We're changing our WunderBlogs. Learn more about this important update on our FAQ page.

2010 - 2011: Earth's most extreme weather since 1816?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:32 PM GMT on June 24, 2011

Every year extraordinary weather events rock the Earth. Records that have stood centuries are broken. Great floods, droughts, and storms affect millions of people, and truly exceptional weather events unprecedented in human history may occur. But the wild roller-coaster ride of incredible weather events during 2010, in my mind, makes that year the planet's most extraordinary year for extreme weather since reliable global upper-air data began in the late 1940s. Never in my 30 years as a meteorologist have I witnessed a year like 2010--the astonishing number of weather disasters and unprecedented wild swings in Earth's atmospheric circulation were like nothing I've seen. The pace of incredible extreme weather events in the U.S. over the past few months have kept me so busy that I've been unable to write-up a retrospective look at the weather events of 2010. But I've finally managed to finish, so fasten your seat belts for a tour through the top twenty most remarkable weather events of 2010. At the end, I'll reflect on what the wild weather events of 2010 and 2011 imply for our future.

Earth's hottest year on record
Unprecedented heat scorched the Earth's surface in 2010, tying 2005 for the warmest year since accurate records began in the late 1800s. Temperatures in Earth's lower atmosphere also tied for warmest year on record, according to independent satellite measurements. Earth's 2010 record warmth was unusual because it occurred during the deepest solar energy minimum since satellite measurements of the sun began in the 1970s. Unofficially, nineteen nations (plus the the U.K.'s Ascension Island) set all-time extreme heat records in 2010. This includes Asia's hottest reliably measured temperature of all-time, the remarkable 128.3°F (53.5°C) in Pakistan in May 2010. This measurement is also the hottest undisputed temperature anywhere on the planet except for in Death Valley, California (two hotter official records, at Al Azizia, Libya in 1922, and Tirat, Zvi Israel in 1942, have ample reasons to be disputed.) The countries that experienced all-time extreme highs in 2010 constituted over 20% of Earth's land surface area.

Figure 1. Climate Central and Weather Underground put together this graphic showing the twenty nations (plus one UK territory, Ascension Island) that set new extreme heat records in 2010.

Most extreme winter Arctic atmospheric circulation on record; "Snowmageddon" results
The atmospheric circulation in the Arctic took on its most extreme configuration in 145 years of record keeping during the winter of 2009 - 2010. The Arctic is normally dominated by low pressure in winter, and a "Polar Vortex" of counter-clockwise circulating winds develops surrounding the North Pole. However, during the winter of 2009 - 2010, high pressure replaced low pressure over the Arctic, and the Polar Vortex weakened and even reversed at times, with a clockwise flow of air replacing the usual counter-clockwise flow of air. This unusual flow pattern allowed cold air to spill southwards and be replaced by warm air moving poleward. Like leaving the refrigerator door ajar, the Arctic "refrigerator" warmed, and cold Arctic air spilled out into "living room" where people live. A natural climate pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and its close cousin, the Arctic Oscillation (AO) were responsible. Both of these patterns experienced their strongest-on-record negative phase, when measured as the pressure difference between the Icelandic Low and Azores High.

The extreme Arctic circulation caused a bizarre upside-down winter over North America--Canada had its warmest and driest winter on record, forcing snow to be trucked in for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but the U.S. had its coldest winter in 25 years. A series of remarkable snow storms pounded the Eastern U.S., with the "Snowmageddon" blizzard dumping more than two feet of snow on Baltimore and Philadelphia. Western Europe also experienced unusually cold and snowy conditions, with the UK recording its 8th coldest January. A highly extreme negative phase of the NAO and AO returned again during November 2010, and lasted into January 2011. Exceptionally cold and snowy conditions hit much of Western Europe and the Eastern U.S. again in the winter of 2010 - 2011. During these two extreme winters, New York City recorded three of its top-ten snowstorms since 1869, and Philadelphia recorded four of its top-ten snowstorms since 1884. During December 2010, the extreme Arctic circulation over Greenland created the strongest ridge of high pressure ever recorded at middle levels of the atmosphere, anywhere on the globe (since accurate records began in 1948.) New research suggests that major losses of Arctic sea ice could cause the Arctic circulation to behave so strangely, but this work is still speculative.

Figure 2. Digging out in Maryland after "Snowmageddon". Image credit: wunderphotographer chills.

Arctic sea ice: lowest volume on record, 3rd lowest extent
Sea ice in the Arctic reached its third lowest areal extent on record in September 2010. Compared to sea ice levels 30 years ago, 1/3 of the polar ice cap was missing--an area the size of the Mediterranean Sea. The Arctic has seen a steady loss of meters-thick, multi-year-old ice in recent years that has left thin, 1 - 2 year-old ice as the predominant ice type. As a result, sea ice volume in 2010 was the lowest on record. More than half of the polar icecap by volume--60%--was missing in September 2010, compared to the average from 1979 - 2010. All this melting allowed the Northwest Passage through the normally ice-choked waters of Canada to open up in 2010. The Northeast Passage along the coast of northern Russia also opened up, and this was the third consecutive year--and third time in recorded history--that both passages melted open. Two sailing expeditions--one Russian and one Norwegian--successfully navigated both the Northeast Passage and the Northwest Passage in 2010, the first time this feat has been accomplished. Mariners have been attempting to sail the Northwest Passage since 1497, and have failed to accomplish this feat without an icebreaker until the 2000s. In December 2010, Arctic sea ice fell to its lowest winter extent on record, the beginning of a 3-month streak of record lows. Canada's Hudson Bay did not freeze over until mid-January of 2011, the latest freeze-over date in recorded history.

Figure 3. The Arctic's minimum sea ice extent for 2010 was reached on September 21, and was the third lowest on record. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Record melting in Greenland, and a massive calving event
Greenland's climate in 2010 was marked by record-setting high air temperatures, the greatest ice loss by melting since accurate records began in 1958, the greatest mass loss of ocean-terminating glaciers on record, and the calving of a 100 square-mile ice island--the largest calving event in the Arctic since 1962. Many of these events were due to record warm water temperatures along the west coast of Greenland, which averaged 2.9°C (5.2°F) above average during October 2010, a remarkable 1.4°C above the previous record high water temperatures in 2003.

Figure 4. The 100 square-mile ice island that broke off the Petermann Glacier heads out of the Petermann Fjord in this 7-frame satellite animation. The animation begins on August 5, 2010, and ends on September 21, with images spaced about 8 days apart. The images were taken by NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites.

Second most extreme shift from El Niño to La Niña
The year 2010 opened with a strong El Niño event and exceptionally warm ocean waters in the Eastern Pacific. However, El Niño rapidly waned in the spring, and a moderate to strong La Niña developed by the end of the year, strongly cooling these ocean waters. Since accurate records began in 1950, only 1973 has seen a more extreme swing from El Niño to La Niña. The strong El Niño and La Niña events contributed to many of the record flood events seen globally in 2010, and during the first half of 2011.

Figure 5. The departure of sea surface temperatures from average at the beginning of 2010 (top) and the end of 2010 (bottom) shows the remarkable transition from strong El Niño to strong La Niña conditions that occurred during the year. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS.

Second worst coral bleaching year
Coral reefs took their 2nd-worst beating on record in 2010, thanks to record or near-record warm summer water temperatures over much of Earth's tropical oceans. The warm waters caused the most coral bleaching since 1998, when 16 percent of the world's reefs were killed off. "Clearly, we are on track for this to be the second worst (bleaching) on record," NOAA coral expert Mark Eakin in a 2010 interview. "All we're waiting on now is the body count." The summer 2010 coral bleaching episodes were worst in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, where El Niño warming of the tropical ocean waters during the first half of the year was significant. In Indonesia's Aceh province, 80% of the bleached corals died, and Malaysia closed several popular dive sites after nearly all the coral were damaged by bleaching. In some portions of the Caribbean, such as Venezuela and Panama, coral bleaching was the worst on record.

