Polar vortex about to blast U.S. with coldest air of the season

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The Siberian Express will ride again next week, as frigid air pushes across much of the U.S. with temperatures in some places dropping to as much as 50 degrees Fahrenheit below average for this time of year. 

The cold will come courtesy of two main weather features — a wobble in the upper level polar vortex that will pull cold air out of Siberia, Alaska and Canada, 

While this will be a headline-grabbing event, with temperatures remaining below zero Fahrenheit for the daytime high across the northern Rockies, parts of the Plains and Midwest, it is not likely to equal or beat the severity of the January 2014 Polar Vortex event.  Read more…

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This is not normal, people: Arctic and Antarctic hit record low sea ice

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Things in the Arctic are just getting weirder and weirder. And not in a good way. 

Freakishly high air and ocean temperatures during November caused sea ice to trail far behind typical levels, with sea ice extent ending the month at a record low. Sea ice extent averaged 3.51 million square miles for the month, which was 753,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average for the period, according to data released Tuesday by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado. 

The section of missing ice was about the same size as the entire country of Mexico. Or to put it in terms of U.S. states, the missing ice is greater than the states of Texas, California, Montana and New Mexico combined. Read more…

More about Record Warm Year, Extreme Weather, Science, Antarctica, and Arctic

Polar vortex-type cold wave could freeze parts of U.S. next week

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After a historically mild November, the start of meteorological winter is shaping up to be extremely cold and snowy for parts of the North America, including the U.S. 

For weeks now, ultra cold air has been building up in Siberia, as the polar vortex has been wobbling around like a bad figure skater, displaced outside of the Arctic. Now it appears the Russian Arctic will warm up dramatically, relative to normal at least, as North America cools off — potentially big time.

The frigid air is coming in two waves. The first is already spilling across the U.S. The second, potentially more potent one, is on tap for next week.  Read more…

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No, Mr. Trump. Do not cancel the plan for a new Air Force One

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President-elect Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he thinks the Air Force should end procurement of the next version of Air Force One, which is based on Boeing’s latest version of the iconic Boeing 747, because it’s too pricey. 

Doing this would be, shall we say, very bad. Sad even!

Not only is that interpretation wrong, there are two great, if interrelated, reasons for keeping the procurement open: We need a new plane. And jobs.

Do we need a new Air Force One? 

The answer is unequivocally yes, since the current version of Air Force One is getting old, having entered service in 1990, during the presidency of George H.W. Bush. The age is showing, with higher costs to operate the plane (about $200,000 per hour, according to CNN), and the necessity of fuel stops on long trips, such as Washington to Tokyo. According to Boeing, such stops would not be needed if the new 747 were used. Read more…

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Interview: Al Gore on commiserating with Hillary, fake news, and Trump’s climate views

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Imagine being a fly on this wall: Former vice president Al Gore commiserated with Hillary Clinton about her unexpected presidential election loss, he told Mashable in a recent interview. 

On the election, if there is anyone who can empathize with Clinton’s predicament, it’s Gore—the only other living person who earned more popular votes while also losing the Electoral College, and therefore, the presidency, when he ran in 2000 against George W. Bush. 

Hillary Clinton, right, accompanied by former Vice President Al Gore, left, takes the stage for a rally in Miami, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016.

Hillary Clinton, right, accompanied by former Vice President Al Gore, left, takes the stage for a rally in Miami, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016.

Image: andrew harnik/ap Read more…

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So, that happened: Al Gore meets with Donald and Ivanka Trump on climate

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Former vice president Al Gore met with President-elect Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka on Monday, to discuss climate change. 

The president-elect is a well-known climate change doubter—and now, the only climate change-denying global leader—who’s taken a stance on climate issues in direct opposition to that of Gore and the world’s scientists, who believe global warming is primarily human-caused, and warrants urgent action.

After the meeting, Gore told the press that the meeting was “a sincere search for common ground,” and “extremely productive.”

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NASA photo reveals a startling 300-foot-wide rift in Antarctic Ice Shelf

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The breakup of the massive Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica is getting closer and will eventually produce an iceberg the size of Delaware prowling the Southern Ocean, according to new NASA data. 

On Friday, NASA released an astonishing new image taken by researchers flying above the ice shelf on Nov. 10 showing the crack is getting longer, deeper and wider. Scientists think it will eventually cause a large section of the shelf to break off.

The scientists associated with a NASA field campaign known as Operation IceBridge measured the Larsen C fracture to be about 70 miles long, more than 300 feet wide and about a third of a mile deep.  Read more…

More about Sea Level Rise, Antarctica, Glaciers, Climate Change, and Global Warming

A dreaded carbon time bomb lurks beneath your feet

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There are many uncertainties when it comes to global warming, from how quickly the planet’s ice sheets will melt to how global leaders will enact rapid emissions cuts. One nagging scientific uncertainty concerns a rather unsexy topic: the soil. As in, the ground beneath your feet. 

There is growing concern that terrestrial soils, which are the Earth’s largest reservoir of carbon outside of the oceans, will switch from being a net absorber of greenhouse gases to a net source. 

This can happen as microbes in the soil break down organic matter more quickly, thereby releasing carbon dioxide. As Arctic soils warm, these microbes will go to work there for the first time, emitting what had been carbon frozen in the ground into the atmosphere. Read more…

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Bernie burns House Science Committee after devastating Breitbart retweet

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The House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space and Technology sent a tweet on Thursday linking to an article on the conservative media outlet Breitbart, saying that Earth’s temperatures are in a “plunge.” 

Judging from reactions on Twitter — one of which was a stinging burn tweeted by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — many are finding it deeply and sadly ironic that the Science Committee doesn’t recognize the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and influenced by human activity.

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Global warming blowout: Record highs beat record lows by 51-to-1 ratio in November

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As the planet warms in response to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the ratio of high temperature records compared to low temperature records has become more skewed. If the climate weren’t warming, that long-term ratio should average out to about 1-to-1. 

However, that isn’t the world we’re living in. A 2009 study found that the record highs to lows ratio was 2-to-1 for the lower 48 states during the 2000s, and this disparity has only grown since then. Projections show the imbalance increasing in coming decades as global warming continues.

Keeping in mind that individual months show considerable variability in weather patterns, it’s clear that over the long-term, the ratio of record highs to record lows is now strongly favoring record highs as well as record warm overnight temperatures. This is consistent with computer model projections of a warming world.  Read more…

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