Climate change education in zoos

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:20 PM GMT on December 05, 2011

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I'm in San Francisco this week for the annual Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the world's largest gathering of Earth Scientists. Over ten thousand scientists from all over the world, including most of the world's top climate scientists, are in town this week to exchange ideas to advance the cause of Earth Science. This year, there is much attention being given to communication of science to the public, and the first talk I attended today on the subject was given by Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State University. Dr. Mann has been at the center of much recent controversy over climate science, and has an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal titled, "Climate Contrarians Ignore Overwhelming Evidence". His "hockey stick" graphs showing the unprecedented increase in global temperatures over the past 1,000 years has been the subject of heated attack, much of it orchestrated by the public relations wings of powerful industries whose profits are threatened by by possibility of regulatory action to reduce global warming. He has a book coming out in January titled, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines. Dr. Mann reaffirmed his stance on human-caused climate change in his talk this morning, calling attention to a paper that appeared in Nature Geoscience last week, finding that most of the observed warming of Earth's climate in recent decades—at least 74 percent—is almost certainly due to human activity. Dr. Mann said that this study did not go far enough, and that more than 100% of the warming in the past 30 years was due to humans. Without humans, the climate would have cooled over the past 30 years.


Figure 1. An example of educational material on polar bears that has been developed by CliZEN for use at nine U.S. zoos.

Dr. Mann also introduced a new pilot program he is involved with to advance climate change education through U.S. zoos. The National Science Foundation-funded project is called CliZEN, The Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network. Zoos represent a unique way for people to connect to the natural world, and over 50 million people in the U.S. go to the zoo each year--double that, if one includes aquariums. Thus, zoos thus offer a unique opportunity to communicate how climate change threatens the natural world. People who go to zoos are approximately 50% more likely to be alarmed or concerned about climate change than the general population, Dr. Mann showed. The initial eduction effort has a polar theme, and is being brought to nine zoos: the Chicago Zoological Society of Brookfield, IL; Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, OH; Como Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul, MN; Indianapolis Zoo, IN; Louisville Zoological Garden, KY; Oregon Zoo, Portland, OR; Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, PA; Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, RI; and the Toledo Zoological Gardens, OH. The organization Polar Bears International is helping develop the educational material.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Speeky:
What do you guys think of the possibility of a winter storm in the Northeast on Wednesday, December 8th?



It would be Thursday, and it would be an event mostly for VA/MD/DE/PA/WV if it does occur. The areas north could pick up some light snow, but I believe the heaviest amounts will be in northern/northwestern VA and MD west of DC and Baltimore. There, the potential does exist for 4-8 inches with some spots up to 10 inches.

IMO.
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NAO heading towards the negative...
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Also, I hope you're happy Cody: I increased Fernanda to 60 kt.
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Interesting blob in the eastern Pacific..
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Also try to get in as much sex as you can. ;)


Unexpected comment of the day.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23012
Quoting Xyrus2000:


An asteroid like the one you described would probably knock your shows off the air. :D

But I wouldn't worry about it. It's very unlikely to happen, and even if it did there isn't anything we could do about it. There's no place on Earth, even in the deepest nuclear bunkers, where you'd be safe from an impact like that.

If the day ever comes though I've got a plan in place. I'll get a cooler full of beer, bring out my 10" Schmidt-Cassegrain scope, and watch it come in. It'll be one hell of a show.
There will be some partying at my flat as well. I dont live far from the distillery, so those stiff but delicious drinks will flow free and plentiful. Talk about goin out with a bang.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Lol, ok.


How strong do you think she was?
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Quoting hydrus:
This is true. But what if next week a 7 mile wide, 14,560 million tonne asteroid moving at 59,000 mph strikes the Pacific, which has an average depth of over 12,000 feet, slams through ocean and crust turning the impacted mantle into something like melted butter in just a split second, creating 100 mile high tidal waves, then all that stuff that was blasted into ballistic orbit will rain back to earth, incinerating the surface and crust of every land mass, massive earthquakes ,huge volcanic eruptions and most of all, causing me to miss a few of my favorite T.V. programs.....which aint right.


