If one thing became clear during the recent cold snap, it was that people would sort of, kind of like to learn more about meteorology. Even Al Roker seemed interested, with his (fully inaccurate, but whatever) talk of winter hurricanes. In other words, while the weather itself wasn’t new, the urge to put labels on it, in the era of perceived climate change, was suddenly epic.
For those who may have cringed through the labeling mayhem and rather conventional outbreak of winter weather, I hope the polar vortex rap video above will salve the wounds. I know it did mine.
If you need further assistance feeling better, you could always read a book about climate cycles and the chances of global cooling in the next few decades.
(h/t to Phil Adams)
Not all rabbits are so easily controlled.
This is what’s happening: Global sea ice just had its best year, basically a full calendar year with a zero-anomaly, since 2004. Scientists told us that global warming was accelerating at the poles, through the polar amplification process. Part of that, they said (after consulting global circulation models), was that both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice would diminish. When Antarctic sea ice stubbornly refused to shrink as predicted, scientists scrambled for an ex-post-facto explication. This was a little like a magician whose rabbit has jumped off the stage explaining to the audience that this was part of the show.
This is what’s happening: The rabbit’s not coming back on stage. Continue reading
There was an important appearance by Mark Jacobson on David Letterman recently, during which Jacobson extolled the virtues of “wind, water, solar.” The spot is here.
Of special note: Jacobson explaining the plan that his team at Stanford have come up with to make New York state 100-percent renewables powered. This will, Jacobson explained, require 15,000 turbines, 12,700 of them off Long Island. I asked Jacobson if he’d consulted with anyone in the maritime trades, or any recreational fishermen, or any biologists about the impact that almost 13,000 turbines just off Long Island might have. His answer: the bulk of in-shore New York waters would become “exclusion zones.” Continue reading
With its decision to ban letters questioning AGW, the L.A. Times has entered the realm of leftist McCarthyism.
As most here will know, the L.A. Times decided once and for all to end the climate change debate (or try) by printing a policy to never again publish a letter questioning man-made global warming. That motivated me to send the paper, and the editor who formed the policy, a little note (see below).
Dear Mr. Thornton,
A few facts about anthropogenic global warming:
1. The Holocene interglacial, in which you find yourself living, is the coolest of the last 5 interglacials, by one to two degrees Celsius; the Holocene is also experiencing lower sea level than the interglacials prior. Compared to the Eemian interglacial (the most recent before it), sea level is roughly 4 to 6 meters lower today than, for instance, 115,000 years ago.
Dear IPCC scientist, please read and sign the following, ASAP.
Thanks in advance, Harold
As a climate scientist who is an IPCC reviewer, author, or editor, I hereby assert, by signing my name in comments that I will never attribute any forthcoming global cooling to human economic activity.
My reasons for this are as follows:
- Talk of global cooling is pure bunk; the decade just ended is the warmest on record.
- I have made my entire career from blaming humanity for the global warming that ended 17 years ago, and it would be beneath me to switch horses mid-stream.
- There is simply no way that particulate pollution or natural variation, or both together, could swamp the effect of the incredibly powerful greenhouse gases that I have been nattering on about for all these years.
- I will never be part of any crumbling scientific consensus; it’s just not my style.
- I stated publicly that the Sun possessed minimal ability to influence terrestrial climate, and I’m sticking to my position no matter what happens.
To all IPCC scientists who elect to make this pledge, your courage is duly noted.
The austere beauty of a Siberian winter is exceeded only by its brutality. Generally speaking, cold is not your friend.
You heard the words at a cocktail party — “global cooling?” — usually with the rising, sing-song intonation of disbelief, so the speaker could get credit for knowing about the phenomenon if, shockingly, it ever came to pass and none of the blame if it, unsurprisingly, didn’t.
That’s about where we are, as a nation, when it comes to an important piece of the pie of climate change science: basically a valley girl question, with a valley girl’s mock knowingness and unknowingness competing for the attention of those around her, and of herself. Continue reading
The choirs aren’t “ruined” yet, but they will be. See you in November.
From today’s Providence Journal, my ode to autumn …
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold
Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang
– William Shakespeare
Or, as I like to say: I can think again – hallelujah!
You wouldn’t necessarily think that a kid from California would be a veritable slave to the New England seasons, but it’s exactly what I am. Continue reading
In terms of the mechanisms restricting ice melt this season, to the extent that they have anything to do with air temperature, a cool Arctic above 80N means an absence of overrunning air from southern latitudes. Every sharp temp spike up there is simply a wind spike — from the south. While warm sea water incursions matter significantly more than air temps when it comes to sea ice melt, air temps do matter. As an example, 2007’s then-record melt could have taken place without a prolonged high-Arctic warming, wind-generated, during the first months of 2006.
Yes, there were other mechanisms at play during the summer of 2007 that even NASA admitted were simply weather. But a really important element of the causality of 2007’s melt was weather that happened more than a year before. That wintertime “heat wave” has never been written about by NSIDC or any other group as a component cause of 2007. The big question is: Why not?
Meanwhile, returning to 2013, a faster-than-average gyre, as has been seen this summer, equals a buffer against warm overrunning air. And, lo and behold, less melting of sea ice.
The Danish Meteorological Institute and the National Snow and Ice Data Center agree that June was cool in the Arctic. It’s July they cannot agree on. NSIDC bases its analysis on NCEP/NCAR data, which have some interesting characteristics.
When it was initially apparent that a period of mild cooling was taking place in the high Arctic one month ago, I decided to reach out to Walt Meier of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. I wanted him to get on the record about what to me looked like a shift from years past. What at the start of our exchange was the longest period of days cooler than average in the DMI record has since grown from about 60 days to about 100.
Always affable, always reasonable, always intelligent, and yet somehow always alarmist at the same time, Walt was kind enough to oblige. Among the surprising pieces of his end of our e-mail exchange: His willingness to jump on the story that the North Pole cam was capturing something significant in terms of melting. (At first, that was Walt’s claim – he backs down from it later, as you’ll see.) Walt easily, and skillfully, frustrates my desire to get him to show any optimism (or even recognition) of the cooling, and quietly beats the all-melt, all-warming drum throughout. Interestingly, Walt has actually left NSIDC and gone to work at NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies just in the last week. Continue reading
Ask yourself: “When it comes to the climate debate, which side more resembles the Aztecs?”
“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” – Samuel Johnson
Yes, and climate alarmism is the new patriotism. As I write this, the most powerful man on Earth, Barack Obama, dogged by a series of history-tarnishing scandals, is choosing this moment to get serious about climate change.
And, sad to say, it is working. He is successfully skating off the thin political ice on which he finds himself. Continue reading