Embattled UK climate scientist steps down

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:53 PM GMT on December 03, 2009

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The embattled director of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU), Dr. Phil Jones, announced that he will be temporarily standing aside as director. An independent review of his conduct in light of the emails illegally hacked from his computers last month is in progress. In a press release, Professor Jones said: "What is most important is that CRU continues its world leading research with as little interruption and diversion as possible. After a good deal of consideration I have decided that the best way to achieve this is by stepping aside from the Director's role during the course of the independent review and am grateful to the University for agreeing to this. The Review process will have my full support".

The University and the police are investigating the break-in, and it is currently unknown if this was the act of an insider or an external break-in. I think it is highly unlikely this was the work of an insider in a whistle-blower type of action, since a computer at realclimate.org was hacked into the same week (via a computer in Turkey), and the criminal attempted to upload the emails stolen from CRU to the realclimate.org server. This is not the sort of action a whistleblower would do. Dr. Gavin Schmidt of realclimate.org said in a comment yesterday that the CRU break-in appeared to have been done from the outside, into a backup mail server. It is unlikely the hacker acted alone, since hackers aren't typically intimately familiar with the details of the climate change science debate. The emails and code stolen were selectively culled by someone who appeared to have considerable expertise in climate science.

What did Dr. Jones do wrong?
So, what did Dr. Jones do wrong? For starters, he should have confronted the allegations raised by his critics immediately and talked candidly to the press about some of the specific accusations being made. For example, one of the emails contained the statement that he would like to "redefine what the peer-reviewed literature is" to exclude two questionable papers from the IPCC report. Well, that's not something a good scientist should seriously advocate, and is an impossibility, in any case. No one can redefine the peer-reviewed literature, since the rules for this are well-established an not subject to change. When I read the comment in the context it was made, it reads as a joke. There is no discussion in the hacked emails about how to go about redefining the peer-reviewed literature. In the end, the two papers Jones was referring to with this comment, McKitrick and Michaels (2004) and Kalnay and Cai (2003), ended up being cited and discussed in Chapter 2 of the IPCC AR4 report. Those intent on discrediting the science of human-caused global warming are spinning the comment differently, creating a controversy about something that is impossible to do, and was not being seriously suggested. Jones should have immediately spoken up to quash the hype on this comment.

The "trick" to "hide the decline"
Another area of concern is over a graph Dr. Jones helped construct in 1999 showing the "hockey stick" of Earth's surface temperature going back 1,000 years. This graph combined instrumental measurements made since the 1800s with older paleoclimate data (including data from tree rings) to show a continuous 1,000 year record of Earth's temperatures. The paleoclimate data after 1960 show a bogus decline in Earth's temperatures that does not agree with what modern thermometers have been measuring, due to a well-known variation in tree ring thickness as a function of time, referred to as "the decline". Thus, Jones elected to toss out the bogus paleoclimate data (using a "trick" to "hide the decline") rather than present it in the graph. The graph was not properly labeled to show this was done, so viewers of the graph would have had needed to be familiar with a 1998 paper published in Nature or the 1999 paper referenced in the caption on the graph, which explained this well-known data issue. The graph that Jones used his "trick" on was put into a 1999 report called the "WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate". The report was given to policy makers, but was never published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. No reputable climate scientist believes that the paleoclimate data since 1960 is of higher quality than the instrumental record (this is discussed in detail in Chapter 6 of the 2007 IPCC report). In order to make the "hokey stick" graph less confusing, removing "the decline" from the tree ring data is a reasonable thing to do--provided one labels the graph properly. The graph was not properly labeled. Does Jones' "trick" and failure to properly label the graph constitute data falsification, or was it merely sloppy science? The hacked emails contain no suggestions that the "trick" was done to intentionally fool people, and the "trick" never appeared in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, including the IPCC reports. In Dr. Jones' words, "This is well-known and is called the "decline" or "divergence". The use of the term "hiding the decline" was in an email written in haste. CRU has not sought to hide the decline. Indeed, CRU has published a number of articles that both illustrate, and discuss the implications of, this recent tree-ring decline, including the article that is listed in the legend of the WMO Statement figure".




