Blog Archive

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fierce storms in France, Spain, Portugal kill 16 -- winds of 90-130 mph

Fierce storms in France, Spain, Portugal kill 16 

A car damaged by a falling tree is seen near Arlanzon, Spain, on early Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010. The two passengers of the car were killed. A storm with very strong winds hit Spain over the weekend.(AP Photo/I.Lopez)

by DEBORAH SEWARD, from Associated Press,February 28, 2010 12:08 PM EST

PARIS (AP) — A violent late winter storm with fierce rain and hurricane-strength winds battered France, Spain and Portugal Sunday, leaving at least 16 people dead.

Most of the 12 victims in France drowned, while others died when hit by parts of buildings or trees and branches that were ripped off by the wind.

Nearly 900,000 people in France were without electricity. Rivers overflowed their banks in Brittany, and the threat of avalanches was high in the Pyrenees Mountains and the southern Alps due to wind and wet snow.
In Paris, winds knocked over motorcycles and spewed  garbage around the streets of the capital. Flights were delayed and some were canceled at the two main Paris airports. A number of trains in western France were delayed due to flooded tracks.

Winds reached about 130 mph (200 kph) on the summits of the Pyrenees and about 90 mph (150 kph) along the Atlantic Coast.

In neighboring Spain, the Interior Minister said three people were killed by hurricane-strength winds and heavy rainfall that lashed the country's northern regions over the weekend.

Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said the storm had been intense in certain regions and had caused the deaths of a woman in northwestern Ourense and of two people whose car was hit by a falling tree in Arlanzon just north of Madrid.

The national weather agency had warned that a violent cyclone depression had formed over the Atlantic Ocean and was to cross areas bordering the Bay of Biscay.

Winds gusting up to 118 mph (190 kph) had blown over the Canary Islands overnight Friday causing a crane to collapse on a building, lampposts to fall onto parked cars and forcing flight cancellations.

Portugal's home affairs minister Rui Pereira said a child had been killed Saturday by a falling tree in Paredes.

The 10-year-old had been playing ball near a church while waiting to go to a prayer meeting when a falling branch crushed him, Pereira said.

Link:  http://enews.earthlink.net/article/top?guid=20100228/0a72ea48-be72-4741-a4ca-61a7025032a3

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Al Gore: We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change

We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change

by Al Gore, The New York Times, February 27, 2010 

It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.


Open, N.Y.

Of course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil. And we would still trail China in the race to develop smart grids, fast trains, solar power, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources of energy — the most important sources of new jobs in the 21st century.

But what a burden would be lifted! We would no longer have to worry that our grandchildren would one day look back on us as a criminal generation that had selfishly and blithely ignored clear warnings that their fate was in our hands. We could instead celebrate the naysayers who had doggedly persisted in proving that every major National Academy of Sciences report on climate change had simply made a huge mistake.

I, for one, genuinely wish that the climate crisis were an illusion. But unfortunately, the reality of the danger we are courting has not been changed by the discovery of at least two mistakes in the thousands of pages of careful scientific work over the last 22 years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In fact, the crisis is still growing because we are continuing to dump 90 million tons of global-warming pollution every 24 hours into the atmosphere — as if it were an open sewer.

It is true that the climate panel published a flawed overestimate of the melting rate of debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas, and used information about the Netherlands provided to it by the government, which was later found to be partly inaccurate. In addition, e-mail messages stolen from the University of East Anglia in Britain showed that scientists besieged by an onslaught of hostile, make-work demands from climate skeptics may not have adequately followed the requirements of the British freedom of information law.

But the scientific enterprise will never be completely free of mistakes. What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged. It is also worth noting that the panel’s scientists — acting in good faith on the best information then available to them — probably underestimated the range of sea-level rise in this century, the speed with which the Arctic ice cap is disappearing and the speed with which some of the large glacial flows in Antarctica and Greenland are melting and racing to the sea.

Because these and other effects of global warming are distributed globally, they are difficult to identify and interpret in any particular location. For example, January was seen as unusually cold in much of the United States. Yet from a global perspective, it was the second-hottest January since surface temperatures were first measured 130 years ago.

Similarly, even though climate deniers have speciously argued for several years that there has been no warming in the last decade, scientists confirmed last month that the last 10 years were the hottest decade since modern records have been kept.

The heavy snowfalls this month have been used as fodder for ridicule by those who argue that global warming is a myth, yet scientists have long pointed out that warmer global temperatures have been increasing the rate of evaporation from the oceans, putting significantly more moisture into the atmosphere — thus causing heavier downfalls of both rain and snow in particular regions, including the Northeastern United States. Just as it’s important not to miss the forest for the trees, neither should we miss the climate for the snowstorm.

Here is what scientists have found is happening to our climate: man-made global-warming pollution traps heat from the sun and increases atmospheric temperatures. These pollutants — especially carbon dioxide — have been increasing rapidly with the growth in the burning of coal, oil, natural gas and forests, and temperatures have increased over the same period. Almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are melting — and seas are rising. Hurricanes are predicted to grow stronger and more destructive, though their number is expected to decrease. Droughts are getting longer and deeper in many mid-continent regions, even as the severity of flooding increases. The seasonal predictability of rainfall and temperatures is being disrupted, posing serious threats to agriculture. The rate of species extinction is accelerating to dangerous levels.

Though there have been impressive efforts by many business leaders, hundreds of millions of individuals and families throughout the world and many national, regional and local governments, our civilization is still failing miserably to slow the rate at which these emissions are increasing — much less reduce them.

And in spite of President Obama’s efforts at the Copenhagen climate summit meeting in December, global leaders failed to muster anything more than a decision to “take note” of an intention to act.

Because the world still relies on leadership from the United States, the failure by the Senate to pass legislation intended to cap American emissions before the Copenhagen meeting guaranteed that the outcome would fall far short of even the minimum needed to build momentum toward a meaningful solution.

The political paralysis that is now so painfully evident in Washington has thus far prevented action by the Senate — not only on climate and energy legislation, but also on health care reform, financial regulatory reform and a host of other pressing issues.

This comes with painful costs. China, now the world’s largest and fastest-growing source of global-warming pollution, had privately signaled early last year that if the United States passed meaningful legislation, it would join in serious efforts to produce an effective treaty. When the Senate failed to follow the lead of the House of Representatives, forcing the president to go to Copenhagen without a new law in hand, the Chinese balked.
With the two largest polluters refusing to act, the world community was paralyzed.

Some analysts attribute the failure to an inherent flaw in the design of the chosen solution — arguing that a cap-and-trade approach is too unwieldy and difficult to put in place. Moreover, these critics add, the financial crisis that began in 2008 shook the world’s confidence in the use of any market-based solution.

