Weathergirl Goes Off Script, Mentions Science

Pippa the weathergirl goes off script and drops some science instead of the usual barbeque forecast:



Yes, there is more sea ice missing now than there is ice remaining. It’s in a “death spiral”, scientists are saying:

Rate of Arctic Summer Sea Ice Loss is 50% Higher Than Predicted

This picture from NASA shows the current extent of Arctic sea ice. The line shows the average minimum extent from 1979 to 2010.

Source: NASA Goddard Flight Centre

If this truth-telling leaves you in despair and feeling hopeless, you’re not alone (“The Six Stages Of Climate Grief“). But recognizing there is a problem, as T.V.’s Dr Phil likes to say, is only the start. The sixth stage of climate grief that Ms. Wysham talks about is action. I’m living proof that action is a surefire antidote to climate trauma and despair. This is our generation’s “Great Work” – let’s get to it!

If you’re ready to embrace the “The Work” but aren’t sure where to turn, check out Citizens Climate Lobby, a grassroots group focused on creating the political will for a sustainable climate as well as empowering individuals to claim their personal and political power. You might also be interested in the approach that the Transition Network takes, which is focused on preparing communities for the twin challenges of peak oil and climate change by becoming more resilient.


2010 is the Hottest Year Ever, With Climate Catastrophes Beginning

The evidence that humans are changing the world’s climate in devastating ways continues to mount, even as the skeptics try to bury that evidence with wild rhetoric and inflammatory politics. One just needs to read newspaper headlines to realize that the world is sliding towards climate catastrophe. And, like Nero who fiddled while Rome burned around him, our leaders are equally negligent and nonchalant, and history will judge them far more harshly than it does that incompetent emperor.  Here are just a few samples of the news recently:

From The Huffington Post,an article on the alarming year of warming that the world has experienced, This is the Hottest Year Ever, and The Climate Catastrophe has begun:

Thank god man-made global warming was proven to be a hoax. Just imagine what the world might have looked like now if those conspiring scientists had been telling the truth. No doubt NASA would be telling us that this year is now, so far, the hottest since humans began keeping records. The weather satellites would show that even when heat from the sun significantly dipped earlier this year, the world still got hotter. Russia’s vast forests would be burning to the ground in the fiercest drought they have ever seen, turning the air black in Moscow, killing 15,000 people, and forcing foreign embassies to evacuate. Because warm air holds more water vapor, the world’s storms would be hugely increasing in intensity and violence — drowning one fifth of Pakistan, and causing giant mudslides in China.

The world’s ice sheets would be sloughing off massive melting chunks four times the size of Manhattan. The cost of bread would be soaring across the world as heat shriveled the wheat crops. The increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be fizzing into the oceans, making them more acidic and so killing 40 percent of the phytoplankton that make up the irreplaceable base of the oceanic food chain. The denialists would be conceding at last that everything the climate scientists said would happen — with their pesky graphs and studies and computers — came to pass.

This is all happening today, except for that final step.  (Click here to read the full article).

From August 7, an article from Science Daily, “Greenland Calves Iceberg the Four Times The Size of Manhattan” and this one from August 15, “Antarctic Ice Thinning at an Alarming Rate“.

And from yesterday’s Globe and Mail, “On the bright side, the PM did say ‘climate change‘ ” is worth a read. Here’s an excerpt:

But a Canadian prime minister just can’t spend a week in the Far North and not say “climate change” at least once, painful as it must have been for Mr. Harper, because the principal reason for all this attention to that vast area is, well, climate change.

The ice there is melting and cracking under the assault of a warmer climate. During Mr. Harper’s visit, a huge chunk of ice, estimated to be the size of Bermuda, fell off the country’s largest remaining ice sheet, on Ellesmere Island.

Study after study has confirmed that the Arctic is warming even faster than had been predicted 10, five or even a few years ago. In other words, of all the places on the planet where the effects of human-induced warming are evident, the Canadian Arctic is among the most prominent.

