The retreating glaciers of Puget Sound

Bad news on the glacial front. “When the snow leaves the mountains the world ends”-Native legend. Likely true for civiluzation on the peninsula. Our society here depends on it glacial runoff.

Puget Sound’s glaciers are melting rapidly due to climate change. The North Cascades mountains have lost about 56% of their glacial ice while estimates show that glaciers in the Olympics could be gone within the next 50 years. Scientists say salmon and other species could be hard hit as the region loses its “giant storage tank” of ice.

Hydrogen Fuel may not be the salvation we have been told.

New studies show the dangers in betting on hydrogen fuel. By the way, who has been promoting it’s use? The oil and gas industry, of course.

Extreme Weather Displaced a Record 7 Million in First Half of 2019 – NY Times

An interesting article by the New York Times documenting how many people have been displaced by climate change related weather in the first half of this year alone. The only question left to ask is, who’s next?

The World Wastes Tons of Food. A Grocery ‘Happy Hour’ Is One Answer. NY Times

Here’s a simple thing that all of us, myself included, can do to slow global warming. The article points out that food waste, the excess food that groceries and restaurants dump, along with the food that you and I throw out because it never got used in our fridges, is another significant cause of global warming. Why? Because all of it had used fossil fuel to plant, harvest and transport, and then, after it was near or after its’ use by date, was transported from the store to either a food bank, or landfill where it was composted, both using fossil fuel to do that job, and by the methane generated by it rotting in the landfill.

I’ve gone to using my bike to make much more frequent trips to the grocery store, or combining those trips with other trips. I buy in much smaller amounts, such as a quart rather than a gallon of milk. I rotate my vegetables and check the drawer daily. I’ve gone to buying less fruits and veggies at the market, more 1 at a time, rather than three or four that might sit and go to waste.

Here in Port Townsend, I know that the food bank works with NW Harvest and the local groceries to do their best to work excess food into the hands of those that need it and are not able to afford it.

Our refrigerators are geared towards waste. Very few of us really need the size of refrigerator that we have, but unless you design your kitchen yourself, all standard kitchens use about the same size large refridgerators. This is not true in Europe. And not having a standard refrigerator affects your house’s resell value. It’s all of a piece, that we are designing our way to a warming planet.

While a freezer does help reduce waste by prolonging the foods use by date, it also contributes to global warming itself.

The best we can do is to think through our food use. Slow the buying habit. As a challenge, try to buy your food the day you plan to eat it.

And perhaps discuss this with your local grocers. They want your business! It’s a low margin business.

EVENT: State attorney general Ferguson, DNR commissioner Franz to speak Aug. 25 at Democrats’ annual Fish Feast

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, undefeated in 22 lawsuits so far against the Trump administration, will be one of two keynote speakers Sunday, Aug. 25, at the 25th annual Fish Feast in Port Townsend of the Jefferson County Democrats. Its theme this year: “There’s a Lot on the Line.”

Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, who spearheaded the development of a 10-year statewide plan to fight and prevent wildfires, will be the other keynote speaker.

Tickets for the event at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds are available for $60 at and by mail at Jefferson County Democrats, P. O. Box 85, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Tickets will also be available at the door (cash, check or card).

Doors open at 4 p.m. for the bar and socializing in the Erickson Building. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m., and speakers begin at 6 p.m. The party donates one dollar of each ticket to the Jefferson County Fair Board.

“The Fish Feast is our major fundraiser of the year,” said party Chair Marty Gilmore. “Each ticket purchase supports the vital work we do year-round to elect Democrats! It’s also an opportunity to hear the latest on current issues from our guest speakers – and fun time to see friends.”

Recent successes by Ferguson’s office include the largest-ever trial award in a state consumer protection case, debt relief from predatory lending for hundreds of students, and defense of the constitution by defeating the Trump administration’s attempt to add a discriminatory citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

Franz’s office has led state efforts to make Washington’s lands resilient in the face of climate change, investing in carbon sequestration and clean energy with wind, solar and geothermal infrastructure. Her office has also allocated millions of dollars to struggling rural communities to spark economic opportunities.

Fish Feast attendees will also hear from U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, state Sen. Kevin Van de Wege, state Reps. Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger, state party chair Tina Podlodowski, and local Democratic elected officials.

Before the feast is served, guests can mingle with candidates, campaigns, and organizations in Campaign Alley outside the Oscar Erickson Building.

Rep. Kilmer has sponsored tickets for 20 Young Democrats (under 35 years old). Contact Libby Wennstrom (360-301-9728) or Chelsea Pronovost (425-256-0626) to pre-register as a guest.

