EPA rules greenhouse gases threaten public health; winter storm pounds U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:03 PM GMT on December 08, 2009

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In a press release yesterday the EPA announced: "After a thorough examination of the scientific evidence and careful consideration of public comments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people. The ruling comes in response to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that GHGs fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants, and paves the way for the EPA to regulate CO2 as a pollutant. In the event Congress does not pass legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the EPA now has the power to do that on its own. In the words of the press release, "President Obama and Administrator Jackson have publicly stated that they support a legislative solution to the problem of climate change and Congress. efforts to pass comprehensive climate legislation. However, climate change is threatening public health and welfare, and it is critical that EPA fulfill its obligation to respond to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that determined that greenhouse gases fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants." The first EPA rule to limit CO2 would likely affect cars and light-duty trucks. Over 23% of U.S. greenhouse gases emissions are caused by on-road vehicles. Rules drafted on September 15, 2009, if imposed, would require vehicles sold between 2012 - 2016 to average 35.5 MPG.

Release of hacked emails had "organization and orchestration", UEA official says
Prof Trevor Davies, pro-vice chancellor at the University of East Angelina where the "climategate" hacked email controversy began, said in an interview yesterday: "A lot of people have remarked that it seems an unlikely co-incidence that this happened just before Copenhagen. There are indications that the people who stole this data and documents have had them for some time. They have clearly had the chance to go through them and we have had to check them ourselves. I think from the way that this has mushroomed and the very rapid responses on various blog sites, it seems to me that it has some organization and orchestration".

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the FBI is investigating death threats made against two U.S. climate scientists involved in the emails. Clearly, meteorologists involved in tornado and hurricane chasing are risking their lives in the cause of science, but who would have thought that meteorologists sitting behind a computer crunching numbers would be risking their lives? Crazy life!.

Other posts on the hacked climate change email affair
Don't shoot the messenger
Embattled UK climate scientist steps down
The Manufactured Doubt industry and the hacked email controversy
Is more CO2 beneficial for Earth's ecosystems?

Ricky Rood in Copenhagen
Our Climate Change expert, Dr. Ricky Rood, is in Copenhagen for the COP15 climate change summit. His post on the "climategate" affair is one of the more intelligent and diplomatic commentaries I've seen.

Major winter storm blasts the Plains and Western U.S.
Meanwhile, back in North America, it is winter. The season's first widespread heavy snow event is here, with a fierce winter storm that is the pounding the west. The storm will dump heavy snow along a wide swath across a large region of the country, from California to Michigan. The storm brought blizzard conditions and a foot of snow to northern Arizona today. Fierce thunderstorms with winds gusts up to 74 mph hit the Phoenix region, causing widespread tree damage and power outages for 250,000 people. California's Sierra Mountains recorded over 3 feet of snow, and 1 - 3 feet of snow is expected in the mountains of southern Utah and in Colorado. Up to a foot of snow is expected tonight through Wednesday across Kansas, Iowa, southern Minnesota, and southern Wisconsin, with blizzard conditions likely in Iowa.

Some snow amounts from the storm so far (with distances in miles from the city included, where appropriate):

...CALIFORNIA...
ALPINE MEADOWS 42.0
KIRKWOOD 40.0
CISCO 5 ENE 35.0
KINGVALE 1.3 WSW 29.0
HOMEWOOD 2 SE 27.0
PROSSER CREEK RESERVOIR 24.0
FAIR PLAY 2.8 ESE 17.0
PLACERVILLE 2.9 WNW 13.0
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE 13.0
VOLCANO 5.4 NE 12.5
GRASS VALLEY 5.5 ESE 11.5
COLFAX 3.1 SW 11.0
ALTA SIERRA 0.4 WSW 10.0
SUSANVILLE 3.2 SSW 8.8
LAKE OF THE PINES 8.0
NEVADA CITY 5.4 W 5.2
FOLSOM 3.4 ESE 0.5
CARMICHAEL 1.4 W 0.3
SACRAMENTO 8.0 NE 0.1

...NEVADA...
HEAVENLY VALLEY 24.0
MT ROSE SKI AREA 23.0
CARSON CITY 1.3 NW 18.0
DAYTON 1.7 SW 13.0
RENO 7.1 N 12.0

...ARIZONA...
FLAGSTAFF 11.6
WILLIAMS 8.0
BELLEMONT 7.2
GRAND CANYON ARPT 3.0

...COLORADO...
DELTA 10.2

...UTAH...
VERDURE 8 WNW 25.0

Next post
My next post will be Wednesday.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting minorLeague:
Long-time lurker.