What’s a gal (or a guy) who believes that it’s time to trust the scientists, and not the tea partiers, supposed to do? I don’t have any brilliant answers, but I know that for my children’s sake I’m going to “keep on keeping on”. I want to be able to look them in the eye 20 years from now and say that I did the best that I could to protect them from the climate crisis. Because the alternative, doing nothing, isn’t tolerable. As William Kamkwamba, the “boy who harnessed the wind” reminds us, “Trust yourself, and believe. Whatever happens, don’t ever give up.”

More links:

Message From Africa: Whatever Happens, Don’t Ever Give Up

Kick The Fossil Fuel

“People Who Believe In Climate Change Should Have Their Heads Examined”

The pronouncement above is what a friend just said to me after we bumped into each other while grocery shopping. I hadn’t seen him in a while, as he and his wife winter south of the border, and come home to Canada in the summer to run their fly-in fishing lodge business. He went on:

We’ve just had the coldest Florida winter ever, and we’ve had two cold summers here in northern Ontario. Anybody who thinks global warming is happening is out to lunch.

When I pointed out to him that “weather weirding” is exactly what climate scientists have been saying would happen if we continued to warm up the atmosphere with our burning of fossil fuels, he dismissed it out of hand. Tactfully, he then changed the subject and we chatted about other things.

So what is it that makes intelligent, competent people dismiss out-of-hand the predictions of over 90% of scientists who study this for a living? If nine out of ten pilots told you a plane you were about to board was going to crash, would you get on anyway? I think not! Yet this is our planet, our only home, that we are talking about changing irreversibly because we won’t listen to the experts! Is it because we can’t see the carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane gas in the air that we can dismiss these emissions as being insignificant? It is true, that based on our experience for the last 200 years since the beginning of the industrial revolution and our love affair with burning carbon began, we have gotten away without significant global consequences. Only when the air or water pollution in specific locations becomes a problem do we sit up and pay attention, at least if it’s close to us. However, tell the people in Chernobyl or the Love Canal that because you can’t see something it isn’t significant and can be dismissed!

Now, this friend has two daughters, just like I do, and I know he loves them just as much as I do mine. If only he – a pilot and businessman with no scientific training – would take the time to consider what their futures are going to be like if he is wrong and the scientists are right. The crazy thing is, humanity is up to this challenge. We are innovative, intelligent creatures who unfortunately have let the destructive side of our nature run rampant with the environment recently. But it doesn’t have to be this way – we don’t have to be this way. The solutions are myriad, and are not the same for every community, or country. But they are achievable – if we start before we reach the tipping point. As Kelly Blyn wrote recently on

The truth is, there is no silver bullet to stopping the climate crisis, no single technological solution that can fix everything at once. We don’t just need solar power, or wind power, or efficiency. We need all of these things and more. What we need, in a word, is diversity.

For example:

Germany’s energy could be 100 % renewable by 2050

Cool roofs save money, save energy, cut pollution, and directly reduce global warming

New Mexico Village uses sun-power to help fight fires

How the world can (and will) stabilize at 350 to 450 ppm: The full global warming solution

Still not convinced that this issue is important? Maybe this will change your mind:

How hot is it? Masters reports that 9 countries smashed all-time temperature records, “making 2010 the year with the most national extreme heat records.”

Photos Reveal Receding Himalaya Glaciers

The New Normal? Average Global Temperatures Continue to Rise

And, because the town I live in has a thriving tourism industry based on hunting and fishing, here’s a new link I’ve found, Target Global Warming, for and by hunters and anglers confronting climate change.

For a more examples of how climate change is changing the world here and now, go to Father Theo’s recent blog posting, Climate Change Notebook, July 2010.

We can do this – let’s join together and build a better future for all our children. I’ll quote from again:

Looking over the list of campaigns above, it becomes clear: there actually is one silver bullet to solving the climate crisis, and it’s not solar power.  It’s people power.

We can’t do this without you. Let’s keep building this movement.

