Arctic temperatures the warmest in 2,000 years; 2009 Arctic sea ice loss 3rd highest

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:32 PM GMT on September 04, 2009

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It's time to take a bit of a break from coverage of the Atlantic hurricane season of 2009, and report on some important climate news. The past decade was the warmest decade in the Arctic for the past 2,000 years, according to a study called "Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling" published today in the journal Science. Furthermore, four of the five warmest decades in the past 2,000 years occurred between 1950 - 2000, despite the fact that summertime solar radiation in the Arctic has been steadily declining for the past 2,000 years. Previous efforts to reconstruct past climate in the Arctic extended back only 400 years, so the new study--which used lake sediments, glacier ice cores, and tree rings to look at past climate back to the time of Christ, decade by decade-- is a major new milestone in our understanding of the Arctic climate. The researchers found that Arctic temperatures steadily declined between 1 A.D. and 1900 A.D., as would be expected due to a 26,000-year cycle in Earth's orbit that brought less summer sunshine to the North Pole. Earth is now about 620,000 miles (1 million km) farther from the Sun in the Arctic summer than it was 2000 years ago. However, temperatures in the Arctic began to rise around the year 1900, and are now 1.4°C (2.5°F) warmer than they should be, based on the amount of sunlight that is currently falling in the Arctic in summer. "If it hadn't been for the increase in human-produced greenhouse gases, summer temperatures in the Arctic should have cooled gradually over the last century," Bette Otto-Bliesner, a co-author from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said in a statement.

The Arctic melt season of 2009
Arctic sea ice suffered another summer of significant melting in 2009, with August ice extent the third lowest on record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. August ice extent was 19% below the 1979 - 2000 average, and only 2007 and 2008 saw more melting of Arctic sea ice. We've now had two straight years in the Arctic without a new record minimum in sea ice. However, this does not mean that the Arctic sea ice is recovering. The reduced melting in 2009 compared to 2007 and 2008 primarily resulted from a different atmospheric circulation pattern this summer. This pattern generated winds that transported ice toward the Siberian coast and discouraged export of ice out of the Arctic Ocean. The previous two summers, the prevailing wind pattern acted to transport more ice out of the Arctic through Fram Strait, along the east side of Greenland. At last December's meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the world's largest scientific conference on climate change, J.E. Kay of the National Center for Atmospheric Research showed that Arctic surface pressure in the summer of 2007 was the fourth highest since 1948, and cloud cover at Barrow, Alaska was the sixth lowest. This suggests that once every 10 - 20 years a "perfect storm" of weather conditions highly favorable for ice loss invades the Arctic. The last two times such conditions existed was 1977 and 1987, and it may be another ten or so years before weather conditions align properly to set a new record minimum.

The Northeast Passage opens
As a result of this summer's melting, the Northeast Passage, a notoriously ice-choked sea route along the northern Russia, is now clear of ice and open for navigation. Satellite analyses by the University of Illinois Polar Research Group and the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the last remaining ice blockage along the north coast of Russia melted in late August, allowing navigation from Europe to Alaska in ice-free waters. Mariners have been attempting to sail the Northeast Passage since 1553, and it wasn't until the record-breaking Arctic sea-ice melt year of 2005 that the Northeast Passage opened for ice-free navigation for the first time in recorded history. The fabled Northwest Passage through the Arctic waters of Canada has remained closed this summer, however. An atmospheric pressure pattern set up in late July that created winds that pushed old, thick ice into several of the channels of the Northwest Passage. Recent research by Stephen Howell at the University of Waterloo in Canada shows that whether the Northwest Passage clears depends less on how much melt occurs, and more on whether multi-year sea ice is pushed into the channels. Counter-intuitively, as the ice cover thins, ice may flow more easily into the channels, preventing the Northwest Passage from regularly opening in coming decades, if the prevailing winds set up to blow ice into the channels of the Passage. The Northwest Passage opened for the first time in recorded history in 2007, and again in 2008. Mariners have been attempting to find a route through the Northwest Passage since 1497.