But there are two big problems with this critique: First, there is no readily apparent alternative that would be any easier politically. It is difficult to imagine a globally harmonized carbon tax or a coordinated multilateral regulatory effort. The flexibility of a global market-based policy — supplemented by regulation and revenue-neutral tax policies — is the option that has by far the best chance of success. The fact that it is extremely difficult does not mean that we should simply give up.

Second, we should have no illusions about the difficulty and the time needed to convince the rest of the world to adopt a completely new approach. The lags in the global climate system, including the buildup of heat in the oceans from which it is slowly reintroduced into the atmosphere, means that we can create conditions that make large and destructive consequences inevitable long before their awful manifestations become apparent: the displacement of hundreds of millions of climate refugees, civil unrest, chaos and the collapse of governance in many developing countries, large-scale crop failures and the spread of deadly diseases.

It’s important to point out that the United States is not alone in its inaction. Global political paralysis has thus far stymied work not only on climate, but on trade and other pressing issues that require coordinated international action.

The reasons for this are primarily economic. The globalization of the economy, coupled with the outsourcing of jobs from industrial countries, has simultaneously heightened fears of further job losses in the industrial world and encouraged rising expectations in emerging economies. The result? Heightened opposition, in both the industrial and developing worlds, to any constraints on the use of carbon-based fuels, which remain our principal source of energy.

The decisive victory of democratic capitalism over communism in the 1990s led to a period of philosophical dominance for market economics worldwide and the illusion of a unipolar world. It also led, in the United States, to a hubristic “bubble” of market fundamentalism that encouraged opponents of regulatory constraints to mount an aggressive effort to shift the internal boundary between the democracy sphere and the market sphere. Over time, markets would most efficiently solve most problems, they argued. Laws and regulations interfering with the operations of the market carried a faint odor of the discredited statist adversary we had just defeated.

This period of market triumphalism coincided with confirmation by scientists that earlier fears about global warming had been grossly understated. But by then, the political context in which this debate took form was tilted heavily toward the views of market fundamentalists, who fought to weaken existing constraints and scoffed at the possibility that global constraints would be needed to halt the dangerous dumping of global-warming pollution into the atmosphere.

Over the years, as the science has become clearer and clearer, some industries and companies whose business plans are dependent on unrestrained pollution of the atmospheric commons have become ever more entrenched. They are ferociously fighting against the mildest regulation — just as tobacco companies blocked constraints on the marketing of cigarettes for four decades after science confirmed the link of cigarettes to diseases of the lung and the heart.

Simultaneously, changes in America’s political system — including the replacement of newspapers and magazines by television as the dominant medium of communication — conferred powerful advantages on wealthy advocates of unrestrained markets and weakened advocates of legal and regulatory reforms. Some news media organizations now present showmen masquerading as political thinkers who package hatred and divisiveness as entertainment. And as in times past, that has proved to be a potent drug in the veins of the body politic. Their most consistent theme is to label as “socialist” any proposal to reform exploitive behavior in the marketplace.

From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption. After all has been said and so little done, the truth about the climate crisis — inconvenient as ever — must still be faced.

The pathway to success is still open, though it tracks the outer boundary of what we are capable of doing. It begins with a choice by the United States to pass a law establishing a cost for global warming pollution. The House of Representatives has already passed legislation, with some Republican support, to take the first halting steps for pricing greenhouse gas emissions.

Later this week, Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman are expected to present for consideration similar cap-and-trade legislation.

I hope that it will place a true cap on carbon emissions and stimulate the rapid development of low-carbon sources of energy.

We have overcome existential threats before. Winston Churchill is widely quoted as having said, “Sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Sometimes, you must do what is required.” Now is that time. Public officials must rise to this challenge by doing what is required; and the public must demand that they do so — or must replace them.
 

Al Gore, the vice president from 1993 to 2001, is the founder of the Alliance for Climate Protection and the author of “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis.” As a businessman, he is an investor in alternative energy companies.

[Readers, please notice that this add-on at the end of VP Gore's opinion piece bears no mention of the fact that he does not profit from his investments -- the profits go to charities.  Typical smear by the New York Times; what a jerk Schlumberger is.]

Link:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/opinion/28gore.html?hp=&pagewanted=all

Lou Dobbs is a member of the Climate Denial Machine. Somebody please tell Lou Dobbs he has no clothes, he is a frakkin idiot, and should get off the air or just go to FoxNews where all the idiots are

Somebody please tell Lou Dobbs he has no clothes, he is a frakkin' idiot, and should get off the air or just go to FoxNews where all the idiots are!


What the hell planet does he live on? 


Oh, wait, he already is on Fox, where fools cavort in a parallel universe.


Just look at the transcript from his radio show.

The Lou Dobbs Radio Show - February 24, 2010
 
Lou Dobbs: The timing is good.  And I'm going to say this, because one of the things I don't think happens often enough in our society - in part because it doesn't happen so often that we have public figures who stand up, who put their, you know, set their feet squarely forward, and say, "This is nonsense.  We have to be fact-based, we have to be rational.  And this nonsense has to end."  James Inhofe has been such a man over the past 6-7 years.  He sometimes stood absolutely alone, and was demonized, vilified, ridiculed by the national media.  He stands now, in 2010, as a man utterly vindicated, and for whom I think everybody needs to, you know, extend a round of applause.  Senator Inhofe, thank you very much for being with us today.  
 
Senator Inhofe: Thank you so much.
 
Lou Dobbs: You got it.  You take care.  Now, you know, it's funny.  The national media doesn't like to give credit where credit is due, because of the politics they can't, the bias.  But, I mean really, this man at many junctures was absolutely singular, he was absolutely alone in resisting a wave of popular faddism, which was climate change and global warming.  So, I sincerely mean that.  He deserves a great deal of both applause and respect for what he has done.   
 

