 35-45 billion in damage and caused around 23,000 deaths worldwide.

OO Atmosphere May Be Getting in Gear for El Niño

OO May Days' Heat To Set Up Record El Niño

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A flooded corn field: 100,000+ acres of crops were lost recently from Midwest flooding. Credit FEMA

Midwest Receives Two Months Of Rainfall In One Week reports reports Katie Valentine at Climate Progress. 100,000 acres of crops have been lost in one Minnesota country alone from round after round of vicious storms, sweeping cattle out of the fields, forcing park closures and sending communities sandbagging.

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Drowned livestock. Source: Facebook

These record, "Hundred Year Floods" are happening more often and may be part of a larger pattern - that of climate change.

Crop loss and flooding in the midwest are part of a series the economic impacts predicted under climate change, as detailed in the regional interactive US map at Risky Business.

OO Rainstorms, Floods Plunge China Into Emergency Response

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Smoggy New Delhi. Credit AP Images

Billions Will Battle To Breathe By 2100 As World Warms says a new study reports Joanna Foster at Climate Progress. The study looked at how climate change would create dangerously stagnant polluted air days. Over half the world will be suffering from an increase in them.

OO
Uncivil War Brews Over Summer Flounder
as they migrate away from the warming waters of one economy, to the cooler waters of another.

OO How Dusty Snow Could Ruin Your Salad - drought loosens the soil, wind deposits it on mountains, and there it helps melt snow far faster than farmers need it - leaving the farms dry later on when they do.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK

Fossil Fuel Follies:

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Source: Responding to Climate Change

OO Costs, Risks of Carbon Pollution Much Worse Than Thought says a new analysis from the London School of Economics.

OO Coal's Share Of Global Energy Is Growing even as it wanes in the US; not good news for the planet.

OO EPA Cap On Coal Emissions Not Enough : "Carbon Crumbs" says ex US chief climate scientist James Hansen; US power sector is already halfway to the 2030 goal.

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An abandoned oil well, and likely source of leaking methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Credit Louisiana Department of Natural Resources

1,000,000 Plus Abandoned US Oil Wells Leak Major Methane says a new study, reports Bobby Magill at Climate Central. In Pennsylvania alone up to a million such rarely inspected wells account for up to 13 percent of total state manmade emissions of methane, 34x more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

A growing list of recent studies suggest that crude oil and natural gas development, particularly in shale formations, are significant sources of methane leaks -- NOT fully included in U.S. EPA greenhouse gas inventories because they are rarely monitored.

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Another large source of methane is from farming, but the size of methane leakage from fossil fuel wells, due to lack of monitoring, remains dangerously unknown. Credit NREL/Colorado State University

This is a big reason why, as Joe Romm of Climate Progress concludes, "natural gas has no net climate benefit in any timescale that matters to humanity." Its just as bad as coal, folks... -- the only difference is we don't have to burn it to get it into the atmosphere.

OO Damaged Storage Tank Spills 7,500 Gallons Of Oil Into River In Colorado

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OO Slow-Motion Earthquakes Caused By Natural Fracking a new study suggests.

OO Drilling Mars Georgia O'Keeffe's Landscapes

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A male sage grouse strutting his stuff. Wikipedia

OO Nevada Fracking Project Threatens Imperiled Sage Grouse

OO 'Stretched' BLM to Congress: Let Us Levy Fees To Inspect Oil, Gas Wells but for 4 years, Congress has said no... why?

OO 40 percent of High-Risk Oil And Gas Wells Are Not Inspected -- Why?

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Source nomoredirtylooks.com

Fossil Fueled Air Pollution Can Impair Your Thinking new research indicates, reports Joanna Foster at Climate Progress. Air pollution can lead to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, respiratory infections and more; 7 million premature deaths around the globe every year are linked to dirty air. Now research shows that exposure to even relatively low concentrations of fine particulate matter can significantly impair cognitive functioning.

