Tag Archives: Jim Inhofe

Climate Change Deniers’ Anthem

Love this. Funny or Die has a new take on climate change and the Koch brothers. Not much more to say except that if you want to learn more about climate change I highly recommend Climate Truth and Skeptical Science.

How Dust can help control Climate Change

Research by a University of Oklahoma scientist could lead to novel way to fight climate change. It has to do with dust.

Dr. Gerilyn Soreghan, courtesy University of Oklahoma

Dr. Gerilyn Soreghan, courtesy University of Oklahoma

Dr. Gerilyn Soreghan and a team of researchers from the University of California Riverside, Florida State University, University of Leeds, Hampton University, and Cornell University have been looking at some really old, iron-rich dust deposits. Like 300-million year old dust from the late Paleozoic period.

(I’ve talked with Dr. Soreghan before, click here and here to learn more about her.)

Dr. Soreghan says Earth’s atmosphere was as dusty as it has ever been 300 million years ago. She says it’s important to study those dust deposits because of the impact they had back then on Earth’s climate.

Here’s why: dust carries iron- iron is a fertilizer for plants- plants use photosynthesis-photosynthesis removes carbon from the atmosphere and replaces it with oxygen.

Dr. Soreghan says deep-time dust contained a lot of iron which means it “…should have even larger consequences for burial of carbon.” As for the modern day, there’s talk of iron fertilization as a geoengineering scheme to control the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

Dr. Soreghan says her study on deep-time events shines a light on how those types of geoengineering endeavors may work in the present day but, she says, more research is needed.

You can read more on the study in this brief write-up by Dr. Soreghan or here where the Geological Society of America has published an article. The National Science Foundation and American Chemical Society funded the research.

 

 

Oklahoma Spring Rains Strengthened by Global Warming

Global warming is behind that record setting rainfall we experienced last May.

The Oklahoma Climatological Survey reported a statewide average of 14 inches of rain in May, well above the previous record set in 1941.

It’s no secret that Oklahoma gets a lot of rain in the spring but a newly published study says global warming is the reason why we saw so much of it this year. Dr. Shih-Yu (Simon) Wang, the assistant director of the Utah Climate Center, is the lead author of the study. The Guardian has a good recap.

Global warming acts like a domino effect…a rise in temperatures in one part of the world, impacts rising seawaters in another part of the world, impacts precipitation in another part of the world…and so on. Dr. Wang studied how global warming impacted El Niño.

“El Niño tends to increase late-spring precipitation in the southern Great Plains and this effect has intensified since 1980. There was a detectable effect of anthropogenic global warming in the physical processes that caused the persistent precipitation in May of 2015: Warming in the tropical Pacific acted to strengthen the teleconnection towards North America…”              

You can expect to see many more studies like this linking global warming to natural disasters. Some may continue to deny it but the Earth doesn’t care.

 

 

Rising CO2 Levels Not Good for Grasslands

Rising CO2 levels are not good for grasslands, that’s the result of a four decade study in Montana. Researchers with Montana State University have been studying the same meadow near Bozeman for more than 40 years. They recently published the results of their study in Nature Communications.

The study ran from 1969 to 2012. When it began the concentration of carbon dioxide was at 327 parts per million. 42 years later it had risen by 20% to 402ppm.

So what were the results? Not surprisingly at all, not good. As reported by  The Daily Climate,Dryness over the last several decades is outpacing any potential growth stimulation from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide and nitrogen deposition,” said Jack Brookshire, one of the study’s co-author. He added, “Our results demonstrate lasting consequences of recent climate change on grassland production.”

One of the big arguments for climate change deniers is that rising CO2 emissions are good for plants. Our own illustrious Senator with the snowball has made that argument several times. He most recently said it earlier this month on the Senate floor. Here’s the video courtesy of Raw Story.

So basically more CO2 makes plants greener. In a way, that’s correct. But when looking at climate change you have take into everything into account…that includes less rainfall. So more CO2 and less rain means less productivity in grasslands.

Maybe next time the Senator with the snowball will bring a clump of grass to the Senate floor to make his case.

What is Scientific Evidence?

The amazing folks at Compound Interest are at it again. This time they’ve created an easy to follow guide explaining what makes up scientific evidence. The chart is below but you can click here to read their entire article.

