Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More "Global Warming" Hypocrisy

Cancun, Mexico. Site of this year's "global warming" conference.

This year’s global warming in Cancun (notice the UN bureaucrats always meet in upscale areas like Bali, Davos, Cancun, and Coppenhagen rather than in places like Calcutta or Port Au Prince where they desperately need the money) has been so rife with silliness it has become a parody of itself.

There are many, many things I could write about it, but, instead, I recommend reading Elizabeth Scalia’s posting,

Eschewing teleconferences that could reduce their carbon footprints to almost nothing (assuming they all own computers and work in offices appropriately outfitted with vision-wrecking fluorescent overheads), the usual bureaucratic suspects have gathered in Cancun, Mexico, for another round of United Nations’ “talks on climate change”—that malleable and useful crisis upon which every weather variant and geological shift may be blamed without proof, for as long as the scam can dependably line the right pockets, and infringe upon our daily living without discomfiting the elite.

These determined negativists, having parked their private jets at the shady end of the tarmac, are currently meeting, eating, greeting, and presenting to a standing choir that needs no persuasion, their increasingly unpersuasive scientific “studies” forecasting the inevitable death of planet Earth.

Once again, as we have heard for what seems like decades, the attendees are filled with “a sense of foreboding.” We are warned that this gathering is the world’s annual “last chance” to stop climates from changing and little ice ages or big tropical ages from occurring as they have naturally, before. The headlines promise chaos unless dramatic, liberty-and-opportunity-narrowing steps are taken to compel wayward humanity into Gaia-salvific obedience. Writes the Daily Telegraph in the U.K.:

Global warming is now such a serious threat to mankind that climate change experts are calling for Second World War-style rationing in rich countries to bring down carbon emissions. . . . This could mean a limit on electricity so people are forced to turn the heating down, turn off the lights and replace old electrical goods like huge fridges with more efficient models…

Her entire column is here.

Remember just two years ago when U2’s Bono was  confessing his sins” to “Father Al Gore”?
Bono compared a conversation with Gore to an act of religious contrition.

“It’s like being with an Irish priest. You start to confess your sins,” he said. “Father Al, I am not just a noise polluter, I am a noise-polluting, diesel-soaking, gulfstream-flying rock star.

“I’m going to kick the habit. I’m trying father Al, but oil has been very good for me — those convoys of articulated lorries, petrochemical products, hair gel.”

Bono and Gore were in Davos to push their respective campaigns for poverty alleviation and reducing carbon emissions.

Scalia goes on to note,

Let them [those calling for you and I to start rationing] start with U2, the Irish rock band that—even as our put-upon saints in Cancun are weeping over Gaia—has landed its current extravaganza, “The 360 Tour,” in Australia. Billed as the biggest tour ever mounted, and at a daily cost of $850,000, the show requires six 747 jets, 55 trucks, and an assembly crew of 130. “You compare a tour by the number of trucks they use,” production manager Jake Berry said. “The Rolling Stones ran 46 trucks. We are running 55. This is the biggest.”

We are assured by U2’s manager, Paul McGuinness, that even though the daily cost of running the 360 Tour is astronomical, “It’s important we play regularly. There is a discipline involved.” But just in case anyone worries that Gaia must suffer for the discipline of U2’s art, they may breathe easily: “Even though we’re spending a lot of money, we’re making a lot of money.”

That’s a relief.

As we read the dire news out of Cancun, that food and material goods may need to be rationed among the little people, for the good of the earth, we may take comfort in knowing that, before we retire to our cold-water flats, we will still be permitted to expend large amounts of our hard-earned cash for the privilege of being entertained and lectured by extremely wealthy musicians who inveigh against greed and endorse big-government solutions to social and environmental problems, even as they move their assets to tax-reduced locations, and fly their multiple 747’s and drive their scores of trucks to their next profitable, ephemeral gig.

It is a funny sort of global crisis that requires sacrificial amends and rationing—with the accompanying restrictions on earnings and opportunities—from some people, while others are permitted to continue living their lives and making their profits pretty much as they always have.

As Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds says, "I'll believe it [global warming] is a crisis when the people telling me it is a crisis start acting like it is a crisis."

UPDATE: 7pm.  You can view the fun!

Get More Vitamin D!

According to The Wall Street Journal...

A long-awaited report from the Institute of Medicine to be released Tuesday triples the recommended amount of vitamin D most Americans should take every day to 600 international units from 200 IUs set in 1997.

Entire story here. (subscription may be required)

Of course, you heard the Vitamin D story here first.

See You in Charlotte!

I'll be speaking after lunch Thursday to the Contingency Planning Association of the Carolinas in Charlotte. Looking forward to it!

My Nomination for 2010's Unluckiest U.S. City Is:

Courtesy: CNN
Yazoo City, Mississippi. For the second time in seven months, a major tornado struck the city. The April tornado killed ten. Yesterday evening's tornado injured six.

UPDATE:  11:20am.  The tornado threat continues today over eastern Mississippi and western Georgia (including Atlanta). Major delays expected for flights to and from Atlanta. Here is the AccuWeather radar at 11:15am.

Thanksgiving Week Tornado Video

From Loves Park, Illinois, here is video of the tornado along falling debris and powerline flashes.

The image below shows a powerline flash as well as a piece of debris flying through the air (above the flash).

You'll notice some of the debris is moving rapidly. Sharp metal could do serious injury, which is why I do not advice standing outside near a tornado and taping it!

Next Time the New York Times or The History Channel Tries to Scare You About Sea Level Rise...

Yes, this could happen: In 26,000 years!!!
...send them this article. All of this sudden concern is intended to influence the global warming conference in Cancun this week.

And, if you would like a technical explanation of all of this, go here.

Finally, here is a graph of the long term trend in sea level rise (Battery Park, NYC) from NOAA:
You'll note that there is nothing ominous in the recent measured rise in sea level, it has been more or less the same for 150 years. It would take 26,000 years for sea level to reach the level depicted in The History Channel's photoshopped image at the top of this posting. Calculations and more info at:  Watts Up With That

Monday, November 29, 2010

Read a Chapter of "Warnings" Online

Greenleaf Book Group, my publisher, has set up a Facebook page pertaining to Warnings for  the Christmas book buying season.

They have also put the first chapter online. It is about the Ruskin Heights tornado and how I first got interested in weather. It is here.

Warnings is available at Amazon (click on ad at right) or bookstores.

If you wish to purchase an autographed copy, please send $25 (we pay the sales tax) to:

Mike Smith Enterprises, LLC
4031 N. Tara Circle
Wichita, KS 67226

We are waiving the shipping fee from now until Christmas!  Be sure to let us know how you would like the autograph to read.

Tornado Threat Status

UPDATE: 1:37pm.  Tornado watch (yellow) and tornado warnings (red) are out along with a flash flood watch (green).
Updated warnings available at AccuWeather.

Here is the NWS Storm Prediction Center's outlook for tornadoes today. There is a threat in the entire outlined area with strong tornadoes possible in the hatched region.

The Best Article I Have Read About the State of the Environmental Movement

Image of boy drinking polluted water from PlanetArk

If you read one article on environmentalism from now through the rest of the year, read this one. An excerpt...

Mercifully, nobody will pay attention to the climate conference at Cancun next week, where a much-reduced group of delegates will go through the motions. The delusional dream of global action to combat climate change is dead. Barack Obama’s cap-and-trade scheme is dead. Chicago’s carbon-trading market is dead. The European Union’s supposed reduction in carbon emissions has been exposed as a giant fraud. (The EU is actually responsible for 40 per cent more CO2 today than it was in 1990, if you count the goods and services it consumed as opposed to the ones that it produced.) Public interest in climate change has plunged, and the media have radically reduced their climate coverage.
The biggest loser is the environmental movement. For years, its activists neglected almost everything but climate change. They behaved as if they’d cornered the market on wisdom, truth and certainty, and they demonized anyone who dared to disagree. They got a fabulous free ride from politicians and the media, who parroted their claims like Sunday-school children reciting Scripture. No interest group in modern times has been so free from skepticism, scrutiny or simple accountability as the environmental establishment.
Perhaps some good will emerge from the wreckage. (Humility, for example.) Now that global warming has stopped sucking all the oxygen out of the room, some of those who care about the planet will turn to other – and more pressing – problems. There are plenty. Humans are encroaching everywhere on habitats and species. Don’t worry about the polar bears, which have survived hundreds of thousands of years of melting and freezing ice. Worry instead about the lions and tigers, which face extinction within our lifetime. Their problem isn’t climate change. It’s us...