iPhone app pitches climate change science against scepticism

Deniers queue up to lambast Skeptical Science application developed by solar physicist John Cook. Now there's a surprise
Skeptical Science iPhone app
The Skeptical Science iPhone app

by Leo Hickman, The Guardian, February 17, 2010

I'm not sure this is going to quell the climate wars raging at present, but it's an interesting development nonetheless. An Australian solar physicist called John Cook, who runs the popular Skeptical Science website, has developed an app which "lets you use an iPhone or iPod to view the entire list of skeptic arguments as well as (more importantly) what the science says on each argument." So the next time you're caught at the fag end of a wedding reception in an interminable one-way conversation with a reactionary uncle who's boring on about how "the climate's always changed", just switch on this app, hand them your iPhone, and proceed to the bar.
In reality, of course, this is hardly likely to win round any sceptic, least of all your worse-for-wear uncle who, with or without the evidence presented to him by this app, will still continue to swear blind that climate change is a fiction made up by a clandestine world government-in-waiting because he's read about it all on his favourite blog, which just so happens to be frequented by an army of other reactionary uncles. One suspects this app will only act to increase the polarisation between the two sides of this "debate." (Still think a debate's going on? When was the last time you heard someone from either side say, "Thank you for this information. Actually, I'd never thought of it like that before. I'm now prepared to change my mind on climate change.")
For example, Climate Realists, a site manned by sceptics such as weatherman Piers Corbyn, is already jumping up and down in horror at the news of the app's release:
"WARNING! There is an iphone app trying to put down what we have to say under the heading of 'Skeptical Science'. We need as many of you as possible to promote that this iphone app is yet another attempt to discredit 'Climate Realists'. We can only hope the general public can see through this as a cheap trick to prop up the FAILED SCIENCE OF MAN MADE CLIMATE CHANGE. Climate Realists need another iphone app that shows our side of the argument as it is, rather then what a supporter AGW thinks it is! Please send this message to all known friendly sites that support our side."
This call to arms appears to have worked as the first reviews on the iTunes app store are deeply negative. This is what the reviewer "GabesiPod" said:
"This is app from an AGW [anthropogenic global warming] supporter and just supports his views and NOT the views of SKEPTICS! I find that iPhone apps have mislead people, in that, the name of the product is NOT what it is claimed to be. This is a cheap trick to support the FAILED SCIENCE OF AGW, AND HAS NO SCIENTIFIC VALUE. This app should be withdrawn!"
Just what is it with sceptics and their love of block capitals? So what does this app actually do that is proving so unpalatable to the folks at Climate Realists? This is how it works, according to Cook:
"You browse arguments via the Top 10 most used arguments as well as 3 main categories ('It's not happening', 'It's not us', 'It's not bad'). When you select one of the 3 main categories, a list of sub-categories pop up. You can then select any category to see the skeptic argument, a summary of what the science says and the full answer including graphs plus links to papers or other sources. A novel inclusion is a feature that lets you report when you encounter a skeptic argument. By clicking on the red ear icon (above left, shown to the left of the skeptic arguments or above right, next to the headline), the iPhone adds another hit to that particular skeptic argument."
The app currently has rebuttals to 90 sceptic "arguments", which include many of the classics, such as "There is no consensus", "Models are unreliable", "It hasn't warmed since 1998", "Ice age predicted in the 70s", "CO2 lags temperature", "It's freaking cold!", "CO2 is not a pollutant" and so on. According to the site, the most frequently cited sceptic argument is "It's the sun." You can read Skeptical Science's rebuttal to this particular argument online .

This might shock some people, but I happen to agree with the sentiment underlying the request issued by Climate Realists for sceptics to build their own rival app.

I think it would be very constructive if they compiled a one-stop shop for all their arguments with full references and citations so that everyone could assess them calmly and dispassionately. This would be done away from the white heat of the blogosphere cauldron where people can make any claim they choose and know it has the ability to stick – as proved just this week with the shameless, wilful twisting by the Daily Mail of climatologist Phil Jones's remarks to the BBC about whether there has been a statistically significant rise in global temperatures since 1995. I await with bated breath.

Link:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/feb/17/iphone-app-climate-change

The Guardian: Is the climate change movement splintering?

Dear Readers,

I noticed a lot of mention of anarchism and anti-capitalism during Copenhagen, and for the life of me, I don't get it.  What does anarchism do for anything?  I lived in Holland for 7 years, and I can live with democratic socialism combined with capitalism, as it exists there, but just pure anti-capitalism makes no sense -- for one thing, we know that communism never gets beyond the dictatorship of the proletariat and the inevitable corruption that ensues from that kind of concentrated power.

In any case, I don't think that anarchism has any place in the world.  Nevertheless, in the climate movement, we need all possible bodies to participate, and if that means some peppery anarchists in the mix, so be it.

And, I am all for civil disobedience protests whenever necessary.

Here is a recent article from The Guardian (yeah, the same Guardian that publishes libelous garbage written by Fred Pearce about honest climate scientists).

Tenney

Is the climate change movement splintering?

Climate change activists are regrouping post-Copenhagen – and some are reasserting their radical roots

by Bibi van der Zee, The Guardian, February 25, 2010

Eco-activists reflected in a Police riot shield  at the Climate Camp near Kingsnorth Power Station
Activists reflected in a police riot shield at the Climate Camp near Kingsnorth power station in Kent, August 4, 2008. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

The climate change movement is dead, long live the climate change movement! was the proclamation made last week by Rising Tide North America, as green campaigners around the world begin coming to terms with the switchback ride of the last three months.

"A particular model of dealing with climate change is dying. It is revealing itself before the world as nothing more than a final scramble for the remaining resources of a planet in peril," states a quote from Naomi Klein at the beginning of the document, before stating:
Many in the climate movement have grown all too cosy with the status quo. The 'bold' action they call for will result in the privatisation of the air, to be divided up by mega-polluters. Their demands for carbon neutrality seek to offset our problems onto poor countries while the rich keep burning and consuming. Those who still cling to the old climate movement have committed themselves to a sinking ship.
It comes out against a backdrop of restlessness, as activists take stock of where they have been and where they are going. Now that the climate talks in Copenhagen have failed, the activists who campaigned inside and outside the Bella Centre are subsiding naturally into two groups – those who didn't want a deal in the first place, and those who did.

People in the latter group, which includes campaign groups such as UK Youth Climate Coalition and the umbrella group tck tck tck, are devastated. As Gemma Bone, one of UKYCC's members puts it; "I didn't expect that there would be a final agreement, but I did think that we would make some kind of progress, and that this year would be all about finalising details. Now it's not clear how the UN process will even go forward. It's absolutely knocked me for six."

But activists in the former group – including Climate Camp, Rising Tide and Climate Justice Network – are more positive. A spokesman for Rising Tide said: "To be honest we never expected a deal at Copenhagen. We don't want an international agreement." Like many activists he is profoundly sceptical about the ability of a carbon trading market – one of the central mechanism of any international agreement – to deliver real reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide.

In fact, Copenhagen and the failure of the meeting has in some ways liberated activists. Climate Campers, for example, have been discussing being more upfront about their anarchist and anti-capitalist roots. In the Climate Camp reader which was circulated in January, writers suggested that the camp had been "hijacked by a hardcore of liberals" and asked if it might be time to be more open about the anarchist, anti-capitalist core to the camp.

In many cases the focus is shifting from global action to local issues, such as fossil-fuel power plants or mines. Rising Tide North America's document calls for "an asymmetrical assault on the fossil fuel industry" while in the UK and in Europe campaigners are also planning to focus more on local grassroots campaigns, "to start from the bottom" as the Rising Tide spokesman put it.