AGW debate is like a train wreck to me. I hate to keep looking at the posts, but I can't help myself.

I'd love to see a brief series of posts from Dr M on "tropical weather for dummies." I follow a lot of the elements of the tropical weather discussions, but I haven't seen it all put together, especially the elements to watch for in system development. Anyone else interested? Any of you experienced posters have suggestions on best resources?


That would be a WUnderful use of the off-season in here.
I would much rather the GW/CC stuff be relegated to Rood's blog...
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before we destroy the Earth by driving cars and eating mexican food.

say what? What's wrong with Taco Bell?
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I think it about even as far as the technological explosion of information. Only difference is that at that time the PC was just begining to take off. The massive equations were done with a pencil and a calculator. My son will never understand a world where doing things in your head was commonplace. My hat is off to those that used a slide rule.
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Quoting Maat:


Yeah whatever. You just wish you had my New Kids On The Block lifesize poster with Donnie and Markie's autograph on it. That and my Hanson collectable lunchbox will be my retirement one day.


I met the New Kids on the Block and was on a Nickelodeon show with them. LOL
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting hydrus:
There is a NOVA program about (Global Dimming) check this out if you can. The show states that the pollution we have put in the sky has helped prevent further warming of the globe.

And, it doesn't cover (to my knowledge) what effect that phenomenon has had on surface temp measurements nor Arctic sea ice, which clouds our ability to quantitatively attribute changes/trends to CO2 longwave absorption/emission.

I though someone earlier said the CO2 greenhouse effect was simple? While the function is simple, if considered devoid of any other factors, it's relative contribution couldn't be further from simple.
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Quoting HurricaneNewbie:


I wanted to get a degree in electronics engineering. I ran out of money and they showed me the door. I would have gone back and picked up where I left off but during the 80's the information you studied was practicaly obsolete before the semester was over.
I remember all the 80,s unless it was party time :). It seems the rate of advancement in the technological fields today far exceeds what was happening in the 1980,s.jmo
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I still have my Hanson lunchbox in the original packaging

If I were you I would hope no one noticed that post, or this one, and never admit publicly that again.
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Link

Even though this article was written in 2007, it is quite useful in dispelling myths and clearly defining goals of what is currently being attempted. For those truly interested on both sides of the argument, it shall give you more fuel to add to the fire. Read it if you have the time. It might prove helpful. I must warn you it is more than one page!!!
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Never underestimate the eduction of the A/C guy. He charges you $85 an hour to change the filter when you forget too and freeze up your unit.
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135. JeffMasters (Admin)
Quoting hurricanejunky:
Dr. Masters,the message was from a conservative and interestingly enough:

Bashed Al Gore, CHECK
Doesn't believe in Man Made GW, CHECK
Supports nuclear, CHECK

Nuclear has terrible and expensive waste issues associated with it. Who wants to store all of that highly toxic waste and spend hundreds of billions building new plants when we can utilize ultra-clean and reliable solar and wind energies? Plus as you said there are risks associated with plant meltdowns and leaks. If it's a choice between coal fired plants and nuclear then I guess nuclear is the lesser of two evils. Now if we were to implement nuclear and use it as France does (yes France!) then it would be far more appealing although still prohibitively expensive. Do you agree?


Well, these are good points. However, I don't think we can ramp up renewables fast enough, and nuclear should be given a chance to compete against solar and other renewables with the playing field leveled--by repealing the Price-Anderson Act, which essentially gives free disaster insurance to the nuclear industry. If we remove that act, and nuclear can make energy cheaper than renewables, I think we should go for it (and still ramp up renewables). Of course, if I lived near Chernobyl, I might think differently. Like I said, I'm not a policy expert, and I'm sure many of you have more informed opinions about energy solutions.

Jeff Masters
Quoting Maat:
I still have my Hanson lunchbox in the original packaging
congratulations.
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Quoting hydrus:
Cool post, I think I will be A/C Tech when I grow up...jk


I wanted to get a degree in electronics engineering. I ran out of money and they showed me the door. I would have gone back and picked up where I left off but during the 80's the information you studied was practicaly obsolete before the semester was over.
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
118. hahaha, smartarse! LOL i'm a lot underpaid and a little overeducated to be an A/C guy! LOL
I meant me dude! I was just complimenting your terse explanation on the subject....
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
Surf's up as biggest waves in five years come to Hawaii after North Pacific storm



Awesome picture!
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting AGWcreationists:
"The show states that the pollution we have put in the sky has helped prevent further warming of the globe."