An asteroid like the one you described would probably knock your shows off the air. :D

But I wouldn't worry about it. It's very unlikely to happen, and even if it did there isn't anything we could do about it. There's no place on Earth, even in the deepest nuclear bunkers, where you'd be safe from an impact like that.

If the day ever comes though I've got a plan in place. I'll get a cooler full of beer, bring out my 10" Schmidt-Cassegrain scope, and watch it come in. It'll be one hell of a show.
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Quoting Speeky:
What do you guys think of the possibility of a winter storm in the Northeast on Wednesday, December 8th?



The 1800Z run of the GFS is showing a good amount of snow for Pennsylvania, New York and north around 96-120 hours. so from that, it would be Dec. 9th or 10th if it does occur. (from GFS)
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
What do you guys think of the possibility of a winter storm in the Northeast on Wednesday, December 8th?

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Quoting KoritheMan:
TAWX, I just saw your comment regarding my report on Fernanda. I did use my own peak, although I suppose I could have upped her to 60 kt. Who knows, maybe I will.

Lol, ok.
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
ya.. very early in the morning. 4-5 am. =P
well dat aint de problem. de problem is that where i live, we wont see it. it wont be dark
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TAWX, I just saw your comment regarding my report on Fernanda. I did use my own peak, although I suppose I could have upped her to 60 kt. Who knows, maybe I will.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Quite an amazing turnaround in parts of Alaska. Just a few weeks ago, there were record low temperatures of deeper than -40; yesterday some of the same stations that dipped that low obliterated record high readings. For instance, North Pole, AK, which set a record low for the date of -49.F on 11/17, reached a record high yesterday of 49.F, completely smashing the previous record of 27.F. That's a swing of 98 degrees over a two-week period. Meanwhile, Fairbanks International, which cooled to -41.F on 11/17, warmed to 47.F yesterday, breaking the old record by 15.F for a two-week swing of 88.F.

More here: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/records/


Interesting indeed. Recalling this recent study showing a recent uptick in daily extremes, I wonder if slightly longer periods of time have been examined? And could it be related to the pressure height changes Stu Ostro has been documenting?
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108. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
ya.. very early in the morning. 4-5 am. =P
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dernit, im wont see it
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
106. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #4
FORTE TEMPETE TROPICALE ALENGA (01-20112012)
4:30 AM RET December 6 2011
==============================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Severe Tropical Storm Alenga (989 hPa) located at 12.8S 86.9E has 10 minute sustained winds of 50 with gusts of 70 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving southwest at 5 knots.

Storm Force Winds
====================
20 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
30 NM from the center extending up to 40 NM in the northern semi-circle

Near Gale Force Winds
====================
50 NM from the center extending up to 80 NM in the northern semi-circle

Dvorak Intensity: T3.5/3.5/S0.0/12 HRS

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 13.7S 87.5E - 60 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
24 HRS: 14.5S 88.8E - 65 knots (Cyclone Tropical)
48 HRS: 17.0S 93.7E - 50 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
72 HRS: 20.1S 98.9E - 35 knots (Depression Extratropicale)

Additional Information
======================

Based on METEOSAT7 infrared imagery low level circulation center monitored at 1800z was too south located. Based on curved band pattern, intensity at 1800z has consequently been corrected at T=CI=3.5 and winds extension has been recalibrated thanks to 1522z ASCAT swath.

In relationship with a mid-level trough transiting in its south Alenga is forecast to progressively accelerate towards the southeast. On this southeastward track, environment remains favorable for further intensification within the next 24 hours. On an after 1200z (Wednesday), system begins to undergoing moderate west northwesterly vertical wind shear and intensity is expected to regularly decrease. On this forecast, the system should pass east of 90E Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. On Thursday, an increase in vertical wind shear and cooler sea surface temperature should produce significant weakening of the system. Extratropical transition is now expected at this time.

