Cold in a Warm World:

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 7:56 PM GMT on December 21, 2008

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Cold in a Warm World:

I am returning to science in this blog, and ultimately, what I might call a “thinky” problem, thinking about, “how can it be so cold in such a warm world?” We are in the midst of a cold spell that stretches pretty much from coast to coast, north to south, across most of the United States. Of course this has caught the attention of Mr. Limbaugh, who paid a high compliment. (Some have suggested to me that he is not familiar with all of the content on the web site.) First, I want to (re)state something about form of argument. The attribution of a particular warm event or extreme hurricane to global warming is generally not founded in scientific analysis. People, who maintain the argument that global warming is not real, often point this out in their refutations. Similarly, being cold for a while does not stand as proof that global warming is somehow, bogus. If it is your passion to argue that global warming is not real, then it is disingenuous to use the same fallacious form of reasoning as is sometimes used in the attribution of a particular event to global warming. That said - let’s think about how it can be so cold in such a warm world.

As stated in this climate change blog over a year ago, the fundamental role of weather in the climate system is to transport heat from the equator to the pole. This role is complicated by the importance of water and the energy associated with the phase changes of water. Indeed, our notion of climate stability is anchored in the notion of a global-scale balance of the ice, liquid, and gas phases of water. The differential heating between the equation and the pole drives a circulation to reduce the temperature gradient. The dynamical systems that develop also transport water. The range of temperatures that are common to the atmosphere causes phase changes of water, which in turn significantly impact the spatial and temporal distribution of energy.

Also recall that in the absence of greenhouse gases, especially water and carbon dioxide, the Earth would be much colder; it would be frozen and unpleasant. Hence, one could imagine something like a spring that is “pulling” the temperature down towards this “radiative equilibrium” temperature. The surface warming due to green house gases pulls on this spring.

Just because there is more carbon dioxide and water vapor in the atmosphere does not mean that it does not get cold. The Earth is still tilted on its axis, and the Sun still does not rise on the winter pole. Hence the solar heating is absent in the winter, and the surface and the atmosphere cool down.

Many of the audience are familiar with the idea of “air masses.” Air masses were commonly used to describe the climate and weather, especially, before the 1950s. They remain a useful concept. The basic idea is the following. Large areas of air reside over, for example, continents or the sea, and take on the characteristics of the surface that sits under the air. This leads to large regions of air of similar characteristics. Classic air masses are, for example, tropical maritime which is warm and wet, and continental polar which is cold and dry. Storms, the weather, take place along the boundary of air masses.

If the atmosphere becomes “stuck,” and there is not a lot of mixing between air masses, then the air masses take on extreme conditions. For example, imagine an air mass that forms over Canada in the winter. There is no sunlight; it will get colder and colder. Then when this air mass does get pushed southward, or just grows large enough to extend southward, it will be very cold in places where it generally is not so cold. “Canadian air” will come to the United States. These cold air outbreaks have been around forever, and in the eastern part of the U.S. are often called Alberta clippers

I lived in Tallahassee, Florida in 1976 and 1977, and that was a winter when it was REALLY cold in Southeast. I remember it snowed in Tallahassee and people tried to rake up the snow so they could take pictures. And even better, people who missed the shiny ice on trees put sprinklers in the yard, covered the trees and broke off all of the limbs. We’re just never satisfied are we?

Back to the thinking, it gets us to a couple of questions. What are the reasons that the atmosphere “gets stuck” and air masses take on their most extreme characteristics? That requires a complex answer, and there are still research questions to be addressed. Conceptually, however, we can set up the reasons. If you look at the weather maps of the Northern Hemisphere, in winter and summer you see some “average conditions” that repeat year after year. These are patterns of gigantic highs and lows, like the Aleutian Anticyclone and the Bermuda High. There are two major factors that contribute to average location of these mega-features. These are the contrast of temperature between the land and the ocean and the placement of the mountain ranges. How these mega-features in middle latitudes vary from year to year is the complex part that we don’t completely know. We can find relationships to other mega-features like the El Nino / La Nina cycle. And there are some aspects of the details that might, in fact, be properly described as “chaotic.” But on average, the temperature of the land and the ocean and the mountain ranges set the stage.

There is no doubt of the observation that if the atmosphere gets stuck, a characteristic sometimes known as a “persistent anomaly,” that the air can take on more and more extreme characteristics. (For those who are serious about the weather, look up ideas such as “blocking,” and “cut-off lows.”)

A second question that is begotten in this thinking exercise is, “what is role of climate change?” A warming climate will warm the ocean. The ocean temperature does not vary as much from winter to summer as the land temperature because the ability of the ocean to hold heat, the heat capacity, is much larger. Even in a warming Earth, when the sun goes away for the winter, the land will continue to get very cold. The land’s heat capacity is low compared with the ocean’s. It is reasonable, therefore, to expect that the contrast between land and water, one of the major factors in determining the position of those mega-highs and mega-lows that lead to air masses, will change. As I write this, remember this is a thinking experiment and for better or worse, it is, more or less, a stream of consciousness, it occurs to me that in the Northern Hemisphere the sea ice has changed tremendously in the last 30 years. Reduction of sea ice changes, drastically, the behavior of the surface temperature of the Arctic Ocean. Suddenly I see this isolated North American and Siberian land, cooling its little heart to space after the sun goes down, surrounded by warmer and warmer ocean water. I have not analyzed or researched this problem, but I would expect it to change the behavior of the highs and lows in a very real way.