Figure 1. Sea ice extent on September 2, 2009, with the Northwest Passage (red line) and Northeast Passage (green line) shown. The Northeast Passage was open, but the Northwest Passage was blocked in three places. The orange line shows the median edge of sea ice extent for September 2 during the period 1979 - 2000, and this year's ice extent is about 19% below average. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Commercial shipping begins in the Northeast Passage
This year's opening marks the fourth time in five years that the Northeast Passage has opened, and commercial shipping companies are taking note. Two German ships set off on August 21 on the first commercial voyage ever made through the Northeast Passage without the help of icebreakers. The Northeast Passage trims 4,500 miles off the 12,500 mile trip through the Suez Canal, yielding considerable savings in fuel. The voyage was not possible last year, because Russia had not yet worked out a permitting process. With Arctic sea ice expected to continue to decline in the coming decades, shipping traffic through the Northeast Passage will likely become commonplace most summers.

When was the Northeast Passage ice-free in the past?
People have been attempting to penetrate the ice-bound Northeast Passage since 1553, when British explorer Sir Hugh Willoughby attempted the passage with three ships and 62 men. The frozen bodies of Sir Hugh and his men were found a year later, after they failed to make it past the northern coast of Finland. British explorer Henry Hudson, who died in 1611 trying to find a route through Canada's fabled Northwest Passage, (and whom Canada's Hudson Bay and New York's Hudson River are named after), attempted to sail the Northeast Passage in 1607 and 1608, and failed. The Northeast Passage has remained closed to navigation, except via assist by icebreakers, from 1553 to 2005. The results published in Science today suggest that prior to 2005, the last previous opening was the period 5,000 - 7,000 years ago, when the Earth's orbital variations brought more sunlight to the Arctic in summer than at present. It is possible we'll know better soon. A new technique that examines organic compounds left behind in Arctic sediments by diatoms that live in sea ice give hope that a detailed record of sea ice extent extending back to the end of the Ice Age 12,000 years ago may be possible (Belt et al., 2007). The researchers are studying sediments along the Northwest Passage in hopes of being able to determine when the Passage was last open.

References
Belt, S.T., G. Masse, S.J. Rowland, M. Poulin, C. Michel, and B. LeBlanc, "A novel chemical fossil of palaeo sea ice: IP25", Organic Geochemistry, Volume 38, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 16-27.

Darrell S. Kaufman, David P. Schneider, Nicholas P. McKay, Caspar M. Ammann, Raymond S. Bradley, Keith R. Briffa, Gifford H. Miller, Bette L. Otto-Bliesner, Jonathan T. Overpeck, Bo M. Vinther, and Arctic Lakes 2k Project Members, 2009, "Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling", Science 4 September 2009: 1236-1239.

Howell, S. E. L., C. R. Duguay, and T. Markus. 2009. Sea ice conditions and melt season duration variability within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: 1979.2008, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L10502, doi:10.1029/2009GL037681.

Tropical Weather Outlook
The remains of Tropical Storm Erika are bringing heavy rain to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today, and this activity will spread to the Dominican Republic on Saturday. Radar-estimated rainfall shows up to three inches of rain has fallen in eastern Puerto Rico from the storm. Long range radar out of Puerto Rico shows no surface circulation or organization of the echoes, and redevelopment of Erika over the next three days is unlikely to occur due to high wind shear of 25 - 30 knots. By Monday or Tuesday, shear may drop enough to allow redevelopment, depending upon the location of Erika's remains. Redevelopment is more likely if Erika works its way northwestward into the Bahamas.

A large tropical wave with plenty of spin is located a few hundred miles southwest of the Cape Verdes Islands, off the coast of Africa. Heavy thunderstorm activity has increased slightly in this wave over the past day, and it has the potential to gradually develop into a tropical depression by early next week. NHC is giving this wave a low (less than 30% chance) of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday. The GFS model continues to predict development of this wave into a tropical depression early next week.

