Friday, May 22, 2015

Soil, Water and Adaptation

SMAP radar image acquired from data from March 31 to April 3, 2015. Weaker radar signals (blues) reflect low soil moisture or lack of vegetation, such as in deserts. Strong radar signals (reds) are seen in forests. SMAP's radar also takes data over the ocean and sea ice.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC”

While hiking the other day (state land in Northeastern  Wisconsin) I passed from a sandy type soil to a soil with higher organic and clay content. I started to notice understory flora differences. Now, I do not know enough botany to be one of those folks who can rattle off the names of plants as they walk (me jealous), but I could see differences.  
It occurred to me, has anyone done serious soil modeling with variation for each soil type across a range of temperatures and precipitation?

I know different folks are biting on different parts of this beast, I personally saw the huge experiment the U of Arizona is doing at the Biosphere 2 site.Most soil type data and precipitation data that we need probably already exists (at least for modeling to mid century, and perhaps the paleoclimatology type geologists could lend a had for farther than that...) From all the soil records in different regions. by using those, could we time travel so to speak?

The soil is the placenta of civilization. All other things held equal, good soil leads to complex societies, poor soils lead to simplification.

For those of us in the agricultural lands of the upper Midwest, this is our “permafrost melt” question. It is in "slow motion", compared to the Arctic thrill. Yet, it is the key factor, data, information we need for adaptation planning.  Are we doing enough, is it being “scaled” down enough, to higher resolution in both space and temporally via GIS to be useful in local planning?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

On Point: The Arctic Rush

"The Arctic Circle is opening up at a gallop as the ice disappears. Oil, gold, armies, spies. Big opportunities and fear of the consequences."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

After the Warming: The Long View

From the Planet Ocean Seminar Series, Feb 2015 Curt Stager, PhD

Video lecture

Important discovery

Thanks to William S for this one.

Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant 


Monday, May 18, 2015

Random edits

 As i write this, the Congress of the United States is trying to figure out how to change the Endangered Species Act, so the state governments inter alia, can get around it.
There are plenty of reason to not be amused by this. But perhaps the main one is related to DNA as information. Are politicians and business people competent to edit the DNA "library", for future human generations? Is anyone?

 Picture: Corner of Room at Rotary Meeting, by jay moynihan

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cool, simple, free collaboration tool


An online, multi-user index card board. Maybe up to 20 users? Do not know. Also, the easiest way to share something like this with colleagues i have seen. If you send them the URL for your board, they get kibitzing rights...


This is actually about using it for some elementary school method, but it explains the on line app-site:

And, the beastie itself:

Friday, May 01, 2015

I gotta get on their mailing list

From one of my favorite tech sites

The inadvertent hilarity of the Heartland Institute vs. Pope Francis

"Each e-mail from their press office offers a mix of comedy and tragedy. .."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

From the department of While Rome Burned

Climate Change and Sustainability: A Widening or Narrowing Gap?

"Observers and students of climate change risk, on the one hand, and sustainability advocates, on the other, have been on seemingly diverging paths for the last decade. This may seem contradictory: aren’t these issues so closely related that their paths should overlap dramatically and at least run in the same direction?..."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ruddiman & Peer Review

An interesting piece by Bill Ruddiman ( Ruddiman Hypothesis ) :
"Recently I’ve read claims that some scientists are opposed to AGW but won’t speak out because they fear censure from a nearly monolithic community intent on imposing a mainstream view. Yet my last 10 years of personal experience refute this claim. This story began late in 2003 when I introduced a new idea (the ‘early anthropogenic hypothesis’) that went completely against a prevailing climatic paradigm of the time. I claimed that detectable human influences on Earth’s surface and its climate began thousands of years ago because of agriculture. Here I describe how this radically different idea was received by the mainstream scientific community... " 

Friday, April 17, 2015

What is that droning sound?

"It sounds like science fiction. Unfortunately, it’s not. Lethal autonomous weapons systems. Robot killers. They’re on the drawing board now. Their prototypes and early forms are beyond the drawing board. This week in Geneva, a big UN meeting is trying to keep the genie in the bottle. Human Rights Watch has launched its Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. But technology and strategic competition are ratcheting up. Pushing toward weapons that target and kill on their own. If it sounds like a Terminator movie, it is. This hour On Point: the rise and pushback. Killer robots."

                                     Still from the film Sleep Dealer

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Permafrost + heat = methane

A good science source re the current unthawing of the ground in the arctic is  Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate (CAGE)
 "The Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate (CAGE) is investigating the role of gas hydrates in arctic areas, and the effects they will have on oceans and our global climate in the future.
The research centre is located at UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø, which is the northernmost university in the world."

Monday, April 13, 2015

Climate Kids

Thanks to Catherine for this one:


New on the NASA Climate Kids Web Site Check out the latest educational game from NASA’s Climate Kids—OFFSET! Take matters into your own hands and help cut back on carbon emissions. Part pong, part resource-management, and 100% retro, this game is challenging, exciting, and educational. Play it today!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

A Little Something for Extension folk

UW-Cooperative Extension has completed an assessment of climate change educational resources and training needs for extension educators. The assessment report can be downloaded from:

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Deep Thoughts

You gotta love the Moments of Wonder series:

"Scientists are split right down the middle, 90/10"

Friday, April 03, 2015

A hypothesis about the cold winter in eastern North America

"The past winter was globally the warmest on record. At the same time it set a new cold record in the subpolar North Atlantic – and it was very cold in the eastern parts of North America. Are these things related?" 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

STEM & Earth Science

" To develop a STEM unit around paleoclimatology and its possible relation to current extreme weather events, you might like to include a number of elements...."