In my class on climate change I teach that the following are robust: The surface of the Earth will warm, sea level will rise, and weather will change. I don’t say exactly how the weather will change, because it is not easy to quantify, not easy to reduce to a few adjectives, and the answer is not well known. We believe for sound physical reasons that extreme events will get more extreme, persistent patterns of drought and flood will amplify. These changes in extreme events are consistent with persistent anomalies becoming more persistent.

That it has been cold this week in Detroit, Chicago, and Denver gives me comfort that it can still get cold, that the physics of it all holds together, but it gives me no indication what so ever to doubt that the planet is warming. For now, it still has to get cold in the winter.


Previous blog on persistent anomaly and drought. This one includes other links.

Dry 'Lanta // SoCal Fires and Climate?

Here is a list of links to basic definitions used in climate.

IPCC Glossary

Arctic Climatology and Meteorology Glossary

Wikipedia Climate Definition

World Meteorological Organizations Climate Theme Page

Figure 1: Air mass tutorial from the University of Illinois.

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96. cyclonebuster
12:13 AM GMT on December 31, 2008
Upwelling is a natural event. If we regulate it then we can regulate climate!

As mentioned in MichaelSTLs post above:

"During La Nina cold waters rise to the surface to cool the ocean and land surface temperatures. The 2009 forecast includes an updated decadal forecast using a Met Office climate model. This indicates a rapid return of global temperature to the long-term warming trend, with an increasing probability of record temperatures after 2009."
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
94. cyclonebuster
4:16 PM GMT on December 30, 2008
Morning Amy! How was your Christmas?

"NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources."

Do they understand the effects of upwelling upon our climate?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
93. NRAamy
4:02 PM GMT on December 30, 2008
mornin' cb....


Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
92. cyclonebuster
3:59 PM GMT on December 30, 2008
If computer modeling can predict this then computer modeling can also predict the effects that regulated upwelling will have upon our climate.

"Greenhouse gases play an important role in North American climate, but differences in regional ocean temperatures may hold a key to predicting future U.S. regional climate changes, according to a new NOAA-led scientific assessment."

Humans, Oceans Shaped North American Climate Over Past 50 Years, NOAA Report Says
ScienceDaily (Dec. 29, 2008) — Greenhouse gases play an important role in North American climate, but differences in regional ocean temperatures may hold a key to predicting future U.S. regional climate changes, according to a new NOAA-led scientific assessment. The assessment is one in a series of synthesis and assessment reports coordinated by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.This latest assessment, Reanalysis of Historical Climate Data for Key Atmospheric Features: Implications for Attribution of Causes of Observed Change, describes what has changed—and why—in North America’s climate over the past half century. The assessment addresses the likelihood and extent to which human activity or natural variations have driven surface warming, precipitation, droughts, and floods.

“A major implication of this assessment is that improving predictions of regional sea-surface temperatures will be crucial to predicting climate variability across the U.S. from years to decades, as well as projecting long-term regional climate changes,” said Randall Dole, lead author and a scientist at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo.

Some regional temperatures rose sharply, while others held steady; drought impacts worsened; and precipitation swung widely—all within the continent’s gradually warming climate.

Changes in sea-surface temperature patterns likely played an important role in determining differences in U.S. regional temperature trends. They also contributed to large precipitation swings from year to year or decade to decade during the past 50 years.

While a general trend toward warmer ocean conditions is expected with increasing greenhouse gases, regional differences in sea surface temperature trends can be either natural or human-caused, according to Dole.

The assessment found that an increase in greenhouse gases is likely responsible for more than half of the average continental warming of 1.6° Fahrenheit observed during the past 50 years. Greenhouse gases, emitted by fossil fuel burning and natural sources, trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere and warm the surface.

Drought impacts have likely become more severe as surface temperatures warmed, increasing evaporation, reducing soil moisture, and causing other water stresses. The scientists found no long-term trends in where or how often droughts occur or in how much rain or snow has fallen on average each year.

The assessment also describes in detail how climate scientists use enormous amounts of data in a powerful method for examining past climate, called “reanalysis.” Another section illustrates how they systematically probe cause-and-effect relationships to find the most likely cause of a climate trend, a prolonged drought, or an unusually hot year – a process termed ‘attribution’.

In a reanalysis—or retrospective analysis—a high-quality climate record is constructed from past observations collected over a period of time from many different observing systems and combined with a climate model. Reanalysis data, which currently extend as far back as the mid-twentieth century, are important in helping researchers understand how climate evolved.

“Using reanalysis and attribution methods we can now say with more confidence what’s driving some of the extreme climate conditions of the past few years: whether it’s global warming, El Niño, La Niña, or some other pattern,” said NOAA scientist Martin Hoerling, also of the Earth System Research Laboratory and a lead author on the report. “That’s the information policymakers and the public ask for.” Hoerling also heads NOAA’s climate attribution team.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
91. sullivanweather
9:44 AM GMT on December 30, 2008
Latest cold in the warm world.
This from Alaska...

