Friday, October 31, 2014

The Rodney Dangerfield of Sciences

Big Climate's Spending on This Election? $85,000,000!

That's right, $85 million!

According to the Wall Street Journal today:

On Monday, The Hill reported that an internal memo circulating among five environmental groups detailed plans for spending to support candidates “who want to act” to combat climate change. “We are on track to spend more than $85 million overall including more than $40 million in just six Senate races,” the memo said. The beneficiaries include Sen. Mark Udall (D., Colo.), who got $12.1 million, and Rep. Bruce Braley (D., Iowa) with $7.2 million.

Earlier this week, I talked about the ludicrous claim that global warming chicken littles had to fight a "campaign of doubt mongering." By far, the big money is on the catastrophic global warming side. 

ADDITION: Not to mention, $1,700,000,000,000 ($1.7 trillion) on 'green' energy which has not added (net) to world energy production! Details here. Of course, this is why the $85 million is being spent -- to get government to mandate purchase of inefficient energy that would no rational person would otherwise buy.

Mindy Cook's Children's Book About Weather

Mindy, my colleague at Mike Smith Enterprises, has written a wonderful children's book about weather. It just charming with glorious illustrations.

She will be at the National Weather Festival in Norman, OK, Saturday from 10 to 2. Please drop by and say hello.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Another Great Review of "Warnings"

From David Rapoport in Chicago:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. Mike Smith tells a surprising true story about lives saved and a culture changed that reminds us how actions of a few can benefit many.

You can get your copy of Warnings here.

Crash at Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport

ICT, as it is known in aviation circles, experienced a Beech King Air 200 crash into the Flight Safety International building about a half-hour ago. Multiple victims are being transported to emergency rooms. I can confirm that firefighters, right now, are trying to enter the building to search for victims. There is now a triage unit set up in case they find additional victims.

The type of aircraft that crashed. 
There are reports that Mid-Continent Drive is closed so you cannot get to ICT for a flight. The airport itself is officially open.

For additional information: , , and .

Update: Wichita fire officials say two killed, five injured and four unaccounted for.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Giant Problems With the Red Cross

In Warnings I talk about some of the problems with the Red Cross' response to Hurricane Katrina. We've also talked about the severe problems the Red Cross had with Hurricane Sandy

Today, there is a report from NPR and ProPublica documenting how the Red Cross put public relations over disaster relief in Sandy

Still unknown is how the Red Cross spent the hundreds of millions raised using Sandy relief as the pretext. They certainly did not spent it on relief services. 

As previously stated, I no longer give to the Red Cross for any reason. The Salvation Army, in my experience, does a great job during disasters. That is where our relief donations go. 

A Paragraph of Misunderstandings

The New York Times has an interview with academic and author Naomi Oreskes pertaining to global warming. Most of the article is what you would expect. But, one paragraph caught my eye:

How does the free market prevent acid rain or climate change? It doesn’t. How do we know about the potential harm to individuals or the environment? Because of science. And how does one prevent harm? With regulation. To prevent regulation, we’ve had this campaign of doubt-mongering about science and scientists.

This is the predictable thinking of someone who has spent her entire life in the fields of academia and policy. On top of a prominent U.S. politician saying several days ago, "Don't let anyone tell you businesses and corporations create jobs," it is worth spending a few moments discussing the above line of thought.

Let's consider line-by-line:
  • How does the free market prevent acid rain or climate change? It doesn’t.
The U.S. is the only nation that met its Kyoto target -- even though we didn't ratify Kyoto -- for decreasing carbon dioxide production. How? Via the increased use of inexpensive natural gas brought to us by fracking. Natural gas not only produces less carbon dioxide (per unit of energy) it also reduces, you guessed it, acid rain. Ms. Oreskes would undoubtedly agree less acid and rain and less CO2 to be good things and they were entirely brought by the free market. If anything, the federal government has been a (net) obstacle to producing more U.S. energy. Last week, Lockheed said it had made a major breakthrough in producing energy from fusion. If confirmed, that means cheap, nearly limitless, carbon-free energy! So, yes, free enterprise is our best hope of solving a myriad of societal problems. 
  • How do we know about the potential harm to individuals or the environment? Because of science.
True. And, I'm proud to be an atmospheric scientist. However, a number of global warming scientists have overstated the harm/urgency of warming due to adding small (compared to what nature adds) amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere. As we have discussed on numerous occasions, global warming is a problem but it is manageable as environmental problems go. These individuals (I call them the "climate cult") do tremendous harm to the credibility of science. 
  • And how does one prevent harm? With regulation. 
As is far too often the case with people who have spent their entire careers in academia, they have no idea of the cost of regulation to the economy, a topic we covered at length last week. Plus, we have zero (yes, literally zero) understanding of the unintended consequences of regulations intended to change future weather. 
  • To prevent regulation, we’ve had this campaign of doubt-mongering about science and scientists.
What campaign? The individuals like myself, Anthony Watts, and Judy Curry (to name three) urging caution are like a few grains of sand on a beach compared to the now $100,000,000,000+ that has been spent (worldwide) on global warming, including spending our tax money on how best to convince the public global warming is an imminent, major problem. The global warming cult wants to believe there is a vast conspiracy because they don't realize all of the exaggeration has indeed hurt their credibility. 