I'll have an update Saturday or Sunday, depending upon developments in the tropics.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting palmbaywhoo:

nothing special, just an old wagon we had... 95L has south florida written all over it


I bet 95L gets pulled out to sea. Seems to be the trend.

I really like how you changed the head on the image. Gives it a personal touch.
http://tineye.com/search/0d3225999c176c0464b592b26d881a57f47d1691
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Quoting WoodenNutmeg:


Thank you for posting this! I was speaking to a colleague in Oz a bit ago from the States and he concluded our conversation by asking if people in the US were taking global warming seriously yet....


Not an exact reply to your comment, but I think shifting the term to global climate change (like it is on this site) was a good thing. I think it encourages people to note climate extremes that are well out of the norm for the last X hundred years rather than just focusing on anecdotal events of unseasonable warmth or cold. Whether they decide it's natural or unnatural, it keeps certain pieces of what may be evidence from being dismissed just because they don't represent a warming event.
Member Since: July 10, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 20
Floridacasters. Fishcasters. All within 15 minutes of the orange crayon.

Any other takers?? We're still looking for:

Doomcasters, Regurgicasters, Lurkers, and Caribcasters.

I'll even throw one in for my fellow 'ricans. The PuertoCasters.
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Quoting Floodman:


PSSST!!! So did dubya...face it, they're all the same guy, okay? Fighting amongst ourselves because we beleive in a different fictional ideology than the next guy is stupid...we're being played, and the politticians are doing the playing
Now you're speaking my language! I agree 100%
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Can I be the first to predict that the tropical wave off the coast of Africa will eventually become a questionable tropical storm with an exposed LLC that will fight shear and dry air? Seems to be the trend these days! Living in South Florida, that is fine with me. Putting shutters on a 2 story home is quite a pain. ;-)
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Quoting FloridaRick:
RWDOBSON,
Lets take a look at government controled industries for a moment...

The US Postal Service-
This government industry provides a service of delivery of mail, parcels, etc. and has private sector competition in the form of Internet Service Providers (Email vs Snail Mail), Fedex, DHL, UPS, and several small local companies. The US Postal Service is scheduled to lose 14 Billion with a B of the next two years. That is 14 Billion More US Tax Payer Dollars, for something we have to pay for to use anyway.

The Veterans Health Administration-
This is government run health care for our service members and should be better than anything in the private sector. How many stories have your read in recent months about the mistakes made in serving these veterans? There was the endoscopy problem in Miami, then recently 600 some veterans were notified that they had alzhimers disease when in actuallity they did not have anything. Then to cut the budget early in his presidency, President Obama made a case for charging the veteran's insurance company for care that is congressional mandated for our wounded warriors. So if this government run Health care is going to try and charge insurance companies anyway, after being paid for with tax payer money...What do we need it for. Your arguments for the fire departments and everything else is weak. THese are local municple agencies provided by the local government and local tax dollars. If I don't like being taxed for their services I can move. The federal government should not be in control of state and local business in accordance with the constitution. Forming a federal government run health care system and taking control of 1/6 of the nations economy is not providing the state and local governments control over their own destiny.

Last but not least...THere is a reason I stay off this website during the non-tropical season. THat reason is becasue of all the far left people that think we can control mother nature. THey have the audacity to think we cause global warming and can fix it. We casued stronger Hurricanes in 04 and 05. THe fact is that this is cyclical. Even Dr. Masters above notes a 10-20 year cycle for this ice melt. There is money to be had by saying global warming is man made and we need to green this and green that. But what you are really saying in the words of Green Czar Van Jones..."we need pay back" in other words redistribute wealth.

I will be glad when there is another storm to watch so that the discussion can get back to what it is supposed to be...Tropical Weather Blog.

Peace out!