Figure 6. An example of coral bleaching that occurred during the record-strength 1997-1998 El Niño event. Image credit: Craig Quirolo, Reef Relief/Marine Photobank, in Climate, Carbon and Coral Reefs

Wettest year over land
The year 2010 also set a new record for wettest year in Earth's recorded history over land areas. The difference in precipitation from average in 2010 was about 13% higher than that of the previous record wettest year, 1956. However, this record is not that significant, since it was due in large part to random variability of the jet stream weather patterns during 2010. The record wetness over land was counterbalanced by relatively dry conditions over the oceans.

Figure 7. Global departure of precipitation over land areas from average for 1900 - 2010. The year 2010 set a new record for wettest year over land areas in Earth's recorded history. The difference in precipitation from average in 2010 was about 13% higher than that of the previous record wettest year, 1956. Image credit: NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

Amazon rainforest experiences its 2nd 100-year drought in 5 years
South America's Amazon rainforest experienced its second 100-year drought in five years during 2010, with the largest northern tributary of the Amazon River--the Rio Negro--dropping to thirteen feet (four meters) below its usual dry season level. This was its lowest level since record keeping began in 1902. The low water mark is all the more remarkable since the Rio Negro caused devastating flooding in 2009, when it hit an all-time record high, 53 ft (16 m) higher than the 2010 record low. The 2010 drought was similar in intensity and scope to the region's previous 100-year drought in 2005. Drought makes a regular appearance in the Amazon, with significant droughts occurring an average of once every twelve years. In the 20th century, these droughts typically occurred during El Niño years, when the unusually warm waters present along the Pacific coast of South America altered rainfall patterns. But the 2005 and 2010 droughts did not occur during El Niño conditions, and it is theorized that they were instead caused by record warm sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic.

We often hear about how important Arctic sea ice is for keeping Earth's climate cool, but a healthy Amazon is just as vital. Photosynthesis in the world's largest rainforest takes about 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of the air each year. However, in 2005, the drought reversed this process. The Amazon emitted 3 billion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, causing a net 5 billion ton increase in CO2 to the atmosphere--roughly equivalent to 16 - 22% of the total CO2 emissions to the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels that year. The Amazon stores CO2 in its soils and biomass equivalent to about fifteen years of human-caused emissions, so a massive die-back of the forest could greatly accelerate global warming.

Figure 8. Hundreds of fires (red squares) generate thick smoke over a 1000 mile-wide region of the southern Amazon rain forest in this image taken by NASA's Aqua satellite on August 16, 2010. The Bolivian government declared a state of emergency in mid-August due to the out-of-control fires burning over much of the country. Image credit: NASA.

Global tropical cyclone activity lowest on record
The year 2010 was one of the strangest on record for tropical cyclones. Each year, the globe has about 92 tropical cyclones--called hurricanes in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific, typhoons in the Western Pacific, and tropical cyclones in the Southern Hemisphere. But in 2010, we had just 68 of these storms--the fewest since the dawn of the satellite era in 1970. The previous record slowest year was 1977, when 69 tropical cyclones occurred world-wide. Both the Western Pacific and Eastern Pacific had their quietest seasons on record in 2010, but the Atlantic was hyperactive, recording its 3rd busiest season since record keeping began in 1851. The Southern Hemisphere had a slightly below average season. The Atlantic ordinarily accounts for just 13% of global cyclone activity, but accounted for 28% in 2010--the greatest proportion since accurate tropical cyclone records began in the 1970s.

A common theme of many recent publications on the future of tropical cyclones globally in a warming climate is that the total number of these storms will decrease, but the strongest storms will get stronger. For example, a 2010 review paper published in Nature Geosciences concluded that the strongest storms would increase in intensity by 2 - 11% by 2100, but the total number of storms would fall by 6 - 34%. It is interesting that 2010 saw the lowest number of global tropical cyclones on record, but an average number of very strong Category 4 and 5 storms (the 25-year average is 13 Category 4 and 5 storms, and 2010 had 14.) Fully 21% of 2010's tropical cyclones reached Category 4 or 5 strength, versus just 14% during the period 1983 - 2007. Most notably, in 2010 we had Super Typhoon Megi. Megi's sustained winds cranked up to a ferocious 190 mph and its central pressure bottomed out at 885 mb on October 16, making it the 8th most intense tropical cyclone in world history. Other notable storms in 2010 included the second strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Arabian Sea (Category 4 Cyclone Phet in June), and the strongest tropical cyclone ever to hit Myanmar/Burma (October's Tropical Cyclone Giri, an upper end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds.)

Figure 9. Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phet on Thursday, June 3, 2010. Record heat over southern Asia in May helped heat up the Arabian Sea to 2°C above normal, and the exceptionally warm SSTs helped fuel Tropical Cyclone Phet into the second strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Arabian Sea. Phet peaked at Category 4 strength with 145 mph winds, and killed 44 people and did $700 million in damage to Oman. Only Category 5 Cyclone Gonu of 2007 was a stronger Arabian Sea cyclone.

A hyperactive Atlantic hurricane season: 3rd busiest on record
Sea surface temperatures that were the hottest on record over the main development region for Atlantic hurricanes helped fuel an exceptionally active 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. The nineteen named storms were the third most since 1851; the twelve hurricanes of 2010 ranked second most. Three major hurricanes occurred in rare or unprecedented locations. Julia was the easternmost major hurricane on record, Karl was the southernmost major hurricane on record in the Gulf of Mexico, and Earl was the 4th strongest hurricane so far north. The formation of Tomas so far south and east so late in the season (October 29) was unprecedented in the historical record; no named storm had ever been present east of the Lesser Antilles (61.5°W) and south of 12°N latitude so late in the year. Tomas made the 2010 the 4th consecutive year with a November hurricane in the Atlantic--an occurrence unprecedented since records began in 1851.

Figure 10. Hurricane Earl as seen from the International Space Station on Thursday, September 2, 2010. Image credit: NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock.

A rare tropical storm in the South Atlantic
A rare tropical storm formed in the South Atlantic off the coast of Brazil on March 10 - 11, and was named Tropical Storm Anita. Brazil has had only one landfalling tropical cyclone in its history, Cyclone Catarina of March 2004, one of only seven known tropical or subtropical cyclones to form in the South Atlantic, and the only one to reach hurricane strength. Anita of 2010 is probably the fourth strongest tropical/subtropical storm in the South Atlantic, behind Hurricane Catarina, an unnamed February 2006 storm that may have attained wind speeds of 65 mph, and a subtropical storm that brought heavy flooding to the coast of Uruguay in January 2009. Tropical cyclones rarely form in the South Atlantic Ocean, due to strong upper-level wind shear, cool water temperatures, and the lack of an initial disturbance to get things spinning (no African waves or Intertropical Convergence Zone.)

Figure 11. Visible satellite image of the Brazilian Tropical Storm Anita.

Strongest storm in Southwestern U.S. history
The most powerful low pressure system in 140 years of record keeping swept through the Southwest U.S. on January 20 - 21, 2010, bringing deadly flooding, tornadoes, hail, hurricane force winds, and blizzard conditions. The storm set all-time low pressure records over roughly 10 - 15% of the U.S.--southern Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Old records were broken by a wide margin in many locations, most notably in Los Angeles, where the old record of 29.25" set January 17, 1988, was shattered by .18" (6 mb). The record-setting low spawned an extremely intense cold front that swept through the Southwest. Winds ahead of the cold front hit sustained speeds of hurricane force--74 mph--at Apache Junction, 40 miles east of Phoenix, and wind gusts as high as 94 mph were recorded in Ajo, Arizona. High winds plunged visibility to zero in blowing dust on I-10 connecting Phoenix and Tucson, closing the Interstate.