...Before they were sucked into the giant vortex of global warming, environmentalists did useful things. They protested against massive Third World dams that would ruin both natural and human habitats. They warned about invasive species and diseases that could tear through our forests and wreck our water systems. They fought for national parks and greenbelts and protected areas. They talked about the big things too – such as how the world could feed another three billion people without destroying all the rain forests and running out of water. They believed in conservation – conserving this beautiful planet of ours from the worst of human despoliation – rather than false claims to scientific certainty about the future, unenforceable treaties and radical utopian social reform.
“How high a price must the world pay for green folly?” asked the thinker Walter Russell Mead. “How many years will be lost, how much credibility forfeited, how much money wasted before we have an environmental movement that has the intellectual rigour, political wisdom and mature, sober judgment needed to address the great issues we face?”
The world has serious, pressing environmental problems. Ms. Wente's article eloquently makes the case that we should focus on the serious and solvable problems, not trying to control the weather. Highly recommended reading. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Rest in Peace, Leslie Nielsen

In the summer of 1980, Kathleen and I sat at the Westport Theatre in St. Louis and watched Airplane! Up until then Leslie Neilsen had been a straight man character actor. While it received mediocre reviews, I thought it was the second funniest movie I had ever seen (#1 is Blazing Saddles). His deadpan Dr. Rumack created a whole new type of movie character. For the next 30 years, I would bug Kathleen whenever she would begin a sentence with, "Surely...." by delivering a variation of Nielsen's famous line.

How very sad that this funny, funny man is gone. He passed away from complications related to pneumonia.

Thanks for all the laughs.

Tornado Threat Monday

The hatched area is where the National Weather Service is predicting a chance of major tornadoes tomorrow.

AccuWeather charts the forecast progression of the weather system:

The Backstory of the Iranian Weapon Sabotage

Hope I am not doing to many "non weather" stories lately, but this story -- how we have crippled Iran's nuclear program without firing a shot -- is fascinating.

UPDATE: Monday afternoon.  The plot thickens.

More Rain in the East

Just a few weeks ago, articles were being written about the drought in the Midwest. Between last week's rain and the heavy rains forecast this week, that problem should be largely alleviated.

New Website

We've tweaked the Mike Smith Enterprises, LCC website. Click here to take a look.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Return Travel

Here is a map of National Weather Service winter weather watches and advisories:

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and have a smooth trip returning home.

Facebook Page for "Warnings"

If you have some time this holiday weekend, please check out the Warnings page on Facebook.

The Three Most Popular Postings

As the holiday weekend winds down, I thought new readers (and, apparently, we have several hundred new readers the past week) might like to go back and read the three most popular postings in the history of the blog.  Here they are:

1. Anatomy of a Microburst. By the way, this posting has been read by people from all over the world, more than thirty nations.

2. Unique Way of Displaying Huge Hail

3. 25th Anniversary of Delta 191

There is an Update to the Phony Baloney Jobs Post Below

Strategypage is a world events and military strategy web site that is well respected and non-partisan. Read their whole analysis at the link.

Six Months of World Lightning

From our friends at Vaisala, here is a map of world lightning strikes from March 1 to October 31, 2010 (click to enlarge).
Thanks to their new technology lightning can be monitored worldwide for the first time. One thing that jumps out at me is the high number of strikes in the Upper Mississippi Valley. They had a much worse than normal tornado season in the area and the amount of lightning corresponds to it.

