Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth movie review

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:02 PM GMT on June 19, 2006

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Al Gore's global warming movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," aims to call attention to the dangers society faces from climate change, and suggests urgent actions that need to be taken immediately. It is based on a slide show on climate Gore has presented to audiences worldwide over 1000 times in the past 15 years, but it is not purely a documentary. Gore's movie is an advocacy piece that is part documentary, part biography, and part campaign ad. I'll discuss all three of these aspects below. In brief, Al Gore has the right idea--climate change is an urgent issue that requires immediate action, and his thoughtful movie is a welcome addition to the usual array of mindless Hollywood summer fare. However, the movie has flaws. The presentation of the science is good, but not great--I rate it B minus. The excessive details on Al Gore's life make the movie too long, and his insistence on using the movie as something of a campaign ad detracts from its message.

An Inconvenient Truth as a biography of Al Gore
The creators of the movie presumably thought that simply presenting Gore's slide show would be too dull, so they decided to give the movie some human interest by interweaving a biography of Al Gore's life. Al Gore has led an interesting life, but "interesting" and "Al Gore" are not words one can often put together. As my daughter noted in her movie review yesterday, Al Gore is boring, and the 20 minutes or so of biography presented in An Inconvenient Truth is too much for a movie that is 1 hour and 36 minutes long. For example, I didn't really need to see the road where Al Gore totaled his car when he was 14 years old, or a replay of his loss in the 2000 election. On the other hand, some details of his past were interesting and relevant, such as the fact that he took college courses in the late 1960s from Harvard's Dr. Roger Revelle. Revelle and Dr. Charles Keeling were the pioneers in measurements of atmospheric CO2, and thus Gore got a very early exposure to the now infamous "Keeling Curve" (Figure 1), showing the build-up of atmospheric CO2. This early exposure to the significant impact humans were having on the atmosphere deeply affected Gore, and in the movie he details efforts he made to call attention to the issue long before most people had heard of it, back in the 1970s and 80s. Gore's slide show appropriately displays many graphs of the Keeling Curve, as it is probably the most important and most famous finding in climate change science.


Figure 1. The Keeling Curve is a record of CO2 measurements taken at he top of Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii since 1958.

The science of An Inconvenient Truth
The science presented is mostly good, and at times compelling, but there are a few errors and one major distortion of the truth. Gore does an excellent job focusing on the most important issues, and usually presents them with a minimum of hype and distortion. The only exception to this comes in his treatment of global warming and extreme weather events such as hurricanes.

Basic global warming science
Gore begins the science part of his talk with a very easy to understand presentation on the basics of how the greenhouse effect works. His speech is clear, the graphics top notch, and he spices it up with a hilarious two-minute cartoon depicting roughneck global warming gases preventing poor Mr. Sunbeam from escaping Earth's atmosphere. Gore addresses the argument of skeptics who claim that the Earth is too big for humans to affect by showing Space Shuttle photos of how thin the atmosphere really is compared to the vast bulk of our planet. "The problem we now face is that this thin layer of atmosphere is being thickened by huge quantities of carbon dioxide," he asserts, which is not correct. The build-up of CO2 has virtually no effect on the density or thickness of Earth's atmosphere. The correct thing to say would have been, "The problem we now face is that this thin layer of atmosphere is being made more opaque to the transmission of infrared radiation (heat) by huge quantities of carbon dioxide."

Glaciers
Gore shows an impressive series of "then and now" images documenting the widespread retreat of many glaciers over the past century. Most dramatically, he shows Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro, whose 11,000 year-old glaciers are almost gone. While not all the world's glaciers have retreated in the past century, Gore's presentation is an effective and reasonable way to show how global warming has affected the majority of the world's glaciers. Greenhouse skeptics, including Michael Crichton in his State of Fear book, are fond of bashing those who use Mt. Kilimanjaro as a poster child for demonstrating global warming. They cite scientific research showing that the glacial retreat on Mt. Kilimanjaro is due to drying of the atmosphere, not global warming. However, as discussed at great length in a realclimate.org post, the research which supposedly supports the skeptics' claims has been widely misquoted and misinterpreted, and much of Kilimanjaro's melting can indeed be ascribed to warming of the atmosphere since 1960.

Gore does an excellent job discussing the ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica. Again, Gore's graphics are superb, and he does a nice job narrating. He shows animations of what a 20-foot rise in sea level would do to Manhattan, Florida, India, and China. A 20-foot sea level rise is what we expect if all of Greenland or all of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt. Such a 20-foot rise is not expected by 2100, and it would have been appropriate for Gore to acknowledge that the consensus of climate scientists--as published in the most recent report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)--is that sea level is likely to rise between 4 and 35 inches, with a central value of 19 inches, by 2100. He should have also mentioned that temperatures in Greenland in the 1930s were about as warm as today's temperatures, so the current melting of Greenland's glaciers does have historical precedent. Nevertheless, the risk of a catastrophic melting and break-up of the Greenland or West Antarctic ice sheets is very real, when we consider that sea level before the most recent ice age was 15 feet higher than it is now. Gore is right to draw attention to what might happen if sea level rose 20 feet.

Drought and heat waves
An excellent discussion of the most serious climate change issue our generation is likely to face, the threat of increased drought and reduced water supplies, is presented. Gore makes reference to the extreme heat wave that affected Europe during the summer of 2004, and I was glad to see that he didn't blame the heat wave on global warming--he merely said that more events of this nature will be likely in the future.

Hurricanes and severe weather
The biggest failure in the movie's presentation of science comes in the discussion hurricanes and severe weather events. The devastation wrought by Katrina is used to very dramatic effect to warn of the dangers climate change presents. We are told that Katrina grew "stronger and stronger and stronger" as it passed over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico that were heated up by global warming. We are told that global warming is increasing the intensity of hurricanes, but not provided information on the great amount of uncertainty and vigorous scientific debate on this issue. Graphs showing recent record insurance losses from natural disasters are presented, but no mention is made of how increasing population and insistence on building in vulnerable areas are the predominant factors causing recent high insurance claims from disasters such as Katrina. Gore points to some unprecedented events in 2004 as evidence of increasing severe weather events worldwide--the record 10 typhoons in Japan, the most tornadoes ever in the U.S., and the appearance of Brazil's first hurricane ever. However, examples of this kind are meaningless. No single weather event, or unconnected series of severe weather events such as Gore presents, are indicative of climate change. In particular, the IPCC has not found any evidence that climate change has increased tornado frequency, or is likely to. Gore doesn't mention the unusually quiet tornado season of 2005, when for the first time ever, no tornadoes were reported in Oklahoma in the month of May.

Other science
Gore presents many other important aspects of climate change, including the threat of abrupt climate change leading to a shut-off of the Gulf Stream current, the increase in damaging insect infestations and tropical diseases, loss of coral reefs, loss of ice in the polar ice cap, and melting of permafrost in the Arctic. With the possible exception of his treatment of the spread of tropical diseases, all of these issues were presented with sound science.

An Inconvenient Truth as a campaign ad
Gore has repeatedly said that he has no intention of running for president again, and that this movie was created as part of his life-long passion to protect the environment. Gore undoubtedly does care very deeply about the planet, but this movie very much looks like a campaign ad. We are shown many scenes of Gore being applauded, Gore traveling the globe to present his slide show, and Gore working to uncover evidence of Republican shenanigans to alter or suppress climate change science. Gore is portrayed as a humble and tireless crusader for good, and if the movie is not intended to promote his political ambitions, it is certainly intended to benefit the Democratic Party. All this gets in the way of the movie's central message.

Conclusion
At the end of the movie, we are presented with the same image that Gore started the movie with, that of a beautiful river in the wilderness. Throughout the movie, Gore emphasizes how beautiful and special our planet is, and he does an effective job conveying this. He also makes a powerful case that something can and should be done to protect the planet, and it is worth hearing his message, even if the science is flawed and the messenger does get in the way of the message. Overall, the movie rates 2.5 stars--worth seeing, but you might want to wait until the DVD comes out.

At the end of the movie, Gore presents some tips on how everyone can contribute, and points people to his web site, www.climatecrisis.net. However, I would recommend that people who want to get educated about climate change get their information from web sites not associated with a politician; perhaps the least politicized source of information is the latest scientific summary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), a group of over 2000 scientists from 100 countries working under a mandate from the United Nations in the largest peer-reviewed scientific collaboration in history.

Jeff Masters

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428. skeptik
2:40 AM GMT on June 21, 2006
Hey mike, I live 28 miles north of New Orleans. I stayed the whole time and caught a tree on my house from it. I also own a small business that took a $15000 hit from it and was down for a month. So I understand what is at stake as much as anyone.

But the reality is that the problems in New Orleans were not Katrina's fault and in no way related to global warming. Ask the experts, Katrina was only a category 2 or 3 when it hit right? Thats what the Sea Foam told these "scientists" right?

I was in my house when the 80 foot pine tree flew 160 feet to land on the roof right over where my wife was napping. and 120 mph max winds did this correct? a 20 ton tree 160 feet like a lawn dart.

The cause of the problem was development in the wetlands and the subsequent erosion caused by men, canals that overtopped their levees dug by men, failed levees made by men and more politicians trying to get in the spotlight picking victems off the roof of their house rather than filling the breaches in the levees the first 3 days.

None of these issues were caused by global warming. It took scientists and engineers and politicians to cause every one of them. Now maybe you know why I am a SKEPTIK.
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427. skeptik
2:22 AM GMT on June 21, 2006
No little mike,

The real facts are that reality is seen, felt, and experienced. The way these statistics are arrived at are educated guesses. They may be the very best guesses that are available and I don't fault the real Scientists that are trying their best to arrive at the facts. I will however never accept data that is not:

1. Reproducable or documented in a way that places them above doubt.

2. Unbiased or coming from individuals without a motiviation to explain things either one way or another.

3. Completely One sided without logical consideration of all options that exist for an Idea.

4. That are reported in a way that allows an open discussion from all points of view both the pros and a the cons.

My opinions are just that, opinions. And as you know probably better than any one else on this post, Opinions are like a$$holes, everyone has one and they all stink.

And when real scientifically controlled data is pulished and it is above repute, I will fall in line behind all of you. But until then I will remain a "Skeptik."

Remember these headlines published in the last several years?

15 January 2002
Global Cooling In Antarctica
Antarctica overall has cooled measurably during the last 35 years - despite a global average increase in air temperature of 0.06 degrees Celsius during the 20th century - making it unique among the Earth's continental landmasses, according to a paper published today in the online version of Nature.

Researchers with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Longterm Ecological Research (LTER) site in Antarctica's Dry Valleys - a perpetually snow-free, mountainous area adjacent to McMurdo Sound - argue in the paper that long-term data from weather stations across the continent, coupled with a separate set of measurements from the Dry Valleys, confirm each other and corroborate the continental cooling trend.

Is a New Ice Age Under Way?
by Laurence Hecht

Watch out, Al Gore. The glaciers will get you! With that appended note, my friend, retired field geologist Jack Sauers, forwarded to me a report that should have been a lead item in every newspaper in the world. It was the news that the best-measured glacier in North America, the Nisqually on Mount Rainier, has been growing since 1931


12/5/02

CONTACT: Mark Shwartz, News Service: (650) 723-9296, mshwartz@stanford.edu

Climate change surprise: High carbon dioxide levels can retard plant growth, study reveals
The prevailing view among scientists is that global climate change may prove beneficial to many farmers and foresters -- at least in the short term. The logic is straightforward: Plants need atmospheric carbon dioxide to produce food, and by emitting more CO2 into the air, our cars and factories create new sources of plant nutrition that will cause some crops and trees to grow bigger and faster.

But an unprecedented three-year experiment conducted at Stanford University is raising questions about that long-held assumption. Writing in the journal Science, researchers concluded that elevated atmospheric CO2 actually reduces plant growth when combined with other likely consequences of climate change -- namely, higher temperatures, increased precipitation or increased nitrogen deposits in the soil.

Scientist have found that antartica is cooling, the glacier on Mt ranier is getting larger, and carbon dioxide may be bad for plants.

Too much is unknown about this entire topic to be freaked out about it, mildly concerned sure, I hate smog too, but I am not giving up my arm until the science is in concrete.
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426. kellnerp
2:01 AM GMT on June 21, 2006
Some years ago I read a letter to the editor of Photonics magazine regarding the fact that above a certain concentration the effect of CO2 on IR absorbtion ceased to increase at a significant rate. The writer further pointed out that that concentration had been reached. The effect of various gases in the atmosphere on the absorbtion of IR is non-linear.

A simple web search on IR absorbtion brings up this interesting fact: In the near infrared, water vapor is the primary molecular absorber, with many absorption lines to attenuate the signal. Above 2.0 μm, both water vapor and carbon dioxide play a large role. (http://www.samspublishing.com/articles/article.asp?p=26141&rl=1).

CO2 concentration might be an indicator for other gases in the atmosphere like water vapor as the emission of H2O into the atmosphere is possibly a bigger contributor to the green house effect. See http://www.samspublishing.com/content/images/chap3_067232248x/elementLinks/03fig02.gif
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425. AM91091
2:13 AM GMT on June 21, 2006
do any of you think we'll have TD 3-E in the Pacific at 11:00?
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424. IKE
9:13 PM CDT on June 20, 2006
I wonder if that low east of Florida doesn't loop back. Almost looks like it's moving ENE now.
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423. thelmores
2:08 AM GMT on June 21, 2006
422. thelmores
2:08 AM GMT on June 21, 2006
421. mobal
8:23 PM CDT on June 20, 2006
skeptik
When you are done with the hemp can I have it....LOL
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419. littlemike
1:03 AM GMT on June 21, 2006
To skeptik:

According to your most enlightened and sophisticated argument and logic above, we can never know anything about anything for certain and should therefore just fold our tents and go home to wallow and dispare in our immutable ignorance. Heavens, how can we know that the satellite images presented on this weather site are really from satellites? Maybe they're just images drawn by rhesus monkeys or ancient paintings from the private collection of King Komehameha? One can never know.
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418. skeptik
1:13 AM GMT on June 21, 2006
Weather whatever, youv'e convinced me, Im going to go out and return my SUVs tommorrow and buy a wooden cart to haul around my organically grown produce that I hold in my paper sacks that take 60% more energy to make than polyethylene, oh wait, my cotton or better yet HEMP fiber reusable carry sacks.

My only question is what will I pay with, coins, no they are created through that nasty mining process, paper bills, oops cutting down trees and that terrible ink, I guess that leaves my credit card, which is made out of plastic...........

We are soooo screwed!
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417. weatherwhatweather
12:59 AM GMT on June 21, 2006
There are a thousand reasons why industrialization is destroying the planet, not just CO2 increase. If left unchecked the off-gassing from petroleum based products alone will eventually poison the atmosphere and kill us all. But we'll all lie dead before you'll ever see a public effort to reduce the plastic world.
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416. littlemike
12:03 AM GMT on June 21, 2006
One other point - regarding Dr. Masters' complaint about the movie suggesting hurricane and severe weather increases are without merit: I think there is sufficient evidence to suggest this is a possibility.

A recent study by the Georgia Institute of Technology and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which appears in the September 16, 2005 issue of Science magazine, revealed that "[t]he number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes worldwide has nearly doubled over the past 35 years" and that "[t]he shift occurred as global sea surface temperatures have increased over the same period." Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has conducted similar research, suggesting in the August 2005 issue of Nature magazine that current and future global warming may well increase the destructiveness of hurricanes. According to Emanuel, "The energy released by the average hurricane (again considering all hurricanes worldwide) seems to have increased by around 70% in the past 30 years or so, corresponding to about a 15% increase in the maximum wind speed and a 60% increase in storm lifetime."
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415. skeptik
12:35 AM GMT on June 21, 2006
The graph is very pretty and all, I admit that. But the graph does not change the fact that the data used in the graph prior to the last 30-50 years or so is strictly suggested data on CO2 emmissions in the atmosphere.

That data comes from all sorts of different methods and once again, noone knows if those methods are correct in the way they measure those levels. So since King Komehameha did not take Air samples at the top of some mountain in Hawaii several hundred years ago, we are forced to assume that the way the gases are measured through plant and fossil records, carbon dating, and everything else was correct.

If you were following a medical protocol and it's procedures and data was based strictly on extrapolated data from rhesus monkeys and never a human trial, and the doctor told you due to this protocol, you would have to cut off your arm, to be healed, would you blindly do it even though the suggested evidence is not based on any substantiated fact in human medicine? No, I think you would try another protocol, one that has real human data that was conducted scientifically and thoroughly with real measures and controls.

But we are all supposed to jump blindly at any hint that industrialization is causing the end of the world when we don't even know what "normal" is. All this based on a politician's theory that he speaks about constantly while burning thousands of pounds of fossil fuels flying all over the world to keep himself in the limelight. He could have gotten the same message out using the Internet that he supposedly invented and E-mail. But, that is not how politicians work. They work on fear. Fear sells.

The reality is that science is a logical method of trial and error, all these CO2 numbers floating around out there are simply the best guess to date by a group of scientists that may or may not have a financial or political interest in the research and there is no way to know what reality is in regards to the importance of any of these measures. Follow the money and political leanings of these scientists that are promoting this global warming debate and look at where they are based Look at where their data is published. For example is "Nature" a globally accepted peer reviewed scientific journal or is it a commercial interest with subscriptions to the general public? How many regular everyday citizens outside of the medical field subscribe to the Lancet? or the Journal of the American Medical Association? These are true scientific medical journals.
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413. bappit
12:20 AM GMT on June 21, 2006
Of course, the fear of global warming could produce the illusion of knowledge of its disastrous effects.

I just think it is a matter of common sense that what MichaelSTL's graph shows is not a good thing.
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411. bappit
11:59 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
If you don't want to be scared silly and run screaming from the blog, do not click on this melting ice link. Just kidding!!!!

Has links to related stories that have aired.

I like the one titled "[Some] Evangelical Leaders Urge Action on Climate Change". (Why did they leave out the "Some"?) This story gives an example of the questions of priorities that I think are per se more important than scientific debate given the obvious evidence already at hand.

Land, along with Colson and Dobson, wrote a letter opposing the Evangelical Call to Action because, he says, there is not consensus about climate change among evangelicals. Land says the Bible makes clear that God expects human beings to take care of the earth. But "human beings come first in God's created order," he adds. "And that primacy must be given to human beings and for human betterment. If that means that other parts of nature take a back seat, well, then they take a back seat,

Land argues that slowing economic growth and development by overly strict environmental controls will harm human beings.


Dropping the political code words from the last sentence, one gets: "Land says it is well known that environmental controls are a bad idea because his constituency is afraid of them." (Fear = knowledge argument.)

I suppose that means they want to think they can do anything they [intensifier deleted] want! (I love irony.)
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410. thelmores
11:49 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
snowfire, thanks for that graph...... very interesting indeed! wonder why the variance in the last 20 yrs?

but certainly the 80 yrs before that seem to concide with solar activity, which was laughed at by some "know it all's" on the board...... and we seem to have alot! LOL

btw..... LOL is a good thing..... we need more humor and tolerance in this blog! :)
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409. atmosweather
8:07 PM EDT on June 20, 2006
I have updated my blog. Everyone is welcome to come over and "talk tropics" LOL!
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408. littlemike
5:20 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
I think Dr. Masters review of the movie was pretty good -- I'll give his review a B -- but some of his complaints are (I think) missing the point. Please allow me to critque them below:

"Excessive details on Al Gore's life" -- Since most viewers' past association with the speaker (Al Gore) was as a polititian, I think this was necessary to humanize the speaker, show his history and interconnection to global warming science, and show why he (citizen Gore) feels driven to mount this mission to enlighten his fellow citizens in this Republic.

"atmosphere is being thickened by huge quantities of carbon dioxide" -- I agree (being an engineer) that the statement is technically incorrect but, for the average viewer (I always think of how my mother would hear it), the word "thickened" probably adaquately conveys the intended message that IR radiation can't escape as easily.

"An Inconvenient Truth as a campaign ad - and - Gore working to uncover evidence of Republican shenanigans to alter or suppress climate change science" -- Well, as my grandmother would say, "sometimes you have to tell the truth and shame the devil!" The movie just showed these "elements" speaking on camera and their attempts to politically overide government scientists' statements so as to alter or change their findings that have been reported in the press. They and their actions speak for themselves and it's not a pretty picture but it is very relevant. Even the moderate Republican Christine Todd-Whitman was found with her hand in the cookie jar (from Wikipedia): "As head of the EPA, she made headlines for disavowing (with the President) the validity of a government-commissioned report suggesting a human contribution to global warming. It was later proven that Whitman cooperated with White House efforts to edit and rewrite the report to remove all references to global warming, and to replace an National Academy of Sciences study proving the human component of global warming with results from an American Petroleum Institute study that challenged the very existence of global warming." It is a shame that some elements of the Republican party have chosen to politicize this issue (as opposed to responsible Republicans like John McCain and many others who call for honestly addressing it) in a nasty way by calling Gore crazy and using other mean spirited invectives instead of engaging in honest debate with an examination of peer reviewed evidence and the opinions of our most respected scientists. But, contrary to Masters' assertion, nowhere did Gore make this a campaign ad for the Democratic party. This message was part of the whole message: you should vote for candidates who will address the issue and, if you can't find any, then run for office yourself!

Overall, I think Gore did a good thing by lending his well-know name to the cause of educating the public on what our technological abilities and the world population explosion are doing to affect the biosphere in regards to CO2 increases. Through technology, we now have powers our ansestors would have attributed only to the gods but we'er still in our old mindset that we can't really affect nature. I urge everyone to see the movie and judge it for yourself.
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407. StormJunkie
11:54 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
Nice post Pony, so what is your take on the Bahama system and/or the system several models try to develop off the E coast?
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406. Skyepony (Mod)
11:03 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
JFLORIDA wrote~Checking the models does nothing for me or most any one else I suspect. Its not that I believe them to be incorrect its just that I dont know how they work and there existence is an added layer of complexity to a situation that is already too complex. They take on an almost magical oracle-istic property here.

Maybe for you they do but just because you haven't taken the time to learn, doesn't mean that most of us (at least the ones that comment on them) have not. Some models have some sort of link to better explain reading them. For more info as to what info is fed to what models & generally what each are good for go here. Early on last season, one of Dr Master's blogs has a bit of a crash course in them as well. Then, there is the experience of watching them & the satellite loops daily in an obsesive, compusive kind of way. Ask away about model stuff you don't understand, surely someone will answer.

As for spotting a warm core without the phase anaylisis...easy, it's like the satellite images...round storm, convection around center=warm core. If it's elonggated or the convection (yellow to red) isn't rapped tightly around the center=cold core. Though the phase anaylisis is nice to double check.

On the 850vort, pay attention to the flags if they don't form a circle around the convection you've got no closed circulation & no Tropical Depression or Storm, just rain... as for the check if your eye is tricking you on a satillite & you want to verify a swirl check the quikscat. If your lucky the last pass got a pic of it. Like now the Bahama thing. The flags form a V somewhat but no closed circulation (which would be a circle). It is showing it's 1st 30kt flag though. Read the directions at the top of the page as well as follow those links to learn about it.

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404. plywoodstatenative
10:06 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
taking a look at it on the avn and rainbow versions of the NHC satellites it does appear to have a low level center, though its not fully closed/developed. However that upper level does not appear to be moving much. Am I to be correct that the bermuda high is in place towards the central atlantic?
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403. Snowfire
4:54 PM EST on June 20, 2006
Skeptik-

There was a plateau of solar activity starting in about 1950; this, along with a combination of multidecadal oscillations, halted the rise in temperature which had been gong on since before 1900. This situation persisted until about 1980. I reproduce here a graph from my February post by way of clarification.



It is important to realize that there are time delays involved; only the warming since 1980 is clearly attributable to greenhouse gas changes in the atmosphere.
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402. rwdobson
10:00 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
yeah, skeptik, that's all true. that's why i am very very suspicious of any forecasts of what doom lies ahead.
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401. skeptik
9:43 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
rw,

The take away here is defining how long the cycle lasts. Is it a 20-30 year cycle or a 100-200 year cycle or so on. Because if it is a shorter cycle as this arrogant politician is relying on, then there seems to be elevating temperature, but if that 20-30 year snapshot is part of a 200 year cycle then we don't have reliable recordings for the starting point and therefore don't know what normal is.

I think we all get in a trap of stating normal as what is normal in our lifetime, with references to times when we were younger, but does the weather cycle coincide with that short of a time span?
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400. StormJunkie
9:38 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
No no atmos, I am the one who misstated. I think it has to go W at some point.

Sorry. The trough will pinch it between the high and move it N, before the high builds towarrds the W?

I also think that whole area in general should be watched over the next week, to the point that the Bahama thing is not much of any thing right now, but the area seems ripe with all the moisture and the shear starts to die down a little.

SJ
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399. Tazmanian
2:41 PM PDT on June 20, 2006
Viewing Comments 398

funny why dos that says 398 and on the blogs it only say 390
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398. rwdobson
9:35 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
skeptik, there are cycles at work. but that doesn't mean that the cycles aren't being pushed in a certain direction. in other words, maybe the high parts and low parts of the cycle are both elevated compared to normal by climate change.
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397. atmosweather
5:37 PM EDT on June 20, 2006
Still nothing much from the mid levels. No signs of any development.

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396. atmosweather
5:33 PM EDT on June 20, 2006
No, sorry SJ, I didn't make myself clear. I meant that it will not move westward because the trough will pick up the ULL. It can move eastward if it gets picked up, and in the short term, it will continue to meander North and Northwest.
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395. skeptik
9:23 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
I know there are a lot of doom and gloomers out there regarding climate change, and I have no idea whether it is real or not, but I do have some questions that I think are interesting.

1. Why are the majority of the high temperature that break records in the past lets say 10 years, all breaking records from the 30's, 40' s and 50's and not the 60'2 70's and 80's? Does this mean that there was no warming trend in the 60's through 80's or perhaps that these higher temperatures are cyclical and that in another 5-10 years we will start a moderating trend with temperatures and scientists and AL GORE will be saying its a new Ice Age? Of course he will have to invent the computing system neccessary to predict this trend first.

Secondly, Why as little as 2-3 years ago were we below average for tropical cyclone activity if we have had progressive increases in water temperature due to warming?

Take a look at this link and see how there is a trend as to the decades with increased or decreased tropical activity. Ignore the recording of the tropical energy index and just look for the trend.


Frankly, in my worthless opinion, AL Gore is a moron who has not had to work a day in his life and who eats drink and breaths politics. The only reason he will put any information out is to better his re-electability.Link
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392. StormJunkie
9:28 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
You don't think it can move east Atmos?

