Neil deGrasse Tyson says it might be ‘too late’ to recover from climate change

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By Alexandra King

Scientist and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said Sunday that, in the wake of devastating floods and damage caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, climate change had become so severe that the country “might not be able to recover.”

In an interview on CNN’s “GPS,” Tyson got emotional when Fareed Zakaria asked what he made of Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert’s refusal to say whether climate change had been a factor in Hurricanes Harvey or Irma’s strength — despite scientific evidence pointing to the fact that it had made the storms more destructive.

“Fifty inches of rain in Houston!” Tyson exclaimed, adding, “This is a shot across our bow, a hurricane the width of Florida going up the center of Florida!”
“What will it take for people to recognize that a community of scientists are learning objective truths about the natural world and that you can benefit from knowing about it?” he said.

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42 COMMENTS

  1. What is lacking here, is the “faith” in the honesty of the people that work on climate and on science in general. That’s the point. If you doubt the “purpose”, the honesty of those people you do not believe the information they provide. And thus you seek new information, probably information that suits better your view of the world: creationism, conspiracies of any kind, and so on. So how can people think to benefit from something they see as not true? It’s impossible. Experience tells me than in the face of climate change devastating effects, we will continue to see people saying that is a Chinese hoax.

  2. We barely understand objective reality. Most of our scientific models are overly simplistic and have no predictive value whatsoever. Thanks to NOAA, NASA and others we will be observing (what else can we do but observe?).

    All and any discussion on climate change should include the causes of the last 4 periods of glaciation and the subsequent interglacials.

    Preparing for the conséquences of climate change therefore seems to be the only realistic public policy to uphold. Anything else is delusional.

    GL

  3. we will continue to see Americans saying that is a Chinese hoax.

    Clarified.

    Preparing for the consequences of climate change therefore seems to be the only realistic public policy to uphold.

    Yet CO2 IS a greenhouse gas and no longer producing it will help soften the blow of climate change and further solve the inevitable problem of sustainability and provide an indefinite, stable supply of energy aaaand fix our urban air quality (still getting more lethal).

    Your narrow solution, Guy, is typical of the under-informed American take on the issues. The problem of crap high school education, media and politicians owned by big business, makes the American stance here, well… standout.

  4. Guy #3
    Sep 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    All and any discussion on climate change should include the causes of the last 4 periods of glaciation and the subsequent interglacials.

    For anyone really interested in learning the basics on ice ages, they need go no further than Wiki! The sad thing is that so many go to the junk websites of climate change deniers instead.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles

    Preparing for the conséquences of climate change therefore seems to be the only realistic public policy to uphold. Anything else is delusional.

    We certainly seem to have reached the stage where many human populations are going to have to adapt or abandon some lands to the deserts or the sea, but there is much that can be done to mitigate further environmental damage.

    There is a wealth of renewable technologies available, that are being profitably developed, and which will reduce CO2 emissions, regardless of obstructive deniers.

    What would really move things quicker, is if those causing the CO2 pollution, were exposed to making large compensation payments for the damage they are causing, in a similar way to the way tobacco companies which are now having to pay out $206 billion compensation for their negligent disregard and disputing of medical cancer research.

  5. @phil rimmer – look, dude, I am italian and I can tell you that even though we do not see it as a Chinese hoax, we take what climatologists say as nonsense. Because “scientists have always predicted the end of the world and nothing so far has happened”. Typical way to say that we do not care about climate changing. I see not difference in the attitude of those who see climate change as a hoax and those that say it’s bullshit. That’s why I wrote “people” instead of “Americans” 🙂

  6. donnie86dc #7
    Sep 19, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    I am italian and I can tell you that even though we do not see it as a Chinese hoax, we take what climatologists say as nonsense.

    To claim that what “climatologists say as nonsense” is an expression of pure ignorance of the subject. A whole range of key predictions have been approximately correct, and the mapping of the global climate, is thousands of times more accurate than ever before.

    Because “scientists have always predicted the end of the world and nothing so far has happened”.