“We’re also offering 20 discounted tickets at our cost,” said Fish Feast organizer Claire Roney. “$25 each – first come, first serve.” For more information—or to volunteer for the Fish Feast, contact Roney at (360) 531-1177.

The Fish Feat menu will include sockeye salmon from Key City Fish, BBQed by chef Larry Dennison; shellfish from Taylor Shellfish; greens and veggies from local farms; rolls from Pane d’Amore; and cake. Beverages will include wine from the Wine Seller and beer from Port Townsend Brewing Co.

For more information about the Jefferson County Democrats, visit its website at or its Facebook page, @jeffcodemocrats.

July was Earth’s hottest month on record – Washington Post

Like frogs in a pot of water, we think that it’s just incremental changes we are seeing. The President and his minions continue to say that it’s all a hoax and there’s nothing to worry about. More lies from the man who seems to never be able to tell the truth, nor even remember what he said the day before. As glaciers shring, and water tables in many places lower,  our sources for water are starting to dry up in some places. Maybe this will get through to people. Then there is rising sea levels, which we only now are starting to see in a certain locales.

July was Earth’s hottest month on record, beating or tying July 2016
July was Earth’s hottest month ever recorded, “on a par with, and possibly marginally higher” than the previous warmest month, which was July 2016, according to provisional data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service. This European climate agency will have a full report for all of July on Monday, but a spokesperson said enough data (through July 29) has already come in to make this declaration. Andrew Freedman reports. (Washington Post)

Urban Planners take note – Greenland’s Collapsing Glacier Could Raise Sea Levels More than A Foot – Guardian

Within the next decade, apparently, this melting glacier is likely to raise sea levels more than a foot. Very likely to cause higher high tides, more coastal inundation. Think of the coastal land  of Jefferson County, and think of what might be at threat. Port of Port Townsend comes to mind. Hwy 20 into town near the ferry dock. Planners need to start taking this melting very seriously. Especially when faced with angry homeowners that insist on living 50′ from the mean low tide. The cost of moving should be on them, not the taxpayers.

A major glacier in Greenland that holds enough water to raise global sea levels by half a metre has begun to crumble into the North Atlantic Ocean, scientists say.

The huge Zachariae Isstrom glacier in northeast Greenland started to melt rapidly in 2012 and is now breaking up into large icebergs where the glacier meets the sea, monitoring has revealed.

Washington Tribe Confronts Climate Change, Sea Level Rise – Earthfix KUOW

Climate change adaptation strikes home here on the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula. The Quinault Indian Nation is struggling sea level rise and the loss of the Anderson Glacier, which feeds the Quinault River.

TAHOLAH, Wash. – A big question will confront international leaders in the next round of climate talks in Paris: How do they help poor, island and coastal nations threatened by rising oceans, extreme weather and other climate change-related risks?

In the Northwest, sea-level rise is forcing a Native American tribe to consider abandoning lands it has inhabited for thousands of years. – Ashley Ahearn reports.

Patricia Becomes Strongest Hurricane Ever Recorded; Catastrophic Landfall Expected in Mexico Friday – Weather Channell

I know that many of us travel to Mexico frequently, and many that go, go to the west coast. What is about to happen there today is very terrifying, and if you have friends down there, be ready to help in any way you can. This storm is bringing winds greater than Katrina or Sandy. Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, Manzanillo (type in Manzanillo into Google Search and look at the photos of this beautiful little town that is about to be hit directly by this storm).  Upwards of 290,000 people may be affected by it ( This is  another example what the scientists have told us of of global warming outcome, caused by our inability to wean our advanced society from fossil fuels. Stronger storms more frequently. CNN is reporting that, “Among other effects, El Niño has contributed to ocean waters off Mexico being 2 to 3 degrees warmer than usual”.

Of course, the west coast of Mexico is a place with many people who have never contributed to the problem of global warming, and are being made to suffer because of it.

The link to us is that we are also expecting El Nino to affect our waters here this winter, and likely some of our winter storms will be more intense because of it. Those living on the beach should be taking extra precautions this year. Storm surge and winds are likely to be much higher than normal.

A donation of whatever you can afford to the Red Cross or Direct Relief today might be appropriate.

Heat and Drought. Is This The New Northwest? – Salish Sea Communications

Good read from Mike Sato.
“Some summer: Consecutive days of record high temperatures, little rain and low river runoff, rising water temperatures in rivers and Puget Sound… You staying or planning to leave?…. ”

Video: A dangerously hot Puget Sound – Seattle PI

Worth a look.