Figure 12. Ominous clouds hover over Arizona's Superstition Mountains during Arizona's most powerful storm on record, on January 21, 2010. Image credit: wunderphotographer ChandlerMike.

Strongest non-coastal storm in U.S. history
A massive low pressure system intensified to record strength over northern Minnesota on October 26, 2010, resulting in the lowest barometric pressure readings ever recorded in the continental United States, except for from hurricanes and nor'easters affecting the Atlantic seaboard. The 955 mb sea level pressure reported from Bigfork, Minnesota beat the previous low pressure record of 958 mb set during the Great Ohio Blizzard of January 26, 1978. Both Minnesota and Wisconsin set all time low pressure readings during the October 26 storm, and International Falls beat their previous low pressure record by nearly one-half inch of mercury--a truly amazing anomaly. The massive storm spawned 67 tornadoes over a four-day period, and brought sustained winds of 68 mph to Lake Superior.

Figure 13. Visible satellite image of the October 26, 2010 superstorm taken at 5:32pm EDT. At the time, Bigfork, Minnesota was reporting the lowest pressure ever recorded in a U.S. non-coastal storm, 955 mb. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.

Weakest and latest-ending East Asian monsoon on record
The summer monsoon over China's South China Sea was the weakest and latest ending monsoon on record since detailed records began in 1951, according to the Beijing Climate Center. The monsoon did not end until late October, nearly a month later than usual. The abnormal monsoon helped lead to precipitation 30% - 80% below normal in Northern China and Mongolia, and 30 - 100% above average across a wide swath of Central China. Western China saw summer precipitation more than 200% above average, and torrential monsoon rains triggered catastrophic landslides that killed 2137 people and did $759 million in damage. Monsoon floods in China killed an additional 1911 people, affected 134 million, and did $18 billion in damage in 2010, according to the WHO Collaborating Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). This was the 2nd most expensive flooding disaster in Chinese history, behind the $30 billion price tag of the 1998 floods that killed 3656 people. China had floods in 1915, 1931, and 1959 that killed 3 million, 3.7 million, and 2 million people, respectively, but no damage estimates are available for these floods.

Figure 14. Paramilitary policemen help evacuate residents from Wanjia village of Fuzhou City, East China's Jiangxi province, June 22, 2010. Days of heavy rain burst the Changkai Dike of Fu River on June 21, threatening the lives of 145,000 local people. Image credit: Xinhua.

No monsoon depressions in India's Southwest Monsoon for 2nd time in 134 years
The Southwest Monsoon that affects India was fairly normal in 2010, bringing India rains within 2% of average. Much of the rain that falls in India from the monsoon typically comes from large regions of low pressure that form in the Bay of Bengal and move westwards over India. Typically, seven of these lows grow strong and well-organized enough to be labelled monsoon depressions, which are similar to but larger than tropical depressions. In 2010, no monsoon depressions formed--the only year besides 2002 (since 1877) that no monsoon depressions have been observed.

The Pakistani flood: most expensive natural disaster in Pakistan's history
A large monsoon low developed over the Bay of Bengal in late July and moved west towards Pakistan, creating a strong flow of moisture that helped trigger the deadly Pakistan floods of 2010. The floods were worsened by a persistent and unusually-far southwards dip in the jet stream, which brought cold air and rain-bearing low pressure systems over Pakistan. This unusual bend in the jet stream also helped bring Russia its record heat wave and drought. The Pakistani floods were the most expensive natural disaster in Pakistani history, killing 1985 people, affecting 20 million, and doing $9.5 billion in damage.

Figure 15. Local residents attempt to cross a washed-out road during the Pakistani flood catastrophe of 2010. Image credit: Pakistan Meteorology Department.

The Russian heat wave and drought: deadliest heat wave in human history
A scorching heat wave struck Moscow in late June 2010, and steadily increased in intensity through July as the jet stream remained "stuck" in an unusual loop that kept cool air and rain-bearing low pressure systems far north of the country. By July 14, the mercury hit 31°C (87°F) in Moscow, the first day of an incredible 33-day stretch with a maximum temperatures of 30°C (86°F) or higher. Moscow's old extreme heat record, 37°C (99°F) in 1920, was equaled or exceeded five times in a two-week period from July 26 - August 6 2010, including an incredible 38.2°C (101°F) on July 29. Over a thousand Russians seeking to escape the heat drowned in swimming accidents, and thousands more died from the heat and from inhaling smoke and toxic fumes from massive wild fires. The associated drought cut Russia's wheat crop by 40%, cost the nation $15 billion, and led to a ban on grain exports. The grain export ban, in combination with bad weather elsewhere in the globe during 2010 - 2011, caused a sharp spike in world food prices that helped trigger civil unrest across much of northern Africa and the Middle East in 2011. At least 55,000 people died due to the heat wave, making it the deadliest heat wave in human history. A 2011 NOAA study concluded that "while a contribution to the heat wave from climate change could not be entirely ruled out, if it was present, it played a much smaller role than naturally occurring meteorological processes in explaining this heat wave's intensity." However, they noted that the climate models used for the study showed a rapidly increasing risk of such heat waves in western Russia, from less than 1% per year in 2010, to 10% or more per year by 2100.

Figure 16. Smoke from wildfires burning to the southeast of Moscow on August 12, 2010. Northerly winds were keeping the smoke from blowing over the city. Image credit: NASA.

Record rains trigger Australia's most expensive natural disaster in history
Australia's most expensive natural disaster in history is now the Queensland flood of 2010 - 2011, with a price tag as high as $30 billion. At least 35 were killed. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology's annual summary reported, "Sea surface temperatures in the Australian region during 2010 were the warmest value on record for the Australian region. Individual high monthly sea surface temperature records were also set during 2010 in March, April, June, September, October, November and December. Along with favourable hemispheric circulation associated with the 2010 La Niña, very warm sea surface temperatures contributed to the record rainfall and very high humidity across eastern Australia during winter and spring." In 2010, Australia had its wettest spring (September - November) since records began 111 years ago, with some sections of coastal Queensland receiving over 4 feet (1200 mm) of rain. Rainfall in Queensland and all of eastern Australia in December was the greatest on record, and the year 2010 was the rainiest year on record for Queensland. Queensland has an area the size of Germany and France combined, and 3/4 of the region was declared a disaster zone.

Figure 17. The airport, the Bruce Highway, and large swaths of Rockhampton, Australia, went under water due to flooding from the Fitzroy River on January 9, 2011. The town of 75,000 was completely cut off by road and rail, and food, water and medicine had to be brought in by boat and helicopter. Image credit: NASA.

Heaviest rains on record trigger Colombia's worst flooding disaster in history
The 2010 rainy-season rains in Colombia were the heaviest in the 42 years since Colombia's weather service was created and began taking data. Floods and landslides killed 528, did $1 billion in damage, and left 2.2 million homeless, making it Colombia's most expensive, most widespread, and 2nd deadliest flooding disaster in history. Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos said, "the tragedy the country is going through has no precedents in our history."

Figure 18. A daring rescue of two girls stranded in a taxi by flash flood waters Barranquilla, northern Colombia on August 14, 2010.

Tennessee's 1-in-1000 year flood kills 30, does $2.4 billion in damage
Tennessee's greatest disaster since the Civil War hit on May 1 - 2, 2010, when an epic deluge of rain brought by an "atmospheric river" of moisture dumped up to 17.73" of rain on the state. Nashville had its heaviest 1-day and 2-day rainfall amounts in its history, with a remarkable 7.25" on May 2, breaking the record for most rain in a single day. Only two days into the month, the May 1 - 2 rains made it the rainiest May in Nashville's history. The record rains sent the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville surging to 51.86', 12' over flood height, and the highest level the river has reached since a flood control project was completed in the early 1960s. At least four rivers in Tennessee reached their greatest flood heights on record. Most remarkable was the Duck River at Centreville, which crested at 47', a full 25 feet above flood stage, and ten feet higher than the previous record crest, achieved in 1948.

