The Atlantic has a fine article about the recent extraordinary heating in the Arctic. Note the presence of open water directly north of Greenland. The short video at the end is worth watching.
The Guardian has a similar treatment of the same subject, with a few more details and opinions from scientists. According to Michael Mann, “This is too short-term an excursion to say whether or not it changes the overall projections for Arctic warming….But it suggests that we may be underestimating the tendency for short-term extreme warming events in the Arctic. And those initial warming events can trigger even greater warming because of the ‘feedback loops’ associated with the melting of ice and the potential release of methane (a very strong greenhouse gas).”
–Added comment: The anomaly graph in today’s Weather Maps is especially interesting if you scroll down and look at the pattern for the entire globe. The numbers show the world as a whole warming by 0.7C over the 1979-2000 baseline for this date. That number, which regularly moves back and forth between about 0.3 and 0.8, has not been this high for the last several months, which means it is not governed by current bitter cold snaps in any of the main population centers in the Northern Hemisphere. Look at how warm it is from northwest Africa all the way to China, totally unlike all the lands just above. Most regional anomalies regularly switch back and forth without much notice. Recently the main exception has been the high Arctic, where the anomaly has been staying extra warm with hardly any break at all. Also note the entirely different kind of bland picture that appears throughout the Southern Hemisphere, which is not at all unusual.
A new study about human efforts to restore ecosystems has surprising results. This was a comprehensive analysis of the findings of 400 previous studies from all over the world. One of the main conclusions was that passive types of restoration work were often just as effective as more active types. “One primary takeaway from the study….is that passive recovery should be considered the first option in restoring natural areas. Nature may not need much help after we stop degrading activities….”
What life is like in the electric utility business in the US. David Roberts at Vox tells the story very well, starting with the fact that demand for power from the grid has not grown for a full ten years. Everything is changing, and the pace of change is picking up, making the old business model obsolete.
A story about the future of solar energy, from the Guardian. Perovskite materials have currently taken the lead among emerging technologies, based on added flexibility and low production costs. One highlight of this post is the chart showing how the installed global capacity for solar power generation has grown since the year 2000. Producers are excited about the prospect of incorporating solar panels in the fabric of new buildings, including windows as well as walls.
A remarkable finding about anti-environmentalism in the US government. “The League of Conversation Voters’ annual scorecard tracks how each member of Congress votes on key environmental legislation. As this year’s report shows, a majority of both Senate Republicans and House Republicans received an annual score of zero percent, meaning they voted against every piece of environmental legislation or nomination tracked by the scorecard.” Story by Joe Romm.