Celebrate Summer and Fresh Strawberries, Even In the Midst Of a Changing Climate

The weather here in northern Ontario has been very un-July-like. Here in Canada, we love our hot, sunny summers after our cold winters,  so it’s disappointing to have a mediocre July. This July hasn’t been as cool and rainy as last year, thank goodness, but it’s still been unusually rainy and even many of the sunny days have been cooler than normal. It’s clear that the weather patterns are changing. But having said that, my husband planted a bed of strawberries last year, despite the less-than-enthusiastic comments from his wife. I pointed out that the small size of the strawberry patch would hardly satisfy our family’s love of fresh strawberries, which usually causes me to drive five hours away into Manitoba where I can U-Pick as much as we need for the year.

Well, my husband is enjoying the accolades his family is heaping on him this year, as his small but prolific berry patch produces enough delicious berries for us to enjoy fresh (although there aren’t enough to freeze for us to enjoy in January, but luckily I stopped by an organic strawberry farm on the way home from Winnipeg last week).  Even he was surprised at the heaping bowlful I picked yesterday morning for breakfast. So, here’s to enjoying summer, whatever the weather, and to fresh strawberries!

PM Harper Continues to Ignore Calls From International Community To Put Climate Change on G8/G20 Agenda

I’m up early this morning, listening to the rain come down on an already saturated prairie city.  When my husband and I went out last night to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary we found the water in some places on the road came up to our wheel wells.  The roads weren’t as badly flooded as after the record-breaking rain Winnipeg experienced 10 days ago, when motorists were stranded in underpasses as the city’s drainage system was overwhelmed (click here for a picture).  On the CBC Radio Morning Show yesterday, there was a story about how farmers’ fields are flooded and either the crops they’ve planted are under water or their fields are too soggy to plant in. The Manitoba government has received as many crop insurance claims so far, 6 months into 2010, as is the norm for most entire years (and more are expected). And yet not a word was said about how climate scientists have been warning for decades that the warming of the atmosphere will result in global weather “weirding”!

We are starting to pay the price for unmitigated climate change, in insurance claims (from crops to flooded basements) as well as in unpredictable weather.  I grew up in this province, and I know that Manitoba summers should be hot and sunny.  2009 was the summer that wasn’t, in this part of the world – rain, rain, and more rain!  We shall see what 2010 has in store for us, but one thing we should know for sure is that we can’t count on the weather any more.  The implications for our economic system, which will be stretched to the limit, and likely past it, with dealing with the fall-out from freak weather, are enough to make any tax-payer shudder.  This should make politicians wake up and address this issue now, while dealing with it is still manageable. But instead the majority of our national leaders are short-sighted and focused only on making their political opponents look bad today, and, in the case of Minority Prime Minister Stephen Harper, shoving his minority agenda down the all of Canadians’ throats. Mr. Harper wouldn’t recognize climate change if it came up and introduced itself to him over breakfast one day.

Yet another high-profile call for putting climate change on the G8/G20 agenda in Toronto has come in, this time from six Nobel Laureates.  Their letters, sent separately to PM Harper as well as to the leaders of other countries attending, warn climate change threatens both the planet’s economy and the planet’s security.

“Environmental degradation and global warming, and their impacts, are economic and security issues as well as environmental ones. Failure to address climate change will put the global economy at further risk, and plunge millions who are already living on the economic margins into deeper poverty. This poverty leads to more migration, more violence and greater social and economic insecurity for both developing and developed nations.”

Instead of recognizing that economy is interwined with many other issues, including climate change, Mr. Harper has chosen to cancel the usual meeting of environment ministers that generally happens concurrently with the main G8/G20 economic summit.  He has also rejected calls from international leaders such as UN Chief Ban Ki-moon, EU President Barroso, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon, to put climate change on the agenda of the Toronto summits.

If you are concerned about the Harper government’s increasing isolation internationally, and the damage being done to Canada’s reputation, why don’t you let him know?  Here is his contact information: telephone: 613-992-4211, email:, fax: 613-941-6900.