Figure 19. A portable classroom building from a nearby high school floats past submerged cars on I-24 near Nashville, TN on May 1, 2010. One person died in the flooding in this region of I-24. Roughly 200 - 250 vehicles got submerged on this section of I-24, according to wunderphotographer laughingjester, who was a tow truck operator called in to clear out the stranded vehicles.

When was the last time global weather was so extreme?
It is difficult to say whether the weather events of a particular year are more or less extreme globally than other years, since we have no objective global index that measures extremes. However, we do for the U.S.--NOAA's Climate Extremes Index (CEI), which looks at the percentage area of the contiguous U.S. experiencing top 10% or bottom 10% monthly maximum and minimum temperatures, monthly drought, and daily precipitation. The Climate Extremes Index rated 1998 as the most extreme year of the past century in the U.S. That year was also the warmest year since accurate records began in 1895, so it makes sense that the warmest year in Earth's recorded history--2010--was also probably one of the most extreme for both temperature and precipitation. Hot years tend to generate more wet and dry extremes than cold years. This occurs since there is more energy available to fuel the evaporation that drives heavy rains and snows, and to make droughts hotter and drier in places where storms are avoiding. Looking back through the 1800s, which was a very cool period, I can't find any years that had more exceptional global extremes in weather than 2010, until I reach 1816. That was the year of the devastating "Year Without a Summer"--caused by the massive climate-altering 1815 eruption of Indonesia's Mt. Tambora, the largest volcanic eruption since at least 536 A.D. It is quite possible that 2010 was the most extreme weather year globally since 1816.

Where will Earth's climate go from here?
The pace of extreme weather events has remained remarkably high during 2011, giving rise to the question--is the "Global Weirding" of 2010 and 2011 the new normal? Has human-caused climate change destabilized the climate, bringing these extreme, unprecedented weather events? Any one of the extreme weather events of 2010 or 2011 could have occurred naturally sometime during the past 1,000 years. But it is highly improbable that the remarkable extreme weather events of 2010 and 2011 could have all happened in such a short period of time without some powerful climate-altering force at work. The best science we have right now maintains that human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases like CO2 are the most likely cause of such a climate-altering force.

Human-caused climate change has fundamentally altered the atmosphere by adding more heat and moisture. Observations confirm that global atmospheric water vapor has increased by about 4% since 1970, which is what theory says should have happened given the observed 0.5°C (0.9°F) warming of the planet's oceans during the same period. Shifts of this magnitude are capable of significantly affecting the path and strength of the jet stream, behavior of the planet's monsoons, and paths of rain and snow-bearing weather systems. For example, the average position of the jet stream retreated poleward 270 miles (435 km) during a 22-year period ending in 2001, in line with predictions from climate models. A naturally extreme year, when embedded in such a changed atmosphere, is capable of causing dramatic, unprecedented extremes like we observed during 2010 and 2011. That's the best theory I have to explain the extreme weather events of 2010 and 2011--natural extremes of El Niño, La Niña and other natural weather patterns combined with significant shifts in atmospheric circulation and the extra heat and atmospheric moisture due to human-caused climate change to create an extraordinary period of extreme weather. However, I don't believe that years like 2010 and 2011 will become the "new normal" in the coming decade. Many of the flood disasters in 2010 - 2011 were undoubtedly heavily influenced by the strong El Niño and La Niña events that occurred, and we're due for a few quiet years without a strong El Niño or La Niña. There's also the possibility that a major volcanic eruption in the tropics or a significant quiet period on the sun could help cool the climate for a few years, cutting down on heat and flooding extremes (though major eruptions tend to increase drought.) But the ever-increasing amounts of heat-trapping gases humans are emitting into the air puts tremendous pressure on the climate system to shift to a new, radically different, warmer state, and the extreme weather of 2010 - 2011 suggests that the transition is already well underway. A warmer planet has more energy to power stronger storms, hotter heat waves, more intense droughts, heavier flooding rains, and record glacier melt that will drive accelerating sea level rise. I expect that by 20 - 30 years from now, extreme weather years like we witnessed in 2010 will become the new normal.

Finally, I'll leave you with a quote from Dr. Ricky Rood's climate change blog, in his recent post,Changing the Conversation: Extreme Weather and Climate: "Given that greenhouse gases are well known to hold energy close to the Earth, those who deny a human-caused impact on weather need to pose a viable mechanism of how the Earth can hold in more energy and the weather not be changed. Think about it."

Related blog posts
U.S. had most extreme spring on record for precipitation in 2011
Is the U.S. climate getting more extreme?

Jeff Masters

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

Log In or Join

You be able to leave comments on this blog.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1048 - 998

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60Blog Index

Good morning to all.

It looks like the SW Caribbean area will not take advantage of the favorable MJO that is entering the basin right now.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1046. DDR
Quoting IKE:

Yes...got .98, 2 days ago and .36 yesterday.

Great,hope you get some more
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1045. IKE
Looks like June ends with 0-0-0....very likely....

800 AM EDT SAT JUN 25 2011




Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1044. IKE

Quoting DDR:
Morning IKE
did you get your much needed rain about 2 days ago?
Yes...got .98, 2 days ago and .36 yesterday.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1043. DDR
Morning IKE
did you get your much needed rain about 2 days ago?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1042. IKE
430 AM CDT SAT JUN 25 2011

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
East China braces as tropical storm Meari strengthens

SHANGHAI, June 25 (Xinhua) -- East China is bracing for high gales and torrential rains as tropical storm Meari swirls northward battering the country's coastal areas.

The full force of Meari, still gaining in strength and likely to soon become a typhoon, would be felt in Zhejiang Province Saturday evening, according to an alert from the meteorological station of Zhejiang Province.

Meari is forecast to hit Shanghai soon after, with its center about 150 km to the east and out to sea of the city, according to the Shanghai municipal meteorological station.

Shanghai has emptied its reservoirs in preparation for the heavy pours Meari is likely to bring, said Zhang Zhenyu, spokesman for the Shanghai Flood Control Headquarters.

Shanghai has inspected subway stations, underground parking lots and other places at risk of flooding to ease concerns heightened by torrential rains that drenched Beijing and paralyzed parts of the city's transport system on Thursday, Zhang said.

Further north, the storm will unleash heavy rains on coastal cities of Shandong Province from Saturday night to Sunday, the provincial meteorological station said. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011- 06/25/c_13949831.htm
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1039. DDR
Good morning
The itcz is currently unleashing a full assault on the island of Trinidad,just about 2 inches here,higher totals further east.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Japan and the Nuclear Safety Myth -- "That's why the safety myth wasn't just an empty slogan...It was a kind of mind-set that rejected progress through the introduction of new technology."

Which eventually induced the self-deception of "Our nuclear generating plants are so safe that we'll build them near known fault complexes." Latest case in point from 23Jun: A magnitude5.3earthquake at 26.6degrees(NNE) 10miles(16kilometres) from the OnagawaNuclearPowerPlant

The two unconnected red dots are FukushimaDaiichi and FukushimaDaini
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Dr. Masters' very excellent blog post has a front-page spot on Huffington Post/AOL, and an accompanying article. The article's comment section is entertaining; it's like reading an extension of this blog's comments, only with all the tropical talk removed, and with none of the, er, restraint most of us try to show. ;-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Good morning. Wind shear in the Caribbean beginning to go bye bye.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Twister swirls around Meycauyan, rips off roofs, destroys property

MANILA, Philippines –

A twister struck a relocation area in Meycauayan, Bulacan early Saturday morning, the village chief told 990AM in an interview.