I have a feeling everybody is to the far left of you!...Was that Rush I heard in the background when you were typing...?
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Quoting Floodman:


PSSST!!! So did dubya...face it, they're all the same guy, okay? Fighting amongst ourselves because we beleive in a different fictional ideology than the next guy is stupid...we're being played, and the politticians are doing the playing


Yup..The only difference is the way each side (left/right) controls the masses. Either way it's control.
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95L will be a fish. Book it.
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Quoting JupiterFL:


Ummm...yea...you lost me at A
lol
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wooooah nelly ... big image.
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Quoting AussieStorm:



Auss, I can't seem to find these images on the Navy site... all the 95L related ones either say NO ___ or aren't viewable like those you post.

Can you help me out?
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1988
GFDL has taken over as the doomcast model for 12Z Erika -- not a forecast that I want to see verify.

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Quoting serialteg:


nice, you found one not blacked out!

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Quoting palmbaywhoo:

nothing special, just an old wagon we had... 95L has south florida written all over it


MUAHAHAHAHAHA! **sound of maniacal laughter**

There's one for South Florida...
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It's interesting to note that the very unusual weather patterns that led to the extreme 2007 Arctic ice extent minimum are now being mentioned, but that in 2007 the "trend" was promoted without hesitation as a "death spiral."

As a journalist of sorts, I'm watching to see whether there is any headline this month to the effect that the minimum has recovered significantly for the second summer in a row. I haven't yet seen one and I'm not holding my breath.
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The filaments of the former Erika are drifting off to the South East.
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Quoting serialteg:
Crap. 95L is blacked out on the FNMOC site.


huh??
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Quoting JupiterFL:


I see we have orange...

What kind of car is that in your avatar?

nothing special, just an old wagon we had... 95L has south florida written all over it
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And so the madness begins ... we have orange. roar.
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Rounding out a dry winter in Sydney
Josh Fisher, Friday September 4, 2009

Over the past month Sydney only saw 5.8 millimetres of rain, making it the sixth driest August in 149 years of records. Much of eastern and northern parts of New South Wales have seen less than 20% of their average August rainfall. The recent rainfall was little help to the well below averages.

This comes after the driest July in five years and an average June resulting in below average winter rainfall. For Sydney, 189mm of rain have been picked up this winter, 121mm below average. With the deficit, the Sydney catchments have now fallen below 59% over the past month.

The spring outlook does not look particularly promising. There are no strong indications of good rainfall in the new season to make up for the winter deficit. The chance of having a wetter than average season in Sydney is about 45%.

- Weatherzone
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Quoting Floodman:


PSSST!!! So did dubya...face it, they're all the same guy, okay? Fighting amongst ourselves because we beleive in a different fictional ideology than the next guy is stupid...we're being played, and the politticians are doing the playing


I suspect you've been reading Aldous Huxley's Doors of Perception or even better, actually engaging in the subject matter he wrote about;)
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Quoting AussieStorm:



nice, you found one not blacked out!
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1988
Lurking today,and have to tell you this is one strange blog today.
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Quoting AussieStorm:
Red Centre bakes in hottest winter ever
Kirsty Nancarrow, Tuesday September 4, 2009 -

The Red Centre has had its hottest winter on record.

Sam Cleland from the Northern Territory Bureau of Meteorology says Alice Springs recorded 16 days above 30 degrees in August.

He says it was a remarkable month for many parts of the Territory, with temperatures often five or six degrees higher than usual.

"The circumstances that brought this on are interesting," he said.

"Really what we saw was a lack of the big high pressure systems pumping in colder air from more southern climes.

"And as a result of that we didn't get the flushing out of colder air and the air mass was just a little bit more stagnant than normal and continued to heat up as the month went on."

The bureau says it was also the hottest August for the Australian continent.


Thank you for posting this! I was speaking to a colleague in Oz a bit ago from the States and he concluded our conversation by asking if people in the US were taking global warming seriously yet....
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Crap. 95L is blacked out on the FNMOC site.
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1988
Quoting serialteg:


Finally weather! Hmmm ... invest upgrade?