OO Mental Well-Being Will Suffer Under Changing Climate, experts say.

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A fracking site sign. Credit Ostroff Law via Wikimedia Commons

US Fracking Boom Threatens Water Supplies reports Valerie Brown at the Climate News Network. US campaigners warn that fracking for oil or gas, which has transformed the country's energy market, is seriously depleting or contaminating vital US water supplies.

While fracking occurs in half of US states, no overarching policy on how the industry uses water exists. Meanwhile, fracking is seriously depleting aquifers, notably in Texas. How about clean energy instead?

OO Texas: Search For Scarce Water Strains Communities

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Borneo orangutans have declined by half over the past 60 years. WWF

OO Palm Oil Plantations: Store Less Carbon, Can't Sustain Orangutans

OO Deforestation Reduces The Size Of Fish says a new study.

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Source: healthline.com

OO US: Climate Change Threatens Your Grape Juice

OO US: 100,000+ Heat Wave Deaths By 2100 says a new report.

OO Farm Fertilizer Produces Greenhouse Gas

<><><><> GOPPING IT UP <><><><>

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Even elephants can't survive on oil. Credit: Mary Ellen Harte

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OO GOP Governors Don't Want To Cut Carbon Pollution -- Even Though Their States Do

OO Koch-Funded Group Won't Back Kansas Republicans Supporting Clean Energy

OO How Rupert Murdoch Brainwashed Australia Into Climate Change Denial

WHAT WORKS

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OO Environmentalists Launch Push To Make Paper More Sustainable Over 120 environmental and human rights organizations announced a global push to transform the paper industry, to preserve more carbon-storing forests.

OO US Supreme Court Backs EPA Plan To Cut Carbon Emissions From Power Plants

OO Two-Thirds of Americans Support Proposed EPA Carbon Rules

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Al Jazeera English at Wikipedia Commons

OO Fight Terrorism By Tackling Climate Change, Says John Kerry
Creating a clean energy market will help tackle "any number of problems" says US Secretary of State.

OO Ex Bush Treasury Secretary: Prevent A 'Climate Crash' With A Carbon Tax

OO Mayors From GOP States Urge Cities To Use Nature To Fight Climate Change - they also signed a climate protection agreement.

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Wikipedia

OO 4 GOP Ex EPA Chiefs Tell Senate GOP: Climate Change Is Real

OO Canada's Indigenous: 'We Are The Wall' That The Pipeline Cannot Pass despite the government's recent approval of it. First Nations groups will fight with lawsuits and direct action.

OO Canada's Most Pressing Health Issue Is Climate Change say public health experts.

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Source: Daily Collegian/Flickr

OO Catholic University Divests From Fossil Fuels

OO Seven EU Countries Demand Binding Energy Efficiency Target

OO EU Mulls Cutting Energy Use By 35 percent

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OO Joint Efforts To Restore Thailand's Forests

OO Australians' Concern Over Global Warming Rebounds

Achieving Real Change:

OO China CO2 Emissions Growth Slows Sharply YAY!!!!

OO Brazil Achieves 70 percent Reduction In Amazon Deforestation more YAY!!!

There is, of course, much more news on the consequences and solutions to climate change. To get it, check out this annotated resource list I've compiled, "Climate Change News Resources," at Wordpress.com here. For more information on the science of climate change, its consequences and solutions you can view my annotated list of online information resources here.

To help you understand just what science does and does NOT do, check this out!

Every day is Earth Day, folks, as I was reminded by this California poppy I photographed recently. Making the U.S. a global clean energy leader will ensure a heck of a lot more jobs, and a clean, safe future. If you'd like to join the increasing numbers of people who want to TELL Congress that they will vote for clean energy candidates you can do so here. It's our way of letting Congress know there's a strong clean energy voting bloc out there. For more detailed summaries of the above and other climate change items, audio podcasts and texts are freely available.

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