UPDATE: Saturday morning: A tragic story of lightning killing 7 children and injuring 67 at a South African school.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Best Books

New York Times' best-selling author Jenna Blum has put Warnings on her "Black Friday Best Books" list! She says,

Ever wonder whether your plane’s in danger from a microburst while it’s landing?  Or how the National Weather Service scrambles to keep you safe when a tornado’s on its way?  Renowned Kansas meteorologist Mike Smith unravels these weather mysteries while showing how science keeps evolving to tame the most powerful force on earth.

And, if you would like to read a fictional book about storm chasing, check out her The Storm Chasers.

The Greatest Thanksgiving Comedy Ever

If you have never seen WKRP in Cincinnati's "Turkey Drop" episode, you have missed one of the greatest moments in sitcom history. The best version of the key scenes does not have the code to embed it on Meteorological Musings, so click here and enjoy!

And, the famous punchline:

"Gentlemen, We've Got to Protect Our Phony Baloney Jobs!"

C. Northcote Parkinson, in 1958, published "Parkinson's Law," based on his experiences with British Civil Service. His writing explains how a bureaucracy's primary aim is to grow itself. Here are a few details from Wikipedia:

[Parkinson] assigns to the term a mathematical equation describing the rate at which bureaucracies expand over time. Much of the essay is dedicated to a summary of purportedly scientific observations supporting his law, such as the increase in the number of employees at the Colonial Office while Great Britain's overseas empire declined (indeed, he shows that the Colonial Office had its greatest number of staff at the point when it was folded into the Foreign Office because of a lack of colonies to administer). He explains this growth by two forces: (1) "An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals" and (2) "Officials make work for each other."  

"Gentlemen, we've got to protect our phony baloney jobs!"
That immortal line from Blazing Saddles along with Parkinson's Law came to mind when I read that DHS's Janet Napolitano believes we need to extend the nude machines and grope searches. According to The Hill, she said,

“I think the tighter we get on aviation, we have to also be thinking now about going on to mass transit or to trains or maritime. So, what do we need to be doing to strengthen our protections there?”

I thought America was supposed to be a free country?

A number of people have justified the TSA's destruction of our rights with, "If you don't like it, don't fly." Once they take over buses, trains, and ships how are we supposed to get there? Is that the America in which you want to live?

The TSA says that they had to increase scrutiny of passengers November 1 because of the toner cartridge threat (of course, that overseas, and was air cargo). Hmmm.

Last Sunday's The Simpsons had a scene where news media executives in New York conspire to create a phony crisis. More and more the DHS/TSA ratcheting up security far out of proportion to the threat has the feel of a power grab completely unjustified by any real-world analysis of the risks.  Phony baloney jobs, anyone?

If you haven't already, please contact your congressional delegation, the White House, and the airlines and register your displeasure.

UPDATE,  Saturday morning: Strategypage comes to the same conclusions.

But politicians get little praise for intel efforts, while airport security is very visible. The biggest problem is that airline security is more of a political than security issue. The U.S. is willing to cut intelligence agencies in order to provide more "security theater" for passenger screening. For a politician, it's better for their careers, even if it puts the passengers at more risk.

Translation: Even though it violates our privacy rights and is less effective security, the politicians believe they are protecting their phony baloney jobs!

UPDATE 2, Saturday Afternoon: The New York Times comes to the same conclusion:

Whether or not these explosive devices [the toner cartridges] were ever actually operable remains a matter of dispute, just as it remains a mystery that the enemy — if as powerful as portrayed — has not contrived a single terrorist act on U.S. soil since 9/11. What is not in doubt is an old rule: Give a bureaucrat a big stick and a big budget, allow said bureaucrat to trade in the limitless currency of human anxiety, and the masses will soon be intimidated by the Department of Fear.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Good News: Global Warming Saves Lives, Literally!

