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…

More about Winter, Polar Vortex, Extreme Weather, Science, and Climate

Trump’s just-named EPA chief is a climate change denier

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It almost sounds like farce, except it’s true: President-elect Donald Trump has tapped a climate-change denier to run the federal agency in charge of reducing the nation’s planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

Trump on Wednesday nominated Scott Pruitt, the Republican attorney general in oil-rich Oklahoma, to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Trump transition officials told reporters.

Pruitt has a long record of suing the agency he has been nominated to lead, including opposing the agency’s Clean Power Plan, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.  Read more…

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The Weather Channel shuts down Breitbart: Yes, climate change is real

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The Weather Channel has slammed Breitbart for using its reporting to argue that the earth is cooling, when in fact, it definitely is not.

Brietbart‘s use of an unrelated Weather Channel video to back up false claims that the earth is getting colder just didn’t sit well with the weather reporting service, which rarely if ever sticks its nose in anything political. It delivered a scathing and informative video message on Tuesday. 

The site didn’t stop there. It also ran a story entitled “Note to Breitbart: Earth Is Not Cooling, Climate Change Is Real and Please Stop Using Our Video to Mislead Americans,” alongside the video message. 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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Adobrable bush baby inspires super-jumping robot

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Researchers are looking to the natural world for inspiration that will one day help them design life-saving robots. 

Salto is a monopedal and somewhat skeletal 10.2-inch-tall robot that can jump higher and more quickly than most other robots in the world today. A team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, revealed the new hopping bot on Tuesday in a study published this week in the new journal Science Robotics.

Instead of taking just one big leap, Salto bounces off a wall with impressive force to complete an even bigger jump, much as a parkour expert might bound from a ledge to a wall and then fly through the air to his next perch. The new robot could be a predecessor to a future tool that may one day jump across dangerous terrain to aid in rescue missions. 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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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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The sun is your dad

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The sun looks like a proud, happy dad with a huge smile in new photos beamed back to Earth by a sun-staring spacecraft. 

The new images — taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory — show various features of the sun coincidentally coming together to look just like a face with a crooked smile and male-patterned baldness.

All in all, this makes the sun bear a striking resemblance to Frasier Crane or perhaps your father.

The smiley sun photo was first pointed out on Twitter by solar scientist Karl Battams after the Solar Dynamics Observatory’s website was updated with the new photos taken today. Read more…

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