Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for February 26th, 2019

Overt obstruction of justice: On Eve of Michael Cohen’s Testimony, Republican Threatens to Reveal Compromising Information

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Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Fandos report in the NY Times:

On the eve of the long awaited public testimony of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, a Republican member of Congress from Florida threatened on Tuesday to reveal information about what he alleged were Mr. Cohen’s extramarital affairs.

“Hey @MichaelCohen212 – Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot,” Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida said on Twitter.

Mr. Gaetz’s threat and the enraged reaction to it reflected the explosive atmosphere on Capitol Hill in anticipation of Wednesday’s open hearing at which Mr. Cohen is expected to allege a litany of misdeeds by Mr. Trump over the course of a decade, including his use of racist language, lies about his wealth and possible criminal conduct.

In a text, Mr. Gaetz rejected assertions that his tweet could amount to witness intimidation.

“It’s testing the veracity and character of Michael Cohen,” he wrote. “That is allowed.”

Like all members of Congress, Mr. Gaetz is covered under the “speech or debate” clause of the Constitution, which grants lawmakers wide latitude in their comments when Congress is in session and has been cited many times in the past as protection against punishment.

Mr. Gaetz has developed a reputation as full-throated champion of Mr. Trump who, like the president, is unafraid of making statements many would consider outlandish. At a recent Judiciary Committee hearing on gun control, he got into an argument with parents of students killed last year in a massacre at a high school in Parkland, Fla., and sought to have them ejected.

The son of a prominent Florida politician, Mr. Gaetz rose from the State Legislature to represent a House district in the Florida Panhandle. He is a regular on cable television shows. And he has also come under criticism for repeated comments about the attractiveness and personal appeal of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the high-profile new progressive Democrat from New York.

“I aspire to be the conservative A.O.C.,” he recently told Politico, referring to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.

Mr. Cohen’s spokesman and lawyer, Lanny J. Davis, could not immediately be reached for comment about the threat.

Mr. Gaetz tweeted his comments as Mr. Cohen was wrapping up the first of three days of testimony on Capitol Hill. Mr. Cohen appeared behind closed doors on Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Mr. Cohen began his meeting with the senators by apologizing for lying to them in 2017 about the duration of time during the 2016 campaign that the Trump Organization was in discussions about a Trump Tower project in Moscow, people familiar with his plans said.

Mr. Cohen is scheduled to testify on Wednesday in an open hearing of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

In “granular detail,” Mr. Cohen plans to describe a scheme hatched in the run-up to the 2016 election to make hush money payments to a pornographic film actress who claimed to have had an affair with Mr. Trump, people familiar with his plans said. And he will say

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 February 2019 at 5:05 pm

The Cook-Together-Things-You-Like-And-It’ll-Taste-Good Recipe

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The template is simple: pick out some things you like to eat and cook them together and you’ll probably like the result.

Case in point:

Put Field No. 10 cast-iron skillet in oven, then heat to 350ºF.

While that heats, prepare the vegetables

3-4 yellow crookneck squash (can use zucchini), quartered lengthwise, then cut across into thickish pieces.
1 rather large leek, halved lengthwise, then cut across into relatively thin slices
1 dry quart bok choy mue, chopped. (Mue: you know baby boky choy? Mue is infant bok choy: tiny and cute)
3 cloves garlic, minced.

Turn burner on to medium high; when burner is hot remove skillet from oven and put on the burner (and put the sleeve cover over the handle). Put into the hot skillet:

1.5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
all the chopped vegetables and garlic
good-sized pinch of salt (2 teaspoons)
about 2-3 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables wilt and are cooked.

Remove vegetables to a bowl or storage container and squeeze a lemon over them. You could also add some soy sauce and/or toasted sesame oil if you’re so inclined.’

I found this was also quite tasty cold, as a leftover.

Obviously, you could also include prawns, or chopped chicken breast, or (what I got today frozen at my Chinese-oriented supermarket) carved squid.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 February 2019 at 2:33 pm

Posted in Food, Low carb, Recipes

Suicidal policy-making: Skeptics Are Being Recruited for an “Adversarial” Review of Climate Science

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Scott Waldman writes in Scientific American:

The White House is recruiting researchers who reject the scientific consensus on climate change for its “adversarial” review of the issue.