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i hope he wont copy his brother

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Frederic
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Quoting Floodman:


PSSST!!! So did dubya...face it, they're all the same guy, okay? Fighting amongst ourselves because we beleive in a different fictional ideology than the next guy is stupid...we're being played, and the politticians are doing the playing


that is completely true.
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SO we have 95l?
Sydney enjoys mildest August days in 14 years
Press Release, Friday September 4, 2009 -

If Sydneysiders thought that winter finished early this year, they would be right – the city has just experienced its mildest August days in 14 years.

The city had an average maximum of 21 degrees, well above the long term normal of 18. This made it the mildest August in terms of daytime temperatures since 1995. In fact, on the 16th and then again on the 29th, the city hit 26 degrees, the warmest August days in two years.

The unseasonal weather was not just restricted to Sydney, either. For example, Glen Innes, on the Northern Tablelands, had an average maximum of 19 degrees, its highest for August in 94 years of records.

"Heat has been building over the interior in recent weeks. When we had a couple of bursts of westerly winds, this heat was dragged down towards New South Wales, leading to weather more typical of summer than winter," weatherzone.com.au meteorologist Matt Pearce said.

The nights were also mild. Sydney had an average minimum of 10 degrees, slightly above the long term normal of nine. This made it the mildest August in terms of overnight temperatures since 2007. In fact, on the morning of the 24th, the temperature in the city did not fall below 17 degrees, making it the mildest August night in two years.

Once again, the warmth was not just restricted to Sydney. For example, Hay, in the Riverina, had an average minimum of seven degrees, its highest for August in 128 years of records.

When both daytime and overnight temperatures were combined, Sydney’s average temperature for August came in at 16 degrees, well above the long term normal of 13. This made it the mildest August since 2007.

It was also a very dry month. Sydney picked up just six millimetres, significantly below the long term normal of 82mm. This made it the driest August since 2005.

The dry trend was repeated across the state. Alstonville, on the far north coast, received just one millimetre, its lowest total for August in 46 years of records.

"There was a complete lack of significant rain-bearing systems to affect New South Wales during August. Cold fronts tended to remain well south of the state, leading to low rainfall west of the Divide, and there were no east coast lows, which can sometimes bring widespread rain to the coast at this time of year," Pearce said.

"We are expecting the very warm weather to continue across New South Wales through spring. An El Nino pattern is now in place, and these typically lead to above average temperatures and below average rainfall across eastern Australia during spring."
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Quoting CaneHunter031472:


Pssst Obama is in power now, and he promised change sheeple.


PSSST!!! So did dubya...face it, they're all the same guy, okay? Fighting amongst ourselves because we beleive in a different fictional ideology than the next guy is stupid...we're being played, and the politticians are doing the playing
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
AL 95 2009090418 BEST 0 137N 257W 20 1009 DB


Yes, it's on the Navy site
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
AL 95 2009090418 BEST 0 137N 257W 20 1009 DB


Finally weather! Hmmm ... invest upgrade?
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1988
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
AL 95 2009090418 BEST 0 137N 257W 20 1009 DB


So we now have Invest 95L. Nice. Will be interesting to see the computer model runs.
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Quoting gordydunnot:
I told you Art Bell(aka Methane Mike} would comeback. I'm out going to give it a break. Have a nice weekend.


Art Bell doesn't talk about electrics. A better source would be Dr. Tinsley of UT Dallas.
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Quoting DVG:


Glad you don't handle my investment account.


You're inferiority complex is really showing by the way you automatically imposed my argument on yourself. By the way, you'd be a hell of a lot richer if you did...but I guess you will become rich in the same investment vehicles that EVERYONE else is in (401k's, Ira's, Annuities). I have a little investment secret for you: If everyone is doing the same thing (401'ks IRA's etc) nobody is really lifting themselves up above anyone else. If everyone is special then by definition, nobody is special. This thought holds true for the stock market. By the way, if you bought lots of Ford stock's a $2 a share a few month ago or silver when it was a $10 you'd be richer. Moral: Buy low sell high. Easier said than done when emotions get involved.
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Quoting palmbaywhoo:
thats more like it


I see we have orange...