The next tropical cyclone advisory from Mauritius Meteorological Services on TC ALENGA will be issued at 6:30 AM UTC..
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Voyager 1 Encounters Stagnation Region

NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a new region between our solar system and interstellar space, which scientists are calling the stagnation region.
In the stagnation region, the wind of charged particles streaming out from our sun has slowed and turned inward for the first time, our solar system's magnetic field has piled up and higher-energy particles from inside our solar system appear to be leaking out into interstellar space.
This image shows that the inner edge of the stagnation region is located about 113 astronomical units (10.5 billion miles or 16.9 billion kilometers) from the sun.
Voyager 1 is currently about 119 astronomical units (11 billion miles or 17.8 billion kilometers) from the sun. The distance to the outer edge is unknown.
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Total Lunar Eclipse predicted for the 10th of this month....cool!!
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting TheThinker:
Obama said to buy and electric car but that power comes from COAL and since he hates coal why didn't he think that through?


like that
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Quoting spbloom:


All else equal, the planet should remain habitable for the likes of us for another half-billion years or so, which is to say you can safely put off worrying about this until sometime next week. :)
This is true. But what if next week a 7 mile wide, 14,560 million tonne asteroid moving at 59,000 mph strikes the Pacific, which has an average depth of over 12,000 feet, slams through ocean and crust turning the impacted mantle into something like melted butter in just a split second, creating 100 mile high tidal waves, then all that stuff that was blasted into ballistic orbit will rain back to earth, incinerating the surface and crust of every land mass, massive earthquakes ,huge volcanic eruptions and most of all, causing me to miss a few of my favorite T.V. programs.....which aint right.
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-1 tonight. Ouch
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Quite an amazing turnaround in parts of Alaska. Just a few weeks ago, there were record low temperatures of deeper than -40; yesterday some of the same stations that dipped that low obliterated record high readings. For instance, North Pole, AK, which set a record low for the date of -49.F on 11/17, reached a record high yesterday of 49.F, completely smashing the previous record of 27.F. That's a swing of 98 degrees over a two-week period. Meanwhile, Fairbanks International, which cooled to -41.F on 11/17, warmed to 47.F yesterday, breaking the old record by 15.F for a two-week swing of 88.F.

More here: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/records/
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Quoting TheThinker:
Obama said to buy and electric car but that power comes from COAL and since he hates coal why didn't he think that through?
Electric cars do not pollute the air. They use little if any gas. The electric it takes to charge them is just a small amount. The Electric Car is big oils worst enemy.,Especially since most countries will sell cheaper and more reliable models in the not so distant future.
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Thanks so much for the post, Jeff. Mike's perseverance in the face of all of that garbage is an example for us all.

Hopefully you'll be able to give us other posts on the new science reported at the conference.

I have a specific question that's come up in the last couple of days after I saw the permafrost expert elicitation paper in Nature and a second-hand report (the comments clarify) on Mark Pagani's unpublished research (referring to a talk he gave last month), and there are people at the conference (probably including Pagani, but if he's not there plenty of others) who could answer it.

There is (as you know) much concern about the East Siberian area carbon deposits, not just the clathrates but the yedoma, undersea permafrost and river sediments -- all in all a huge complex that could only exist as a result of some possibly unique geological circumstances. (As you will know, based on preliminary assessments of the amount of carbon present and its potential for release, the NSF and science agencies from several other countries are funding a large multi-year research expedition to the East Siberian shelf area, and perhaps some results from this will be reported at the conference.)

But now the picture painted by all of this makes me wonder if the East Siberian deposits really are quite unique.