The proposal to form a “Presidential Committee on Climate Security” at the National Security Council has shifted, into an ad-hoc group that will review climate science out of the public eye. Those involved in the preliminary discussions said it is focused on recruiting academics to conduct a review of the science that shows climate change presents a national security risk.

William Happer, a senior director at the NSC and an emeritus Princeton University physics professor not trained in climate science, is leading the effort.

Among those who have been contacted are the relatively small number of researchers with legitimate academic credentials who question the notion that humans are warming the planet at a rapid pace through the burning of fossil fuels. A number of the names the White House is targeting are those frequently invited by Republicans to testify at congressional hearings on climate change where uncertainty is emphasized.

The stated goal of the committee, according to a leaked White House memo, is to conduct “adversarial scientific peer review” of climate science.

Those involved in the preliminary discussions caution that the list of researchers, which could include scientists as well as statisticians, is still under discussion and that the shape of the committee has yet to be determined. Most of the members are expected to come from outside the federal government.

Happer did lead a meeting Friday to discuss the goals of the committee, according to a White House official. It could take about a month for an executive order creating the committee to receive President Trump’s signature, the official said.

The official would not confirm those who attended Friday’s meeting, but a memo that leaked ahead of the gathering showed representatives from NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy were among those invited to participate.

On Friday, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway would not comment on why the administration was challenging the science of its own agencies. . .

Continue reading.

Perhaps next they’ll move on to showing how evolution is nonsense and endorse whatever-its-called now: Creationism, Creation Science, Intelligent Design, …

Read the whole article. There’s much more.

And, really, it’s not suicide—it’s homicide. Later in the article:

Happer, who once compared the “demonization” of carbon dioxide to the genocide of Jews during the Holocaust, has pushed for some members of the CO2 Coalition—a group he founded—to take an active role in the White House effort, according to sources.

The CO2 Coalition receives funding from the Mercer family, a key Trump donor that supports groups that attack climate science, as well as the Koch political network, which has also given millions of dollars to such groups. The coalition’s board of directors and members include researchers who have received funding from the fossil fuel industry and whose work is used to tear down climate regulations.

The coalition’s stated purpose is “educating thought leaders, policy makers, and the public about the important contribution made by carbon dioxide to our lives and the economy.” A number of its members have called for burning more fossil fuels to benefit humanity and the planet.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 February 2019 at 12:56 pm

Uh-Oh: AI Department

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Garrett Kenyon writes in Scientific American:

The recently signed executive order establishing the American AI Initiative correctly identifies artificial intelligence as central to American competitiveness and national defense. However, it is unclear if AI has accomplished anywhere near as much as many have claimed. Indeed, current technology exhibits no convincing demonstration of anything remotely approaching “intelligence.”

To maintain U.S. supremacy in AI, the best way forward is to adopt a strategy hewing more closely to the way humans learn, which will put us on the best path to the economic growth and widespread social benefits promised by full-fledged artificial intelligence.

Here’s the challenge with most deep learning neural networks, which reflect the prevailing approach to AI: calling them both deep and intelligent assumes they achieve ever more abstract and meaningful representations of the data at deeper and deeper levels of the network. It further assumes that at some point they transcend rote memorization to achieve actual cognition, or intelligence. But they do not.

Consider computer vision, where deep neural networks have achieved stunning performance improvements on benchmark image-categorization tasks. Say we task our computer vision algorithm with correctly labeling images as either cats or dogs. If the algorithm correctly labels the images, we might conclude that the underlying deep neural network has learned to distinguish cats and dogs.

Now suppose all of the dogs are wearing shiny metallic dog tags and none of the cats are wearing cat tags. Most likely, the deep neural network didn’t learn to see cats and dogs at all but simply learned to detect shiny metallic tags. Recent work has shown that something like this actually underpins the performance of deep neural networks on computer vision tasks. The explanation may not be as obvious as shiny metallic tags, but most academic data sets contain analogous unintentional cues that deep learning algorithms exploit.

Using adversarial examples, which are designed to foil neural networks, adds even more disturbing evidence that deep neural networks might not be “seeing” at all but merely detecting superficial image features. In a nutshell, adversarial examples are created by running in reverse the same computational tools used to train a deep neural network. Researchers have found that adding very slight modifications to an image—imperceptible to humans—can trick a deep neural network into incorrectly classifying an image, often radically.