    Actually, that is not correct. The reports of the “end of the world” have come from sensationalist journalists, and reports of cherry picked wildly speculative scientists being given undue prominence for the purpose of promoting newspaper sales and viewing figures.

    Typical way to say that we do not care about climate changing. I see not difference in the attitude of those who see climate change as a hoax and those that say it’s bullshit.

    There have always been those in societies who are too stupid to heed expert warnings, and quite often they become very smug when they happen to get lucky! (“See! I ignored the hurricane / tsunami / wild-fire / bomb-scare / volcanic eruption /avalanche, evacuation warning and I’m OK”) – Of course we don’t hear from the ones who ignored it and are now dead!

  7. donnie86dc #7
    Sep 19, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    I see not difference in the attitude of those who see climate change as a hoax and those that say it’s bullshit.

    Anyone who says that the recorded measurements of decades global temperature rises, ocean acidification, expanding deserts, rising levels of atmospheric CO2, or the loss of hundreds of cubic miles of polar ice is bullshit, is simply clueless!

  8. Sorry, Donnie, I was right. Big emitters and the poorly educated are the least concerned with the effects of imminent climate change. Europe (more than the UK) and Italians more than any are concerned and so the least likely to call hoax. You really don’t speak for Italians.

    http://www.pewglobal.org/2015/11/05/1-concern-about-climate-change-and-its-consequences/climate-change-report-18/

    The Chinese hoax thing is a particularly American bit of fake news, hence my accurate observation.

  9. donnie86dc #7
    Sep 19, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    we take what climatologists say as nonsense.

    Climatologists have been saying for some years now, that a warming climate and more energetic atmosphere, will lead to more powerful storms, with stronger winds, bigger tidal surges, and capable of carrying and dumping much more water out of them as heavier rains and bigger floods.
    They also say more evaporation on land will cause more droughts!

    It will be interesting to see how hard they have to be hit by the climate before the denials are shaken!

  10. Alan4discussion #8
    Sep 19, 2017 at 5:20 pm
    To claim that what “climatologists say as nonsense” is an expression of pure ignorance of the subject.

    That’s the power of the internet, Alan. Everyone says something because everyone can say something. But, apart from this, yes, is a stupefying display of ignorance, especially on the part of people that have no experience on the subject. There is an Italian physicist, he wrote one book (one!), like 17 years ago, about climate change, in which he wrote that there is no evidence for human responsibility. Now, 17 years ago I was well aware of the problem of climate change, even though I was 14. And I was worried. Nowadays people still consider that book and its conclusions to say that climate change is not heavily triggered by our activities. A book written by a physicist (!), that has published zero papers on climate in his carreer: not a climatologist, a physicist! It’s like going to the ophthalmologist to cure the diarrhea. When I reply by saying that no matter what the reputation of the man is, he’s not a climatologist and he has never run a single experiment or model about the subject, I read responses that make my hair grey. For the majority, people has not the faintest idea of how science works. But they feel entitled to say that one physicist can provide the truth where hundreds of climatologists say the opposite.

    Actually, that is not correct. The reports of the “end of the world” have come from sensationalist journalists, and reports of cherry picked wildly speculative scientists being given undue prominence for the purpose of promoting newspaper sales and viewing figures.

    Journalists in the last couple of decades has wreck havoc in the information landscape, at least in Italy. The quality of the information has worsened by a lot. Even important newspapers publish trash things and it’s difficult for normal people to have an idea of what’s going on, for example, on vaccines. In Italy, the share of parents that vaccinates their children is dangerously reaching the minimum amount to guarantee the “herd immunity”. People are convinced that there is a link between autism and vaccines and are terrified to loose their children. Virologists and doctors all over the country are literally fighting to convince people that it’s all a bunch of b*llshit. The phenomenon is growing and I am really worried about the future of our children. The damage done to biotechnology, agriculture, medicine and Earth Sciences (a group of geologists was convicted few years ago, unbelievable) is enormous and I can’t believe what I read. Not for nothing, mine is the country where people believe in the miracle of Saint Gennaro, miracle that is repeated every year in front of hundreds of people. I mean, Middle Age in plain view. Why do I marvel at the ignorance in science?