Public Information Statement - Fairbanks Printer Friendly

NOAK49 PAFG 300332

632 PM AKST MON DEC 29 2008





Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
90. Zeeker
10:29 PM GMT on December 29, 2008
88. streamtracker
4:51 PM GMT on December 29, 2008
Recently there have been some news reports on NOAA's new climate report, so I wanted to share a link to the full report.

Reanalysis of Historical Climate Data for Key Atmospheric Features: Implications for Attribution of Causes of Observed Change

Here are some key findings for North America.

Annual, area-average change for the period
1951 to 2006 across North America shows the

1) Seven of the warmest ten years for annual
surface temperatures from 1951 to 2006
have occurred between 1997 and 2006.

2) The 56-year linear trend (1951 to 2006) of annual surface temperature is +0.90°C
±0.1°C (1.6°F ± 0.2°F).

3) Virtually all of the warming since 1951 has occurred after 1970.

4) More than half of this warming is likely
the result of human-caused greenhouse gas
forcing of climate change.

5) Changes in ocean temperatures likely ex-
plain a substantial fraction of the human-
caused warming of North America.

6) There is no discernible trend in average
precipitation since 1951, in contrast to
trends observed in extreme precipitation

Spatial variations in annual average change
for the period from 1951 to 2006 across North
America show the following:

1) Observed surface temperature change has
been largest over northern and western
North America, with up to +2°C (3.6°F)
warming in 56 years over Alaska, the
Yukon Territories, Alberta, and Saskatch-

2) Observed surface temperature change has
been smallest over the southern United
States and eastern Canada, where no sig-
nificant trends have occurred.

3) There is very high confidence that changes
in atmospheric wind patterns have oc-
curred, based upon reanalysis data, and
that these wind pattern changes are likely
the physical basis for much of the spatial
variations in surface temperature change
over North America, especially during

4) The spatial variations in surface tem-
perature change over North America are
unlikely to be the result of anthropogenic
forcing alone.

5) The spatial variations in surface tem-
perature change over North America are
very likely influenced by changes in re-
gional patterns of sea surface temperatures
through the effects of sea surface tem-
peratures on atmospheric wind patterns,
especially during winter.

Spatial variations of seasonal average change
for the period 1951 to 2006 across the United
States show that:

1) Six of the warmest ten summers and
winters for the contiguous United States
average surface temperatures from 1951 to
2006 occurred recently (1997 to 2006).

2) During summer, surface temperatures
warmed most over western states, with
insignificant change between the Rocky
and Appalachian Mountains. During win-
ter, surface temperatures warmed most
over northern and western states, with
insignificant changes over Maine and the
central Gulf of Mexico.

3) The spatial variations in summertime sur-
face temperature change are unlikely to be
the result of anthropogenic forcing alone.

4) The spatial variations and seasonal differ-
ences in precipitation change are unlikely to
be the result of anthropogenic greenhouse
gas forcing alone.

5) Some of the spatial variations and seasonal
differences in precipitation change and
variations are likely the result of regional
variations in sea surface temperatures.

An assessment to identify and attribute the
causes of abrupt climate change over North
America for the period 1951 to 2006 finds

1) There are limitations for detecting rapid
climate shifts and distinguishing these
shifts from quasi-cyclical variations be-
cause current reanalysis data only extends
back until to the mid-twentieth century.
Reanalysis over a longer time period is
needed to distinguish between these pos-
sibilities with scientific confidence.

An assessment to determine trends and attribute causes for droughts for the period 1951 to 2006 shows that:

1) It is unlikely that a systematic change
has occurred in either the frequency or
area coverage of severe drought over the
contiguous United States from the mid-
twentieth century to the present.

2) It is very likely that short-term (monthly-
to-seasonal) severe droughts that have
impacted North America during the past
half-century are mostly due to atmospheric
variability, in some cases amplified by lo-
cal soil moisture conditions.

3) It is likely that sea surface temperature
variations have been important in forcing
long-term (multi-year) severe droughts that
have impacted North America during the .

I formatted this from a pdf, so sorry that it's a bit rough. You'll find the original in the executive report in the link above.

Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1730
87. streamtracker
4:07 PM GMT on December 29, 2008
Interesting to see that after Vortfix made his comment #13, the number of posters has increased.

Keep up the good work Ricky and have a Happy New Year.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1730
86. presslord
3:27 PM GMT on December 29, 2008
you was just funnin', right?

yup....sorry the sarcasm didn't shine through....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
83. cyclonebuster
1:30 PM GMT on December 29, 2008
Regulated upwelling can also solve this problem!

Climate Change Could Dramatically Affect Water Supplies
ScienceDaily (Dec. 29, 2008) — It's no simple matter to figure out how regional changes in precipitation, expected to result from global climate change, may affect water supplies. Now, a new analysis led by MIT researchers has found that the changes in groundwater may actually be much greater than the precipitation changes themselves.For example, in places where annual rainfall may increase by 20 percent as a result of climate change, the groundwater might increase as much as 40 percent. Conversely, the analysis showed in some cases just a 20 percent decrease in rainfall could lead to a 70 percent decrease in the recharging of local aquifers — a potentially devastating blow in semi-arid and arid regions.