If you are on Facebook, you can join the group “Tell Harper to put Climate Change back on the G8G20 Agenda”. Click here to go to that page.

More links:

“Nobel Laureates Urge Harper To Put Climate On G20 Agenda“.

“Man. Crops Getting Washed Out”

Weird Weather This Weekend – Again

Here in Manitoba, it has been a weekend of record-breaking downpours.  The Red River rose by more than nine feet over the weekend. In Winnipeg, streets were closed, sewers backed up and basements flooded all over the city.  Rural parts of the province were hit even more severely, with the town of Emerson at the U.S./Canada border declaring a state of emergency.

People in these parts are not happy with our weather this spring, and they are remembering the “summer that wasn’t” last year.  Most people over 30 will tell you that the weather is different from when they were younger; it can’t be counted on the way it used to be.  Besides being less dependable, it is also “weird” – like the hailstorms in northwestern Ontario at the beginning of April this year, and the rain during the winter months Manitoba has experienced two winters in a row.

What is going to happen, I wonder, when the population as a whole realizes that our erratic weather is happening because our leaders didn’t heed the warning of scientists, who have been sounding the alarm about the warming of the atmosphere, and resulting global weather “weirding”  for decades?  How will people feel when they realize they have been betrayed by politicians who put political expediency and short-term economic profits over the long-term well-being of the planet and our children’s future? What will people say when they see our economy pushed to the breaking point trying to deal with the weather disasters and crop failures brought on by our reckless burning of fossil fuels? I imagine there will be anger among citizens that is unparalleled in the world’s history.  It’s not to late for our politicians to read the writing on the wall, and to show true leadership on this issue. There are precedents, even in Manitoba’s history. Duff Roblin, the 14th premier of Manitoba, passed away this weekend. He put his political reputation on the line to build a floodway that would protect future generations of Winnipeggers from a repeat of the devastating 1950 flood. Now nick-named “Duff’s Ditch”, the floodway was previously dubbed “Duff’s Folly” by his critics.  History vindicated Mr. Roblin’s foresight and courage. Where is the Duff Roblin of this generation, a politician willing to put his or her political reputation on the line to protect future generations?

photo by Deb Loewen

“Province Reels from Downpour: Heavy Rains Overload Backup Systems” Winnipeg Free Press

Storm Clean-Up Starts In Southern Manitoba“.

Why The ‘Never Seen Before’ Fargo Flooding is Just What You’d Expect From Climate Change” Climate Progress

Climate Accountability Act Needs Support From Politicians With Vision

If you feel moved to action, contact our Canadian Senators and encourage them to pass Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act, to move Canada from a laggard to a leader in addressing climate change. Click here for more information.

Climate Skeptics’ Slushy Thinking

A quick surf of the net shows that the climate contrarians and ranters are out in full force, shouting from the rooftops that snow storms are proof that global warming ain’t happenin’. Senator James Inhofe and his family even built an igloo during the recent winter storm in Washington D.C. which they dubbed “Al Gore’s house”, I guess to make the point that – hmm – what exactly?  Are they saying that Gore said global warming means it will never snow again? Instead, what Inhofe and friends’ stunts and rants  demonstrate is that it’s dangerous to listen to a nonexpert on an issue as important as this one (see my recent post, Would You Let a Climate Science Skeptic Perform Brain Surgery On You?).  As Grist recently reported, conservatives say stupid things about the snow and the media reports it.  Blogs say even stupider things about snow and climate. Here’s a few ripe ones hanging out on the blogosphere today:

I just wanted to post a quick reminder for the “climate change” crowd.  In the face of record-breaking snowfall, the Al Gore followers insist that man-made global warming is still occurring. They claim that these periods of cooling are just a part of the warming cycle.  That the “greenhouse gasses” needn’t always produce a greenhouse effect (Just like real greenhouses which occasionally serve as deep freezers.  Oh, wait that would be ridiculous).