The problem, it turns out, is one of computational misdirection. Adding or deleting just a few pixels can eliminate a particular cue that the deep neural network has learned to depend on. More fundamentally, this error demonstrates that deep neural networks rely on superficial image features that typically lack meaning, at least to humans.

That creates an opportunity for serious mischief by bad actors using targeted adversarial examples. If you’re counting on consistent image recognition for self-driving cars designed to recognize road signs, for example, or security systems that recognize fingerprints … you’re in trouble.

This flaw is built into the architecture. Recent research in Israel led by Naftali Tishby has found that a deep neural network selectively drops non-essential information at each layer. A fully trained deep neural network has thrown away so much information and has become so dependent on just a few key superficial features—“shiny metal tags”—that it has lost all semblance of intelligence. Deep learning is more accurately described as deep forgetting.

Even more damning, . . .

Continue reading.

I imagine there will soon be real-world measures—e.g., accidents per 100,000 miles driven, autonomous (AI) vehicles vs. vehicles driven by humans. If AI does better, then perhaps humans have some perception problems as well.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 February 2019 at 12:52 pm

What has the US become? Thousands of migrant youth allegedly suffered sexual abuse in U.S. custody. By U.S. officials.

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Officials who believed, given the current US government and the direction of public opinion, that they could get away with it. They’s why they did it: they thought it would be safe to do and they were that sort of person.

Official acts. That, unfortunately, says a lot (cf. the number of unarmed black victims of police shootings: another example of government officials attacking vulnerable citizens. I think I’ve seen this movie before. It did not end well.

Caitlin Owens, Stef W. Kight, and Harry Stevens report in Axios:

Thousands of allegations of sexual abuse against unaccompanied minors (UAC) in the custody of the U.S. government have been reported over the past 4 years, according to Department of Health and Human Services documents given to Axios by Rep. Ted Deutch’s office.

Allegations against staff members reported to the DOJ included everything from rumors of relationships with UACs to showing pornographic videos to minors to forcibly touching minors’ genitals.

By the numbers: From October 2014 to July 2018, the HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement received 4,556 complaints, and the Department of Justice received 1,303 complaints. This includes 178 allegations of sexual abuse by adult staff.

What they’re saying: Deutch said these documents were included in HHS’ response to a House Judiciary Committee request for information made in January.

  • “This behavior — it’s despicable, it’s disgusting, and this is just the start of questions that HHS is going to have to answer about how they handle these and what’s happening in these facilities,” Deutch told Axios.

HHS’ response, per spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley: . . .

Continue reading.

Later in the report:

Details: One of the documents given to Axios, embedded below, gives some detail about the allegations, although it only includes descriptions of the incidences for fiscal years 2015 and 2016. We also don’t know what happened to the accused staffers in fiscal years 2017 and 2018.

  • Based on the information provided in the documents, it’s unclear whether there’s overlap between allegations reported to ORR and those made to DOJ. Axios assumed that some OOR allegations are referred to DOJ, so the numbers included in our chart are conservative.
  • All allegations referred to DOJ are also referred to HHS, according to the documents.
  • In many cases, the staff members were removed from duty and ultimately fired.

UPDATE: LA Times report: “California immigrant detainees face long periods of confinement, barriers to medical treatment, state audit reveals

The government is failing. The endless budget cutting for the sake of tax reductions is now taking its human toll.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 February 2019 at 12:20 pm

One in 200 people is a slave. Why?

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The reason seems obvious: governments support slavery. Kate Hodal reports in the Guardian:

How many slaves are there today, and who are they?

The word “slavery” conjures up images of shackles and transatlantic ships – depictions that seem relegated firmly to the past. But more people are enslaved today than at any other time in history. Experts have calculated that roughly 13 million people were captured and sold as slaves between the 15th and 19th centuries; today, an estimated 40.3 million people – more than three times the figure during the transatlantic slave trade – are living in some form of modern slavery, according to the latest figures published by the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation.

Women and girls comprise 71% of all modern slavery victims. Children make up 25% and account for 10 million of all the slaves worldwide.

What are the slaves being forced to do?

