Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sept. 13 News: ‘Astounding’ Record Arctic Ice Melt May Make Weather Extremes More Likely

Sept. 13 News: ‘Astounding’ Record Arctic Ice Melt May Make Weather Extremes More Likely:
The record loss of Arctic sea ice this summer will echo throughout the weather patterns affecting the U.S. and Europe this winter, climate scientists said on Wednesday, since added heat in the Arctic influences the jet stream and may make extreme weather and climate events more likely. [Climate Central]
The “astounding” loss of sea ice this year is adding a huge amount of heat to the Arctic Ocean and the atmosphere, said Jennifer Francis, an atmospheric scientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey. “It’s like having a new energy source for the atmosphere.”
… Peter Wadhams, the head of the polar ocean physics group at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., told BBC News on September 6 that the added heat from sea ice loss is equivalent to the warming from 20 years of carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas that is causing manmade global warming.
For more detail, see Arctic Warming Favors Extreme, Prolonged Weather Events “Such As Drought, Flooding, Cold Spells And Heat Waves.”
The Agriculture Department on Wednesday slightly lowered its forecast of corn and soybean yields as record heat continued to batter crops in the Midwest, making it likely that farmers will bring in one of the lowest harvests in years. [New York Times]
Firefighters battled stubborn blazes that kept residents from homes in Montana, Wyoming and Washington as authorities worried the weather could worsen the volatile situation. [San Francisco Gate]
Health officials say they’re convinced this will be the worst year for West Nile virus deaths and severe illnesses since the disease hit America’s shores in 1999. [Washington Post]
A recent study done by the Natural Resources and Defense Council highlights the best and worst states equipped with plans to combat water shortage and other problems expected to occur from globally increasing temperatures due to climate change. One of only nine, California was given top awards for an integrated and comprehensive preparedness plan that addresses all relevant water sectors and state agencies. [Huffington Post]
Growing installations of rooftop solar panels are increasing concern that U.S. utilities may refuse to buy power generated by the systems, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. [Bloomberg]
After raising more than $100 million over the past seven years, GreenVolts, a California startup that makes concentrating photovoltaic systems, has closed its doors after a major investor abruptly withdrew financial support for the company. [Forbes]
Back in August, the Obama administration announced strict new fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks. By 2025, passenger vehicles sold in the United States are supposed to get, on average, 54.5 miles per gallon. So how does these rules stack up internationally? [Wonk Blog]
European officials signaled on Tuesday that they may recommend the suspension of the continent’s carbon emission fees for airlines to avert a trade war with major economic powers such as China and the United States, allowing time to forge a global agreement on climate charges for the aviation industry. [Guardian]

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