cocktail hour in the Andes

early winter in central Andes

brisk temps

but little affect on cocktail hour


Tim Lane enjoying late afternoon vino tinto in his new Terray jacket and manly footwear

IMG_20200603_160857crédito completo, Mark Rawstoned


NOAA’s credibility has taken a hit ~ The Washington Post

Hurricane Dorian spinning over the northern Bahamas on Sept. 1. (Colorado State University)

June 1

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is getting underway with the country’s weather forecast agency in an unfamiliar situation. Facing what it expects to be an unusually active season, with between 13 to 19 named storms, forecasters at the National Weather Service will have to contend with lingering questions about their ability to operate independently after political interference from the White House during 2019′s Hurricane Dorian.

Monday brought the release of hundreds of emails that The Washington Post and other media outlets had requested from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — NWS’s parent agency, under the Freedom of Information Act. The records request is related to President Trump’s erroneous tweet about the hurricane and efforts to retroactively justify it. This latest release, the seventh since the dust-up shined a spotlight on the politicization of weather forecasts, shows concerned citizens and NOAA constituents writing scathing emails of concern to the agency’s leaders in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane’s assault on the Bahamas and the southeastern United States.

Many of the emails excoriate NOAA’s leaders for issuing an unsigned statement Sept. 6, which backed up an inaccurate assertion from President Trump days earlier that Alabama “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” by the Category 5 storm.

That statement criticized the National Weather Service forecast office in Birmingham for a tweet that contradicted Trump’s claims by definitively stating that the storm posed no threat to the state. By issuing that tweet, meteorologists in Birmingham were responding to a flood of calls from residents expressing concern about the storm. It was only later that they found out the source of the fears stemmed from a tweet from the president.

The NOAA statement was widely interpreted within its National Weather Service as contradicting an accurate forecast because of political pressure from the White House and the Commerce Department. The Post has reported that the demand for NOAA to issue the statement came from then-acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, at the request of the president, via officials at the Commerce Department.

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

Summers are growing longer due to climate change, while winters are dramatically shrinking ~ The Washington Post

People cool off in the river pool at the Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole in Reston, Va. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

June 1

The Earth is warming and disturbing the balance of the seasons. Data makes it clear that summers are expanding while winters are substantially shortening.

I recently completed an analysis that examined the hottest and coldest 90 days of the year, approximating summer and winter, over the past two 30-year periods, 1960-1989 and 1990-2019. What I learned was that the hottest temperatures that defined the first 30 years expanded over additional days in the most recent 30 years. Conversely, the coldest temperatures defining the preceding 30 years contracted.

In other words, most locations globally, including in the United States and Canada, have seen their summer season lengthen and the winter season shrink.

(Brian Brettschneider)

Longer summers

The vast majority of 6,000 weather stations analyzed globally now experience a longer summer compared with the previous 30-year reference period.

In the United States and Canada, summer has expanded by an average of one week.

(Brian Brettschneider)

The lengthiest increases in summer conditions, colored in orange and red, have occurred over the southern United States, as well as in eastern and western Canada.

Generally, the closer you get to an ocean, the more summer has expanded. This makes sense as the oceans have warmed dramatically, and they impart a tremendous influence on the climate.

Areas in blue on the first map show where summer conditions are slightly shorter and are limited to small pockets in the central United States.

There is also a notable urban heat island effect as cities are experiencing longer summers than nearby rural areas. The added increase in heat because of the density of concrete and asphalt surfaces is real and affects the lives of the 80 percent of Americans who live in cities.

Here are the 10 major U.S. cities that have seen the lengthiest expansion of summer weather over the past 30 years:

  • Honolulu, 38 days
  • Miami, 37 days
  • San Francisco, 32 days
  • New Orleans, 25 days
  • Phoenix, 23 days
  • Tucson, 21 days
  • El Paso, 20 days
  • Houston, 18 days
  • Las Vegas, 18 days

In Washington, the period of summer temperatures has expanded by four days. Chicago has seen its period of summer temperatures expand by a week, while New York City has seen just a three-day increase.

Internationally, London has seen its period of summer temperatures expand by 17 days, while Beijing and Sydney have witnessed 15- and 14-day increases.

Shorter winters

The change in the length of winter is even more dramatic than the summer changes. While the United States and Canada see summer conditions that last an average of seven days more than they used to, the duration of winter conditions has shortened by an average of 15 days.

(Brian Brettschneider)

In northern Canada and Alaska, the shortening of winter is especially dramatic. Along Alaska’s North Slope, the coldest part of winter in the most recent 30-year period is warmer than any of the winter days in the preceding 30-year period.

Although the greatest contraction in winter is seen in the high latitudes, interestingly parts of Southern California and South Florida are also seeing markedly shorter winters.

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

Piscoero presents mango sours on socially approved long distance pisco board


A happy Chris Newman receiving her first mango sour ever …


Bob Newman grabs on  …   as a surf board or feather appears on rŌbert’s head


“Perhaps patent the long board for the months of virus…” Tim Lane



The prep is the most important of the process.