But the exact effects depend on a complex mix of factors, the study found — including soil type, vegetation, and the exact timing and duration of rainfall events — so detailed studies will be required for each local region in order to predict the possible range of outcomes.

The research was conducted by Gene-Hua Crystal Ng, now a postdoctoral researcher in MIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), along with King Bhumipol Professor Dennis McLaughlin and Bacardi Stockholm Water Foundations Professor Dara Entekhabi, both of CEE, and Bridget Scanlon, a senior researcher at the University of Texas. The results are being presented Wednesday, Dec. 17, at the American Geophysical Union's fall meeting in San Francisco.

The analysis combines computer modeling and natural chloride tracer data to determine how precipitation, soil properties, and vegetation affect the transport of water from the surface to the aquifers below. This analysis focused on a specific semi-arid region near Lubbock, Texas, in the southern High Plains.

Predictions of the kinds and magnitudes of precipitation changes that may occur as the planet warms are included in the reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and are expressed as ranges of possible outcomes. "Because there is so much uncertainty, we wanted to be able to bracket" the expected impact on water supplies under the diverse climate projections, Ng says.

"What we found was very interesting," Ng says. "It looks like the changes in recharge could be even greater than the changes in climate. For a given percentage change in precipitation, we're getting even greater changes in recharge rates."

Among the most important factors, the team found, is the timing and duration of the precipitation. For example, it makes a big difference whether it comes in a few large rainstorms or many smaller ones, and whether most of the rainfall occurs in winter or summer. "Changes in precipitation are often reported as annual changes, but what affects recharge is when the precipitation happens, and how it compares to the growing season," she says.

The team presented the results as a range of probabilities, quantifying as much as possible "what we do and don't know" about the future climate and land-surface conditions, Ng says. "For each prediction of climate change, we get a distribution of possible recharge values."

If most of the rain falls while plants are growing, much of the water may be absorbed by the vegetation and released back into the atmosphere through transpiration, so very little percolates down to the aquifer. Similarly, it makes a big difference whether an overall increase in rainfall comes in the form of harder rainfalls, or more frequent small rainfalls. More frequent small rainstorms may be mostly soaked up by plants, whereas a few more intense events may be more likely to saturate the soil and increase the recharging effect.

"It's tempting to say that a doubling of the precipitation will lead to a doubling of the recharge rate," Ng says, "but when you look at how it's going to impact a given area, it gets more and more complicated. The results were startling."

The work was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, as part of the Information Technology Research Program.

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
82. cyclonebuster
1:25 PM GMT on December 29, 2008
Regulated upwelling will also save the corals!

Hot Southern Summer Threatens Coral With Massive Bleaching Event
ScienceDaily (Dec. 28, 2008) %u2014 A widespread and severe coral bleaching episode is predicted to cause immense damage to some of the world%u2019s most important marine environments over the next few months.A report from the US Government%u2019s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts severe bleaching for parts of the Coral Sea, which lies adjacent to Australia%u2019s Great Barrier Reef, and the Coral Triangle, a 5.4 million square kilometre expanse of ocean in the Indo-Pacific which is considered the centre of the world%u2019s marine life.

%u201CThis forecast bleaching episode will be caused by increased water temperatures and is the kind of event we can expect on a regular basis if average global temperatures rise above 2 degrees,%u201D said Richard Leck, Climate Change Strategy Leader for WWF%u2019s Coral Triangle Program.

The bleaching, predicted to occur between now and February, could have a devastating impact on coral reef ecosystems, killing coral and destroying food chains. There would be severe impacts for communities in Australia and the region, who depend on the oceans for their livelihoods.

The Coral Triangle, stretching from the Philippines to Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, is home to 75 per cent of all known coral species. More than 120 million people rely on its marine resources.

%u201CRegular bleaching episodes in this part of the world will have a massive impact on the region%u2019s ability to sustain local communities,%u201D said Leck. %u201CIn the Pacific many of the Small Island Developing States, such as the Solomon Islands, rely largely on the coast and coastal environments such as coral reefs for food supply. This is a region where alternative sources of income and food are limited.

%u201CTime is crucial and Australia needs to step up to the plate. Following the government%u2019s lack of resolve to seriously reduce future domestic carbon emissions, Australia has a huge role to play in assisting Coral Triangle countries and people to adapt to the changes in their climate.%u201C

The Australian government this week announced a 2020 target for reducing its greenhouse gas pollution by 5 per cent, which WWF criticised as completely inadequate. Reductions of at least 25 per cent by 2020 are needed to set the world on a pathway to meaningful cuts in greenhouse pollution.

Australia%u2019s Coral Sea, which will also be affected by coral bleaching and climate change, is a pristine marine wilderness covering almost 1,000,000 square kilometres and is extraordinarily rich in marine life, including sharks and turtles, with a series of spectacular reefs rising thousands of metres from the sea floor.

WWF is urging the Australian government to declare the Coral Sea a marine protected area, as well as working to establish a network of marine protected areas that will assist ocean environments to adapt to the changes caused by rising temperatures, and to absorb the impacts from human activity.

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
81. LowerCal
12:53 AM GMT on December 29, 2008
Quoting presslord:
actually...that wasn't my the the headline from the news story....
I see. It looked like an introductory statement... it just wasn't your introductory statement.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9137
80. WhatMeWorry
11:29 PM GMT on December 28, 2008
Quoting presslord:
actually...that wasn't my the the headline from the news story....