Pagani finds that the best fit for the carbon trigger for the PETM and the Eocene hyperthermals is Antarctic permafrost (likely forced by Milankovitch cycles). That makes a lot of sense, not so much because of the isotope record match but because it's the only hypothesis I've heard of that can explain the declining intensity of the hyperthermals. Presumably clathrates were needed to provide much of the heavy lifting, so my question is:

How likely is it that that there have been extensive shallow clathrate and other carbon deposits on the Antarctic continental shelves a) similar to what we see off Siberia today, and b) playing a major rule in the hyperthermals?

If it's at all likely, the past may have just become a much better guide to the future than I had thought.

I would appreciate it greatly if you could get an answer to this, although I realize it may be a fuzzy answer due to much of the potential evidence having been erased by the ice sheet.

Thanks again for all your efforts here and elsewhere.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Upper low moving into NM will spin up a low pressure coming outta of MX and along offshore of the TX coast, more precip to form later

That low moveing into NM I just had the thrill of experianceing, this morning a few flakes of snow fell down upon the city floor (Tucson) which never happens, the mountains are very white with snow and temps havnt got above 50 in a couple days (Very Rare) High temp yesterday and today of 45-47 and tommorow 52 with a low of 27. This thing is a beast of a storm I have a feeling bad things are gonna come from it in the NE and relief from it in SE. JMO
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Quoting TheThinker:
Obama said to buy and electric car but that power comes from COAL and since he hates coal why didn't he think that through?


Obama thought it through (OK, people long before him thought it through). You, on the other hand, have not. Go figure.
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Quoting JNCali:
Friends in McKinny are just finishing putting piers on their foundation down to the bedrock, to prevent it from cracking.. I can't imagine.. praying you guys get some long overdue relief soon!


That makes sense since this year may not be the worst of it in the short-term, although there will be rainy years again. That said, the long-term drying of the whole region (including a huge chunk of northern Mexico, which we often tend to forget about) is inevitable within this century, and more after that.

GHGs go up, the tropics continue to warm, hotter tropical air expands upward (tropopause rises) and out (the tropics expand poleward, compressing the entire atmospheric circulation toward both poles, and, particularly relevant to the TX-area drought, the dry descending branch of the northern Hadley cell, which moves north, as does the storm track). And so it dries.

But it'll be wetter somewhere else, if that's a consolation.

Although, come to think of it, just now the East Africans probably don't feel consoled in the slightest that the shift in the Walker Circulation driven by the warming West Pacific has moved their major rainy season into the Indian Ocean. Most inconvenient, that, as their minor rainy season (they have two, or at least they used to) tends to fail in La Nina years.
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


Will this bring any rain onshore? I am kind of curious as to if this will turn into something a little more wintery. That is if the upper atmosphere is indeed cold enough.


closer to coast, nothing wintry
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Quoting RitaEvac:


no link, can see it playing out before my eyes from satellite, and few years of watching weather, classic setup


Will this bring any rain onshore? I am kind of curious as to if this will turn into something a little more wintery. That is if the upper atmosphere is indeed cold enough.
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Quoting hydrus:
I meant that when we left the solar system, we would leave clues in other solar systems....But we definitely have to leave before Sun eats us..:)


All else equal, the planet should remain habitable for the likes of us for another half-billion years or so, which is to say you can safely put off worrying about this until sometime next week. :)
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Well, these Arctic outbreaks (if that's really what this is, since it can get unseasonably cold in winter without them) have been happening for a long time, and certainly no single one of them is pinnable to AGW (extreme ones could be, but that's a different discussion), but the much greater frequency of them in the last few years is getting a close look from climate scientists (Jeff must have blogged on this). The scientific jury's still out on a possible connection, but if it happens again this winter the old military aphorism comes to mind: Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.

Two related things to bear in mind as you shiver in one:

If it's cold down here from an Arctic outbreak, it's warm up there, which noting e.g. the recent behavior of the permafrost is Double Plus Ungood.

