Climate news that has caught our attention.
Record Number of Billion-Dollar Disasters in 2020 for the USA. NOAA has details: “It was an extraordinary year for weather and climate events in the U.S.: The nation endured an unprecedented 22 billion-dollar disasters in 2020. A record number of named tropical storms formed in the Atlantic, with a record 12 making landfall. The nation also had its most active wildfire year on record due to very dry conditions in the West and unusually warm temperatures that gripped much of the country...”
You Might Be Surprised About the Riskiest Places to Live in the US. I’m feeling even better about living in Minnesota these days. A post at AP and Voice of America caught my eye: “…Out of over 3,000 counties in the U.S., Los Angeles County in southern California is the riskiest place to live. That is home to the city of Los Angeles. The counties in the U.S. that are home to other large U.S. cities are risky, too. New York County, home to New York City, and Miami-Dade County in Florida have large populations, lots of buildings and homes, and are close to water. Cities that are close to water are generally considered risky due to flooding. Other U.S. cities that have a high-risk index are Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; San Antonio, Texas; and St. Louis, Missouri…”
FEMA’s National Risk Index. For more information on overall risk levels for specific counties click here. FEMA has an excerpt: “…The Index leverages best available source data to provide a holistic view of community-level risk nationwide by combining multiple hazards with socioeconomic and built environment factors. It calculates a baseline relative risk measurement for each United States county and census tract for 18 natural hazards, based on Expected Annual Loss, Social Vulnerability, and Community Resilience…”
Inside the CIA, She Became a Spy for Planet Earth. Talk about an accidental discovery of monumental importance. Here’s an excerpt of a fascinating story at The New York Times (paywall): “…The first reconnaissance satellite, known as Corona, was launched in 1960. Federal experts have put the overall cost of its hundreds of successors at more than $50 billion. An accident of fate let the fleet assess a top environmental concern — the extent to which vast expanses of Arctic and Antarctic ice were retreating. Many spy satellites orbit on north-south paths that pass close to the poles so that, as the planet turns, the vast majority of Earth’s surface passes beneath their sensors over the course of 24 hours. Thus, their many paths converge near the poles…”
Agriculture Must Be Part of Climate Change Negotiations, Says Farm Bureau. Here’s the intro to a post at Food and Environmental Reporting Network: “Although blamed for 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, agriculture has a “great track record” through land stewardship and biofuels in mitigating climate change, says Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, in looking ahead to the Biden administration. “We must make sure we are at the table for discussions around climate change.” Speaking during the opening session of the AFBF annual convention, held online this year, Duvall said, “Farmers have a great story to tell when it comes to protecting our environment,” noting that roughly 140 million acres, or 219,000 square miles, of farmland are enrolled in federal soil and water conservation programs and biofuels “reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 71 million tons per year…”
Controversial NOAA Climate Officials Release Papers Making Dubious Claims. I’m shocked. Here’s an excerpt from an explainer at Capital Weather Gang: “…The papers, which were published on non-government websites, bear the imprint of the Executive Office of the President and state they were copyrighted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). “These papers were not created at the direction of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy nor were they cleared or approved by OSTP leadership,” OSTP spokesperson Kristina Baum said in an email. The papers make controversial and disputed claims about climate science, including that human-caused global warming “involves a large measure of faith” and that computer models are “too small and slow” to produce meaningful climate simulations...”
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