So how's we supposed to know that you was just funnin' when you made post #72? That is, you was just funnin', right?
79. presslord
10:59 PM GMT on December 28, 2008
actually...that wasn't my the the headline from the news story....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
78. LowerCal
9:24 PM GMT on December 28, 2008
Quoting presslord:
"So why don't you stop looking at denialist media sites and look at the real science? The world would be a lot better place if everybody did so."

And...Why don't you develop a sense of humor? I posted it because I found it amusing...for exactly the reasons you stated....
press, perhaps if you added the text "[spoken in a sarcastic tone of voice]" to your statement that
Quoting presslord:
2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved
the humor would be easier to detect. ;^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9137
77. AstroHurricane001
9:16 PM GMT on December 28, 2008
Re: Presslord:
2008 was also the year when methane clathrates in the Arctic seabed were observed to be starting to release their methane. I'm reading a book from 2005 that states that out of the following three possible scenarios from global warming:
1) The collapse of the ocean conveyor
2) The collapse of the Amazon rainforest
3) The release of methane clathrates
The book states that the third one is "the least likely to occur this century". Well, it's happening now!
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2834
75. presslord
2:36 PM GMT on December 28, 2008
"So why don't you stop looking at denialist media sites and look at the real science? The world would be a lot better place if everybody did so."

And...Why don't you develop a sense of humor? I posted it because I found it amusing...for exactly the reasons you stated....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
72. presslord
2:11 PM GMT on December 28, 2008
2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved
Looking back over my columns of the past 12 months, one of their major themes was neatly encapsulated by two recent items from The Daily Telegraph.

By Christopher Booker
Last Updated: 10:59AM GMT 28 Dec 2008 AP
The first, on May 21, headed "Climate change threat to Alpine ski resorts" , reported that the entire Alpine "winter sports industry" could soon "grind to a halt for lack of snow". The second, on December 19, headed "The Alps have best snow conditions in a generation" , reported that this winter's Alpine snowfalls "look set to beat all records by New Year's Day".

Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned in three significant respects.

First, all over the world, temperatures have been dropping in a way wholly unpredicted by all those computer models which have been used as the main drivers of the scare. Last winter, as temperatures plummeted, many parts of the world had snowfalls on a scale not seen for decades. This winter, with the whole of Canada and half the US under snow, looks likely to be even worse. After several years flatlining, global temperatures have dropped sharply enough to cancel out much of their net rise in the 20th century.

Ever shriller and more frantic has become the insistence of the warmists, cheered on by their army of media groupies such as the BBC, that the last 10 years have been the "hottest in history" and that the North Pole would soon be ice-free – as the poles remain defiantly icebound and those polar bears fail to drown. All those hysterical predictions that we are seeing more droughts and hurricanes than ever before have infuriatingly failed to materialise.

Even the more cautious scientific acolytes of the official orthodoxy now admit that, thanks to "natural factors" such as ocean currents, temperatures have failed to rise as predicted (although they plaintively assure us that this cooling effect is merely "masking the underlying warming trend", and that the temperature rise will resume worse than ever by the middle of the next decade).
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
71. cyclonebuster
1:22 PM GMT on December 28, 2008
Regulated upwelling can reverse this trend also!

NASA Study Links Severe Storm Increases, Global Warming
ScienceDaily (Dec. 28, 2008) — The frequency of extremely high clouds in Earth's tropics -- the type associated with severe storms and rainfall -- is increasing as a result of global warming, according to a study by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
In a presentation today to the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, JPL Senior Research Scientist Hartmut Aumann outlined the results of a study based on five years of data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua spacecraft. The AIRS data were used to observe certain types of tropical clouds linked with severe storms, torrential rain and hail. The instrument typically detects about 6,000 of these clouds each day. Aumann and his team found a strong correlation between the frequency of these clouds and seasonal variations in the average sea surface temperature of the tropical oceans.

For every degree Centigrade (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in average ocean surface temperature, the team observed a 45-percent increase in the frequency of the very high clouds. At the present rate of global warming of 0.13 degrees Celsius (0.23 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade, the team inferred the frequency of these storms can be expected to increase by six percent per decade.

Climate modelers have long speculated that the frequency and intensity of severe storms may or may not increase with global warming. Aumann said results of the study will help improve their models.

"Clouds and rain have been the weakest link in climate prediction," said Aumann. "The interaction between the daytime warming of the sea surface under clear-sky conditions and increases in the formation of low clouds, high clouds and, ultimately, rain is very complicated. The high clouds in our observations—typically at altitudes of 20 kilometers (12 miles) and higher—present the greatest difficulties for current climate models, which aren't able to resolve cloud structures smaller than about 250 kilometers (155 miles) in size."

Aumann said the results of his study, published recently in Geophysical Research Letters, are consistent with another NASA-funded study by Frank Wentz and colleagues in 2005. That study found an increase in the global rain rate of 1.5 percent per decade over 18 years, a value that is about five times higher than the value estimated by climate models that were used in the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

JPL manages the AIRS project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. For more information on AIRS, visit .

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
70. cyclonebuster
1:05 PM GMT on December 28, 2008
Can any of you scientists here see that regulated upwelling can regulate climate?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
68. Zeeker
8:21 PM GMT on December 27, 2008
After a long rest to ponder, the counter arguments to the artificial rivers of fire, someone tried to claim that street lights burning all night long have a nill contribution to GW. I beg to differ. These Artificial Rivers of Fire (ARF)burn above 250 degrees f. they can even be seen from outer space, One night i was walking during a brief drissle, I saw the water evaporate as it hit the light cover, thats how hot the metal cover on these street lighst are. I saw the water mist rise from the cover, it was about 11/30 pm, not a soul was served by those lights then, or every night since that time. Since these street lights are paid for our tax dollars no one cares about the waste. These lights are powered by fossil fuel or petrol, They produce caloric waste, infrared and luminia polution. and all of it to produce a false sence of security. 90% of all street lights are unused & unneeded. If we switched these light to fast acting halogen, and replaced the Dawn to dusk sensors with motion sensors how many million barrels of fuel would be saved per year? how much further would the price of oil drop, if this one idea is put into place? heck even property taxes might drop a few dollars here and there.
OHH wait we can show all the graphs and charts we want. It won't make a bit of difference unless we can show that GW is a direct threat to lobbists and politicos way of life. Anybody want to pass the above Idea forward?
Just asking, that's all I can do is ask.
67. cyclonebuster
1:25 PM GMT on December 27, 2008
I hope the EPA fines "CLEAN COAL" out of existance! See how clean coal is?? LOL! I love clean coal I want 8 feet of sludgey muck in my front and back yard to where I can't open the front or back doors!LOL!!!LOL!!!
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
66. cyclonebuster
1:22 PM GMT on December 27, 2008
Always lying to us now it's up to 1 billion gallons.

Don't worry regulated Upwelling and extracting the KE of the Gulfstream and other deep western boundry currents will stop this.

Tennessee sludge spill estimate grows to 1 billion gallons

(CNN) -- Estimates for the amount of thick sludge that gushed from a Tennessee coal plant this week have tripled to more than a billion gallons, as cleanup crews try to remove the goop from homes and railroads and halt its oozing into an adjacent river.The sludge, a byproduct of the ash from coal combustion, was contained at a retention site at the Tennessee Valley Authority's power plant in Kingston, about 40 miles east of Knoxville. The retention wall breached early Monday, sending the sludge downhill and damaging 15 homes. All the residents were evacuated, and three homes were deemed uninhabitable, according to the TVA.

TVA's initial estimate for the spill was 1.8 million cubic yards or more than 360 million gallons of sludge. By Friday, the estimate reached 5.4 million cubic yards or more than 1 billion gallons -- enough to fill 1,660 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Environmental advocates say the ash contains concentrated levels of mercury and arsenic.

The plant sits on a tributary of the Tennessee River called the Clinch River. At least 300 acres of land has been coated by the sludge a bigger area than the Exxon Valdez oil spill.A spokesman for TVA -- a federal corporation and the nation's largest public power company -- said the agency has never experienced a spill of this magnitude.

"There's a lot of ash there," spokesman John Moulton said Friday. "We are taking this very seriously. It is a big cleanup project, and we're focused on it 24 hours a day."


"Footage from the Clinch River, a popular fishing site, reveals piles of dead fish on its banks. TVA said that has nothing to do with the toxicity of the sludge.

"What happened -- when you have a surge of ash, that created a wave to push the fish up and onto land," Moulton said. "When the water receded, there were dead fish. They weren't killed by any toxic chemicals, they were stranded by the wave."

Don't let TVA fool you! What TVA should have said was if the surge doesen't kill them first then the ash would have!

They made it sound as if it's ok if the surge killed them.

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
65. mikmik
3:58 AM GMT on December 27, 2008
the cartoon that is
64. mikmik
3:40 AM GMT on December 27, 2008
michaelstl------that is FUNNY
63. streamtracker
11:15 PM GMT on December 26, 2008
Quoting IwishIHadALife:
looks like u know more than the scientists. Why arent they jumping all over this?

Who are you talking to, since a bunch of people who post here are scientists.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1730
62. streamtracker
11:14 PM GMT on December 26, 2008
Quoting sullivanweather:

Belatedly the same to you.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1730
61. IwishIHadALife
8:45 PM GMT on December 26, 2008
looks like u know more than the scientists. Why arent they jumping all over this?
60. cyclonebuster
8:26 PM GMT on December 26, 2008
Himalayan villagers on global warming frontline
16 hours ago

KYANGJIN GOMPA, Nepal (AFP) — Standing in the Himalayan valley of Langtang, Rinjin Dorje Lama remembers where he used to play as a child in the 1960s.

"Ang Tsering Sherpa, who grew up in Nepal's Everest region, has observed the growth of one glacial lake with growing concern.

"A small pond first appeared close to the Imja glacier in about 1962," said Sherpa, who owns a trekking and expedition company in Kathmandu.

Last year, a research team from Japan measured the Imja lake as being 1.7 kilometres long, 900 metres wide and 92 metres deep.

"If that lake bursts, it will be like a tsunami," said Sherpa, who estimates that the Imja glacier has been retreating at a rate of 60 metres per year."

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
59. cyclonebuster
8:01 PM GMT on December 26, 2008
The massive regulated upwelling they can create can regulate the NAO and AMO and therefore cool the North Arctic and restore the ice to pre-industrial revolution levels if needed.Same holds true for the PDO!

The North Atlantic oscillation (NAO) is a climatic phenomenon in the North Atlantic Ocean of fluctuations in the difference of atmospheric pressure at sea-level between the Icelandic Low and the Azores high. Through east-west oscillation motions of the Icelandic Low and the Azores high, it controls the strength and direction of westerly winds and storm tracks across the North Atlantic. It is highly correlated with the Arctic oscillation, as it is a part of it. It is also correlated with a whole host of other variables.

The NAO was discovered in the 1920s by Sir Gilbert Walker. Similar to the El Niño phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, the NAO is one of the most important drivers of climate fluctuations in the North Atlantic and surrounding humid climates.

The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) is a mode of natural variability occurring in the North Atlantic Ocean and which has its principle expression in the sea surface temperature (SST) field. While there is some support for this mode in models and in historical observations, controversy exists with regard to its amplitude, and in particular, the attribution of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic in areas important for hurricane development.

The "Pacific Decadal Oscillation" (PDO) is a long-lived El Niño-like pattern of Pacific climate variability. While the two climate oscillations have similar spatial climate fingerprints, they have very different behavior in time. Fisheries scientist Steven Hare coined the term "Pacific Decadal Oscillation" (PDO) in 1996 while researching connections between Alaska salmon production cycles and Pacific climate (his dissertation topic with advisor Robert Francis). Two main characteristics distinguish PDO from El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO): first, 20th century PDO "events" persisted for 20-to-30 years, while typical ENSO events persisted for 6 to 18 months; second, the climatic fingerprints of the PDO are most visible in the North Pacific/North American sector, while secondary signatures exist in the tropics - the opposite is true for ENSO. Several independent studies find evidence for just two full PDO cycles in the past century: "cool" PDO regimes prevailed from 1890-1924 and again from 1947-1976, while "warm" PDO regimes dominated from 1925-1946 and from 1977 through (at least) the mid-1990's. Shoshiro Minobe has shown that 20th century PDO fluctuations were most energetic in two general periodicities, one from 15-to-25 years, and the other from 50-to-70 years.

Major changes in northeast Pacific marine ecosystems have been correlated with phase changes in the PDO; warm eras have seen enhanced coastal ocean biological productivity in Alaska and inhibited productivity off the west coast of the contiguous United States, while cold PDO eras have seen the opposite north-south pattern of marine ecosystem productivity.

Causes for the PDO are not currently known. Likewise, the potential predictability for this climate oscillation are not known. Some climate simulation models produce PDO-like oscillations, although often for different reasons. The mechanisms giving rise to PDO will determine whether skillful decades-long PDO climate predictions are possible. For example, if PDO arises from air-sea interactions that require 10 year ocean adjustment times, then aspects of the phenomenon will (in theory) be predictable at lead times of up to 10 years. Even in the absence of a theoretical understanding, PDO climate information improves season-to-season and year-to-year climate forecasts for North America because of its strong tendency for multi-season and multi-year persistence. From a societal impacts perspective, recognition of PDO is important because it shows that "normal" climate conditions can vary over time periods comparable to the length of a human's lifetime .

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
58. IwishIHadALife
7:29 PM GMT on December 26, 2008
Hey CB how we gunna make a warm north arctic cold again just by installing your tunnels for upwelling?
57. cyclonebuster
6:25 PM GMT on December 26, 2008
Regulated Upwelling will prevent this!

Faster Climate Change Feared
New Report Points to Accelerated Melting, Longer Drought
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 25, 2008; Page A02

The United States faces the possibility of much more rapid climate change by the end of the century than previous studies have suggested, according to a new report led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The survey -- which was commissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and issued this month -- expands on the 2007 findings of the United Nations Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change. Looking at factors such as rapid sea ice loss in the Arctic and prolonged drought in the Southwest, the new assessment suggests that earlier projections may have underestimated the climatic shifts that could take place by 2100.

However, the assessment also suggests that some other feared effects of global warming are not likely to occur by the end of the century, such as an abrupt release of methane from the seabed and permafrost or a shutdown of the Atlantic Ocean circulation system that brings warm water north and colder water south. But the report projects an amount of potential sea level rise during that period that may be greater than what other researchers have anticipated, as well as a shift to a more arid climate pattern in the Southwest by mid-century.

Thirty-two scientists from federal and non-federal institutions contributed to the report, which took nearly two years to complete. The Climate Change Science Program, which was established in 1990, coordinates the climate research of 13 different federal agencies.

Tom Armstrong, senior adviser for global change programs at USGS, said the report "shows how quickly the information is advancing" on potential climate shifts. The prospect of abrupt climate change, he said, "is one of those things that keeps people up at night, because it's a low-probability but high-risk scenario. It's unlikely to happen in our lifetimes, but if it were to occur, it would be life-changing."
In one of the report's most worrisome findings, the agency estimates that in light of recent ice sheet melting, global sea level rise could be as much as four feet by 2100. The IPCC had projected a sea level rise of no more than 1.5 feet by that time, but satellite data over the past two years show the world's major ice sheets are melting much more rapidly than previously thought. The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are now losing an average of 48 cubic miles of ice a year, equivalent to twice the amount of ice that exists in the Alps.

Konrad Steffen, who directs the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder and was lead author on the report's chapter on ice sheets, said the models the IPCC used did not factor in some of the dynamics that scientists now understand about ice sheet melting. Among other things, Steffen and his collaborators have identified a process of "lubrication," in which warmer ocean water gets in underneath coastal ice sheets and accelerates melting.

"This has to be put into models," said Steffen, who organized a conference last summer in St. Petersburg, Russia, as part of an effort to develop more sophisticated ice sheet models. "What we predicted is sea level rise will be higher, but I have to be honest, we cannot model it for 2100 yet."

Still, Armstrong said the report "does take a step forward from where the IPCC was," especially in terms of ice sheet melting.

Scientists also looked at the prospect of prolonged drought over the next 100 years. They said it is impossible to determine yet whether human activity is responsible for the drought the Southwestern United States has experienced over the past decade, but every indication suggests the region will become consistently drier in the next several decades. Richard Seager, a senior research scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said that nearly all of the 24 computer models the group surveyed project the same climatic conditions for the North American Southwest, which includes Mexico.

"If the models are correct, it will transition in the coming years and decades to a more arid climate, and that transition is already underway," Seager said, adding that such conditions would probably include prolonged droughts lasting more than a decade.

The current models cover broad swaths of landscape, and Seager said scientists need to work on developing versions that can make projections on a much smaller scale. "That's what the water managers out there really need," he said. Current models "don't give them the hard numbers they need."

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
56. sullivanweather
8:51 AM GMT on December 26, 2008
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
55. cyclonebuster
3:32 AM GMT on December 26, 2008
Quoting wbr2ff:
Northern Hemisphere sea ice is currently around 8% below the 1979-2000 mean, and is below last year's amount for the first time since spring. Not exactly earth-shattering information. Like others have said, probably will spike up in the next few weeks.

Perhaps, it will but it is still a bad trend.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
54. wbr2ff
3:02 AM GMT on December 26, 2008
Northern Hemisphere sea ice is currently around 8% below the 1979-2000 mean, and is below last year's amount for the first time since spring. Not exactly earth-shattering information. Like others have said, probably will spike up in the next few weeks.
Member Since: January 19, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 65
52. cyclonebuster
12:06 AM GMT on December 26, 2008
I am sure this is proof that Regulated Upwelling in the deep western boundry currents such as the Gulfstream and Kuroshio currents can expand the Arctic ice areas to that of pre-industrial revolution levels. Computer modeling will verify!
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
50. cyclonebuster
12:02 AM GMT on December 26, 2008
It is going to be interesting on how large the area will be this year. I don't think it means much if it is larger it will depend on thick it is compared to the past.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
48. cyclonebuster
10:46 PM GMT on December 25, 2008
Seems to have really flattened out the past two weeks!

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
47. paratomic
10:11 PM GMT on December 25, 2008
If anyone is interested about the arctic ice extent issue, I found this:
There has been quite a bit of commentary on the web with respect to the current absence of continued freeze up of Arctic Sea ice as monitored by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Mark Serreze has graciously permitted Climate Science to post the explanation for this lack of increase. His comment follows:

%u201CWe%u2019ve been getting a lot of questions about this. We are quite certain that the almost complete lack of increase in ice extent since about December 10 is real. Satellite-derived ice extent from the SSM/I (Special Sensor Microwaver/Imager) used to create the time series on our website was checked against extent based on the AMSR (Advanced Microwave Sounding Radiometer) instrument. AMSR shows the same pattern. This gives us independent confirmation. The past 10 days has seen a very unusual atmospheric pattern. It has been very warm over the Arctic Ocean, and wind patterns have favored a compact ice cover. While the lack of increase in ice extent is certainly quite unusual as well as interesting, we would not read too much into it right now, at it is just weather. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next week. [The] issue with Chapman%u2019s site, apparently, is that they are looking at area (concentration weighted) versus extent (part of ocean covered with ice with at least 15% concentration) The compaction that seems to be going on could give a flat line in extent but still a rise in area. In other words, the issue may be that we are looking at two different measures of ice conditions. Also, it%u2019t not clear (I%u2019ll have to check) how current Chapman%u2019s data are. We had a delay in posting for awhile because of some data dropouts. %u201C

Seems to be saying that the ice may have grown more in area, as opposed to extent, and that's why it's not seen on the NSIDC website. Another week should give them the information they need to know whether or not this is the case.
Member Since: September 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 182
46. cyclonebuster
8:48 PM GMT on December 25, 2008
Quoting MichaelSTL:

Can you try to tell cyclonebuster why his idea won't really work (it is also an example of geoengineering which of course is a last resort option). There are also some problems with using ocean current (e.g. Gulf Stream) to force large amounts of cold water to the surface (and generate huge amounts of power in the process).

Michael he can't tell me that because he needs computer modeling to prove it! But be assured computer modeling will prove me right! They will have the ability to regulate the PDO,AMO,LA NINA,EL NINO,Hurricanes,Tornadoes,Droughts,Floods as well as restoring Arctic ice all of which computer modeling will verify.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221

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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.