So what will a hot world look like, especially here in the Puget Sound region? Well, check out this video built around a news conference put on by Washington’s Department of Ecology July 30 in Seattle for your answer. Jake Ellison reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

See also: Jellyfish boom prompts research by plane and boat Biologists with NOAA and the Department of Ecology are teaming up by plane and boat to track a jellyfish boom in Puget Sound. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Is Anywhere on Earth Safe From Climate Change? – The Atlantic Monthly

New article in the Atlantic Monthly, that explores the sweeping changes happening in the planet’s ecosystem, and what it means for all of us. Great read.

Relocating to a landlocked city isn’t enough .Put simply: Climate change poses the threat of global catastrophe. The planet isn’t just getting hotter, it’s destabilizing. Entire ecosystems are at risk. The future of humanity is at stake.

Is Anywhere On Earth Safe From Climate Change?

Free read, but subscribe to the Atlantic Monthly if you appreciate this kind of reporting.

Toxic algae flourishes in warm water from California to Alaska, closing valuable fisheries – AP

More reasons to demand international work cooperation on climate change. As our fishing and shellfish industry continues to get hammered by the effects of a heating planet, many political leaders continue to stick their heads in the sand and their hands in the pockets of individuals and businesses who are working to stop any progress on this.  While this particular ‘blob’ may eventually dissipate if and when the weather patterns change, the trend is definitively moving towards planetary conditions that could make this a new normal, not an aberration.

A vast bloom of toxic algae off the West Coast is denser, more widespread and deeper than scientists feared even weeks ago, according to surveyors aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel. This coastal ribbon of microscopic algae, up to 40 miles wide and 650 feet deep in places, is flourishing amid unusually warm Pacific Ocean temperatures. It now stretches from at least California to Alaska and has shut down lucrative fisheries. Shellfish managers on Tuesday doubled the area off Washington’s coast that is closed to Dungeness crab fishing, after finding elevated levels of marine toxins in tested crab meat. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Inslee: I’ll use my authority to impose cap on emissions  – Seattle Times

This is what is needed in the face of our drought, and the unprecedented warming of the seas that sustain us here in the Pacific NW. Leadership is needed. We voted for him to be a leader and that’s what we are getting. Thanks to Governor Inslee for not waiting for Republicans to come meet him halfway, because they have said repeatedly that they won’t. Given that a huge number of them represent some of the hardest hit areas of the state by this years drought, I suppose that means their constituents will suffer the worst. Maybe it will get them off the dime.

Frustrated by legislative inaction on climate, Gov. Jay Inslee plans to wield his administration’s executive authority to impose a binding cap on carbon emissions in Washington state. Inslee on Tuesday directed the state Department of Ecology to step up enforcement of state pollution laws and develop the emissions cap — aimed at enforcing greenhouse-gas-reduction targets that have been in state law since 2008. Jim Brunner and Hal Bernton report. (Seattle Times)

Sobering news from one of the world’s top climate scientist – Washington Post

One of the interesting recent revelations I’ve read is from Ray Kurzweil, who has shown that many if not most of human activity ends up generating exponential growth curves. In this major new scientific paper that has significant impacts for us along this coast, we see that ice loss due to global warming and the subsequent sea level rise may be showing this curve as well, instead of the ‘well behaved’ linear curve, so many scientists are hoping for.

This is must reading for anyone involved in planning low lying residential or commercial buildings on the Peninsula. The new estimates place sea level rise that we are starting to experience to be as much as ‘several meters” rather than the more conservative “1 meter” that his colleagues have been estimating. The notion of even seeing a 1 meter rise here in the next few decades will have significant impacts on many  ecosystems, and also low lying infrastructure such as the Port Townsend water treatment plant.

In the new study, Hansen and his colleagues suggest that the “doubling time” for ice loss from West Antarctica — the time period over which the amount of loss could double — could be as short as 10 years. In other words, a non-linear process could be at work, triggering major sea level rise in a time frame of 50 to 200 years.

Coastal researchers launch blog to share findings about ocean – Watching Our Waterways

Lots of fish from tropical waters are being seen in the surveys reported by Chris. Check out this quick read.

