California Wildfires

California wildfires now larger than New York City and Boston combined…

Firefighters are struggling to contain the biggest of six blazes burning in southern California, with the Thomas Fire slipping from 15% containment to 10% Sunday.

Covering 230,000 acres, the Thomas Fire is now the fifth largest blaze in modern California history. The fires are collectively burning an area larger than New York City and Boston combined.

Gusty winds and dry conditions are not helping the wildfire’s spread, and there’s no rain in the forecast for at least 10 days.

Meanwhile, in Congress… 1

California Wildfires

California Wildfires

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  1. And if the ReThugs get their way, this will be effective January 1st, 2018. Yep, that’s right – no help for you, Cali. Merry Christmas from the White House and the ReThugs.

Climate Change Study Canceled Due To Climate Change

(CNN)A $17 million study of climate change in the Canadian Arctic has been nixed for now — because of climate change.

A team of scientists from the University of Manitoba and four other schools were in the middle of the first leg of a four-year study of how climate change is affecting the areas around the Hudson Bay, the university said in statement. The study, named BaySys, started last month, and the scientists were traveling on the Canadian Research Icebreaker CCGS Amundsen.

But because of warmer temperatures in the Arctic, hazardous sea ice is traveling farther south than usual. The Amundsen, which is part of the Canadian Coast Guard fleet, has been diverted several times because its ice-breaking capabilities have been needed to help out in rescue efforts along Newfoundland’s northeast coast. All of the delays and concerns about safety forced the cancellation of the study’s first leg.

“Considering the severe ice conditions and the increasing demand for search and rescue operations and ice escort, we decided to cancel the BaySys mission,” said Dr. David Barber, expedition chief scientist and BaySys scientific lead. “A second week of delay meant our research objectives just could not be safely achieved. The challenge for us all was that the marine ice hazards were exceedingly difficult for the maritime industry, the (Canadian Coast Guard) and science.”

Barber and his team confirmed that a large portion of the sea ice they were seeing off Newfoundland’s coast was indeed from the Arctic.

Climate Change Study Canceled Due To Climate Change

Hurricane Irma

As we type Hurricane Irma has been declared a Category 5 storm (Harvey was a 4 when it drowned Houston.)

Currently NASA is tracking the storm and anticipates it hitting the leeward islands sometime Wednesday. It might also still make Maryland, with WDC right in its path. 1

Another possible path sends it slicing across Florida, hopefully right through Mar a Lago, though it is far more likely to destroy Generalissimo Donaldo Juan Trumpo’s Caribbean mansion, le Ch teau des Palmiers.

Sadly, a third path tracks Irma skittering across the Caribbean to strike Texas. Again.

Here’s hoping le Ch teau des Palmiers takes the brunt of the storm.

Hurricane Irma

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  1. Which would be GREAT, if it would confine its damage to the Capitol building and the current occupant of the White House. Alas, storms driven by man-made climate change appear to be indiscriminate monsters.

New Rift

A new rift has been detected in the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica – just a week after one of the largest icebergs ever recorded broke off from it.

Researchers at Project MIDAS, which has been monitoring the ice shelf and first detected the iceberg’s calving, say the new rift appears to be extending northward.

They point out that although this new rift will probably turn toward the shelf edge, creating a small iceberg, there is a risk it will continue toward the Bawden Ice Rise, a point that is crucial to keeping the shelf stable.

“We see a new short feature of around 6 kilometers 1 heading north from the complex region of cracks that formed just before the iceberg broke away,” said Adrian Luckman, a professor of glaciology at Swansea University, who is leading the research at MIDAS.

Luckman says that researchers will continue to monitor the new rift, and that there is “no cause for concern” just yet.

New Rift

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  1. 3.7 miles

Climate Skepticism

The below is encouraging: Senate ReThugs didn’t muster enough votes to repeal an Obama administration rule on methane emissions. I doubt the failed vote was about imaginary “angry Western land owners”; none of Senators who flipped — Collins (R-ME), Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Walnuts (R-AZ)– represent states where leaky gas wells are a huge factor. Much more likely is Graham and Walnuts’ virulent antipathy toward OMP, as well as Collins on-again, off-again playing at “liberal” for her home base. In any event, it’s good for the planet…

Some Republican lawmakers balked at fully embracing the Trump administration’s climate skepticism Wednesday, as the Senate failed to kill an Obama-era plan for containing methane emissions that had deep support among environmental activists and many landowners in the West.

Three Republican senators joined Democrats in blocking the effort to kill the methane restrictions that the GOP congressional leadership had been confident it could scuttle. The push to scrap the methane rules faltered amid an uprising of protest in Western states, where tens of thousands of residents near drilling operations risk exposure to the toxic compounds that leak in tandem with the methane.

At issue is 41 billion cubic feet of a greenhouse gas leaking from many of the nearly 100,000 oil and gas wells on federally owned land. Methane is among the most potent accelerators of global warming, 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

A House vote in March to eliminate an Obama-era Bureau of Land Management rule requiring energy firms to trap the escaping gas and convert it to electricity was followed by a swift public backlash. Several Republican senators wavered on the measure in recent weeks.

Climate Skepticism