Figure 1. The WMO 1999 "hockey stick" figure (top) with climate reconstructions and instrumental temperatures merged, and a version (bottom) with the climate reconstructions (coloured) and instrumental temperatures (annual & summer in black) shown separately. Note "the decline" in the temperature obtained from tree ring data (green curve) in the bottom curve. Image credit: University of East Anglia.

Global warming contrarians are spinning the "trick" as reason to discredit the "hockey stick", claiming that the data was falsified to hide the fact that tree rings were telling the real story. Since the hockey stick was falsified, some claim, the entire science behind human-caused global warming needs to be questioned. This is plain ludicrous. The graph was never published in a scientific journal. Several updated versions of the "hockey stick" graph have been published in the ten years since the disputed graph was produced, and the "hockey stick" can be reproduced in essentially the same form excluding the controversial tree rings, using other paleoclimate data such as boreholes (See Mann et al., 2008, Figure 2). Furthermore, the peer-reviewed science supporting human-caused global warming is not based solely upon the "hockey stick" and the CRU data used for the last 150 years of the hockey stick graph. There are three separate data sets of global temperatures maintained by NASA, the CRU, and NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, that all show essentially the same global warming. We also have evidence from nature herself in the form of plants and animals expanding their ranges poleward, the record loss of Arctic sea ice in 2007 and record loss of multi-year Arctic sea ice this year, the shrinking of mountain glaciers, reductions in the length of freeze season in many Northern Hemisphere lakes and rivers, the shifting of spring blooms earlier in most regions of the world, and on and on and on. Again, Jones should have spoken up immediately to kill the ridiculous hype being pushed by global warming contrarians about the importance of a 10-year old graph that is now scientifically irrelevant, and was never published.


Figure 2. The "hockey stick" of global temperature anomalies since 300 A.D., as published in a 2008 paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Mann et al.. Even if one excludes tree rings (blue curve), the hockey stick looks the same.

Resistance to releasing data to other researchers
The hacked emails also show that Dr. Jones resisted releasing his data to contrarians and urged others to delete emails regarding Freedom Of Information (FOI) related requests. Many countries protect their weather data under an international agreement called World Meteorological Organization Resolution 40, which prohibits the data from being made public (this is why wunderground can't give out the UKMET model forecasts on our web site, for example). About 5% of the CRU data fell in that category, making release illegal. However, deleting emails related to FOI requests is inadvisable and implies one has something to hide. The investigation should certainly pursue the issue of whether Dr. Jones properly handled the requests to turn over his data to outside researchers. Ideally, weather data documenting Earth's climate history should be free to everyone on the planet (I am not a big fan of WMO Resolution 40). However, another aspect to this issue is the time it takes for the scientists involved to prepare the data for release. Large, complicated data sets require extensive documentation and access to related computer codes in order to process them, and making the data available to every amateur investigator interested in the data puts an unfair burden on the scientists who maintain the data sets. In particular, an amateur climate science investigator named Stephen McIntyre, who runs the web site Climate Audit, has created such an issue. McIntyre, a retired mining executive and an investor, is not a professional scientist, but has been successful identifying several technical errors made in the published literature. He has also generated a huge amount of misleading and incorrect information over the years, and has done a tremendous amount of damage to the understanding of climate science. McIntyre is intent on discrediting the science of human-caused global warming--presumably for ideological reasons, since he has no obvious ties to the fossil fuel industry--and has generated a large number of Freedom of Information requests to further his cause. One of the hacked emails, from Dr. Ben Santer, complained that McIntyre's FOI requests were intrusive and unreasonable with no scientific justification or explanation given, and appeared to be a calculated strategy to divert Santer's attention and focus away from research. It's worth reading Santer's reaction to the hacked email affair to learn more. Given such tactics by McIntyre, Dr. Jones' resistance to FOI requests from McIntyre is understandable, but appears to have been poorly handled.