    Climatologists have been saying for some years now, that a warming climate and more energetic atmosphere, will lead to more powerful storms, with stronger winds, bigger tidal surges, and capable of carrying and dumping much more water out of them as heavier rains and bigger floods.
    They also say more evaporation on land will cause more droughts!
    It will be interesting to see how hard they have to be hit by the climate before the denials are shaken!

    That’s precisely what I say every time I find in a middle of discussions about man-induced v natural climate change. A list of predictions that we are seeing coming true in front of our very eyes. Italy is already going under a processo of partial desertification in some small parts of the South as result of the climate that is more and more like that of the near Africa. And we are facing similar droughts to that that I have seen in California. Water shortening are becoming the norm in a country that has always been rich in water. At this pace, agriculture will soon follow, and we will have problems of food production as well.
    But all of this, to those that say that climate change is “natural” because “the climate has always shifted in time”, is nothing worth worrying. It’s frustrating to me to come to the conclusion that there is no worse deaf man than the one who doesn’t want to hear.

    What can we do when people are ignorant and defend their own ignorance with pride?

  11. phil rimmer #11
    Sep 19, 2017 at 8:39 pm
    Donnie there is a comment for you but seemingly in the spam filter…

    Uh, is there a way to read it? I do not see it anywhere!

  12. [First paragraph removed by moderator]

    “The number of papers rejecting AGW [Anthropogenic, or human-caused, Global Warming] is a miniscule proportion of the published research, with the percentage slightly decreasing over time. Among papers expressing a position on AGW, an overwhelming percentage (97.2% based on self-ratings, 97.1% based on abstract ratings) endorses the scientific consensus on AGW.”

    https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

    Statement on climate change from 18 scientific associations

    “Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver.”(2009)

    [Open link above to read official statements from the following organizations.]

    American Association for the Advancement of Science

    American Chemical Society

    American Geophysical Union

    American Medical Association

    American Meteorological Society

    American Physical Society

    The Geological Society of America

    SCIENCE ACADEMIES
    International academies: Joint statement

    “Climate change is real. There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world’s climate. However there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities (IPCC 2001).” (2005, 11 international science academies)

    U.S. National Academy of Sciences

    U.S. Global Change Research Program

    INTERGOVERNMENTAL BODIES

    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

    OTHER RESOURCES
    List of worldwide scientific organizations

    The following page lists the nearly 200 worldwide scientific organizations that hold the position that climate change has been caused by human action.

    http://opr.ca.gov/s_listoforganizations.php

  13. It should reappear once a moderator returns to the site, east coast USA work time.

    It argued I was right to identify the “Chinese hoax” as a mostly American phenomenon. I linked to data showing other countries anyway cared more about about the immediate impact of change than the USA (and the UK). In fact Italians were the most caring and rational.

    Excellent comment at #13. (though it might increment to 14 if my comment gets rescued…)

  14. donnie86dc #12
    Sep 19, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Both Phil and myself have many posts in the archives of this site covering many aspects of climate change and sustainable technologies. – some of which subjects I list in the comment linked @#6.

    I you want an example of what the informed scientists on this site do with articles written by scientifically illiterate journalists posturing as scientists, have a look at this example:-

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/07/nasa-is-seriously-considering-terraforming-part-of-the-moon-with-robots/

  15. As in the discussing the irrational religious like fixation of science deniers, in the “Four indicted for publishing blasphemous material” discussion, the source of much of the propagandist dishonest doubt-mongering pseudo-science, comes from the industry-hired stooge “Merchants-of-Doubt” of “think-tanks”.
    Charlatans – posing as scientific research bodies.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchants_of_Doubt

    Robert N. Proctor, who coined the term “agnotology” to describe the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt, wrote in American Scientist that Merchants of Doubt is a detailed and artfully written book.
    He set it in the context of other books which cover the “history of manufactured ignorance”:[14] David Michaels’s Doubt is their Product (2008), Chris Mooney’s The Republican War on Science (2009), David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz’s Deceit and Denial (2002), and his own book Cancer Wars (1995).

