Sunday, September 30, 2012

Global Warming = Worsening Hurricanes? Wrong, So Far

Friday, I had lunch with a friend and she brought up the topic of global warming. She said, "I'll bet your (meteorology) meetings are contentious!" I laughed and said one contentious meeting had made the front page of the Wall Street Journal in 2006. I retrieved the article (which can be read here) and sent it to her.

As I was re-reading the article, I ran across this:

William Gray, America's most prominent hurricane scientist and an ardent foe of the belief that global warming has worsened hurricanes, was supposed to join a panel discussing the storms. So was Greg Holland of the National Center on Atmospheric Research -- who disagrees with Dr. Gray. But the organizers withdrew the invitations after deciding the dispute had grown so nasty it was too risky to put the two in the same room...
His adversary Dr. Holland is among a group of prominent scientists who argue that the recent burst of powerful storms isn't part of a normal pattern. In a recent article, he and co-authors said that global warming caused by human activity, while not affecting the number of hurricanes, appears to be causing more of them to be very intense. Dr. Holland went to the meeting despite the cancellation of his joint appearance with Dr. Gray and presented his paper's conclusions during a session on a wide variety of weather issues.
The dispute over worsening hurricane intensity got personal as the article explains.

In the wake of the record 2005 season, the question was important:

What is going on with hurricanes like Katrina and the subsequent Wilma, which was the strongest ever recorded in the Atlantic, matters urgently to millions of people wondering whether coastal areas are safe. Insurers and other companies are trying to calculate future risks of operating in the vulnerable regions. And policy makers are wrestling with whether to rebuild some shattered communities.

We are about three-quarters of the way through the seventh hurricane season since that article was published. Who was correct? Those that said hurricanes are worsening or those who said hurricane intensity is not connected to global warming?

The short answer is Dr. Gray. Hurricanes have lessened since the 2005 season.  

But, I want to give a more detailed answer because I believe the details are important.

One could say that the hypothesis, "warmer temperatures = worsening hurricanes" has not been tested because global warming stopped in 1998. Temperatures certainly have not warmed since the 2005 hurricane season.
World temperatures for the last twenty years. Credit: Hadley Center, England.
Yes, in spite of all of the forecasts to the contrary, global warming has stopped. It might start again, I have no prediction to offer in that regard.

But, regardless of atmospheric temperatures, the trend in hurricane and tropical storm activity is flat to down. I have placed an arrow pointing to the 2005 season:
From Dr. Ryan Maue, click to enlarge

Below is the trend in the total energy of tropical storms and hurricanes worldwide (top values) and in the northern hemisphere (bottom values):

Here, the peak in energy of the 2005 season sticks out like a sore thumb. But, instead of rising as just about everyone but Dr. Gray predicted, it fell.

In fact, the United States has gone the longest interval since records have been kept -- back to the 1800's -- without a major hurricane (category 3, 4 or 5) striking our shore: 2,531 days! Every day that passes adds another day to that record. The old record was 2,231 days which ran from 1900 to 1906.

Current data indicates there is nothing presently in the tropics that would be able to stop the streak.

To summarize:
  • Global warming has stopped, at least for the time being
  • World and northern hemisphere hurricanes have lessened rather than worsened, in spite of forecasts to the contrary
  • The United States, every day, continues to lengthen an ongoing record for the longest interval without a major hurricane
Again, when compared to the real world, the global warming prophets of doom could not have been more wrong. 

And, a number of people owe Dr. Gray an apology. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Model Railroading 101

Without exception, sometime in December, I receive a few emails and other messages asking me about model railroading.  Since so many people chose Christmas to get into the hobby, I thought I'd start making a few comments now so you can be thinking about what you would like to ask Santa to bring you.

Below is a brief video taken at the model Tehachapi Loop on my O-Gauge layout. Most model railroaders who really enjoy their hobby create a "story" around their pike. In my case, it is my family and career.
This video shows a BNSF gasoline and grain (for gasohol) train coming out of the Loop's tunnel while a CSX coal train waits for the BNSF to pass. I usually give each train a name. As the train passes, the camera pans to see the high dessert shrubs with some autumn color. AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, my employer, provides weather forecast and storm warning services to the railroads that serve central California and it is fun to re-create those scenes.

I find operating multiple trains to be wonderfully relaxing as I have to concentrate on the control of the trains and I forget my other worries.

Since the weather looks quiet, I'll have a family-themed posting the middle of next week.

Substantial Rains the Last Four Days

Rainfall ending at noon today. Click to enlarge. 

During the next two days (ending 1pm Monday), the heavy rains are forecast to shift east.

I Don't Think He Trusts Me

We've had a persistent squirrel at the Smith House messing our driveway and patio. I went out to shoo him off and this is what I got:

Kathleen says, You weren't supposed to make him look cute!!

A New Way to Keep the Cell Phone Charged

Photo from Wall Street Journal
The new BioLite generates electricity from sticks, leaves, and other biomass. It can be used to keep your cell phone charged in an extended outage. More details from the Wall Street Journal (scroll down).

Paging Lee Corso, Paging Lee Corso

Another car, this time an SUV, stuck by lightning:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Ruh-Rho II!

This is about as close as you will see a publication that is all-in for 'global warming' admit we may have a major solar-related cooling problem:  some are forecasting a solar "grand minimum."

Grand minima can last for decades. The previous one took place between 1645 and 1715, and has been linked to the little ice age in Europe. A new one might also cause localised cold periods, but many climate scientists see a silver lining to such a turn of events: a grand minimum offers ideal conditions for testing the effects of solar variability on Earth's climate (see "Our star's subtle influence").

So, let me get this straight: The last "grand minimum" caused the Little Ice Age but this new one (if it occurs) will only cause "localized cold periods"? Wrong. The correct answer is we don't know what the effects of a grand minimum would be on earth's climate. It could be minor or it could be catastrophic.

From practically the first day of this blog, we have been discussing the very real threat that solar-related cooling, rather than greenhouse warming, is the problem. Cooling is far worse for humanity because we could not grow enough food to feed the world's population.

There is a potential irony here: If major cooling is in the offing, we may want all of the greenhouse gas we can get into the atmosphere to mitigate the cooling!  I'm not saying that will be the case, only that it cannot be ruled out as a possibility. 

It is time to stop speculating: As I mention below, let's stop spending so much on nonsense (the TSA's nude machines to take just one example) and start putting our resources to learn the risk of, and how to mitigate, catastrophic threats like a solar minimum and EMP.

Ruh-Rho! Carrington Event Worse Than Thought

FACT: In 1859, before the advent of the electric grid, a giant solar flare reached the earth. Called a Carrington Event (named after the scientist who discovered it), the flare caused major static electricity in the telegraph network but little other damage.

Today, a similar event would -- literally -- take us back to 1870 but without the 1870's infrastructure. How many of us have horses? How much grain is milled by water power? The entire electrical grid would be wiped out. This would also occur if an enemy detonated an EMP bomb over the U.S. This blog has discussed this possibility on a number of occasions (click here for the most recent). 

As if the loss of electricity isn't bad enough, we are now learning that earth's temperatures might plummet to the extent that huge crop failures might occur. 

Let me ask our readers two questions: Shouldn't we be attempting to develop a way to forecast these events? Shouldn't we be hardening our electric grid (which we know how to do) against either possibility? Do you want to live in a colder world without electricity?

We don't even have to increase the federal deficit to do this. We need to dramatically cut what we spend on both the TSA and DHS. We need to modestly cut what we spend on speculative (i.e., forecasts for 50 years from now) global warming forecasts.

It is time to get our priorities right: Mitigate the most serious problems first. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Don't Want Her to Get in Trouble with Her Boyfriend...

That is a reaction we frequently get and it pleases us every time we hear it: I can't put the book down!

Warnings is an upbeat story of courageous scientists saving lives. "Meteorologists as heroes" as one reviewer puts it.

To learn more, click here.

Drought Update: Two Day Rainfall

Keep coming! Immediately below is rainfall over the last two days.
click to enlarge
More is forecast over the next five days:

As of Saturday (before the latest rains began), here is how much rain was needed to break the drought. These latest rains will do little or nothing to break the drought over the northern Plains and Upper Midwest.

Where Are Tornado Watches the Most Likely?

Not in "tornado alley."
click to enlarge

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rest of Week's Rain Prospects

Here is where it is raining via 6pm CDT AccuWeather Regional Radar:

Forecast additional rainfall through the weekend.

Farm Belt Rainfall

Here are the rainfall amounts for the last 24 hours from the foothills of the Rockies into the Ohio Valley.

Great Plains
Click to enlarge, rain gauge calibrated radar estimates from NWS
Corn Belt

Two postings down is the forecast rainfall for the next five days. If correct, these additional rains will go a long way toward easing the drought in these areas. Unfortunately, they will not do much for the northern Plains or northern High Plains where the drought has become quite severe the last month and a half.

Below I also mentioned how unusual it was to have 2.3 inches of rain overnight and no puddles around our home. Here is a photo taken on my way to work at the lowest point (about 10' lower elevation than my home) in our neighborhood where water often congregates. The drought has been so severe that nearly all of it soaked in!

ADDITION: Here is a closeup of the extreme rainfall gradient across the Wichita area.

Andy Williams, RIP

Was very sad to hear about the passing of Andy Williams this morning on my way into work. He died yesterday at his home in Branson, Mo.

At this time last year, Kathleen and I had tickets to his Moon River Theatre and were excited about seeing him in concert for the first time. Several days before the concert, we got a call from the theatre informing us that the concert had been cancelled because Mr. Williams was ill. Via the media, we learned a few days later that he had cancer.

The theatre told us they would call us when the concert was rescheduled. Sadly, that call never came.

ADDITION: A very nice summary of his life is here.

Heavy Rain But No Puddles

Here at the Smith House we had 2.30 inches of rain overnight but, due to the drought, not a single puddle this morning. I'll have more information on rainfall amounts later this morning after all the reports are in.

In the meantime, here is the forecast for additional rainfall over the next five days.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Al Gore: "The Dirty Weather Report"

Chief global warming hypocrite Al Gore and his ironically named "Climate Reality Project" are going to present the Dirty Weather Report which, I suspect, will not be about dust and sandstorms.

“We are in a new era where the ... extreme weather that is occurring is not fully caused by the natural cycles of time and natural events, but by dirty energy, so it is really important to articulate that and name it more precisely,” said Maggie Fox, the CEO of the Climate Reality Project, in an interview Saturday.

Of course, the actual science says the opposite: There is no established connection between extreme weather and global warming. For discussions of that point, see here and here (among many other examples I could cite).

UPDATE: 8:30PM Tuesday: Here is Al Gore himself, unedited, announcing the "Dirty Weather Report."

"I'll Believe Global Warming is a Crisis When the People Telling Me It's a Crisis Start Acting Like It's a Crisis" Part XXXVIII

CBS News, February, 2009 reported:  

Arnold Targets Global Warming

Declaring climate change to be an indisputable threat, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled a plan to combat global warming by setting goals for reducing California's emissions of greenhouse gases.

"Today, California will be a leader in the fight against global warming," Schwarzenegger told a United Nations conference on the environment on Wednesday.

"I say the debate is over. We know the science, we see the threat and we know the time for action is now," he said.

Schwarzenegger's plan calls for reducing the state's emissions of greenhouse gases to 2000 levels by 2010, 1990 levels by 2020, and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Republican or Democrat, it doesn't matter. Hypocrisy when it comes to global warming seems to know no bounds. Here is former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger driving his brand new five-ton
Yahoo News photo
Mercedes-Benz Unimog. He might have been heading to the airport to hop a ride on his private jet.

I don't question his right to own and drive any vehicle or airplane he wants. I'd use a private jet in a heartbeat if I could afford it.

What I do object to is the hypocrisy from so many who subscribe to the catastrophic global warming hypothesis: That all of us are supposed to cut back on greenhouse gases while they individually have carbon footprints larger than some small towns.

The fine print: The title of this piece is frequently used by Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds. AccuWeather, my employer, serves many auto and aircraft manufacturers.

A Boy, A Train, and a Weather Balloon

What sounds like a "Carnac" joke is a heart-warming video where a young boy's favorite toy (a train, of course) is sent into space on with a weather balloon. Please watch this, it will put a smile on your face for the rest of the day. 

Rain and Thunder

Badly-needed rain is forecast over the central and southern Plains into the Ohio Valley over the next five days.

Some of the rain will be accompanied by lighting and thunder (see posting below for why lightning needs to be taken seriously). In the "slight" risk areas there is a chance of large hail or 60 mph thunderstorm-generated wind gust.

"When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors"

How true that is as this video demonstrates.

Monday, September 24, 2012

How Well Did the Farmer's Almanac Do?

Below, Jan Null compares the National Weather Service's season weather outlooks to reality. In this posting, he compares the Farmer's Almanac to reality.

Jan's conclusion is about the same as mine: Pretty bad.

Tale of Two Tornado Years

Last year was one of the worst in history in terms of tornadoes. Because of changes in reporting it is hard to know if it was the worst but it was certainly far above normal.

Our current year is far below normal.

Hat tip: Dan McCarthy.

Bombardier Safety Standdown 2012

When Bombardier was planning their North America Safety Standdown 2012 and they needed an expert, they turned to Mike Smith. Mike will be one of the featured experts at the upcoming Bombardier event to be held at the Hyatt Hotel in Wichita, Kansas on October 10th and 11th. Click here for more information on the featured experts and a schedule of all the events.

Mike will be presenting CSI: Meteorology to the Standdown attendees to shed light and information on the role meteorology plays in aviation. When a pilot is in crowded airspace dealing with thunderstorms nothing can be left up to chance. The Bombardier Safety Standdown is focused on improving safety standards within the aviation industry.

This is an aerial photo of a cumulonimbus cloud taken by Richard Smith showing a thunderstorm from aloft.

Verification of Last Winter and Summer's Seasonal Outlooks

San Francisco meteorologist Jan Null has published his regular review of the National Weather Service's seasonal forecasts for last winter and last summer. As you'll see, they were not very good.

The poor quality of the summer outlook (failure to forecast the drought) topic of casual conversation at the American Meteorological Society's summer meeting. Because I am not an expert in this area of weather science, I've offered "guest blogger" space to experts to discuss this issue. So far, no one has taken me up on it because, I suppose, fear of offending the NWS.

It is my sense that we have made very little, if any, progress in seasonal and one year forecasting in the last decade in spite of literally billions spent on climate science and climate modeling. It is ironic to me that some believe we can forecast the climate 50 years in the future when we have little or no skill forecasting climate conditions 5 months or 5 years in the future. 

We need to devote more resources on the basics of climate forecasting and fewer to greenhouse gas warming. That is not an ideological comment. Until we understand "climate 101" and can make consistently skillful climate forecasts in the relatively near term (a season and a year into the future) there is little reason to believe we can forecast the climate on a decades-long time frame.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thank You!!

Nationally, Warnings had a very nice sales week based on the latest Nielsen figures. Thank you very much!!!

Rainfall the Next Seven Days

Here is the forecast from the European model, which is typically the best at these time periods:

and, the U.S. Global Forecast Model:
Model data from AccuWeather Professional 
It seems increasingly clear that the areas between I-40 and I-80 from Colorado, east will see significant to substantial rain. What is less clear is whether the rains will extend into areas south of I-40 and into the southern Rockies.

One City: Two Great Outcomes

Norman, Oklahoma, via Google Maps
In addition to Kansas State's wonderful victory at Gaylord Family Stadium last night, three miles straight south on Jenkins Street another victorious performance was in progress.  That is the location of the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center.

While both teams were preparing for their game, meteorologists were forecasting "general" (i.e., non-severe) thunderstorms near the Kansas-Oklahoma border to occur during the night.
A decade ago, a small forecast of this size at the correct intensity, probably would not have been made. But, with the progress we have made in weather forecasting, this type of forecast has become routine.

So, when thunder rumbled at the Smith House about 5:15 this morning, it was fully expected thanks to the nice forecast made at the Storm Prediction Center.

And, by the way, we had .12" at the Smith House.

Nice job, Storm Prediction Center.

Dr. Judith Curry's Comments on the PBS Newshour Climate Segment

IMO, [Anthony] Watts handled himself very well in the on-air interview and also in the extended written interview.  Nothing that he said was unreasonable.  It is rather bizarre that on this particular show, I came across as the ‘denier’ and Watts as the ‘lukewarmer.’

The outrage over Watts seems to be not so much what he said, as over his being given any airtime at all.  On a program discussing climate science, is Watts the appropriate spokesperson?  I would say not.  However, on a program discussing the public debate over climate science, Watts should be front and center.  His blog WUWT has far and away the largest traffic of any climate blog in the world (as per Alexa).  As such, Watts is a figure of central importance in the public debate on climate change.  To those who don’t like this fact, I advise you to take the time to understand why WUWT is so successful and maybe you will learn something about the public debate on climate change.

Well said, Judy. You can read her full comments here. And, scroll down to see the Watts' interview for yourself.

And, for those of you who keep writing me, you see Judy (at the link) also describes Dr. Mueller's "faux conversion" from a climate 'skeptic' to believer. While I'm happy to get your email and Facebook messages, please do a little research on this topic and you'll see that as far back as 2004 Mueller's own writing clearly puts himself in the global warming "believer" category.

ADDITION: 6:30PM Monday. Meteorologist and former State Climatologist for the State of Colorado, Roger Pielke, Sr., adds his comments here. The intentional suppression of dissenting views pertaining to climate 'science' is one of the ugliest aspects of the field.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Congratulations Kansas State Wildcats!!!

Congratulations to the Kansas State Wildcats on their (predicted by yours truly) 
win over the Oklahoma Sooners!

Latest on Pattern Change

Still looking reasonably good for the drought relief as we transition from September to October.

Here is the rainfall amount forecast between now and the end of next weekend.

And, for the following week:

This Cub Scout Knew Snakes Were Good for Something!

Details here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Drought Update

Here is the National Weather Service's latest drought assessment. Things have worsened in the northern
Plains and Rockies over the last month while easing a bit in the southern Plains and Corn Belt.

Over the next two weeks, things may improve in the central Rockies and central and southern Plains.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Climate Crimes"

Those who have read this blog for a while know that I periodically make the observation that the pro-catastrophic global warming (CGW) types do not behave like people who are confident they have the scientific arguments on their side.

When those of us who believe humans, on balance, warm the planet in a modest way that will cause mild (net) problems point out issues with the CGW case, they too often, fly into a frenzy. Now, it is "climate crimes." This from a science "journalist:"

Donald Brown, the philosopher at Penn State who has been writing about the ethics of climate change for well over a decade -- I interviewed him in the early 2000s -- thinks they are perhaps guilty of crimes against humanity. 

Are they? Are Anthony Watts and Marc Morano and Tom Nelson and Steve Goddard smart enough to be guilty of climate crimes?

I think so. You can't simply claim that CO2 isn't a greenhouse gas. 

I think they're crimes will be obvious in about a decade.

When I profiled Michael Mann for Scientific American, he said he thought it would eventually be illegal to deny climate change. I had doubts about that, but maybe.

That a "science journalist" would call free speech a "crime" is especially ironic. So much for the First Amendment. So much for basic grammar (it is "their" crimes, not "they're" crimes). For this to engender so much ire to accuse someone of a crime, the person must have said something absurd about rock-solid science, right?

Ahhhh, no.

Our journalist explains:

CharlesH wrote, on 9/10:
>> Sea levels have risen at a ~3mm/yr rate during the last and previous centuries (about 1ft/century) <<

In any case, this supposed fact is not true. Sea level has not been 3 mm/yr over the last several centuries. Read the papers (Ted/CharlesH provides no supporting evidence, because he's not the type to care about facts), or.... last week at WHOI, a graduate student talked to us about -- showed us -- some stumps from an ancient forest near Falmouth, MA, on the beach, that was uncovered two years ago in a Nor'easter [and, oh, how I miss those]. 

He drilled into the stumps and has been using the results to reconstruct massive hurricanes that come onshore in Cape Cod over the last millenium. And his answer -- and I asked him this, as did other people there -- was that sea level was rising about 0.5 mm/yr for most of the previous millenium.

So I'd like proof of "CharlesH's" claim that sea level rise was 3 mm/yr for several centuries.  

This "crime" is expressing uncertainty about the rate of sea level rise over centuries??!!

We have one graduate student, one clump of trees, one location, and one graduate student with a hypothesis. Great, that student may be onto something. But for now, it is just a hypothesis.

Doubting a hypothesis about sea level rise is a "crime"??!!

Especially, when the rate of 3 mm a year sea level rise is more or less the oceanographic consensus and that the rate of rise has been slowing in the recent geologic record (see here).

Sadly, there seem to be a lot of science journalists these days who believe their role is advocate rather than journalist. Below is an example of well-done science journalism with a "skeptic" who believes about what I do when it comes to global warming.

Addition 9:13am. Jeff K (comments below) thinks I'm being unfair by posting the info above as if it is somehow unrepresentative of the pro-GW side. Well, here is what another pro-CGW type said about the video posted above.

It may seem needlessly cruel to dissect the hodgepodge of sociopathically distorted rationalizations and dodges in his recent excruciatingly wrong-headed interview on PBS,

I think I'm being kind with these people.

If the Pattern Change Occurs, How Much Rain Might Result?

The NWS Global Forecast Model forecasts the amount of rainfall out to sixteen days.  It continues to forecast a pattern change that would result in the gradual easing of the drought in many areas. This seems reasonable since an El Nino (warm equatorial waters in the eastern Pacific) often brings wetter than average conditions to the southern half of the U.S.

Here is the forecast rainfall amounts from the model run this morning. For the first eight days of the forecast:

For days nine to sixteen, which is out to October 6th. Amounts in inches and hundredths.
If the weather pattern in fact evolves to one typical of an El Nino, then the storm track -- starting roughly in November -- will begin to move low pressure systems from California inland toward the southern Rockies. From there, they will tend to move east or northeast.

How is That Pattern Change Coming?

Seems to be on track. Here is the forecast pattern in two weeks with the green area representing low pressure.

Often, when there is a change in pattern in the autumn, there is a minimum of precipitation while the change is in process. That is certainly the case over the next five days.
So, if I have this diagnosed properly, there will be some widespread moisture in about two weeks in the Northwest and Central U.S. There will also be another round of moisture in the Southwest ahead of the primary system.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Finally, A Pattern Change?


This is the weather pattern that has persisted across North America for much of the last year. The purple  area is high pressure in the upper atmosphere that has taken up residence over the western U.S. or eastern Pacific with few exceptions during this time.

As long as that high is in that position, West and Central U.S. will be drier than normal.

The computer models are tentatively starting to show a change in pattern in about ten days to two weeks.
The high has shifted to the Atlantic coastal area while a large, broad area of low pressure (green) develops in the eastern Pacific. This would cause a period of wet weather in the West and Central U.S.

Forecasts that far out are tricky. For moisture-starved areas, let us hope it is correct.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"When He Was A Young Man, He Never Thought He'd See..." Amtrak locomotive decorated for the boy King?  Really? Yep.

At this time last year, it was the Martina McBride Amtrak train and livery. I guess I underestimated the extent to which Amtrak's rolling stock could be turned into rolling billboards.

(If you don't get the reference in the title, see video below.)

Tornado Watches at 4:30pm EDT

Above screen captured from NWS Storm Prediction Center.

There are numerous severe thunderstorm warnings (amber) in effect for damaging winds. A small tornado was reported earlier in the District of Columbia. There are also numerous flash flood warnings in effect (maroon).
There are major flight delays at Atlanta, Baltimore, Toronto, Montreal, Newark, JFK, LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Boston, Reagan, and Dulles. There are intermittent delays at Orlando.

Because of my American Meteorological Society speech this evening, this will be the last update on this blog. The good news is that my colleagues at AccuWeather are posting frequent updates.