“I am very worried about the United States Congress turning its back on science” — Bernie Sanders #kxl

Here’s an analysis of the proposed legislation by Katie Rose Quandt writing for Moyers & Company. Here’s an excerpt:

As expected, a bill approving the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline sailed through the House of Representatives for the tenth time on Friday. The bill is predicted to pass the Senate next week, but Republicans may not have enough votes to override the veto Obama has promised.

On Wednesday we got a preview of the Senate debate when the Energy and Natural Resources Committee met to vote on the bill. Before the vote, which passed 13-9, Democrats used the opportunity to express their environmental concerns, question the bill’s job-creation numbers and propose that the steel piping must be American-made. Republicans touted the pipeline as an economy-boosting job creator that will give the US energy independence. The most striking moments came when the microphone went to Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who eloquently summed up the arguments against building a tar sands pipeline directly through the United States.

The great environmental battle of our time.

Science Senator. It's called science.
Science Senator. It’s called science.

More oil and gas coverage here.

Cloud Physics 101 — CBS Denver

Sunrise from the back porch at Gulch Manor after freezing drizzle event January 2015
Sunrise from the back porch at Gulch Manor after freezing drizzle event January 2015

From CBS Denver (Chris Spears):

My experience with freezing rain comes from the traditional setup which is common in the eastern and southern United States.

THE “TRADITIONAL” SETUP

When you think about temperatures in the atmosphere, especially during the winter, you assume that if it’s at or below freezing at the ground, then it’s even colder up high.

But that isn’t always the case.

In a typical freezing rain or drizzle event, there is usually a thick layer of air just above the ground that has temperatures above freezing.

As snow falls through that air, it melts, arriving at the ground as a liquid that freezes on contact.

THE “COLORADO” SETUP

In Colorado, it’s a much more compilecated scenario because many times the temperature of the air during the winter season, both at and above the ground, is below freezing.

That begs the question of then how do you get freezing drizzle and not snow.

There answer lies in the very complicated subject of cloud physics.

CLOUD PHYSICS 101

A cloud, which is made of thousands of tiny liquid water droplets, has a temperature threshold for those water droplets to turn into tiny particles of ice.

That temperature is right around -10°C, or 14°F.

The formation of these ice crystals serve as the building blocks for snowflakes to form.

In the case of Thursday night’s weather setup along the Front Range, there was a shallow layer of moisture in place with temperatures at or slightly warmer than the threshold for ice formation.

This allowed most of the water droplets to remain in the liquid state, even with temperatures below freezing.

In meteorology, this is called supercooled water.

Because temperatures were flirting with the -10°C threshold, some snow was mixed in with the freezing drizzle.
More times than not, in Colorado, the profile of temperature and moisture in the atmosphere sets us up for either a brief rain to snow or all snow.

But as we saw Thursday night, while prolonged freezing drizzle isn’t common, sometimes, it can happen.