Anything above 1.5°C is considered a "strong" El Nino. The 2015-2016 El Nino SST anomaly peaked at 2.6°C, and the 1997-1998 peaked at 2.4°C.
(An "El Nino" has a SST anomaly of 0.5-1.0°C, "moderate" El Nino is 1.0-1.5°C, and "strong" El Nino is > 1.5°C.) There have to be five consecutive months where the index is in a category before it earns one of these labels.
(This is from the same page as above.)
James Hansen said in his email newsletter that he has a paper coming out the concludes 'the present greenhouse gas forcing is 70% of the forcing that made Earth’s temperature in the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum at least +13°C relative to preindustrial temperature.'
The Eocene is the period after the PETM, from 59 million years ago (Ma) to 49 Ma. Here's more on the Early Eocene Climate Optimum. I don't know much more than this at present....
Looks like something from Planet of the Apes.... Hey, maybe that movie was set after global warming had destroyed mankind, and sea level rise was why the Statue of Liberty was destroyed.... (Yes, I know Charleton Heston said "they blew it up," but how would he have known exactly what happened?)
Lindell has done a huge amount of damage to America, and I hope the history books say that.
“The G.O.P. is a working-class populist party that has no interest in nurturing highly educated bobo boom towns. The G.O.P. does everything it can to repel those people — and the Tesla they drove in on.”
"Depending on the comparison, Washington’s gas prices have increased between 35 and 52 cents more than neighboring states since the state launched a tax on CO2 emissions at the beginning of the year."
Yeah, that's the point! Making fossil fuels more expensive incentivizes individuals to switch to noncarbon sources of fuel.
But I do agree with his second point:
"Despite the clear data, state politicians and agency staff refuse to acknowledge the cost of the increases and aren’t helping residents deal with the impact of the costs."
The poor (and middle class, today) can't just go out and buy an electric car to avoid the carbon tax. What's a new electric car cost, at least $25,000? That's beyond the means of a lot of people.
Personally, I can't afford an electric car, new or used, right now. Probably never a new one.
So all the poor and middle class can do is suffer the carbon tax. If they drive the US average of about 12,000 mi/yr, and their car gets the US average of about 25 mi/gal, they buy 480 gal/yr of gasoline. If Todd's lower limit of an additional 35 cents/gal (at a minimum) is accurate, that's an extra $168/yr they're paying in carbon taxes. $14/month.
That's not trivial if you're poor. $168 would cover about two months of electricity. (Personally, my average electricity bill over the last 12 months is $87/month.)
The problem is that these Washington legislators want to keep the carbon tax money for themselves, to use as they desire.
A much better way to use it, if you're really serious about halting climate change, is as James Hansen started advocating for long ago: refund all carbon taxes back on an equal per capita basis.
The poor would actually make money under this plan. Their refunds, since their use if average, would cover their up-front carbon fee costs. But those who use "too much" gasoline would pay more, and most of that would go back to the poor.
This plan would help alleviate poverty.
It should be relatively easy to return all money collected (minus a few percent for administrative costs) to households, it seems to me. They can return tax returns. But of course, there are people who are homeless, sharing a car, etc and how do you handle these situations? But it's not rocket science.
But politicians really don't care about the poor. Of course.
This March was the 2nd-warmest in its records, going back to 1880, according to NASA GISS. The 4th-warmest of any month. That's weird, considering we've just come out of the La Nina -- the third La Nina in consecutive years.
So we're not even in an El Nino yet -- which many are predicting for later this year -- and already temperatures have soared out of the La Nina zone. (The GISS global anomaly this past November was "only" 0.73°C [baseline: 1951-1980].)
Hockey's regular season is over and the playoffs begin tomorrow. Let me post this nice story first:
The Pittsburgh Penguins, my team, missed the playoffs for the time in 17 years. They played very inconsistently. Their playoff streak had been the longest in North American sports; I think the second-longest is now 9 or 10 years.
Now it's over.