Death rates are much higher in cold weather than in warm.
As many parts of the nation shiver this Thanksgiving, a new peer-reviewed study documents that global warming saves lives, click here. And, while it uses different methodology, it comes to the same conclusion that I present in my global warming speeches and have written about on this very blog.

Hat tip:  Watts Up With That

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Every year, the Wall Street Journal publishes this account of the first Thanksgiving. We should always offer thanks for our families and our many blessings. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Added bonus: Ronald Reagan's 1985 Thanksgiving address.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tornado Watch Until 4am

And, as of the time of this posting, there is a tornado warning west of Springfield (red). The dark red counties are areas under a flash flood warning. The amber color over Springfield is a severe thunderstorm warning.
This will be my last update of the evening. AccuWeather will be updating throughout the night.

Tornado Watch for the Four States Region

UPDATE: 3:25pm. Tornado warning issued for:

The radar indicates a classic hook echo south of Claud, MO with a tornado likely.

Note: I am NOT going to post every tornado warning. I'm posting the first of the day to indicate the seriousness of the threat at a time of year when tornadoes are not common. AccuWeather has the latest warnings here.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch effective until 10pm for the Four State Region. Those thunderstorms may also cause large hail and damaging winds.

Thanksgiving Travel Weather Update

A messy day...

The AccuWeather radar at 11am shows light freezing rain and drizzle throughout the Midwest. In most cases the temperature is right around freezing so the ice has not become hard frozen. That said, extra caution is advised.  Note the orange/red areas of heavy rain.

The purple-toned areas are freezing rain and winter weather advisories.  The greens are flood watches due to the heavy rain expected north of the Ohio River the next two days.

And, the tornado threat will develop this afternoon or evening.  As previously indicated, the I-44 area from Tulsa to Rolla should be closely monitored for watches and warnings later today.

AccuWeather has continuous updates.

Another Pre-Thanksgiving Tornado Threat

I agree with the Storm Prediction Center's forecast of potential tornadoes in the area outlined in white. The inner colors are higher probabilities. People along I-44 from Tulsa to Rolla should keep a close eye on the weather today.

The graphic above is from AccuWeather which shows the travel hazards north of Interstate 70.

Finally, the Atlanta airport has 30 minute average delays due to low clouds and fog.

AccuWeather will provide updates throughout the day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Solar Grows

Solar air conditioning for vehicles?  Coming soon!

Hat tip: Blog follower Keith.

If Traveling By Car...

UPDATE 6:30pm CST: Average delays at the Salt Lake City airport are 1 hour, 15 minutes. 

The colors represent National Weather Service winter weather warnings with orange = blizzard warning.  AccuWeather's Jesse Ferrell has more. This storm needs to be taken seriously if you are traveling by car!

Last Minute Security Travel Trip

UPDATE FRIDAY: Doctors are agreeing. The TSA gloves are real health hazard.


Now that TSA agents are reaching inside underwear , breaking uroscopy bags, and other things we might prefer not to ponder, you might wonder where else the TSA's gloves have been. This has occurred to readers of Instapundit:

I’d suggest that anyone thinking of opting for the “pat downs” may want to ask the TSA agent when they last changed their gloves. I would worry about just what little “friends” were being carried on the gloves from previous searches.
And reader Benjamin Wang emails:
A disgusting thought, but I’ve never seen a TSA screener change gloves. It would be interesting to send in a HAZMAT team to test several sets of gloves and see what’s on them. And publicize the results.
Remember: The gloves are for their protection. Not yours.

Plus, Dr. Alan Reitz emails on the glove-changing thing: “As a health care provider, I thought of this issue last week while going through the airport. If I did not change gloves between patients even if touching the patient on the arm, the health/infection control department would come down like a ton of bricks.”

The TSA says you have the right to make the security guard change their gloves (click here):

  • You have the right to ask a Security Officer to change her/his gloves during the physical inspection of your accessible property, before performing a physical search (pat-down,) or any time a Security Officer handles your footwear.

I suggest you take advantage of that right and insistent the security guard change gloves before touching you, your children, or your property.