So in order to halt global warming, we should all be driving Trabants?


Well, we taxpayers basically own GM now, so maybe Obama can go ahead and tell them to build some. We can fire the CEO, so I'm sure we can tell them what to build.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
"The show states that the pollution we have put in the sky has helped prevent further warming of the globe."

So in order to halt global warming, we should all be driving Trabants?
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Quoting hydrus:
There is a NOVA program about (Global Dimming) check this out if you can. The show states that the pollution we have put in the sky has helped prevent further warming of the globe.


That makes sense to me. I wonder if there have been any studies on the affects of air pollution in China and temperatures.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting CaneWarning:


According to some, the earth is now cooling due to global warming...boy I'm confused.
There is a NOVA program about (Global Dimming) check this out if you can. The show states that the pollution we have put in the sky has helped prevent further warming of the globe.
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118. hahaha, smartarse! LOL i'm a lot underpaid and a little overeducated to be an A/C guy! LOL
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I didn't know:
Worldwide, cement manufacturing accounts for approximately 5% of CO2 emissions. When all greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activities are considered, the cement industry is responsible for approximately 3% of global emissions.

One can say a lot with a link. Maybe every nutjob on the internet that wants to publish their weather related manifesto here full length in a comment would be better advised to just link to it.
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"this comment takes the cake for one of the stupidest ever on this blog:"

So since you think it is stupid, please say exactly why you believe such.

"The Medieval Warm Period was a time of relative human prosperity."

True historical statement.

"The Little Ice Age was a time of death, misery and starvation. "

True historical statement.

"So I'm not sure how warming can considered bad for human health."

If you look back at the last 2,000 years, warm perioids were prosperous, and cold periods such as the Dark Ages and the Little Ice Age were periods of considerable human suffering and devastation. The warmup we have seen over the last 150 years brought us out of the Little Ice Age, but we are still not up to the overall warmth of the Medieval Warm Period.

"Meanwhile, we breath CO2 every day, and CO2 is vital for life on Earth."

True statement. CO2 only becomes toxic at, what, four parts per hundred? We currently measure atmospheric concentrations in parts per million. The laws the EPA is interpreting apply to the presence of toxic chemicals in the air with a clear documented history of health risks, such as ozone and sulfates. It is a serious strech to apply those laws to CO2.

But, then again, we live in an age where words are meant to be twisted.
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My fav,..Bugs and A warming Planet
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Quoting Bordonaro:


No, just a "short story"!! Ha, ha, ha.

I am watching the "Epic Snowstorm of Dec 8, 2009" wind up like an "Eight-Day" clock!! I am afraid the GW debate is way out of my league!!


According to some, the earth is now cooling due to global warming...boy I'm confused.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting IKE:
Is post 63 a book?


No, just a "short story"!! Ha, ha, ha.

I am watching the "Epic Snowstorm of Dec 8, 2009" wind up like an "Eight-Day" clock!! I am afraid the GW debate is way out of my league!!
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
89. well, the air is cooled in the coils (that is the purpose of the evaporator coils, after all) and as that air is cooled it becomes more dense. if the mass flow rate is constant but the density increases, the volumetric flow rate must decrease--nothing really controversial there :) in low pressure weather systems, air rises from the surface and surrounding air moves toward the void. the converse is true for high pressure systems.
Cool post, I think I will be A/C Tech when I grow up...jk
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Quoting IKE:
Is post 63 a book?


A Rogue Narrative I believe?




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Quoting Bordonaro:


Only God know 100% for certain exactly WHAT is causing the climate temperature fluctuations. I agree with you, GW debates are a "train wreck". One thing is for certain, as long as they argue about money and CO2 emissions, nothinhg will get accomplished. The atmosphere and the oceans will balance everything out. The question is, "Will humans be able to deal with the changes"?


No, we'll all be broke and nobody will be able to bail us out. It's all a new industry to make money and tax us all to death.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting Ossqss:
Consensus?

Consensus?

and summary of such?

A review of the research literature concerning the environmental consequences of increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide leads to the conclusion that increases during the 20th and early 21st centuries have produced no deleterious effects upon Earth's weather and climate.


You aren't allowed to mention that! LOL J/k
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
111. IKE 10:17 AM PST on December 08, 2009
Is post 63 a book?


exactly!
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Quoting minorLeague:
Long-time lurker.

AGW debate is like a train wreck to me. I hate to keep looking at the posts, but I can't help myself.