A person today is considered enslaved if they are forced to work against their will; are owned or controlled by an exploiter or “employer”; have limited freedom of movement; or are dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as property, according to abolitionist group Anti-Slavery International.

Globally, more than half of the 40.3 million victims (24.9 million) are in forced labour, which means they are working against their will and under threat, intimidation or coercion. An additional 15.4 million people are estimated to be living in forced marriages.

Of the 24.9 million people trapped in forced labour, the majority (16 million) work in the private sector. Slaves clean houses and flats; produce the clothes we wear; pick the fruit and vegetables we eat; trawl the seas for the shrimp on our restaurant plates; dig for the minerals used in our smartphonesmakeup and electric cars; and work on construction jobs building infrastructure for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

Another 4.8 million people working in forced labour are estimated to be sexually exploited, while roughly 4.1 million people are in state-sanctioned forced labour, which includes governmental abuse of military conscriptionand forced construction or agricultural work. In certain countries such as Mauritania, people are born into “hereditary” slavery if their mother was a slave.

Again, women and girls bear the brunt of these statistics, comprising 99% of all victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors, according to the ILO.

Where is this happening?

Statistically, modern slavery is most prevalent in Africa, followed by Asia and the Pacific, according to the Global Slavery Index, which publishes country-by-country rankings on modern slavery figures and government responses to tackle the issues.

But the ILO and Walk Free warn that these figures are likely skewed due to lack of data from key regions. “We believe that the global estimate of 40.3 million is the most reliable data to date, although we believe it to be a conservative estimate as there were millions of people we couldn’t reach in conflict zones or on the refugee trail and places where we couldn’t be sure of collecting robust data such as the Gulf states, where access and language barriers prevented us from reaching the migrant worker communities,” said Michaëlle de Cock, a senior statistician at the ILO.

More than 70% of the 4.8 million sex exploitation victims are in the Asia and Pacific region. Forced marriage is most prevalent in Africa. But there isn’t a single country that isn’t tainted by slavery: 1.5 million victims are living in developed countries, with an estimated 13,000 enslaved here in the UK.

Why are there so many slaves today?

Slavery is big business. Globally, slavery generates as much as $150bn (£116bn) in profits every year, more than one third of which ($46.9bn) is generated in developed countries, including the EU. Whereas slave traders two centuries ago were forced to contend with costly journeys and high mortality rates, modern exploiters have lower overheads thanks to huge advances in technology and transportation. Modern migration flows also mean that a large supply of vulnerable, exploitable people can be tapped into for global supply chains in the agriculture, beauty, fashion and sex industries.

According to slavery expert Siddharth Kara, modern slave traders now earn up to 30 times more than their 18th and 19th century counterparts would have done. The one-off cost of a slave today is $450, Kara estimates. A forced labourer generates roughly $8,000 in annual profit for their exploiter, while sex traffickers earn an average of $36,000 per victim. . .

Continue reading. There’s much more. And it’s important. To people like us, but in different circumstances. Here’s the title of a later section:

What do I do if I think someone is a victim of modern slavery?

Written by LeisureGuy

26 February 2019 at 9:50 am

A World Without Clouds: Climate change prospects worsen substantially

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Natalie Wolchover writes in Quanta:

On a 1987 voyage to the Antarctic, the paleoceanographer James Kennett and his crew dropped anchor in the Weddell Sea, drilled into the seabed, and extracted a vertical cylinder of sediment. In an inch-thick layer of plankton fossils and other detritus buried more than 500 feet deep, they found a disturbing clue about the planet’s past that could spell disaster for the future.

Lower in the sediment core, fossils abounded from 60 plankton species. But in that thin cross-section from about 56 million years ago, the number of species dropped to 17. And the planktons’ oxygen and carbon isotope compositions had dramatically changed. Kennett and his student Lowell Stott deduced from the anomalous isotopes that carbon dioxide had flooded the air, causing the ocean to rapidly acidify and heat up, in a process similar to what we are seeing today.

While those 17 kinds of plankton were sinking through the warming waters and settling on the Antarctic seabed, a tapir-like creature died in what is now Wyoming, depositing a tooth in a bright-red layer of sedimentary rock coursing through the badlands of the Bighorn Basin. In 1992, the finder of the tooth fossil, Phil Gingerich, and collaborators Jim Zachos and Paul Koch reported the same isotope anomalies in its enamel that Kennett and Stott had presented in their ocean findings a year earlier. The prehistoric mammal had also been breathing CO2-flooded air.