The global network that was formed in Copenhagen, as activist groups from around the world worked together to organise the giant march and the Step Up the Resistance demonstration outside the Bella Centre, will also be in correspondence. Nicola Bullard of Focus on the Global South and Climate Justice Network, will be attending the People's World Conference on Climate Change in Bolivia this Easter, along with representatives from Climate Camp, Via Campesina and Jubilee South.

But there is no plan to return to the old summit-hopping ways of the anti-capitalist movement, following the G20 and the WTO from conference to conference. "We need to carry on building on the simple principles that we've established, which held us together in Copenhagen," says Bullard. She agrees that the main focus now has to be getting on with what is already happening. "Sometimes the issue is just too big, too contingent on everything else going on around you. Sometimes, to be honest, you just have to start to do the work."

Link:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/feb/25/climate-change-movement

8.8 Magnitude Earthquake in Chile; Tsunamis Predicted for Pacific Region

8.8 Magnitude Earthquake in Chile; Tsunamis Predicted for Pacific Region

Written by Nancy Atkinson, February 27, 2010


Map showing regions likely to be hit by tsunamis following 8.8 earthquake in Chile. Credit: NOAA

A devastating magnitude-8.8 earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, shattering buildings and bridges, killing over 100 people and setting off a tsunami that threatens every nation around the Pacific Ocean — roughly a quarter of the globe. Experts warned that a tsunami could strike anywhere in the Pacific, and Hawaii could face its largest waves since 1964. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center predicts a possible 2.5 meter (8.2-foot) wave to strike Hilo, Hawaii, at 11:05 a.m. local time (4:05 p.m. ET).

The National Weather Service has issued a tsunami warning for the entire West Coast of the US, and is advising everyone in coastal counties to stay away from beaches and shorelines this afternoon when a tsunami producing strong currents and a series of potentially dangerous waves is expected to hit the coast at around 1:20 p.m PST.

Alaska is also threatened, and tsunami waves could possibly hit Asian, Australian and New Zealand shores within 24 hours of the earthquake. See the map above of the tsunami predicted paths.


Earthquake radius in Chile. Credit: San Francisco Sentinel.

The quake struck at 3:34 a.m. (1:34 a.m. EST, 0634 GMT) 200 miles (325 kilometers) southwest of Santiago.

Chilean TV showed devastating images of the most powerful quake to hit the country in a half-century: In the second city of Concepcion trucks plunged into the fractured earth, homes fell, bridges collapsed and buildings were engulfed in flames. Injured people lay in the streets or on stretchers.

Many roads were destroyed and electricity and water were cut to many areas.

Several astronomical observatories are located in Chile, and as of this writing, the word on Twitter is that Gemini South's servers have come back online, but Cerro Tollo (CTIO) and SLOOH servers are down. No word on telescopes yet at Paranal, which is north of Santiago, Chile. From the ALMA crew at NRAO, "Reports from our people in Santiago are trickling in; so far everyone is ok, but quite rattled."

Links of interest:
NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center
Live streaming news from Hawaii
Estimated arrival times for tsunamis.
Link to above article:   http://www.universetoday.com/2010/02/27/8-8-magnitude-earthquake-in-chile-tsunamis-predicted-for-pacific-region/

Please help support Skeptical Science in the fight against the Climate Denial Machine!

Dear Readers,


During these dire times, when the Climate Denial Machine is plowing over reputable scientists who have spent their careers to do the research and to bring it to us, sometimes, we just have to take a break and smell the roses while we still can.


So, I bring you a quite different take on winter:


And, after listening, please think of making a PayPal donation to John Cook's Skeptical Science website. He, like me, is self-employed, and all time spent blogging is unpaid. His work is invaluable!!! And, we need him now more than ever!


http://www.skepticalscience.com/Skeptical-Science-housekeeping-Woody-Guthrie-award-bug-fixes-Facebook-donations.html

There is a button named Donate in the left column.


Thanks for supporting him!


Tenney

To my reader from Gabon (or somewhere thereabouts)

I have a reader from somewhere in West Africa, and I just want to let him or her know that I have begun a blog on climate science articles related to Africa.  I do not find a lot of them, but when I find one sufficiently interesting, I post it on this site (oops! once in a while it also gets political):


Climate Change Science of Africa:  http://climatescienceafrica.blogspot.com/


There are also a few permanent links at the top of the page there related to satellite imagery.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chris Mooney interviews Michael E. Mann on the Climate Denial Machine using smear campaigns to discredit the scientists since they can't budge the science, February 26, 2010

Chris Mooney interviews Michael E. Mann on the forces of the Climate Denial Machine using smear campaigns to discredit the scientists since they can't budge the science

This is the link to a good podcast of Michael Mann talking about the recent events in his life related to the denialist campaign to smear scientists instead of the science:

http://cdn3.libsyn.com/pointofinquiry/POI_2010_02_26_Michael_Mann.mp3

Climate Progress: Michael Mann responds to the “false and misleading claims” in the error-riddled, defamatory WSJ piece by Jeffrey Ball and Keith Johnson


Michael Mann responds to the “false and misleading claims” in the error-riddled, defamatory WSJ piece by Jeffrey Ball and Keith Johnson


Has the WSJ's vaunted 'firewall' between straight news and ideological-driven editorials been breached?

by Joseph Romm, Climate Progress, February 26, 2010

I’d like your help debunking this atrocious piece of media misreporting, “Push to Oversimplify at Climate Panel.”

Yes, the WSJ piece wins the prize for the most unintentionally ironic headline since it is the media’s self-destructive push to oversimplify that has led to repeated libeling of Michael Mann and other climate scientists (see “Newsweek staff who play fast and loose with the facts are imperiling not just their profession but the planet” and “Abandoning all journalistic standards, CBS libels Michael Mann based on a YouTube video — while reporting his exoneration!