  16. Guy #3
    Sep 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    All and any discussion on climate change should include the causes of the last 4 periods of glaciation and the subsequent interglacials.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reports, cover these causes and others, in great detail.

    I have provided you with a link @#6 and an opportunity to learn about the climate science of ice ages.

    Apparently you are still asking the same question as when you raised the same issue, and I gave you the same link, in June 2017!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/06/question-of-the-week-672017/#li-comment-222522

  17. Dan #15
    Sep 20, 2017 at 3:19 am

    While there is some ambiguity in the post, I think Donnie is quoting the views of deniers, rather than stating his own.

    @#7 look, dude, I am italian

    Could be a language issue as with some of Maria’s posts.

  18. Alan #21

    I got a little confused at first but think that is correct.

    Are we preparing for the worst or is there some denial that we can actually fix this problem and and we should be preparing in stead. Putin seems to be (wrongly?) happy about the situation or is he playing the reverse phsycology card on Trump? “You might think China is the threat but you will make us stronger in the end”?

    http://www.iflscience.com/environment/climate-change-is-real-but-good-says-putin-because-were-all-doomed-anyway/

  19. Alan (#21)

    Yes, that’s how we read Donnie’s posts too. He’s made it quite clear that he personally accepts climate change. He’s just relaying the attitudes he frequently encounters in Italy, largely as an argument against the notion that it’s just an American phenomenon.

    We have removed the inappropriate section from Dan’s post.

    The mods

  20. Olgun #22
    Sep 20, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Are we preparing for the worst or is there some denial that we can actually fix this problem and and we should be preparing instead.

    I think we can still avoid worst-case scenarios, but there will be parts of the planet where the territories will have to written off – at least for the purposes for which they are used at present, and problems for human and other populations, having to adapt to new situations such as:- droughts, desertification, increased seasonal flooding, tropical pests and diseases, following the climate towards the poles, climate-forced migrations sparking off conflicts and wars – and such like.

  21. Whooa, it seems that a lot happened yesterday while I was away! I am sorry if I resulted unclear with my statements but, yes,

    Moderator #23

    Sep 20, 2017 at 7:11 am

    that’s how we read Donnie’s posts too. He’s made it quite clear that he personally accepts climate change. He’s just relaying the attitudes he frequently encounters in Italy, largely as an argument against the notion that it’s just an American phenomenon.

    that was the way my post was supposed to be read. Again, I am sorry. I do my best to write in your language, but I have a lot of practice to do before I can say “my English is good”.

    phil rimmer #16

    Sep 20, 2017 at 3:24 am

    It should reappear once a moderator returns to the site, east coast USA work time.

    Ok, now I see the post. Interesting. I will read the pewglobal.org article, I am curious. I could change my mind about my fellow Italians. My experience comprises talks with different people, from the church goers to the post-doc at the university. And, even though there are people concerned with the phenomenon, especially people that work in my field (food production) and in agriculture, lots of people, as I said are not concerned at all by climate change, nor they think about the impact of the transfer of carbon into the atmosphere.
    That state of things makes me nervous.
    Thank you to all the people that answered me!

  22. Dan #15

    I have not read you reply as it has been removed by the moderators (I suppose from the successive comments). However, thank you for the links and for the list of references that you provided.

  23. donnie86dc #29
    Sep 20, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Again, I am sorry. I do my best to write in your language, but I have a lot of practice to do before I can say “my English is good”.

    Don’t worry about it. This site is international, and you are not the only one posting in English as a second language.

    And, even though there are people concerned with the phenomenon, especially people that work in my field (food production) and in agriculture,

    Those involved in agriculture should be particularly concerned as the with warming and the climate belts moving from the tropics towards the poles, the North African climate seems to be moving into southern Europe.