They did this despite controlling their playoff destiny -- they lost to the worst team in the league, the Chicago Blackhawks, even though if they had won that game they were still in the hunt, and only needed to beat the second-worst team in the league, Columbus, two days later.
It was a monumental collapse. The Penguins fired their front office the next day, and they deserved it for having made several bad trades and contract agreements.
But no doubt some of the players didn't have enough heart, either. (Easy to say, as a fan.)
Crosby played great this season: 93 points, 1.13 points/game, 3.38 points per 60 minutes, played all of the 82 games without an injury. 35 years old.
So did their other superstar, Evgeni Malkin: 82 points, 1.00 points per game, unexpectedly played every game. 36 years old.
But they didn't have the contribution they needed from their third- and fourth-lines, and they didn't have the goal keeping they needed (.907 save percentage, 3.03 goals per game, if my spreadsheet it right).
It's a big disappointment, and although the Penguins have been receding since their back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in 2015-16 and 2016-17, this seems very stark, like the Crosby-Malkin-Kris LeTang era is over. Three Cups in Crosby's career, which is huge by any standard. Crosby was still outstanding this year, not only on offense, but making vital plays on defense too, diving for pucks in a way no others players were (consistently), and leading his team as always. (Crosby will always be a better 200-foot player than the league's current superstar, Connor McDaniel, and a better leader too. But McDaniel did score an incredible 153 points this year.)
In hockey, for players, a "point" is a goal or an assist. That's right, assists count as much as goals.)
Even though the Penguins would have very likely lost in the first round of the playoffs, to the Boston Bruins (the NHL's best team this year, who set the record for the most points ever in an 82-game NHL season), this is a great disappointment for Pittsburgh fans.
I guess now I will root for the Bruins. Actually I somehow got really tuned in to their playoff run in 2003-4 when I lived in New Hampshire; back then they were on regular TV out of Boston, and I had cable TV back then too, even though they were eliminated in the first round. I remember Ray Borque skating all over the place. But I didn't understand much about hockey then.
It's hard to imagine the Penguins doing much better next season. Sadly. As I've said before, I really regret I didn't become a Penguins fan until the year after their 2017 Stanley Cup. There were on a tremendous run, and changed the face of hockey with their fast play. But this year they were the oldest team in the league, which is now dominated by young, fast players (although most of them don't score a point a game, like Crosby).
Go Bruins, I guess. (Sigh.) But not one of them, or McDaniel, is the all-around player that Sidney Crosby is.
From the NY Times by Matthew Fetterman: The Boston Marathon Route: The Ups, the Downs and That Citgo Sign: From the rural suburbs to the bedlam of Fenway Park, the Boston Marathon is as special as distance running gets.
I think that's probably true, and I like this quote anyway. But I wish I knew Boston better (and not just one of its southern suburbs). I looked into living there in the early aughts, but concluded I couldn't afford it.
She's already shown she's incapable of embarassment.
If you believe that today’s “climate change” is caused by too much carbon, you have been fooled.
We live on a spinning planet that rotates around a much bigger sun along with other planets and heavenly bodies rotating around the sun that all create gravitational pull on one… pic.twitter.com/Tpzpgd2K2i
Camille Flammarion was an interesting guy. He was a French astronomer and author who lived from 1842-1925 -- I posted one of his well-known woodcuts here, La Fin du monde ("The end of the world"). But he clearly had a very active and interesting imagination.
The UN secretary general, António Guterres, said: “This report is a clarion call to massively fast-track climate efforts by every country and every sector and on every timeframe. Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once.”
"Everything, everywhere, all at once" -- I like that phrase. Sadly, there's no chance of it happening, of course.
Kaisa Kosonen, a climate expert at Greenpeace International, said: “This report is definitely a final warning on 1.5C. If governments just stay on their current policies, the remaining carbon budget will be used up before the next IPCC report [due in 2030].”
This is International Pi Day (3-14, get it?), which personally never excited me much, although the number itself is interesting per se.