More data points surfaced in China, then Europe, then all over. A picture emerged of a brief, cataclysmic hot spell 56 million years ago, now known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). After heat-trapping carbon leaked into the sky from an unknown source, the planet, which was already several degrees Celsius hotter than it is today, gained an additional 6 degrees. The ocean turned jacuzzi-hot near the equator and experienced mass extinctions worldwide. On land, primitive monkeys, horses and other early mammals marched northward, following vegetation to higher latitudes. The mammals also miniaturized over generations, as leaves became less nutritious in the carbonaceous air. Violent storms ravaged the planet; the geologic record indicates flash floods and protracted droughts. As Kennett put it, “Earth was triggered, and all hell broke loose.”

The PETM doesn’t only provide a past example of CO2-driven climate change; scientists say it also points to an unknown factor that has an outsize influence on Earth’s climate. When the planet got hot, it got really hot. Ancient warming episodes like the PETM were always far more extreme than theoretical models of the climate suggest they should have been. Even after accounting for differences in geography, ocean currents and vegetation during these past episodes, paleoclimatologists find that something big appears to be missing from their models — an X-factor whose wild swings leave no trace in the fossil record.

Evidence is mounting in favor of the answer that experts have long suspected but have only recently been capable of exploring in detail. “It’s quite clear at this point that the answer is clouds,” said Matt Huber, a paleoclimate modeler at Purdue University.

Clouds currently cover about two-thirds of the planet at any moment. But computer simulations of clouds have begun to suggest that as the Earth warms, clouds become scarcer. With fewer white surfaces reflecting sunlight back to space, the Earth gets even warmer, leading to more cloud loss. This feedback loop causes warming to spiral out of control.

For decades, rough calculations have suggested that cloud loss could significantly impact climate, but this concern remained speculative until the last few years, when observations and simulations of clouds improved to the point where researchers could amass convincing evidence.

Now, new findings reported today in the journal Nature Geoscience make the case that the effects of cloud loss are dramatic enough to explain ancient warming episodes like the PETM — and to precipitate future disaster. Climate physicists at the California Institute of Technology performed a state-of-the-art simulation of stratocumulus clouds, the low-lying, blankety kind that have by far the largest cooling effect on the planet. The simulation revealed a tipping point: a level of warming at which stratocumulus clouds break up altogether. The disappearance occurs when the concentration of CO2 in the simulated atmosphere reaches 1,200 parts per million — a level that fossil fuel burning could push us past in about a century, under “business-as-usual” emissions scenarios. In the simulation, when the tipping point is breached, Earth’s temperature soars 8 degrees Celsius, in addition to the 4 degrees of warming or more caused by the CO2 directly.

Once clouds go away, the simulated climate “goes over a cliff,” said Kerry Emanuel, a climate scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A leading authority on atmospheric physics, Emanuel called the new findings “very plausible,” though, as he noted, scientists must now make an effort to independently replicate the work.

To imagine 12 degrees of warming, think of crocodiles swimming in the Arctic and of the scorched, mostly lifeless equatorial regions during the PETM. If carbon emissions aren’t curbed quickly enough and the tipping point is breached, “that would be truly devastating climate change,” said Caltech’s Tapio Schneider, who performed the new simulation with Colleen Kaul and Kyle Pressel.

Huber said the stratocumulus tipping point helps explain the volatility that’s evident in the paleoclimate record. He thinks it might be one of many unknown instabilities in Earth’s climate. “Schneider and co-authors have cracked open Pandora’s box of potential climate surprises,” he said, adding that, as the mechanisms behind vanishing clouds become clear, “all of a sudden this enormous sensitivity that is apparent from past climates isn’t something that’s just in the past. It becomes a vision of the future.”

The Cloud Question

Clouds come in diverse shapes — sky-filling stratus, popcorn-puff cumulus, wispy cirrus, anvil-shaped nimbus and hybrids thereof — and span many physical scales. Made of microscopic droplets, they measure miles across and, collectively, cover most of the Earth’s surface. By blocking sunlight from reaching the surface, clouds cool the planet by several crucial degrees. And yet, they are insubstantial, woven into greatness by complicated physics. If the planet’s patchy white veil of clouds descended to the ground, it would make a watery sheen no thicker than a hair.

Clouds seem simple at first: They form when warm, humid air rises and cools. The water vapor in the air condenses around dust grains, sea salt or other particles, forming droplets of liquid water or ice — “cloud droplets.” But the picture grows increasingly complicated as heat, evaporation, turbulence, radiation, wind, geography and myriad other factors come into play.

Physicists have struggled since the 1960s to understand how global warming will affect the many different kinds of clouds, and how that will influence global warming in turn. For decades, clouds have been seen as by far the biggest source of uncertainty over how severe global warming will be — other than what society will do to reduce carbon emissions.

Kate Marvel contemplates the cloud question at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. Last spring, in her office several floors above Tom’s Restaurant on the Upper West Side, Marvel, wearing a cloud-patterned scarf, pointed to a plot showing the range of predictions made by different global climate models. The 30 or so models, run by climate research centers around the world, program in all the known factors to predict how much Earth’s temperature will increase as the CO2 level ticks up.

Each climate model solves a set of equations on a spherical grid representing Earth’s atmosphere. A supercomputer is used to evolve the grid of solutions forward in time, indicating how air and heat flow through each of the grid cells and circulate around the planet. By adding carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases to the simulated atmosphere and seeing what happens, scientists can predict Earth’s climate response. All the climate models include Earth’s ocean and wind currents and incorporate most of the important climate feedback loops, like the melting of the polar ice caps and the rise in humidity, which both exacerbate global warming. The models agree about most factors but differ greatly in how they try to represent clouds.

The least sensitive climate models, which predict the mildest reaction to increasing CO2, find that Earth will warm 2 degrees Celsius if the atmospheric CO2 concentration doubles relative to preindustrial times, which is currently on track to happen by about 2050. (The CO2concentration was 280 parts per million before fossil fuel burning began, and it’s above 410 ppm now. So far, the average global temperature has risen 1 degree Celsius.) But the 2-degree prediction is the best-case scenario. “The thing that really freaks people out is this upper end here,” Marvel said, indicating projections of 4 or 5 degrees of warming in response to the doubling of CO2. “To put that in context, the difference between now and the last ice age was 4.5 degrees.”

The huge range in the models’ predictions chiefly comes down towhether they see clouds blocking more or less sunlight in the future. As Marvel put it, “You can fairly confidently say that the model spread in climate sensitivity is basically just a model spread in what clouds are going to do.”

The problem is that, in computer simulations of the global climate, today’s supercomputers cannot resolve grid cells that are smaller than about 100 kilometers by 100 kilometers in area. But clouds are often no more than a few kilometers across. Physicists therefore have to simplify or “parameterize” clouds in their global models, assigning an overall level of cloudiness to each grid cell based on other properties, like temperature and humidity.

But clouds involve the interplay of so many mechanisms that it’s not obvious how best to parameterize them. The warming of the Earth and sky strengthens some mechanisms involved in cloud formation, while also fueling other forces that break clouds up. Global climate models that predict 2 degrees of warming in response to doubling CO2generally also see little or no change in cloudiness. Models that project a rise of 4 or more degrees forecast fewer clouds in the coming decades.

The climatologist Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, said that even 2 degrees of warming will cause “considerable loss of life and suffering.” He said it will kill coral reefs whose fish feed millions, while also elevating the risk of damaging floods, wildfires, droughts, heat waves, and hurricanes and causing “several feet of sea-level rise and threats to the world’s low-lying island nations and coastal cities.”

At the 4-degree end of the range, we would see not only “the destruction of the world’s coral reefs, massive loss of animal species, and catastrophic extreme weather events,” Mann said, but also “meters of sea-level rise that would challenge our capacity for adaptation. It would mean the end of human civilization in its current form.”

It is difficult to imagine what might happen if, a century or more from now, stratocumulus clouds were to suddenly disappear altogether, initiating something like an 8-degree jump on top of the warming that will already have occurred. “I hope we’ll never get there,” Tapio Schneider said in his Pasadena office last year. . .

Continue reading.

There’s much more. And I’ll point out that hope is not a plan.

In the meantime, Republicans are hard at work killing any effort to mitigate climate change.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 February 2019 at 9:21 am

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