Melting ice in the Arctic might seem a world away from California’s farms and aquifers. But droughts in the state could get worse as the Arctic melts.

Summers in the Arctic Ocean are expected to be ice-free within a few decades. When that happens, the precipitation California receives could decrease as much as 15 percent.

Cvijanovic: “We see quite clearly sea ice shaping how much rainfall California receives.”

'We see quite clearly sea ice shaping how much rainfall California receives.' Click To Tweet

Ivana Cvijanovic is with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She says when sea ice melts, the Arctic Ocean warms, causing atmospheric changes that affect how heat circulates in the tropics.

That helps create atmospheric high pressure over the North Pacific, which pushes winter storms away from California. So, a state that already struggles with drought could become even drier.

She says sea ice is one of many factors that will shape weather patterns as the climate warms. More research is needed to understand how the factors will interact. But it’s clear that melting ice will have an impact far beyond the poles.

Cvijanovic: “It’s not just a local problem in Alaska or Canada. It really is something that is going to be everyone’s problem.”

Reporting credit: Anna Moritz/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Filed under: Diana Madson

Billions of trees are killed each year. This group wants to help.

So far, American Forests has helped plant 40 million trees.

By Daisy Simmons
Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Snookered on storm chaser 'fake news' video

A humbling 'teachable moment' avails itself as the 'scammed' writer forwarded a bogus storm chaser video.

Extent of Arctic sea ice in September 2016 versus the 1981-2010 average minimum extent (gold line). Credit: NASA.

Snookered and, as a result, complicit in distributing “fake news” on an issue related to climate change

.I plead guilty.

The phony video of extraordinarily severe weather images reached me by e-mail from, let’s call it, “a trusted source,” in this case a personal friend, and not a “climate person.” The subject line on the e-mail: “Amazing.” (Had only it been “Unbelievable,” perhaps it would have prompted a moment’s pause to reflect.)

Rushed to get to an appointment, I viewed part, not all, of the video before closing it and forwarding it to a number of professional and personal contacts. My friend’s e-mail to me carried the line that National Geographic had spent $1 million for the video. I pointed out in my ill-begotten forward that I had no idea of the legitimacy – nor, it now ends up, the clear “illegitimacy” – of that point. As with the video itself that too wasn’t legitimate. (For those wanting to see the fake news video for themselves, send an e-mail to with the words “fake news” in the subject line.)

A 'teachable moment' results from an ill-considered forwarding of a fake-news video.

That alone should have raised high an eyebrow or two. The absence of other details on the footage – notwithstanding several instances of what appeared to be real TV station call letters – also should have raised doubts.

And toward the end, beyond what I by then had seen, there were the large passenger airliners lifted high off a runway by the fierce winds.

In any event, guilty as charged, snookered, sucker-punched. Whatever, but surely embarrassed.

Within minutes of instinctively hitting the “forward” command, personal doubts developed. Had I acted impulsively? Answer, yes. Should I have taken the time to delve more deeply before forwarding it? Answer, yes. Was I embarrassed? Answer, no doubt.

And it made for a “bad day on the job.”

After the next day confessing to my mistake to those who had the (mis)fortune of receiving my ill-thought-out earlier forwarding of the video, there came some interesting responses from those copied.

“Glad you fessed up,” wrote a respected writer blogging frequently on climate change. “Be skeptical of pretty much every pic/video out there!”

“You’re not alone,” wrote one film maker, with a college professor separately chiming in on what by then was becoming a common theme. “I think we all have done this at least once. No worries.” And a respected meteorologist and blogger writing “It’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who’s done this sort of thing. :-)”

“Some good computer graphics,” AKA CGI or computer-generated images, wrote National Academy of Sciences member and geophysicist Mike Wallace, of the University of Washington. “And I think some of the early sequences might have been real, just to suck the viewer in. I was snookered until about halfway through.”

A writer for a leading professional science society wrote that “It’s really an example of how easily fake news can get into the bloodstream of society and that even the savviest amongst us still have a hard time distinguishing it from the real stuff. I think it also shows how much more rampant fake news is with all of the sophisticated tools that are available for those who want to dupe people.”

Scripps Institution of Oceanography emeritus professor Richard Somerville, commented that “most local TV news has a lot of fuzzy out-of-focus amateur video from hand-held cell phones that looks and is clunky. This was much too polished. Also, I thought I should have seen it before if it were real.”

Ever the comforter and teacher, Somerville came across as both in writing:

Don’t feel bad. You were scammed. It’s not a disgrace, and you didn’t hand over your credit card numbers. I do think this could be made part of an educational video. Look at the fake news that the alt-right world is generating now on the Parkland high school shooting survivors. This is an opportunity to educate. You don’t have to be contrite. You just have to tell the world that the camera often lies, that the technological capabilities for making convincing special effects are mind-boggling, and here is an example.

Ahhh. A teachable moment, amidst the dark clouds of having foisted the truly “fake news” video. But the clouds in this experience, and not in the video itself, were real.

Filed under: Bud Ward

By Samantha Harrington
Thursday, April 12, 2018

By Diana Madson
Monday, April 9, 2018


  Raging Grannies Eugene

A warmer climate could make your dog sick

Pet owners beware: The risk of heartworm is rising.

Anthony Leiserowitz, Ph.D.
Director, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication
School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Yale University

Canine heartworm disease is caused by long worms that live in a dog’s heart and blood vessels. It can be fatal. And a warming climate could make this disease more common.

Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes. So it’s most common in warm, moist areas such as the southeastern United States.

But as the climate changes, other parts of the country may see more mosquitoes, and the mosquito season may get longer.

Ebel: “That could happen because of temperature. It could happen because of changes in rainfall.”

Greg Ebel is a professor at Colorado State University. He says temperature also affects mosquitoes’ ability to carry heartworm in the first place.

Ebel: “There’s a certain number of days that are required for that parasite to develop inside a mosquito, and if there aren’t enough days in the summer where the temperature exceeds a certain temperature, then the worm won’t develop in the mosquito and it can’t be transmitted.”

So as the climate warms, more mosquitoes are likely to be carriers. And it’s increasingly important to protect your dog. Many vets now recommend giving preventative medication year-round – even in some places where heartworm used to only be a summertime threat.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Billions of trees are killed every year from wildfires, drought, disease or deforestation. And that’s a problem for the climate.

Daley: “Forests are like sponges that absorb carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it away safely. Our trees and forests sequester and store about 14 percent of our carbon dioxide emissions here in the U.S. every single year.”

Jad Daley is with American Forests, a nonprofit. He says through partnerships with public land owners like the U.S. Forest Service, the group has planted more than 40 million trees across the U.S. The organization provides funding and expertise.

Daley: “Increasingly the science behind how we design that reforestation is becoming a really important part of how American Forests is thinking about our work.”

This group is re-planting tree species that should better withstand #climate impacts. Click To Tweet

Because climate change is taking a toll on forest health, American Forests plants species that should better withstand climate impacts such as drought, new pests, and diseases.

The trees planted by the organization replace only a tiny fraction of the number lost each year, but …

Daley: “This carbon capturing power that forests have is something that will just keep humming along year after year.”

Reporting credit: Alison Fromme/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Filed under: Daisy Simmons

By Bud Ward
Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Restoring riparian forests in Whatcom County, Washington. Photo by Scott Steen. Used with permission by American Forests.

Arctic melting could worsen future

California droughts

If the North Pole loses its summertime ice, precipitation in the state could drop by up to 15 percent.