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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
don rōbert modeling the latest in hospital wear liberated from a Boston hospital a few years back.
photo credit, Lisa Issenberg
crédito total ~ Don Burnham Arndt
An anguished question from a Trump supporter: ‘Why do liberals think Trump supporters are stupid?’
THE SERIOUS ANSWER: Here’s what the majority of anti-Trump voters honestly feel about Trump supporters en masse:
That when you saw a man who had owned a fraudulent University, intent on scamming poor people, you thought “Fine.” (https://www.usatoday.com/…/trump-university-sett…/502387002/)
That when you saw a man who had made it his business practice to stiff his creditors, you said, “Okay.” (https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-hotel-paid-millions-in-…)
That when you heard him proudly brag about his own history of sexual abuse, you said, “No problem.” (https://abcnews.go.com/…/list-trumps-accusers-allega…/story…)
That when he made up stories about seeing Muslim-Americans in the thousands cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center, you said, “Not an issue.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/donald-trumps-outrageous-…/)
That when you saw him brag that he could shoot a man on Fifth Avenue and you wouldn’t care, you exclaimed, “He sure knows me.” (https://www.usatoday.com/…/president-donald-tru…/4073405002/)
That when you heard him relating a story of an elderly guest of his country club, an 80-year old man, who fell off a stage and hit his head, to Trump replied: “‘Oh my God, that’s disgusting,’ and I turned away. I couldn’t—you know, he was right in front of me, and I turned away. I didn’t want to touch him. He was bleeding all over the place. And I felt terrible, because it was a beautiful white marble floor, and now it had changed color. Became very red.” You said, “That’s cool!” (https://www.gq.com/story/donald-trump-howard-stern-story)
That when you saw him mock the disabled, you thought it was the funniest thing you ever saw. (https://www.nbcnews.com/…/donald-trump-criticized-after-he-…)
That when you heard him brag that he doesn’t read books, you said, “Well, who has time?” (https://www.theatlantic.com/…/americas-first-post-t…/549794/)
That when the Central Park Five were compensated as innocent men convicted of a crime they didn’t commit, and he angrily said that they should still be in prison, you said, “That makes sense.” (https://www.usatoday.com/…/what-trump-has-said-…/1501321001/)
That when you heard him tell his supporters to beat up protesters and that he would hire attorneys, you thought, “Yes!” (https://www.latimes.com/…/la-na-trump-campaign-protests-201…)
That when you heard him tell one rally to confiscate a man’s coat before throwing him out into the freezing cold, you said, “What a great guy!” (https://www.independent.co.uk/…/donald-trump-orders-protest…)
That you have watched the parade of neo-Nazis and white supremacists with whom he curries favor, while refusing to condemn outright Nazis, and you have said, “Thumbs up!” (https://www.theatlantic.com/…/why-cant-trump-just-c…/567320/)
That you hear him unable to talk to foreign dignitaries without insulting their countries and demanding that they praise his electoral win, you said, “That’s the way I want my President to be.” (https://www.huffpost.com/…/trump-insult-foreign-countries-l…)
That you have watched him remove expertise from all layers of government in favor of people who make money off of eliminating protections in the industries they’re supposed to be regulating and you have said, “What a genius!” (https://www.politico.com/…/138-trump-policy-changes-2017-00…)
That you have heard him continue to profit from his businesses, in part by leveraging his position as President, to the point of overcharging the Secret Service for space in the properties he owns, and you have said, “That’s smart!” (https://www.usnews.com/…/how-is-donald-trump-profiting-from…)
That you have heard him say that it was difficult to help Puerto Rico because it was in the middle of water and you have said, “That makes sense.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/the-very-big-ocean-betwee…/)
That you have seen him start fights with every country from Canada to New Zealand while praising Russia and quote, “falling in love” with the dictator of North Korea, and you have said, “That’s statesmanship!” (https://www.cnn.com/…/donald-trump-dictators-kim…/index.html)
That Trump separated children from their families and put them in cages, managed to lose track of 1500 kids, has opened a tent city incarceration camp in the desert in Texas – he explains that they’re just “animals” – and you say, “Well, OK then.” (https://www.nbcnews.com/…/more-5-400-children-split-border-…)
That you have witnessed all the thousand and one other manifestations of corruption and low moral character and outright animalistic rudeness and contempt for you, the working American voter, and you still show up grinning and wearing your MAGA hats and threatening to beat up anybody who says otherwise. (https://www.americanprogress.org/…/confronting-cost-trumps…/)
What you don’t get, Trump supporters, is that our succumbing to frustration and shaking our heads, thinking of you as stupid, may very well be wrong and unhelpful, but it’s also…hear me…charitable.
Because if you’re NOT stupid, we must turn to other explanations, and most of them are less flattering.
And we’re the ones who made it that way with our own hands. Just look around. Over the past 20 years, we’ve been steadily removing man-made and natural buffers, redundancies, regulations and norms that provide resilience and protection when big systems — be they ecological, geopolitical or financial — get stressed. We’ve been recklessly removing these buffers out of an obsession with short-term efficiency and growth, or without thinking at all.
At the same time, we’ve been behaving in extreme ways — pushing against, and breaching, common-sense political, financial and planetary boundaries.
And, all the while, we’ve taken the world technologically from connected to interconnected to interdependent — by removing more friction and installing more grease in global markets, telecommunications systems, the internet and travel. In doing so, we’ve made globalization faster, deeper, cheaper and tighter than ever before. Who knew that there were regular direct flights from Wuhan, China, to America?
Put all three of these trends together and what you have is a world more easily prone to shocks and extreme behaviors — but with fewer buffers to cushion those shocks — and many more networked companies and people to convey them globally.
Note the pattern: Before each crisis I mentioned, we first experienced what could be called a “mild” heart attack, alerting us that we had gone to extremes and stripped away buffers that had protected us from catastrophic failure. In each case, though, we did not take that warning seriously enough — and in each case the result was a full global coronary.
“We created globalized networks because they could make us more efficient and productive and our lives more convenient,” explained Gautam Mukunda, the author of “Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter.” “But when you steadily remove their buffers, backup capacities and surge protectors in pursuit of short-term efficiency or just greed, you ensure that these systems are not only less resistant to shocks, but that we spread those shocks everywhere.”