Sea Level on the U.S. East Coast

Lately I’ve been looking closely at sea level time series from the east coast of the U.S. Available stations are marked here with red dots:

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It’s real, it’s us, the risks are serious, and the window of time to prevent widespread dangerous impacts is closing fast.

WGBH Boston has produced an outstanding episode of NOVA about climate change. It’s realistic, it doesn’t give “equal time to idiots,” and it highlights the prospect of realistic solutions without soft-pedalling the problems. Definitely worth a watch.

This post’s title is a quote from Katharine Hayhoe, which is included in the show.

How Climate Deniers can “Hide the Incline”

Most of us have seen graphs of global temperature anomaly, like this one using data from NASA:

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Recent Sea Level Change

NOAA provides an excellent website for acquiring and examining sea level data from tide gauges. It includes maps with which one can select individual stations, but which also show the rate of sea level rise based on fitting a linear trend to all the available data. Here’s their map, zoomed in on the USA:

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Talking Points

The Huffington Post has obtained an internal memo from the EPA (under the leadership of Scott Pruitt) revealing what it thinks are the right “talking points” about climate change that can be “used across all Program and Regional Offices.”

The main point of these new “talking points” is to downplay global warming, chiefly by resorting to what I call the “know-nothing meme” — keep telling them we don’t really know anything. Yes something is happening, but we don’t really know anything about what the impact will be or what to do about it — if anything! Yes we’ve done extensive reserach, but we don’t really know anything because their are gaps in our understanding. We need to strive for a better understanding! Encourage more study and open debate, because we don’t really know anything.

What Scott Pruitt really doesn’t want his people to admit about global warming is that it’s real, it’s us, and it’s dangerous. Very dangerous. Of course there are gaps in our knowledge, plenty of them, but the fact that there’s a world of hurt headed our way and our actions will determine how bad it gets, isn’t one of them. If he admitted that, people might actually want to do something about it.

Here’s the text of the memo itself:


Dear Colleagues:

During the recent meeting of our Cross-EPA Work Group on Climate Adaptation, several individuals suggested it would be helpful to develop consistent messages about EPA’s climate adaptation efforts that could be used across all Program and Regional Offices. I’m pleased to report that the Office of Public Affairs (OPA) has developed a set of talking points about climate change that include several related to climate adaptation. These talking points were distributed today by Nancy Grantham (OPA) to the Communications Directors and the Regional Public Affairs Directors.

The following are the talking points distributed by OPA. I have highlighted those relating specifically to our adaptation work.

  • EPA recognizes the challenges that communities face in adapting to a changing climate.
  • EPA works with state, local, and tribal governments to improve infrastructure to protect against the consequences of climate change and natural disasters.
  • EPA also promotes science that helps inform states, municipalities, and tribes on how to plan for and respond to extreme events and environmental emergencies.
  • Moving forward, EPA will continue to advance its climate adaptation efforts, and has reconvened the cross-EPA Adaptation Working Group in support of those efforts.
  • Human activity impacts our changing climate in some manner. The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue.
  • While there has been extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.
  • As a key regulatory voice, it is important for the Agency to strive for a better understanding of these gaps given their potential significant influence on our country’s domestic economic viability
  • Administrator Pruitt encourages an open, transparent debate on climate science.

    Best regards,

    Joel
    Joel D. Scheraga, Ph.D
    Senior Advisor for Climate Adaptation
    Office of Policy


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    The Ballot is stronger than the Bullet — Abraham Lincoln

    Tin soldiers N.R.A. comin’
    right here in America
    This winter I hear the drummin’
    seventeen dead in Florida

    Gotta get down to it
    guns are cutting us down
    shoulda been done long ago.
    What if you knew her, and
    found her dead on the ground?
    How can you run when you know?

    Tin soldiers N.R.A. comin’
    right here in America
    This winter I hear the drummin’
    seventeen dead in Florida
    twenty-six dead in Sandy Hook
    nine dead in church in Charleston
    twenty-six dead at church in Texas
    thirteen dead in Columbine
    fifty-eight dead in Las Vegas … how many more?

    US Warmhole

    Not all places on earth are experiencing global warming at the same rate. Let’s consider the U.S., the “lower 48 states.” Taking data from NOAA for the 344 climate divisions in this region, and computing the linear trend rate for each, we can see differences between different parts of the USA, with red dots for warming and blue for cooling, larger dots faster and smaller dots more slowly:

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