A pandemic exposes a water divide in Chile ~ Al Jazerra

In Chile, a pandemic exposes a water divide

Chile’s drought has been compounded by the continuous spread of the novel coronavirus.


Rural Chileans can barely wash their hands, but the avocados nearby are thriving.

The country has been battling a mega drought for over a decade, and rivers and reservoirs in Chile have dried to dust.

In this episode, we ask who has access to water, who doesn’t, and how hard that is to change during the coronavirus outbreak.

To help answer those questions, we speak to Lucia Newman, Al Jazeera editor for Latin America.


How to Protect 1 Million Acres of Public Lands ~ Patagonia catalogue

Jocelyn Torres  /  6 Min Read  /  Activism

Jocelyn Torres of Conservation Lands Foundation on the power of grassroots lobbying and voting for public lands.

The Basin and Range National Monument in Nevada was signed into national monument status in 2015 by Barack Obama under the Antiquities Act. Since 1964, more than 5 million acres of land in Nevada have been protected as public lands. Photo: Tyler Roemer


I grew up in Las Vegas, a place known for neon lights that drown out the night, not so much for open space or the outdoors.

But my family and I spent many holidays outside of the city. The trips we took to the Nellis Dunes Recreation Area, Spring Mountains National Recreation Area and Lake Mead National Recreation Area were highlights of my childhood.

Back then, I had no idea these places—which all have the words “recreation area” in their name—were managed by three completely different government entities: the county, the US Forest Service and the National Park Service, respectively. I didn’t fully understand this concept of different agencies managing natural places until well after I returned home from college. I know now that I was not alone in this—most people don’t know which government agencies manage which areas.

I returned to Las Vegas in 2011 after going to college in Southern California because I wanted to make some kind of difference in the community that raised me. I’ve worked on various issues throughout my career with progressive nonprofits, and public lands issues have always been near and dear to my heart because access to public lands was one of very few kid-friendly and affordable entertainment options available to my family. It is also a complicated issue to voice your opinion about, and I felt I could help my community navigate this more easily.

I joined the Conservation Lands Foundation five years ago to focus on connecting the users, volunteers and neighbors of protected public lands with the Bureau of Land Management so the public can ensure their experiences in these places are reflected and accounted for. It quickly became clear that there is a discrepancy between who makes land-use decisions and who gets impacted by them.

How to Protect 1 Million Acres of Public Lands
The author at proposed Avi Kwa Ame (Spirit Mountain) National Monument. The proposed monument is included in Senator Cortez Masto’s draft for the Southern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act, but there are no details about its size or scope. Photo courtesy of Jocelyn Torres


Whenever I join any land-planning meeting around southern Nevada, it’s easy to notice there aren’t a lot of people who reflect the local demographics. Land-planning meetings are public gatherings put together by a government agency to hear comments from the public about what they hope to see stay the same, or what they hope changes in a particular area (think: adding more bathrooms in a heavily visited place). The meetings are also an opportunity for the public to provide feedback about proposed decisions on how land will be enjoyed or used. This is why including participants who reflect the Las Vegas Valley in these meetings is crucial to ensuring the final decision works for the community and doesn’t cause unintended harm—like the time when an agave-roasting pit was damaged due to the addition of a direct hiking trail to a cultural site.

The reason people who reflect the community aren’t at these meetings can usually be attributed to cultural barriers, and the assumption that communities of color aren’t visiting the places in question. But while Latinos or Asian Americans might be fewer in numbers than our white neighbors, it doesn’t mean that these communities aren’t there. According to the 2019 Outdoor Participation Report by the Outdoor Industry Association, Hispanics went on the most annual outings (nationally), an average of 62.7 trips per participant, and Asians had the highest outdoor participation rates at 66.9 percent.

The first place I got involved in protecting was the Basin and Range National Monument. Located about three hours northeast of Las Vegas, it includes petroglyph sites, gorgeous vistas of wide-open valleys surrounded by mountain ranges and artist Michael Heizer’s unique art piece—which is the size of the National Mall and blends architecture with engineering and ancient American art. Basin and Range was the first place I played a role in designating as official public land.

During the planning process, I met with organizations and individuals to encourage them to submit comments to the Bureau of Land Management to express how they hoped the new national monument would accommodate their needs. The commenting process may seem like a trivial act in the age of social media when millions of comments exist on the internet, but comments are crucial pieces of information for the planners at the federal agencies.

Comments describe where people like to recreate, the types of infrastructure they hope to see, and the types of developments they don’t want to see. And it’s important that these comments are submitted because you better believe those who benefit from the extractive uses (oil, gas, mining) are sending in comments highlighting which areas they’d like to see further developed and closed to the public.

To help more people send in their comments, I worked with local advocates to create postcards with information about where to email comments, and bullet points about what type of information the agency was looking for. The biggest barrier in participating in an official public commenting process is that oftentimes people lack information about how to participate and what types of comments may be useful. Some people wonder whether their comments will even be considered if they don’t have a Ph.D. or an official title tied to their signature.

We’ve learned in the era of social media that no comment is too small to get a point across. I worked with elementary school students on crafting a one-page letter sharing how they would use the monument for field trips. Their biggest request was to have a place for their vans to be able to turn around on the road.