The science of human-caused global warming remains unaffected
None of the hacked emails reveal any conspiracy to publish falsified or "fudged" material in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. The science of human-caused global warming will require no revision as a result of this affair. Baseless accusations of fraud, data manipulation, and conspiracy against climate change scientists stemming from the hacked emails are being massively hyped by the Manufactured Doubt industry in an effort to discredit climate scientists, since no flaw with the science can be found. Most of the public is in no position to distinguish good science from bad, so if you can create doubt, uncertainty, and confusion, you can win--or at least buy time, lots of it. The hacked email affair is all about politics, not science. Dr. Jones is an excellent scientist, but unfortunately was over-matched as a politician. It was hardly a fair fight--one scientist against the political might of the mightiest PR campaign against science ever waged, armed with some selectively culled stolen emails taken out of context.

Other posts in this series
The Manufactured Doubt industry and the hacked email controversy
Is more CO2 beneficial for Earth's ecosystems?

Next post
I'm working on a post called, "Don't shoot the messenger", and plan to run this Sunday or Monday.

Our Climate Change expert, Dr. Ricky Rood, will be in Copenhagen for Monday's start to the crucial COP15 climate change treaty negotiations. Be sure to tune into his blog for updates on the talks. Wunderground has provided financial support for several University of Michigan students to attend the talks, and I may be featuring portions of their blogs over the coming weeks.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting RitaEvac:
First stages have to take place for the snow event:

1. radar has to show echos
2. where are the echos/and intensity
3. is the air column cooling as expected
4. will today's sun keep ground too warm for accumalation
5.how long does event last
6. will pandomonium take place tomm in the south


Fear Not! The meteorologists and computer models are in decent agreement that there will be a "decent snow storm" for portions of your CWA. Be sure and take plenty of pictures and post those "bad boys" online for us all to see :0)!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Also on the local weather, from the Miami NWS:

Statement as of 5:32 PM EST on December 3, 2009

... Record high temperature set at Fort Lauderdale today...

The maximum temperature today at Fort Lauderdale international
Airport reached 89 degrees at 1:40 PM EST. This breaks the record
high temperature for December 3rd... previously 87 degrees set in
1921. This also is just one degree shy of tying the all time record
high temperature for the month of December... which is 90 degrees set
on December 8, 1919.
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473. xcool
:0
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Quoting xcool:





Nada for New Orleans ahh..
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Any snow maps for NC?
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Quoting mrnicktou:


For what area?
The southeast. around mobile alabama
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469. xcool



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Many things cause climate change over time. Things related to the sun, celestial mechanics, the overall naturally changing earth chemistry, land mass distribution and its effects on sea currents and temperatures and atmospheric mechanics, the evolution and distribution of life forms, plaque tectonics and volcanism, ice distribution and its effects on albedo and more. the cycles overlap and affect each other.

A stochastic analysis of them renders explanations and predictions that look more like probability clouds than point blank results. Also, the evolution of these cycles is not linear.

May be, in the big scheme of things, the hockey stick spike after the little ice age is not the biggest thing but is too important to ignore.

I'm an economist and managed hedge funds for a long time. We deal with the most advanced math available to science. When I see graphs like these, with NASA, NOAA and CRU data, I would certainly pay serious attention.

I do not want to sound elitist but, Science has become so complex and technical that is almost impossible to be a renaissance man and understand everything and be versed on it.

Plato once said that Democracy was the weakest of the government systems because most people were not philosophers. This seems to be holding today and the big interests (I am in the middle of them) have a big time party.

Interestingly, our founding fathers never mention the word Democracy in the nation's originating docs and, in order for the 'we the people' to hold, created a complex and relatively inefficient government structure, with checks and balances and a representative democracy, fight of factions and balance of interests doctrines. Then, most people were illiterate.