Here’s why they made it,  “You might think science is science, but some evidence is ranked higher in the scientific community than others, and having an awareness of this can help you sort the science from the pseudoscience when it comes to various internet claims.” They go on to say, “The idea that sources of internet misinformation like the Food Babe might cease to exist with a better public understanding of scientific evidence is a bit of an idealistic one, but perhaps it might give those following cause to stop and question evidence provided, rather than merely accepting it at face value.”

Courtesy: Compound Interest

Courtesy: Compound Interest

Compound Interest has all kinds of wonderful information and they encourage teachers to use it in their classrooms.

Got STEM?

Phil Plait is the Bad Astronomer and writes for Slate. He wrote a short post about the need for STEM education and critical thinking in the U.S.

Check it out here.

There’s a fantastic video in that article about a talk at TEDx so be sure to click over there and take a peak. You’ll notice at the top of Plait’s post is a picture of that senator with a snowball, Jim Inhofe. So sad that one of our state’s leaders has become the poster child for a lack of critical thinking.

Oklahoma is “Ground Truth” for Climate Change Research

Oklahoma is well known for its climate change deniers, but did you know that Oklahoma is also considered a rock star, so to speak, by those who study climate change?

A research paper published in February in Nature showed that carbon dioxide is indeed trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere. The study backs up what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been saying all along. The research was conducted by scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. They concluded that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by 22 parts per million from 2000-2010.

The data came from two climate research facilities in the United States. One is in Barrow, Alaska and the other is right here in Oklahoma…Lamont, OK to be precise. The small town is located in Grant County, west of I-35 along Highway 60. The town’s mayor writes on Lamont’s website, “Lamont is a classic small town, where everyone knows your name, a neighbor is not just someone who lives next door, and the community is your family.” 

The climate research site in Lamont is operated by the U.S. Department of Energy. The main facility covers 160 acres of land around Lamont. You can read all about the facility here and see a map of where weather research stations are located in Oklahoma.

One of the researchers for this new study is Dr. Daniel Feldman. Here’s what he told me about the role Oklahoma is playing in the study of climate change, “The site in Oklahoma that was used for this research is actually pretty famous in the atmospheric science community, because it is heavily instrumented and has been for over two decades now. The idea for this site is to make a whole lot of high quality measurements to improve scientific understanding of atmospheric science, including weather, how thunderstorms and tornadoes form, cloud formation, interactions between the land and the atmosphere, and many other research topics. The site’s data has been used by researchers to advance science many, many times, and often is referred to as a “ground truth” because of the quality of the data there, its accessibility, and its comprehensive nature.”

So there you have it, regardless what the Senator with the Snowball says, climate change is real and Oklahoma is playing a major role in documenting it.

“The Senator with the Snowball”

Senator Jim Inhofe’s embarrassing speech before congress with his snowball was a low point for Oklahoma politics. So in steps Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) with the perfect rebuttal. It had just the right amount of scientific references and just the right amount humor.

I love this quote, “So, you can believe every major American scientific society, or you can believe the Senator With The Snowball.”

Sen. Inhofe will forever be known as the Senator with the Snowball.

This is not OK- Sen. Jim Inhofe and his Magical Snowball

This is the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. This is sad. But also funny because it’s so sad.

Our illustrious Senator Jim Inhofe tossing a snowball to disprove climate change. Your tax dollars pay his salary. Why didn’t anyone think of this before?

In case you don’t know why snowfall does not disprove climate change read this link.

 

Megadroughts are Megabad

Oklahoma could be ground zero to some one of the worst droughts in a millennium. A new report in the journal Science Advances says the Great Plains and Southwest portion of the U.S. are in line for megadroughts over the next 100 years. Those are droughts that last more than 20 years. Researchers say we could see droughts that last as long as 35 years or more. This part of the world hasn’t seen droughts like that since the 1100s.

You guessed it, the drier conditions are mostly a result of rising greenhouse gases, according to the report.

My grandfather was a wheat farmer in north central Oklahoma all of his life. I remember visiting his farm as a child. The TV was never on except to watch the weather report and then no one could move or say a word. That weather report was his lifeline. You could sense his anguish if he needed rain and it wasn’t coming. I can’t imagine what a megadrought will do to our Oklahoma farmers.

I wonder when our state and national leaders will take this seriously? If reports like this don’t change some minds, I’m not sure what will.