What kind of car is that in your avatar?
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Quoting cajunmoma:


I didn't know the Government owned fire departments? Just asking because I have never heard of that before??


Who did you think ran fire departments, especially in large cities? It's government. We have a volunteer fire dept in my small town but they have to adhere to government requirements. BTW, having a volunteer fire dept. really raises our insurance rates....
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It seems the Admin will have to ban us all ... if for off topic.

It would be nice to quote a line from a movie I saw months ago, with Keanu Reeves and this alien machine that came to Earth ... obviously to Manhattan (thank God for District9 for changing that tired cliche). Upon the Earth facing decimation, a scientist told the one who could end the destruction:

"People on Earth usually stop their destructive behavior and change once it is on the brink."

Since most people don't see themselves on the brink just yet - they look at the sky and it's clear (in some parts it's NOT clear), the gas pumps are still working, even though they have to pay twice as much as they did before 9/11 - and it came to a point where it was almost FOUR times as much, around 2007 - and they say "What global warning? It's a hoax, conspiracy theory."

Do you really want to know how bad is the public health care system in Puerto Rico for young people, non-Medicare?

I'm all for public, Canada - UK - Cuba - France style healthcare. But not how I have it.

Doctors make less money the more they refer you to specialists, under my current public plan, which I have because I don't have a job since January, and at least they give that free option for healthcare. But because of that aforemention reason, I go to my doctor and he/she kind of hurries me out, even though I have multiple ailments that need attention from specialists.

That's not health care. That's health uncare.

Not like I'm defending the private sector over it. Altough I would love to have a job, so I could get better healthcare, I believe everyone should get great healthcare from the start of their lives, independent of their income, as sort of a national progress birthmark.

It's related to warming in the sense that Big Money is related, very related. Politically intertwined. And most probably, running the entire U.S. Government. So... it affects me as a U.S. citizen. By the way, that public healthcare option, it's in Puerto Rico. It's been there I believe for about 15 years. But most doctors won't take it, because government pays so bad - takes a long time.

I would love to have a solar car, electric like the Tesla - waiting for it to be more economical, more practical, more commercially available, and better made. It's a field I could get into as a professional later on.

Like someone said here, just run your car and close the garage (those who have one - or just park it in a closed space and leave the windows open) and see what happens. That's basically Global Warming in a nutshell.

Don't believe science? It's not the first time it's been done.
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1988
Quoting presslord:
yea...but I like Flood...certainly don't wish that on him...


Thanks, Press...just reading thwe back blog (I went out to get lunch)...
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Quoting tkeith:
huh?

sorry wrong blog...

I thought I was in Doc's blog...my bad.


Its Obama's blog....i mean Dr. Masters......oh heck you know what i mean........LOL
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Quoting StormChaser81:


Yummy, making me hungry, NOT...


i agree with you on that...Definately NOT...lol
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It's peak lightning right now, but in the context of low sun spot numbers.
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Quoting LUCARIO:
CODE ORANGE ON NHC

Fred is sneaky

If you look at all the graphics I posted earlier, you should understand why its orange.
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AL 95 2009090418 BEST 0 137N 257W 20 1009 DB
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Quoting CaneHunter031472:


Big what winter season? Solar flare? Polar Shift? Democrats loosing 90% of congress and senate in 2010? the end of the world in 2012? Please be secific.


all of it will happen
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Actually it does support my argument perfectly.

Here I make the call 7 MONTHS ago about it:

http://www.youtube.com/user/liquidpaper4#play/all/uploads-all/0/zd0CqWcqHJo

Warming is all according to MSU data in northern hemisphere -- consistant with peak lightning occurring during late summer/early fall for northern hemisphere!
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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