It’s an interesting time for researchers to begin writing a blog about ocean conditions off Oregon and Washington, an area undergoing some fascinating changes in oceanography and sealife. Scientists from NOAA Fisheries and Oregon State University launched their new website, “Newporter Blog,” [] last week. It’s named after the Newport Line, an area of study off the Oregon Coast where researchers have monitored changes for the past 20 years. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

CO2 levels reach monthly record – BBC

We are heading into totally uncharted territory, and we have only just begun to see the effects at scale. California is only one of many locations around the world, from sub-saharan Africa, Australia, and South America, dealing with the effects of our runaway economic practices. Here on the Olympic Peninsula, a serious drought hazard is building and with it, record low river flows, which affect salmon runs, and other creatures that rely on them.
The milestone was announced by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa). They said it was the first month that the entire globe broke 400ppm, reaching levels that haven’t been seen for about two million years. Noaa’s Pieter Tans said that reaching the mark was “a significant milestone”. Scientists announced that CO2 had passed the 400 ppm level for the first time in the Arctic in 2012, and then at Mauna Loa in Hawaii in 2013. (BBC) See also: Summer 2015: The Northwest’s Global Warming Stress Test Cliff Mass reports. (Weather Blog)

Puget Sound salmon face more ups and downs in river flows –

Good news and concerning news from some recent science.

Many salmon rivers around Puget Sound have experienced increasing fluctuations in flow over the past 60 years, just as climate change projections predict – and that’s unfortunate news for threatened Chinook salmon, according to a new analysis of salmon survival and river flow. More pronounced fluctuations in flow can scour away salmon eggs and exhaust young fish, especially when lower flows force adult fish to lay eggs in more exposed areas in the center of the channel. The new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Global Change Biology says such increased flow variability has the most negative effect on salmon populations of several climate factors considered. (

Fixing the environment from Davos Switzerland…absurd

I usually try to stay locally focused on this blog. But sometimes something so absurd that is related to our environment needs to be covered. As you may have heard, our planet is heating up. 97% of the climate scientists are convinced it’s due to our actions (number from Al Gore’s Climate 101 web site  Burning fossil fuels, primarily. As one wag has put it, “if 97 out of 100 engineers told you that a bridge is so bad that you shouldn’t drive over it, would you?”

We are looking and expecting our leaders, to do something about it. Last week, in Davos Switzerland, the heads of most of the major corporations in the world, along with governmental leaders, met to discuss the global situation, both economic and political. How did they get to Davos? They flew 1700 private jets. 

If anything illustrates exactly the mess we are in, it is this. The very leaders that we expect to solve this crisis, are part of the problem.

Jon Stewart covered the issue brilliantly on Friday’s Daily Show. And Al Gore gave a great speech at Davos that clearly showed the current problem in very graphic form. He also called for action, now. (you can watch it at the link below). But if the players present, can’t even be bothered to fly first class to save on fuel, don’t expect any meaningful change soon. And this weekend were the King Tides here at home, along with the warmest winter on record. Doesn’t it seem that sometimes, nothing ever meaningful happens without a major crisis that causes change to be so obvious that change has to happen? I think of World War II as a perfect metaphor. Everyone knew it was coming, and had no will to actually do the things needed to stop it. We haven’t reached that point yet (unless you live in the Philippines, Northern New Jersey Coast, or just someplace near like the Quinault Nation on the Pacific Coast, where the tribe is moving to higher ground due to the breaching of their seawall). Hmmm. Ok, so maybe we have reached that point, and it just hasn’t affect you and I personally, except in higher prices for food from drought in California, higher insurance rates for coastal residents etc. Ok. So maybe it’s not affecting us enough. 

I don’t expect the 1% at Davos to do anything of any consequence for us with all the good intentions of Mr. Gore. As Billy Frank Jr, once so eloquently spoke, after returning from Washington D.C. and meeting with the President (Obama), the Secretary of the Interior and others, “They all say they care about the issue (salmon), but no one back there is in charge. I’ll tell you who’s in charge, we are.”  And so it is.


Expert: critique of Seattle Times “Sea Change” project ignores the science

Cliff Mass has long been suspect as a climate change denier, often saying that there is not enough proof to make suggestions that global warming is affecting us locally. His recent blog post has gotten wide spread reading as he is considered very thoughtful in his pronouncements. Last week he published a story that said that he didn’t believe that ocean acidification was causing problems with the shellfish here in the Sound and along the coast, both of which active investigations by shellfish growers here in the State. Now, Seattle Times reporter Craig Welch takes Mass to task for his recent post.

Let’s be clear, as stated in the article: “Mass is not a chemical oceanographer, but he is a scientist with some familiarity with these issues.”

Seattle Times reporter Craig Welch, author of the series “Sea Change,” rebuts Cliff Mass’s critique of the series. “Ocean acidification actually is to blame for current problems with Northwest oysters. And that fact is supported by strong evidence. Suggesting otherwise is a misreading of the science. Readers need not take our word for it.”

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