I am running a full response by Dr. Mann below.  It seems the least I can do in response to the umpteenth false attack on his reputation.  It simply boggles the mind — and raises serious questions of journalistic bias for the paper — that the WSJ can run this error-riddled attack on Mann and the Hockey Stick without even mentioning any of these three central facts:

  • The Hockey Stick was affirmed in a major review by the uber-prestigious National Academy of Scientists (in media-speak, the highest scientific “court” in the land).
  • The Hockey Stick has been replicated and strengthened by numerous independent studies.  My favorite is from Science last year — see Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, “seminal” study finds (the source of the figure below).
  • Penn State itself in recent review, concluded, “After careful consideration of all the evidence and relevant materials, the inquiry committee finding is that there exists no credible evidence that Dr. Mann had or has ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with an intent to suppress or to falsify data.”
Jeffrey Ball and Keith Johnson mention none of that, since those facts would undermine their phony narrative on the subject, which sums up this way, “In other words, maybe the chart shouldn’t resemble a hockey stick.”
In other words, maybe it should:
figure
Here is Mann’s quick response to the piece:
The article creates a factually incorrect narrative by conflating a number of unrelated things which follow a timeline that doesn’t support the interpretation provided.  It refers to email discussions between Keith Briffa and various 2001 IPCC report chapter 2 on “climate observations” co-authors, including Chris Folland, myself, and others:

“I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more,’ ” he wrote to other researchers in the email, among those hacked at East Anglia. “In reality the situation is not quite so simple,” Mr. Briffa wrote.
These emails were from 1999 and referred to an early draft of the IPCC report. In this draft, Briffa had provided a reconstruction of past temperatures based on high-latitude tree-ring density data. Briffa had used an extremely liberal means for removing “growth trends” which left very little long-term variability in the reconstruction at all. Convening lead author Chris Folland had indicated that Briffa’s reconstruction detracted from the comparison with other reconstructions that were shown (one of ours, and one co-authored by Phil Jones, as well as Briffa himself, and others) which were based on multiple types of proxy records (ice cores, corals, tree-rings, sediments, historical documents). Both of these latter two reconstruction showed far more low-frequency variability and better consistency with instrumental temperature data.
Subsequent to that discussion, Briffa and colleagues went back and used more conservative methods to produce a tree-ring density-based temperature reconstruction with more faithful retention of long-term variability. This reconstruction was shown with the two other (Mann et al. and Jones et al.) reconstructions in the final draft of the IPCC report. All three reconstructions indicated that the recent warmth was anomalous in the long-term context of the reconstruction (back 1000 years for Jones et al. and Mann et al., while Briffa et al. only went back 600 years).
Even the revised Briffa et al. reconstruction suffered from yet another problem however.  This problem was well known, as was the focus of Briffa et al.’s original 1998 article [Briffa, K. R., F. H. Schweingruber, P. D. Jones, T. J. Osborn, S. G. Shiyatov, and E. A. Vaganov (1998), Reduced sensitivity of recent tree-growth to temperature at high northern latitudes, Nature, 391, 678–682] presenting their  high-latitude tree-ring density dataset.  What they noted in their original article is something peculiar to these tree-ring data (it does not generally apply to other tree-ring data, let alone other proxies such as ice cores, corals, etc), that they stop accurately reflecting temperatures after about 1960. For this reason, the reconstruction is typically (as was the case in the IPCC report) terminated at 1960 when the tree-ring data are known to be unreliable. The reason for this so-called “divergence problem” is still an area of active research by dendroclimatologists–it may be due to other limiting influences on tree-growth in recent decades such as pollution.  In any case, however (i) the problem was well recognized in the IPCC report and was discussed clearly in that report [see: http://www1.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/068.htm ], only applied to one of the three reconstructions shown in the IPCC report (the Briffa et al. tree-ring density data), and not to the multiple-proxy based reconstructions of Mann et al. (the “Hockey Stick”) and of Jones et al. (1998).
Given the above information (which Johnson was provided before this article was published) it is clear that the following statement by Ball and Johnson is completely false:
The problem: Using Mr. Briffa’s tree-ring techniques, researchers in the ’90s built charts suggesting temperatures in the late 20th century were the highest in a millennium. The charts were dubbed “hockey sticks” because they showed temperatures relatively flat for centuries, then angling higher recently.
There is not even a grain of truth to the statement. Neither the multiple proxy-based “Hockey Stick” reconstruction of Mann et al nor the multiple-proxy based Jones et al. reconstruction used “Mr. Briffa’s tree-ring techniques” let alone their data.
Ball and Johnson compound the erroneous statements by:
But Mr. Briffa fretted about a potential issue. Thermometers show temperatures have risen since the ’60s, but tree-ring data don’t move in tandem, and sometimes show the opposite. (Average annual temperatures reached the highest on record in 2005, according to U.S. government data. They fell the next three years, and rose in 2009. All those years remain among the warmest on record.)
The statement falsely implies that the Hockey Stick reconstruction of Mann et al. central to their discussion somehow suffers from the problems of the Briffa et al. reconstruction. It simply doesn’t. The statement is false, and indeed it is only this false assertion which allows the authors to try to fit the Hockey Stick into their disingenuous overall narrative about the IPCC supposedly exaggerating science.
The problem is further compounded by a similarly disingenuous statement later on in the article:
The data were the subject of heated back-and-forth before the IPCC’s 2001 report. John Christy, one of the section’s lead authors, said at the time that he tried in vain to make sure the report reflected the uncertainty.
Mr. Christy said in an interview that some of the pressure to downplay the uncertainty came from Michael Mann, a fellow lead author of that chapter, a scientist at Pennsylvania State University, and a developer of the original hockey-stick chart.
The “very prominent” use of the hockey-stick chart “overrules what tentativeness some of us actually intended,” Mr. Christy wrote to the National Research Council in the U.S. a month after the report was published. Mr. Christy, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, provided that email.
If John Christy made the above statements, then he too has been untruthful. In fact, the use of the term “likely” (which was agreed upon by all IPCC chapter 2 co-authors including Mr. Christy) in assessing whether recent warmth is unusual in a millennial context, is precisely the same wording that was used by Mann et al. themselves in their original millennial Hockey Stick article which has the words “limitations” and “uncertainties” in the very title of the paper: Mann, M.E., Bradley, R.S. and Hughes, M.K., “Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties, and Limitations,” Geophysical Research Letters, 26, 759-762, 1999. During a press conference following the 2006 release of a National Academy of Sciences report widely viewed as a vindication of the Mann et al. work (BBC: “Backing for the Hockey Stick”; New York Times: “Science panel backs study on warming climate”; Nature: “Academy Affirms Hockey Stick Graph”) the chairman of the NAS committee, Gerald North of Texas A & M, asked about whether Mann et al. had ever over-stated their conclusions, attributed any blame for overstatement of the conclusions to others: “The community probably took the results to be more definitive than Mann and colleagues intended.”
The “tentativeness” of the conclusions was emphasized in the original 1999 article. The question that was actually debated by the IPCC chapter 2 co-authors was how to make an assessment of confidence given that one of the three studies (Mann et al.) had estimated uncertainties in reconstructed values, making it possible to obtain a statistical estimate of significance, and allowing the conclusion to be drawn that recent warmth was “likely” anomalous in at least the past 1000 years. However, the two others (Jones et al. and Briffa et al.) did not estimate the uncertainties in the reconstructed values, making it difficult to draw statistical inferences. The IPCC chapter 2 lead authors collectively determined that “likely” (amounting to a roughly 2/3 likelihood), the same choice used by Mann et al. themselves, was the best level of confidence to attribute to the collective evidence from the three reconstructions.
Perhaps most troubling is this sentence:
“I was suspicious of the hockey stick,” Mr. Christy said in an interview. Had Mr. Briffa’s concerns been more widely known, “The story coming out of the [report] may have been different in tone and confidence.”
If Christy did indeed say this, then he knowingly made a false claim in the Wall Street Journal. As a participant in the IPCC chapter 2 deliberations, he surely was aware that the “concerns” by Briffa et al. referred to an early comparison in a draft report, objected to by convening lead author Chris Folland due to the known problems with the early version of the Briffa et al. reconstruction in that version of the plot.  The final plot that appeared containing Briffa’s most up-to-date reconstruction. That plot suffered from the “divergence” problem, but the Hockey Stick did not.  By implication, the reader is again led to believe that this “problem” somehow compromises the reliability of the Hockey Stick when it in fact has absolutely no relevant to the Mann et al. Hockey Stick reconstruction at all – it only applies to the Briffa et al. reconstruction shown in the IPCC report.
What is even more troubling is the asymmetry of the criticism by Ball and Johnson.
A far more interesting set of questions would have involved John Christy and his satellite estimates which were used by contrarians in the climate debate for more than a decade to cast doubt on the reality of global warming. Christy was indeed pushing personally for the conclusion that there is little warming evident over the past few decades, purely based on his own satellite estimates with Roy Spencer which contradicted all other lines of evidence supporting warming.  A few years ago, independent teams of scientists got ahold of their satellite data and after repeated questioning of them about their methods found that there were two critical errors in their algorithm.  One of them was a sign error in the diurnal correction term, the other was an algebraic error.  Once those errors were corrected by other scientists, the Christy and Spencer claim that satellite data contradict surface evidence of warming evaporated.
There is a good summary of these developments by William Connelly here:
http://www.realclimate.org/ index.php/ archives/ 2005/ 11/ more-satellite-stuff/
By contrast with the key conclusion of Christy and Spencer’s original work (that the atmosphere was not warming), which has now been overturned by all independent assessments, the Mann et al. work has stood up remarkably well. the most recent IPCC report not only affirming the Mann et al. conclusions, but extending them further back based on the existence of more than a dozen reconstructions that now point to the same question: The 2007 IPCC report found that recent warming is *likely* unprecedented for at least the past *1300* years.
Why wasn’t the WSJ more interested in the Christy & Spencer story? Why didn’t they interview Frank Wentz of the RSS group in California, who discovered the Christy and Spencer error? Not only was it an honest-go-goodness error, it mattered – it provided a specious talking point (”the atmosphere isn’t warming”) for climate change deniers for more than a decade. And it was a product of some botched algebra by Christy and Spencer. There was no scientific validity to the claim at all.
The authors of the WSJ story were provided all of the information indicated above. They still chose to publish false and misleading claims. Unfortunately, this has become par for the course for the Wall Street Journal, whose denialist opinion page rhetoric is increasingly creeping past the supposed “firewall” into their news division.
[Joe Romm, again, below.]