The incident at 5:25 a.m. Saturday happened a day after another twister struck Quezon City and ripped off iron sheets of roofs, some of which landed on the wires hanging on electric posts nearby, and destroyed the local government’s day care center, among others, said Christian Buñing of Bayugo.

As of posting time, Buñing said the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has not visited the area despite calls from the residents.

In an interview earlier on Saturday over 990AM, Mayor Peping Guillermo of Marilao, Bulacan said while the winds that hit them weren’t as strong, trees and posts were nonetheless toppled.

There were no casualties in both incidents, 990AM said.

990AM also said that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are repacking relief goods for distribution to those affected by the floods.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Twisters rip roofs, uproot trees in Quezon City

As though the relentless rains brought by Tropical Storm Falcon were not enough, twisters (ipo-ipo) on Friday hit Quezon City and a town in Iloilo, destroying and damaging public and private property, including the house of industrialist Eduardo Danding Cojuangco.

A weather forecaster at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), said eyewitness accounts and an on-site inspection would be critical in determining the nature of the twister.

But whatever it was that tore off roofs and uprooted trees in New Manila, Kamuning and Kamias in Quezon City, Aldczar Aurelio was definite that Falcon and the southwest monsoon caused powerful winds to spin around the area.

Rains 14 times the daily average recorded every June poured within 24 hours because of the southwest monsoon, Aurelio said.

Some 147.3 millimeters of rain fell at the Pagasa rain observatory, the Science Garden in Quezon City, from 8 a.m. on Thursday to 8 a.m. yesterday.

The rainfall was much more compared to the normal rainfall every June in Quezon City, which is 311 mm every month, or 10 mm per day. In one day, we had 147.3 mm Aurelio said.

From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. alone, 44 mm of rain was measured at the Science Garden, twice the hourly rainfall rate considered heavy (7.5 mm).

Aurelio said the heavy rains over Metro Manila, much of Luzon and western Visayas in the last few days were brought by the southwest monsoon, which Pagasa had been warning about since Tuesday.

Moving faster away

Falcon retained its strength as it moved faster on its way out of the Philippines, Pagasa said in a 5 p.m. update on Friday.

The storm moved 22 kilometers per hour north-northwest, faster than its 19-kph speed Friday morning, as it spun toward Japan. It is expected to be some 710 km north-northeast of Basco, Batanes, by Sunday afternoon.

Storm Signal No. 1 remains hoisted over the Calayan, Babuyan and Batanes island groups.

The weather is expected to improve across the country by Sunday, when Falcon would have moved out of the Philippine area of responsibility, Aurelio said.

But another low-pressure area (LPA) is brewing over east of Luzon and over the Pacific Ocean, and is likely to merge with Falcon due to its strong pull on its track northward, Aurelio said.

Falcon swallowed a similar weather system over the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday.

We expect that Falcon will become a typhoon on its way out. Falcon is strong, so nothing will happen to the LPA but dissolve and be absorbed by Falcon, Aurelio said.

Dandings house

One of the houses in Quezon City that sustained the biggest damage from the twister is that owned by Danding Cojuangco, according to Elmo San Diego, the head of Quezon City Department of Public Safety and Order.

The twister ripped off the roofs of 40 houses including Cojuangco in a wealthy area in New Manila, as well as a number of houses in Kamuning and Kamias before it disappeared, said San Diego, a retired chief superintendent.

San Diego said the families rendered homeless were welcome to stay in the evacuation area if they wanted.

In Kamuning, Carla Santos described the twister as a huge dark gray cloud that toppled, ripped and hurled things that got in its way.

Santos told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that she watched the twister from the covered entrance of the Quezon City Jail at shortly past noon.

We were standing outside the jail and waiting for our turn to go inside and visit my husband when we heard a howling sound, she said. When I turned to look, I saw the circling strong wind and saw a huge tree uprooted and a roof of a house torn off and sent flying toward Edsa.

Santos said the onslaught seemed like forever, but I understand it lasted for only about two minutes.

Cut in half

A satellite office of the city welfare office beside Bernardo Park and in front of the city jail was cut in half when the uprooted tree fell on one of its rooms.

I heard a loud thud from above me, and when I looked up, I saw the ceiling and the fluorescent light falling down on me. I crawled on the floor, then stood up, kicked the door and left the room as fast as I could, Edielyn de Castro said.

A concrete wall beside the Kamuning police station collapsed damaging a number of parked vehicles.

Traffic in front of the station was halted because of the big tree that fell in the middle of the southbound lane of Edsa. Fortunately, no vehicle was passing when the twister toppled the tree, a police officer said.

Swirling winds in Iloilo

About an hour later at 1:30 p.m., strong swirling winds destroyed 24 houses and damaged 25 others in Barangay (village) Guintas, Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo.

No one was injured, Barotac Nuevo Mayor Hernani Biron said in a phone interview with the Inquirer in Iloilo City.

Biron said most of the destroyed and damaged houses were empty because the children were in school and their parents were at work.

The homeless families stayed with their relatives or in nearby schools. The municipal government has provided them food and other assistance.

Water everywhere

Falcon continued inundating wide swaths of Luzon yesterday, affecting almost 200,000 people in Metro Manila, Bicol, and Central and Southern Luzon, and destroying P2 million in crops and property, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos said La Mesa Dam had started spilling excess water. He called for the evacuation of residents along the Tullahan River, particularly in Quezon City, and the other cities of Malabon, Caloocan and Valenzuela.

Other dams were approaching or were at critical levels, the NDRRMC said.

Ipo Dam was at 100.6 meters (critical level: 100.85); Angat Dam, at 195.72 m (critical level: 210), and Caliraya Dam at 286.37 m, barely below the critical level of 288.

The water level of Marikina River was recorded at 16.05 m, past the critical level of 15, prompting the evacuation of some 800 families in Malanday. San Juan River also went past 12 m, the critical level.

One gate was opened at Ambuklao Dam to release supply, after the water level reached 751.26 m, just slightly below the critical level of 752. Two gates were opened at Binga Dam when the level reached 565.65 m (critical level: 575).

The NDRRMC said 33,429 families in 135 villages, five provinces and four regions had been affected by Falcon. On the other hand, 11,245 families have been evacuated, most of them in Albay.

In Metro Manila, a total of 7,111 residents, more than half of them in Marikina City, had been evacuated. Quezon City was second with fewer than 2,000 affected persons, the NDRRMC figures showed.

Floods were reported in Meycauayan City and the towns of Marilao and Calumpit in Bulacan and the City of San Fernando and eight towns in Pampanga.

15 missing

Teams in Southern Luzon continued their search for 15 persons who went missing due to the foul weather.

Disaster authorities said the missing included 10 fishermen in Catanduanes, three fishermen in Camarines Norte, a woman in Albay, and a 3-year-old girl believed to have drowned in Laguna.

The missing fishermen in Camarines Norte included a village councilman, Joselito delos Santos, and his companions, the brothers Joey and Jenan Mendoza, all of Barangay Pinagtigasan in Calaguas Islands, said municipal councilor Ric Palacio of Vinzons town.

In a report to Governor Edgardo Tallado, Palacio said the three men went out to the sea on June 21 and had not been heard from since.

Members of the police, Army and Coast Guard continued to scour the waters off the towns of Virac, Bato and San Miguel in Catanduanes for the 10 other fishermen, who were reported missing on Wednesday morning, said Nieva Santelices, action officer of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

One of the two search teams returned empty-handed yesterday afternoon, said Reymund Reginaldo, acting administrator of the Red Cross in the province.