Now, the body of knowledge is too big for anyone to have a big hold on it, and these relative ignorance is the food that feeds the propaganda machines of the special interests, which have the actual legal obligation of making profits or face criminal and civil charges.

In the absence of economic means for other factions to protect society from results from the fiduciary obligations of the corporate side of the special interests, our government intervenes, as the ultimate risk manager, so a neutral balance occurs (at least in theory). That's why, in part, we fund independent scientific research.
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Atmo.. I liked this.. made me think. I had not considered the particulant side of the pollution plumes.

No way could one claim that the surface instrumentation downwind of, say, Pittsburgh from 1950 to now wouldn't be partly influenced the diminished scattering of incoming sunlight in the atmosphere. Simply not possible.

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466. xcool
http://www.ral.ucar.edu/weather/model/index.php?model=gfs go here
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465. xcool
weatherman874 n.o get 1to 2 ich
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First stages have to take place for the snow event:

1. radar has to show echos
2. where are the echos/and intensity
3. is the air column cooling as expected
4. will today's sun keep ground too warm for accumalation
5.how long does event last
6. will pandomonium take place tomm in the south
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting theFatherofNature:
Anyone know where I can find snow probability/ or accumulation maps?


For what area?
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Anyone know where I can find snow probability/ or accumulation maps?
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Quoting PcolaDan:
Is it just me that notices that there seem to be a whole lot of people coming out of the woodwork that never post in this blog until global warming is mentioned? Never see their names pop up when severe storms, hurricanes, Nor'easters, or something of the sort are being discussed.


Welcome to the blog? What I find more amusing is that quite frequently, many of these selective trolls are some of the most uninformed/misinformed people I have had the displeasure of conversing with.
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Quoting xcool:
slidell snow 3to 5 ich


WOO! New Orleans are better get some otherwise im going north!!
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This is too simple to be right. Please, someone show me where it fails

A Simple Proof that Global Warming is not Man-made
Written by Dr. David Evans
Wednesday, 02 December 2009
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Global warming started long before the "Industrial Revolution" and the invention of the internal combustion engine. Global warming began 18,000 years ago as the earth started warming its way out of the Pleistocene Ice Age-- a time when much of North America, Europe, and Asia lay buried beneath great sheets of glacial ice.

Earth's climate and the biosphere have been in constant flux, dominated by ice ages and glaciers for the past several million years. We are currently enjoying a temporary reprieve from the deep freeze.

-ENJOYING!!!!! a temperature reprieve from a deep freeze
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If someone is having S T R E T C H issues, really, it is time for a browser update.
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Quoting hurricanejunky:
Hey RitaEvac,
Could you possibly please stop stretching the blog with REALLY long and sometimes redundant posts? Not trying to be derogatory, serious request here.

I fail to see the redundancy in RitaEvac's posts. The snow event for Houston is a MAJOR event for the area, and completely appropriate for this blog, especially considering how many here live in the Houston area.

Also... please note that quite a few of the GW-related posts are redundant, and some are even confrontational. (not necessarily yours, but I've seen quite a few).

In other words... pot, meet kettle.
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453. xcool
slidell snow 3to 5 ich
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


The problem is we are burning fuels more efficiently of course - creating a carbon imbalance in the form of CO2 as opposed to the larger carbon particle/ hydrocarbon conglomerate.

Ahh, but you parried...

What percent of our last-50-years temperature trend is attributable to cleaner particulate emissions?

No way could one claim that the surface instrumentation downwind of, say, Pittsburgh from 1950 to now wouldn't be partly influenced the diminished scattering of incoming sunlight in the atmosphere. Simply not possible.

I think this is a very important question. We cannot attribute trend A to forcing Y if forcing X has not been accounted for in the measurements.
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Quoting NRAamy:
432. mrnicktou 1:59 PM PST on December 03, 2009
Nobody wants to answer the question accept for one funny guy with a wholly mammoth answer


guy? guy??! I'm a chick! Just ask presslord!!!!!