The WSJ owes Mann an apology and a major retraction.

Failure to do so will feed the suspicion that their rabidly anti-science editorial page is infecting — directly or indirectly — their news coverage.

And yes, quoting Christy as a reliable source on the matter without mentioning his catastrophic and consequential decade-long series of miscalculation is indicative of the “asymmetric” standard the disinformers are held to, as Energy Secretary Steven Chu put it, “ What standard are they being held to? It’s very asymmetric. They get to say anything they want.” See also “Should you believe anything John Christy and Roy Spencer say?

There are many, many more erroneous and misleading statements in the WSJ piece — aside from the fact that the entire thrust of the piece is disingenuous:  The media bears a great deal of the culpability for any oversimplification in the presentation of the IPCC’s results, a point Dr. Alley alludes to.

But here’s where you come in.  I’ve already spent the entire morning on this and am out most of the afternoon.  So I’d like you to document the other errors and distortions in the piece, and over the weekend I will highlight the best of what your write, which is to say, the worst of what the WSJ wrote.

Link:  http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/26/michael-mann-false-and-misleading-claims-wall-street-journal-oversimplify-piece-by-jeffrey-ball-and-keith-johnson/#more-20042

Mountain Pine Beetle, British Columbia: A Climate Change Catastrophe

Mountain Pine Beetle: A Climate Change Catastrophe

Unfortunately, this video speaks very well for itself.  I have to wonder what is going on in Nebraska, North Dakota, Idaho, Washington.  I saw very unhealthy stands in the Wisconsin Dells last August.  I was pretty shocked.

Here in Vitória da Conquista, Bahia, Brazil, up on the plateau, all of the trees in this city of a certain species have died from some kind of beetle.  This happened in only the last 6 months, it went that fast.  There are four of these trees on my street.  It is weird to look out my window and see those bare branches. Our winter occurs in June through August, and it was so warm that in the middle of winter the sparrows were doing mating dances and the pomegranate tree in my garden put out fruit.  Our previous summer (November 2008 -- March 2009) was pretty cold, here, and I told everyone that they should appreciate it while it lasted.  That was the tail end of the La Nina. 


Link to YouTube video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRSR5L5e28g

BBC: Vast East Antarctic iceberg from Mertz Glacier tongue 'threatens marine life'

Vast Antarctic iceberg 'threatens marine life'



BBC News, February 26, 2010

How the new iceberg was formed


Satellite image of the Mertz Glacier, plus graphic comparing size of London with size of new iceberg
7 January 2010: B9B iceberg, which is 97km long, approaches the Mertz Glacier tongue.
A vast iceberg that broke off eastern Antarctic earlier this month could disrupt marine life in the region, scientists have warned.

They say the iceberg, which is 78 km long and up to 39 km wide, could have consequences for the area's colonies of emperor penguins.

The emblematic birds may be forced to travel further afield to find food.

The iceberg calved from the Mertz Glacier Tongue after it was hit by another huge iceberg, called B9B.

"It is a very active area for algae growth, especially in springtime," explained Dr Neal Young from the Australia-based Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre.


Iceberg 'size of Luxembourg' threat
"There are emperor penguin colonies about 200-300 km away to the west. They come to this area to feed, and seals in the area also come to get access to the open water," he told BBC News.

He suggested that a change in the availability of open water could affect the rate of food production, which would have an impact on the amount of wildlife it could sustain.

"If the area gets choked up (with ice), then they would have to go elsewhere and look for food."

Changing landscape
The calving of the iceberg, which has an estimated mass of 700-800 bn tonnes, has changed the shape of the local geography, Dr Young explained.


Large icebergs always attract a lot of attention due to their scale
Dr Mike Meredith,
British Antarctic Survey
"We have got two massive icebergs that -- end to end -- create a fence of about 180 km.

