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Thoughts on everything from climate modeling to energy policy.

The Little Ice Age Explained?

Nobody knows for sure why the planet cooled dramatically starting 700-ish years ago. But a newly published paper argues that the culprit was a series of massive volcanic eruptions that rocked the tropics starting in 1275 A.D and threw tons of sun-blocking particles into the stratosphere … Read More

New Study Casts Doubt on “Missing Heat” Hypothesis

Have you heard the tale about the “missing heatĀ in the climate system? Well, it turns out it may not have gone missing after all. Global warming is driven by an imbalance between how much energy the planet takes in from the sun, and how much it lets back out into space in the form of thermal radiation.… Read More

Southwest Turns Anxious Eye to Shrinking Lake Mead

During the past three years, the level of Lake Mead has followed a boom-and-bust cycle, dropping to a record low in 2010 during an intense drought, then recovering during 2011 thanks to record mountain snowfall, and now dropping again in the midst of a dry winter.… Read More

NASA Releases Stunning “Blue Marble” Image of Earth

One feature that is notably absent from the picture is snow cover, which is confined to parts of the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada. In many parts of the country, snowfall has been running well below average so far this year.… Read More

Weird Winter Continues with Western Storms

Heavy rains and mountain snows, along with strong winds, are expected through the weekend and into next week in northern California, parts of Oregon, and Washington.… Read More

A Graphical Tour Through the Climate of 2011

New data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA show that for the 35th year in a row, the globe was warmer than average during 2011, and about the 10th-warmest year on record since 1880. … Read More

Obama Proposal Could Weaken Key Climate Agency

An Obama administration plan to cut costs by combining several goverrnment agencies may make good political sense, coming in the midst of the Republican presidential primary season, with its heated small-government rhetoric. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea from a policy perspective.… Read More

Decision by Obama Won’t Keep Oil from Flowing

The tar sands oil was never destined for Americans' gas tanks. Bottom line: Keystone XL would mean Canada gets the money, China (or some other foreign buyer) gets the oil and the U.S. gets the pollution… Read More