    There have been droughts, wild-fires, and instances of tropical diseases crossing the Mediterranean.

    Around 700 tourists have been rescued by boat from wildfires in Sicily, as swathes of southern Italy battle blazes.

    Italy has three chikungunya fever cases in Anzio

    A four-year-old Italian girl has died of cerebral malaria in northern Italy, a region free of the disease,

  24. Donnie,

    I think we can agree people are not concerned anywhere near enough about climate change… even the Italians. But the Italians should be least ashamed.

    It is great to have your thoughts on these matters and your perspectives from Italy, Europe and food production.

    Your English is excellent. Me? I’m a little bit Aspergers and misapprehend other people’s intentions sometimes as I did with you initially…apologies. So, the problem is not with Italians yet again.

  25. Alan4discussion #31
    Sep 20, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Those involved in agriculture should be particularly concerned as the with warming and the climate belts moving from the tropics towards the poles, the North African climate seems to be moving into southern Europe.
    There have been droughts, wild-fires, and instances of tropical diseases crossing the Mediterranean.

    Yes. Especially wildfires. This year has been terrible, far worse than previous years.

    Around 700 tourists have been rescued by boat from wildfires in Sicily, as swathes of southern Italy battle blazes.

    Italy has three chikungunya fever cases in Anzio
    A four-year-old Italian girl has died of cerebral malaria in northern Italy, a region free of the disease,

    In these two cases, different newspapers (and politicians of course) are blaming immigrants. I will not put down the “logic” of their reasoning, because there is no logic but just huge, staggering levels of ignorance. Immigrants are the problem, for these people, and not the changing climate. I know nothing about how to affect the public opinion about any subject that has importance on society, but spreading lies like this, instead of focusing on the most probable culprits of such phenomena is criminal and to me affects hugely the perception that people have about climate and science in general, shifting its attention to false problems. That’s one of the reasons why I stated such things about Italians. Maybe I have a distorted vision of the common perception about climate change, but I see and read things that are creepy almost on a daily basis.

  26. phil rimmer #32
    Sep 20, 2017 at 1:45 pm
    Donnie,
    I think we can agree people are not concerned anywhere near enough about climate change even the Italians. But the Italians should be least ashamed.

    Yes, we can agree about the first point. And, from the information that you gave to me, also on the second point, regarding the Italians. 😛

    It is great to have your thoughts on these matters and your perspectives from Italy, Europe and food production.

    Yes, I would really like to work on food safety, because it is the subject that will be affected the most and in the first place by climate change (it already is, especially for corn and cereals that are the “battlefield” between us and the mycotoxin-producing fungi). Food security too will become an issue if we do nothing: in this case GMOs can help a lot and I am among those that think GMOs could help Italian agriculture to fight the drawbacks of climate change, at least for a period.

    Your English is excellent. Me? Im a little bit Aspergers and misapprehend other peoples intentions sometimes as I did with you initiallyapologies. So, the problem is not with Italians yet again.

    No apologies needed, Phil. It happens to me too, and several times I should add, to misapprehend what other say. 😉

  27. Donnie, Ciao,

    Yes I made a careless error. Very grateful indeed to the Mods that they removed that top part. (I guess the rest may be of use to others.)

    This comment is a general and obvious one and I assume that everyone that has contributed here thus far knows this: Ignorance and stubbornness is ignorance and stubbornness. In some places you might see more; in others, less; but that’s not an Italian thing or an American thing. Seek out a higher class of people and you will get a different perspective, I would think. If you go to the comments section of a political video on YouTube over here you’ll find a lot of vitriol and hate. Go to a play, concert, or a museum, in a fashionable or nice part of town, and you’ll meet a different type of crowd. Seek and you shall find what you’re looking for. But looking down on or criticizing a whole people is too easy and pointless – unless one can make a case that a sizable percentage of a given country has been infected with the disease of denial (which is created and nourished by the big oil companies and those who are in close cooperation with them). But this has nothing to with being Italian or Russian or French or Chinese or American or whatever; ignorance of truth, disdain for evidence, ignorance – willful or otherwise – is universal, and has many causes. There are powerful people in positions of great power that have a vested interest in that lack of concern and ignorance; they literally manufacture denial and they benefit, profit from it.