"So the area's geography has changed from a situation where we effectively had a box in which two sides were open ocean," he told BBC News.

"Now we have a fence across one side of the box."

Before the formation of the iceberg, the Mertz Peninsula provided the right conditions for a polynia -- an expanse of open water surrounded by sea-ice -- to exist.

"Winds blow off the coast and clear anything in that region, including sea ice, exposing open water," Dr Young explained.

He added that as well as providing a feeding site for the region's wildlife, the polynia also was a key production site of "bottom water"; very cold, dense water that sinks to the ocean floor.

"Sea ice is relatively fresh compared to sea water, so the more sea ice you have (in the surrounding area), the more salt that is left in the remaining open water."

The rise in the concentration of salt increases the water's density, causing it to sink to the bottom of the ocean.

"This area around the Antarctic coastline, of which the Mertz Peninsula is one part, produces about one quarter of the Antarctic's bottom water, but the Mertz polynia is a major contributor," Dr Young said.

He added that the new iceberg had shortened the length of the Mertz Glacier Tongue, which could result in pack ice entering the area and disrupting the polynia.

"That means that the bottom water production rate... will decrease.

"The bottom water spills over the continental shelf, flows down the continental slope into the deep ocean."

This process helps drive the "conveyor belt" of currents in the Southern, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Any disruption to the net flow of bottom water could result in a weakening in the deep ocean circulation system, which plays a key role in the global climate system.

'Natural laboratory'
However, the researchers say the changes to the region triggered by the formation of the new iceberg will not shut down the circulation system or affect the world's climate.

"Large icebergs always attract a lot of attention due to their scale," observed Dr Michael Meredith from the British Antarctic Survey, who was not involved in the research.

"Bottom water is indeed an important part of the global ocean overturning circulation and hence climate," he told BBC News.

"There are also a number of other locations of bottom water formation, however. So, it's unlikely that a large-scale sustained change of the order of magnitude required for a global climate impact will happen from this one event.

"The more important thing, I think, is that this event has been closely and carefully monitored by scientists, who will now look at the processes whereby such calvings can impact on the ocean and the ecosystem -- and studying this natural laboratory will add to our knowledge of how the Antarctic system works."

Link:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8538060.stm

Statement from the University of East Anglia in response to ‘UK scientist hid climate data flaws’ (The Guardian, 2010.02.02)

Statement from the University of East Anglia in response to ‘UK scientist hid climate data flaws’ (The Guardian, 2010.02.02)

The allegations made in today’s Guardian create a misleading picture and require important clarifications in three areas:

1. The FOI request was responded to in full

The FOI request from Douglas Keenan was responded to by the university in full in 2007. The data used in the 1990 paper were indeed sent to Mr Keenan, including both the locations of the stations and the station temperature data for China, Australia and western parts of the former Soviet Union. For China, the data covered the period 1954 to 1983. The data were also uploaded onto the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) website.

2. The accuracy of the data and results was confirmed in a later paper

Prof Jones embarked on a study in 2007 which was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research in 2008. In this later study, CRU researchers worked with a Chinese colleague (Dr Q. Li) from the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) in Beijing. Dr Li had been assessing the consistency of 728 Chinese temperature series and his work was published in China in 2007. This improved CMA data was adjusted to account for changes in location of stations.

CRU requested this improved CMA data for the stations that had been used in the 1990 study, and they were incorporated into the 2008 paper.

Figure 6 from this study (see below) shows the comparisons (as anomalies from the 1954-1983 period) between the averages of the 42 rural and 42 urban sites used in 1990 compared with averages from the same stations from the CMA network. The dashed lines are the averages for the rural and urban sites in eastern China from the 1990 paper. The solid lines are the averages from the same stations from the CMA network. It is clear from the graph that the trends of the CMA data for both the rural and urban networks agree almost exactly with the results from the 1990 paper.



The 2008 study undertook additional analyses using more extensive data and did conclude that there was a likely urbanization trend in China of 0.1 degrees Celsius per decade for the period 1951-2004. But allowing for this, there was still a large-scale climatic warming of 0.15 °C per decade over the period 1951-2004 and 0.47 °C per decade over the period 1981-2004. The paper concluded that much of the urbanization trend was likely due to the rapid economic development in China since the 1980s, after the period analysed in the 1990 paper.

3. The CRU findings were corroborated by other papers used by the IPCC

The 1990 paper was only one of a number of papers referred to in the 2007 IPCC Report examining possible urbanizations effects.

References
Jones, P. D., Groisman, P. Ya., Coughlan, M., Plummer, N., Wang, W-C., and Karl, T. R. (1990). Assessment of urbanization effects in time series of surface air temperature over land. Nature 347, 169-172.
Jones, P. D., Lister, D. H., and Li, Q. (2008). Urbanization effects in large-scale temperature records, with an emphasis on China. J. Geophys. Res., 113, D16122; doi: 10.1029/2008/JD009916.
Li, Q. and Li, W. (2007). Development of the gridded historic temperature dataset over China during recent half century, Acta Meteroloigca Sinica, 65, 293-299 (in Chinese).

Dr. Jeff Master's wunderblog: East Coast storm, meteorological "bomb" hits Atlantic coast of Europe, 2nd lowest temperature record in Europe in Russia

Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog


Dear Readers, 
 
Dr. Jeff Masters' blog entries below show the increasingly powerful effects of having more and more water vapor in the atmosphere due to higher and higher atmospheric temperatures.  All over the world, we are having record-breaking precipition events.  Note also that these events are often accompanied by incredibly strong winds, even hurricane force winds of over 100 mph, as is the case with the cyclone hitting the west coast of Europe right now.  Sorry that the formatting is sloppy on this post, but you can click on the various links to read the full posts he has written. 

Tenney
 

Heavy snow, rain, and flooding for the Northeast U.S.
 
by  Jeff Masters, 3:21 PM GMT on February 25, 2010
 
The winter of 2009-2010 continues its relentless onslaught over the U.S. today, as a powerful low pressure system intensifying along the East Coast brings heavy snow, flooding rains, and high winds to New England and the Mid-Atlantic. The storm has already dropped more than two feet of snow over Eastern New York near Albany, and surrounding regions of Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont. These regions are now seeing rain mixed in with the snow, which will limit further accumulations to 1-3 inches. Farther east, flooding is a concern for most of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, southern New Hampshire, and portions of western Maine, where heavy rainfall of 1-3 inches on top of a snow pack with a high water content has created runoff that has already swollen many rivers to flood stage. Heavy snow is the main concern over southeast New York, northern New Jersey, and northeast Pennsylvania. The unusually slow-moving storm is expected to drop snow amounts of up to 18" in the Pocono Mountains of northeast Pennsylvania, and in northern New Jersey. New York City, whose 30.5" of snow so far this winter is 13" above average for this date, could get up to a foot of wet, heavy snow. Philadelphia's 73" of snow for the season will get an 8-12" boost from the storm, taking their record snowiest winter even further into record territory. Wind gusts of 30-40 mph in combination with the very wet, heavy snow will make power outages a problem over much of the region.