Average temperatures are unaffected, which is to say the planet will keep right on warming however much it may not feel like it at the moment.
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Quoting RitaEvac:


The sun is going to bulge out and consume earth at some point, it will be gone, no trace left
I meant that when we left the solar system, we would leave clues in other solar systems....But we definitely have to leave before Sun eats us..:)
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Quoting RitaEvac:


Still 2 feet below normal, resorvoirs still drying up
Friends in McKinny are just finishing putting piers on their foundation down to the bedrock, to prevent it from cracking.. I can't imagine.. praying you guys get some long overdue relief soon!
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Quoting JNCali:
so far.. I would say that they just skip the fruit cake altogether here in TN :U
This is true.
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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


link?


no link, can see it playing out before my eyes from satellite, and few years of watching weather, classic setup
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Quoting hydrus:
If humans end up splitting from our beloved solar system, we may leave behind clues or signs that our species existed for a very long time to come. Providing we dont get wiped out by out by some unseen catastrophe.


The sun is going to bulge out and consume earth at some point, it will be gone, no trace left
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Upper low moving into NM will spin up a low pressure coming outta of MX and along offshore of the TX coast, more precip to form later


link?
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Quoting JNCali:
Where you guys at with rain so far??


Still 2 feet below normal, resorvoirs still drying up
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im tired
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting RitaEvac:


Same way stars die, new ones are born
If humans end up splitting from our beloved solar system, we may leave behind clues or signs that our species existed for a very long time to come. Providing we dont get wiped out by out by some unseen catastrophe.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Upper low moving into NM will spin up a low pressure coming outta of MX and along offshore of the TX coast, more precip to form later
Where you guys at with rain so far??
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Disinformation sock puppets re-emergence is predictable. Not as many users, including lurkers, to knock them out of circulation with -'s. Times are hard, folks need to make a living somehow. Hope big energy pays well. Rather than a bunch of pleasure centers lighting up probably as boring as working a call center.


The ones here are probably all volunteers, most of them anyway. The paid ones tend to sound a bit less deranged, but even then you get folks like atmoaggie (a former frequent commenter here), who went into A+M convinced AGW was a fraud and came out with the same view, no doubt having spent quite a bit of time sitting in the back of the classroom sniggering about those pointy-headed profs and their crazy science.

Anyway, the direct paid component is largely composed of the think-tank network (e.g. CEI and Heartland), NGOs like the Koch front Americans for Prosperity and a few scientist shills like Willie Soon (most not even qualified to comment on climate science). They feed talking points to the Murdoch empire, Limbaugh, wingnut bloggers, etc., and in turn there's no shortage of willing saps eager to repeat that garbage anywhere they can.

I'm quite sure there are a few paid blog commenters in the mix, but it wouldn't take many of those to keep things jollied along.

The thing to remember about most wingnut blog commenters here and around the blogosphere is that deep down they're scared poopless about this stuff. They really try to not think about the details, but the vehemence of their denial is evidence that they've gotten the message.

But people have a great capacity for fantasy, and they imagine that if they wish hard enough the whole thing will just have been a bad dream.

(Speaking of scared poopless, look out for my following request to Jeff.)
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Quoting hydrus:
And this very thing is achieved on a regular basis here in the great state of Tennessee..:)
so far.. I would say that they just skip the fruit cake altogether here in TN :U
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Upper low moving into NM will spin up a low pressure coming outta of MX and along offshore of the TX coast, more precip to form later
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If every AGW blog article results in this type discussion I will be much less agitated when Dr. Jeff posts them. Re 72: the cycle of life, death and rebirth can be seen from the smallest or particles to the largest of galaxies. and IMHO they all point to the single Truth..
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Quoting hydrus:
Great post..However, I believe where there is death, there is birth and rebirth..There is so much here on Earth we humans still do not understand, never mind whats happening thousands or millions light years away, or what has occurred millions or billions of years ago.


Same way stars die, new ones are born
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.