From the good folks at NSTA

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Our Precious Bodily Fluids *

"The 2015 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR 2015), titled Water for a Sustainable  March 20, 2015.
The WWDR 2015 demonstrates how water resources and services are essential to achieving global sustainability. Taking account of economic growth, social equity and environmental sustainability, the report’s forward-looking narrative describes how major challenges and change factors in the modern world will affect ..."

Case Studies and Indicators:

Facts & Figures:

Executive Summary:

The really short version

* Footnote to Title

From the Department of WTF

Courtesy of WikiLeaks:

New Adaptation Resource for Cascadia

Thanks to Vivianne for the heads up on this one:  

Adapting to Climate Change on the Oregon Coast: 
A Citizen’s Guide March 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Day Before Tomorrow

"The consequences of a large reduction in ocean overturning would look nothing like the Hollywood film The Day After Tomorrow. But they would not be harmless either –..." 

California Dreaming

"More water woe in California this year. The most populous state in the Union, the biggest source of American veggies and much more, is entering its fourth year of drought. Parched reservoirs all over. ..."

Monday, March 09, 2015

Resiliency Practice Resources

Thanks to Mary for the reminder on this one.

The Stockholm Resiliency Center is a great place for resources on "resiliency", as defined by them:
"Resilience is the capacity of a system, be it an individual, a forest, a city or an economy, to deal with change and continue to develop. It is about how humans and nature can use shocks and disturbances like a financial crisis or climate change to spur renewal and innovative thinking."

Applying Resiliency Thinking

A good PDF on this:

Applying It:

The Resiliency Alliance Page: 
 Where you will find (free registration necessary for downloading):

Social-ecological Inventory Workbook - Supplement to the workbook for Practitioners


Belated Happy Women's Day

Shaken the Tree

Shawano County: Annual Resiliency Workshop

News of the Weird for 03/09/2015

Florida Department of Environmental Protection officials have been ordered not to use the term “climate change” or “global warming” in any official...

A little number for the Governor of Florida...


Friday, February 20, 2015

Climate Change and the Arts


Climate Scientist Tries Arts To Stir Hearts Regarding Earth's Fate

A Friday post.

Cli-Fi is  "climate fiction" a relatively new (though it actually extends back to the mid-20th century) sub-genre of science fiction or other speculative fiction. It is manifesting in literature, film and TV.

An interesting, well acted little film i saw on Netflix recently called Young Ones ( trailer) is rather clever. Essentially it is a western/revenge/family type drama set in the rural southwestern or southern great Plains state a few decades from now.

It would actually be a good choice for another very good cli-fi plus film, Sleep Dealer, ( trailer ).

A couple of the best books I have read in the genre.

Solar by Ian McEwan (2010)

"It is a satire about a jaded Nobel-winning physicist whose dysfunctional personal life and cynical ambition see him pursuing a solar-energy based solution for climate change."

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood a trilogy, with the 3rd and titled volume published in 2013.
Atwood's 3 volume tour de force, adorned in dark humor, of a future based on the outcomes intentional and unintended, from the final ascendancy of neoliberal thought and climate change denial.
The humor? How about Project Bearlift? The energy corporations, that, in the book's "past" where drilling for oil and gas in the newly de-iced arctic. The same companies had funded transport for Bearlift, a program that air drops food waste collected by consumers and school children for starving polar bears.
The three books, in order to be read:
Oryx & Crake
Year of the Flood

Highly recommended.

Friday, February 13, 2015

But What About Property Values?

Science Friday audio piece re likely future mega-drought

Unprecedented 21st century drought risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains 


In the Southwest and Central Plains of Western North America, climate change is expected to increase drought severity in the coming decades. These regions nevertheless experienced extended Medieval-era droughts that were more persistent than any historical event, providing crucial targets in the paleoclimate record for benchmarking the severity of future drought risks. We use an empirical drought reconstruction and three soil moisture metrics from 17 state-of-the-art general circulation models to show that these models project significantly drier conditions in the later half of the 21st century compared to the 20th century and earlier paleoclimatic intervals. This desiccation is consistent across most of the models and moisture balance variables, indicating a coherent and robust drying response to warming despite the diversity of models and metrics analyzed. Notably, future drought risk will likely exceed even the driest centuries of the Medieval Climate Anomaly (1100–1300 CE) in both moderate (RCP 4.5) and high (RCP 8.5) future emissions scenarios, leading to unprecedented drought conditions during the last millennium"

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Extreme Weather and Economies

 On Point:
"Winter storms, now costing the economy billions. Summer storms, too. And spring. And fall. And drought. We’ll look at the economics of extreme weather." 

The Risky Business business group site/report: