Tuesday January 21, 2020
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As Polar Vortex Hits The U.S, Donald Trump Questions Climate Change

A member of Congress from Utah, as government employees began packing up early in the afternoon, on Tuesday threw his own virtual snowball at the threat of another approaching winter storm appearing to panic politicians

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A commuter arrives at Metra Western Avenue station, in Chicago, Illinois, Jan. 29, 2019, as extreme cold and record-breaking temperatures are moving into the region. VOA

A Tuesday tweet from a U.S. government scientific agency seems relatively innocuous: “Winter storms do not prove global warming is not happening.”

The message from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is devoted to climate science and information, includes a link citing research that severe snowstorms may be even more likely in a global warming climate because higher ocean temperatures appear to create more moisture.

Many are viewing Tuesday’s post as a rebuttal to President Trump’s tweet late Monday noting an approaching deep freeze for the American Midwest and asking “What the hell is going on with Global Warming (sic). Please come back fast, we need you.”

A polar vortex has returned this week to the Midwest bringing extremely low temperatures that could break records.

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Pedestrians gather at a bus stop during snowfall along Lexington Avenue, Jan. 21, 2014 in New York. VOA

NOAA denies any connection between the president’s comment and its social media posting.

“We routinely put this story out at these times,” the agency said in a statement. “Our scientists weren’t responding to a tweet.”

Most scientists say there is little valid research to counter the prevailing view climate change is real and note research also demonstrates that with global warming there will be more frequently extreme temperatures at both ends of the thermometer.

With a forecast of icy roads around the nation’s capital, one item of unanimous consent throughout the Trump administration Tuesday is non-emergency federal workers – just two days back on the job after a record-long shutdown – could leave early because of the weather.

“Employees of Federal offices in the Washington, D.C., area are authorized for early departure,” according to a notice from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. “Employees should depart 2 hours earlier than their normal departure times and may request unscheduled leave to depart prior to their staggered departure times.”

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U.S. Postal Service letter carrier Jamie Jasmon struggles through snow and below zero temperatures while delivering the mail, Jan. 6, 2014, Springfield, Illinois. VOA

The notification is intended, in part, to alleviate congestion on streets that could soon become hazardous.

The ability of a mere dusting of snow or sheets of ice on roadways and sidewalks to create pandemonium in the U.S. center of power frequently puzzles those who have migrated to this part of the country from harsher winter climates.

A January 2016 snowstorm paralyzed the region, although only 2.5 centimeters of snow fell on Washington, D.C. roadways. There were hundreds of traffic accidents and many motorists abandoned their vehicles on highways after untreated roads became impassible with black ice.

The mess and lack of preparedness prompted a public apology by the mayor of Washington, D.C.

Muriel Bowser was taking no such chances on Tuesday, three years after the so-called Snowzilla (not to be confused with the area’s December 2009 Snowpocalypse).

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Ice forms as waves crash along the Lake Michigan shore in Chicago, Illinois, Jan. 27, 2014. VOA

Mayor Bowser, on Tuesday announced she had requested an additional $1 million from the city’s contingency fund “to cover higher costs than anticipated for salt/de-icing as a result of Winter Storm Gia.”

The city also issued a hypothermia alert, which will keep shelters open during daylight hours so the estimated 7,000 homeless people in Washington will have a warm and safe place to stay.

Also Read: Antarctica’s Ice Melting Six Times Faster: Study

A member of Congress from Utah, as government employees began packing up early in the afternoon, on Tuesday threw his own virtual snowball at the threat of another approaching winter storm appearing to panic politicians, bureaucrats and lobbyists inside the Beltway.

“People in DC love to show how tough they are and call their opponents ‘snowflake,’” wrote Congressman Ben McAdams on Twitter. “Unless the weather forecast includes snowflakes, and then they cancel meetings, leave work early and buy all of the bottled water at the grocery store. Snowflakes.” He then tossed a promotional hashtag for a top winter recreational activity in his state that includes the Wasatch Mountain range: #SkiUtah. (VOA)

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Ozone-Depleting Substance Causes Half of Arctic Warming

Ozone-depleting substances behind half of Arctic warming

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Ozone-depleting substances caused half of Arctic warming and sea ice loss. Pixabay

Ozone-depleting substances caused half of Arctic warming and sea ice loss from 1955 to 2005, causing about a third of all global warming during that period, reveals a significant study.

A scientific paper published in 1985 was the first to report a burgeoning hole in Earth’s stratospheric ozone over Antarctica.

The discovery left scientists into a huddle to determine the cause which happened to be ozone-depleting substances – long-lived artificial halogen compounds entirely manmade and popularly used as refrigerants, solvents and propellants.

The new study from researchers at Columbia University and published in the journal Nature Climate Change examined the greenhouse warming effects of ozone-depleting substances (ODS).

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Ozone-depleting substances act as a strong supplement to carbon dioxide and had lead to Arctic warming. Pixabay

It found that the ozone-depleting substances acted as a strong supplement to carbon dioxide, the most pervasive greenhouse gas. “We showed that ODS have affected the Arctic climate in a substantial way,” said researcher Michael Previdi from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

The scientists reached their conclusion using two very different climate models that are widely employed by the scientific community, both developed at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. The results highlight the importance of the Montreal Protocol, which has been signed by nearly 200 countries.

“Climate mitigation is in action as we speak because these substances are decreasing in the atmosphere, thanks to the Montreal Protocol,” said Lorenzo Polvani, lead author of the study. “In the coming decades, they will contribute less and less to global warming. It’s a good-news story”.

In the 1980s, a hole in Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer, which filters much of the harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun, was discovered over Antarctica. Scientists quickly attributed it to ODS. The world sprang into action, finalizing a global agreement to phase out ODS.

Also Read- Increase in Diabetes and Thyroid in India in 2019: Report

The Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987 and entered into force in 1989. Due to the swift international reaction, atmospheric concentrations of most ODS peaked in the late 20th century and have been declining since.

However, for at least 50 years, the climate impacts of ODS were extensive, revealed the new study. (IANS)