The only way we "lukewarmers" have gotten any traction is that many in the public seem to instinctively sense they are being conned by the cult. Here is another example: Many instinctively knew the government's initial reaction to Ebola in the U.S. was inadequate (even if they didn't know the specifics) and, now, even the CDC has conceded its initial efforts were insufficient. The person on the street is a lot smarter than most academics realize. 

AccuWeather's Game 7 Forecast

For Kansas City…

Is the United States Next?

Many times we have discussed how Europe is farther down the "alternative energy" road than the United States. Here are three headlines from Great Britain the last 24 hours:

Yesterday, witnesses in a Parlimentary hearing (click here for video) blamed the potential crisis on investment in "green" energy rather than reliable nuclear and fossil fuels.

Does the United States want to be next?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

An Encore

The Kansas City Philharmonic performed the Star Spangled Banner before this evening's Game 6. Enjoy this encore. The Royals crushed the Giants, 10-0.

Before tomorrow's Game 7, native Kansas Citian and international opera star, Joyce DiDonato, will sing the anthem.

I think it is fair to say the KC performances of our national anthem have outshone those in SFO. I believe you'll be impressed by tomorrow's, as well.

Another Setback for NASA

Looking like a scene from The Right Stuff, the Antares rocket exploded on launch from Wallops Island this evening. The video is below.

Here is the explosion from 3,000 feet.

Tonight's World Series Forecast

I Love Good Science News!

Chocolate Is Shown to Aid Memory

Details here.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ho Hum, Just Another Spectacular Kansas Sunset

Wichita, 6:45pm, no filtering or Photoshop 

I Blame Global Warming

Details here.

From a B&N Reader: A Rave Review

This is an excellent book! I loved EVERY page and EVERY minute reading it. It's written purposefully to not read like a technical science or boring history book and is a quick, very enjoyable read. 

The book reads more like a suspense thriller or mystery novel as Smith keeps the reader ever eager to hear more throughout his story-telling method of advancing the history of meteorology. Along the way the reader learns a tremendous amount of very interesting things - but the secret is they're presented almost as sidebars to the main story of a given storm. 

Not only does Smith advance the history of weather forecasting, but also mixes in the psyche of the individuals drawn to the profession of weather forecaster, a bit of his own biography and a whole host of interesting weather facts. And the most clever part of it all is how much one learns reading this book almost without realizing it. 

I hated to put it down and would highly recommend this book to readers of all interests.

Thanks! You can order the book from B&N here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Today, It Has Been Nine Years...

…since a category 3 or stronger hurricane struck the U.S. On this date nine years ago, Hurricane Wilma, having passed Florida, dropped below hurricane intensity.

After three major hurricanes striking the U.S. in 2005 (Katrina, Rita, Wilma), we were promised by the Big Climate that more, and worse, were on the way. See here, here and here for just a few examples of the articles published at that time.

Now, we have gone nine years without a major hurricane striking the U.S. coast, completely contrary to Big Climate's forecasts. The previous longest interval (with 150 years of records) was six years.

Yet again, Big Climate has been proven wrong. I predict that, unfortunately,  it will not shake their faith.

Sunday Fun: "I Can Tell You the Fact That I Couldn't Even Go Through My Wedding Day Without Hearing About the Weather"

At last, a blog by a meteorologist's wife. With regard to the title of this posting, Kathleen can tell a similar story. After morning thunderstorms, she was concerned the groom (me), one of the groomsmen and a bunch of our guests wouldn't show up.

Weather widow* Alyssa Brackett is married to KFOR TV (formerly WKY-TV) meteorologist Aaron Brackett. I love her wry sense of humor. The FAQ's are terrific.

