Friday, February 13, 2009

Stimulus is Good Green Environmental News

Those in the know are saying positive things about buried environmental news in the stimulus bill. Let's hope they are right.

"It's rare for a compromise to make a bill better, but that's what happened yesterday," said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters. "According to the reports we've seen, the members of the Conference Committee kept the best aspects of the House and Senate versions of the bill. Tens of billions of dollars for clean energy, energy efficiency, public transportation, scientific research and a smart energy grid remain. Tens of billions set to be wasted on coal and other outdated energy sources were removed."

"This is a huge win, for our planet and for taxpayers who want stimulus funds to be invested wisely," said Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder. "The bailout in question would have thrilled nuclear industry lobbyists but done virtually nothing to stimulate the economy. Congressional leaders did the right thing and prevented waste by removing this bailout."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

University of Miami Rosenstiel School-Speaking Feb.18

2009 Sea Secrets Speakers Announced

Sailing The Northwest Passage in
 The Era of Climate Change

Famed Filmmaker Examines “Chilling” Reality of Global Warming

VIRGINIA KEY, Fla. — The conquest of the Northwest Passage, a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, winding along the northernmost coast of the Americas, has baffled and intrigued explorers for centuries. Its treacherously frigid waters represent untold beauty and unparalleled economic access as one of the only free transit routes left in the world. The Artic pack ice has long left this route impassable, but now climate change has opened up previously frozen straits to a whole new era of explorers. February 18, join the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School as it welcomes David Thoreson, explorer and Blue Water Studios photographer and filmmaker as part of its 2009 Sea Secrets lecture series.

Thoreson will provide a perspective on polar exploration through his stunning photographs and tales of adventure, and share firsthand accounts on how climate change is shining new light on a mysterious northern wonder. The presentation will take place in the Rosenstiel School Auditorium, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Virginia Key. The event includes a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by the lecture at 6:00 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

Monday, February 9, 2009

2009 Expedition AtA

The Arctic continues a downward trend in sea ice. As the Around the Americas campaign kicks off from Seattle, May 31, for the Northwest Passage, this is one of the trends we will be taking a look at. I sailed the Passage in 2007 from east to west. Will the Passage again be open for a west to east transit? And what will be the conditions of the sea during the summer of 2009? Stay in touch through my website and follow the links as we embark on a 25,000 mile sail around the North and South American continents.

February 3, 2009
Ice extent continues to track below normal.
National Snow and Ice Data Center

As is typical during mid-winter, sea ice extent increased overall in January; maximum monthly extent is expected in March. However, January ice extent remained well below normal compared to the long-term record. Ice extent averaged for January 2009 is the sixth lowest January in the satellite record. Also of note is that from January 15 to 26, ice extent saw essentially no increase; an unusual wind pattern appears to have been the cause.

2008 year in review

Arctic sea ice in 2008 was notable for several reasons. The year continued the negative trend in summer sea ice extent, with the second-lowest summer minimum since record-keeping began in 1979. 2008 sea ice also showed well-below-average ice extents throughout the entire year.

The ice cover in 2008 began the year heavily influenced by the record-breaking 2007 melt season.

Ultimately, summer 2008 finished with the second-lowest minimum extent in the satellite record, 9% above the 2007 minimum and 34% below average. A more diffuse ice cover and a thinner pack nevertheless suggested a record-low ice volume (ice area multiplied by thickness) at the end of summer.