I'd love to see a brief series of posts from Dr M on "tropical weather for dummies." I follow a lot of the elements of the tropical weather discussions, but I haven't seen it all put together, especially the elements to watch for in system development. Anyone else interested? Any of you experienced posters have suggestions on best resources?



Only God know 100% for certain exactly WHAT is causing the climate temperature fluctuations. I agree with you, GW debates are a "train wreck". One thing is for certain, as long as they argue about money and CO2 emissions, nothinhg will get accomplished. The atmosphere and the oceans will balance everything out. The question is, "Will humans be able to deal with the changes"?
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Quoting IKE:
Is post 63 a book?


Hope someone has the cliff notes??
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111. IKE
Is post 63 a book?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
politics is the art of the possible...and ya can't take the politics out of politics...the system actually works...and serves us...pretty darned well...
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Quoting txag91met:
The biggest problem I see in all this is:

We end up paying more, while China/India and other countries will continue to push CO2 into the atmosphere. This won't stop it, nothing will as long as the population of the earth continues to grow. CO2 will always be a bi-product of our growth. We need fossil fuels, and we will continue to burn them for years to come.


Yes, does it really matter if we lessen what we put in the environment, when other countries will start to produce more as they grow? I guess it matters in our part of the world, but overall I'm not sure if it makes that much of a difference where the CO2 comes from.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting HurricaneNewbie:
The blog has been in the ditch for a few days now. Has somebody called a tow truck yet to pull it back out?


Nah,I think at this point fill the ditch in.
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"AGW debate is like a train wreck to me."

The recent AGW threads here have been pretty civil and robust by internet forum standards.

And Dr. Masters is addressing the newsworthy topics at hand, participating in the exchanges, and not restricting differing opinions, very much to his credit, even if I disagree with a lot of his viewpoints that he has expressed.

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@ 101 This is true of most administrations and will not change until the 80% of the population that votes along party lines start to question the leadership.
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Quoting minorLeague:
Long-time lurker.

AGW debate is like a train wreck to me. I hate to keep looking at the posts, but I can't help myself.

I'd love to see a brief series of posts from Dr M on "tropical weather for dummies." I follow a lot of the elements of the tropical weather discussions, but I haven't seen it all put together, especially the elements to watch for in system development. Anyone else interested? Any of you experienced posters have suggestions on best resources?


Yuppers!
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Quoting HurricaneNewbie:

True except for the occasional bickering and name calling.



Kinda Like the U.S. Senate Lately, one could say..
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
sorry everyone...i didn't intend for that chuckle to drive the blog discussion into the ditch!

ME, AIM, italics challenged...

OH, like it's worse than AGW/CC!
We're talking about the possible crumbling of one of the U.S.'s greatest institutions. And then there's the crumbling of another one, a free public education system.
Oh my gosh, somehow I got semi-serious here...
I know it's not meteorology, but without strong and free institutions, how are folks going to get into college and compete in math and science?

And that's the way a non-linear mind works... poor Pearland... all he did was make a little joke!

Lots of weather and stuff going on in the world without beating CC/GW to death. I would like to see the end game in Copenhagen first; just me.

Really, BBL. By then I'll have done my own homework on the hole in the ozone!

Cheers :)
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it's an entirely different Senate...and there's nothing un-Constituional about the EPA actions...

Perhaps the EPA action in and of itself is not un-constitutional, but the sneaky, underhanded way that the Prseident and the rest of the lib REGIME in power is going about getting what they want most certainly is! They played it smart though, rather than letting it get beaten in Senate, they declared their intentions up front. What this says to me, is that this REGIME will do whatever they want to get what they want. It is a clear message to Senate, and the American voters that what we do, what we vote for doesn't mean anything, any official or group thereof with an agenda will get what they want..
It is unacceptable!
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Quoting presslord:
Newbie...I respectfully disagree...it has been, by and large, a good vigorous exchange of ideas...

True except for the occasional bickering and name calling.
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"that was then...this is now...Capitol Hill politics is very fluid..."

Once again, the Senate can't muster 60 votes to get past a potential filibuster on cap-and-trade - and there are 60 members in the Dem caucus.
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Long-time lurker.

AGW debate is like a train wreck to me. I hate to keep looking at the posts, but I can't help myself.

I'd love to see a brief series of posts from Dr M on "tropical weather for dummies." I follow a lot of the elements of the tropical weather discussions, but I haven't seen it all put together, especially the elements to watch for in system development. Anyone else interested? Any of you experienced posters have suggestions on best resources?

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.