    While the poorly educated may be the “least likely to be concerned”, it is clearly not because they are inherently less concerned with the health and survival of the species that they themselves represent, are members of; they are simply the most likely to be manipulated by propaganda, which comes from the top. The problem of science denial is one of greed and mania for profit. I have argued before that Pruitt (an opponent of the EPA who now leads the EPA, Donnie) is well-aware of the science; and if he isn’t it is not because he is poorly educated; it is because he is a psychopath (to use one of my friend Phil’s favorite words).

  28. The same with healthcare. (Good analogy.) I can’t imagine that the poorly educated are less concerned about getting sick and not being covered. But they are against Obama’s Affordable Care Act because they have been influenced by conservative propaganda.

    One of my bad habits (correcting sentences that no one cares about):

    Inelegant sentence: …ignorance of truth, disdain for evidence, ignorance – willful or otherwise – is universal, and has many causes. There are powerful people in positions of great power that have a vested interest in that lack of concern and ignorance…

    Better sentence: …ignorance of truth, disdain for evidence, ignorance in general – willful or otherwise, is universal, and has many causes. There are people in positions of great power that have a vested interest in that lack of concern and ignorance…

  29. I see an ignoramus Conservative Canadian MP has been babbling about a climate report with personal abuse in place of rational debate!!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41343006

    A Canadian Conservative MP has apologised after referring to environment minister Catherine McKenna as “climate Barbie”.

    Gerry Ritz made the comment on Twitter during an online exchange over a climate-change report.

    The tweet provoked a furious response from Liberal MPs and others, and was later deleted.

    Mr Ritz apologised, saying his comments were “not reflective of the role the minister plays”.

    He had taken to Twitter following a report about targets set out in the Paris climate-change accord not being met by major industrialised nations.

    In parliament, House leader Bardish Chagger said there was “no room for that kind of ignorance in Canadian politics”.

    “Sexism is unacceptable,” echoed Heritage Minister Melanie Joly.

    It is perhaps rather sad, that sexism seems to be perceived by some of these MPs, as a bigger issue than climate change denial!

    Of course he could be right about warnings to the denialists, if “barbie” is taken in the Australian sense (barbecue), rather than the sexist dolly one! 🙂

  30. Meanwhile:- as Trump appoints science deniers who try to edit climate change out of US reports, and hide the future climate problems arising from his policies, – the world moves on gathering information, without Trumps’ backward administration!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-41435223

    Europe plans Sentinel satellite expansion

    Europe has begun the process of scoping an expansion to its Sentinel Earth observation network.

    Six new satellite concepts will be studied, including a constellation of spacecraft that can monitor emissions of carbon dioxide.

    Invitations to tender (ITTs) for the feasibility work will be sent out to industry in the coming weeks.

    The European Space Agency hopes to put a list of satellites for implementation before ministers in late 2019.

    Those platforms that are selected would launch in the mid-2020s.

    Precisely how many of the six will make it to the launch pad will depend on the funds available, but Esa’s Earth observation director is bullish about what can be achieved.

    “I’m not thinking about down-selection at this stage,” said Josef Aschbacher.

    “I’m preparing six candidates and I want to offer ministers the six candidates at our meeting in 2019. I know that’s a bold proposal, but that’s what I want to do and then of course in the end it will be for our member states and the European Commission to decide what they want to do,” he told BBC News.

