Saturday, September 9, 2017

Limbaugh Vacates His FLA Palace After Calling "Irma" A Liberal Hoax

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Let's concede that Rush Limbaugh is a certified bonehead who wouldn't be able to locate his noggin if it wasn't affixed to his fat neck. In his latest blurtation, we learn he has just suddenly vacated his Palm Beach mansion ahead of Hurricane Irma - this after dismissing it as a hyped up "liberal hoax".  Evidently his last words Thursday on his show were : "May as well announce this. I'm not going to get into details because of the security nature of things, but it turns out that we will not be able to do the program here tomorrow. We'll be on the air next week, folks, from parts unknown."

Parts unknown? Like where? Syrtis Major on Mars? We should all be so lucky! But to the blowhard's credit "Limburger" stressed he was not a meteorologist, though he did  tell his national audience on Tuesday that he believed the press was hyping coverage of Hurricane Irma to "advance this climate change agenda."

Right! All the climate scientists got together, seeded the clouds over the Cape Verde region off Africa and created Irma - which has now wrecked multiple Caribbean islands (St. Martin, Barbuda, Antigua, British Virgin Islands etc.) as it now churns toward south Florida.  Rush ought to have told his listeners he was no climatologist either.

Not to be outdone by his earlier whackiness, Limbaugh also  floated the baseless theory that local news outlets were blitzing their audiences with storm coverage to scare them into purchasing bottles of water and other supplies from local retailers. Limbaugh claimed "there was a "symbiotic relationship between retailers and local media, and it's related to money."

Expatiating on his conspiracy further, the brash buffoon babbled:

"The local media ... reports in such a way as to create the panic way far out, which sends people into these stores to fill up with water and to fill up with batteries, and it becomes a never-ending repeated cycle. And the two coexist. So the media benefits with the panic with increased eyeballs, and the retailers benefit from the panic with increased sales, and the TV companies benefit because they're getting advertising dollars from the businesses that are seeing all this attention from customers."

Limbaugh added: "I'm not accusing anybody of anything illegal here, it's just the way the world works."

Just the way the world works?  Talk about nutso conspiracy bollocks! This one almost competes with Alex Jones' that NASA is running a child sex slave colony on Mars, e.g.

But having been through several hurricanes myself (Donna, 1960; Cleo, 1964; Allen, 1980) I can assure Rush that he is full of shit, literally. One buys provisions, whether canned food, water, batteries (for radios) or generators - in advance - because one knows once the 'cane strikes it's all over. At least for the duration, because you will not be able to secure those things once you're hunkered down. One would have thought a real conservative always blowing wind about "doing for oneself" would grasp that rounding up provisions before a hurricane is the ultimate test of one's self-sufficiency.

As for the links to climate change, well there is only one link and I elaborated it earlier on the causal nexus between warming ocean waters which provides the "fuel" for monster hurricanes like Harvey and Irma.   In the case of Harvey, its energy was fueled by very warm Gulf temperatures which rose to between 2.7 F and 7.2 F above average. Because of these high Gulf surface temperatures the original Tropic Storm Harvey progressed to  a Cat 4 hurricane in barely 48 hours.  The case of Irma - according to one top senior scientist(Dr. Kevin Trenberth)  interviewed last night  is very similar noting "certainly climate change is playing a role because the oceans are a lot warmer".  Thus, since water temperatures are degrees higher than normal we expect them to feed the monstrous growth of hurricanes.

Trenberth pointed out that when there is warmer ocean there's more activity and so more intensity is expected. .  In addition, storms will be bigger in size and last longer. He explained that there "may be fewer overall but one big storm can actually replace 4 smaller storms". In other words, the number of hurricanes alone doesn't reckon in the degree of climate change impact.   Because the natural variability is going in the same direction as climate change  this is the sort of thing we expect to see.

This is not just hype. Irma eclipsed Harvey in storm intensity by sustaining 185 mph winds (Category 5) for over 36 hours.  As I write this it is now back at Category 5 again approaching the Florida keys.

One MIT scientist estimated Irma's power output at 7 trillion watts or 7 trillion joules per second. Where is all this energy coming from?  Earth is currently  subject to a radiative heating effect from greenhouse gases equivalent to 2.5 x 10 7  TJ.  This is the excess energy trapped in the atmosphere or roughly  equal to 400,000 Hiroshima size A-bombs.  Obviously not all remains in the atmosphere, but most is  absorbed by the planet's oceans - which is why they are warming to unheard of levels.

According to the site below :

since 1955, over 90% of the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gases has been stored in the oceans.  Doing the math this is more than enough energy to power dozens of major hurricanes, e.g. Hugo, Allen, Harvey, Andrew and now Irma.

It is interesting that barely a day after Limburger high-tailed it, Miami's Republican Mayor called on Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA to acknowledge that climate change is playing a role in the extreme weather that has slammed his city and the continental U.S. this summer.

Speaking from Miami’s Emergency Operations Center in downtown, Mayor Tomás Regalado told the Miami Herald that he believes warming and rising seas are threatening South Florida’s immediate and long-term future.  He said:

This is the time to talk about climate change. This is the time that the president and the EPA and whoever makes decisions needs to talk about climate change. If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is. This is a truly, truly poster child for what is to come."

So there we have  it, a tale of two reactions to the approaching hurricane:  One - a talk show jockey-  who blows smoke up his listeners' asses about a conspiracy between the media and advertisers to engender fear and make money. The other - responsible for the inhabitants of his city -  has the sense to see the writing on the wall and the reality of climate change.

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At some point, our policymakers need to understand that these are not simply natural disasters. Their strength, severity and human toll are intensified by our addiction to fossil fuels.

We need food, water and shelter to survive and thrive. Climate change is taking all of that away from people today. In Portland, first responders are battling to protect the city’s drinking water reservoir from the fire burning in the Colombia River Gorge. In Texas, dozens of drinking water systems were shut down and Houston’s system was hours from failure due to the Harvey floods. Our infrastructure is already suffering from lack of investment, and now we have to contend with disasters that threaten our access to water and sanitation on a more frequent basis—and which will increasingly disrupt our food supply and imperil our homes, our possessions, and our lives.

Meanwhile, we have Trump continuing to lead the denialist fray in Washington. Another climate denier was just nominated to head a critical government agency, NASA. And at a speech delivered at a North Dakota oil refinery this week, Trump said he’d simply make the drought there ‘go away’ while touting his own efforts to promote pipelines – even as the country burns and floods from coast to coast.

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