The fishermen, all from Virac and Bato, were identified as Antonio Avila Bailon, Nestor Mandasoc, Vicente Tapit, Pedro Balingit, Jason Balingit, Prospero Tabios, Paquito Tabuzo, Rolando Tabor, Denver Sta. Ines and Jonsy Rodriguez.

Local disaster officials also continued the search for Rosa Belga, 54, of Barangay Basag, Ligao City, in Albay, who was swept away by raging waters.

Belga and her husband were crossing a river on the way to the city market at about 3 a.m. on Thursday. The husband was able to save himself.

In Laguna, rescuers have yet to find 3-year-old Angelica S. Recome of Golden City Subdivision, Sta. Rosa, who was believed to have drowned, said Vicky Torralba, public information officer of the Calabarzon Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Canceled flights

A total of 28 domestic flights to various areas were canceled because of the bad weather.

As of 10 a.m. Friday, most of those canceled were Cebu Pacific flights from Manila to Caticlan and back.

The Manila International Airport Authority Media Affairs Division said the other carrier that canceled its flights was Seair. Of the affected flights, two were Seair flights bound for Basco.

In an advisory, Philippine Airlines said no domestic or international flight was canceled yesterday.

PAL operations remain normal with some flights experiencing minor delays due to prevailing weather condition at airports in Manila and provincial stations, the advisory read.

There were, however, slight delays in 17 international and 21 domestic flights, PAL said.

On Thursday, two PAL flights from Manila to Los Angeles and back were canceled, as well as a PAL flight from Manila to Tacloban and back.

The cancellations were due to Thursdays heavy rains, widespread flooding and a massive traffic jam that prevented passengers and airline crew [from arriving] on time, the advisory read.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
is it just me or is there a spin at 14N 79W moving N
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Falcon to exit Saturday but another low pressure area brewing—Pagasa

MANILA, Philippines –

Tropical Storm “Falcon” is expected to exit the Philippines Saturday morning if it maintains its current north-northwest track toward southern Japan, the weather bureau said Friday.

Aldczar Aurelio, weather forecaster at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, said however that another low pressure area was brewing over the Pacific Ocean and might merge with Falcon on its way out.

Better skies are expected Sunday, when Falcon would have moved out of the Philippine area of responsibility, Aurelio said.

Heavy rains pouring over much of Metro Manila and Southern Luzon are due to the southwest monsoon that Pagasa has been warning about all week, Aurelio said.

A Pagasa bulletin at 10 a.m. Friday said the storm was located 330 kilometers east of Basco, Batanes, with maximum sustained winds of 85 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kph.

Public Storm Signal No. 1 is still up in the Calayan, Babuyan and the Batanes groups of islands in northern Philippines.

In a press briefing at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Friday, Pagasa Acting Administrator Nathaniel Servando allayed fears that the rainfall brought by Falcon was equivalent to the amount of rainfall brought by Typhoon “Ondoy” (international name: Ketsana) which devastated Metro Manila and nearby provinces in 2009.

Servando said that although the rains were heavy and continuous on Thursday, only 150 millimeters of rainfall was recorded from Falcon. This amount is only 20 percent of what Ondoy poured in 2009.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Over 300,000 affected by Storm Falcon

MANILA, Philippines

Over 300,000 people in 27 towns and 14 cities across four regions, including Metro Manila and Bicol, were affected by destructive floods wrought by Tropical Storm Falcon (Meari), which brushed the country eastern seaboard before exiting Saturday, officials said.

Some 75,000 were evacuated from their homes, more than half of whom in Albay province, and 20,000 in Metro Manila, according to a report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Sixty-six houses were damaged, including 15 houses in Quezon City that had their roofs blown off by a twister.

In the report, NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos said there were no fatalities so far, although 15 remained missing nine in Virac town in Catanduanres, three in Camarines Norte, one in Ligao, Albay, one in Rizal and one in Olongapo City.

There were originally 10 missing in Virac, a group of fishermen whose boats were swept away by rough seas, but one was found alive in Northern Samar after four days and nights at sea, Ramos said in a radio interview.

One injury was reported in Quezon City, a 14-year-old girl who suffered cuts from debris blown away by the twister, NDRRMC said.

NDRRMC monitoring of various dams and rivers showed that water levels had started receding, except in La Mesa and Ipo Dams, which as of Saturday morning were at critical levels, and Marikina River, Rosario Junction and San Juan River, which remained above the critical level, though Ramos said the Marikina River had started going down as well.

The continuous moderate to heavy rains have caused an increase in the elevation of the La Mesa Dam to its overflow elevation of 80.15 meters. The excess water is expected to affect the low-lying areas along the Tullahan River, Fairview, Novaliches, and the Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela), NDRRMC said.

All the residents living in the aforementioned areas are advised to be alert for possible increase in water level downstream, it said.

The agency said Ipo Dam management also opened three spillway gates to release excess water.

Release of excess water is expected to increase the water level downstream of Ipo Dam. The release of water will be continued until the elevation of Ipo Dam stabilizes to its operating/normal level, NDRRMC said.

Ramos, in the radio interview, said the small number of casualties and the fact that there had been no reported deaths showed that the people had learned lessons from Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana), which in 2009 left more than 400 dead.

The people had a good response. They evacuated readily. They learned the lessons of Ondoy, he said.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Manipulating the media

Normally the underbelly of obsessed contrarians that strangely afflicts many areas of science would go unnoticed.

With climate change, however, we are in the extraordinary situation where the deniers have had almost free reign in media outlets such as The Australian, while scientists are given short shrift.

The editors there claim to be providing balanced commentary for their readers to make informed decisions. In reality they are doing a great disservice to the community by publishing junk science.

Providing a platform for deniers, thereby enabling political leaders to mistake contrarian cranks for real science, can have horrendous consequences, as we have seen in the case of HIV, where perhaps hundreds of thousands of people have needlessly died.

There is an ethical imperative to hold deniers accountable for their actions.

But the question remains: what motivates deniers?

With very few exceptions, academic climate deniers are male and either retired or close to retirement.

The climate deniers’ champion, MIT’s 71-year old Richard Lindzen, has had a distinguished career, but 30 years after his major contributions, he appears to struggle to respond to devastating peer reviews when he attempts to publish his contrarian views in a major journal.

More commonly, the academic climate denier will have had a mediocre career that escaped public notice and left little imprint on science. Some haven’t been able to keep up with the rapid advances in science coming from its increasing complexity and the impact of computers and new technologies. Once respected, these scientists find themselves “out of the loop” and being ignored, which sometimes makes them quite grumpy.

There is much truth in the eminent physicist Max Planck’s observation, “a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up,” sometimes paraphrased as, “science advances one funeral at a time.”

A strong motivation for contrarians appears to be the attention that they can gain or re-gain in the public arena.

Any scientist, no matter how out of touch, can become the darling of talk shows by simply disagreeing with the consensus on climate.

89-year-old Vincent Gray was introduced recently by shock jock Alan Jones as “world acknowledged and acclaimed,” and among “some of the most eminent people in the world”.

Gray’s most recent peer-reviewed publication appears to be an article on the chemical properties of coal, from 17 years ago. Nothing at all on climate.

Jones also recently interviewed 72-year-old Tim Ball, describing him as “one of the world’s most eminent climate scientists, and acknowledged as such.” This is in contrast to Ball’s CV, in which he reveals he got his PhD at the age of 44 and retired from academia at the age of 57 with a very thin list of publications, most frequently in The Beaver and the Manitoba Social Science Teachers Journal.

Jones’ listeners and The Australian’s readers are being misled.
David Attenborough is watching you…

Another necessary element of denial is conspiratorial thinking. Any denier sooner or later, whether an academic or not, must resort to a global conspiracy theory to negate the overwhelming evidence arrayed against them.

One self-proclaimed “rocket scientist” who has published junk science in the opinion pages of The Australian has been quoted on a New Zealand website as saying:

“To win the political aspect of the climate debate, we have to lower the western climate establishment’s credibility with the lay person. And this paper [an accompanying picture book of thermometers] shows how you do it. It simply assembles the most easily understood points that show they are not to be entirely trusted, with lots of pictures and a minimum of text and details. It omits lots of relevant facts and is excruciatingly economical with words simply because the lay person has a very short attention span for climate arguments. The strategy of the paper is to undermine the credibility of the establishment climate scientists. That’s all. There is nothing special science-wise.”

Undermine credibility.

That’s all.

Nothing science-wise.

Are these the people one should entrust with the welfare of future generations?

Lest one think this is an isolated case, conspiracy theories are an essential ingredient in writings of deniers.

According to a recent (not peer-reviewed) book by Bob Carter, who has an unpaid Adjunct position at James Cook University, it is “simply professional suicide for a scientist to put a questioning head above the parapet” when faced with opposition from “the BBC, commercial television, all major newspapers, the Royal Society, the Chief Scientist, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, David Attenborough, countless haloed-image organisations such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and even Prince Charles himself.”

Just imagine the devastating rebuttal of climate change that Bob Carter could submit for peer-review if he wasn’t being oppressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Prince Charles.

But seriously, why doesn’t Carter, or any of the deniers, simply write a coherent outline of their best arguments against the expert consensus and publish it in the peer-reviewed literature?

Why don’t they turn up to the relevant scientific conferences and give a talk on their theories?

The answer is simple: they don’t have any arguments that have any scientific merit.

Which is why Carter publishes in The Australian. Again, and again, and again and again.

Returning to our discussion of conspiracy theorists, O. Manuel, whose imaginative theories on the sun we discussed earlier, avidly posts to blogs and often mentions President Eisenhower’s 1961 warning against a government-funded “scientific-technological elite”.

Manuel claims that this “tax-feeding ‘elite’ has distorted experimental data to give tax-payers misinformation about the sun’s origin.”

The peer-reviewed literature on conspiratorial thinking cites several identifying attributes that are replete in the statements of climate deniers.

For example, the imaginary conspirators are at once small in number but also all powerful.

They claim on the one hand that science is based on the strength of argument, not on the consensus of experts, but on the other hand they desperately manufacture petitions and lists of “scientists” on their side.

There’s a laughable list circulating on the internet of 31,000 “scientists” — including at one point Dr. Pierce and Dr. Hunnicutt of M*A*S*H fame — who allegedly oppose the consensus on climate change. But on the other hand there’s the simultaneous claim that opposition is squashed by the world’s science academies and Prince Charles.

Deniers yelp about being oppressed, while at the same time claiming to number 31,000.

And just to be sure, Prince Phillip runs the world’s drug trade and climate change is a means by which the Royal family is culling the population for a forthcoming genocide. Or something like that, maybe you can figure it out.
Time to close the phony debate on climate science

At a time when the oceans are accumulating heat at the rate of five Hiroshima bombs per second, are conspiracy theorists the people whom a nation should entrust with the future of our children?

The so-called “debate” on climate change has been over for decades in the peer-reviewed literature. It is time to accept the scientific consensus and move on, and to stop giving air-time to the cranks.

It is time for accountability.

Read More http://theconversation.edu.au/a-journey-into-the- weird-and-wacky-world-of-climate-change-denial-155 4
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
A journey into the weird and wacky world of climate change denial

CLEARING UP THE CLIMATE DEBATE: Professors Stephan Lewandowsky and Michael Ashley step into the twilight zone of climate change scepticism: where the sun is made of iron and the royals are out to get you.

Science, like much human endeavour, thrives on debate.

Climate deniers want to participate in this debate as equal partners, and feel that they are entitled to be heard and to be taken seriously. This is quite understandable, but by itself does not create an entitlement.

In science, to actually contribute at the forefront of a field one has to earn credibility, not demand it. Being taken seriously is a privilege, not a right.

In science, this privilege is earned by not only following conventional norms of honesty and transparency but by supporting one’s opinions with evidence and reasoned argument in the peer-reviewed literature.

This is what makes science self-correcting. If arguments turn out to be wrong, in time they are caught and corrected by other scientists. It is virtually impossible to publish long-refuted nonsense in good peer-reviewed journals.

Climate deniers, by contrast, seem to avoid the peer-reviewed literature or publish by sometimes abusing the system. Nor do the deniers turn up and present their ideas at any of the many international scientific conferences, open to anyone, where these issues have been explored for decades.

Deniers simply keep restating nonsensical arguments that the scientific community has known to be wrong for a long time.
The illusion of debate

So why do deniers continue to make their loud, and egregiously mistaken, claims? And what explains the tiny handful of deniers with verifiable academic credentials?

Many are (generally former) Professors, albeit usually with tenuous unpaid Adjunct or Emeritus associations with universities.

Are these individuals indicative of a scientific debate, after all? And if not, what motivates them?

Today, denial of the link between HIV and AIDS would be laughable, if the consequences of that denial hadn’t been so serious.

It is thus important to remember that twenty years ago a tiny handful of people in the medical community, including senior academics at reputable universities, rejected the consensus that HIV causes AIDS.

It is illuminating that just as in climate science, the contrarian publications on HIV were accompanied by an unusual context that made headlines and raised eyebrows for the same ethical reasons that arise from climate deniers’ subversion of peer review.

An example from astronomy is also prescient. The consensus of astronomers is that the sun consists largely of hydrogen and helium, and is powered by fusion at its core.

The evidence for this is overwhelming, and supported by multiple independent lines of investigation.

Like climate change, there are contrarian academics who argue against the consensus. O. Manuel, unpaid Emeritus of the Missouri University of Science and Technology, has claimed for decades that the sun is mostly composed of iron.

Manuel has recently published his bizarre theories in the bottom-tier journal Energy & Environment, also a favorite of climate deniers due to its, to put it mildly, unusual review processes.

There is an important lesson here: an overwhelming scientific consensus does not imply the absence of contrarian voices even within the scientific community.

Over time, those contrarian voices simply fade away because no one takes them seriously, despite their shouts of “censorship” and accusations of bias.

This is not to say that a scientific consensus is never overturned.

There are well-known examples such as the Helicobacter pylori discovery in medicine, and continental drift in geology. But in both cases the arguments were won and lost in the peer-reviewed literature, not by contrarians sitting on the side-lines writing opinion pieces about how they were being oppressed.

Read More
http://theconversation.edu.au/a-journey-into-the- weird-and-wacky-world-of-climate-change-denial-155 4
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aspectre:
sunlinepr, your animations of the asteroids' orbits appear to be interacting badly with the blog program.
Keeps trying to reload even after having successfully loaded&reloaded multiple times, eating up both bandwidth and cache memory.

I'm Sorry for that...., went to bed, came back to check the PC, and read your comment... Fixed... (Not suposed to use too much bandwidth, due to being an animated Gif loop... Anyhow, you never know what is behind those loops from an unknown website)....
Good Night...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1026. msphar
I don't see anything coming together yet in the Western Caribbean other than hostile upper level winds tearing clouds apart. I think I'll hit the sack now and check back in the morning.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
sunlinepr, your animations of the asteroids' orbits appear to be interacting badly with the blog program.
Keeps trying to reload even after having successfully loaded&reloaded multiple times, eating up both bandwidth and cache memory.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sirmaelstrom:

I've always referred to the early AM hours before bedtime as 'at night" of the previous day myself. For instance, right now I would say it's Friday night around 1:30. When I wake up it will be Saturday. Incorrect, but I've always referred to it like that.

