Wednesday, February 10, 2010

For Your Amusement

I am in heavy edit mode for hopefully the last time this evening. Dust jacket approved.  Color photo insert approved. Have read up to page 84 of the laid out pages. Still have 200+ pages of text to check.

Tomorrow, I am giving my Greensburg talk to the Wichita chapter of the American Meteorological Society.

So, I have little time for blogging tonight or tomorrow and I apologize. That said, I present the latest "blizzard caused by global warming story" for your amusement.

Think back to the very heavy snow and unusual cold during Copenhagen. Given that the global warming seminar at Penn State, the global warming hearing in the U.S. Senate, and NOAA's announcement of a "National Climate Service" were all postponed by this current series of winter storms, it almost has an "Old Testament" feel to it.

We have some more book news to pass along tomorrow.  Stay tuned, Kim and I will be back posting soon.


  1. Regardless of what a person believes regarding Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), a warmer atmosphere does hold more moisture than a colder one. That is simple fact. A winter storm that occurs with the atmosphere closer to 32F (0C) throughout a larger portion of it *will* produce more snow (in terms of liquid water content) than a winter storm where the atmospheric temperature is closer to 20F. Again, this can easily be proven mathematically. In fact any forecaster working for you or AccuWeather who is forecasting a winter storm, *should* be looking for layers of the atmosphere in which deep, moist isothermal layers exist, as this is a good indicator of heavy snow potential.

    Furthermore, people on both sides of the AGW debate should not be using singular events to enhance their arguments. There is a reason why we have different words for "weather" and "climate". I've often heard people say "Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get." This is a very near-sighted view of climate. Instead, climate should be thought of in terms of a probability density function (PDF) of all possible weather events for a given location. The weather we consider "normal" or, in other words, the weather we expect, is the expected value of the climate PDF (the mean for a Gaussian distribution). The weather you experience on a given day is 'randomly' drawn from the climate PDF. In this context, climate change can (and should) be thought of as a change in this PDF of possible weather events.

    If the climate *is* changing, then over time we would expect the "weather" to be increasingly drawn from one side of the climate PDF (More on the warm side if AGW is occurring and more on the cool side if Global Cooling is occurring.) If climate *is not* changing, then we shouldn't be able to detect a difference in what weather is being drawn from the climate PDF

    In this context it should be easy to see why one cannot simply point to a heat wave or drought to argue that AGW is occurring, just as one cannot point to a blizzard and argue AGW is not occurring.

    And yes, three big snow storms in the same year is still in the same vain of using singular events. There have been years before where the east coast has been hit by massive snow storms three mor more times...Now, if for the next three years the east coast is continually pummeled with massive snow storms then you have something to start pointing to. Until then, people are still incorrectly linking weather and climate if they try to use the east coast storms to advance either side of the argument.

  2. I hate it when people use Singular events too. Kids at my school will be like "So much for global warming" whenever it snows. It is rediculous.

    Won't be able to make it today Mike, I have a Pre-Calc test.

  3. I posted this as a counter to the NYT story, the MS-NBC story, etc., etc., the gist of which were, "this blizzard is caused by global warming." Of course, singular events don't mean anything one way or another, as you point out Patrick.

    Thanks for the comments!!


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