You tell him, Amy!

And with that, I'm out...going home to the Floodman! :)
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Quoting PcolaDan:
Is it just me that notices that there seem to be a whole lot of people coming out of the woodwork that never post in this blog until global warming is mentioned? Never see their names pop up when severe storms, hurricanes, Nor'easters, or something of the sort are being discussed.



If you were talking about me I started watching this blog early hurricane season this year and really haven't posted much just learning about everything but I have posted sometimes and this global warming thing is amazing out how much people can believe. The only reason al gore even try's to make people believe this is so he can sell carbon credits and make money. Even he has a big house a personal jet and lots of other eminities that create CO2 so apparently he is a hypocrite and the other sheep that follow him are just as redundantly uninformed as the next person
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Lowlights From The Lions 19-Game Losing Streak

*contains a couple of swear words
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
dashboard cow man.....hahahahahaha!

;)
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Quoting NRAamy:
432. mrnicktou 1:59 PM PST on December 03, 2009
Nobody wants to answer the question accept for one funny guy with a wholly mammoth answer


guy? guy??! I'm a chick! Just ask presslord!!!!!


Whew!!!! Had me worried for a moment. Thought there was something you forgot to mention... operation!!!
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


It has decreased. The temp increased.

So what portion of our last-50-years temperature trend is attributable to cleaner particulate emissions vs more CO2, in your opinion?

Undeniable that a temperature trend over the span of 1950 to now wouldn't owe some credit to the diminished scattering of incoming sunlight in the atmosphere.
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Quoting NRAamy:
432. mrnicktou 1:59 PM PST on December 03, 2009
Nobody wants to answer the question accept for one funny guy with a wholly mammoth answer


guy? guy??! I'm a chick! Just ask presslord!!!!!


My bad
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Quoting mrnicktou:


So this year since it was an la nina year (sorry if i got that backwards for some reason that and el nino confuse me only thing) but since it was we had a couple hurricanes and nobody says global warming caused it. But yet when we get a 2005 type year and hurricanes are everywhere why do we hear about global warming? Its going to be a really cold winter in the SE because of la nina effects not because of global warming or melting of polar ice caps.


Those who blame 2005 on global warming are idiots, plain and simple.
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Is it just me that notices that there seem to be a whole lot of people coming out of the woodwork that never post in this blog until global warming is mentioned? Never see their names pop up when severe storms, hurricanes, Nor'easters, or something of the sort are being discussed.

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Adrian Peterson cited for speeding

We all knew he was fast haha
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
432. mrnicktou 1:59 PM PST on December 03, 2009
Nobody wants to answer the question accept for one funny guy with a wholly mammoth answer


guy? guy??! I'm a chick! Just ask presslord!!!!!
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:

Short answer: Milankovich cycles. As the Earth's position to the sun causes warming, the biosphere releases CO2 emissions, warming it up. But the change in CO2 concentrations from 1800 to today is actually greater than the change between the peak of the last ice age (20,000 years bp) to 1800.

Big problem. The CO2 spikes in prehistorical times as (per ice cores) come 800 years AFTER the temperature spikes. So the "warming it up" had nothing at all to do with the CO2 concentration
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Quoting Bordonaro:


No, all of us have not been banned.
I am not perfect, neither do I walk on water. I raised 5 children, I'm almost 50. I do not like watching grown adults act like children, so I lurk or visit other internet sites of interest to myself.


We have much in common, Bordonaro - the kids, the age and the dislike of adults squabbling like pre-schoolers. And don't you live in North Texas, too? :)
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Boo yah!!