Figure 1. Visible satellite image at 9:30am EST Thursday, February 25, 2010 showing today's Northeast U.S. snowstorm. Image credit: NASA GSFC GOES project.

Some selected storm-total snowfall amounts, from Tuesday morning through 10am EST today, courtesy of the National Weather Service:

...CONNECTICUT...
BURLINGTON 10.0
NEW HARTFORD 3.8 W 9.0

...KENTUCKY...
OVEN FORK 1 NE 5.0
BLEDSOE 2 SE 4.0

...MASSACHUSETTS...
SAVOY 28.5
ROWE 25.0
CHESTERFIELD 24.0
ASHFIELD 23.6
HEATH 22.0
SHELBURNE 22.0
PLAINFIELD 21.5
PITTSFIELD 20.0
BECKET 19.8
CHESTER 19.5
BLANDFORD 19.0
ASHBURNHAM 16.8
LANESBOROUGH 16.0
NORTH OTIS 16.0
NEW ASHFORD 13.0
WORCESTER 10.7

...NEW HAMPSHIRE...
EAST LEMPSTER 20.0
WASHINGTON 18.5
PETERBOROUGH 18.0
RANDOLF 17.6
GREENFIELD 16.0
NEWPORT 15.3
WILTON 14.0
BENNINGTON 13.0
WAPOLE 12.9
WEST CHESTERFIELD 10.8
LEMPSTER 10.0

...NEW YORK...
ALTAMONT 26.5
WESTERLO 26.0
WILLARD MTN BASE 25.0
NORTH HEBRON 24.0
MEDUSA 23.0
MORIAH 22.5
TABORTON 22.0
DURHAM 20.0
PORTER CORNERS 20.0
ROXBURY 18.9
PHOENICIA 18.5
CHATHAM CENTER 18.0
SCHENECTADY 15.0
ALBANY 12.4
BINGHAMTON 10.5

...OHIO...
CARROLOTON 5.5

...PENNSYLVANIA...
PONOCO PEAK LAKE 13.0
HAWLEY 3.8 NE 11.0
WANTAGE 11.0
PLEASANT MOUNT 10.0
DINGMANS FERRY 3.9 WSW 9.2
MILANVILLE 1.5 SE 8.9
SAYLORSBURG 8.5
BEEMERVILLE 8.0
EAST STROUDSBURG 8.0
THOMPSON 8.0

...RHODE ISLAND...
BURRILLVILLE 6.5
WEST GLOCESTER 5.1
WOONSOCKET 0.3 W 3.4

...TENNESSEE...
APPALACHIA 3.0
ROAN MOUNTAIN 3.0

Update on this Saturday's major winter storm in Europe
Computer forecast models continue to forecast the development of a powerful winter storm that will rapidly intensify Saturday morning into a meteorological "bomb" that will bring high winds and flooding rains to Portugal, northern Spain, and possibly France. However, today's model runs are less aggressive in deepening the storm, and no longer call for the storm to be as intense as last year's Winter Storm Klaus. Klaus, which hit northern Spain and southwest France, January 23-25, was Earth's most costly natural disaster of 2009, causing $5.1 billion in damage and killing 26. Klaus peaked in intensity at 967 mb, and brought wind gusts of 120 mph (193 km/hr) to Formiguères, France; 125 mph (200 km/hr) to Portbou, Spain; and 134 mph (216 km/hr) to Port d'Envalira, Andorra. Last night's 00Z (7 p.m. EST) run of the ECMWF model and GFS model called for Saturday's storm to have 974-976 mb central pressure. Saturday's storm still has the potential to be plenty damaging, as winds of tropical storm force with gusts to hurricane force should affect a large swath of Portugal and northern Spain.


Figure 2. Forecast from the 1 a.m. EST 2/25/10 run of the GFS model for 18 GMT Saturday for surface winds. The GFS is predicting that Saturday's storm will peak in intensity at this time with a pressure of 974 mb. Sustained winds just below hurricane force of 60-75 mph (green colors) are expected offshore from Portugal. Image was generated using our wundermap for Spain with the "model" layer turned on.
Updated: 3:25 PM GMT on February 25, 2010   Permalink | A A A
 



 
Europe braces for destructive weekend winter storm
 
by Jeff Masters, 3:05 PM GMT on February 24, 2010
 
A large but disorganized extratropical storm located over the middle-Atlantic Ocean is expected to move rapidly eastwards towards Spain over the next two days. As the storm approaches Spain on Friday, it is expected to tap into a cold polar airmass to its north and rapidly intensify into a meteorological "bomb"--a mighty winter cyclone with hurricane force winds. Though sea surface temperatures off the coast of Spain are about 1 °C below average, the waters of 12 - ...
 
 
Updated: 3:51 PM GMT on February 24, 2010   Permalink | A A A
 



 
Russia's Pole of Cold hits -70 °F: Europe's 2nd coldest reading of all-time
 
by Jeff Masters, 4:48 PM GMT on February 22, 2010
 
The notorious Russian winter, bane of the armies of Napoleon and Hitler, has been in classic form during the winter of 2010 . Brutal cold has been the rule this winter in the European portion of Russia, and at 9 a.m. local time on Friday, February 19, the town of Hoseda-Hard, Russia hit a remarkable -70 °F (-56.4 °C) -- the second coldest temperature ever measured in Europe. Hoseda-Hard is located in extreme northeastern Europe, 90 miles (145 km) south of the Arctic Ocea...
  Permalink | A A A



 
January 2010: extremes and monthly summary
 
by Jeff Masters, 2:33 PM GMT on February 19, 2010
 
The globe recorded its fourth warmest January since record keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies rated January 2010 as the 2nd warmest January on record, behind January 2007. January 2010 global ocean temperatures were the 2nd warmest on record, next to 1998. Land temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere were the warmest on record, but in the Northern Hemisphere, they were the 18th warmest...
  Permalink | A A A
 



 
Warmest January on record for the lower atmosphere
 
by Jeff Masters, 2:37 PM GMT on February 17, 2010
 
Earth's lower atmosphere recorded its warmest January on record last month, according to data from both the University of Alabama, Hunstville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (Figure 1). The satellite measurements used to take the global temperature of the lower atmosphere began in December 1978, using the Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) on polar-orbiting satellites. The January 2010 temperature anomaly was an impressive 0.72 °C above the 1979-1998 average, easily b...