And, more travel advice from The Storm Chasers' author Jenna Blum ,

 Overheard on plane, mom to kids: "Sit back & enjoy your Benadryl. This isn't Mommy's first time at the rodeo."

Hope your travels go smoothly and you have a great Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday's Travel Forecast

Detailed travel forecast from AccuWeather.

Yes, But Were They Flying First Class or Coach?

Jet lag makes hamsters dumb

so says the headline in Science News reporting on another crucial science study funded by your tax dollars. By the way, if you have read Warnings and that publication sounds familiar, it was the one that doubted Fujita's downburst theory.

Actually, I don't think it was the jet lag that induced the stupidity as much as the radiation from having their nude picture taken by the TSA prior to boarding the aircraft.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weather Instruments for Christmas?

While I sell my book Warnings, I don't sell weather instruments. Every year, people ask me where they can get quality weather instruments as gifts. Here is one place that has a great selection. You can order by phone or mail -- no getting up at 3am on "black Friday."

Update on Chicago Tornado Watch

UPDATE II: Video of the tornado here.

UPDATE: Tuesday morning. Quite a bit of damage resulted from these storms including six injuries when a tornado rolled a school bus near Rockford, IL.  Flights were delayed more than five hours at O'Hare International Airport.
Photo by Rockford Register-Star

Tornado watch for the Chicago airports until 6pm Central. There is a ground stop at both O'Hare and Midway at the present time.

Radar at 3:55pm shows the thunderstorms to the west of O'Hare and Midwest (location indicated by white dots) with the storms moving east northeast at 60 mph.  There will be additional delays this evening.

If you are changing planes in Chicago this evening, check into re-routing. For example, if you are on United going from Oklahoma City to D.C., see if you can re-route through Denver.

Additional updates at AccuWeather.

Thanksgiving Travel and Tornadoes

As if there wasn't enough to worry about this Thanksgiving travel season, there are tornado watches out for most of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin along with a small part of northeast Missouri until 6pm.

As of 2:30pm, there are thunderstorms approaching O'Hare, Midway and Milwaukee's airports with one tornado warning in effect.  You may want to check your airline's web site before leaving for the airport. As of this moment, the average delay at O'Hare is 1 hour, 7 minutes and the thunderstorms are still well to the west.

AccuWeather is providing updates.

"Collectable" Version of "Warnings"

I see that Amazon is offering a "collectable" copy of "Warnings" with my signature. Feel free to purchase there, but I will personally autograph a book for you or inscribe one for you to give it as a gift. Send $25 (we pay taxes and handling) to:

Mike Smith Enterprises, LLC
4031 N. Tara Circle
Wichita, Kansas 67226

Be sure and let me know how you would like the inscription to read.
By purchasing it directly from us, you save more than $15.  

Al Gore Says Media Has Not Covered Climate Change

You'll get your chuckle of the day here.

He also says that 'climate change' is "the new global terror."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Incredible: Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular

Kathleen and I saw the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular earlier this evening and it was, well, spectacular! Highly, highly recommend it for the entire family.

Their web site is here.

SNL Has It Just Right

A few people have responded to my TSA postings with (paraphrasing), “anything to be safe.”

I understand the desire to be "safe." What I don't understand is this: From September 12, 2001 to October 31, 2010 (the last day of the old TSA procedures) here is what the statistics looked like:
  • Deaths due to tornadoes in U.S.:  533
  • Deaths due to being shot while hunting in U.S.: 900 (approximate, but close)
  • Deaths due to terrorism in U.S.: Zero

Keeping in mind that the underwear bomber, liquids plot, shoe bomber, and toner cartridges all originated outside the U.S. The toner cartridges were cargo, of course. Please help me to understand why you believe this ratcheting up of surveillance of passengers on November 1 is justified.

Storm chasing continues, and is growing, in spite of the hazard (i.e., there are companies that take paying customers out to watch storms). I don’t know of any serious person who proposes outlawing hunting because of the hazards.