    The Sentinel satellites currently funded

    Sentinel-1:
    Radar satellite that can see the Earth's surface in all weathers
    Sentinel-2:
    Multi-wavelength detectors to study principally land changes
    Sentinel-3:
    Similar to S2, but tuned to observe ocean properties and behaviour
    Sentinel-4:
    High-orbiting sensor to measure atmospheric gases
    Sentinel-5:
    Low-orbiting atmospheric sensor to help monitor air quality
    Sentinel-6: Future version of the long-running Jason sea-surface height series

    As well as a CO2 mission, the so-called A/B1 studies will look at the potential of a thermal infrared sensor, a hyper-spectral imager, and three satellites that could have applications in polar regions – an L-band radar, a topography mission, and a passive microwave radiometer.

    The topography satellite would essentially be an operational version of Cryosat, the current Esa altimeter spacecraft that has transformed knowledge about the shape and thickness of ice fields, such as Antarctic glaciers and Arctic sea-ice.

    The radiometer would be an advance on ageing American and Japanese satellites that are presently used to measure the extent of marine floes.

    L-band radar is effective in monitoring shipping lanes for hazards such as icebergs, among other uses.

    The Sentinels are part of the European Union’s ambitious Copernicus programme, which is developing a comprehensive “health check” for the planet.

    The spacecraft data is also being used in member states to inform and enforce EU policies.

    Five Sentinels are already flying. A sixth – a UK/Dutch-built platform to monitor air quality – will go up in a fortnight’s time.

    Still more spacecraft are already approved, funded and in various stages of construction.

  31. https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2017-10-08-hurricane-nate-us-gulf-coast-forecast-landfall

    Heavy rain associated with Nate now stretches from the Tennessee Valley and southern Appalachians into the western mid-Atlantic states.

    Farther north across the Ohio Valley and interior Northeast, tropical moisture is interacting with a stalled cold front, leading to heavy rainfall there, as well.

    Here are some of the heaviest rainfall reports as of Sunday evening:

    11.62 inches in Great Falls, North Carolina
    11.17 inches in Bear Creek, North Carolina
    10.48 inches in Hogback, North Carolina
    9.37 inches in Highlands, North Carolina
    8.32 inches in Crestview, Florida
    6.99 inches in Milton, Florida
    6.95 inches in Slidell, Louisiana
    6.94 inches in Dixon, Alabama
    6.54 inches in Foley, Alabama
    6.12 inches near Greenville, Kentucky

    Late Sunday afternoon and into the evening, tornadoes were reported in portions of the Carolinas.

    Near Valdese, North Carolina, multiple homes were damaged with people trapped in structures. Several roofs of houses were lost in Liberty, South Carolina, and significant damage to houses was also reported near Laurens, South Carolina.

    So with Global Warming leading to more atmospheric tropical moisture, and a more energetic atmosphere moving cold fronts further and faster, we can expect much more of the same – and further increases in severity!

  32. It looks like there are some feed-back effects being generated by the heat and droughts!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-41604760

    A Nasa satellite has provided remarkable new insights on how CO2 is moved through the Earth’s atmosphere.

    The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) tracked the behaviour of the gas in 2015/2016 – a period when the planet experienced a major El Niño event.

    This climate phenomenon boosts the amount of CO2 in the air.

    What was remarkable, however, was that human emissions of carbon dioxide were thought to have been relatively static over the same period, meaning something strikingly went wrong with the processes that would normally scrub CO2 from the atmosphere.

    OCO’s ability to track the gas and sense the rate of photosynthesis in plants provided the answers.

    In South America, it could show that the biggest drought in 30 years limited vegetation’s ability to consume CO2.

    In Africa, hotter than average temperatures increased decomposition of plant material, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

    And in Asia, tinder-dry conditions fed rampant fires, particularly in Indonesia. “The fires released peat carbon that had accumulated over thousands of years,” said Junjie Liu, an OCO research scientist at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

    “This is the gold star for OCO: we wanted to understand what happened in different regions of the world,” said Nasa deputy project scientist Annmarie Eldering.

    “We used to think of the tropics in a monolithic way, but now we can say one region behaved this way and another region behaved in a different way; and together they created this effect of more carbon in the atmosphere,” she told this week’s Science In Action programme on the BBC World Service.

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