( I guess by “periods of cooling” this blogger is referring to winter:)

Here’s another one that touts a frozen lake as proof that there is no climate change:

Global Warming Alert: Lake Erie Frozen Over First Time in 14 Years.

And how about this one:

It has long been my conviction that the Global Warming parade is a strong added factor for a minimalist world government, eventually to be controlled by Antichrist. It forces the governments of the world to cooperate on issues that has global reach, paving the way for a governmental system controlled by a few autocrats in a time preceding the return of Christ.

*heavy sigh* Makes me think of the quote from Albert Einstein (who, we now know, thanks to the climate skeptics, is not to be trusted because he was one of those money-grubbing scientists out to conquer the world):

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.

As Jonathan Hiskes at recently wrote:

We can absolutely expect climate change to bring blizzards in places that don’t normally see a lot of blizzards, like Washington, D.C. We can also absolutely expect more snow shortages in places that normally receive a lot of snowfall, like Vancouver, British Columbia. Climatologists expect just this sort of “global weirding”: less predictable, more extreme, more damaging.

More on this topic at ‘Global Weirding’ Vs. Climate Skeptics’ ‘Slushy Thinking’ from Huffington

Enough blogging for now – I’m off to curl up with a cup of tea and “No-Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process” by Colin Beavan.  It’s an interesting, funny and well-written account of a New Yorker and his young family who attempt to live for a year with as little impact on the planet as possible.  Click here to visit Beavan’s blog, and here for his post “What I’d Say If I was Wrong About Climate Change”.

For The Love of All Who Follow Us, We Have To Stop

On a recent posting on Father Theo’s Blog, the topic is “The Death of Winter” , a musing on the way weather has changed in British Columbia in the author’s lifetime, and a plea that “for the love of all who follow us, for the love of the planet itself, we have to stop”.  Here’s an excerpt:

In 1964-65, living again in the city [Vancouver], I remember the temperatures doing the frosty limbo down to minus 17o C, and I can’t really be sure if they didn’t dip even lower than that.

Here in the winter of 2009-10, things are different.

Two weeks ago perhaps, I noticed in my walks that some trees around the city were starting to sprout fuzzy buds.  In their vegetable tree-brains, spring has apparently sprung.  In mid-January.

And children no longer ice skate in the ditches of the Fraser delta.

It’s not just on the prairies that the weird weather is happening.  If you, too, are concerned, go to and become part of the solution – NOW – while there’s still time.

Weird Weather

Here on the Canadian prairies where I live, temperatures above freezing are forecast for today and tomorrow, with a chance of freezing rain.  While this is normal winter weather in many parts of the globe, it definitely is NOT normal for this part of the world.  The normal maximum temperature for today is – 13 degrees Celcius (+ 9 degrees fahrenheit) and the normal minimum is – 24 degrees Celcius (-11 Fahrenheit).  As you can see, living on the prairies isn’t for wimps!  There are people who jokingly suggest that it wouldn’t hurt if our winters warmed up a bit, so global warming is a good thing. If only it were that simple.

One can’t point to just one weather event and say it proves or disproves climate change. Weather changes every day, but climate is the average weather in a region over a long period of time. Scientists who study climate accumulate data, including information on weather patterns, and evaluate trends over time.  And what they are telling us is that we can start to expect more extreme weather as our atmosphere warms due to higher-than-ever-before  atmospheric accumulations of CO2, nitrous oxide, and methane. These “waves of global extremity” will cause weather to become hotter, colder, and more chaotic in weird patterns.  And freezing rain on the prairies in January (or in February, as in 2009) is definitely weird!

The folks at NASA Earth Observatory report that while Europe, Asia, and parts of North America have been in a deep freeze recently, the Arctic was exceptionally warm. Click here to read more, and view satellite images. Check out this article from The Daily Page newspaper that examines the changes in weather that Wisconsin is experiencing and the state’s response, the “Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts”.

On the lighter side of weird weather, here is a video that was taken last February after a freezing rain storm hit the prairies.


To find out what you can do to prevent the worst effects of global warming, go to or