Anyway, in an article about pi in the New York Times, a commenter noted the following mnemonic for the first 15 digits of pi:
And it's true; count the number of letters in each word: 3-1-4-1-5-9-2-6-5-3-5-8-9-7-9.
Not very exciting either, really, but there you have it. If you can remember the mnemonic.
I've always been a little intrigued that pi appears in Einstein's field equations for general relativity, his theory of gravity that says essentially "mass tells space how to bend, and space tells matter how to move" (John Wheeler).
where the R's and g's specify the shape of spacetime, and the T specifies the matter distribution in the spacetime. This is actually a total of 10 different equations, but that doesn't matter here.
Why does pi appear on the right-hand side? And an 8? Weird. What does gravity have to do with a circle, as pi is defined at the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter?
Wait, first, why does the speed of light appear here? It turns out that if you solve these field equations for a traveling wave, its speed in vacuum is that of light, c. Gravity travels at the speed of light. But it seems to me that it's more that light travels at the speed of gravity, because gravity--the very shape of space(time)--is more fundamental than electromagnetism. It's electromagnetism that exists in spacetime, so its fundamental properties are determined by spacetime.
I don't think the 8π is anything mystical or mysterious. OK, in a flat vacuum a gravitational wave would travel outward with its furthest points on a 4-dimensional sphere (3-dimensions of space and one of time). Something circular, since the circumference and surface area of a sphere also contains π. I think it's more that someone could have defined one of the items in the equation better, if they had deeper foresight.
Which one? Maybe Newton's gravitational constant should have absorbed the 8π, so instead of G in Newton's equation, the proportionality constant would be G', where
G' = 8πG
so Einstein's constant would be simply
But then why the c4? Newton had no reason to deal with that; he didn't even know if the speed of light in a vacuum was a constant. So naturally he just used G for the proportionality constant in his equation that gives the force between two masses. So an 8π popped out the other end, because our view of the universe is nonrelativistic.
No doubt there are plenty of people who have some insight into this instead of my banal musings. I wonder what they would say.
This 2019 video of a world record set in the indoor mile really shows how incredibly fast these runners run:
I mean, I could never have run that fast, even for a single lap, when I was young. Not even half a lap. Not even down the back stretch.
I know the runner who set a world record here is genetically gifted, thin and tall, with a long stride. Sometimes I think this ruins world class athletics, that it's really only open to those who have the exact genome to excel in their event. Consider sprinters (Usain Bolt) versus this mile sprinter versus a champion weight lifter. All built very differently, and their events aren't open to those who aren't similarly born.
I'm not suggesting that everyone be weighted down a la Kurt Vonnegut. (Did Vonnegut ever assess his own advantages?) I guess most people enjoy watching a genetically gifted person run a mile in a record time. I do too.
But the same also applies to society at large. Smart people, people born smart for no reason of their own, will tend to do well in high-powered jobs in engineering or science or finance, while those who aren't as genetically blessed will not. No one ever wants to talk about this. Everyone feels they worked their way into their success an never wants to recall all their advantages, whether genetic, the environment of their youth, or luck.
Two days ago, Linus Ullmark of the Boston Bruins put on in in the last minute of the game, into an empty net after the opposition pulled their goalie.
All of these have been since 1979.
I assume all goalies dream of this. Only 13 have scored. Some scored multiple times -- three for Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils, and two for Ron Hextall of the Philadelphia Flyers, who is now the general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins (who aren't doing so great this season).
In an article about the loss of ice for skating in New England, the Washington Post wrote:
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont all experienced their warmest Januaries ever. After a short burst of extreme cold early this month, the mild temperatures returned.
The article is about this beautiful resort on the Vermont-New Hampshire border hasn't been able to open its famous four-mile ski trail on a lake until early February, and with only six inches of ice.
There's a saying that "Vermont is nine months of skiing and three months of bad skiing." Looks like that needs updating. 7 and 5? What a shame.