Of course, WKY TV is where I started my TV career. I believe there is a special place in heaven for the spouses of meteorologists. Being on call 24/7, people always asking about the weather. Kathleen has put up with it for 41 years and I am eternally grateful.

Alyssa, hope your blog is a huge success!!

* Weather widow = the wives of television meteorologists in Tornado Alley. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Another Happy Reader!!

Via Twitter, a review of Warnings from Ms. Miranda Gibson of Arlington, Texas:

"Just finished your book this week, Mike. It was informative, well-written, and above all interesting. Most not in the industry don't realize that the science of "weather prediction" is, in many way, still in its infancy. Your book really laid out how much we've learned in 20, 30, 40 years and how much more we can learn. Just great! :) "

Thanks so much, Miranda. It is especially gratifying hearing from so many women who have enjoyed the book.

It is available in hard cover or ebook.

Saturday Fun: A Cure For Climate Change

Yes, they are serious.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Kansas City is Hot -- And, So Are the Royals

Forecaster Evie wants to let you know it isn't only Kansas City's baseball team that is hot, so is Kansas City this weekend. Via our friends at AccuWeather, here is a map of record temperatures.

She is also forecasting a few showers to be around the Bay Area where her beloved Royals are playing. For Game 4 Saturday evening:
Total rainfall amounts around the Bay Area will be ¼ to of an inch over the weekend, so a rainout is highly unlikely.

And, via the ECMWF (graphic by Dr. Ryan Maue), here is the forecast rainfall for Northern California the next ten days.
More than ¾ inch of rain is forecast in the Sierra along the I-80 corridor, so some of that rain will flow into California's parched reservoirs.

World Series: SFO Forecast

UPDATE: 10:26PM CDT: Evie's team wins again. Royals won 3-2. They lead the Series 2-1. 

Forecaster Evie wants you to know she is a big Royals fan.

She is forecasting fairly nice weather tonight but a chance of a few showers over the weekend.

Air Traffic Control for Drones

From MIT:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has yet to propose rules to govern the use of commercial robotic aircraft in U.S. skies. But it predicts that 7,500 unmanned craft weighing 55 pounds (25 kilograms) or less will be operating in the U.S. by 2018.

The number of drones actually seems low to me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Global Warming Idiocy and the Weak Economy

I've been working on this post for several days because I believe it is extremely important. So, it will stay at the top of the blog through Friday Thursday.
FEMA, part of the hapless Department of Homeland Security (now putting underwear manufacturers out of business!), is demanding each state prepare a plan to deal with how the weather is going to change in the next five years. Their instructions for the plans are below:
Forget climate skeptics, no reputable climatologist would even attempt to guess how weather is going to change in each state over the next five years! Period. There is no science that can do this. Yet, not only does each state have to spend time and money to generate a "plan," they are required to:

coordinating and integrating the mitigation planning process with the whole community, including agencies and stakeholders with mitigation capabilities that are responsible for economic development; land use and development; housing; infrastructure; natural and cultural resource management; and health and human services. Engaging agencies and stakeholders with data and authority early in the planning process facilitates both successful plan development and implementation. 

Translation: construction, land management, mining, energy, medicine, etc., etc., in other words the whole economy must "adopt" this nonsense or lose FEMA funding (which, of course, the citizens of each state pay for).

You might think, "Why am I making a big deal about this?" 

Planning for the weather five years from now is an exercise in futility plus it has a real cost to every American. 

To illustrate, I call upon my favorite economic writer, Rich Karlgaard. Earlier this week, he published an amazing piece, America's Missing Wealth. I can't overstress how important it is to read the whole thing (3-4 minutes, tops). Economists estimate that regulation costs the U.S. economy 1-2% per year. Like me, Rich does not believe that all regulation is bad:

Mandatory seat belts have helped cut traffic fatalities by 51% on a population-adjusted basis since 1949. Far fewer people are now killed or maimed in industrial accidents. The air in downtown Los Angeles is breathable again. Would this have happened without federal regulation? Yes, but likely not as fast.

But, as with the FEMA planning order, things have gone way too far. The one or two percent per year, compounded, has huge, huge costs. 

If the U.S. economy had grown an extra 2% per year since 1949, 2014′s GDP would be about $58 trillion, not $17 trillion. So says a study called “Federal Regulation and Aggregate Economic Growth,” published in 2013 by the Journal of Economic Growth. More than taxes, it’s been runaway federal regulation that’s crimped U.S. growth by the year and utterly smashed it over two generations.

