Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?

In this year of extreme weather events—from devastating West Coast wildfires to tropical Atlantic storms that have exhausted the alphabet—scientists and members of the public are asking when these extreme events can be scientifically linked to climate change.
Dale Durran, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, argues that climate science need to approach this question in a way similar to how weather forecasters issue warnings for hazardous weather.
In a new paper, published in the October issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, he draws on the weather forecasting community’s experience in predicting extreme weather events such as tornadoes, flash floods, high winds and winter storms. If forecasters send out a mistaken alert too often, people will start to ignore them. If they don’t alert for severe events, people will get hurt. How can the atmospheric sciences community find the right balance? 

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Canada’s ‘beautifully surprising’ basic income study shows how business needs to reconsider human nature

Poverty isn’t a lack of character; it’s a lack of cash
Dutch historian Rutger Bregman introduced a version of that phrase in his 2017 Ted Talk, and it’s become a go-to mantra for advocates of basic income.
The core idea is that people who have fallen on hard times aren’t in those circumstances because they’ve somehow failed at life, and are therefore undeserving of basic necessities. Often, “falling on hard times” simply means being born into a life of poverty, as is the case for nearly 10% of the world’s population, or 770 million people, who are currently living on less than $1.90 a day.
Even in the US, one in seven children are born poor, and millions of Americans are just one paycheck or one unexpected hospital bill away from poverty. As Williams wrote in the new study’s impact statement, “While the economic impact of homelessness costs everyone, ultimately it is the human cost that is so devastating.”
As Bregman and other proponents argue, any solution to poverty ought to begin by addressing the circumstances in which poverty flourishes — not correcting the character of those experiencing it.  Read More

Pull investments from companies not committed to environment, pope says

Pull investments from companies not committed to environment, pope says | Reuters
 VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Saturday urged people to pull investments from companies that are not committed to protecting the environment, adding his voice to calls for the economic model that emerges from the coronavirus pandemic to be a sustainable one.
Francis spoke in a video message for an online event called “Countdown Global Launch, A Call to Action on Climate Change”.
“Science tells us, every day with more precision, that we need to act urgently … if we are to have any hope of avoiding radical and catastrophic climate change,” he said.
The pope listed three action points: better education about the environment, sustainable agriculture and access to clean water, and a transition away from fossil fuels.
“One way to encourage this change is to lead companies towards the urgent need to commit to the integral care of our common home, excluding from investments companies that do not meet (these) parameters … and rewarding those that (do),” he said.  Read More

USCG Patrol Deters Illegal Fishing in the North Pacific

USCG Patrol Deters Illegal Fishing in the North Pacific

 The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro has completed a two-month patrol covering 12,500 miles throughout the North Pacific on an annual mission to detect and deter illegal,  unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.  
Supported by shoreside intelligence efforts to detect suspicious vessels, the Douglas Munro’s crew conducted at-sea inspections aboard 11 fishing vessels from four different nations and found 14 potential violations, including potentially serious violations aboard three Chinese-flagged squid fishing vessels. Following these boardings, nearly the entire fleet of 31 vessels stopped fishing and fled hundreds of nautical miles west across the Pacific Ocean, avoiding further inspection. 
IUU fishing is a pervasive, far-reaching security threat that undermines international agreements and fisheries conservation measures, jeopardizes global food security and produces destabilizing effects on vulnerable coastal states.  More

5 Things To Know About Hurricanes And Climate Change After The Vice Presidential Debate

5 Things To Know About Hurricanes And Climate Change After The Vice Presidential Debate

Hurricanes are only part of the story. I co-authored a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report on attribution of contemporary weather events to climate change. The subject of hurricanes and climate change was a key component of the report. Before I deal with the “frequency” and “intensity” question, it is important to remind readers that hurricanes (Atlantic basin and eastern Pacific) represent only a subset of global tropical cyclones. Climate change impacts are equally relevant to typhoons (western Pacific) and cyclones (Indian Ocean, Australia). I often see people utilize statistics about Atlantic hurricanes (or landfalling U.S. storms) to make broad statements about climate change and tropical cyclones. Such geographically-biased assessments are unfortunate because scientific studies have shown that activity varies as a function of the basin.

Deep-seabed mining lastingly disrupts the seafloor food web: Especially the microbial part of the carbon cycle is affected

 The deep sea is far away and hard to envision. If imagined it seems like a cold and hostile place. However, this remote habitat is directly connected to our lives, as it forms an important part of the global carbon cycle. Also, the deep seafloor is, in many places, covered with polymetallic nodules and crusts that arouse economic interest. There is a lack of clear standards to regulate their mining and set binding thresholds for the impact on the organisms living in affected areas.

Mining can reduce microbial carbon cycling, while animals are less affected
An international team of scientists around Tanja Stratmann from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany, and Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and Daniëlle de Jonge from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, has investigated the food web of the deep seafloor to see how it is affected by disturbances such as those caused by mining activities.

Climate Science Denial Network Behind Great Barrington Declaration

Climate Science Denial Network Behind Great Barrington Declaration – Byline Times

 “There are countries who are managing the pandemic relatively well, including South Korea and New Zealand, and their strategies do not include simply letting the virus run wild whilst hoping that the asthmatic community and the elderly can find somewhere to hide for 12 months.”
It is consequently no wonder that some experts see this not as science, but as a form of predatory neoliberal economics in disguise.

New solar panel design could lead to wider use of renewable energy: Designing solar panels in checkerboard lines increases their ability to absorb light by 125%, a new study says

Designing solar panels in checkerboard lines increases their ability to absorb light by 125 per cent, a new study says.

Researchers say the breakthrough could lead to the production of thinner, lighter and more flexible solar panels that could be used to power more homes and be used in a wider range of products.
The study — led by researchers from the University of York and conducted in partnership with NOVA University of Lisbon (CENIMAT-i3N) — investigated how different surface designs impacted on the absorption of sunlight in solar cells, which put together form solar panels.
Scientists found that the checkerboard design improved diffraction, which enhanced the probability of light being absorbed which is then used to create electricity.
The renewable energy sector is constantly looking for new ways to boost the light absorption of solar cells in lightweight materials that can be used in products from roof tiles to boat sails and camping equipment.
Solar grade silicon — used to create solar cells — is very energy intensive to produce, so creating slimmer cells and changing the surface design would make them cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

Polish chemical weapons cover-up threatens US interests in Europe

 According to Terrance Long, founder of the International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions, the organisation was designed specifically to remove countries’ liabilities for dumping toxic munitions in seas throughout the 20th century.
30% of all fish tested in the Baltic Sea now contain warfare agents. This figure will only increase over time to almost 100% of the fish stocks, as such chemical weapons have a half-life of 5,000 years. EU consumers, plus the 16-20 million American citizens visiting Europe every year, would recoil in disgust, posing a serious financial problem as four of the seven largest European fish exporters come from the Baltic.