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Sat, 30 Sep 2023
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Stormy weather leaves 1,200 homeless in Cape Town

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© Unknown
Storms, driving rain and gale force winds have battered Cape Town, leaving some 1,200 people homeless after flooding in shanty towns, South African disaster management officials said Thursday.

"We had heavy downpours and in our informal settlements we had about 600 dwellings that have been affected, leaving about 1,200 people seeking temporary shelter," disaster management spokeswoman Charlotte Powell told AFP.

Two consecutive cold fronts accompanied by storms have also affected power lines around the city, while massive swells led to two barges being wrecked out at sea.

The Cape Times newspaper reported swells peaking at 17 metres (56 feet) on Wednesday.

Twenty-five film students were stranded on Dassen Island just off the coast, while 29 hikers had to be evacuated off the popular Otter's Trail.

Magnify

Coelancanth Island has New Tiny Bat

Coelacanth Bat
© Manuel Ruedi/Muséum de Genève
Miniopterus aelleni
Scientists have identified a new species of bat weighing just five grams in the Comoros island archipelago off eastern Africa, the Natural History Museum in Geneva said on June 24, 2009. The Comoros islands are famed in cryptozoological history as the first known recognized rediscovered home of the 65 million-year-old survival, the Coelacanths.

The new mammal has been named Miniopterus aelleni in honor of the late Villy Aellen, a former head of the Geneva museum and a major bat specialist. Miniopterus (long winged bat) is a genus of vesper bats and the only genus of subfamily Miniopterinae.

Attention

Carbongate - Global Warming Study Censored by EPA

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Washington, D.C., June 26, 2009 - The Competitive Enterprise Institute is today making public an internal study on climate science which was suppressed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Internal EPA email messages, released by CEI earlier in the week, indicate that the report was kept under wraps and its author silenced because of pressure to support the Administration's agenda of regulating carbon dioxide.

The report finds that EPA, by adopting the United Nations' 2007 "Fourth Assessment" report, is relying on outdated research and is ignoring major new developments. Those developments include a continued decline in global temperatures, a new consensus that future hurricanes will not be more frequent or intense, and new findings that water vapor will moderate, rather than exacerbate, temperature.

MIB

EPA says Monsanto mine violates law

Boise, Idaho - Federal regulators said Thursday an Idaho mine that Monsanto Co. depends on to make its Roundup weed killer has violated federal and state water quality laws almost since it opened, sending selenium and other heavy metals into the region's waterways.

The Environmental Protection Agency said problems at the St. Louis-based company's South Rasmussen Mine near the Idaho-Wyoming border were first documented in April 2002. That's just 15 months after the mine won Bureau of Land Management approval, according to documents released by the EPA to The Associated Press.

More recently, the mine has been unable to stop discharges of heavy metal-laden water from a waste dump, despite BLM conclusions nearly a decade ago that precautions wouldn't "allow selenium or other contaminants to migrate from the lease."

Monsanto takes phosphate ore from the mine and turns it into elemental phosphorous, a key Roundup ingredient. Toxic selenium and other heavy metals are also exposed during open pit mining and dumped in waste rock piles, where they can concentrate and be carried away by runoff or natural springs.

Disclosure of South Rasmussen's problems comes at a sensitive time for Monsanto: It's seeking federal approval for a new mine nearby, Blackfoot Bridge, to supply the Roundup component once Rasmussen is played out in 2011. But environmentalists contend the company's assurances that cutting-edge measures will keep naturally occurring selenium from spreading remind them of earlier promises long since broken.

Binoculars

More problems with yesterday's global warming report

Global warming exists and may continue to increase--although I personally don't think it will prove to be the planet-killer described by activists. But we will never address it unless we speak about it honestly. Yesterday's release of the report,'Global Climate Change Impacts On The United States' does not contribute heavily to the discussion. Parts 1 and 2 of this series are available here and here.

Yesterday we noted the misrepresentation of the science, published by the scientist who was misrepresented. However, this was not the only serious problem with the report:

The report claims that hurricanes will get more powerful: "U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA told Climate Depot his reaction to President Obama's new climate report on June 16, 2009. Goldenberg is expressing his personal views on the report, not those of any organization.

Goldenberg:
"I saw the news story on this and looked up the report. I have a pretty good grasp of the hurricane and AGW issues. I have skimmed over the hurricane findings (by the way --- I didn't notice a single recognized hurricane climate expert in the list of authors) and they definitely ignore a large body of the published hurricane research. There are a number of hurricane climate experts (including myself) that would disagree strongly with the hurricane-related conclusions of this report!

The report states (among other things) that: The power and frequency of Atlantic hurricanes have increased substantially in recent decades. The number of North American mainland landfalling hurricanes does not appear to have increased over the past century. Though it is nice that they admit landfall frequency has not increased (happens to be the most reliable long-term Atlantic hurricane statistic) they state as "fact" flawed results that the power and frequency of Atlantic hurricanes have increased. I can only imagine how slanted the other portions of the report might be as well."

Compass

Geologist rips Obama's 'new scare report'

Below is a guest post by Geophysicist Dr. David Deming, associate professor of arts and sciences at the University of Oklahoma, who has published numerous peer-reviewed research articles. (For more reactions see Climate Depot exclusive: 'Scaremongering': Scientists Pan Obama Climate Report: 'This is not a work of science but an embarrassing episode for the authors and NOAA'...'Misrepresents the science' - June 16, 2009 )

1. The new scare report issued by the Obama administration refers (reference list) to the work of Stephen H. Schneider six times. You will recall that Schneider is infamous for telling Discover magazine (October, 1989, p. 45-48) that "we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have...each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."

Fish

Mother Nature does it best: Natural Art in the Ocean

Earth Art
© NASA image by Norman Kuring, MODIS Ocean Color Team
In the northwest Pacific Ocean, the Oyashio Current flows down out of the Arctic, past Siberia and the Kamchatka Peninsula. Around the latitude of Hokkaido, Japan, it begins to veer eastward and converges with the warmer Kuroshio Current, flowing into the area from the south.
This photo, taken from a NASA satellite, reveals the life embedded in two ocean currents that are converging in the Pacific Ocean.

In the northwest Pacific, the Oyashio Current flows down out of the Arctic, past Siberia and the Kamchatka Peninsula. Around the latitude of Hokkaido, Japan, it begins to veer eastward and converges with the warmer Kuroshio Current, flowing into the area from the south.

The new image illustrates how the convergence of these two currents affects phytoplankton, the microscopic plant-like creatures that form the base of the marine food web, scientists explained.

When two currents with different temperatures and densities - cold, Arctic water is saltier and denser than subtropical waters - collide, they create eddies. Phytoplankton growing in the surface waters become concentrated along the boundaries of these eddies, tracing out the motions of the water. The swirls of color visible in the waters southeast of Hokkaido (upper left), show where different kinds of phytoplankton are using chlorophyll and other pigments to capture sunlight and produce food. The bright blues just offshore of Hokkaido may be churned up sediment, rather than phytoplankton.

Cult

Climate of hatred: Prominent scientist refused service due to skepticism

Prominent MIT physicist and global warming skeptic, Richard Lindzen, was recently refused the services of a Boston-area art appraiser because of global warming.

As Lindzen described in an e-mail:
In our recent house fire, an 18th century oriental rug was burnt, and we needed an appraisal of its value for our insurance. We were referred to a dealer, [name withheld], who agreed to do the appraisal. However, when my wife, Nadine, brought him the burnt rug, he rudely turned her away saying that he had sent me an email explaining his position...
Here's the text of the art appraiser's e-mail to Lindzen:
I am sorry to inform you that after some consideration, I've decided not to perform the appraisal service that you've requested. Your writing on the subject of global warming is offensive to me personally, and I feel that I would have difficulty being an impartial appraiser of value given my view on the subject.

Bell

U.S. Climate Report Assailed

The new federal report on climate change gets a withering critique from Roger Pielke Jr., who says that it misrepresents his own research and that it wrongly concludes that climate change is already responsible for an increase in damages from natural disasters. Dr. Pielke, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, asks:
[Why] is a report characterized by [White House] Science Advisor John Holdren as being the "most up-to-date, authoritative, and comprehensive" analysis relying on a secondary, non-peer source citing another non-peer reviewed source from 2000 to support a claim that a large amount of uncited and more recent peer-reviewed literature says the opposite about?

Document

What the CCSP Extremes Report Really Says

Yesterday the U.S. Climate Change Science Program released an assessment report titled "Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate" (PDF) with a focus on the United States. This post discusses some interesting aspects of this report, with an emphasis on what it does not show and does not say. It does not show a clear picture of ever increasing extreme events in the United States. And it does not clearly say why damage has been steadily increasing.

First, let me emphasize that the focus of the report is on changes in extremes in the United States, and not on climate changes more generally. Second, my comments below refer to the report's discussion of observed trends. I do not discuss predictions of the future, which the report also covers. Third, the report relies a great deal on research that I have been involved in and obviously know quite well. Finally, let me emphasize that anthropogenic climate change is real, and deserving of significant attention to both adaptation and mitigation.

The report contains several remarkable conclusions, that somehow did not seem to make it into the official press release.

1. Over the long-term U.S. hurricane landfalls have been declining.

Yes, you read that correctly. From the appendix (p. 132, emphases added):