Allowing that some regulation might have a net positive benefit, Rich goes on to write:

So let’s, for the sake of argument, posit that some regulation has been good for us, while many other regs have only hurt economic growth. Let’s also argue that sensible regulation, combined with the retirement of outdated regulation, could have brought about the same improvements to health and safety–but at a cost of 1% potential growth per year, not 2%. Where would the U.S. economy be today?
–The 2014 GDP would be $32 trillion, not $17 trillion.
–Per capita income would be $101,000, not $54,000.
–Per capita wealth would be $480,000, not $260,000. It would probably be higher than that, since savings rates might be higher.
–The U.S. would have no federal, state or municipal debts or deficits.
–Pensions would be solid. So would Social Security.
Overregulation and counterproductive tax policies are killing the American dream and are -- in large part -- responsible for the perceived and real maladies in U.S. family income and related issues. 

The proposed FEMA regulation is the poster child for costly, nonsensical regulation and should be immediately killed. It won't be, because Big Climate is largely comprised of "true believers" who don't allow the fact something is scientifically impossible deter them. Especially, since compliance will mean more costly studies and consulting contracts…good for people and businesses "inside the Beltway" but bad for everyone else.  

Folks, it is election season. Let the candidates and your elected representatives know where you stand. Otherwise, the Washington insiders will have won again…at the expense of the rest of us. 

Air Umbrella: Not Sure What to Make of This

An "umbrella" that blows the rain away is underdevelopment. A video and details here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Great Weather For the Start of the World Series

FYI: For those not familiar with Kauffman Stadium ("The K" as the locals call it), that would be a light breeze from right to left field.

Ten Day Rainfall Forecast for Northern California

Hopefully, the two storms expected to affect Northern California in the next ten days are a sign of a wet winter ahead.

Severe Weather Phobia

Cory Mottice Photography. Thunderstorm approaching the
headquarters of  AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions
Here is an interesting article from the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society about storm/weather phobias.

As the father of three, I would take each of them into the back yard when they were little and a thunderstorm was making a lot of noise (but still a safe distance) and talk about how "cool" the storm was and the pretty clouds. When they were older (early teens), I took them storm chasing. While none of them are interested in meteorology as a career, none of them are afraid of storms.

My colleague, Mindy Cook, is coming out with a children's book about storms which will be another great way to "fear-proof" your children about weather. We'll be talking more about that in the weeks to come!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Another Favorable Review

From Amazon's newest review (yes, rated 5-Stars):

A good read and an interesting story about the technologies that help forecast tornadoes, thunderstorms and hurricanes.

Looking for some great reading? Just click here.

100th Anniversary of the Birth of Jonas Salk

Unless you grew up in the 40's or 50's, you have no idea of the fear that gripped America in the summer due the the spread of polio. Simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could end up in an iron lung.
This week, we celibate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jonas Salk. His polio vaccine (which I remember receiving) was a godsend that ended the apprehension. His polio vaccine is an example of science at its best.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ana Passing South of Kauai

Here is the latest from the South Kauai National Weather Service radar as of 6:56am HST (11:56am CDT):
Flooding rains are spreading across Oahu. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Kauai. Wind gusts of 40-50 mph will occur on Kauai, especially the south side.

Addition: The purpose of the above image was to show the eye of the hurricane. However, for those on Kauai, it may be misleading because mountain blockages aren't showing all of the rain affecting the island. Here is a better view of the heavy rains affecting Kauai at 7:19am HST.

As of 1:05pm CDT (8:05am HST), you can see the surf from the Sheraton Kauai (Poipu) web cam:
The highest waves are still a few hours away.

Some Good News On a Sunday

According to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, 2013 had the lowest number of catastrophes in ten years with 22,500 dead (compared to an average of 100,000). Anthony Watts has details here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

World Series Weather: Games 1 and 2

AccuWeather is forecasting great weather for Kansas City for the first two games of the World Series Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ana Update

High surf can be expected on the south and southwest facing beaches including Waikiki on Oahu and Poipu on Kauai. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

5-Day Rainfall Outlook

An item to note: California is getting a little rain. I'm hoping it is a harbinger of things to come as their rainy season approaches.

Latest on Ana

It now looks like Ana will follow a path south of the Islands. It will still affect them with showery, gusty weather and high surf on the south beaches (like Waikiki Beach on Oahu and Poipu Beach on Kauai).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On a Much Lighter Note...

Congratulations to the Kansas City Royals for advancing to the World Series. There is the potential for I-70 Series II if the Cardinals advance. If there is another I-70 Series, here is my suggestion as to who should throw out the first ball of the first game:

Don Denkinger!

Public Health Malpractice: The Ebola Fiasco

CDC Tweeting This Morning
This blog covers science. Public health is very much a science when it is properly practiced. Tragically, the U.S. government seems to be making it up as it goes along when it comes to Ebola. The fact the second health worker now confirmed to have Ebola was allowed to fly after being exposed is nothing but public health malpractice. Unfortunately, this has been the rule, not the exception, since this outbreak began.

Some background: I am an investor and adviser in a company called AscelBio. Our mission is to predict disease outbreaks in much the same way as meteorologists predict storms with the same goals of saving lives and money. There is good news and bad news:
  • Good news: We are good at what we do. Our forecasts have real skill.
  • Bad news: We are encountering the same governmental resistance as commercial meteorology did a half-century ago. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  and other government agencies are actively working against us as did the Weather Bureau in the 1950's and 60's
I was present when we briefed high-level officials in Washington, DC, in June. We told them Ebola had catastrophic potential and, yes, strongly encouraged them to hire us. They declined. We now know the results. 

In fact, the CDC and Department of Homeland Security (now focusing on climate change!) seem to be spending more time blocking our work than properly responding to the crisis. The medical community is crying out for help, saying the U.S. is not prepared. Don't believe that? Go here.

We have stayed under the radar because we have tried to work within the system to improve the outcome. We have given away a great deal of free service because we wish to be good public citizens. Now, it is time to let the people of the U.S. know the extent to which our government is failing them. As Ascel's COO James Wilson, MD, wrote earlier today:

Politicalization of these issues has not helped us identify solutions to the rapidly expanding problem in West Africa.  This author began his life's work under the Clinton Administration and later worked with the Bush Administration.  It should be obvious to any sane world citizen that "political health" should not be engaged, but rather "public health".  As discussed above, there is much shenanigans, information suppression, and politics that are interfering with this country's ability to execute the capabilities needed to protect us.
Meanwhile, 76 healthcare workers in Dallas await their fates.

The fact the CDC is using Twitter to try to contact people that should have been treated at the time of exposure in a compassionate but firm manner (i.e., restricting travel, etc.) is just a small indication at how bad the situation has become. Jim has written much more here

Ebola is not easily spread. But, it can be spread when infected people are let into the country and correct protocols are not followed when interacting with an infected man or woman. Unless the Administration stops attempting to practice politically correct public health, we are in for serious trouble. 

Ana Threatens Hawaii

While it is too soon for watches or warnings, Tropical Storm Ana -- likely to become Hurricane Ana, looks like it is going to threaten the Hawaiian Islands over the weekend. If you are planning a trip. consider postponing.

I Don't Think These People Are Engineering Majors

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Large Tornado Watch: Southeast

Note: I am not live-blogging todays's storms. 

Seven Day Rainfall

These rains will be especially helpful to the recently-planted 2015 winter wheat crop. 

Today's Tornado Threat

If you live in the areas tinted in brown, please keep up on the weather today.

Hurricane Threatens Hawaii

I don't believe two hurricanes have ever struck Hawaii in the same year but it is possible if Ana strengthens. AccuWeather has details.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Seven Day Rainfall Forecast

Because of the severe weather coverage, I haven't had time to post the rainfall map. This is the seven day forecast. Two things of note:
Note some rain creeping into Northern California. Looks like rain could move farther south days 8 to 10. The rain in Kansas and Oklahoma is expected to occur on days 6 and 7.

Warning Summary at 4:50pm CDT

Red polygons are tornado warnings. Yellow are severe thunderstorm warnings (today, principally damaging winds) and green are flash flood warnings. Time is 4:50pm.

The storms southwest of Nashville bear special attention. Please take cover in you are in a tornado warning area.

Two More Tornado Watches

Please keep a close eye on the weather in this area.

FYI: Not liking the looks of this cell in western Tennessee. Radar at 4:11pm CDT shows a possible tornado headed for Decaturville. Take cover!

Tornado Watch: Illinois

Tornado Watch: Louisiana and Mississippi

The tornado threat spreads. A new tornado watch until 10pm.
Tornado warnings are out as far north as the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis.

We are getting quite a few reports of damage. Please be prepared to quickly take precautions. This is a type of tornado situation where you may get less advance notice.

Tornado Watch: Mississippi, Missouri Bootheel, Louisana, Arkansas and Tennessee

The watch is effect until 9pm CDT.
Note: The probability of tornadoes is "high."