By Doug Porter
There really shouldn’t be much debate about the fact the world is getting warmer. Outside of the Republican leadership in Congress, most people seem to be acknowledging that reality.
Next week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), agencies whose mission includes keeping track of what’s going on with planet earth, will schedule their first ever joint press conference to announce that 2014 broke all records as the warmest year globally since record keeping started in 1880.
The National Weather Service part of NOAA has already declared 2014 to have been the warmest year in San Diego’s history. The city experienced 342 days last year recording warmer than normal temperatures, with 4 days hitting the normal mark and only 19 days seeing below average readings.
From UT-San Diego:
Last January was 4.2 degrees warmer than normal — and San Diego’s second warmest January on record. Only 0.01 of an inch of rain fell during the month, which is usually the city’s second wettest and averages 1.98 inches.
The dry heat just kept on coming. Every month of 2014 was at least two degrees warmer than the climatological average. April was the third warmest on record and May was the warmest. October and November were both the second warmest. December, despite a very cold final week, cracked the top 10 warmest list.
Temperature records in town go back to 1872.
The Greenhouse Effect
The National Research Council says the rising temperatures are caused by the addition of more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The combustion of fossil fuels is a major factor in this increase.
The companies profiting in various ways from fossil fuel use have funded campaigns similar to those used by the tobacco industry in the late 20th century, to deflect, defer or deny growing evidence that modern day climate change is being caused by human activity.
The Scripps Institution of Oceanography tracks atmospheric CO2 levels. Their data collection says we kicked off the new year with three days in the first week of January above the 400 parts per million threshhold.
From Scientific American:
The Scripps Institution of Oceanography records of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels show that Jan. 1 was the first day of the new year above that concentration, followed by Jan. 3 and Jan. 7. Daily averages have continued at this level or higher through Jan. 9, though they could continue to dance up and down around that mark due to day-to-day variations caused by weather systems. But even with those fluctuations, 2015 will likely see many months above 400 ppm, possibly starting with the very first month of the year.
“My guess at this point is that January 2015 will be very slightly above 400 ppm, but it’s too early to tell for sure,” Ralph Keeling, the scientist in charge of the CO2 monitoring project atop Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, said in an email. Keeling’s father, Charles, began the project in 1958. The graph that shows the decades-long rise in CO2 is eponymously called the Keeling Curve.
The 400 ppm mark was first passed on May 9, 2013. In 2014, it happened two months earlier, in March. The average CO2 concentrations for March, April and June 2014 were all above 400 ppm, the first time that has been recorded. The peak CO2 measurement of 2014 was just shy of 402 ppm in May.
While the 400 ppm mark is somewhat symbolic (as the increase in warming between 399 ppm and 400 ppm is small), it is a large increase from pre-industrial CO2 concentrations, which were around 280 ppm. The progressively earlier occurrence of these high CO2 levels — not seen in somewhere between 800,000 and 15 million years — points to the inexorable buildup of heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere as human emissions continue unabated. That increase in CO2 and other greenhouse gases has raised Earth’s average temperature by 1.6°F since the beginning of the 20th century. Some scientists say that to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, that warming needs to stay under 2°C, or 3.6°F.
Romneyitis Outbreak Predicted for Coronado
The Republican National Committee’s annual winter meeting begins today at the Hotel del Coronado. Wednesdays session are closed to the press as the GOP gathering holds meetings on the conference theme of “Building on Success.” The Thursday and Friday schedule includes appearances by potential presidential candidates like Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Dr. Ben Carson.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer will address the group at a Friday luncheon. Mitt Romney, now rumored to be considering an encore run at the presidency will deliver “brief remarks” Friday night at an event aboard the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum.
From the New Hampshire News Network, which has an understandable interest in such things:
A couple of top political advisers to Mitt Romney say they think the 2012 Republican presidential nominee will decide “sooner rather than later” regarding a third run for the White House.
And if the former Massachusetts governor makes another presidential bid, Romney’s telling advisers that winning New Hampshire “is key” to capturing the GOP nomination.Veteran Granite State GOP consultant Tom Rath, who was a top adviser to Romney in 2012, tells NH1 that he believes Romney will decide “certainly in the first quarter, which would mean before the end of March. I think it may well come earlier than that just because of how fast everything is moving right now.
Not everybody is thrilled about the potential candidacy of the loser from the 2012 election.
From the New York Times:
Mr. Romney and his lieutenants have been hastily contacting previous supporters, and even sounding out potential campaign managers, over the phone since the former Massachusetts governor revealed Friday to a group of contributors that he was considering another White House bid. A number of former aides and early backers have since indicated that they would support him again.
But not a single current Republican senator has come forward to state support for the party’s 2012 standard-bearer; three of them, separately, skirted the question the same way when asked about Mr. Romney’s prospects: “The more the merrier.”
City Council Approves Bay Clean Up Deal
The San Diego City Council has blessed a deal worked out by the City Attorney whereby 16 insurance companies will pick up San Diego’s portion of a $75 million remediation project to clean up sediment in the bay.
Costs of the project are being shared by the city, the Navy, other public agencies and area shipyards. San Diego’s share amounts to $15 million.
Council member David Alvarez led the mediation process along with the City Attorney’s office. “It was an honor to be the liaison to this settlement for the City Council,” said Alvarez. “I’m proud to stand up with our City Attorney to resist the unfair tactics by the other cleanup participants without delaying the actual cleanup.”
From City News Service:
“The pollution in this part of San Diego Bay dates back one hundred years,” Goldsmith said. “The city did the right thing by cooperating with the Regional Water Quality Control Board and other parties to make sure cleanup began quickly as expected, and it did the right thing again by not settling any lawsuits until the insurance carriers agreed to pay every cent.”
The city was involved in the case partly because it was responsible for the bay tidelands prior to 1962, when control was shifted to the Port of San Diego, according to the City Attorney’s Office. Storm water pollution carried into the bay by Chollas Creek and the storm drain system was also a city responsibility.
The dredging work to clean the bay has been underway for some time now, and is scheduled to be completed early next year.
Friends of the Earth 2014 Cruise Ship Report Card
Speaking of pollution, the latest score card by the Friends of the Earth has good news and bad news for San Diego’s harbor.
The good news is that the cruse ship Holland America Statendam, a frequent visitor to the local port has a “A” rating for sewage treatment. The bad news is the Crown Princess gets an “F” rating.
The numbers are transposed for air pollution reduction, with the Statendam getting an F and Crown Princess getting an A.
The Friends of the Earth’s Cruise Ship Report Card compared the environmental footprint of 16 major cruise lines and 167 cruise ships.
On This Day:1784 – The United States ratified a peace treaty with England ending the Revolutionary War. 1970 – A display of John Lennon’s erotic “Bag One” lithographs opened in London. 2 days later Scotland Yard seized prints as evidence of pornography. 1995 – The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that bosses can fire workers for being gay.
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