New England is warming faster than nearly every other part of the country, and the region’s winters are warming twice as quickly as the other seasons, said Stephen Young, a professor of sustainability and geography at Salem State University in Massachusetts. Any activity that relies on the cold, whether skiing or making maple syrup, is looking at an unstable future.
In New Hampshire it's been the same. The "ice-in" date for Lake Winnipesaukee -- the date when the boat MS Mount Washington can no longer make it to every one of its ports on the lake -- wasn't declared until Feb 5th. It's the latest ice-in date on record, and the first time it's happened after February 1st.
They've also had to cancel several winter activities there, or move them to a smaller lake: ice fishing, fishing derbys, hockey tournaments, a think a car fell through the ice....
New England in January is really beautiful, so cold and pristine it's like a different planet. March, April and the first half of May are tough though, when cabin fever sets in.
It's so sad that these kind of experiences are going to end for so many people. Even growing up in Pennsylvania I have very fond memories of sledding down hills and nearly getting killed by trees, sledding down driveways and trying to avoid cars, even roads when there was a big snowstorm and school was cancelled. We used to stay out late on weeknights to where my mother could barely pry our boots off when we came into the cellar, they buckles were jammed up with ice. Warming back up actually hurt sometimes.
Maybe kids don't go outside anymore anyway -- when was the last time you saw a group of kids playing baseball or football in a vacant lot? They were all over the place when I was a kid. I guess video games are too enticing now. Or they won't leave the security of Mommy and Daddy. Or Mommy and Daddy are afraid to let them run off on their own. Or they're off playing in traveling teams where they have to drive hours every weekend for a tournament. Honestly, I kind of feel sorry for today's kids.
Not my photo, not my field, before my time. But it
"The richest 1 percent of people on Earth made almost two-thirds of the new wealth created since the pandemic began, Oxfam said in a report released Monday, the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, a ski resort in the Swiss Alps." (WaPo, a while ago)
Humans have the largest ratio of brain mass-to-body mass of any mammals, but of all species ants have the largest ratio at about 15% (NdT)
(Ants are insects, not mammals.)
Anyway why is it the ratio that matters? If the brain is basically a computer, why isn't its size (proportional to the number of neurons and synapses?) the relevant metric, and not its relative size to body mass?
The Japanese Meteorological Association has measured 2022 to be the 6th-warmest year since 1890.
I also heard on YouTube Shorts that all mammals take 21 seconds to empty their bladder, regardless of their mass and size. (Can't find the link, sorry.) My own investigations have varied somewhat, but I'm no longer at the optimum human age.
I don't want to live in a world without elephants, if from human avarice and stupidity they ever go extinct. What a miserable planet that would be. Just take me too.
Book recommendation: The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. Once I started it was difficult to put down.
Of course I don't know why, and can only speculate. I would guess that view to the east, the side of the bridge from which the vast majority of jumpers jump, is more "friendly" -- in the direction of people, of humanity, of life. The view to the west is pretty rough, just impersonal ocean, waves and current going out rapidly.
Why would jumpers prefer to jump towards civilization instead of into a relative abyss? Of course, I don't know that either. Maybe it's some bare, atavistic impulse to still want to be involved in life, even as it ends.
I remember the story, when I lived in New Hampshire, of a man with a terminal illness. He had always loved hiking in the NH mountains, of which the White Mountains are the most prominent and spectacular. To die he choose to climb to the top of one of them, in a colder time of the year, and sit there until he froze to death.
Dying alone, that's got to be a tough choice. Hardly typical. Except suicide is always a lonely choice. But maybe, just perhaps, brave in a way. I wonder if jumping to the west of the Golden Gate Bridge isn't somehow equivalent, when jumping to the east might be a last, if fatal, sign of hope. These things are very deep and I don't know if we can ever understand them. I don't really need to. But the Wiki chart made me think and wonder.
Added: the Golden Gate Bridge now has suicide nets, since 2013:
songbirds reach 90% of their adult weight 10 days after they're born. (Via The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman, which I'm currently reading.)