We do not inspect air cargo and we do not inspect (other than when they are initially hired) the people who load the cargo, baggage and food or the people that service the plane. Al Qaeda has bragged that the whole toner cartridge "plot" cost them $4,600. We are spending billions to respond even though the plot was unsuccessful. It occurs to me that if we stopped overreacting, the plots would stop because they no longer accomplish AQ's terror goal.

This was the security line on the 16th at O'Hare with the new procedures. As many have pointed out and, as I have personally experienced, the new procedures are much slower.

If planes were falling out of the sky or even if there had been a close call, I would understand the impulse to do nude machines and grope searches (even though I would probably still disagree with it). But, none of this is happening. So, I'm sincerely interested in the thoughts of the pro-new procedures advocates as to how this is justified in terms of the billions of dollars in costs and the loss of our privacy and our fourth amendment rights.

Please post your thoughts in the comments. Thank you in advance to anyone who responds. 

Views of Earth from Space

Astronauts are Tweeting photos from space. Details here (hat tip: The Telegraph). Here are a couple:

The photo below shows fog over England (the blurry appearance, upper left), the aurora borealis (green on the earth's edge, far upper left) and mainland Europe (right). London and Paris are the brightest "clumps" of light.

One Year Anniversary of Climategate

This weekend is also the one year anniversary of "Climategate" where a hacker or whistle-blower (we don't know which) released emails and other data from prominent climate researchers. The emails revealed illegality (deleting emails to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests), attempts to deceive ("hiding the decline" [of temperatures]), and duplicity (i.e., saying in public that global warming is "incontrovertible" while, in private, asking "where is the warming?").

While global warming is one of my least favorite subjects, I write about it because it is important and so much of what the media publishes on this subject is incorrect.

That said, it was a coincidence that the blog was started at the same time as Climategate, but it certainly gave me plenty to write about the first few days!

If you would like to read the posting that alerted me to the emails release, go here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One Year Blog Anniversary!

Today is the first anniversary of “Meteorological Musings.” Kim and I certainly hope that you have enjoyed the first 1,161 posts.  We’ve certainly enjoyed conversing with our readers and meeting so many of you during the book tour. 

We always welcome comments and suggestions for postings.

We have a special posting, When Meteorologists Saved the World, just below that we think you will enjoy.

Mike and Kim

When Meteorologists Saved the World

Irving P. Krick
In Warnings, I write about the thousands of lives and millions of dollars routinely saved by meteorologists. We have come to count on the expertise of weather science for planning trips and taking shelter. But, how about when the entire fate of the free world was in balance?

The following, in part, is excerpted from WWII History, March, 2010 by Gene Pfeffer.

There are many books and movies written about the Allied invasion of Europe that turned the tide against the Nazis in World War II. Some, like The Longest Day, allude to the weather forecast playing a role in Eisenhower’s decision when to begin the invasion. And, when I visited the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas, a number of years ago there was a display case with various meteorological documents relating to the invasion.

Mr. Pfeffer’s account, to my knowledge, is the first time the back story of this momenteous weather forecast was made.

Organizing the 500 warships and 3,000 landing craft and getting them safely across the English Channel was a massive undertaking. High seas or high winds would risk swamping the landing craft. The cloud cover for the Allied bombing needed to be within acceptable limits. The winds could not be too high for the paratroopers.

Eisenhower created a team of meteorologists lead by the British Met Office’s J.M. Stagg and by U.S. Army Air Force’s (USAAF) Donald Yates as deputy. The initial efforts were met with controversy. “Hap” Arnold, Chief USAAF said, “they have lost [to weather] more bombers than they have lost to enemy fire.” He said he was going to send the Air Force’s best forecasters, Ben Holzman and Irving Krick.

Krick was the first commercial meteorologist – ever. Prior to WWII, he made the weather forecast so David O. Selznick could stage the “burning of Atlanta” scene for Gone With The Wind. Because they were burning old movie scenery, there would be no second chance. Krick got the forecast right and it was turned by Selznick into one of the most dramatic scenes in one of the most popular movies in history.

