Boing Boing 

Earth just got hotter.

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“July was the planet's warmest month on record, smashing old marks, U.S. weather officials said. And it's almost a dead certain lock that this year will beat last year as the warmest year on record, they said.”

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Watch the arctic ice cap disappear in these National Geographic maps

Shrinking-Arctic

"Yes, Mr. President," the headline says. "We Remade Our Atlas to Reflect Shrinking Ice"

In a speech about climate change, Barack Obama had noted that over the years, National Geographic maps of the arctic had changed. The 10th edition of its Atlas of the World, especially, shows a much-diminished ice cap—and even more is gone in the 2014 edition.

As the ocean heats up due to global warming, Arctic sea ice has been locked in a downward spiral. Since the late 1970s, the ice has retreated by 12 percent per decade, worsening after 2007, according to NASA. May 2014 represented the third lowest extent of sea ice during that month in the satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

Ice loss is accelerated in the Arctic because of a phenomenon known as the feedback loop: Thin ice is less reflective than thick ice, allowing more sunlight to be absorbed by the ocean, which in turn weakens the ice and warms the ocean even more, NASA says.

The most recent map shows the north pole barely fifty miles from the edge. [via Flowing Data]

Watch: Clinton's amusing parody of GOP climate change deniers

Starring the lot of GOP 2016 contenders, Hillary adds a bit of entertainment to her campaign with this parody of climate change deniers in the form of a classic monster movie.

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What's causing climate change?

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Is it orbital changes? No? Solar variation? Uh uh. Volcanoes? Ffft. What could it possibly be? [Bloomberg]

US Navy: By 2050 Arctic Ocean ice will all melt in summers

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Many troubling stats about climate change's effect in the North Pole region are tucked into Newsweek's article on the geopolitical gold rush taking place up there.

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California's incipient dustbowl: photos of a drought


If the before-and-after drought pics of Getty's Justin Sullivan don't make you gasp aloud, you're made of sterner stuff than I; above, Bidwell Marina at Lake Oroville (now); below, 2011.

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Earth just experienced hottest June ever recorded

A map showing global temperature data for June 2014. National Climatic Data Center.


A map showing global temperature data for June 2014. National Climatic Data Center.

Writes Brian Kahn at Climate Central: "The world just experienced its hottest June on record. The heat was driven in large by part by the hottest ocean temperatures since recordkeeping began more than 130 years ago. That makes this the third-warmest start to the year." I'm sure it's nothing.

When looking at land areas only, this was the 7th-hottest June. Temperatures averaged over land were 1.7°F above average.

It’s the ocean surface temperatures that put the month over the top. Temperatures were 1.2°F above average. That’s a smaller number than the 1.7°F land averages, but oceans tend to lag behind air temperatures. And despite being a smaller number, oceans cover 70 percent of the planet, which tend to give them more weight on global temperatures.

"Driven by Ocean Heat, World Sets Mark for Hottest June" [climatecentral.org]

OECD predicts collapse of capitalism


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- a pro-establishment, rock-ribbed bastion of pro-market thinking -- has released a report predicting a collapse in global economic growth rates, a rise in feudal wealth disparity, collapsing tax revenue and huge, migrating bands of migrant laborers roaming from country to country, seeking crumbs of work. They prescribe "flexible" workforces, austerity, and mass privatization.

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Climate change is life and death

Temperatures rise. Scientists warn and study. Conspiracy theorists cry foul. Politicians scoff and wheedle and suppress, while their bureaucrats calmly plan ahead. In the meantime, life and death go on—just not in quite the same way we're used to. Posted by Rob Beschizza.Read the rest

Global ocean surface temperature in 2014 was highest ever recorded for May

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"The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for May 2014 was record highest for this month, at 0.74°C (1.33°F) above the 20th century average of 14.8°C (58.6°F). " More great news about global warming in the NOAA National Climate Data Center briefing here.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson: This is the difference between weather and climate change

This Cosmos clip of Neil DeGrasse Tyson is going viral, and for good reason. It's a terrific explainer of the difference between weather and climate change, and the role we humans play in warming the earth's oceans. It's just two minutes long.

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The 30 US landmarks most likely to be obliterated by climate change

Photo: Reuters


Photo: Reuters

From the Statue of Liberty in NYC to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, American landmarks are threatened by a likelihood of floods, rising sea levels and fires, said a group of scientists today.

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Scientific message in a bottle

In 1959, geologist Paul Walker put this note into a bottle and left it buried inside a pile of rocks in a remote part of the Arctic. More than just a "GEOLOGY WUZ HERE" sort of message, though, the note requested that whoever found it measure the distance between the cairn that contained the bottle and a nearby glacier and send the measurement to him. The goal: To document whether the glacier was advancing or retreating.

A group of scientists discovered the message this summer and followed its instructions. What they found is probably unsurprising to anybody who has been paying attention to the state of Arctic ice over the last couple decades. In 1959, the cairn and the glacier were 168.3 feet apart. Today, there is 333 feet between them.

Phone app helps visualize sea level rise

Looking Glass is a prototype phone application that allows you to see the future of sea level rise right in front of your face. There have been some other programs aimed at visualizing sea level rise recently — Drown Your Town, which adds rising water levels to Google Earth, is the most famous example. Looking Glass is a little bit different in that it moves the sea level rise to a first-person point of view. So you can drown not just the town, but your living room, or the people standing directly in front of you.

Right now, Looking Glass is a prototype that only works for the town of Wickford, Rhode Island. But it's a cool concept that could be expanded to a larger number of cities, later on. The goal, says creator Eli Kintisch is to make the invisible visible — to take things that we can only read about in dry scientific papers and show us what they'd really be like to live with.

'Rising Seas,' long-form radio doc on climate change by Alex Chadwick and 'BURN: An Energy Journal'

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My friend, former NPR colleague, and longtime journalism mentor Alex Chadwick has an incredible new radio documenting hitting the public radio airwaves this week. We're sharing it here on Boing Boing before it hits the radio-waves. I asked Alex to tell us a little about 'Rising Seas.' He explains:

The Rising Seas project grew out of an encounter at an MIT energy seminar almost a year ago. I met an Americanized Brit, Dr. Len Berry, from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. He's been speaking forcefully and clearly about the threat that rising seas present. At the end of his talk, I asked if Miami is a viable city. He smiled and answered, 'well, it is right now'.

And then I asked about the end of the century. He smiled again, but said nothing.

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Climate change and the point of no return

Eric Holthaus reports on the aftermath of last week's climate change report, which found that anthropogenic causes are almost certainly behind global warming.

Without jumping up and down on the desks of their computer terminals, this forum of scientists has done about as much as they can do. With this report, they have proven humankind’s impact on the climate, and confidently projected dire consequences should world governments fail to act immediately.

An interesting way of explaining scientific certainty and climate change

There's a new IPCC report coming out and that, inevitably, leads to confusion about what scientists mean when they say things like "we are 95% certain that climate change is being caused by human behavior." The AP's Seth Borenstein used this as a jumping off platform to talk about certainty, and other (less popularly/politically controversial) ideas that also have 95% certainty attached to them. Are scientists 100% sure that climate change is caused by people? No. But they're at least as certain of that fact as they are of the fact that smoking is hazardous to your health.