Having met U.S. President Barack Obama’s Envoy for Climate Change, I am certain that Washington is taking the Paris negotiations very seriously. Canada, meanwhile, looks like it will show up to the Paris conference with almost nothing to offer but talking points, despite the fact that Canadians consume more energy per capita than Indians, Chinese or Americans. This is both a shame and a sham.

Once again, the story might end with the government’s inaction, but it does not. Instead, obfuscation and censorship are added for good measure. Ninety per cent of government scientists feel that they are not allowed to speak to the media about their research; almost as many fear retaliation if they do. If you are wondering why climate change reporting in Canada has been so vacuous over the last few years, it is because new rules put in place by Stephen Harper in 2007 limit what Environment Canada scientists can say. The position of National Science Advisor was eliminated in 2008. It should come as no surprise then that media coverage of climate change has been reduced by 80 per cent. If the brilliant government scientists working on this issue are muzzled, the public has little access to the very people it should be hearing from.

NASA: The U.S. is headed for a disaster not seen in 1,000 years 

A new study, compiled by scientists from the space agency, Cornell University and Columbia University, predicts an 80% chance that the Great Plains and the American Southwest will endure a major weather shift beginning in 2050. 

“We really need to start thinking in longer-term horizons about how we’re going to manage it.”

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Weather on Mars

Mars, like Earth, has weather systems. Martian weather is uniquely Martian however.

The first set of images shows Mars amidst a global dust storm in which the entire planet shrouds itself in a red blanket and almost all the features on the surface are hidden. This happens because the dust on Mars becomes a feedback loop.

When heat from sunlight generates an air current that carries dust into the atmosphere, the dust begins trapping heat which results in more air currents carrying more dust into the air until the entire planet is covered.

On the right you can see Mars during more peaceful times. There are water clouds teasing their way over the cold, desert surface. Because the atmosphere is so sparse, the pressure at the surface isn’t high enough to melt water ice into liquid so it often sublimates into gas form and rises into the atmosphere.

When humanity started exploring Mars, we became intimately more acquainted with the Martian nature.

The Mars Exploration Rovers depend largely upon solar energy to remain alive and on a planet in which global dust storms persist, this can be problematic.

The left image of the Mars Spirit Rover shows the rover after a dust storm. It was in desperate straits where the dust covering its solar array threatened to shut the rover down. Luckily a stray dust devil flew across the panels essentially dusting it off.

NASA’s Viking 2 lander took images of water-frost (included on the bottom left) on the Martian soil. The Phoenix lander saw it snow on Mars.

There are images (shown on the bottom right) taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter which show what appears to be flowing water on the slopes of Newton Crater.

The images were taken at such a time that the melting point of ice was suspiciously close (and for salty/briny water was apparently attained). Those sets of images may be of liquid water flowing on the surface of Mars right now.

(Image credit: NASA)

“The cost of living is going up and the chance of living is going down. “ –Flip Wilson

A new publication issued by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in the journal “Nature” has reported that the chances of keeping temperatures below a 2 degree rise is now largely in the hands of policy makers.

The challenge of a changing climate can now only be fought with the backing of political agenda – and as most people will agree, this seems bleak.

Of all the uncertainties with regard the effects of climate change, including geophysical and social uncertainties; political uncertainty ranked as the number 1 factor in determining the fate of our species and our planet.

Keep reading

[Vancouver] City Council votes unanimously to shift city to 100% renewable energy by 2050

City Council made history by voting to support a shift to 100 per cent renewable energy sources, becoming the first city in Canada to take this step.

In the motion, which passed unanimously, councillors directed staff to work on a package of policies that would effectively convert the entire city to run on clean and renewable energy.

The motion aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region and cut rising costs due to climate change in Metro Vancouver, now pegged at $9.5 billion.

Continue Reading.

Hey Sen. Inhofe, Science would like a word with you and your snowball

In late February, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) made the amazingly unconvincing argument that the science behind climate change was the product of a hoax because it was “unseasonably cold” outside. To illustrate his point, Inhofe tossed a snowball right onto the Senate floor. Inhofe has no clue how science actually works.

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United States Air Force’s McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin AFB, Florida

 Since 1947, the Eglin Climactic Hangar has frozen, baked, deluged, snowed, blown, fogged, and humidified US Air Force aircraft to test their ability to fight in any climate on Earth. The hangar is capable of temperatures from -40 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, it can produce fog, rain, snow, and ice.

Aircraft shown being tested:

  • F-35B Lightning II being ice tested
  • C-5A Galaxy during extreme cold weather testing
  • C-5M Super Galaxy undergoing heat testing
  • YF-104 Starfighter prototype preparing for cold weather testing in 1958
  • F-22 Raptor, with ferry tanks, undergoing cold weather testing
  • F-22 Raptor undergoing heavy rain testing
  • C-130H Hercules undergoing a cold soak
  • C-130J Super Hercules undergoes heat testing
  • F-117 Nighthawk undergoes ice testing in the early 1980′s

via Code One