Sea Surface Temperature — NOAA Vindicated

They were right all along, but nobody “wins” with rapid climate change – awareness is just step one. We need action, urgently.

Open Mind

Ever since NOAA released their latest update to sea surface temperature, version ER-SSTv4 (Extended Reconstruction Sea Surface Temperature version 4), it — and they — have been the target of vicious attack. It has come not just from climate denier bloggers, but from politicians like Lamar Smith (R-TX, chairman of the House committee on Science, Space, and Technology). The accusations haven’t been limited to error, rather they have focused on claims of outright fraud by NOAA scientists, saying, without any justification whatever, that the new version was an attempt to deceive, simply because it shows faster recent warming than other versions.

But new research has not only vindicated them, it establishes that their latest update shows every sign of being the best sea surface temperature data set yet. As in, the best.

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The Scarborough Subway Fiasco

Political agendas given priority. Planning and policy, contaminated by false/tweaked data, changing costs, and ever-changing opinions. Expert advice, best practices, and even approved funding – cancelled and/or ignored.

This is Toronto – namely the TTC, the planners, and the politicians, today.

A $2-3 billion price tag, perhaps even more, for a 1-stop subway extension, that almost nobody sees of value, carrying passengers with LRT density levels, at best.

The world has a right to laugh. Even when we’re handed a silver platter of funds/plans/partners, to get transit right, we screw it up.

Metrolinx, please take over, end this political circus – and get us moving!

Steve Munro

For the benefit of out-of-town readers who may not follow the moment-to-moment upheavals in Toronto politics, the lastest news about the Scarborough Subway is that it will cost $900 million more than originally forecast, and the Eglinton East LRT line has gone up by $600 million.

Updated 10:45pm June 17: The increase in the Eglinton LRT line’s cost may only be $100m, not $600m. Awaiting further details to confirm this.

No details of the components of these increases have been published yet, but here are the current (as of 6:45 pm on June 17) media reports:

  • The Star: Mayor John Tory accused of ‘political posturing’ as Scarborough transit plans balloon by $1 billion
  • The Globe & Mail: Scarborough subway cost rises by $900-million
  • Torontoist: The Bad Decision on the Scarborough Subway Extension Gets Worse

Earlier this year, the much-touted “optimized” plan for Scarborough changed the subway scheme…

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Celebrating winter along the Humber

It was forecast, but the extreme warmth since Friday and spring-like rain last night caught me off-guard. Less than 30 cm of snow this entire winter (25% of normal) in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the 10 cm we had managed to accumulate, purged, in just one day.

And so, the very literal “week of winter” that graced the GTA – and which I did my best to celebrate and share, has come to an abrupt – and dangerous – end.

Why dangerous? Creeks and rivers will flood; ice – at least where it managed to form – will jam; birds and insects are returning and emerging, yet, even if this warmth continues, killing frosts and cold will still sweep in, causing confusion, lack of resources and, ultimately, ecological damage.

It’s not just the birds and the bees, a chaotic climate system, and the volatile weather that comes with it, leaves none unscathed…
farms get soaked and flooded, pests and disease can survive better and start reproducing sooner and the risk of budding fruit trees and vines dying later by frost increases, too
-infrastructure costs spiral, as pulses of salt water, combined with night-time freeze-thaw cycles, erode, corrode and crack pipes, roads and bridges
-snow recreation goes bust, while any other recreation, even using a trail, becomes icy, muddy and inaccessible, all at once

As you might be wondering based on the title of this post, there’s one more thing! Before I let you go on such a serious note, enjoy some from the last day of this winter week, celebrated, this past Thursday. I hope you had a chance to celebrate this brief spell of winter, too! More than anything, I hope, so much, that we don’t forget the past – if we lose sight of what “seasonal” and “normal” is, and why a stable climate is so important, we’ll never realize what we lost, or what we could have had… We’ll just be sitting like a frog in a pot of boiling water, awaiting an easily avoidable fate.

‪#‎winterlove‬ ‪#‎climatereality‬ ‪#‎endangeredseason‬
and, once more, back to #‎winterlessGTA‬…

A Winter Hike at Erindale Park

Another day of wonderful winter weather, another hike, this time with a focus one particular hill! Explore my friends wonderful blog for photos and rich detail on this adventure! ‪
#‎sledding‬ ‪#‎wetandcold‬ ‪#‎worthit‬

I really hope I get to see such winter weather again this month! Get and enjoy the beauty of nature, whatever the season and weather is for you – it’s the best stress-reliever and idea-generator there is! ‪
#‎naturepower‬ ‪#getoutside #‎winterlove‬

A dose of science a day keeps the apathy away, so check out this research from the U.S. on changing snowfall!
http://www.climatecentral.org/…/winters-becoming-more-rainy… (Great site for climate news!)

I hope Canada, as we revive our scientific leadership, unmuzzle scientists, restore funding and unleash the potential of our researchers, will add more perspective on our changing climate here, too – particularly in the Arctic.
#endangered #season

Dreams and Illusions

A soft blanket of white covered the land, glistening under the sun’s rays. The snow looked thick  but crumbled easily under our feet as my cousin and I trudged through to meet our fellow hiker. Our fellow hiker, Rahul Mehta, was very knowledgable about the area. He informed us that the Erindale Park, through which we were now strolling, was once a landfill that had been repurposed into a park after the closing of the landfill. The tobogganing hill to which we were headed was the last cap over the landfill. The tobogganing hill was surrounded by pine trees frosted with snow, and some straggling and bare deciduous trees. The view from the top was spectacular!

20160217_111737

Rahul pulled out his cardboard while my cousin and I prepared our plastic bags to sail down the hill. The feeling of drifting down was great even though the ride was slow. But our luck was about to…

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Thanks for liking, but let’s talk!

With a campaign like #BellLetsTalk, you might wonder – so what? Why does it matter?

Having a conversation can go a long way – especially when it comes to mental health – you don’t need to look much further than social media to see it working, or not.

Consider Twitter, for example, it’s success is not so much it’s structure, a character limit, attached images and hashtags – these can be found on every blog, comment and posting forum that exists. Instead, it is those features combined with the ability to tag, the “@”, which can be used at a pace impossible in email and far more user-friendly. The world, more connected than ever, is hungry for conversation, and Twitter processes millions of thoughts, every single day. There’s great power and responsibility behind each tweet, use it but don’t abuse it!

Then, consider Facebook – have you noticed in recent years how there are fewer and fewer wall-to-wall messages, fewer comments, even fewer statuses, and ALOT more likes? I have, and it’s troubling. Facebook is a place where conversation can either thrive or die (loneliness by a thousand likes, as I call it) through the “wisdom of the crowd”. Essentially, we can each be creative, expressing our thoughts, debating, and sharing ideas. Or, we can all fall in line, liking, just like the previous person, and racking up counts, with little emotional attachment or impact for the receiver in the long-run. Is there a solution? YES! A simple message, a status (perhaps a question, challenge or hope?), a comment instead of a like, expressing your true feelings, can be powerful, as long as we’re respectful. I see it every day, and you probably do, too. Want more engagement on Facebook? Speak up! A picture is worth a 1000 words, so maybe we can do more than just 1000 likes? It’s good for everyone’s health to talk, but especially about an issue as silent as mental health.

So, do a lot of listening, but don’t be afraid to speak up! Conversations build community…they can save lives, too.

I hope this short “talk” can add to the conversation we need to be having so much more. :]

Learning, exploring, keeping nature at heart.

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