Visible images show rapid N expansion of S TX moisture/cloud shield suggesting the GFS may in fact be getting ready to nail this event from Monday. Things appear to be coming together just as the GFS has been suggesting. With this in mind will go ahead and bump up to 70% chance of snow for Friday in line with the GFS output and mirror accumulations close to this model…especially since the 18Z NAM is falling in line with this thinking and the other drier models have swung toward the wetter solutions. Event is starting to look very similar to the Great 2004 Christmas snowstorm…although totals do not look as likely as in 2004.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
Global Dimming

Here is the nail in the coffin for solar forcing GW since the 50's.

...as a direct result of reflection/scattering by aerosols and smog that largely increased from the 50s to the early 80s and then was largely reduced, at least in North America, due to curtailing particulate emissions starting in the late 70s.

And is still present in some locations for a few days a year in the form of NOx (brown haze), but thankfully not the way it used to be with clouds of particulate aerosols downwind of every single factory smokestack, power plant, etc.

So now the particulate aerosol part of that equation has been reduced here. So less "clean" sunlight from the 50s through the late 70s, then "cleaner" since. How is that accounted for in the historical measurements? I don't believe it is.

What was your point?
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Nobody wants to answer the question accept for one funny guy with a wholly mammoth answer nice. Why does nobody want to answer it? (that rhetorical) Because that one question there debunks man-made global warming.

Read up on Unstoppable Global Warming every 1,500 years and you will learn that the Earth has cycles and doesn't stay the same temperature every day/month/year.
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:

Ugh. Product of China. Bigger letters say Lenovo Singapore, prob. the distributor, and it looks like maybe the software.
Thanks, though.

Whoa, everybody's posts disappeared. Are we ALL banned? (j/k) Just the system doing it's thing, seen this before.


No, all of us have not been banned.

The GW blogs are interesting, but many want to argue their points, which I recognize as part of a debate. Unfortunately, some take it personal, then act childish or foolishly.

I am not perfect, neither do I walk on water. I raised 5 children, I'm almost 50. I do not like watching grown adults act like children, so I lurk or visit other internet sites of interest to myself.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Boo yah!!

Visible images show rapid N expansion of S TX moisture/cloud shield suggesting the GFS may in fact be getting ready to nail this event from Monday. Things appear to be coming together just as the GFS has been suggesting. With this in mind will go ahead and bump up to 70% chance of snow for Friday in line with the GFS output and mirror accumulations close to this model…especially since the 18Z NAM is falling in line with this thinking and the other drier models have swung toward the wetter solutions. Event is starting to look very similar to the Great 2004 Christmas snowstorm…although totals do not look as likely as in 2004.
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Quoting pottery:
LST--thats IT!


Ooohhh...I could get into a lotta trouble on that website! Some people surf porn...I prefer art. LOL
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Hey RitaEvac,
Could you possibly please stop stretching the blog with REALLY long and sometimes redundant posts? Not trying to be derogatory, serious request here.
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
Quoting mrnicktou:


Oh so it not being cold in Houston and Texas or SE U.S. for all that matters in Global Warming?

ANSWER THIS QUESTION ANYBODY!!!

"How have we gotten out of the EVERY Ice Age if we have not had man-made global warming?"

You can't thats why JFLORIDA other person who thinks they know everything you CAN'T

Short answer: Milankovich cycles. As the Earth's position to the sun causes warming, the biosphere releases CO2 emissions, warming it up. But the change in CO2 concentrations from 1800 to today is actually greater than the change between the peak of the last ice age (20,000 years bp) to 1800.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Global warming does not dictate that unseasonably cold temperatures and consequent winter events cannot occur from time to time.


So this year since it was an la nina year (sorry if i got that backwards for some reason that and el nino confuse me only thing) but since it was we had a couple hurricanes and nobody says global warming caused it. But yet when we get a 2005 type year and hurricanes are everywhere why do we hear about global warming? Its going to be a really cold winter in the SE because of la nina effects not because of global warming or melting of polar ice caps.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:


Oh you want technical, Ok you up the ante lets REQUIRE it from now on - deal?


Sounds good, peer reviewed are a lot better than something you find on google search.
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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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