"US renewables generated more power than coal and nuclear: More than one-fifth of all electricity in the US now comes from hydropower, wind, and solar, meaning that renewables have narrowly overtaken coal and nuclear, which make up 20 percent and 19 percent of the energy mix respectively. The only other year this was the case was 2020—but back then overall power generation was reduced due to the pandemic." (Wired)
Dana Milbank on the spectacle of the Republicans being unable to elect a House speaker:
"This is what happens when a political party, year after year, systematically destroys the norms and institutions of democracy. This is what happens when those expert at tearing things down are put in charge of governing. The dysfunction has been building over years of government shutdowns, debt-default showdowns and other fabricated crises, and now anti-government Republicans have used their new majority to bring the House itself to a halt.
"This is insurrection by other means: Two years to the day since the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol, Republicans are still attacking the functioning of government. McCarthy opened the door to the chaos by excusing Donald Trump’s fomenting of the attack and welcoming a new class of election deniers to his caucus. Now he’s trying to save his own political ambitions by agreeing to institutionalize the chaos — not just for the next two years but for future congresses as well." (Washington Post)
"This ordinary violence has always riddled the sport and it affects all players. But Black players are disproportionately affected. While Black men are severely underrepresented in positions of power across football organizations, such as coaching and management, they are overrepresented on the gridiron. Non-white players account for 70 percent of the NFL; nearly half of all Division I college football players are Black. Further, through a process called racial stacking, coaches racially segregate athletes by playing position. These demographic discrepancies place Black athletes at a higher risk during play."
Personally I think this incident has been dramatically over-covered -- even NPR is giving updates about it -- when about 1,000 Americans a day have heart attacks. But it was on TV! That's present day America for you. But I believe the racial consequences the article points out.
US per capita consumption of cheese is 40 pounds/year. I like cheese but I'm sure I'm way below that.
But no doubt higher on per capita consumption of wine. Red. It's good for your heart, yeah, right, huh.
I've been avoiding Faulkner for a few decades, ever since I struggled through the first section of The Sound of the Fury, which is told as a stream-of-consciousness thinking of a very mentally disabled young man. I never did finish the section or read the three others than came after that.
But the other day I decided it was time to try Faulkner again, as I've had As I Lay Dying on my bookshelf since (checks inside cover) April 1994, when I bought the book in (checks inside cover again) Albuquerque, New Mexico. What a fabulous book. It's also told in a stream-of-consciousness style, this time from the points of view of about a dozen different characters. It's set in Mississippi in the 1920s, and the main characters are poor, rural people, so their streams can be a little hard to grasp. To get started it helps to have a look at the character list and, gradually, the plot synopsis.
Still, the characters are, with only a couple exceptions, uneducated, so their diction and thinking can be lean, subtle and sometimes confusing. You have to pay close attention, and when you think you are missing something (like one woman's shy visit to a pharmacy seeking medication for an abortion, in a time and place where that issue wasn't talked about except in very general terms that beat way around the bush), it helps to glance quickly at the plot summary. But Faulkner also puts noble thoughts in their presentations, like the quote above, words that sometimes seem above them and are really Faulkner putting his own ideas and philosophies into their stream.
But soon the book starts to make sense as you get the characters straight in your mind, and their mission, which revolves around the trials and tribulations of transporting their dead mother 40 miles away by mule-and-wagon for her burial with her people. The story was gripping and, to my surprise, I couldn't put the book down once I was about a third of the way into it.
I highly recommend this book, if only to see what all the acclaim about Faulkner is about (though he didn't always write in a stream-of-consciousness style). You just have to read carefully and look outside the book when you need a little help.
The Hadley Central England Temperature (HadCET) set a record high in 2022.
The record -- the longest instrumental record in the world -- consists of monthly temperatures (absolute) since the year 1659 -- though the data for 1659 - Oct 1722 are much less accurate. If you ignore that period, it's still the warmest in 300 years! 2022's annual average was 11.1°C (52.0°F).
(click picture for a clearer version)
Here is the Hadley Centre's page about the data and the record.