Anyway, I was on earlier and thought I saw that someone had posted a NHC map with a 60% probability circle in the lower Caribbean, but I see now there's not. I don't know if it was an old map or what, but I can't find the post now. Maybe I need a check-up.
me too. No matter how late I stay up I refer to it as night, rather than morning. It isn't morning for me until the sky begins to brighten again.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting beell:

5 knots of flow shown on your sketch. In an operational sense, that aint the trough base.

20-25 knots over LA.

looking back on it now, you're right, that is where the base of the trough is.

I got a little to caught up in the vorticity showing up on the CIMSS vort map alphabob was posting. What's going on over S Texas is probably a result of the winds being influenced by the nearby trough and the fairly weak ridge over Mexico since it was eroded by the unusually strong trough earlier in the weak. This would account for the fairly weak winds in the area and yet similar streamlines to the trough

Still not a TUTT though, that is for sure
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
What a difference 24hrs make....The computer models backpedal so fast they almost crashed with each other haha.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
the new 00Z MM5 model shows a very good looking TD N/NE of Honduras in 48 Hours
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1017. JRRP
GFS still showing a strong TW near antilles


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Next Asteroid visit Link

Asteroid 2005 YU55 to Approach Earth on November 8, 2011
Don Yeomans, Lance Benner and Jon Giorgini
March 10, 2011

Trajectory of Asteroid 2005 YU55 - November 8-9, 2011

Near-Earth asteroid 2005 YU55 will pass within 0.85 lunar distances from the Earth on November 8, 2011. The upcoming close approach by this relatively large 400 meter-sized, C-type asteroid presents an excellent opportunity for synergistic ground-based observations including optical, near infrared and radar data. The attached animated illustration shows the Earth and moon flyby geometry for November 8th and 9th when the object will reach a visual brightness of 11th magnitude and should be easily visible to observers in the northern and southern hemispheres. The closest approach to Earth and the Moon will be respectively 0.00217 AU and 0.00160 AU on 2011 November 8 at 23:28 and November 9 at 07:13 UT.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aspectre:
1004 sunlinepr "The asteroid 2011 MD, about 10 meters in diameter..."

Thanks. Been trying to find its size, and none of the news articles I'd sampled contained that info.
Man, that'd be a fun ride.

NASA site has the news about it.... So now it's more trustable the info...


June 24, 2011

Near-Earth asteroid 2011 MD will pass only 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) above the Earth's surface on Monday June 27 at about 9:30 EDT. The asteroid was discovered by the LINEAR near-Earth object discovery team observing from Socorro, New Mexico. This small asteroid, only 5-20 meters in diameter, is in a very Earth-like orbit about the Sun, but an orbital analysis indicates there is no chance it will actually strike Earth on Monday. If a rocky asteroid the size of 2011 MD were to enter Earth's atmosphere, it would be expected to burn up high in the atmosphere and cause no damage to Earth's surface. The accompanying diagram gives a view of the asteroid's trajectory from the general direction of the Sun. This view indicates that 2011 MD will reach its closest Earth approach point in extreme southern latitudes (in fact over the southern Atlantic Ocean). The incoming trajectory leg passes several thousand kilometers outside the geosynchronous ring of satellites and the outgoing leg passes well inside the ring. One would expect an object of this size to come this close to Earth about every 6 years on average. For a brief time, it may be bright enough to be seen even with a modest-sized telescope.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting beell:

To be precise. It was evening when you posted. And you know we must be precise on the blog.

I've always referred to the early AM hours before bedtime as 'at night" of the previous day myself. For instance, right now I would say it's Friday night around 1:30. When I wake up it will be Saturday. Incorrect, but I've always referred to it like that.

Anyway, I was on earlier and thought I saw that someone had posted a NHC map with a 60% probability circle in the lower Caribbean, but I see now there's not. I don't know if it was an old map or what, but I can't find the post now. Maybe I need a check-up.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1004 sunlinepr "The asteroid 2011 MD, about 10 meters in diameter..."

Thanks. Been trying to find its size, and none of the news articles I'd sampled contained that info.
Man, that'd be a fun ride.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting scott39:
Who else thinks the NHC should get the yellow marker out for the SW Caribbean?
not I.

Those are for development in the next 48hrs. Maybe give it an invest in the morning, but development in the next 48hrs is pretty much 0%.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aspectre:
aspectre "But the orbital visuals are cool.

Lets hope it doesn't knocks out any important GPS or weather satellite.... Or stays on an eliptical orbit around earth...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting scott39:
Who else thinks the NHC should get the yellow marker out for the SW Caribbean?

I say yes they should we should see it today
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1009. scott39
Who else thinks the NHC should get the yellow marker out for the SW Caribbean?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1008. beell
Quoting Levi32:

Right, morning...my bad lol.

To be precise. It was evening when you posted. And you know we must be precise on the blog.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
aspectre "Repent! The End Is Near. Monday to be exact. Sheesh... ya get a 30day-notice to vacate an apartment. Ya'd think they'd give ya more than 4days to vacate a planet."
990 VAbeachhurricanes "Whats an ER? (it says distance from earth 2.8ER)"

EarthRadius, ~6,371kilometres(~3959miles)
2.8timesEarthRadius is ~11,084miles(~17,384kilometres)

Not that I'd trust the dude's figures. Too many other errors within the article.
Other news sites put nearest passage from "around 7500miles" to "within 8000miles" from the Earth's surface. I'd guess he means "somewhere around 2.8EarthRadius from Earth's center."
But the orbital visuals are cool.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aspectre:
990 VAbeachhurricanes "Whats an ER? (it says distance from earth 2.8ER)"

EarthRadius, ~6,371kilometres(~3959miles)
2.8timesEarthRadius is ~11,084miles(~17,384kilometres)

Not that I'd trust the dude's arithmetic. Too many other errors within the article. But the orbital visuals are cool.

Posted on that page: Link

The asteroid 2011 MD, about 10 meters in diameter, will fly by the earth on Jun 27. I'm showing with these animations the geometry of this encounter. It is interesting to note that it will come closer than the GPS satellites, and also that it comes from the norther hemisphere, passes over the Earth's south pole, and then is deflected so strongly that leaves the Earth back in the northern hemisphere.

The animation shows the passage of the asteroid from an observer far away, on the same plane of the Earth's orbit (while line left of the Earth). The Sun is to the left. The asteroid 2011 MD comes in from the top right corner (night side of the Earth), approaches the Earth at its minimum close to the south pole, and then leaves on the Earth's day side. Note how the orbit of the asteroid is perturbed by the Earth, so much to turn it around and send the asteroid almost back to where it comes from.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1003. Levi32
Quoting beell:

Good Morning, extra-tropical, Levi.
(Alaska DST)

Right, morning...my bad lol.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:
Evening, nightowls.
evening levi
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1001. beell
Quoting Levi32:
Evening, nightowls.

Good Morning, extra-tropical, Levi.
(Alaska DST)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
990 VAbeachhurricanes "Whats an ER? (it says distance from earth 2.8ER)"

EarthRadius, ~6,371kilometres(~3959miles)
2.8timesEarthRadius is ~11,084miles(~17,384kilometres)

Not that I'd trust the dude's figures. Too many other errors within the article.
Other news sites put nearest passage from "within 7500miles" to "within 8000miles" from the Earth's surface. I'd guess he means "somewhere around 2.8EarthRadius from Earth's center."
But the orbital visuals are cool.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Evening, nightowls.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:

whats an ER? (it says distance from earth 2.8ER)

I think it is Earth Radius...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1048 - 998

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60Blog Index

Top of Page
Ad Blocker Enabled

Category 6™


Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Mountain wave clouds over Labrador
Mountain wave clouds over Labrador
Mountain wave clouds over Labrador
Labrador ice