When the forecast had to be made for the invasion, there was no weather radar, no weather satellites, no computer models of the atmosphere, but there was lots and lots of ocean – vast areas where no weather stations could gather information. The meteorologists had to piece together enough data to make a forecast from ships and aircraft. Plus, the aircraft tended to avoid major storms so didn’t collect data where it was needed the most.

Gen. Bedell Smith, Eisenhower’s chief of staff, was tasked with organizing the forecast effort. He told Stagg and Yates that they would make 5-day forecasts each morning for the Channel and the coast of France. Eisenhower needed four days to make the decision. These forecasts began in April, 1944.

Pfeffer writes, “during the difficult days immediately preceding the invasion, [the forecast discussion among the meteorologists] took on the characteristics of a knock down, drag out fight among strongly opinionated professionals. Each had the highest of motivation, each was convinced that his vision of the future weather in the Channel was correct, and each knew the incalculable cost of bad advnice to the Supreme Commander.” At one point, Stagg considering staggering the work schedules of the “prima donnas.”

The most depended-on method for making these weather forecasts was the analog method of Krick. Analog weather forecasting is based on finding a similar or nearly identical set of weather conditions in the past and making a forecast based on what actually occurred previously. The British had doubts about the Krick method which added to the bickering.

As D-Day approached, it became obvious to the Allied meteorologists that a giant high pressure system (with widespread fair weather) was not in the offing. They were going to have to give Eisenhower a window of opportunity in between storm systems.

The Weather Map (courtesy: WeatherUnderground) on D-Day. The English Channel was between a storm north of the British Isles and another south of Greenland 

On Sunday evening, Stagg told Eisenhower that there would be a window of opportunity on Tuesday, June 6th. Eisenhower made the decision to proceed and confirmed the decision the following day.
Eisenhower talking to the troops before the invasion was launched.
The weather during the invasion was just about what was forecast and the fall of the Third Reich was set in motion.Weather science was the tool that allowed Allied forces to save the world.

The Allied forecasts were treated as highly classified information. German meteorologists, captured after the war, admitted they missed the forecast for D-Day (which meant the German command did not anticipate the invasion would be on June 6th) because of the Allied air and sea superiority over the North Atlantic.They could not collect the data needed to see that a break in the weather was coming.

After, Yates said, “I would never attempt to do a forecast that way in my life..that was a tough, tough period, but it worked and we got away with it.”

Friday, November 19, 2010


Mike's book Warnings has received another amazing review. Headline: "Smith is a masterful storyteller and his narrative is both readable and gripping; Warnings is a perfect storm of history, insight, and advice"
The review is posted here. www.9-1-1magazine.com/books/
If you haven't read Warnings , click on the link to the right and pick up your copy today!

Superb Column on Airport Security

Short and insightful. Below is a photo of the Aloha Airlines' 737 that blew its top in flight (mentioned at the link) due to metal fatigue and landed safely. Commercial airliners are surprisingly tough!
This does illustrate why you should keep your seatbelt on whenever you are in your seat.

What is the Real Agenda?

Spoken four days ago,

Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection, says the German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated. – Ottmar Edenhofer

Much more at Watts Up With That.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Travel?

With the Thanksgiving travel season starting Friday evening, I thought I would offer this public service video (courtesy, Reason TV):

OK, the video above is humorous, the photo below is not. It was taken in Denver two days ago during one of the TSA's new "grope searches."
They are now given to men and women with the possible exception of Muslim women wearing traditional attire. Elderly Catholic nuns, however, are not exempt.
The grope searches can occur at any airport. The nude-o-scopes are not everywhere, yet. If you are flying through an airport with a nude-o-scope, you can go through it (with the privacy and radiation issues it creates) or you can opt-out and get a grope. Catch 22: If you have a "blurry groin" or some other problem with the nude image, you still get the grope.

November 24 (Wednesday) is national "opt-out" day. This may add delays to the process, plus the weather looks questionable in many areas next week. Allow lots of time.

So, good luck traveling this Thanksgiving. For Christmas, you might want to think about Amtrak.