I don't think it can go north due to the high. Everything I have seen shows the high building to the W blocking anything from moving N without atleast clipping the OBX?

SJ
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391. StormJunkie
9:21 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
I tend to agree Michael and most of the models do not show it moving in to Fl, or moving west until late in the forecast period, which is highly uncertain. Most models do show some sort of development one way or another off of the E coast between 72 and 144 hrs. This tells me that this area should have a good environment for devlopment during that time frame. Due to this, I am going to continue watching this area very closely. As for track, I do not think we can even start to speculate until something forms although I do agree that it will move W, I do not think this says it will move in to Fla. Could be further up the coast, or we may have something develop in the Gulf after some sort of unorganized system moves in to the Gulf. Lots of scenarios as far as track goes.

I think the Bahamas and SW Atlantic in general should be monitored closely over the next week.

Just my 2 cents.

StormJunkie.com

SJ
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390. rwdobson
9:18 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
JFla, if you desire a more intuitive understanding of the weather, part of that is understanding forecast models and using them to guide your intuition. That's all I'm saying. They can help filter out what is or is not worth a closer look.
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389. atmosweather
5:24 PM EDT on June 20, 2006
Yes Michael. This system will be picked up by the trough and away from the Florida east coast. Unless it forms a low pressure center before the trough arrives, it has no chance of moving westward.
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387. WSI
9:02 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
"I don't like you WSI"

LOL! Oh, did I do that again? LOL!

Anyway, ST and I converse through messages on here that you don't see, so why not keep your nose in your own business? You are the only person on here to level those accusations against me, so I highly doubt the "others" you speak of exist. You are not man enough to answer my e-mails to you, only choosing to act like a child publicly. You are just seeking an audience, and from here out, I deny you that on this blog (at least from me). Either answer my e-mails, or keep it inside. Either way, keep it off this blog.
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384. Alec
4:58 PM EDT on June 20, 2006
53rd quit the cussing...WSI is a great person and doesn't degrade everyone the way you do sometimes.....and I dont believe every swirl or flareup will develop because we get like 1000's of flareups every storm season and only a handful of them do in fact develop.....
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383. hebrooks87
8:16 PM GMT on June 20, 2006

Besides what rwdobson said, I don't think that we will see another F5 tornado again; the incidence of such violent tornadoes seems to be declining; this includes F4 tornadoes. In fact, every day that passes extends the "F5 tornado-free record" by another day. Link

I think that climate change may be the cause - warming in the polar regions reduces temperature contrasts and as a result the jetstream is weakened (the jetstream divides air with different temperatures).


It's unlikely that the lack of violent tornadoes is a result of climate change. Consideration of damage from the 3 May 1999 Oklahoma City tornado led to increased attention between paid to building construction in damage surveys. Other procedural changes have lessened the likelihood of a tornado being reported as violent. Non-meteorological factors are much more likely to be the cause, just as they were the cause of the greater number of tornadoes rated F2 and higher in the 1950-early 1970s part of the record.
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380. tropicalstorm006
8:52 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
A upper level low is in the west Atlantic, east of the northern Bahamas. This is enhancing clouds, showers and thunderstorms over the northern Bahamas. This complex weather system might have some chance to organize during the middle and latter part of this week as the strong shear relaxes over that region of the Atlantic. Some computer model output is suggesting there will be at least an upper-level system forming. If this happens and a surface feature can form underneath, we might have a developing tropical system toward the end of this week. But, this is highly uncertain at this point. Anything that does organize east of the Bahamas will be steered westward by the Bermuda high. That could lead to increased, unsettled weather over the northern Bahamas much of this week, then over Florida by this coming weekend.
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378. WSI
8:12 PM GMT on June 20, 2006
ST, you ARE around. I thought you left or something, LOL!

To clarify my point SJ, I am just tired of every wave "developing". Gets a little overdone. Way overdone.

But what do I know. It may be a CAT 1 tomorrow, LOL!
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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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